Amazon has unquestionably made life easier and more convenient for millions of shoppers. You’re probably one of them. Amazon matches or even beats competitor’s prices on innumerable products. Plus, the items are delivered right to your door with lightning speed. That’s tough to beat!
But this convenience can sometimes blind shoppers to the fact that Amazon does not always offer the best deals on certain products. There are specific items that we will never buy on Amazon.
The following list varies from expensive items like major appliances and furniture that can cost thousands of dollars to small everyday items such as tissues. The one common thread is that shoppers are almost certain to find better prices or better quality items (or both!) when they buy these products from a retailer other than Amazon. (By the way, if Amazon would have stuck with just selling books, CDs, and videos online, the company would now be defunct — here are 17 awful investments by Amazon.)
To compile this list of things we would never buy on Amazon, 24/7 Tempo compared prices, reviews, and other metrics on Amazon against those of other major retailers such as Walmart, Lowes, and others. Fact-based data, such as price comparisons, weighed heavily in the composition of this list. Some of the findings, though, are admittedly subjective. We also applied editorial discretion in our research methodology. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The prices listed below are accurate as of the time of publication but are subject to change.
1. Gift Cards
A $50 gift card on Amazon will typically cost, you guessed it, $50. That sounds perfectly reasonable until you realize other retailers offer better deals. For example, Kroger offers extra points for gift card purchases through their fuel points program. Those points can be redeemed for discounted gasoline. Costco is also a go-to retailer for gift cards since the retailer often sells the cards for less than face value. With these types of incentives, either of these retailers is an easy choice over Amazon for gift card purchases.
2. Nike and Birkenstocks
Nike shoes and Birkenstock sandals are available for purchase on Amazon, but not from the manufacturers. Both Nike and Birkenstock refuse to sell directly on the site. When you find footwear from these companies for sale on Amazon, it is only through third-party retailers. Before you shrug off that little detail, remember that this can mean longer shipping times, questionable return policies, and even the possibility of counterfeit products. If you’re looking for a new pair of Jordans or super comfy sandals, look somewhere other than Amazon.
3. Soft Drinks
Depending on where you live, you may call it soda or pop. But whatever you call it, Amazon is not the place to purchase it. Consider that a 10-pack of 7.5-ounce cans of Coke Zero Sugar is $5.59 through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. Meanwhile, a 12-pack of full-size 12-ounce cans of Coke Zero Sugar costs $5.98 at Walmart. That’s certainly more bang for your cola buck.
4. Major Appliances
You may score a sweet deal on Amazon when shopping for a blender or other small appliance, but major appliances are another story. For instance, a 22.5 cubic foot French door stainless steel refrigerator/freezer costs $1,999 on Amazon. A stainless steel refrigerator with a similar design and a higher capacity costs $1,699 at Lowes. Plus, the Lowes model is a Whirlpool, one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the appliance industry. The Amazon model is a KoolMore. Ever heard of them? We didn’t think so.
5. Musical Instruments
You might be okay buying your 10-year-old a beginner’s guitar on Amazon, but if you’re looking for a Taylor, Martin, Gibson, or other quality guitar, then consider looking elsewhere. High-end musical instruments are quite pricey. Not only that, but serious musicians have intensely personal preferences for the instruments they play. Go to a store where you can try out the instrument before making a purchase. You will also be able to talk with the store’s personnel about any questions or concerns you may have. Most of the employees are probably musicians, too, so it will likely be an informative and enjoyable experience. These retailers also provide greater peace of mind for the purchaser should something go wrong with the instrument. Many music stores offer repair options that Amazon simply can’t match.
It is super easy to grab your phone and open the Amazon app when you’re running low on basic household items. However, if tissues are on that list, it is often better to buy them elsewhere. For example, you will pay $23.99 for four boxes (120-count) of Kleenex brand tissues on Amazon. That exact same four-pack only costs $6.98 at Walmart. That’s a savings of nearly 71%. No brainer.
7. Off-Brand/Unbranded Charging Cables
Amazon sells countless charging cables, adapters, and other “must-have” items for smartphones. However, all of these accessories are not created equal. Your phone was pretty expensive, right? iPhones, for example, range from $429 to $1,599. Inferior charging cables and adaptors may not work on your phone. Worse, they might even damage your phone. The use of off-brand accessories can potentially void your phone manufacturer’s warranty, meaning you would be on the hook for the costly repair. If you’re going to spend $1,000 on a phone, then it is certainly worth it to spend a little extra for a cable or charging adapter that is legit.
8. Large Furniture
Furniture preferences can be quite personal. It’s not just about color and style, but also comfort. If you struggle with back pain, your idea of the perfect couch may differ greatly from someone who doesn’t. It is far better to go to a brick-and-mortar store where you can actually test drive the couch before making a purchase. Even if Amazon offers free returns on large furniture, chances are it will still be a royal pain in the you-know-what. It’s better to make a purchase from a retailer that is certain to ease both your back pain and this kind of you-know-what pain.
9. ATVs (or any other type of vehicle)
Amazon may not be the first retailer that comes to mind for all-terrain vehicles, but there are a surprising number of them available at relatively low prices on the site. These ATVs are not name-brand vehicles, though. There are almost no reviews detailing how these off-brand vehicles hold up after heavy use over a period of months/years. Plus, if you order an ATV online, some assembly will almost certainly be required. If you’re not mechanically inclined, that is not going to be an enjoyable experience. If you are in the market for an ATV (or any other vehicle), do yourself a favor and go with a brand that has a long track record of performance and reliability. It will cost you more upfront, but you will likely save yourself the hassle and expense of numerous repairs down the road.
10. Anything Below a Four-Star Review
Product reviews on Amazon can be your best friend when you are deciding on a purchase. Yes, there will always be contrarians who enjoy leaving negative reviews. That is one reason why there are very few products that maintain a five-star rating. Those hyper-negative folks are outliers, though. However, when a product has an established history filled with numerous lackluster reviews, that is a flashing neon sign indicating danger ahead. Also, if you notice the reviews on a certain item are discussing another product altogether, run fast and run far. Some third-party sellers use this unethical tactic to boost their review ratings.
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