There’s no denying the fact that AliExpress has a poor reputation when it comes to product quality. But is this reputation unfair or deserved? Hopefully, by the end of this article, you can decide whether it’s worth you buying or dropshipping products from AliExpress.
As a person who has purchased and dropshipped a plethora of different products from multiple categories on AliExpress, I believe I’m experienced enough to give you an accurate view of the overall view of product quality.
I have also provided a few examples of products I have personally purchased from AliExpress.
Is AliExpress Product Quality Good?
The product quality on AliExpress will vary drastically depending on the supplier you purchase from. Some suppliers are legitimate companies selling premium products whilst others are middlemen purchasing the items in bulk without being concerned about inferior quality.
I think it’s unfair to label the product quality on AliExpress as poor. It’s like claiming a shopping mall has bad quality products even though it’s filled with hundreds of shops, each one selling a different category of products and brands.
As a whole, the quality is really hit and miss. There are definitely some poorly made and inferior products that are a complete waste of money but there are also some high quality items which are of amazing value.
I believe it’s more about the quality of the suppliers than the quality of the products. In general, if you can find a reputable supplier who specializes within a specific niche, the quality is usually of a high standard. I have an article on the 9 most common problems with AliExpress if you’re interested.
There are, however, some products I have found to be more likely to be of inferior quality than others:
In my experience, electronics are notorious for being faulty and defective, especially computer accessories, hard drives and batteries. This will really depend on the type of electronics and the supplier you purchase from. If you plan to dropship any type of electronics, I would recommend ordering a sample first and conducting your own testing prior to selling it.
Clothing is not necessarily known for poor quality materials but the sizing can be very misleading. Many people complain about the disparities between the size guide shown on the product page and the actual measurements of the clothing itself.
Safety equipment can include a variety of products including; helmets, mouthguards, baby car seats, safety glasses, life vests, etc. Many of these products sold on AliExpress may not be required to meet the same safety standards as many Western countries. I would definitely be very wary of reselling any safety items from AliExpress.
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Examples of AliExpress Product Quality
I have purchased and tested hundreds of products from AliExpress, most of which were samples from dropshipping. Below are a few examples of products I have purchased from AliExpress with varied product quality.
I have dropshipped a ton of pet products over the years and I still have two boxes full of random pet supplies.
The quality of the glow in the dark dog collars was reasonable but the biggest complaint I received was the battery not being secure.
With the dog leashes, I had several complaints about stitching coming undone and the snap hook breaking.
Overall, the quality of pet products was mixed and I would not resell any pet supplies without ordering samples first.
This massage gun is an example of a product that far exceeded my expectations. The build and materials are high quality and the price was considerably lower than in most retail stores.
It feels like a premium product and I’m sure it would surprise people that it’s from AliExpress.
A popular product which has been branded and resold by many dropshippers over the past few years.
I purchased several varieties of retro game consoles and all of them did not work as described although some were worse than others.
The games were virtually unplayable and if you tried to dropship the versions I purchased, you would be dealing with a lot of returns and refunds.
Overall, I would say that I was happy with the overall quality of the items I ordered around 75% of the time. I did, however, try to only buy from experienced suppliers who had already sold a large number of the product. For more information, I suggest you read How to Dropship from AliExpress the Right Way.
How to Tell the Product Quality on AliExpress?
It’s not uncommon for AliExpress suppliers to send a slightly different version of the product than what is shown on their product page. There are many variations of the same product on AliExpress and suppliers will use whatever images they have access to even if it’s not the exact product.
It’s not always possible to tell the quality of products on AliExpress by the images alone. It can be easier to judge the quality of the product based on reading genuine reviews and only buying from experienced suppliers who have positive feedback scores.
Reading reviews is an effective way of receiving an objective view of the product, the problem is reviews are easy to fake. The vast majority of people who purchase products only leave reviews when they are unhappy with the product or the experience in some way.
If you purchase an item and you’re satisfied as the product is as you expected it to be, taking the time to write a review is not something you consider. Conversely, if you’re frustrated by the product, the packaging or the shipping you want to write a review right away.
In other words, I would be a little skeptical of reviews when most of them are 5 stars. Below is an example of customer reviews for a product that I would be a little apprehensive about trusting.
To get a better gauge of the quality of a product, you should read the reviews from customers in the 1 to 4-star rating range. Most genuine comments will be in this section and you will receive constructive information about the item quality.
Below is an example of customer experiences for a Nintendo Switch Console. Each customer gives 5-star ratings and mentions how perfect the product and packaging is and how fast the shipping was.
Apart from the 100% positive comments, the poorly written English is a giveaway that this was not written by customers in native English-speaking countries. Reading does not help you or tell you anything about the quality of the products.
When you click on the 1-star ratings for the same product you receive a very different perspective on the product quality, packaging and shipping times. You will receive far more objective opinions about the product quality by reading reviews from multiple star ratings.
The only way to know the quality of AliExpress products is to purchase a sample. With a sample, you can inspect, test and use the product for its intended purpose. Before ordering a sample, do not tell the supplier you plan to dropship the product otherwise they may send you a better version of the product and ship an inferior version to your customers.
Another point to be aware of is suppliers switching the actual product. Initially, they may send the agreed-upon product to your customer before switching to a more inferior version with lower quality materials to save money without telling you.
Does AliExpress or Alibaba Have Better Quality Products?
As a whole, Alibaba has better quality products than AliExpress. AliExpress suppliers are often sourcing the cheapest products available because they are not concerned with repeat business. Alibaba on the other hand requires repeat business for their success which results in higher quality items.
Most of the buyers on AliExpress are consumers and they are not concerned with purchasing products from the same supplier. The goal of an AliExpress seller is to make the sale even if the customer experience is not ideal.
It’s very different on Alibaba, you don’t have millions of shoppers looking for a quick bargain, instead, you have legitimate businesses searching for quality goods. Their success lies in long-term business partnerships and you can’t achieve this with inferior products made from low-quality materials.
Often, the location of the manufacturers within China will determine the overall quality of the products. Each region of China specializes in specific industries meaning they will have access to the best resources which will result in higher quality products at cheaper costs.
I wish I could give you an exact answer as to the overall quality of AliExpress products but hopefully from reading this you can tell the quality varies. These are my key takeaways:
- Don’t risk buying expensive products on AliExpress unless you know they will be high quality.
- Only buy from reputable sellers. The quality of the suppliers is the cause of the product quality.
- There are some niches of products that are more likely to be low quality than others.
- Don’t always trust reviews. Read the 1 to 4-star reviews to get a more genuine view of the product quality.
- Don’t always trust product images.
- If you plan to dropship, always order samples first!