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American Girl Dolls Versus Less Expensive Dolls – A Mother’s Review

Updated on February 27, 2011

All About American Girls

Prices for American Girl dolls and Bitty Baby dolls have risen again. Currently, American Girl dolls retail for $100.00 and Bitty Baby dolls sell for $48.00. These prices are for the doll and basic accessory package.

  • For the Historical Character American Girl doll, the $100.00 is for the doll and a book based on the doll.
  • The My American Girl doll comes with a charm-keeper necklace. For an additional $14.00, she can be given earrings.

  • The Bitty Baby doll comes in a cotton sleeper, soft diaper, 5-inch teddy bear, and memory book

  • The Bitty Baby Starter Collection retails for $118.00. This collection comes with the Bitty Baby, three outfits, knit hat, booties, doll bottle, bib, backpack, blanket, 5-inch teddy bear, and memory book

There are many dolls on the market, which is a good thing. That means there are many choices and much variety from which to select. However, that can also be mind-boggling as there is a lot of information out there, but in several different places. Below, I have listed a comparison on the American Girl brand dolls in relation to less expensive baby doll brands, known for quality in their own right. Hopefully, this guide will make choosing the right baby doll for your daughter easier.

American Girl Doll

Age Recommendation: 8 years and up

Retail Price: $100.00

Doll Sets Available: Doll, character book, accessories retails for $119.00

Size: 18” tall

Hair: Wig-like, various colors

Eyes: Open and close, various colors

Scent: No unique scent

Body: Vinyl limbs, cloth body

Limbs: Head and limbs are moveable

Doll Hospital: Yes for an additional fee (does not re-wig; a new head must be purchased at the Doll Hospital instead

Our Generation Doll

Age Recommendation:  3years and up

Retail Price:  $19.99

Doll Sets Available:  Doll, character book, extra outfit, accessories retails for around $34.00

Size:  18” tall

Hair:  Standard baby doll hair (like Barbie)

Eyes:  Open and close, various colors

Scent:  No unique scent

Body:  Vinyl limbs, cloth body

Limbs:  Head and limbs are movable

Doll Hospital:  None

 

Buy Madame Alexander Dolls Here

Madame Alexander Favorite Friends Doll

Age Recommendation: 3 years and up

Retail Price: $44.95 (varies on type)

Doll Sets Available: Madame Alexander offers a wide range of dolls

Size: 18” tall

Hair: Wig-like, various colors

Eyes: Open and close, various colors

Scent: No unique scent

Body: Vinyl limbs, cloth body

Limbs: Head and limbs are movable

Doll Hospital: Yes for an additional fee; also re-wigs and repairs non-Madame Alexander dolls

American Girl Bitty Baby Doll

Age Recommendation: 3 years and up

Retail Price: $48.00

Doll Sets Available: The Bitty Baby Starter Collection retails for $118.00. This collection comes with the Bitty Baby, three outfits, knit hat, booties, doll bottle, bib, backpack, blanket, 5-inch teddy bear, and memory book

Size: 15” tall

Hair: Painted hair, various colors (past releases have wig-like hair)

Eyes: Open and close, various colors

Scent: Sweet, baby powder scent

Body: Vinyl limbs, cloth body

Limbs: Limbs movable

Doll Hospital: Yes for an additional fee

Berenguer La Newborn Doll

Age Recommendation: 2 years and up

Retail Price: $44.95 (varies on type)

Doll Sets Available: Berenguer offers a wide range of dolls

Size: 14” tall (sizes vary)

Hair: Painted hair and wig-like versions available, various colors

Eyes: Varies (some are open, some are closed, some can open and close)

Scent: Sweet, baby powder scent

Body: All-vinyl body (some styles have vinyl limbs and cloth body)

Limbs: Limbs movable (some collectible styles do not have moving limbs)

Doll Hospital: None

Clothing And Accessories

Because the American Girl is a standard 18" doll, American Girl brand clothing and accessories will also fit the above-listed 18" dolls. Additionally, in turn, the clothing and accessories for these other 18" doll brands will fit the American Girl dolls. Pretty nice alternative for the wallet.

The Doll Hospital Shop

If your baby doll should have an "accident" and is in need of repair and some professional TLC, there are doll shops available, regardless of the doll's brand. There is The Doll Hospital Shop, which is located in Michigan. Its website is dollhospital.com. Also, you can try T.L.C Doll Hospital, located in Colorado. Its website is doll-hospital.com.

Which Doll Is Better?

It is hard to make a definitive decision in which doll may be a better fit for each child. It is an individual choice based on personal preference. In reviewing the dolls listed above, there are quality issues with each brand (limbs coming off, hair being tugged out, doll body getting scuffed up, ect.); however, keep in mind that the more expensive American Girl dolls and the Madame Alexander dolls have Doll Hospitals. If dolls were not subjected to normal wear and tear through play, these retail giants wouldn't have repair shops and pricing grids.

There is a plethora of dolls not appearing on this list that I did not review. I merely took the more popular dolls I have had contact with which seem of similar quality to the American Girls and Bitty Baby brand.

In my experience, the name brand means nothing to a 7-year-old girl once the doll is in her hands. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

Comments

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    • Mary Contrary profile image

      Mary Contrary 7 years ago from Columbus, OH

      Very infomative-Writer lets us know a major investment doesn't need to be made to make a little girl happy

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