Do you pay too much for everyday items because you insist on buying name brands? A new website wants to help break you of that habit with the promise of quality goods wrapped in generic labels.
How buying Brandless can help you save
Brandless.com boasts a simple online market where items cost $3. Some things are even cheaper because they come in packs of two or three for $3. The website offers a wide range of products, including food in specialty categories like organic, kosher, and vegan.
If you’re craving a less expensive alternative to Whole Paycheck on specialty items, Brandless may be for you. In addition to food, you’ll find a variety of home, garden, beauty and cleaning products.
Since Brandless offers such a variety of items, Clark decided to place an order with input from the team. We purchased everything from cotton balls to maple syrup (and were very excited to try it all). Shipping cost us $9, so our order came to $73.50 for 26 items because we ordered some products that came in multiples. Since we ordered, Brandless has updated shipping cost to a flat rate of $5 and a meal is donated through Feeding America for every order placed.
The site now also features a B. More membership you can purchase for $36 a year — like Amazon Prime, but for essentials. With the membership you get free shipping on all Brandless orders and the company donates two meals for every order placed. When you make your first purchase as a member, Brandless donates 10 meals through Feeding America — talk about some warm and fuzzy feelings.
The core of the Brandless strategy is to cut out normal marketing and retail store costs in order to return those savings to the consumer. That certainly got our attention!
Listen: Clark Howard talks about Brandless.com
Watch: Team Clark orders items from Brandless.com
Team Clark tries Brandless products
Team Clark tested items from brandless.com to see if these $3 products are worth your hard-earned money. The results are in and here’s how each item fared:
- Medium roast coffee pods — Christa, our resident picky coffee lover, tried these pods and loved them! She liked it so much that Christa even had her dad try it and he agrees! Meanwhile, producers Kim and Joel only thought the brew was so-so. Overall grade: B+
- Quinoa chips — many on Team Clark agreed that this snack is only ok. Overall grade: C+
- Blue corn chips — these seem on par with normal blue tortilla chips. Overall grade: B
- Maple syrup — Clark was so excited by this maple syrup that he drank it! (Watch him do it in the video below). Quality maple syrup is usually expensive so this is a good find. Overall grade: A
- Honey — it sweetened some hot tea just the same as other honey. Overall grade: A
- Yellow and white cheddar mac and cheeses — I love mac and cheese like Christa loves coffee (and would eat it just as often if it wouldn’t give me a stomach ache) so I was really excited to try both boxes of the white and yellow cheddar. My preferred brand is Annie’s, so I set up a blind taste test for my mom and brother to try since on the outside these boxed mac and cheeses look the same. My family came to the same conclusion that I did and chose Annie’s as the winner. Clark’s producer Joel also tried the Brandless boxes with his family and felt the same. Overall grade: B
- Tricolor pasta — the pasta tasted fine and absorbed the sauce just the same. Overall grade: B+
- Arrabiata sauce — for a jarred sauce it was ok, but there are better ones at the grocery store. Good if you like something just a little spicy. Overall grade: B-
- Sea salt popcorn — good and simple! Nothing exciting, but tasty. Overall grade: A
- Quinoa puffs — yuck, Clark and other team members were not fans of this too salty snack. Overall grade: F
- English breakfast tea — classic black tea for a reasonable price. Overall grade: A
- Chocolate chip cookie thins — have a little crunch and taste great! They give you enough chocolate to satisfy a craving. Overall score: A
- Toasted coconut cookie thins — yummy, but misleading. They taste more like sugar cookie thins than coconut. Overall grade: B
- Gummy worms — one word: TERRIBLE. We were expecting a sweet treat, but these were not real gummy worms. The consistency and flavor really grossed us out. Overall grade: F-
- Hand soap — nice smelling and does the job. Overall grade: A
- Toilet bowl cleaner — doesn’t do the job as well as dollar store
- Multi-surface cleaner — a dollar store magic eraser does the job done better. Works fine though. Overall grade: B-
- Cotton rounds — the rounds are so soft and do a wonderful job!
- Peppermint toothpaste — Clark was not a fan and it costs more than his 88 cent tube, but it did clean his teeth. Overall grade: C-
- Body lotion — unscented and not greasy, so it’s good for sensitive skin. It doesn’t seem to last very long and frequent reapplications are necessary for hands. However, for $3 it’s a good deal and good size tube of lotion! Overall grade: B
- Hand lotion — lightly scented simple lotion and a good size to keep in a desk. Overall grade: A
Listen: Team Clark’s take on Brandless items
So after testing many Brandless products, we decided that our overall experience was pretty average. However, if you have a dietary restriction — like kosher, gluten free or vegan — or just want to eat organic, then you should try the products you’re curious about.