When you go shopping, you will notice that you have a choice of brands on just about any type of item. Often, you will also find your selection of store brands and generic brands that may offer a significant discount.
Be sure not to confuse store brand with a generic brand. You can usually distinguish the two by their packaging. The store brand may closely resemble an advertised brand but just be a name you aren't familiar with. Generic product packaging is usually much more plain. A can of soda might just be labeled “Cola.”
Are store brands, often called “private label’, worth the money? Let us look at store and generic brands versus name brand items and see how they are different.
When to Consider the Store or Generic Brand Items
Here is a look at when you might want to consider a store or generic brand item.
When you are considering price
If you are looking to save on price, then the store or generic brand may be the better deal. That is because the non-branded items may not pay as much toward marketing costs. That could make the store and generic brand items cheaper than the brand name item. Generally, private label brands are sold exclusively through a particular retailer, and many of the products are provided by the major food companies.
When the quality between the store/generic brand and the name brand is not much different
If the quality between the store/generic brand and the name brand item is not that much different, then there is no need to pay the premium for the name brand item. You may want to check the ingredients on both to verify what the differences are, if any.
When the product is disposable
If you are only going to use the product once and discard it, then it might make sense to consider the store/generic brand item versus the name brand item.
- Over the counter medications must have the same active ingredients.
When it comes to over the counter medications, there should be no difference between generics and name brand. To earn a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certification, a drug has to have the same active ingredient as its name brand equivalent. You may pay more for a name brand drug because the company spent lots of money on research and development, not to mention marketing. The differences generally are in the “inactive ingredients.” Regardless, you should always read the label to understand exactly what you are buying.
When to Consider Name Brand Items
If you intend to own the product for a long time
If you are looking to own this particular item for years, you might want to consider the name brand item. That is because the name brand item might be of higher quality in order to justify its higher price.
If the product is a conspicuous item
If the item you are buying is going to be displayed, you might want to consider the name brand item over the store brand.
If the brand has a reputation for a great product
If the name brand product has a reputation for being high quality or a great warranty, you might consider paying the premium for the name brand product.
Savings Short Term vs. Long Term
When you buy a store brand item, you are saving over the short term because you are only using them a few times. Over the course of a year, these savings can add up.
However, with name brand items, you are saving over the long term. For instance, if you buy name brand bedding, those can last for years, while store brand bedding may fade and may have to be replaced more often.
Mastering when to buy the right items
With the right research, you can quickly determine whether you should get the store or generic brand or the name brand version of an item. Be sure to check out each version of the item that you are considering.