You know that uneasy feeling you get when you buy something from an unknown brand - the anticipation of whether it is going to work as well as the name brand item - just because you're hoping to save a couple of bucks? Nine out of ten times, you're setting yourself up for disappointment!
I've learned the hard way, so we wanted to bring you some tried and true products from brands you know and trust that'll never let you down. You'll know exactly what you're getting, and rest assured it's going to be the quality you expect. It might not be the cheapest thing you can buy, but these items are all affordable and you definitely get your money's worth - the saying "buy it nice or buy it twice" comes to mind!
From workout gear to kitchen items, we've lined up the best of the best products that'll outlast the off-brand competitors - you'll never regret buying the name brand. Check out what we found and maybe discover some new favorites along the way!
We hope you find these handy products as awesome as we do. Just an FYI: we participate in affiliate programs and may receive a share of sales from links on this page.
This Brita Water Pitcher Is The OG of Clean H20
via: AmazonWhen it comes to something you ingest in large quantities, like water, you want to make sure what you're drinking is safe. I wouldn't trust a knockoff brand of water filter, who knows what the heck is in it or if it's even working! This Brita water pitcher is the real deal.
These Levi's Skinny Jeans For A Custom Fit
via: AmazonJeans can vary in size wildly from brand to brand, but with Levi's, you know what you're getting. I love how customizable these Levi's skinny jeans are. They come in regular or plus size, three lengths, and a million shades (ok, 41 to be exact)! I have super short legs, so I highly appreciate them taking into account the height-challenged like myself. And they've got nearly 4,000 glowing reviews to back them up!
These Fruit Of The Loom Boxer Briefs Won't Let You Down
via: AmazonI'll admit it, I've tried to save a few bucks by buying my hubby some off-brand underwear and boy was that a mistake. The quality was so awful they didn't last more than a few washes, and the fit was off, too. Know how I could've avoided those issues? That's right, by buying from a trusted brand! These Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs are my husband's new go-to, they fit great and don't get too hot thanks to the high tech design and thoughtful features.
This Warner's Bra Is A Best Seller
via: AmazonA long-time best seller for good reason, this Warner's This Is Not A Bra bra is comfort and quality personified. Wearing an uncomfortable or ill-fitting bra is the absolute worst, especially if you've been blessed in the chest department. This one's a full-coverage underwire bra that feels like you're wearing nothing, according to happy reviewers. And it comes in 21(!) sizes so you can find your perfect fit. Adding to cart in 3, 2, 1...
These Nike Slides Are A Perennial Best Seller
via: AmazonNeed a cool waterproof sandal for gym showers or just kicking it during the warm weather? Don't go for the cheapest option from an untrusted brand - they won't fit right and the plastic will probably split after a few wears. Know what won't let you down? These Nike slides, which have been bestsellers for years (just ask the 13,000+ happy reviewers!) will stand up to whatever wear and tear you throw at them, and look good doing it. My husband's had these for a few years, and they still look as good as the first day he got 'em.
These Under Armour Shorts Fit Great and Last
via: AmazonMen's athletic shorts are a tough thing to get right. Too short and it's like 70's basketball uniforms, too long and you look like a little kid playing dress-up. These Under Armour shorts are just the right length and come in a bazillion colors so just pick your fave. My husband's ancient gym shorts have long since seen better days - these are so affordable I'm thinking of getting him a couple of pairs!
This Fitbit Inspire Is Totally Accurate
via: AmazonThis easy-to-use Fitbit Inspire fitness tracker has everything you need without all the bells and whistles, from a brand you trust. There are so many shady "brands" of fitness trackers out there, you want to make sure the one you get won't die on you in a month. This one can track your activity all day, from walking to swimming, distance, active minutes, and calories burned. It can even track your sleep and set silent alarms. Plus it has an intuitive touch screen so using it's a breeze. I love how slim it is and how simple yet effective - I'm thinking of gifting it to my mom who bought one of the off-brand ones and is so unhappy with it! I think she'll love this one.
This Echo Dot For Kids Provides Endless Entertainment
via: AmazonThe Echo Dot for kids provides hours of entertainment and education for kids, from storytelling to fun facts to math homework help. Though you wouldn't know it from my house, since the kids' favorite thing to do is ask Alexa to make fart sounds, and boy does she have a good repertoire. There are cute designs too like the panda or tiger designs or a cool rainbow stripe pattern and can stand up to everyday usage by kids, who tend not to be the gentlest on electronics!
This Jansport Backpack Is Virtually Indestructable
via: AmazonDo you know how fast kids go through backpacks? Incredibly fast. The daily wear and tear bring most off-brand bags to their knees, but I've found these Jansport backpacks stand up to all the kids can throw at them and more. Unlike some "sturdy" backpacks, these are not boring at all. They have the same comfort features and durability as those bags but come in great patterns my kids actually want to wear. This year we're partial to this pretty tropical sunset one!
This Revlon Volumizer Dryer Brush Is A Miracle-Maker
via: AmazonMy friends with thick, curly hair swear by this Revlon Volumizer dryer brush for lightning-fast drying and smoothing. It blows hot air as you style, so you get two things done at the same time, saving you precious minutes in the morning or when you're getting ready to go out on the town. I love it on my fine, thin hair too for adding tons of volume, especially at the roots! Don't go with shady brands that could fry your hair or break right after you buy it - this dryer brush is the real deal with almost FORTY-EIGHT THOUSAND rave reviews!!
This Neutrogena Sunscreen Protects Your Skin
via: AmazonI remember one time as a kid, my mom bought sunscreen actually named "No-Name Brand" and guess what? I ended up burned to a crisp that day. Never again will I trust off-brand sunscreen! I love this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen that goes on like nothing and has broad-spectrum SPF 100 to keep you safe from harmful rays. I hate the feeling of sunscreen but know it's non-negotiable per my dermatologist and every piece of anti-aging advice, but this one doesn't feel heavy or chalky.
This Cutex Nail Polish Remover Is A Classic
via: AmazonYou probably grew up with Cutex nail polish remover in the house as it's a long-time best seller for a reason. Polish remover's already full of chemicals, you don't want to purchase an untrusted or unknown brand that could contain harmful or poisonous ingredients if it was made somewhere without a regulatory agency. I still use this to take off nail polish and it even works on tough gel and glitter polishes, which my girls are obsessed with.
This Wetbrush Is A Detangling Master
via: AmazonThis Wet Brush is the only thing I'll use on my daughters' fine, thin but curly hair. It gets the after-shower tangles out the easiest of any brush I've tried, and it definitely cuts down on the brushing dramatics that can happen with one that snags and pulls. I've tried other brushes that claim to be pain-free, but those always end up with some (or all) of us in tears. Skip the frustration and get this one, which also comes in super-fun colors and patterns! The girls love picking their favorite one so they can tell each other's apart when it's time to do hair.
This Lasko Fan Has A Nighttime Setting
via: AmazonThe last thing you want is your fan crapping out on you during a hot, stuffy night of uncomfortable sleep. This portable Lasko fan is a proven favorite, and it even has a nighttime setting so it's perfect for sleeping. It starts on high, then eventually moves to medium and then low for the rest of the night so it doesn't interfere with sleep. It's always a good idea to go with a name brand for important electronics!
These Under Armour Women's Shorts Are Durable and Look Great
via: AmazonIf you need workout gear that plays as hard as you do, I'd recommend these Under Armour women's shorts. They're super durable; I've worn mine for a few years now and they're still good as new. They're great for jogging, team sports like soccer or field hockey, I even wear mine on the spin bike. I love how lightweight and cooling they are, plus they come in a ton of colors.
This Beast Cup Keeps Your Drink Hot or Cold Forever
via: AmazonI've tried no-name brand insulated mugs, and I always end up back with name brands like the Beast cups because they're so much better quality. I love all the gorgeous colors (in fact, I had an aqua one in my hot little hands for half a second during last year's Yankee swap that I'm still thinking about) and their ability to keep beverages hot or cold for a super long time. Other brands just don't come close.
This Instant Pot Will Revolutionize Dinner
via: AmazonThis smaller Instant Pot is a godsend for quick dinners. I always forget to defrost meat (or heck, even meal-plan in the first place) then it's 5 o'clock, the kids are starving and I'm panicking. Instant Pot to the rescue! We use ours constantly for making shredded meat that goes in everything from tacos to salads, making huge batches of hard-boiled eggs to snack on all week, and even rice that comes out perfectly every time. I wouldn't trust an off-brand on something as potentially dangerous as a pressure cooker, best to go with a quality brand like Instant Pot so you can use it worry-free.
These Levi's Straight Leg Are The Ultimate Classic
via: AmazonThese Levi's men's straight leg jeans are a classic for a reason. They fit well, are always in style, and last forever. These come in 32 shades and two fits, regular and big & tall, so it's easy to get your ideal fit. My husband's expensive jeans wore out within a few years, getting huge rips in the knees, but these? No way. These are gonna outlast every other pair in your closet easily.
This Black & Decker Handheld Vacuum Makes Clean Up So Easy
via: AmazonI have and love this Black & Decker handheld vacuum for exactly the reason shown in the image above - it works amazingly on pain-in-the-butt baseboard dusting! It's also great for quickly cleaning up little messes, from spilled cereal to crumbs. I love the nozzle extender for getting into tight spots, like the back of cabinets or in between the bathroom vanity and the wall.
This Lodge Dutch Oven Makes Everything Delicious
via: AmazonIf you go with an untrusted brand of dutch oven, you never know what you're in for. It could be too lightweight or not cook evenly, wasting your time and money. Go with this Lodge dutch oven for an affordable yet high-quality option that'll make all your meals taste better. It's a great size, three quarts, for making smaller meals. I use ours to braise meat, make delicious soups and stews or bake bread. The bright red color adds kicky touch to your kitchen, too!
This Under Armour Men's Tee Wicks Sweat Away Fast
via: AmazonIf you peeked into my husband's dresser drawer right now, you'd see rows of these Under Armour tees he uses for working out. They wick sweat like nobody's business and don't get stinky, even after years of use. They're good enough for the professionals, too - when he was on the SWAT team at work, these are the shirts they got as part of their gear package. They're super silky soft and are so comfortable for even the sweatiest workouts.
This Munchkin Bento Box Is A Lunch-Time Superstar
via: AmazonI've been buying Munchkin products for mealtimes since the kids were babies - from feeding spoons to sippy cups. Now that my youngest is moving on to kindergarten (*sob*), this Munchkin bento box is the next step up! I love the quality and wouldn't trust an off-brand plastic lunchbox for my kids, who knows if it's full of BPA or other harmful chemicals? When it comes to stuff we ingest, I'm always careful to go with trusted brands so we don't get any nasty surprises.
This Chemex Coffee Maker Is Simply The Best
via: AmazonWant great-tasting coffee? You need this Chemex pour-over coffee maker for safe, simple coffee-making. It's made of thick, non-porous borosilicate glass that doesn't absorb odors or chemicals, giving you the perfect tasty brew every time. It could be dangerous to use an off-brand coffee maker like this since you are pouring boiling water into a glass vessel - better to be safe than sorry and go with the trusted name brand so you don't end up with an unfortunate mess on your hands!
This Leatherman Tool Does It All
via: AmazonI gave this Leatherman tool to my dad a few years ago for Father's Day, and he couldn't love it more. It has 14 tools in one, from knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, a file, saw, and ruler for everything you need to DIY small or large fixes around the house. I made sure to get my dad one with great reviews for quality and durability, and this tool has over 1,500 stellar ones. He loves it and uses it constantly, which I couldn't be sure I'd say if I bought him a cheaper, off-brand version.
This Kong Dog Toy Is Bite Proof
via: AmazonI've seen tons of knockoffs of this classic Kong dog toy on the market, and I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them. You don't want your pup biting off a section and ingesting it, or even worse, choking on it. The Kong toys have been around forever and come in a bunch of sizes to suit your dog. In fact, we're getting a dog in the fall and this is the first item on my to-buy list for those sharp little puppy teeth!
This Waterpik Flosses Teeth For You
via: AmazonIt couldn't be easier to have great dental health than with this Waterpik flosser. It dislodges food and debris from in between teeth with a stream of water so you get pearly whites and healthy gums. Obviously, you want something like this to last a long, long time, so it's better to go with a brand name than have a cheaper one crap out on you within a few months of use. I love all the fashion colors it comes in too since it'll be out on your counter you want something that looks great!
This Safety 1st Thermometer Is A Trusted Brand
via: AmazonFor something as important as your kid's fever, you want a thermometer from a known brand you can trust. This Safety 1st forehead thermometer has been a staple in our household since the kids were babies. It reads super quickly and you don't have to go sticking something under kids armpits or tongues (or worse) to get an accurate temperature, just sweep across their forehead. Couldn't be easier to use on fussy, sick, squirmy kids! My husband and I use it too during cold and flu season, so it's great for the whole family.
This Bodum French Press Is A Household Staple
via: AmazonMy husband's had one of these Bodum French Press coffeemakers since before I met him, which is going on 15 years now, and he still uses it weekly to make delicious cups of joe. I think what makes it so good is the simplicity of the design and the quality construction that makes it last and last. If you bought an off-brand one, who knows how long it'd work?
These Oxo Reusable Straws Are Durably Eco-Friendly
via: AmazonWe're all trying to be more eco-friendly these days, and reusable straws are a great way to do it since most restaurants have eliminated plastic ones, or worse, have paper ones that dissolve in your drink. These stainless steel ones from OXO are super durable, which you probably couldn't say about some random brand. Plus, they come with cool silicone tips for a better "mouthfeel" than cold steel!
These Nordic Ware Baking Sheets Are Quality
via: AmazonI can't even tell you how many inferior quality baking sheets I've been through because they've stained or warped beyond use. These Nordic Ware aluminum commercial baker's half sheets won't do that, according to the 8,000+ glowing reviews! You can use them for everything from one-pan meals to the best batch of cookies, and they cook evenly and beautifully every time. I'm adding these to my cart asap.
These Ugg Slippers Are So Comfortable
via: AmazonSo I have a collection of inferior quality fur-lined sheepskin slippers and guess what? I finally caved last month and bought the UGG slippers I knew would be much better quality and last a lot longer. Had I just bought the name brand ones in the first place, I would have saved tons of money and closet space. Buy it nice or buy it five times certainly applies here. These are an affordable luxury that you'll wear every day as I do, so why not get ones that'll be comfortable and last forever?
This Tide Laundry Detergent Is Non-Negotiable
via: AmazonIn my misspent younger days, I tried to save a few bucks and bought an off-brand laundry detergent like a fool. Needless to say, neither I nor my clothes were happy after that, and I quickly switched back to a name I knew and trusted. This Tide detergent has been around forever because it just works. It'll take great care of your clothes so you can wear them longer, actually saving you money in the long run!
Coca-Cola Has Been Around Forever For A Reason
via: AmazonI don't know who needs to hear this, but nobody likes the taste of off-brand colas. Don't serve them at your next get together, and don't make yourself drink them to save a few bucks! Classic Coca-Cola never goes out of style and has an unmistakable taste that no one's been able to duplicate, ever. If you're going to indulge in soda, make it worth your while and get the best one, not a weird tasting knockoff that's hard to gag down!
This Revitalift Face Cream Makes You Look Younger
via: AmazonThe reason I love this Revitalift face cream is a) it works and b) it doesn't cost a million dollars. There are a ton of no-name creams with similar ingredients, but I've found the one that works best is this one. It has pro-retinol for anti-aging, hyaluronic acid for moisturizing, and vitamin C for brightening. It's the perfect cocktail for better skin, and you don't have to worry about weird chemicals or additives that your skin doesn't need that could break you out or cause a reaction in sensitive skin.
This Cutting Board Will Last A Long Time
via: AmazonI go through cutting boards about as fast as baking sheets because I just buy off-brand ones at home goods stores. No more - I'm tired of wasting money and getting poor quality cutting boards, so I searched Amazon for an affordable one with the best ratings. I found this OXO Good Grips Cutting and Carving Board that has awesome reviews for durability and thoughtful details like an integrated drip catcher and easy-pour corners to nix messes. It won't dull your knife blades, either, which is bad news since my husband loves sharpening knives!
This Maybelline Mascara Lifts And Volumizes
via: AmazonMaybe the holy grail of affordable, quality mascaras is this Maybelline Volum'Express that makes it look like you're wearing false eyelashes. Maybelline's long been a big name in the mascara industry and for good reason - this stuff's less than $5 a tube and works just as well as the expensive ones I can never finish before they expire! And it has over 2,600 stellar reviews with amazing before and afters that show exactly how well this mascara works. Sold!
This Champion Sweatshirt Is Pure Comfort
via: AmazonYou know when you buy sweatshirts that say they have the same ratio of cotton or polyester or whatever but they just don't feel as good or last as long as the name brands? That's why I'm loving this Champion sweatshirt that's designed to shrink less so it always fits. Plus, it comes in 30 colors and two styles so you can find your fave. I've been wearing Champion since my highschool days, and the quality never fails to impress!