12 back-to-school products you should never buy at Target

PSA: You'll be wasting your money.


Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

I love my weekly trip to Target almost as much as my bank account hates it. After all, from the basics to the I-really-don't-need-this purchases (looking at you, fourth pair of sandals bought this month), there's really nothing you can't get there, right?

That may be true—but just because you can buy something at Target, doesn't mean you should. Especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Below are 12 things from Target you can either find cheaper or better versions of somewhere else, from supplies to furniture.

1. Books

Credit: Dusanpetkovic/Getty Images

Budget tip: Buy used books.

When it comes to books, Target doesn't have much of a selection compared to other retailers, like Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Plus, if you order your required reading on Amazon, you can get your books used at much cheaper price. For example, a brand new hardcover copy of The Great Gatsby costs almost $20 at Target compared to a used copy in "like new" condition from Amazon for under $10.

Find more used books on Amazon

2. A new laptop

Credit: Goldwasser

The Chromebook Flip is a great laptop for students of all ages.

Target shouldn't be your go-to spot for electronics, particularly laptops. Not only does the retailer not have the best deals but it also has a very limited selection. If you want a Chromebook Flip, which is the best laptop for students for 2019, or even a MacBook, for instance, you'll have to look elsewhere, like Amazon, for competitive prices..

Get the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA from Amazon for $449

3. Phone accessories

Phone Case
Credit: JaCrispy/Getty Images

Amazon is your best bet for all things phone related.

Just like books and electronics, Target doesn't offer much variety in terms of phone accessories, especially cases. While you can find plenty of cheaper phone cases on Amazon, you can also find better quality ones, like the Spigen Slim Armor which was our testers' favorite heavy-duty case.

Get the Spigen Slim Armor Phone Case on Amazon for $12

4. Name brand groceries

Credit: Don Emmert/Getty Images

Save money by shopping the store brand at Target.

If you're stocking up on lunch-packing essentials at Target, step away from the Pepperidge Farm and Kraft products—Target's grocery store brand, Market Pantry, is pretty awesome when it comes to snacks, dairy, and pantry items (including cereal). You can snag a 12-pack of Market Pantry string cheese for $2.29 as opposed to the Kraft 12-pack which is $3.99, for example.

5. Batteries

Credit: Duracell

Batteries are a must-have for back-to-school season.

The next time you grab a pack of batteries while you're waiting in line at Target, don't. You can find these Duracell batteries (which are some of our favorite rechargeable batteries) on Amazon for about $2 less. You can also price them out at Costco, too, and buy in bulk.

Get a 20-pack of Duracell CopperTop AA Alkaline Batteries from Amazon for $13.41

6. Store brand paper products and trash bags

Credit: S847/Getty Images

Quality > cost.

While Target's store brand is great for groceries, there are some things in life worth paying a little extra for the brand name—like paper towels, trash bags, and toilet paper. For example, when our experts tested all different brands of toilet paper, they found that Target's Up and Up brand was the weakest and tore easily. A.k.a it's worth paying the extra money for a 12-pack of Charmin Ultra Soft, which is our top-rated toilet paper.

Get Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper from Amazon for $10.56

7. Sharpie permanent markers

Credit: Sharpie

So. Many. Colors.

What kid (or adult for that matter) isn't obsessed with Sharpies? Everyone's favorite permanent markers don't come cheap though, thanks to their good quality and vibrant colors. However, you can save money if you buy Sharpies from Amazon for $14.98 instead of from Target for $19.99.

Get Sharpie Electro Pop Permanent Markers from Amazon for $14.98

8. A portable charger

Credit: Desjardin

Keep your phone charged all day long.

A portable charger is a must-have if you're always on-the-go during the school year. And while Target does sell one of our top-rated portable chargers from Anker (which we like for its high-capacity and speedy charging), it's slightly more expensive at Target ($70) than it is on Amazon ($65.99).

Get the Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger from Amazon for $65.99

9. Bulk packs of snack bags

Credit: Frito Lay

Stock up on snacks for school the smart way.

Buying in bulk can save you a lot of money—if you do it the right way. And while snagging a supersize pack of snacks at Target is still more budget-friendly than buying individual bags, you can get your lunchbox stash cheaper at a wholesale store like Costco or on Amazon. For instance, a 36-pack of Pirate's Booty on Amazon is $11.38 compared to $19.99 at Target and a 28-pack of Frito-Lay snacks on Amazon is $8.99 compared to $10.99 at Target.

Get a 36-count pack of Pirate's Booty from Amazon for $11.38

10. An ironing board

Ironing Board
Credit: Honey-Can-Do

This Honey-Can-Do tabletop ironing board may be a better option than Target's.

An ironing board is on most people's dorm shopping lists—and according to reviewers, where you buy it matters. The standard ironing board at Target, while an attractively cheap $12, is of equally cheap quality (unhappy customers gave it an average 2.6 rating). You can get an ironing board for just a few dollars more on Amazon that has hundreds of five-star reviews for quality and sturdiness.

Get the Honey-Can-Do Tabletop Ironing Board from Amazon for $18.79

11. Room Essentials furniture

Credit: Target

Other stores, like Ikea, have better quality and selection of budget furniture.

While Target can be a great place to shop for furniture, you have to be picky about which pieces are worth it. If you're strictly looking for budget buys, you're likely better off shopping at Wayfair if you want good quality (and variety) for an affordable price. Target's lowest-end line, Room Essentials, doesn't have the best reviews and you'll be limited in what's available compared to other retailers.

12. A single-serve coffee maker

Credit: Goldwasser

Cut the cost of your cup of joe.

If you want the best single-serve coffee maker (as selected by our Reviewed testers!), skip Target and open up your Amazon cart instead. You'll save about $30 on the Nespresso VertuoPlus, which we love for its compact design and delicious flavor.

Get the Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee from Amazon for $149.84

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest, deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

Related content

Up next