- You can get great deals at Walmart, but not every product is worth buying.
- We spoke to retail and health experts who helped separate the good from the bad at America’s biggest retail store.
- Here are 17 products worth buying at Walmart, and 14 more you can skip.
Walmart is known for its product breadth and value, but that doesn’t mean that everything is a sure bet.
Although you’ll find great deals at America’s largest retailer, not every product is worth your money. Cheap appliances, for example, might fall apart sooner than you’d expect, and certain food products might not be as healthy as their labels suggest.
It’s also very easy to leave Walmart with hundreds of dollars in unintended impulse purchases of products you know little about.
With that in mind, we asked retail and health experts to separate the good from the bad, so next time you head to the megastore, you’ll have a well-planned list in hand.
Here are 17 things you should buy at Walmart, and 14 others you can skip.
Buy: Sterilite 27-quart storage bins ($US5.98)
Trying your best to channel Marie Kondo? These plastic storage bins will be a lifesaver.
“I love that they’re clear, so you can see what’s inside without having to pull everything out,” YouTube beauty blogger and Beauty Kitchen founder Heather Marianna told Business Insider. “They fit a lot inside, are easy to carry, and stay super sturdy – I’ve also found that they’re often $US5 to $US7 more at other retailers.”
Skip: Sunbeam Armington 7-piece cookware set, ($US27.26)
Check out the reviews of this low-price cookware and you’ll find several unsatisfied customers – more than 50% of the 214 reviewers gave the product just one star.
According to some of the reviews, these pots and pans burn quickly and easily and the non-stick coating is liable to peel off after just a few uses.
Buy: Duck original 3/16 bubble wrap, 12 in. x 30 ft. ($US4.97)
“The UPS Store charges two to three times the price for the same thing,” Marianna said. “As a business owner that is constantly shipping out beauty and skincare products, buying this in bulk at Walmart saves me big time.”
Skip: Twin Pet adult dog food, 13 lbs. ($US5)
What Marianna says about this product will likely make animal lovers’ stomachs turn.
“This is full of questionable ingredients with no real nutritional value for your beloved pup like wheat middlings, salt, and animal fat,” she said. The ingredients don’t list the source of the animal fat, which some critics consider a red flag.
Buy: Seventh Generation liquid laundry detergent, Free and Clear, 99 Loads ($US6.92)
Look for brands that combine quality with value, like Seventh Generation.
“My skin is super sensitive so I have to use clean detergent,” Marianna said. “I’ve found the Seventh Generation Free and Clear liquid laundry detergent works just as well as more expensive brands, and Walmart has it at a fraction of the price.”
Skip: Grapes ($US2.88/lb.)
Eating healthy is difficult enough, so don’t opt for subpar fresh produce and make the task more arduous.
“I tend to avoid the produce at Walmart because they never seem to be in tip-top condition,” Marianna said, adding that she prefers to buy grapes at dedicated produce markets.
Buy: Jus by Julie 5-day blended juice cleanse, 30-count ($US125.99)
Juice cleanses continue to be popular, and whether you believe in them or not, loading up on no-sugar added liquid elixirs can be a good thing.
“These juices always give me a renewed sense of energy and reduce cravings,” Marianna said. “This set features a variety of six 16-ounce all-natural juices at a steal of a price. My local juice bar charges around $US7 to $US9 just for one.”
Skip: Hartz Home Protection Dog Pads, 50-count ($US12.72)
Just because something is marked down doesn’t make it a good deal.
“Walmart prides itself on roll back prices and discounts, but when it comes to potty pads, Amazon and some other online retailers offer a similar selection at a cheaper price,” Marianna said.
Buy: Matcha DNA organic matcha powder ($US9.91)
Matcha, a powdered green tea, is an antioxidant powerhouse.
“Skip the high prices at specialty markets, because hands down, Walmart sells this cheaper than anywhere else,” Marianna said. “I add this to my smoothies every morning – not only does it taste delicious, it gives me a boost of energy.”
Skip: Mainstays 24″ x 36″ thin poster and picture frame ($US12.97)
“I would never put a photo inside of these ugly, flimsy picture frames,” said Marianna. “Head to TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods where you can find alternatives at the same or better price for something much more attractive that you’d actually want to put a photo in.”
Buy: ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ book by Marie Kondo ($US14.69)
Now that Barnes & Noble stores are dwindling, head to Walmart to browse for your next read.
“They offer a huge variety of options in every genre,” Marianna said. “I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Marie Kondo’s book – not only is it a great read, but you can literally stock up on all your organizational supplies while you’re at it!”
Skip: HALLU Unicorn Foaming Body Lotion Mousse ($US4.97)
There’s a reason there are so many lawsuits in the beauty industry: cosmetic and skincare products are highly unregulated.
Marianna noted the product was made with a dimethicone, a silicone that some critics say contributes to skin irritation and acne.
Buy: Better Homes & Gardens marble serving platter ($US13.39)
Here’s one item that looks quite a bit more expensive than it actually is.
“Just because they’re rolling back prices, that doesn’t mean you can’t get quality home goods at Walmart – just check out this marble serving tray,” Nealy Fischer, founder of The Flexible Chef and author of “Food You Want For The Life You Crave,” told Business Insider.
Skip: Gift cards
Walmart sells dozens of different gift cards, which is convenient, but you’re not always getting the best deal. According to shopping expert Trae Bodge, you can often find better prices elsewhere.
“For example, Starbucks cards are full price at Walmart, but are often cheaper at an online gift card marketplace, like GiftCardGranny, and there are many other restaurant cards like Chick-Fil-A and Applebee’s, where it would be worth comparing prices before purchasing, as well as other popular ones like Xbox,” she said.
Buy: Athletic Works clothing
Shopping in-house brands and store exclusives can often make for great deals.
“This brand is exclusive to Walmart and is very well-priced when compared to other fitness brands,” Bodge said. For instance, the Men’s Tech Fleece Jacket is $US9.93, where a similar jacket from Nike is $US100.”
Skip: Organic produce
Putting actual quality aside, you might not even be getting the best prices when it comes to organic produce, Bodge said.
“Walmart isn’t known for their pricing on organic foods,” she said. “You might do better at a Trader Joe’s or Aldi, and Amazon Prime members should also check Whole Foods as your membership qualifies you for exclusive discounts on select items.”
Buy: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% whey protein powder ($US47.91)
The only thing worse than their cumbersome packaging are protein powders’ high price tags.
“Fitness enthusiasts know that protein powders can be expensive,” Bodge said. “You can usually get them cheaper at Walmart when compared to places like Vitamin Shoppe,” Bodge said.
Buy: Secret Treasures women’s sleepwear
This intimates line, another Walmart exclusive, is sold at great prices.
Skip: Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring bottled water, 24-count ($US9.98)
Sure 24 bottles of water for $US10 is cheap, but you’d be better off in the long run investing in a reusable water bottle, which you can also buy at Walmart.
Buy: Birds Eye frozen riced cauliflower ($US2.48)
This product works double duty.
“Not only does it save you the effort of having to ‘rice’ cauliflower yourself, which is messy and time-consuming, but it goes from frozen to cooked in just a few minutes,” dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot told Business Insider.
“Cauliflower is a great source of fibre, adds bulk and volume to any dish, and is a great replacement for more carbohydrate heavy dishes like fried rice.”
“If you’re looking for a quality, fresh, wild-caught fish then your best bet is to stick with a local seafood market or health food store,” says Fischer.
Buy: MegaChef buffet server and food warmer ($US40)
“If you love hosting friends and family for a yummy meal, then you probably know the struggle of keeping everything warm,” Fischer said. “This buffet server offers four heated warming trays to eliminate that stress.”
Skip: Fine jewellery
There’s an emotional component to buying your forever jewellery pieces, not to mention that when you’re spending a sizable amount of money, you want to go for the best quality you can.
“Walmart does have a relatively large jewellery section, but if you’re looking for quality then it’s best to stick with a traditional jewellery store,” Fischer said. Alternatively, you can opt for websites – like 77 Diamonds – which focus on fine jewellery and are known for both their quality and reasonable prices.
Buy: Frozen produce
When you aren’t able to buy fresh, remember that frozen produce can be just as nutritious.
“Frozen fruits and vegetables are harvested at peak ripeness and frozen right away,” Alyssa Pike, a dietitian and nutrition communications coordinator at the IFIC Foundation, told Business Insider. “That means they retain their flavour and nutritional value for an extended period of time and are ready to enjoy at your convenience.”
Skip: Great Value peppered beef jerky, 4-pack ($US26.27)
“I’m all for a high-quality beef jerky snack, but this particular jerky is made with corn syrup solids and isn’t organic,” dietitian Leah Silberman said. “I don’t eat organic all the time, but when it comes to my animal proteins, I like to know that they’re organic and sustainably sourced.”
Buy: Organic Imagine low-sodium vegetable broth ($US3.18)
Everyone can get behind a warm bowl of soup when the temperatures dip. Silberman likes this particular brand because it’s not only affordable, but uses organic ingredients and a one-cup serving has 140 milligrams of sodium, which isn’t bad considering store-bought broths tend to be high-sodium foods.
Skip: Great Value Fig Bars ($US2.98)
Silberman said to watch out for this deceptively unhealthy snack.
“They sound like they should be somewhat healthy because they’re made with figs, however a serving size is just two small cookies and that small serving contains 17 grams of sugar – not to mention some of that sugar comes from high-fructose corn syrup,” she said.
Buy: Spectrum Essentials organic ground flaxseed & omega-3 supplement ($US6.99)
“These are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and they pack in three grams of fibre per serving, giving you a big health bang for your buck,” Silberman said. “Plus, they’re easy to throw into a smoothie, sprinkle on a salad, or add to your oatmeal.”
Skip: Jimmy Dean egg & cheese croissant ($US8.98)
We all appreciate a convenient breakfast, but this should not be your go-to.
“Just one of these contains 26 grams of fat, but even worse is its label, which is riddled with unhealthy additives and ingredients,” Silberman said.
Buy: Canned pineapple
Fresh pineapple is great, but it has to be eaten shortly after purchase – and isn’t always in season – canned pineapple on the other hand has a long shelf life and can be enjoyed year-round.
“When shopping for canned fruits, select varieties that are unsweetened or packed in their own juice or water,” dietitian Kris Sollid told Business Insider.
Buy: Kellogg’s All-Bran Buds, 3-count ($US11.04)
Walmart has an extensive selection of breakfast cereals, but this is the one you should be targeting, Zuckerbrot said.
Not only is it high in fibre, she said, but you can use it to make your own oatmeal, too.
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