Our Aldi Product Hall of Shame: 10 of the Worst Items We’ve Ever Seen

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all posts on Aldi Reviewer, this piece is the opinion of its respective authors. Also like all posts, comments are welcome, although we ask users to be mindful of our Community Guidelines.

I happen to like most of what Aldi sells. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, repeatedly, by the quality of the grocer’s food. I’ve also found some of its limited-time non-food items to often be better than I might expect, including things I bought more than a decade ago that I still use today.

No company bats a thousand when it comes to products, though. No one. Aldi is no different. Some Aldi products, both in the food and non-food departments, have ended up as duds.

Not to be confused with the “aisle of shame,” here is our Aldi Hall of Shame: 10 of the worst products we’ve ever had to deal with from Aldi. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts in the comments.

Easy Home Cordless Stick Vacuum (2022)

We had high hopes for this vacuum, which we bought to replace another Aldi vacuum we’d bought years before. Alas, this wasn’t the one: it was DOA, failing to do anything but blink a light at us. We had no choice but to return it. Still one of the greatest disappointments we’ve ever had over an Aldi purchase.

Kung Pao Broccoli (2019)

Season's Choice Kung Pao Broccoli

Here’s what we said: “We’ve had kung pao sauce before and this product bears no resemblance to anything with that name that we’ve had. Instead, this broccoli is a bland, peppery disappointment. None of our testers made it past a single bite. Consider us highly disappointed.” To this day, we’re mystified how this made it through quality control.

Gardenline PRO Series Thumb Control Adjustable Nozzle (2018)

Gardenline PRO Series Hose Nozzle Assortment

This sure looked promising. Sturdy build quality, at least on the surface. Ergonomic handle. Adjustable spray. And, best of all, controls that didn’t involve pulling a trigger.

The problem? It stopped working after a month. Even worse? Unlike same model that was sold at other stores, the Aldi version didn’t come with a warranty.

The End of the Good Tikka Masala (2019)

The Aldi Tikkas

For a time, Aldi sold the best store-bought tikka masala we’d ever had. We’d tried other jarred tikka sauces, including several well-known brands, and almost none of them came close.

And then, Aldi phased it out. Most of the time, when Aldi tweaks its products, it does so for the better, introducing an improved version. This was the opposite: then and later, every replacement Aldi stocked — and the store has gone through a lot of tweaks on the tikka front — has proven inferior to this hallowed original.

Adventuridge Portable Campfire (2022)

Some products have problems. This portable campfire was a special kind of disastrous. It was nearly impossible to get lit. Once we managed to do so, it decided to boil over 30 minutes into use. And don’t even get us started on the ants. We’ll never buy one of these ever again.

Crane Ladies’ Swimsuit (2022)

Crane Ladies Swimsuit

Ill-fitting bra cups? Strike one. Too tight around the posterior and too short in the abdomen? Strike two. A potentially see-through yellow section. Yeah, that’s definitely a strikeout.

Bauhn Accessories Radio Alarm Clock (2017)

Bauhn Accessories Radio Alarm Clock 2

Aldi doesn’t have a great track record with alarm clocks, like with this wireless charging model that users had trouble with. But for us, nothing surpassed the indignity that was the Bauhn radio clock from 2017. The saddest part was that it did keep time and otherwise do what it was supposed to. It even had some bells and whistles, like a USB port.

The problem? The control layout was stupefyingly bad, making simple operations difficult to perform without consulting the manual. The array of buttons on the top, along with other assorted controls, made this thing a sort of self-contained electronic labyrinth. This was most apparent late one night when someone accidentally turned on the alarm, it went off in the middle of the night, and we spent several fruitless minutes in the dark trying to turn it off before finally just giving up and unplugging the thing. We replaced it shortly thereafter.

Handheld Steam Cleaner (2018)

Easy Home Hand Held Steam Cleaner

Years ago, we tried out a steam cleaner from Aldi. It proved very effective … at making a lot of noise and kicking up a lot of steam. When it came to cleaning things? Not so much, unless you count toothpaste on the mirror. We returned it.

Huntington Home 10-Tier Shoe Tower (2021)

Huntington Home 10 Tier Shoe Tower

Shoes rest at an angle on the bars.

A shoe tower really has one job: to hold shoes. That’s it. If a tower fails at that, it fails at everything.

This tower could not hold shoes. Because the shoes sat at an angle, the shoes regularly slid off the tower. After months of frustration, we gave up and replaced it with something better.

Gardenline Cleveland Select Pear Tree (2019)

Aldi pear tree

In 2019, Aldi sold a tree. Cool, right? Except the tree was a non-native tree that is so invasive that some states have banned it entirely. Like other ornamental pear trees, such as the Bradford Pear, these trees grow quickly, spread like weeds, and crowd out native life. The Cleveland Pear is at least more durable than the brittle Bradford Pear, but as trees go this was a poor option. The good news is that Aldi didn’t sell it after that year, to the best of our knowledge.

Cat and Dog Advent Calendars (2020-2021)

This story, at least, has a redemption arc.

In 2020 and again in 2021, Aldi sold Advent calendars for cats and dogs. They had problems, though: our cat hated the 2020 version, and our resident dog had trouble chewing the 2021 one. What’s more, in 2021, another shoe dropped: Aldi recalled both of the calendars over concerns about choking. We can’t say we were all that surprised.

The good news is that Aldi learned, and in 2022 the treats got better: the cat calendar especially but also the dog calendar to a certain extent. Most importantly, no one seems to be choking on them anymore.

Do you have an infamous Aldi product you think belongs in the Hall of Shame? Tell us about it in the comments. Just remember our Community Guidelines.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at joshuaajohnston.com.


  1. Loved the posting. Big smiles here today.

  2. Target’s “made by design” line had an identical shoe rack. It was good at first but the metal fasteners (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) got loosened up very quickly and easily, making it very unstable. When you would try to tighten them, they would end up either getting stripped or just loosening up again after a few weeks. I finally got rid of mine after I was in my living room and heard a yelp… it had entirely collapsed (shoes and all) onto my dog (she was fine, just shaken up)

  3. antoinette berkshire

    Absolutely true about that shoe tree. Nothing would stay on it.

  4. Purchased 6 or 7 bags of Gardenline potting soil either in May or June of 2023.
    So disappointed I am. There’s more wood chips than actual soil. Tomatoes don’t grow in it. I’ve planted several different vegetable seeds in a bunch of pots and nothing seems to grow past an inch or so…however lots of mushrooms keep popping up out of the Aldi soil.
    Bad move on my part. I should have invested in good potting soil from a garden place or a Home Depot type of store. No tomatoes this year 🤦

    • I agree! I’ve gotten tomatoes, but VERY few. One beefsteak the size of a plum tomato and 10 cherry tomatoes the size of cherries! And I have 3 plants!

      • I think Aldi garden soil and potting soil used to be better quality. I used Aldi garden soil to fill a new large raised bed last year, and plant growth in that bed has been anemic. I used to give Aldi soil high marks up until pretty recently, but I’m thinking I’ll use Miracle-Gro mix from my local hardware store from now on.

  5. Please add to the list of shameful products Aldi’s Crofton Filtration Pitcher. Introduced in early 2023, this water pitcher functioned as it should, that is, until I attempted to locate a replacement filter cartridge. Unsuccessful, I wrote to Aldi but received no reply.
    Oops! It seems that the buyers at Aldi did not plan to continue supplying replacement filters once the pitchers sold out.
    I finally did mange to locate the exact replacement filter… on Amazon. But a fellow who worked for the filter manufacturer informed me that the style of filter I needed was going to be phased out.
    On the brighter side, even after five months of use I was able to return the pitcher for a full refund. Way to go, Aldi!

  6. The tiki masala debacle still hurts 😫

    • It sure does and I think it every time I am in that section of the aisle, slow down to search hopefully, then continue sadly on wondering WHY?! 🤯 All of the sauces in that line were delicious and they were a consistent stock up item in our household, making sure to have one of each in the pantry with usually two of the tikka. Each family member had a favorite, but we enjoyed them all.

  7. The June 2023 key lime thin cookies were nearly inedible. I had high expectations because the key lime cheese cake was wonderful.

    • We had high hopes and a poor experience with the countertop compost bucket.

      1. Charcoal filter in the lid fell off immediately into the compost.
      2. Almost impossible to lift the inner “ring” to place the compost bag so it didn’t hang over the outside.
      3. No hinged lid, so you had to pull the lid on/off when you wanted to put compost in and most of the time our hands were dirty/wet so the bucket exterior was constantly dirty.
      4. Narrow opening, so you could only add a few scraps at a time, and not, for instance, sweep the contents of a cutting board or knock a filter full of coffee grinds into the bucket.

      In theory it worked! A bucket to hold scraps. But the design was extremely poor and we returned it.

    • That’s funny because we loved them!

  8. Did you try rotating the shoes 180 degrees? To me, the way they are shown in the photo is backwards of how I would put shoes on a rack.

  9. I had the opposite experience with the thumb controlled hose sprayer. I loved the one we had. I remember it being all green though, so maybe it was a different one.

  10. The Alarm Clock! AWFUL,I could not figure it out! I blamed myself too.I am happy to know it was not only me.I did not even return it.

  11. We purchased a counter top can opener for our vacation home. Looked sturdy and was tall enough to open tall cans, which was a definite plus. Even though it was not in daily use, the plastic part necessary for it to work failed almost immediately, making the can opener useless. Was a huge disappointment and total waste of money. We love ❤️ Aldi, but this can opener was a huge miss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *