Coffee | Starbucks, International Delight, Folgers
When it comes to coffee, people can have pretty strong feelings about their brands. From the moment they wake up, the only way to start their day is with their favorite coffee. A poorly crafted cup can ruin more than just a morning. Don't disrupt the sacred morning ritual!
More often than not, name brands are the chosen brands. Starbucks, International Delight, and Folgers are a few of the most popular brands that hit the coffee pots. Most people willingly choose to spend a little more money to ensure they wake up on the right side of the bed. When it comes to coffee, it’s worth sticking to the name brand!
Cookies | Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, Pepperidge Farm
As many people’s favorite snacks, cookies are another category where you don’t want to skip the name brands. While store brand cookies may be good (I know many that are!), they cannot compare to the greatness of many of the name brands. Many steer clear of store brands.
Brands like Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, and Pepperidge Farm have perfected the cookie-making process and have created cookies that stand above other brands. In multiple blind taste tests, testers consistently preferred Oreos to every other brand. From texture to flavor, spending a little extra money is worthwhile.
Condiments | Heinz, Kraft, Hellman's
When you reach for a dressing to put on your salad, is your first choice a name brand or a generic brand? For many people, the only condiments they will even consider buying have a widely known name brand on the label. Only the best for their hot dogs and hamburgers!
Name brands like Heinz, Kraft, and Hellman’s offer a large variety of condiments to meet your tastebuds' needs. Whether it’s dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, tartar sauce, or barbeque sauce, the flavors of the name brand greats outshine all the lackluster generic brands.
Shampoo | Redken, Biolage, Joico
So many shampoos, so many choices! If you are willing to spend the extra money, many people recommend name brands due to quality. While you can certainly find decent generic shampoos, name brand shampoos have been used by so many for so long, you can trust the quality.
Although they can get to be pretty expensive and may not be available at a local store, brands like Redken, Biolage, and Joico have withstood the test of time and remain some of the top shampoo brands. When it comes to your hair, do you really want to risk the side effects of a lower-quality brand?
Paper Products | Bounty, Charmin, Hefty
Ever overloaded a paper plate and wished it was a little thicker? That’s a situation that can turn messy and embarrassing FAST. Kind of like cheap toilet paper when you really need something higher quality. That’s why when it comes to paper products, name brand is the way to go.
Though they do tend to be a little more expensive, the added expense accounts for the higher quality of the products. With these paper products, you need them to function well. That’s why we’ve placed paper products under the “go with the name brand” category.
Baking Products | Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Hershey's
Put your apron on and grab some name brand ingredients for all your baking needs! In blind taste tests, testers usually described generic ingredients as blander. A vast majority preferred baked goods with name brand ingredients. When it comes to chocolate chips, we demand the best of the best!
While generic brands are a little easier on the wallet, substituting flavorful ingredients with lower quality ingredients just isn’t the way to go. With a little bit of a splurge, your baked goods will be tastier and have your guests asking for your recipes!
Juice | Ocean Spray, Tropicana, Simply Orange
Juice is another category people prefer name brands over generic brands. Similar to the baking products, generic juices tend to be blander. Name brands usually taste much richer and sweeter. I don’t know what’s worse than subpar orange juice in the morning.
Besides less flavor, generic juices also tend to have more preservatives and artificial additives in their makeup. Who would want to save a few cents to have less flavor and more preservatives in their juice? The majority of people refuse to take the generic route.
Peanut Butter | Jif, Peter Pan, Skippy
Lower prices and oily textures go together like generic peanut butter and jelly. It’s not a savory combo. Peanut butter is a food that when it’s good, it is oh so good — but choose a cheaper peanut butter brand and you might regret it.
Most people insist on buying name brands when it comes to their peanut butter. Instead of trying to save a few cents, reach for brands like Jif, Peter Pan, or Skippy. These name brands will provide your tastebuds with maximum peanut butter quality.
Yogurt | Dannon, Yoplait, Chobani
Many people look to yogurt to fuel their body by eating it for breakfast or enjoying it as a snack. The consensus seems to be that people don’t settle for the cheaper versions of yogurt — only name brands will do. When choosing a brand, great flavor is the biggest deciding factor.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to name brand yogurt. You can’t go wrong with Dannon, Yoplait, or Chobani. These brands have been some of the most popular brands for years due to their amazing flavor. Just add some fruit or granola!
Syrup | Mrs. Butterworth's, Pearl Milling Company, Griffin's
When you think about syrup, you think of a rich, thick stream of goodness drizzling your pancakes or waffles. What you don’t think about is a weak, semi-sweet watery substance covering your food. That’s why when it comes to syrup, name brand is the way to go.
Many of the generic brands are cheaper because they usually offer a one-note type of flavor. Whereas most of the name brand syrups that people know and love are complex and offer an array of flavors within the syrup. Be sure to splurge a little to get the good stuff!
Boxed Mac and Cheese | Kraft
Boxed macaroni and cheese is not the classiest dish out there, but we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t delicious! When it comes to dry pasta and mysterious cheese sauce or powder, you might think that there’s nothing wrong with going generic, but your taste buds will beg to differ!
We don’t know what their secret ingredient may be, but there’s just no denying that mac and cheese brands like Kraft and Velveeta just taste better. They’re not any more nutritious for you than the generic brands, but if we’re talking mac and cheese, obviously, taste is more important than nutrition!
Dish Soap | Dawn, Palmolive
When it comes to getting your dishes clean, soap is just soap, right? Well, the answer is yes and no. While the generic brands of dish soap you’ll find are probably very chemically similar to the more expensive name brands, there’s still a good reason to opt for the name brands instead.
In most cases, the generic brand of dish soap is going to be more watered down. The generic stuff will still clean your dishes, but it will probably take more soap to get the job done. Name brands may cost more at checkout, but you’ll save money by not using as much to get your dishes sparkling clean.
Bandages | Band-Aid
No one likes to get hurt, but we’re sure glad we’ve got bandages to keep our cuts and scrapes protected and clean. It might seem like all bandages, regardless of the brand, are basically the same, but this is definitely one product where you get what you pay for.
If you’ve got the extra money to spare, you should opt for name-brand bandages like Band-Aid over generic options your store may be offering. There’s just no getting around it—generic bandages just don’t stay in place as long or as strong as the name brands. You’ll find yourself replacing them so often that any potential savings evaporate quickly.
Laundry Detergent | Tide, Gain, All
Whether you’re buying generic or name brand, it’s kind of ridiculous how much money we have to spend just to keep our clothes clean. However, if you’re looking to cut back on your laundry bill, definitely go for the name-brand detergents over generic ones, as tempting as it may be to go for the cheaper option.
Like several other products on this list, generic detergent will definitely still get the job done, but those brands tend to water down their detergent, meaning you’ll need to use more per load. The name brands are more concentrated, which means you’ll save money in the long run by having to use less of the product.
Aluminum Foil | Reynolds
There are not many products in our kitchens that are more versatile than aluminum foil. You can store things with it; you can cook with it—is there anything foil can’t do? However, you definitely want to opt for the name brands like Reynolds if you want the real heavy-duty stuff!
According to some insiders in the aluminum foil world, the name brands and generic brands are exactly the same thing except for one important difference—the generic brands are about half as thick. Who wants to deal with that flimsy stuff? In the long run, you’ll end up using less of the name-brand options, saving you a little money in the process.
Mayo | Hellman's, Duke's, Kraft
Not all condiments are created equal. While you can get away with buying the generic brands from some of them (we're looking at you, mustard), mayonnaise is one condiment that you don't want to skimp on. While generic brands will get the job done, it won't be a very tasty job.
If you've ever tried the generic brand of mayo from your grocery store, you probably already know that there's just something "off" about the taste. Some people even claim that the generic brands taste like Miracle Whip, which is probably the worst condiment we can think of.
Toaster Pastries | Pop Tart
The Pop Tart brand has become so synonymous with toaster pastries that most people call them all Pop Tarts, regardless of the actual brand. While some name brands achieve this dominance through massive marketing campaigns, Pop Tarts actually deserve all this fame because they definitely taste better than every generic brand out there.
Generic toaster pastry brands skimp on the filling and tend to be annoyingly dry—who wants to deal with that? Plus, no generic brand can compete with the massive number of different flavors that Pop Tart offers. If you're looking for niche flavors, Pop Tart probably has you covered, while the generic brands will leave you looking for more.
Cat Litter | Tidy Cats, Fresh Step, Arm & Hammer
Many people will do anything for their furry friends, including buying all sorts of expensive products to keep them happy and healthy. While name-brand cat litter might seem like something only crazy cat ladies buy, there’s a good reason to invest in the more expensive name brands.
Anyone who has ever used generic cat litter can attest that it just doesn’t cut those awful smells nearly as well as the name brands. Generic cat litter will technically provide a place for your cat to do their business, but don’t be surprised when your entire house starts to smell.
Cream Cheese | Philadelphia
Whether you're spreading it on a bagel or using it as an ingredient in a larger dish, there's just no denying that Philadelphia brand cream cheese beats every generic brand out there. And that's not just our opinion—across numerous taste tests, Philadelphia cream cheese is consistently at the top of the pack.
Tasters have frequently pointed out that Philadelphia cream cheese tastes creamier and tangier than other brands, while the generic stuff is more frequently described as too sweet and dense. Considering there's not a huge price difference between generic and name brands, this is one case where a few extra cents will get you a far superior product.
Cling Wrap | Glad, Saran
Cling wrap only has one job—to cling to the things you put it on. That seems like a pretty simple task, so going for the generic stuff will be just fine, right? Wrong! The generic brands of cling wrap are just too much of a hassle to deal with.
If you’ve ever tried using generic cling wrap, you probably already know that the only thing it’s good at clinging to is itself—don’t expect it to protect your leftovers adequately! If you’re sick of your cling wrap sliding off bowls and dishes with ease, go for the name brands—they’re much more clingy.
OTC Pain relievers, Anti-inflammatory, Allergy Relief
As stated by the FDA, “a generic medicine is required to be the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken. Generic medicines also have the same risks and benefits as their brand-name counterparts.”
Because of this, it is the general consensus that buying generic forms of over the counter medicines is the way to go. Why pay extra for medicines that do the same job as their cheaper counterparts? Any kind of OTC pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or allergy reliever should work about the same. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and antihistamine (Benadryl) are just a few examples.
Cereals | Tootie Fruities, Marshmallow Mateys, Honey Nut Scooters
Surprisingly, cereals are a food in which you should totally save some money and buy generic brands. When put to a taste test, many tasters either couldn’t tell a significant difference between name brand and generic. Many even preferred the generic flavor over the name brand!
Some specific cereals you should definitely give a try: Tootie Fruities instead of Froot Loops, Marshmallow Mateys in place of Lucky Charms, and Honey Nut Scooters to replace Honey Nut…you guessed it, Cheerios. Save some money and buy a generic cereal brand today!
Soft Drinks | Sam's Cola, Dr. Thunder, Mountain Lightning
When it comes to the best soft drinks, there are many who will die on this hill. You have your Dr. Pepper lovers, Coca-Cola fans, and so on. However, through a blind taste test, there were some shocking results. There was no significant difference between those who preferred name brands and those who preferred generic.
The generic brands tend to have a good report when it comes to sweetness and flavor. They do a good job of keeping up with the top name brands. There are several who actually prefer the generic soft drinks to any name brands. Sam’s Cola, Dr. Thunder, and Mountain Lightning all give their name brand counterparts a run for their money!
Staple Foods | Flour, Sugar, Cooking Oil
For staple foods, there is not much of a change between each brand — staple foods only contain one ingredient. In fact, many staples often come from the same manufacturers, so they are literally the same. No sense in spending extra money for a name brand.
A few staple foods include things like flour, sugar, cooking oil, vinegar, and baking soda. Since they only contain one ingredient, there is no significant difference between any two brands. So save a little money and reach for a generic brand next time you’re looking for your staple foods.
Snack Foods | Chips, Crackers, Ice Cream
When you think of snack foods, name brand chips, crackers, ice cream, etc. may come to mind. Doritos, Ritz, and Breyers are all extremely well known and loved — but how would they do in a blind taste test against generic brands? Not as well as you would think.
There were a few generic brands of snack foods that hung tight with the biggest name brands. Walmart’s Great Value sandwich cookies ranked extremely high, as well as their Great Value vanilla ice cream. Trader Joe’s Ode to the Classic Potato Chip also earned above-average ratings. Generic treasure is out there!
Frozen Vegetables | Generic
When it comes to some products, name brands are superior to generic options because they use higher-quality ingredients or different cooking methods. However, that's not the case when it comes to frozen vegetables. Whatever brand you go with, you're going to end up with frozen vegetables—nothing more, nothing less.
Assuming that you're not dealing with freezer burn or other issues like that, we promise you'll never be able to tell whether the vegetables you're eating came from a package with a brand name on it or not. This is one instance where spending more at the grocery store won't actually get you a better product.
Sandwich Bags | Generic
You can sometimes get away with buying the generic brand of sandwich and freezer bags, but it really depends on what you're going to use them for. If you plan on freezing food with them, it's best to go ahead and pay a little extra for the heavy-duty name-brand bags.
However, if you're just looking for something to carry your lunch to work in, generic bags will work just fine. Unless you plan on bringing in a sandwich that weighs five pounds, these cheaper bags should be able to carry anything you put in them. We promise that no one cares or even knows what brand of sandwich bags you're using!
Oatmeal | Generic
Is anyone actually a huge fan of oatmeal? While we're definitely big fans of all the delicious things you can add to your oatmeal, the grains themselves are pretty bland. That's why it doesn't really make much sense to opt for name-brand oatmeal when the generic stuff will be just as blah and goopy.
Whether you're looking for instant oatmeal or the regular stuff, the generic brands are going to taste almost exactly the same. Dried oats are not the most complicated food out there, so we're not surprised that the generic brands are able to keep up with the name-brand options.
Infant Formula | Generic
Taking care of a baby is a big responsibility, so we're not surprised that many parents insist on buying name-brand formulas so that their kids can get the best that the market has to offer. While this impulse is well-intentioned, it's also unnecessary—the generic formula is just as safe and nutritious for babies.
In the United States, the FDA has incredibly strict nutritional and manufacturing standards for all infant formulas, whether they're name-brand or generic. So, assuming that you're not looking for a very specific allergy-friendly formula, the generic brands are just as healthy for your baby as the more expensive stuff.
Bottled Water | Generic
We'll be honest—we don't understand people buying bottled water of any kind. You do realize that basically every home in the civilized world comes with drinking water of its own, don't you? There's really no reason to buy it all, but if you insist, you should definitely go for the generic bottled water.
Unlike some of these items, where recipes can differ between generic and name brands, there's only one ingredient in water—water. From Dasani to Great Value, every one of these companies is selling you the exact same product...some of them just happen to be doing it at a ridiculously high markup price!