Which Household Items to Buy (and Avoid) at the Dollar Store

There are many things to consider when it comes to dollar shops. According to Consumer Reports' June 2021 survey, 80% Americans shop at dollar stores at minimum once a month, regardless of their views.

As long as this is the case, it makes good sense to be able to identify which household items are worth buying at dollar stores and which aren't.

Consumer Reports experts shared some helpful tips with us recently. John Galeotafiore is associate director of product test at Consumer Reports. Here are some tips to help you find the best deals on essentials for your home.

Do not pass the auto aisle

Although you might not consider dollar stores the best place to buy stuff for your car or windshield wiper fluid, they can be very useful for general products such as wipes for cleaning up spills and cords for connecting electronics.

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Galeotafiore advises that you check every bottle of motor oil for the American Petroleum Institutes certification mark. He explains that even if you don't recognize the brand, it means it meets current industry standards.

Hardware section contains the basics, but not much else.

Although the hardware section of the dollar store might seem large, Galeotafiore suggests that you go in with realistic expectations. You can find standard tools like screwdrivers and claw hammers in the dollar store, but Galeotafiore recommends going straight to the hardware shop if you are looking for something more specific or to complete more complex tasks.


Paper products in a pinch

To buy toilet paper or tissues in bulk, not everyone can afford to shop at big-box or wholesale stores. These situations will mean that paper products and other household goods are likely to be less expensive at dollar stores than at local establishments like gas stations or convenience stores.


According to Consumer Reports, the majority of dollar store shoppers tend to buy household items there.

Be aware of light bulbs

Yes, you will find light bulbs in dollar stores. And yes, they are going to be very cheap. Galeotafiore says they are more likely incandescent bulbs rather than LED. Even though LED bulbs are more expensive, they consume less energy and last longer so they can be a better investment over the long term.


Galeotafiore suggests that you take note of the bulb details to save time and money so you don't end up with something not right.