- Amazon is the biggest retailer in the world.
- But not everything for sale on Amazon is worth your money.
- We asked experts for eight products you should consider buying on Amazon and 13 more that you should skip.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Amazon is a one-stop shop beloved by millions of people.
In fact, according to Forbes, the online megastore recently overtook Walmart as the biggest retailer in the world.
But that doesn’t mean everything on Amazon is worth buying.
We asked experts for their advice on the best things to buy on Amazon and which products you should consider looking elsewhere. They gave us tips for buying electronics, food products, helpful tools for around the house, and more.
Here are eight products that are worth buying on Amazon, and 13 you should skip every time.
Buy: Workout basics
“Shopping for clothes on Amazon can be a crap shoot, but plenty of brands you know and love sell directly on the site,” Patrice J. Williams, author of “Looking Fly on a Dime.”
“For workout and athleisure apparel, I love Starter leggings and hoodies. The customer reviews are super helpful when finding the right fit or determining how they hold up during certain activities.”
Skip: Subscription boxes
“While Amazon does sell some subscription boxes, there isn’t a huge selection,” Marianne Szymanski, founder of Toy Tips, told Business Insider. “I always suggest to go directly to the company to order these.”
Buy: Amazon toy exclusives
These items are picked and chosen just for Amazon customers and you can’t find them anywhere else,” Szymanski said.
Skip: Wall sconces
Interior designer Blanche Garcia told Business Insider discourages buying sconce lights on Amazon because the images and descriptions for certain items can be deceptive. A light described as “warm” and “dimmable” online may be nothing of the sort when it actually arrives, for example.
“Be careful buying sconces if you’re not familiar with the exact models and/or brands,” she said.
Buy: Amazon devices
“While Amazon devices like the Echo, Alexa devices, Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Kindles can all be found at different retailers, the availability and price may vary by location,” Sara Skirboll, senior director of public relations at RetailMeNot. “Amazon offers great deals on their different devices and even their parts and accessories that other retailers don’t.”
Skip: No-name electronics
“You should stay away from purchasing no-name electronics on Amazon,” Joanna Stahl, CEO and founder of Go2Practice, told Business Insider. “While some products may be authentic, others are low-quality knock-offs and can ruin your iPhone battery, shock users, or even catch on fire.”
Skip: Fresh produce
Everyone has a slightly different preference when it comes to what they consider the perfect fresh produce. Don’t leave the picking to someone else.
“It can be difficult to select the optimally ripe fruit or veggie, so I suggest selecting produce in-person,” Meyer said.
Buy: Wishful Seasoning everything bagel seasoning
Customers are obsessed with Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning, and so is Instagram. The blend of salt, garlic, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds goes great on anything from eggs to sandwiches to chicken.
But if that’s too expensive, you can get a similar versatile blend from Wishful Seasoning that offers a better bang for your buck – a nine-ounce container costs $US9.49, compared to $US6.55 for 2.3 ounces of the Trader Joe’s variety.
If you’re going to go carb-load, you might as well do so with steaming hot, fresh-from-the-oven loaves.
“Bakery-quality bread is nearly impossible to get via grocery delivery services, so I tend to stick to my favourite local bakeries,” says Megan Meyer, director of science communication at the International Food Information Council Foundation.
“Cutlery often all looks the same on Amazon and the pictures don’t usually reflect real life,” Lisa Jacobs, founder of Imagine It Done, told Business Insider. “Cutlery needs to be seen and felt in real life.”
Buy: Field Trip beef jerky
Skip: Gadgets from third-party vendors
Avoiding counterfeit gadgets on Amazon is easier said than done, but there are obvious red flags to look for. The easiest way is to buy directly from the brands via Amazon – skip the third-party sellers.
Skip: Add-on items
Add-on items are small and inexpensive products Amazon doesn’t normally sell on their own, but lets customers add to their orders of $US25 or more to save on shipping costs.
They may sound like a great deal, but if you didn’t really intend to buy them in the first place, it’s a waste of money.
“While the extra $US5 or $US6 for a product doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can be a major money drain if the product isn’t something you really need,” Williams said.
Buy: Specialty food items
Specialty items that might be hard to find in local, smaller stores are easy to find on Amazon.
“I love to cook and try new recipes, but can sometimes get discouraged from making dishes that have ingredients like black rice, buckwheat noodles, or Szechuan peppercorns that can be hard to find in my local grocery store,” Meyer said.
Skip: Bully sticks
It’s important to always read the fine print on Amazon, especially dimensions and weight as images can be very deceiving.
“I once purchased bully sticks for my dog, which looked normal size in the photo, but they turned out to be enormous, and I had to ask my renovation contractor to cut them down into smaller sticks,” Babba C Rivera, a brand marketing professional, told Business Insider.
Skip: Fresh fruit baskets and gift boxes
“When it comes to buying and gifting fresh fruits, it’s always best to either see it first or buy from a local company known for their quality,” Fischer said. “If you skim through Amazon reviews, you’ll find reports of brown spots and damaged fruit.”
Buy: Zeller key cabinet
“I actually ordered this for my own house and I love it,” Garcia said. “It’s really hard to find a modern key cabinet and when you do they come from overseas, so you pay high shipping costs. Amazon gave me access to this company from overseas and I was able to get it within two weeks, which sounds like a long time but isn’t for what it is, and the price and quality were great.”
“Amazon has gorgeous serveware – like marble platters and pretty cake stands, but, if you’re looking for a good deal and plan on stopping by a local store any time soon then you can often find similar items for significantly cheaper,” Fischer said.
Skip: Google and Apple products
Naturally, Amazon promotes its own products like the Echo or Kindle over those from competitors.
“That usually means you won’t find the absolute best deals on Google or Mac products,” Williams said. “It’s best to go directly to the source for electronics like this.”
Buy: Pacifica Beauty Kale Lux oil-free skin cream
Amazon might not be as fun to browse as Sephora or Ulta, but it has a ton of deals. Take this superfood-enriched skin cream for example, which at just over $US8 costs about half as much as it does at other retailers.
Skip: La Colombe vanilla draft latte
Even on Amazon, La Colombe’s vanilla draft latte comes to close to $US4 for a can,” Silverman said. “You can get a fresh coffee for that price.”
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