15 Things You Should Never Buy at Target

Making sure your home is well-stocked is necessary, yet it can become quite expensive. When you’re looking for a deal, your first thought might be to shop at a retailer, such as Target. Although Target can be a convenient one-stop shop for your home needs, it’s not always the best. There are other retailers that offer better deals and sometimes better quality across several categories. Here are 15 things you should never buy at Target.

1. Marked-down clothing

shopping for clothes
You don’t want something someone already wore. | Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Target

It’s great to get a good deal, but you have to make sure you pay attention to what you’re buying. A user on Reddit, who goes by the name livmoore, said marked-down clothing is sometimes used and put back on the rack. “Be careful with buying clothes (not just at Target but everywhere). People often return clothes and it will get marked as ‘repackaged’ or ‘as is’ on the clearance stickers. This is different from normal clearance where the markdowns are applied to things in the store. It can get gross because there was once a bra marked as such. Just make sure to wash all clothes before you wear them,” the Redditor said.
Next: Medication

2. Medication

sealed bottle of Tylenol with the box in the background
You’ll be better off buying at Costco. | iStock/Getty Images

Save your money when it comes to medication. You can get a better deal at bulk-shopping store Costco. After Target’s pharmacy was taken over by CVS, many deals on medications were suspended. For example, according to GoodRX, Target ended its pharmacy rewards program and is no longer consistently honoring its price of $4 for a 30-day supply of generics.
Next: Gift cards

3. Gift cards

target checkout
Wouldn’t you rather save money on your gift cards? | Scott Olson/Getty Images

If you want to buy gift cards, head on over to Costco or Gift Card Granny. Both retailers offer great discounts on gift cards. If you and your family eat out a lot, you can benefit from significant savings on Costco restaurant gift cards. You can choose from popular restaurants, such as California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, and Smashburger. Gift cards for restaurants are 20% to 30% off the regular price.
Next: Books

4. Books

Two books white background
You have more options elsewhere. | Target

Because Target is known primarily for its home improvement products, you might have forgotten the store also carries books. However, if you’re itching to get your hands on the latest bestseller, you’re better off making your purchase through Amazon. You can get better deals on books from Amazon, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member. In addition, you can get e-books from Amazon, which Target doesn’t offer.
Next: Store-brand coffee

5. Store-brand coffee

Target Market Pantry coffee
You can get better coffee elsewhere. | Target

If you love coffee, Target’s brand might not satisfy you. Target’s in-house brand of coffee, Market Pantry Classic Roast, scored low among Consumer Reports’ taste testers. They said the coffee had a bitter taste and lacked complexity. A Target shopper who left a review of the coffee agreed. She said in the comments section that the store’s classic roast “tasted awful.”
Next: Store-brand baby formula

6. Store-brand baby formula

close-up image of a baby drinking out of a bottle
Double check the ingredients. | iStock/Getty Images

When it comes down to price, Costco again comes out on top. You can score a better price when you buy baby formula in bulk from the warehouse store. In addition, one parent on the Baby Center community voiced concerns about Target’s quality control. She said her package of Target-brand baby formula had a plastic string in it, so she was hesitant to try more of its baby formulas.
Furthermore, Dr. Bridget Young said on her blog, Baby Formula Expert, that generic versions of formula tend to differ slightly from their name-brand counterparts. One brand of formula might be wildly different from the next, so you shouldn’t just base your purchase on price.
Next: Electronics

7. Electronics

Samsung Television Target
You’re better off shopping somewhere else. | Target

Skip Target when it comes to electronics and the latest tech gadgets. The retailer doesn’t have the most competitive prices in this category. It also tends to carry mostly lesser-known brands. Unless you’re planning to make an electronics purchase during the blowout holiday sales, you’re better off searching for deals at Best Buy, which offers lower prices and name brands.
Next: Furniture

8. Furniture

Tan Loveseat from Target
If you’re looking for a bargain, this isn’t the place. | Target

Target might be your go-to place for furniture, but there are other stores that are a step up in terms of pricing and quality. Ikea, for example, will give you more bang for your buck. Audra, a contributor to the My First Apartment blog, did an experiment where she compared a hypothetical furniture shopping trip at Ikea, Target, and Pottery Barn. Ikea turned out to offer the best prices out of the three.
Next: Shoes

9. Shoes

Men's water shoes
You can probably find a cheaper price for the same thing online. | Target

If you’re looking for a sturdy pair of shoes at a great price, this is not the store. When it comes to the store’s shoe offerings, you’ll mostly find lower quality footwear at a higher price than other retailers. You can get better quality and prices at online retailers, such as DSW or Zappos, or at department stores, such as Macy’s and Marshalls, which tend to have regular sales on name-brand items.
Next: Holiday items

10. Holiday items

target store
You can get your wrapping paper from the dollar store. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The holidays, particularly Christmas, are a time when you might go all out and get really fancy with your gifts. Your annual ritual might involve colorful wrapping paper, a fluffy gift bow, and little trinkets to decorate your finished artwork. However, you can get the best deals on gift wrap and holiday items at your local dollar store. Although there are plenty of items best to skip (such as cancer-causing plastic bath mats) when it comes to the dollar store, wrapping paper isn’t one of them.
Next: Mobile accessories

11. Mobile accessories

Charger plug phone on car
Shop around for the best deal and quality. | Casezy/iStock/Getty Images

One day, you’re admiring your new, shiny phone. The next thing you know, your new phone slips out of your hand and lands on the ground, cracking the screen or case. Or worse, you come home to find your cat has chewed your only phone charger. It’s time to get some new accessories. If you need a new phone case or charger, you should shop around before making a purchase. You can get the best prices on mobile accessories from Best Buy or Amazon.
Next: Store-brand trash bags

12. Store-brand trash bags

Target trash bags
You don’t want to end up with your trash spilled everywhere. | Target

Store-brand trash bags might be cheaper, but you’ll end up skimping on quality. What’s the use of buying a cheap box of trash bags if you have to double them? It’s a waste of your hard-earned cash. You’re better off reaching for the name-brand trash bags. You might pay a little more money, but it’s more pleasant than having a trash bag with holes or leaks on your kitchen floor.
Next: Store-brand paper towels

13. Store-brand paper towels

Target paper towels
They don’t hold up compared to other brands. | Target

One staple every home needs is a durable roll of paper towels — especially if you have young children. When you’re purchasing paper towels, quality counts. It’s no fun wiping up a spill, only to have your finger rip a hole right through the paper. Spend a little extra when it comes to the paper towels. When testing out Target’s Up & Up brand of paper towels, it isn’t as strong brands, such as Viva or Bounty, for example.
Next: Batteries

14. Batteries

close up of batteries
Batteries are one of the most overpriced items out there. | iStock/Getty Images

Is it time for you to restock on batteries? If you want the best price on batteries, head over to your local dollar store. A 10-count pack of Energizer batteries will run you about $8.99, but you can get them for much less at a discount store. Dollar Tree, for example, sells a 10-pack of Sunbeam batteries for just $1. (If you want to buy in bulk online, you can get 48 packs for $48.)
Next: Toiletries

15. Toiletries

Twin blade razors
You might want to avoid these cheap razors. | Target

You might not get the best deal at Target when it comes to price and quality for toiletries and some beauty items. One Reddit user who goes by the name beigebelv said he was quite unhappy with Target’s brand of single blade disposable razors. “I wouldn’t recommend buying the giant bag of single blade disposable razors. Yes, they’re cheap, but it’s like shaving with an angry cat wrapped in barbed wire,” said the Redditor. In addition, research by Coupons.com showed Walmart might be a better choice for the lowest price on toiletries and beauty items.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.