The Alternative Brands That Are Cheaper (and Often Just as Good)

February 11, 2016 by Kyle

(Updated 6/27/18) By knowing which expensive items have cheaper alternatives, we can always opt for the best value and save a bunch of money in the process. But often the problem is knowing which brands are the best buys. Without reading through hundreds of Amazon product reviews, some of which are fake, it can be hard to figure out which brands are smart buys. So when I saw a recent BuzzFeed article talking about 13 cheaper product alternatives I knew it was worth sharing. Below are the highlights so you can make better buying decisions in the future.

KitchenAid MIxer

Here are a few of the most glaring examples where the more expensive brand is often NOT noticeably better in terms of quality and features.

Blender: Vitamix vs. Ninja  – This blender battle has been well documented in the past and the $121 Ninja blender is absolutely comparable to the $450 Vitamix.

So what, the Ninja might be a little louder and seconds slower, I can easily live with both and be over $300 richer in the process.

Vacuum: Dyson vs. Shark – At $400 the Dyson DC41 is spendy fun-suck. I’ll happily opt for the $160 Shark Navigator which actually sucks way more.

Stand Mixer: Kitchen Aid vs. Hamilton Beach – Save an easy $100 by opting for the highly regarded $200 Hamilton Beach stand mixer over the $300 KitchenAid mixer.

Espresso Machine: Rancilio Silvia vs. DeLonghi – If espresso is your thing, save a butt load of money an opt for the powerful $140 DeLonghi machine. Leave the $685 Rancilio Silvia for the local coffee shop.

Tablet: iPad vs. Google Nexus – If you’re in the market for a new Tablet, the 2nd rated Nexus comes in at $400 while the top-rated Apple iPad comes in at $500+. According to reviewers, you’re paying for the Apple name and the cute Macintosh apple logo on the back.

Noise Canceling Headphones: Bose QuietComfort vs. Sony MDRNC7  – This one is my favorite. If you’ve ever priced Bose noise-cancelling headphones, you know they’re quite expensive at over $260.

If you find yourself on a loud airplane several times per week, they may be worth the money, but for infrequent travel and office use, the 4-star Sony version ($99) will more than suffice.

Memory Foam Mattress: Tempur-pedic vs. NovosBed – At only $800, the NovosBed appears to be a great buy when comparing it to the $3,600 Tempur-pedic mattress.

This is especially true when you compare material and owner satisfaction with each. Although, as a faithful Tempur-pedic sleeper, I’d want to test out the NovosBed for a couple nights first.

Cables: Monster vs. Monoprice – If the cable is less than 6 feet long, the cheaper Monoprice cable ($4-$10) is a very smart buy compared to Monster brand cables ($30 and up). This is especially true for HDMI cables as the average TV viewer will never be able to tell the difference in terms of picture and audio quality.

Chef’s Knife: Shun vs. Victorinox – At a spendy $125, the Shun knife is a popular top-of-the-line chef’s knife. But….the comparable Victorinox for a mere $35 is a solid knife with some very positive reviews. Heck, you could buy 3 Victorinox for the price of a single Shun knife.

Ask the Reader: Have you had success with any of the cheaper brands mentioned above? Or maybe other products that weren’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out the full BuzzFeed article below to see all of the 13 products they highlighted:

13 Cheaper Alternatives To Life’s Expensive Necessities | BuzzFeed
By Kyle James

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Carol Y

I can vouch for the Victorinox – we bought the Santoku and steak knives and have been really pleased with them. The Santoku is my new ‘go-to’ knife.


I was looking for what people were saying about Vitamix alternatives and found this. Just thought I would comment that the Ninja is lacking in some functions that the Vitamix provides but….I do agree that the Vitamix is probably more functionality than a lot of people need and therefore would be better offer with a blender under $200 vs. $450 + for a Vitamix