Generic/store Brands That Are Good?

Updated on September 17, 2010
N.K. asks from Marblehead, MA
23 answers

Are there any store brand or less expensive brand products that are at least as good or even better than the big brand names? I was recently pleasantly surprised with Luvs diapers, and Equate feminine pads. Are there any others you enjoy using?

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answers from Omaha on

I have started using the Wal-Mart brand for a lot of things. I use their paper towels, paper plates, and zip lock bags. I have tried a few different kinds of chips and they taste no different. We also use the great value brand cheese and shredded cheese. Also the great value contact solution and children’s Tylenol. Really any kind of pain reliever we use in the great value brand. I think the best baby wipes are the parent choice brand in the light blue plastic 3 packs (unscented). I just opened a carton of great value fat free ice cream and I was really worried it was going to be awful like the name brand ones is have tried but it was actually good. So store brands are not all bad, I used to be the biggest stickler for only name brand stuff but after trying some store brands I am coming around.



answers from Duluth on

Walmart brand infant "tylenol" drops are great, as is their contact solution. And I was told by a doctor that store brand pharmasuticals (sp) have to be as good as the real thing because the FDA regulates them, so we always by generic medicine.

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answers from Houston on

Generic tampons are awful... they don't work half the time, but I do like the Walmart Parent's Choice diapers, though I strongly dislike the the baby wipes. Walmart's baby shampoo doesn't lather and you waste all of it trying to wash, so just go with Johnson's.

Generic packaged foods that you cook (like mac and cheese or something) are usually pretty gross and rarely cook right, but the rice and pastas are usually okay.

But, with the generic dry foods, like saltines, graham crackers, most cereals (expect for generic cheerios) are pretty decent. Generic Goldfish (Whales) are pretty good, though my husband doesn't agree.

Just compare the ingredients and nutritional information, sometimes they have a lot more fat and sodium, so I ultimately base my decisions on that.

When trying a new generic food, I usually only buy one to try it out, that way I know if we all hate it, I don't have 5 more in the pantry.

As for medicines and vitamins, I prefer name brand. They are usually a little more quality controlled, with more pure ingredients and seem to work better (b/c I have tried generics). I've tried generic band-aids and tape and such, but they don't work very well, they just stick to itself as I pull it, so I end up throwing half of them away trying to get one that will work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We always buy the "off brand" when it comes to headache medicine. If you look at the label the ingredients and percentages are almost exactly the same, there for they work just as well. Plus you save the extra no buying the pretty package. Same thing goes for peroxide, rubbing alcohol etc. just check the label and you will find a lot of the numbers match the "name brand". The only thing to watch out for is the flavored medicine that you take orally, a lot of times the taste of the "off brand" is just awful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Janesville-Beloit on

I recently tried our local Aldis. I figured I had nothing to lose as they have a double your money back guarantee. If you don't like it take it back or the receipt and they will give you double what you paid. I have learned that their cereal is made by General Mills so it is exactly the same but in a different box. Their version of Pop Tarts are really good and the potato chips too. They have Gold 'Sharks' and my girls love them. I was leery of trying their meat, but hubby bought a corned beef brisket there and it was the best one I have ever had. There has only been one thing I didn't like so I will stick with Miracle Whip instead of their 'salad dressing'. All in all everything has been good if not better than some local store brands, generics or even name brands, plus we are saving A LOT of money. They do have weekly specials that are usually a name brand that they buy at a huge discount. Before school I bought a 24 pack of Welches single serving juice bottles for my girls lunch boxes for under 10 bucks. In the regular store it was almost 20. I do still stick with my Diet Dew, but the girls like their version of 7up and at $1 for a 12 pack its worth it!

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answers from Colorado Springs on

Oh, we love Luv's. Better than Pampers or Huggies, actually. I was so thankful that I tried them.
We like Kirkland brand at Costco. Everything we have tried from Kirkland is top notch. (it is Costco's brand) And affordable.
Not sure what else to recommend though. I look forward to hearing answers from others.



answers from San Francisco on

I love any of the target store brands, walmart brands. I use the store house brand much more than high price ones because I have found they are virtually the same except for the label . I can save a ton of money! Also, safeway brands are great-don't like albertsons as much. Walgreens diapers are great-they don't leak and they are very reasonable on the price.




answers from Atlanta on

I LOVE Target's Up and Up brand in just about everything from diapers and formula (great baby wipes) to tampons. We also use and have loved Kroger brands. Their Comforts brand for baby items is great and I use the Kroger feminine products, toilet wipes, toilet paper, paper towels and a number of food products. Kroger has the value brand which I tend to stay away from -very low level, but the regular Kroger brand and their Private Selections brand is AWESOME! Private Selections brand food is really good -sometimes better than a name brand. I have always loved coupons, and I still do, but I actually use them less and less because the store brands I like are almost always cheaper than the name brands -even with a coupon. Other Kroger brand stuff we use that has the same ingredient list and tastes or performs as good or better:

Organic Milk, Capri Sun type drinks, Cheese sticks, shredded cheese, frozen pizzas (Private Selection), frozen vegetables, most any frozen food really!

We also love Kirkland brand stuff from Costco -their laundry detergent, trash bags and most foods and drinks are fantastic.


answers from Columbia on

A lot of off brand products are made by the same companies as name brands. They just spend less on labeling which in turn gives the consumer a bit of savings. Remember, all food and drug products are supposed to meet a quality standard set by the FDA, so really the name brand options don't have to actually be better than the off brands. A lot of times they just look better. I used to buy the name brand cereal once just to have the box and then put a bag of generic cereal inside it so the kids thought they were getting the one from the commercial. They didn't know the difference and it saved money.That said, I have to agree with those who have said there are certain things that just don't taste as good. I say, give things a try and stick with what you like and can afford. There are lots of great options out there!



answers from Green Bay on

I use the generic brand from Target called Up & Up. I use that brand for all hygenic products to ziploc bags to diapers. I have been quite pleased with all. Another one we used was WalMart brand baby formula call Parents Choice.



answers from Indianapolis on

The biggest fallacy in my industry, pharmaceuticals, is that a generic is the same as a brand. They're not.....just like any other consumer good, and it really is a personal choice.

Like many of the other responses, I've tried many generic products and have been disappointed. Kroger's generic Fig Newtons.....NO GOOD! But, their generic oyster crackers rock.

I am afraid to try generic colas and prefer, instead, to wait until Coke/Pepsi products are on sale. We also try to buy as many brands as possible at Costco/Sam's Club.

Kirkland (Costco's generic) has some great and some not-so-great products. We're convinced their Kirkland diapers are Huggies, but the cost is literally exactly the same, so we go with Huggies because our daughter likes the Disney characters. Their chocolate covered almonds - AWESOME!

We went with Kirkland generic formula (I know breast milk is best - I was in chemo and couldn't nurse), and she thrived just as well as she did on Similac/Enfamil.

However, when it comes to any medication (Rx or OTC), I always recommend trying both. Just like food items, there is a difference, and too many people try a generic/OTC version and blame the medication instead of the brand of medication they purchased. The FDA only requires they be 80% similar, so there can be some huge variances.



answers from Phoenix on

Walmart's diapers are actually pretty decent. I accidentally bought them one time when I was in a rush but they worked well. The Equate version of Gaviscon tablets (for heartburn) do the job just as well and they're 1/3 the cost of the name brand. Same with Equate's generic Oxy10 acne cream-- works great! I wasn't impressed with Target's version of St Ives Apricot Face Scrub. It smelled terrible and it was runnier than the real thing. I do however, really like Target's Archer Farms all-fruit strawberry bars. They're like a thick version of fruit roll ups but have no high fructose corn syrup and are made with hunks of real dehydrated strawberries. Costco's brand Kirkland has some good quality items too.



answers from Columbus on

We always try a generic first before we "diss it". I feel its always worth a shot.

But I will agree that not all generics are made equal. My son needs to use Dove Sensitve body wash and I tried the Equate version and did not like it. I went over to Target and tried Targets version and LOVE it.

Good luck!



answers from Boise on

That's funny, because I hate Luvs and Equate pads! I buy Parent's Choice (Wal-mart) diapers and wipes, store brand Rice-a-roni, Great Value frozen and canned vegetables, Great Value wheat thins (but NOT their fake Ritz) Great value fruit cocktail in pear juice (no added sugar) and other canned fruit, and also at Walmart, look down down down for their cheap spices. They're usually on the bottom shelf. The variety isn't great, but tehy're 50 cents a bottle! You can get all your basics cheap, then don't feel so bad shelling out for the kinds they don't have. I think they're Spice World brand.

Don't buy store-brand macaroni and cheese. It's gross. Pay the extra 20 cents for Kraft!

I'm wary of off-brand frozen french fries and tater tots. Great Value has good stuff, and I always look for store-brand "tater crowns" which are like discs instead of bigger "tots." They're hard to find, but they bake up crisper. Anyway, we had some really gross potato wedge fries recently that were a no-name brand at a local store.

Store brand Jello is great, too.

Malt-o-meal Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, Rice Krispies, and corn flakes are good. I dont' buy super sugary cereals, so I don't know about the Fruity O's or whatever.

I love Suave lotions and hair products.

I'm the queen of cheap, so I pretty much try the generic on anything. If it's bad, I take a mental note and don't go there again! Turns out that dollar store pregnancy tests work!

A word of warning on store-brand foods: read labels carefully! You may see Old El Paso vegetarian, fat-free refried beans next to a store brand, see the price, and grab the store brand. But if you dn't read the can carefully, you may accidentally end up with beans made with lard. Or shortening that's half lard, half vegetable shortening. Or even if you read the label on the store-brand refried beans and they're vegetarian and fat-free, look at the nutrition info. I did this the other day, and the Old El Paso had fewer calories and higher protein, or something like that. The differences may not bother you, but maybe they will. So read!



answers from Chicago on

Target Diapers and feminine products are also good. I like the Equate equivalent of Noxema, though the last 2 times I went they did not have it so not sure it is still out there. I like the Walgreens brand of toilet paper--no fuzzies and it is soft.



answers from Milwaukee on

I love the Suave products from body lotion to hair care products. --R. H.



answers from Madison on

My advice is to try them! You will continue to be pleasantly surprised! I'm willing to try a generic brand once - if I don't like it, I go back. I was extremely surprised by the effectiveness of even the cheaper brands of laundry detergent - Purex, Xtra are a couple of examples, and some are almost half the price of Tide.



answers from Erie on

From the sounds of it I'm sorry we don't have a Kirklands.

I was just going to pipe up, that I will do alot of store brands, but i have to have Campbells condensed soups, Miracle whip, welches jelly, and Ritz crackers, there are probably a few more things but those jump at me right now that i would never try storebrand for.

Also, i am able to get name brand stuff, really cheap, by using coupons and buying things on sale at the drugstores and then getting their "reward bucks" to use on future purchases.



answers from Honolulu on

Kirkland diapers, from Costco... are better than the Huggies they sell there.



answers from Eau Claire on

The only things I buy name brand are Q-Tips and TP. I shop Aldi a lot and love the quality of their items. All taste great and are MUCH cheaper.



answers from Portland on

I worked for a year at a frozen food packaging plant that boxed up orders for all sorts of vegetable products. There were generally two "grades" and the higher grade got wrapped up in the name brand labels. When that order was filled, the exact same product (green beans, corn, peas, french fries) went into the next order's name brand label. Then into the larger store's generic labels – still the same stuff.

We would sometimes switch to a lower grade (produce was probably lower quality to start, perhaps over-ripened or less fresh when it reached the plant), and that would get wrapped in economy labels.

From this I learned that the name-brand and big-store generics are probably equivalent quality, but you pay less for generic because it doesn't have to fund so much advertising. But really cut-rate foods or other products (like from the Dollar Store) may be poorer quality. I've done some testing of this theory, and it seems to be true more often than not.

So I would say that many privately-labeled product you buy from a larger store will be a safe bet. I've consistently liked the products I've tried under the Kirkland, Western Family, or Private Selection brands. You may find one occasionally that disappoints, but probably save a lot of money overall.


answers from Los Angeles on

Babies R Us & Target brand diapers work better than name brands, depending on the batch (always much better than Luvs). However, both still use chlorine bleach and therefore dioxin remains in the diapers, which absorbs through the skin and can cause endocrine (hormone) disruption in children so we always recommend 7th generation or Earth's Best.

Amazon has an AMAZING deal right now for 7th generation diapers and wipes (no parabens which mimic estrogen and cause breast development in infants - yeah, not pleasant). $8 per jumbo pack of 7th generation diapers, $9 for a 6 pack of 7th generation wipes. Free shipping! You buy them by the case and use subscribe & save (which is free and cancelled at any time you like). PLUS, get ahold of a 20% off coupon in Parenting magazine this month and it's even cheaper --- much cheaper than ANY generic, and it's healthier for your kids with less chemicals!

We discuss deals and tips like this all the time on our facebook fan page! Check it out:



answers from Kansas City on

I think generic diapers totally depend on your kiddo! Luvs nor Target diapers worked for my daughter but Luvs are PERFECT for my it depends. Most of the other Target brand stuff I really like, food and other products. Up and Up is theirs as well as Archer Farms. The Archer Farms has a bunch of healthier options too like whole wheat pasta, low sugar stuff, etc. I also like Costco's brand of everything I've tried. Some cereals, like oatmeal, I've found is fine in all the generics but I have to stick with my Cheerios and my Ritz...sometimes there are just no good subsitutes!

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