The thrift store is a great place to take advantage of dirt cheap prices and used items with character. But as most people know, not everything should be bought used. Take a look at some of the best quality kitchen items you can get on the cheap at the thrift store – and some that you should avoid at all costs:

Best Thrift Store Buys for the Kitchen



Thrift shops are great places to find whole sets of dishes for as little as $20. You can also go for the coordinating, not matching, look by finding like pieces of glassware at the thrift store. You can also take advantage of glass mixing and serving bowls on the cheap Just give those items a really good wash at home and you’re good to go.

Serving Platters

These are nice to have for special occasions, but it stinks to spend a fortune on pieces you don’t use often. Head to the thrift store to grab attractive serving platters for those times when you’re hosting a party.

Cast Iron Pans

If you’re lucky enough to find a cast iron pan in good condition at the thrift store, then you should snatch it up immediately. With proper care, cast iron pans can last forever, so grab one at a great price at your local thrift store.

Blenders/Food Processors

You can find great deals on gadgets like these at thrift stores. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect them for cleanliness before you buy. And ask if you can plug it in at the store to ensure it works before you buy.

Slow Cookers

We’re obviously big fans of slow cookers here at Tip Hero. And if you want to grab one on the cheap, your local thrift store is the place to go. Look for a sturdy crock pot with a ceramic liner.

Kitchen Gadgets Like Spatulas

Need a kitchen item or two, like a spatula or a serving spoon? Check out the thrift store’s options before you spend more at another retailer.


Daily Finance has some great insight on the subject of cookbooks:

When you page through cookbooks in a thrift shop, don’t look for favorite subjects or the shiniest pages. Look for the most used book of all; the one with pages splattered with olive oil and flour and tomato sauce. The one whose recipes were followed, and then followed again. Cooking from an “experienced” cookbook is the next best thing to learning from an experienced cook.


Things You Should Generally Avoid


Metal Baking Pans

Old pans are very likely already rusting or will start to rust soon. And that’s not going to make for good cake or cookies. Stick to stainless steel or ceramic options.

Plastic Cups and Containers

Since plastic can carry strange smells and not doesn’t always come truly clean, it’s not a great used buy. It also breaks down over time, so it can be a waste of money to buy something that won’t last very long.

Seasonal Platters and Dishes

It can be tempting to take advantage of those Christmas tree dishes or an Easter bunny platter, but items that can only be used one day out of the year aren’t a great buy even if you buy at the thrift store. Stick with dishes and serving pieces that are good year-round for the best value.

Coffee Makers

Even though we are coffee drinkers, we agree with Northern Cheapskate on this topic:

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ve seen how coffee drinkers neglect their coffee makers.  It’s gross.  I’m not convinced there’s any amount of cleaning that can make a used coffee maker a bargain in my book.  Only buy one at a thrift store if it’s brand new in the box.

What do you think are the best and worst thrift store finds? Have any epic thrift store tales to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!