What Not to Buy at Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree

There are discount stores like Aldi, Save-A-Lot, Five Below, Dollar General, and Family Dollar. Then there are really deep discount stores like Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree stands out from other bargain retailers because its prices are on the extreme low end. It doesn’t really get any cheaper than Dollar Tree. Everything is just $1.25 each, with the exception of a new and small selection of Dollar Tree Plus products that cost a little more.

You may wonder what kind of things you can buy for $1.25. Are such cheap products any good? Is Dollar Tree just like an expanded version of the Target Dollar Spot where you can find all kinds of deals on toys and home décor?

As it turns out, you can find some good stuff at Dollar Tree, but it pays to be selective. Some products can be a good deal, including laundry detergent, reading glasses, greeting cards, seasonal décor, gardening supplies, craft supplies, or even teacher supplies.

However, some products at Dollar Tree are worth leaving on the shelf. Here’s a look at what not to buy at Dollar Tree.


Shape Shifting Robot - Dollar Tree Transformer 1

Dollar Tree’s version of Transformers.

While you might be able to find a few cool toys such as Final Faction figures at Dollar Tree, many of their toys are cheap quality and you’re better off paying a little more for a well-made product. Toys this cheap don’t always last, and if they don’t function as well as name brand counterparts, kids may not get the satisfaction out of their toys that they were hoping for.

We’ve tried some of Dollar Tree’s toys such as their Transforming Robot (a knockoff Transformer) and their Make-It Blocks (LEGO knockoffs), and while they’re not terrible, they’re also not great. We found the Transformers-like toys to be finicky and not as easy to transform as the real thing.

Make It Blocks

Fashion Doll

We’ve also bought some of the off-brand Barbie dolls at Dollar Tree, and they are slightly smaller than regular Barbies with different body proportions, so name-brand Barbie clothes won’t fit them. Dollar Tree does sell some of its own doll clothing that fits their dolls, though. Dollar Tree Barbies also have thinner hair, and their bodies don’t have as many bendable joints compared to the real Barbie.


Name Brand Food and Snacks

Harvest Snaps Snacks

While this may not always be the case, we sometimes find higher prices per ounce for name brand food at Dollar Tree compared to other grocery stores. Dollar Tree makes everything so cheap by often packaging products in smaller amounts. However, you typically get a better deal purchasing larger packages. For instance, name brand Harvest Snaps crispy veggie snacks cost slightly less per ounce at Target or Walmart compared to Dollar Tree, and you’ll get a bigger package at those other stores.

It always pays to compare prices if you’re buying food at Dollar Tree, and especially if you’re buying national brands.

Wax Melts

Luminessence Scented Wax Melts

I’ve started using wax melts more in recent years. I like that they avoid the open flame and potential soot and smoke that come with burning traditional candles, but they still offer a way to add some pleasant scent and ambient glow to your home or workspace. I bought an electric wax warmer from Aldi, and I usually buy wax melts at Aldi when they happen to stock them and I like their scents.

I’ve seen people talk about buying wax melts at Dollar Tree, so I tried some from the deep discounter, and I was disappointed. The apple cinnamon melts I bought from Dollar Tree had a fake, cheap scent like what I might smell from a public bathroom air freshener. the Dollar Tree melts also didn’t have much throw, meaning their scent is not very strong. I’ll stick with buying wax melts from other stores.


Are Dollar Tree Spices Good 2

Dollar Tree surprisingly carries its own line of spices under its Supreme Tradition private label, including oregano, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, parsley, salt and pepper, garlic salt, thyme, and more. I tried a few and compared them to the spices I usually buy from Aldi. In every instance, the Dollar Tree spices were weaker in terms of flavor and aroma compared to Aldi spices. The Dollar Tree spices also cost more per ounce than the Aldi spices.

I already knew that name brands could be more expensive at dollar stores, but it turns out even some Dollar Tree house brands are not that great of a deal. Dollar Tree spices don’t taste terrible, but it was hard to continue using them when they were obviously not as potent as other spice brands. I ended up tossing most of my Dollar Tree spices in the compost bin.

What are some products you avoid at Dollar Tree? Share with us in the comments. 

About Rachael

Rachael is the Co-founder of Dollar Store Reviewer. A writer and editor, she also enjoys cooking, gardening, writing gothic romance, and collecting more house plants than she probably should. You can learn more about her at rachaelsjohnston.com.


  1. Catherine A McClarey

    House-brand macaroni and cheese dinner kits are a must-miss at Dollar Tree. I once bought a box which appeared to be a generic knockoff of Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese or Velveeta Shells & Cheese, and it was terrible, with a “cheese” sauce which was very oily and artificial-tasting. As someone who grew up “behind the cheddar curtain” in Wisconsin, I have high standards when it comes to anything cheesy. The plain Kraft “blue box” macaroni and cheese dinners aren’t gourmet by any means, but they’re tolerable, and light-years ahead of Dollar Tree’s travesty of an excuse for a boxed macaroni and cheese dinner.

  2. Frozen vegetables are also a bad buy at Dollar Tree. My husband bought about 15 packages of different varieties. (He tends to shop like that.) The bags are mostly chopped ends and are of poor quality veggies.

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