The best and worst of Amazon Basics

This past week the editors at USA Today looked at the extensive collection of products in Amazon’s private brand AmazonBasics. Their reviews reveal not only their thoughts on “What to buy from AmazonBasics” but “What not to buy from AmazonBasics.”

The best and worst products from Amazon’s affordable store brand

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

AmazonBasics isn’t the flashiest brand in the game—it sells, well, the basics. Like the store brand of your favorite cereal, the AmazonBasics line is made up of Amazon-branded versions of several popular items that typically cost less than their name-brand counterparts.

Batteries, cables, dishcloths, and other home essentials are its raison d’être, and lets face it: those are some pretty unsexy products. Sifting through AmazonBasics is like sifting through the flotsam that washes ashore on Tom Hank’s island in Cast Away; you might find a cool pair of ice skates, but for the most part, you’re looking at VHS tapes and a dress that doesn’t fit.

But if you know where to look, you can find some absolutely killer products that live under the AmazonBasics umbrella. Like, well, an AmazonBasics Umbrella ($14.99 and under!) Here are the best and worst buys from Amazon’s store brand.

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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.