Many people — whether they are at a drug store, supermarket, clothing store, or the makeup department — look back and forth between the generic brands and the popular brands, trying to figure out which one is better. Generics are usually cheaper, and saving money is one of the biggest benefits of buying such products. Many generic products also have the same quality as popular brands; generic aspirin, for example, contains the same active ingredients as brand name aspirin. At the same time, some of these products may be less effective, especially in pharmaceuticals. There also may be inferior ingredients that affect taste, texture, or other aspects of the products.
The primary benefit of purchasing generic brands instead of name brands is saving money. Except for a few isolated cases, they usually are significantly cheaper than name brands. The packaging may not be as colorful as a name-brand product, but most people do not mind this difference when it means saving a few dollars. With clothing, many unadvertised brands' pants and shirts look very similar to those of name brands, so more generic clothing may be preferred unless a very specific look is required.
Many generics are made from the same ingredients as their name-brand counterparts. This goes for foods, drinks, medications, and many other generic products. Those that share the same ingredients as established brands usually have the same, or very similar, quality, so the consumer is saving money without sacrificing much of anything.
While there are many benefits to generic brands, there also can be many problems. When it comes to some medications, makeup products, and toiletries, the generic version is not always as effective. Generic aspirin and many cold medicines may have the same active ingredients as brand-name medicine, but there are other medications with ingredients that are not as effective at healing patients. Brand-name makeup tends to stay on better and have better color than generic types; and most generic toiletries are not as effective at cleaning, nor are they as absorbent.
Along with not being as effective, some generic brands also use inferior ingredients. For foods, a generic may use ingredients that cannot replicate the texture or taste of brand names, which means the consumer will have to sacrifice quality if this is the case. Before purchasing a generic product, the consumer should check the ingredients to see if it is comparable to the brand name.