American Girl Dolls.. Are They Worth The $??

Updated on November 15, 2011
K.Z. asks from Appleton, WI
26 answers

Starting to think about Christmas for my 6 year old twin daughters. They each want an American Girl Doll, which is about $100 a doll then accessories! Target has a "knock off" American Girl Doll for $30. Do you think she would know the difference?? Just seems steep in price especially because I have twins.. that is $200 just for the dolls and they barely play with the dolls they have. Thoughts?

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answers from Chicago on

Awwwwe. This reminds me of when Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage in the 80's. We couldn't afford a real one, so my mom made me one from a kit. I still have Kathryn and all her clothes. : )

Anway, since the girls are 6, I would get the Target dolls. If they really enjoy the Target dolls--play with them, take care of them--then maybe they could start saving their allowance to help pay for a "real" one later.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My mom bought me one when I was younger and my daughter now has it.. great quality, and if something happens it can go to the doll hospital to get fixed :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

They really are worth the money. My older daughter got one and she gave that to her little sister. We also got Gen one of her own. When Gen outgrows them Christine will probably give hers to a daughter of her. They both look as good as the day we bought them.

We got Gen one from target, broke in a year.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Denver on

I got an American Girl doll when I was 12 (I'm now 28) and I treasured her. It was a special gift because I was older and more responsible - my mom knew I had wanted one and she waited. I'm glad - I think 6 is too young to take good care of these dolls, but's that's just my opinion. My niece got one last year (at age six) and she did NOT take care of it. Broke my heart. They are definitely worth every penny though!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We are American Girl doll fanatics at our house. I have to say that the quality is NOT the same between the Our Generation and other knockoff dolls and the AG dolls. The hair on the AG dolls is so much nicer, the knockoff doll hair gets frizzy. AG doll hair stays pretty nice plus you can really comb it and style it. The quality of the clothes and accessories is just amazing. The detail!

That being said, my SD got an AG doll when she was six and she didn't take care of it. She drew on it and there are marks on the face and hands from being thrown around. You can get the limbs tightened and the doll cleaned, but it costs money.

I think if your daughters are really into the AG brand, meaning they like the dolls for their history and story then you'll want to get an AG brand. My SD likes learning about the era of the historical dolls and she likes dressing them up in their clothing. We do have some AG brand and some knockoff brand and even handmade clothing. She also takes care of her dolls now that she's older.

If your daughters just want an 18" doll to dress up then go with a knockoff brand. My SD also has an Our Generation and a Journey Girl. The quality isn't nearly as good, you can totally tell when you put the dolls side by side, but it would be fine for your young girls.

You could also start with a cheaper doll and see how they do. If they're really interested and can take care of it then maybe they can get an AG doll next year.

There is an American Girl store by us and there is NOTHING like that experience! I have to hand it to the AG brand for coming up with such great dolls, accessories and books. It's worth it to us, but to each their own. AG stuff is something my SD likes to collect, and I hope she enjoys her collection for years to come.

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answers from Dayton on

They are nice dolls. (I can't speak of the Target ones-cute-but have only seen them in the box).
They have awesome hair.
My Samantha doll had been in storage for 20 years until I gave her to DD last month for her birthday...Her hair was fine but had lost it's real curl/luster. The night before I gave her to her my mom put some sponge curlers in her hair and the next day that doll looked brand new.
That is pretty impressive.
I also had a Kit doll that I got at Goodwill...same amazing hair story. Lol.

Do your girls have the catalog? Or are they just aware of them? I think Target dolls would be fine then.
If they're perusing that catalog every day like mine was...EEK...IDK what to tell you. (Read my Christmas list response.)
They certainly don't need accessories right away. Or ever, IMO.
My DD kept asking for Kit's silly dog. *Eye roll*
We went upstairs and I found the perfect replacement in her toy box.

Here is one thing to ponder...I kinda coached my DD to want a AG doll because I had them tucked away for her. She doesn't seem to play w/ them too often. She might if she had a playmate. But she has never been much into bigger dolls, either. She prefers her doll house.

So I am trying to say...yes, they ARE nice dolls. But if you don't think they will play w/ them...go to Target. ;)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My daughters are 5 and 9 and they have the knock offs and have no idea there is a difference.

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answers from St. Louis on

as with most collectibles, they may be of value now....but, for the most part, those values will drop over the years.

My Dad loved the Franklin Mint diecast cars. He collected the Corvettes. Paid almost $100 for each of them. He died before this recession hit, & they were already down to $10-30 each on EBay.

Items such as these highly-priced children's collectibles are of value only to the owners. & it's a shame....but then again, just think about all of those Beanie Babies sitting in closets - another perfect example.

Buy your kids something they love, something they will enjoy. Do they really want the "name" or do they just love the dolls, accessories, etc? My niece was always given the knockoffs at Target & 10 years later....they're still going strong....sitting in the bottom of her closet....but at least they're not broken.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

My daughters loved theirs & we found the quality to be excellent. This was almost 10 years ago (!!!!) and I'm not sure if the quality has changed. We used to love reading the books together before bed.

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answers from Detroit on

What about buying them used off of eBay or Craigslist?

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answers from Tampa on

We have bought the actual American girl dolls for our daughter.... but not until she was 8. She has 2 now, and wants a third one. I am actually considering this for her xmas gift since it is the "doll of the year, and can only be bought until the end of December" We DO NOT buy any of the accessories or clothing from American girl catalog though. They are WAY to high priced for what you get, and you can find the same thing, or very close to it at many other srores and online sites too for MUCH less. The website has a bunch of really cool handmade clothing sets for the dolls and girls that are very budget friendly. My daughter plays with her dolls ALL of the time, and they are her fav thing. We did get the less expensive 18" doll first to make sure that she would really enjoy it, and to see if it would hold her interest all that long, because honestly, most toys are played with for a few months and then overlooked after that. I really believe that these dolls will be something that we keep forever for her, and she will pass down to her own little girl someday. They are very well made, (sturdy) and the less expensive one was falling apart after 5 months of normal play. (hair falling out from combing, arms and legs very loose and wiggly, etc) If your child is into dolls a lot, and has someone to play with (like a sibling or friend) I would invest in the dolls. :) Look for items to go with the dolls elsewhere though. Stuff for any 18" doll works for the AG dolls too.

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answers from Phoenix on

It is out of control. But we did finally buy one for my 8 year old. I was just thinking of the days where I wanted the REAL cabbage patch kids.... they were so neat in the 80's and I did not want a knock off. But we compromise.... we bought the doll and by the knock off clothing from Generations or others. The Generations shoes don't always fit.

The Am girls is very nice...but no different then any other doll like it. Just the NAME. I am trying to not get into all the accessories stuff..... but she looks like my daughter and it is sweet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Why do they say they want one?
Not knowing your budget, I would probably say not to spend the $. If they don't play with dolls anyway. My daughter was NEVER a doll player.... she just never had any interest. She was given some starting as an infant, but she never cared anything about them. Ignored them. But, she LOVED stuffed dogs. So, I stopped trying to buy her any dolls (and never encouraged others to spend $ on dolls either) and if I thought "a doll" I'd get a stuffed dog. She still loves ALL her stuffed dogs, and she has many (some she has even bought with her own money--she is 10 yrs now). She still doesn't care anything about dolls. Including Bratz, Barbie, American Girl, whatever. One year she said she wanted a specific Bratz doll. My son gave it to her. Why did she want it? Because it came with a camera. And she wanted to take pictures. She never touched the doll.

If your girls don't appreciate dolls, then it seems like a waste of money. Why do they say they want the dolls? Is it b/c everyone else has one? Or some accessory they think is cool? What DO they actually like and play with? I'd spend the $ on something that fits into their sweet spot that way---not on an AG Doll.
Just my opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Personally, I would never spend that much for a doll.

If you really think they would enjoy it, then try the $30 knock off and see how they handle them. If they do a good job, then maybe upgrade to the American Girl Doll next year.


answers from Cincinnati on

We are buying the Target version for my 6 year old for Christmas. They look very cute and the accessories are adorable. There is a really cute bed, and bathtub, tons of clothes. Maybe at 8 or 9 years old, we'll go for the AG doll.



answers from Milwaukee on

They are worth it! My daughter is 4 and last Christmas she wanted an American Girl because she hangs out with a lot of older girls and knew what they were. She brings her doll everywhere and always looks forward to getting matching dolly & me clothes (Kohls & K-mart are cheaper than American Girl store). The just like me AG doll is our fav. Just make sure you buy the brush, because if you use a regular brush it will ruin their hair. Right now AG has free shipping. If you get the 'knock off' you'll probably be purchasing the real deal next year.



answers from St. Louis on

Quality wise you can definitly tell the difference. The American Girl Doll's are SO well made. That being said, would I buy one for a 6 year old? It depends on how well they take care of things. My daughter is now 11 and has a total of 3. I bought her first at 8 I believe. We did the whole American Girl Chicago Birthday party for her 10th birthday. They are dolls that you pass down for generations. My daughter no longer plays with them but, they are all on stands in her room on display now. If anything happens to them, they have an American Girls "hospital" that fixes them as well. I think they are well worth them money but, some call me crazy. :) Merry Christmas!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

I have twins too- congrats!!
they are worth it- we got the look alike ones.
If you don't care about new- search craigs list-- often have at very reasonable prices.
We get some of the stuff knock off - like the storage compartments- great ideas for gifts as long as they play with the girls and you can sell them later on.
Just my two cents.

enjoy the ride!! Mine are 10 and starting to have attitude- ha.

About me: 51 yo perfusionist, wellness coach and mom with opposite and fraternal 10 yo twin girls

B. J



answers from Minneapolis on

I personally think that 6 is too young for a real AG doll and I would buy a "knock off". Then if at 8 or 9 they have proven that they can take care of one I'd invest in one.
The Madame Alexander 18" dolls sold at Walmart and Toys R Us are beautiful dolls. I actually like them better than the AG dolls because they have a vinyl chest plate. When they have sleeveless tops on they look better than the all cloth body that AG has.
HINT: Stay away from the Springfield dolls sold by JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels. Their hair is nasty (snarls easy and gets "bushy" when brushed) and they are not constructed very well. However do use the 40% off coupons to buy clothes and shoes for the dolls.
LTD Commdities has a 18" doll right now, but not sure who it's made by but they have two different sets of outfits and 1 set of accessories that are not a bad price. Here is the link:
Good Luck!!



answers from Madison on

My daughter wanted an American Girl doll too. My husband and I just told her that it was too much money to spend on a doll.

Then she and I went shopping at Target one day and discovered the My Generation doll (I think that's what it's called). She came home, and we had to take my husband back to the store with us because she really wanted one. It looks just like the American Girl doll, had great clothes... We still didn't like paying $30-$40 for a doll, but it was a better compromise than paying $100+ for an American Girl doll. AND, the American Girl doll clothes fits both dolls. But our daughter has been perfectly content with the clothes from Target.

My daughter has had her doll from Target now for about 3-4 years and has been perfectly happy and perfectly content with it. I feel it's important to teach children early that one doesn't have to spend oodles of money on something to be happy--nor does one need to do it to "fit into the crowd."

After she got her My Generation doll, my daughter never once asked for an American Girl doll. She's been perfectly content with the doll she has. I, too, thought she'd never play with it, but because it's an older doll (like a toddler or even up to 4-6 years old), my daughter still gets hers out from time to time(she's 11) and has fun thinking up scenarios to enact. We have also bought her some of the American Girl books (which you can do completely separate from buying the doll(s)) or we've gotten historical fiction books from the library, and she loves reading those stories as well.


answers from Kansas City on

nope. i was a cabbage patch/80's kid too. i got a knockoff (one year, then the next year, actually my mom, grandmother, and aunts, made all of us girls ones from the kits for christmas) and now as an adult they mean MUCH more to me than a real one would have. zero need to spend $100 on a doll. ever.



answers from Davenport on

The historical dolls are absolutely worth the money. My daughter saved her own money and bought Kit when she was 8 years old. She has now read all of Kit's books and is so interested to learn about what it was like to be a young girl in different time periods. The way AG ties the dolls into historical lessons is brilliant. I think 6 might be a little young, however, for the dolls to be more than just dolls. My daughter is now 9 1/2 and still adores Kit and can tell you anything about the Great Depression!



answers from Chicago on

Last year for Christmas my then 8 year old granddaughter wanted nothing except an American girl doll. My daughter went into Chicago and bought the doll. cost her about $150 for a doll and outfit. I went to michaels craft store and bought one that looks exactly like the American girl dolls for $15 and bought an outfit at toys r us for that size doll (can't remember the name of their knock off doll lol) but for a total of about $30 got pretty much the same thing. my granddaughter plays with both of them and loves them the same. I think at 6 you could do the knock off and then depending on how much care they take get them the real ones later on.



answers from Phoenix on

If they aren't big on dolls, I would find another gift to get them them, personally. I am so glad my DD isn't a big doll kid. Even if she was & wanted one of these, there's not way in hell I could justify spending that much on a... doll. They all serve the same purpose, so it seem more like a "I have a 100 doll, do you?" type of thing. I'd rather not feed into that. 6 is too young for a fancy gift like that, anyway. It seems like there is always a toy of the moment & it happens that these dolls are it this year.



answers from Eau Claire on

I used to work for the company and I just thought I would say - that is just the tip of the iceberg ($). I will say that the doll is well made but the hair is hard to take care of. Many people like to get them so that they can get the ones specially made to look like their children but I think the best part of the whole thing is the stories. If I was you I would buy the cheaper knock off doll then get the book set for the American Dolls and maybe buy outfits and accessories from the stories. That way it will be educational but fun and you will get more for your money. Then during the summer watch the craft shows for more clothes and stuff because that's where it is the most reasonable. Good Luck!



answers from Atlanta on

Six years old is too young to spend that kind of money for the dolls and you can almost be garunteed they won't take care of them. Wait till they're older say 10 or so, maybe 9 but no early. My daughter was a little over 10 when she got her's and she loved her and still has the doll and everything although she's 28 now. I don't think a 6 year old can appreciate it. Besides it's not healthy for girls to have so many dolls, they just get taken for granted. My granddaughter (6 yrs.) has all too many including the target knock off and she likes her dolls but she doesn't cherish them like a doll deserves to be. My other granddaughter (5) has one doll which was handmade and is very nice and she is just in love with her, has a very special little relationship with dolly. Less is more when it comes to dolls, if it's the "right" doll.

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