Blurred line of difference between Cheap and Inexpensive product

Last few days I have been searching for DashCam for my car. As usual, I was stuck with many available choices across all price ranges with mixed reviews all over the places. So many choices made me focus on my purchase, as I do not want to have the regret of buying the wrong product. I enquired one of my close relative to know what’s his preferences. He did give me a solid choice of an inexpensive DashCam, which I ended up buying. 🙂

Above buying experience gave me a unique perspective on the difference between Inexpensive and Cheap. I always thought Inexpensive and Cheap is synonyms (you know, I studied in non-English school.), but there are blurred differences. Expensive is relatively subjective term. For someone a 100 rupees worth of lunch meal could be an expensive or inexpensive affair based on their expectation of the food and their own lifestyle. So what is Inexpensive and Cheap?

Lets lookup Dictionary explanation.

Inexpensive : not expensive; not high in price; costing little.

Cheap : costing very little; relatively low in price; inexpensive.

Dictionary explanation was rather more confusing, Isn’t it? So how do we differentiate them?

Facts Comparison

When we plan to buy a product, usually we have some sort of requirements in our mind as in I want it to have X, Y and Z features. If any product contains all required features with decent enough specification available on low price then I consider it an Inexpensive product. And if I have to compromise either on features or on their specifications then certainly that’s a Cheap product, irrespective of its price.

Product Lifespan

I usually have an expectation of product’s lifespan for my usage, which I could verify through product’s reviews at some level. Let’s say if I plan to use that product for say X years, but if most reviews do not match up then it’s certainly a cheap product.

There is one good French proverb, “If you buy cheaply you pay dearly”. If you buy a cheap product then certainly it’s going to fail on your expectation and you will have to buy similar (not so cheap) product again which will make your entire purchase more than an inexpensive product. 🙂

If you buy quality, you only cry once.

A product could be either Inexpensive or Cheap, or neither. Prefer the Inexpensive one.


Also published on Medium.