Target vs. Mattel: Money Savers or Money Spenders

As you know from one of Sylvie’s posts, Target also makes a version of American Girl Dolls and furniture. Except, their prices range from $20 to $40. American Girl’s prices range from $60 to $325. Big diffrence, right? In another one of Sylvie’s posts, her mom brought her broken items to the American Girl Store and the person at the counter said they weren’t well made. Why do you think they sell these items for that much money, then? Are they a little too greedy?


This Target version of an ice skater, rather like Mia, is $39.99. But, maybe, it’s a lot cheaper than American Girl because the dolls aren’t as well made. What do you think?


This is Mia, an ice skater just like the doll above. She is sold for $90, as most of you know. Which one looks like it’s better made, and which one looks like it’s more fun to play with?

A little while ago, I got a salon chair from Target for my birthday. It was a lot cheaper than American Girl’s salon chair, and works just the same.


This is the salon chair from Target. It comes with hair supplies, like a blow dryer, spray bottle, curlers, scissors, a brush, and the chair for only $19.99. I think it’s a great deal.


This is the salon chair from American Girl. It costs $49 for just the chair. If you want hair styling tips and tricks, you have to pay an extra $7.95. I know Target has the better deal, but which one do you think is better to do your doll’s hair in?

As you can see, the doll from Target looks a little cheap on the outside, but it’s pretty much the same as American Girl. Target has a much better deal, and you can do the same things with each item.


March 23, 2008. Comparison.


  1. Randi replied:

    Though I agree that American Girl is very expensive and other lines of dolls can be a perfectly good and an affordable choice there IS a very noticeable difference in quality, at least when it comes to the actual dolls.

    I do not have a lot of experience with accessories from the lines, but when it comes to the dolls there are many aspects of the Target line which are inferior in quality. Some of these include: hair quality, limb attachment, skin coloring, and body fabric. These dolls also offer more limited hair and eye color choices. There are certainly reasons to choose the inexpensive doll, but there are also reasons to choose a higher quality product. Consumers should be aware of this difference in making a choice about which doll to buy.

    There are also other brands of dolls which are priced in the middle of these two brands and there are options to buy quality second hand dolls if desired.

  2. Marybelle replied:

    I have experience with both american girl and our generation ( target) dolls. All of my american girl dolls are ( though too expensive) well made, they can last a life time. They are of the best quality of dolls. Espcially when it comes to hair. My sisters both had an our generation doll at one point in time, the wigs for both of them became a complete mess within a couple months after buying them.
    THey were pretty much in-usable because there hair was such a big knot, so they were no fun to play with. I also had experience with dolls from MICHAELS craft store, her hair quickly knarrled too. Plus my families two tolly girls right leg fell off, one of them fell off while putting on the shoe which came with the doll.
    Also when you feel the skin of the our generation you can just tell they are of poor quality.

    However all 6 of the american girl dolls in this house, after having them for a quite a while, are in still almost perfect condition.

    I personally think that Mia looks much prettier then the our generation doll.

    BUT I am not sure wether the quality matters as much for the accesories. I have never had an american girl doll horse, but I have had 2 our generation horses. Both of the horses came with nice accesories, and have been pretty easy to keep in good condition. Though all the our generation accesories just seem a little cheapier and then the american girl accesories, they seem to work fine, so I believe it is a good choice to buy an american girl doll, that can last a life time, then some less expensive not name brand accesories for your doll, they work just as well but your paying like half price.

  3. I Luv AG replied:

    I have the our generation salon chair and tub and those are nice but I agree with the others that there are obvious differences in quality. Also with the our generation outfits, they come with plastic shoes and thin material, ag outfits dont. Also the dolls look different to begin with and the Our Generation dolls break easier.

  4. Julia replied:

    Hey I’m Julia I’m 10 years old almost 11, I really wanna have a doll named just like you she is so cute

  5. Sofia replied:

    I think that they are both the same and my daughter has had a genertation doll for years! and my older daughter wanted an AG doll and insisted that they are different well my husband thought(and did!) buy her an OG doll for christmas and it turns out that my older daughter said that she was GLAD that she got an OG instead of AG but its the parents choice go for a cheaper OG or have an expensive AG doll which is the same doll as the OG doll, your choice.

  6. cambrie replied:

    well,even though og is cheaper and sold at a more convineant(spelled wrong)place,ag dolls and accesories are WAY HIGHER QUALITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. rachel hendriks replied:

    tthese dolls are amazing you guys or girls rock for making them thanks!!

    9 years old

  8. Angelica replied:

    Hi for a couple months i had 5 og dolls my mom saw them at a yardsale and thought they were ag dolls so me and my sis played with them until are cousin got Kit Kitredge i started visiting the website and took that test so di my sis and then we really want Molly ,Josefina.I think ag is prettier well im only 12.

  9. angelica replied:

    Well now we have our dolls Molly,josefina with theyre beds and matching pj’s.Me=12 my sis=8

  10. jacsan replied:

    I havent seen og dolls personally. I had Springfield Collection. These r very pretty. But the quality is very inferior compared to Ag dolls. I also have to admit. I have bought used AG dolls and they are extremely easy to restore to their brand new condition, just the way they were when taken out of a box. I also understand that for smaller children maybe a less expensive doll is more fun to play with since u don’t have to worry of ruining an expensive doll. On the other hand, AGs, although can be ruined if they are roughly handled, they can be restored quite easily. Maybe a good solution is to get used AG dolls until the child is big enough to handle carefully an ag doll.

  11. elizabeth replied:

    i thin american dolls are better my cousin autem and ashley got one. i dont know which one. i want josefina. my little cousen angelina wannts rebecca. cause i have nothing to do cause im sick . i went to there website it rocked. i wanted kaya but i changed my mind. i want josefina my cousin 4 me 8 bro 11 posted on November 13 2009 at 8 03

  12. nadia sackmaster replied:

    hey they have dolls lick AG dolls at Michael’s craft store and there $17.00 those save a lot of money

  13. abbey replied:

    It depends. If you are looking for a doll for a girl under lets say the age of 8, then go with a cheeper one. Cause the doll will most likely get dirty, played with, and carried around all the time. For 8 and up, i reccomend american girl. Even though they are expensive, amaerican girl has alot of accesories that are fun, cool outfits, and even things like pets, furniture, and tables. Plus, american girl dolls will last longer and they all around are just made to last longer and to look nicer. So basically i think you get what you pay for.

  14. Riley replied:

    this doll(mia) is so cute I have her and I love her.but the only problem with her is her hair color.she is hard to buy clothes for cuz her hair doesn’t match hardly

  15. Lanie replied:

    shhhhhhhhhhhhhh up i love american girl dolls they are better than others

    • JuJu replied:

      I Love Love LOve Tori and the AG Dolls! I have lots of fun when we play together!!

  16. daniella replied:

    i have a really cute ag doll! shes a girl of the yr doll her name is chrissa ive had her for a few months and she still looks brand new!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Jill replied:

    I have a family member that works for American Girl and she is able to get them for me at their sale for $15! I just got Mia and Emily. They are WAY better quality, but I don’t know that I would buy them if I had to pay the almost $100. Plus their accessories are ridiculously expensive.

  18. ana luisa replied:

    american girls are super cool

  19. Lily replied:

    I have one of the cheaper dolls and I also have Mia. The cheaper doll’s hair after I played with her once stuck up and got really ratty

  20. tori replied:

    I like my ag doll sooooo much her name is Mia and she has brown long hair .I love to fix her hair aiot ilke to put curlers in it . I like her shoes and she is my friend . I like to sew with my JuJU it makes me happy and they look grate.

  21. Alisha replied:

    I agree with others that it depends on age, as well as the person in general. I was taught at a very young age to take good care of my toys and I’d tried to ever since. I’m 21 years old and have recently gotten back into doll collecting. So I’m going to say, age aside, it’s worth taking into consideration what your dolls are for. If they’re just for playing with (especially rougher play, a cheaper one might be better. But if, like me, you’re either just collecting them or are modeling clothes you’ve made for them and need to be able to style their hair as well (I guess that’s still kind of playing with your dolls! ;)), then I’d recommend a high-quality doll such as American Girl. Also, consider how the gift recipient feels about the number of her dolls. Frankly, I’ve always put quality above quantity, even if it would mean just one doll in my whole life. The same goes for the accessories, sure a lot of the AG ones are expensive, but as long as your daughter doesn’t lose them I don’t think you’ll ever have to buy it again, therefore it actually ends up being a bit cheaper. Sometimes it’s fun to try making your own accessories too. Just recently I made a doll clothes closet out of one of my Life of Faith boxes, a shoe rack out of a cereal box, and a TV and DVD player out of Styrofoam!

    May I ask a question? Someone on here asked about maybe shooting for a middle-priced doll rather than one extreme or the other. I noticed recently that Strasburg Children does have a few dolls to sell along with matching outfits for girls and dolls. Does anybody know how good their quality is? The pictures online make me think they’re all right, and so did the dolls on display in the store in our mall, even if they’re a bit ruffled from people handling them. They’re $43 (used to be $62) so I would think maybe they’re a bit in between OG and AG/LOF as far as their quality goes.

  22. Sarah replied:

    I want an AG doll for Christmas, but my older sister thinks that that they are a little too expensive. And hearing me talk about it, my 6 year old younger sister wants one too. So I’ve been looking at the reviews of the Madame Alexander Friends Boutique dolls (sold at our Wal-mart for $20), and apparently they are terrible cuz they have hollow arms & legs. so I’m thinking of getting her an Our Generation doll instead because some other website said that they are pretty good and their hair is fine if you leave it in braids or ponytails. Suggestions?

  23. Jazzy replied:

    I have an American girl doll but i also have a cheaper 18″ doll (designafriend doll). And once i had bought it the differences where hugely noticable. For example the american girl dolls hair can be played whith and styled whlst the others once brushed comes out. Also the plastic made for the American girl dolls is much stronger and superior than the cheaper design a friend doll. So my advice is that maybe the accesories and furniture for other dolls such as designafriend,Our generation or madame Alexandra dolls is cheaper and similar but it is probably best to buy an American girl doll if you want a doll that will last longer and is nicer to play whith. Even if it does mean saving up for ages and ages!

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