Well-known brands are all well and good, but sometimes you are paying a hefty surcharge just for the recognizable name. After all, when so many costly products have more reasonably priced equivalents, what is that extra cash buying you apart from a fancy logo? If you’re unsure about where to begin looking for those less-expensive alternatives, however, here is a list of 20 to get you started. And rest assured, they are far from cheap knock-offs – in fact, they are just as effective as their more expensive counterparts.
20. Zenda the low-cost contender
Just because a product is widely known for being the best, does not make it true when you narrow your eyes. And the Zenda Naturals beauty sponge clears all this up beautifully. In fact, according to a swathe of positive customer reviews on Amazon, this less-pricey makeup sponge is actually more effective than the highly touted Beautyblender. Indeed, one enthused customer commented, “It’s firmer when dry, and yet softens to a cloud when dampened. The texture is finer and seems less likely to tear.” And for just $8 versus $20 for the Beautyblender, the Zenda budget version is a no-brainer.
19. Screen your calls for less
Sure, you could get an Apple Genius to apply your screen protector. But then you would have to shell out for an expensive Belkin-brand version, which is somewhere in the region of $20 to $35, depending on the type of protection it offers. Or you could pay $8 for a two-pack of amFilm tempered-glass screen protectors, which do the job just as well for a fraction of the price. And going by reviews on the internet, they are also incredibly easy to apply.
18. Low-cost candles for those who don’t have money to burn
If you have ever wanted your home to smell like an Anthropologie outlet, you could invest in a Capri Blue Volcano candle. That is responsible for the aroma wafting in every single branch of the upmarket “boho-chic” store – but it costs a whopping $30. Up steps Illume’s Bella Island Moonlight candle, which does an amazing job of replicating the scent for just $11. The less-costly candle’s ingredients differ from the real deal, but it smells pretty much identical when set aflame.
17. Cut cutting board cost by more than a third
The OXO Good Grips may be the traditional go-to for a decent bamboo cutting board, but at $60 it is by no means cheap. But you could always opt for Royal Craft Wood’s version, which does basically the same job for the far more wallet-friendly price of $18. Yes, it has the same drip grooves to catch any loose juice and it is easy on your knives. In fact, the manufacturer even offers care tips to ensure that you won’t need to buy another one too soon.
16. Keep a Basics bargain up your sleeve
Once you have spent way in excess of $1,000 on a MacBook, you probably won’t want to risk wrapping it in a cheap sleeve. Unless, of course, you know that it is going to be up to the task – such as Amazon’s Basics-brand sleeve. At only $10.49, this product is far cheaper than Incase’s premium $30 sleeve, and, according to online reviews, it works just as well. “The material of the case is nice, well made, slim but protective,” wrote one satisfied customer.
15. Kiss goodbye to stuck-up lipstick
Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick may be the kissing color of choice for many, but at $20 it does not come cheap. If you tend to use it often – or just don’t feel like wasting money – you may be better off going for Wet N Wild’s Liquid Catsuit lippy. It works just as well and for less than $4. Indeed, feedback is positive, with one user stating on Amazon, “This is the best shade and lipstick I have ever owned.”
14. Smells a great deal
Muji’s ultrasonic aroma diffuser may have a cool name and look like the bee’s knees, but it also costs a not-so-cool $70. If you prefer value for money over big bucks for big brands, then, you could try InnoGear’s diffuser. It’s only $16, and even boasts portability thanks to being powered by a USB connection. As one happy customer wrote on her online review, it’s “equivalent to expensive home diffusers,” but won’t cost you the earth.
13. Aomais makes a big noise about small price
Bose may still be the big name in speaker systems, but these days, there are plenty of less-expensive alternatives on the market. This Aomais $26 waterproof speaker, for instance, does basically the same thing as the Bose SoundLink. However, the high-end portable, liquid-resistant Bluetooth speaker comes with a high price of $129 for a single unit. And with the option to pair two Aomais speakers for stereo sound, you can get double the volume for less than half the price of the Bose.
12. Drink to a drop in outlay
The go-to insulated tumbler for most people will probably be Yeti’s Rambler, thanks to its stellar reviews and reputation. But at $30, it is not particularly cheap – unlike Yeti’s Texan rival RTIC’s equivalent version at $11. Indeed, a glowing online review sums it up nicely. It reads, “Who needs a Yeti when you can have a RTIC?!? Pour a glass of iced tea, and it will still have ice in it at the end of the day; hot coffee will see be warm as well!”
11. Keeping the tab down while tooling up
Not only does Workpro’s toolkit ring up at $12 less than the more popular Stanley version at $40.50, it also includes 35 more items than that 65-piece kit. Described by Amazon customers as “versatile,” “very compact” and with great tool variety, the Workpro seems like the obvious choice if you are after a basic, budget-friendly set of tools to tinker with.
10. Oral-B electric toothbrush charges less
Compared to the highly touted Philips Sonicare toothbrush, Oral-B’s Pro 1000 version is practically a steal. Indeed, it is a mere $50 to Sonicare’s $175. And the best part is, some reviewers claim the Oral-B is even better than its more expensive counterpart. One internet buyer wrote, “Great toothbrush. Has more power than any of my previous electric toothbrushes. Have used Sonicare for three years and it was just too weak. Teeth never felt clean near gums.”
9. Eye-opening makeup bargain
It probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for eye cosmetic users that there is an equally great alternative to yet another product sold by Sephora. Sure, the brand’s Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette may be popular, but the eye shadow selection is also $54. And for a mere $13, you can get this just-as-brilliant – and very familiar looking – Ucanbe Molten Rock Heat palette. “Great colors with good longevity,” one Amazon reviewer praised. “I would say this is a Dupe for [Urban Decay] palette at a better price point!”
8. KitchenIQ smart way to slash knife costs
This is another product that is actually way more effective than its expensive equivalent, according to its online reviews. Yes, the KitchenIQ knife sharpener does the job for a measly $6, compared to the Chef’s Choice version that rings up at more than $100. “This cheap knife sharpener is great,” wrote one budget-minded buyer. “The Chef’s Choice worked great for the first year, after that, it wasn’t worth much.”
7. Coffee to go at a price that’s low
As it turns out, Nespresso is no longer the last word in instant coffee machines. In fact, this AeroPress version does the trick just as well, and it is a mere fifth of the price. Indeed, the $30 AeroPress machine also boasts the ability to be used on-the-go. As a result, it has been described as “game-changing” by caffeinated Amazon reviewers. So if you are considering splashing out $150-plus on a Nespresso machine, you may want to think again.
6. Rest easy with a bedtime discount
Bed frames are so overrated, and often also over-priced. A basic wooden Ikea frame will set you back almost $100. On the other hand, the Zinus SmartBase mattress foundation is a mere $69 for a full double. And while everyone has their own horror story of assembling flat-pack furniture, the Zinus takes just 15 minutes to pop together. According to one online review, there is no danger of the frames splitting in the middle either, despite being two singles side-by-side.
5. Money off when footing the bill for boots
If you are looking for a pair of boots to help you survive winter weather, you may be tempted to turn to L.L. Bean. But that means spending around $129 – a hefty sum for footwear. Instead, there is always London Fog’s boots, which are just as effective yet a third of the price. They start at $40, and according to an Amazon reviewer, “The fit is perfect, the craftsmanship is flawless, and the comfort level is awesome.”
4. Take the temperature of this hot bargain
Proving that more expensive does not always equal more quality, the ThermoPro digital thermometer is both better reviewed and cheaper on Amazon than the equivalent Lavatools version. While the latter rings up at $50, the former is a snip at $13. And with thousands of five-star internet reviews, it is definitely a safe bet, despite the bargain price. It does everything the Lavatools model can do, including instant temperature readings.
3. Ninja blends low cost with high quality
When it comes to blending food, it feels like there must be a ceiling for what machines are capable of on a domestic – rather than industrial – scale. And, apparently, that is exactly the case. According to Amazon feedback, this $75 Ninja blender is just as good as the almost $400 Vitamix version. Just saying, we know which we would be in the market for.
2. Only suckers shell out for over-priced vacuums
As it turns out, Dyson is not the be-all and end-all of vacuum cleaners – at least when it comes to handheld versions. Yes, this Shark-brand cordless vacuum is only $38, which is basically a pocket-change charge compared with Dyson’s exorbitant $173 price tag. And yes, the Shark is just as effective. One online reviewer even claimed that the lower-priced vacuum is better than the full-sized Dyson offering when removing pet hair. Fur enough.
1. Get a kick out of these cut-price rain boots
Hunter boots may be the holy grail of all-weather footwear, but they are also incredibly expensive, starting at $83 a pair. Joules rain boots, on the other foot, will do just as great a job at protecting your tootsies for only $47. One Amazon buyer even liked them better than Hunters, saying that they are “much more pliable in terms of wearability.” And they still come in a bunch of snazzy colors, too…