4 Items You Shouldn't Buy at Dollar Stores

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Dollar stores are a great place to find bargains.
  • Some products are worth paying more for.

You may want to purchase these elsewhere.

I used to be skeptical about shopping at dollar stores until I gave it a try. And now, they're part of my regular shopping rotation.

The main draw of dollar stores, for me, is their affordable price point. When I need to buy party favors or stock up on school supplies, dollar stores let me purchase the items I need without accumulating a massive credit card tab in the process.

And also, the selection you'll find at dollar stores is actually pretty impressive. I used to think you could really only walk into these stores and find junk, but I've gotten everything from office supplies to fun crafts for my kids on the cheap. And some of the items I've bought have held up surprisingly well, like the measuring cups I purchased months back (I had expected the print on them to fade after a few uses, but thankfully, it didn't).

But while I'm definitely a fan of shopping at dollar stores, there are certain items you may want to purchase elsewhere. Here are four items you shouldn't buy at the dollar store.

1. Batteries

If you go through batteries a lot, it can be tempting to snag them on the cheap. But off-brand batteries may not last nearly as long as their name-brand counterparts. And you might end up spending more on dollar store batteries all in by virtue of having to replace yours often. If you want to save money on batteries, see if your local warehouse club has them in bulk. Amazon is another good option if you're buying a large quantity.

2. Beauty products

If your local dollar store carries beauty brands you're familiar with, then by all means, scoop some up. But you probably don't want to take a chance on ultra-inexpensive brands. They may be made of inferior ingredients that cause skin irritation. And it's not worth risking a rash to save a few bucks.

3. Toys for young children

There's a reason dollar store toys only cost $1 (more or less) while the toys you'll find at big-box or hobby stores cost 15 to 20 times as much. Dollar store toys are highly likely to break after moderate use. If you want to spare yourself a crying child, do yourself a favor and spring for toys that are more likely to stand up.

4. Towels

My kids go to summer camp and are required to bring towels. And sometimes, those towels are lost after one day and never seen again. In that situation, dollar store towels make sense. Otherwise, you're generally better off waiting for a department or big-box store to put towels on sale. Dollar store towels are usually not very high in quality, to the point where they can start to unravel after just a few washes.

There are plenty of items it pays to scoop up at dollar stores. But for the above items, you're better off taking your business elsewhere. Otherwise, you could end up frustrated, disappointed, and, well, rashy. Yuck.

Our picks for 2024's best credit cards

Our experts carefully review the most popular offers and select those that are worthy of a spot in your wallet. These standout cards come with fantastic benefits like generous sign-up bonuses, long 0% intro APR periods, and robust rewards.

Click here to learn more about our recommended credit cards

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow