These products are great but they're massively overpriced.
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I have a bone to pick with Williams Sonoma. As much as I love their pumpkin spice bread mix and peppermint bark, their prices can be quite outrageous on a lot of the things they sell. Yes, I understand that elite cooking brands like All-Clad, Breville, and Le Creuset do come at a cost. But some of these products are sold at their list price at Williams Sonoma, where other retailers often have them for less—so you’re basically losing money by shopping there if you’re not comparison shopping.
Even worse, their sales can be highly misleading. Often times they’ll slap a high “suggested price” on a product to make the discount look sweeter, when in reality their sale price is still more expensive than the competition. Now, I’m not saying cooking products sold at Williams Sonoma aren’t high quality (we’ve even tested a few of them ourselves and loved them), they can sometimes just be massively overpriced, so you need to shop smart when you head to their store or site.
We dug deeper into some of the most popular products sold at Williams Sonoma to see if they could be purchased at another retailer for a better price. Here at 10 things you should never buy at Williams Sonoma.
Williams Sonoma might have their own line of incredible cookbooks on vegetables, pressure cooking, and basically every type of cuisine you could ever want, but Amazon still reigns supreme in book prices. You can get nearly all the William Sonoma cookbooks for cheaper at the online giant. For example, the popular Vegetable of the Day cookbook is $8 less on Amazon and the Williams Sonoma Instant Pot cookbook is also $4 cheaper, so you’re better off buying both there instead.
Victorinox knives are known for their quality and affordability. That’s why they’ve made our lists as the best budget chef knives we’ve ever tested. But they’re even more affordable when you buy them at retailers other than Williams Sonoma. The Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife is usually goes for around $34.95 on Amazon, but is a full $10 more at Williams Sonoma—and that’s the sale price. You can often find Victorinox paring knives and boning knives cheaper on Amazon, too.
While Smeg stand mixers and tea kettles may look completely Instagramable on your kitchen counter, they don’t have the performance to match. Throughout our own testing of various cooking products, we’ve found that Smeg products aren’t worth it, especially with their high price tags (I’m looking at you, Dolce and Gabbana “Sicily Is My Love” collection). Instead, stick to brands like Breville, KitchenAid, and Cuisinart, which we found perform at the top of their class and still look sleek.
Cast iron skillets are a somewhat magical cookware because they can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill. Lodge has made a name for itself as the best of the best in cast iron. But they’re not at their best prices at Williams Sonoma. A Lodge 12-Inch Cast-Iron Fry Pan costs twice as much there than it does at Walmart, which is insane. You might as well buy two (or just save some money) at the big box store instead.
My mother, a semi-professional baker, always has at least three bottles of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract in her pantry. This stuff is hailed as the superior vanilla extract for using pure vanilla, which adds an intense flavor to all baked goods. But I hope she doesn’t buy it at Williams Sonoma. It’s about $6 more expensive there than at Amazon, so if you’re a serious baker, you can save a lot by getting it elsewhere.
The Instant Pot may be coveted, but that doesn’t mean you should pay full price for it. The Instant Pot Duo is currently on sale at both Williams Sonoma and Amazon—only Amazon is selling it for $5 less and typically has better sales for the model in general. Plus, Williams Sonoma also jacked up the suggested price to $200, which is double the typical price of an Instant Pot. This makes it look like you’re saving more, when in reality it’s only a $20 discount.
If you don’t already own one, a food processor is a kitchen gadget you probably never knew you needed. Yes, you can make salsa and hummus and it, but you can also use it to shred cheese and quickly slice or rice vegetables. The Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor is the best one we’ve ever tested. It’s currently “on sale” at Williams Sonoma for $200, but you can get it for $50 less at Walmart, where it’s truly on sale.
Coffee snobs will tell you that a good pour-over coffee maker makes the smoothest cup of coffee. Plus, you can save even more by making it at home compared to the Starbucks habit you’re trying to kick—but not if you get our favorite pour-over coffee maker at Williams Sonoma. The Hario V60 Coffee Pour-Over Coffee Maker Kit costs $50 at Williams Sonoma, but you can get it for $15 less at Amazon. That’s basically the cost of a few fancy coffees at Starbucks.
If you want to make good coffee at home, you’re going to want good beans. Coffee shops and coffee snobs alike use illy coffee for its perfect grinds and smooth flavor. But if you want to save more on your morning cup of joe, I would get it at Amazon for just $10 as opposed to Williams Sonoma, where you’d be paying $5 more.
Having a toaster oven is a game changer. Not only does it make, well, toast, but you can also use it as a mini oven for baking Pilsbury cookies or cooking a frozen pizza without having to wait for the oven to heat up. You probably want the best of the best, which we found to be the Breville Smart Oven Pro. It’s pretty pricey in general, but it’s even more expensive at Williams Sonoma, where it’s nearly $100 more than what you can get for it on Amazon.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.