5 Tech Items You Shouldn’t Buy at the Dollar Store

You don’t have to go to an electronics store to find tech items; You’ll find tech gadgets at general retailers and even discount stores. But while it may seem like a tempting deal to buy cheap tech stuff at a dollar store, it’s best to avoid these items. We’ll look at common problems with low-priced products sold in these locations and what you should spend your money on instead.

1. Headphones, speakers and other audio devices

You often come across wired earbuds, wireless headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and similar audio devices at discount stores. While these can serve as a stopover when you have no other choice — if you forget to bring your headphones on a long trip and don’t want to disturb others in the car, for example — if you don’t then you should not buy cheap audio equipment. If you’re buying headphones for a short time, check out our thrift store tech buying guide for best results.

As you’d expect, a speaker or set of headphones you’ll find for less than $10 will sound awful. It will be enough to amplify the sound more than what your phone’s speakers can, but that’s about it.

Weak sound with no clear bass or highs. Bargain wireless speakers and headphones can expect short battery life. And thanks to the bad build quality, the device will break or fall apart before then.

If you are not in an emergency, your money is much better for higher quality audio equipment. For a little more money, you’ll see a significant increase in music quality and maximum volume. Brands like Anker, available on Amazon, offer solid sound quality without the luxury of pricing.


It makes more sense to buy a $40 set of headphones to use for several years, than to spend $10 every few months on a bad set of headphones that keep breaking.

2. USB drive

While you probably don’t buy flash drives very often, if you find yourself in need of USB storage, avoid buying the drive at the drugstore or dollar store. Cheaper flash drives in these locations will almost certainly use the old USB 2.0 standard, which transfers files much slower than modern USB 3 drives. See our guide to USB cables to learn more about this.

These lowest priced drives have poor build quality, which means they are more likely to fail or fail than branded drives. This can eventually cause you a lot of problems if the flash drive stops working with important files on it.

Another problem with buying flash drives at non-tech stores is that they are overpriced for the capacity you get. For example, at the time of writing, Rite Aid offers a 32GB USB 2.0 SanDisk Cruzer flash drive for $17. Meanwhile, Amazon has a 128GB SanDisk USB 3.0 flash drive for roughly the same price – a much better product for the money.

If you can’t wait for Amazon delivery, you can get the right drives for a reasonable price at Walmart. Like the rest of the items we’re discussing, you get more for less by avoiding thrift stores.

3. Phone charger and cable

Like the headphones discussed above, cheap cables are another example where you might have to buy one when you have no other choice. But if you can help, skip the junk phone chargers and opt for something higher quality.

The biggest reason to avoid dollar store cables is that they can be dangerous. High-quality cables meet certain standards and have technology inside to help them manage the charge they’re sending to your devices. Super cheap cables may not have these standards, which makes them risky.

At best, a lousy cable will cause your device to charge too slowly (or not charge at all) and fail after a short while due to poor build quality. At worst, it can warp your device’s battery or even cause a fire. It’s not worth the savings if you’re using something all the time, especially when cables are exposed to sensitive currents.

Instead, you should buy multiple chargers from a reputable brand. There are plenty of options, such as braided cables for extra durability or long cables that you can use throughout the room.

4. Battery

While you might be tempted to buy a spare battery pack at a discount store for your Xbox controller or other non-rechargeable tech, the savings are clearly misguided.

The biggest concern is that most batteries sold in dollar stores are carbon-zinc, not alkaline like standard batteries. Carbon zinc batteries don’t hold as much charge as alkaline batteries, so you’ll need to change them more often. They are great for low power devices like TV remotes or watches, but high power devices like game controllers will drain their power quickly.

Another problem is that batteries at dollar stores and the like can come from another retailer’s closure, which means the battery’s expiration date is earlier than the one you bought from a standard store. . That makes these batteries a waste if you buy them for future emergencies, such as powering a flashlight during a power outage.

Finally, cheap batteries are generally inferior to branded batteries. They can weigh more despite looking the same, or produce less power due to internal inefficiencies stemming from low quality control.

To stock up on batteries, it’s best to purchase a large pack of a trusted brand of alkaline with an expiration date many years into the future. Also, consider buying a rechargeable battery that you don’t have to throw away.

5. Phones and Tablets

While phones and tablets are notoriously too expensive to appear at a real dollar store, some grocery stores and other discount stores sell these devices in the $15 to $30 range. Like the rest of the items on this list, the initial exciting sale hides a substandard product.

If you see a phone or tablet in this price range, it’s almost certainly an Android device running an older version of the operating system, with meager storage, weak components, and a large screen. bad. If you need a phone in an emergency, it may be suitable, but you should never buy these devices for long-term use.

There are cheap smartphones for $100 or less that will perform much better than anything at the dollar store. If you’re looking for a cheap tablet, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 offers a great budget device that you won’t have to worry about using.

Spend money at best value

Everyone loves getting a bargain, but paying a small amount for a sundries is not a deal. Rather, good value comes from buying something that fits what you want at a price you can afford. Because the technology at the dollar store is low quality, you get a much more premium product for spending a little more.

After you’re done shopping at the store, be sure to take advantage of the best online deals sites.

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https://www.makeuseof.com/tech-items-shouldnt-buy-dollar-store/ 5 Tech Items You Shouldn’t Buy at the Dollar Store

Sarah Ridley

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