Popular chip brands ranked worst to best

To say that Americans love chips would be shortchanging the situation. It's estimated that the average person in the United States eats over six pounds of potato chips every year — and that's just potato chips! While watching the Super Bowl is a glorified chip-eating event for many of us, it's safe to say chips are a year-long obsession for many Americans.

Today, you can find chips of every flavor and color under the sun. If you can dream it, you can likely find it on the shelves of your local grocery store. However, that's a relatively recent phenomenon. It wasn't until the 1950s that flavored chips hit the market. Fast forward to the current year, and there are dozens and dozens of chip brands producing thousands of different varieties of chips.

With so many options to select from, how would someone possibly figure out which chips brands are worth purchasing? No worries, we have that covered. In the following list, we've ranked the popular brands of chips — beginning with the worst of the worst and going all the way to the head of the class.

17. Munchos chips

Of all the popular chip brands on the market, the only one without any redeeming qualities is Munchos. Everything about these chips is a complete and utter potato-flavored letdown. First of all, put a Munchos chip in your mouth, and it tastes like you're licking a dirty potato straight out of the dirt. From there, the situation manages to only go downhill. Instead of a satisfying crunch, Munchos have a cardboard quality that makes you think the chips have gone stale. However, that's not the case — that's just what you get once you start digging into a bag of Munchos.

Another disturbing characteristic of Munchos is how poorly they react to liquid. If you make the mistake of using these chips for dipping purposes, you'll be lucky to get it to your lips before the chip turns into a potatoey paste. Do yourself a favor and always turn down a bag of Munchos — even if they're free.

16. Kirkland Signature chips

Remember when you were a kid and felt a palpable moment of disappointment when your parent came home from the grocery store with a generic brand of cereal instead of going for a name-brand cereal? Instead of happily scarfing a bowl of Froot Loops, you knew that you instead would have to suffer through the knockoff box of Fruity Ringy Thingies or whatever uninventive name the generic cereal was given.

Well, unless you want to feel that same level of disappointment as an adult, go ahead and skip any of the Kirkland Signature chips at your local Costco. While something like the Krinkle Cut Kettle Chips by Kirkland Signature come in a big bag at a cheap price, they're just not at all worthy. Everything from the taste to the texture completely underwhelms. Kirkland Signature makes a lot of yummy stuff, but these chips don't live up to the expectations, to put it kindly.

15. SunChips

As a one-off change of pace, a bag of SunChips is palatable. The chips have a unique shape, a unique crunch, and a unique flavor. For a little bit, your taste buds will be intrigued and go along for the ride. However, at some point before you finish your first bag, you will start to realize that these chips just aren't that good. Once the uniqueness wears off, the enjoyment factor plummets to zero.

Though there are six different kinds of SunChips, changing the flavor won't bring back any level of satisfaction. The Harvest Cheddar is the best-selling flavor, and it by far tastes the best — yet it still isn't capable of stopping you from getting bored in the middle of your first bag. If you switch it up and try something like the Sweet Potato & Brown Sugar version of SunChips, you'll be tempted to throw the bag away after your second or third chip. They're that bad.

14. Whole Foods 365 chips

Whole Foods sells chips that may very well qualify as health food. For example, the Sea Salt Rippled Potato Chips sold under the Whole Foods 365 brand is made with long grain brown rice and sea salt. These chips are organic, kosher, vegan-friendly, and are free of dairy and gluten. They are also low in fat and kind of low in sugar while having a notable amount of protein and fiber for a chip. The Whole Food 365 brand also has Barbeque Potato Chips that are made with organic potatoes.

While a dietician might be pleased with these chips available at Whole Foods, there's just one problem: They don't taste good. If you want to compare store brands, Whole Foods 365 chips are a step above Kirkland Signature chips — but it's not a large step. And while the nutrition facts look better on paper, you won't help but feel regret for not just going with a tastier brand when you're struck by snack cravings.

13. Kettle Brand chips

When it comes to the diversity of chip flavors, no company can truly hold a candle to the offerings Kettle Brand has on the market. From Wasabi Ranch to Honey Dijon and from Backyard Barbeque to Chile Verde, the brand has more than two dozen flavors that will surely make your mouth water just by thinking of the possibilities. I mean, who couldn't help but love Maple Bacon potato chips?

Sadly, when you actually get your hands on these chips, the flavors won't live up to the happy thoughts dancing in your head. Some of the flavors are satisfactory, mind you, but there's just something a little bit off about each and every one of the flavors. If you make your way through each flavor, at the end of that adventure, you'll just be left unimpressed. To make matters worse, Kettle Brand chips have the bad habit of breaking into pieces inside of the bag, which leaves you with a mountain of crumbs that will need to be awkwardly poured into your mouth.

12. Zapp's chips

If you want to change up your chip routine, Zapp's are a lot like SunChips in that they are completely different, and that uniqueness is definitely appealing at first. Potato chips made by Zapp's are sliced thicker and cooked in peanut oil, the same type of oil that gives Chick-fil-A's chicken such a delicious taste. Inspired by Cajun food, Zapp's are available in entertainingly descriptive flavors such as Spicy Cajun Crawtator, Voodoo Heat, and Cajun Dill Gator-tator.

Unfortunately, Zapp's fun is zapped by what makes them different in the first place. While feasting on extra thicc chips is enjoyable at first, it eventually becomes a chore. You'll think twice before reaching for a second bag of Zapp's when you feel like your jaw muscles have run a marathon. And while the various flavors are good for a chuckle, the overwhelming texture of these chips turns each of the flavors into an afterthought.

11. Cheetos chips

When it comes to Cheetos, there's simply nothing bad to say about how they taste. These chips taste very good, whether you stick with the cheddar cheese goodness of the original or turn things up a few notches by opting for the spiciness of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. From young to old, everyone can enjoy a bag of Cheetos.

Despite the high marks they receive for their taste, Cheetos have their flaws. First of all, Cheeto dust is a real problem. If you're trying to multitask while munching on some Cheetos, you'll end up with orange streaks on whatever you're working on. If you give Cheetos to a child, be prepared for all the walls and fabric in the room to be covered with a distinctive orange hue.

Secondly, and even more importantly, Cheetos never fill you up. These chips have so much air in them that they just aren't capable of satiating your hunger. Speaking of air, Cheetos bags are notorious for being mostly filled with air.

10. Utz chips

Utz chips have a long history dating back almost 100 years. Back in 1921, William and Salie Utz wanted to create chips that weren't as processed and made with simpler ingredients. While their business idea was wildly successful, Utz just aren't the chips you go to when flavor is your number one priority. Though it's admirable that these chips are minimally processed, the lack of flavor keeps these chips in the middle of our ranking.

Even if you pick one of the more exciting flavors Utz has to offer like Fried Dill Pickle or even Crab, you will find that none of the flavors truly pop. If you get a good deal on these chips, go ahead and buy them, but be warned that you won't be wowed. Then again, Warren Buffett is known to eat Utz potato chips for breakfast, so maybe there is something richly magical about these things that our taste buds can't detect.

9. Fritos chips

There's a lot to like when it comes to Fritos. The originals taste good and have a pleasing texture, and it takes quite a bit of neglect for these bad boys to get stale. The Chili Cheese flavor is legitimately the best chili cheese chip you can find anywhere in the world. The larger Scoops variety of Fritos could very well be the best chip ever created for dipping.

However, despite all those positives, it doesn't take long for Fritos to swamp your senses. After a little bit, the saltiness of these chips will start to weigh you down, and their overpowering corn flavor will leave you wanting to move on to another snack option. In small doses or if you incorporate these chips into something like a Fritos pie, Fritos deliver a whole lot of gratification. But if you push it too much, these chips will go from gratifying to grating in short order.

8. Wise chips

Like Utz, Wise has a long, storied history that started in 1921. That's when a young businessman named Earl Wise decided to sell chips as a way to make use of the extra potatoes he had on hand. From those humble beginnings, Wise turned into a multimillion-dollar company with many fans from coast to coast.

If flavor is what you want most of all from your potato chip, Wise chips are a wise choice. The Golden Original chips sound mundane, but they are packed with potato goodness. Both the Honey Butter chips and the Dry Rub Rib chips have an excellent taste that will leave you reaching back into the bag for more.

Sadly, the texture of Wise chips leaves a lot to be desired due to a lack of consistency. Sometimes these chips are too hard, sometimes they are too soft, and sometimes they are just right. Sadly, you won't know what to expect until you open the bag and take a dive.

7. Clancy's chips

If you are bound and determined to locate a store brand of chips that can compete with the big boys, hop in your vehicle and head to your nearest Aldi. That's where you will find Clancy's chips. These things are legit. In fact, Clancy's chips are so good that there are those who believe that Clancy's chips are the best of the best. There's a long list of available flavors of Clancy's, including Barbecue, Ranch, and Sour Cream and Onion.

But while these chips are admittedly better than average and are undoubtedly one of the best store brands, it's a bit hyperbolic to claim that Clancy's chips are the cream of the crop. If you believe that Clancy's reign supreme, it's not your taste buds doing the deciding, it's your bank account. Clancy's are really inexpensive compared to the name brands, which makes them a really good bang for your buck — but, alas, not the best chip brand.

6. Pringles chips

No one ever has a sad look on their face when they're presented with a big, long, girthy tube of Pringles. When you pop it open, you know exactly what to expect. Unlike just about every other brand of chips, you know that there won't be many cracked or crumbled chips due to the sturdy container. You won't be surprised to learn that it was a team of scientists that perfected these chips, as you can also be confident in the shape, the texture, and the flavor of each and every chip.

But speaking of their flavor, it's the lack of diversity that stops Pringles from rising higher on this list. No matter which Pringles flavor you select — it could be Honey Mustard, Pizza, Jalapeno, or Memphis BBQ — all Pringles chips taste somewhat similar. There's just something about it that tells your brain you're eating Pringles. That's far from a deal-breaker, but it is a bit disappointing.

5. Herr's chips

While Pringles flavors are too similar, that's not an issue at all with Herr's. The truth of this brand is at the other end of the spectrum. The best thing about Herr's is that all of its flavors are completely different and can stand on their own two feet. Mesquite BBQ is amazingly authentic, Cheddar Horseradish has a friendly yet noticeable kick, and Sour Cream and Onion has a deep, rich taste.

Herr's, which has a history with the potato chip that can be traced back to 1946, is in the running for having the most flavorful chips. Pound for pound, only few brands can compre. Sadly, the quality of the chips holds Herr's back from climbing higher in our ranking. The sizes of the chips vary to an annoying degree. It's also possible to be stuck with a bag of Herr's that is more bits and pieces than fully formed chips. It'll still taste good, no matter the case — but it's undeniably aggravating.

4. Ruffles chips

When it comes to the top tier of chip brands, Ruffles belongs in the conversation. The first thing you'll notice when you shove one of these chips into your face is the glorious texture. If texture is how you judge chips, Ruffles is the brand you should select. You can count on every Ruffles chip to have satisfying ridges that will titillate your entire mouth.

And unlike Cheetos, Ruffles are a really filling chip. A bag of Ruffles may be all you need for lunch, while a bag of Cheetos won't even be able to make a dent in your hunger. Buy a big bag of Ruffles, and you'll be surprised at how long it stays around in your pantry before someone in your household is able to finish it off.

Why are Ruffles higher on this list? The flavors are hit and miss. While the Cheddar and Sour Cream chips are majestic, the Jalapeno Ranch chips are pretty gross.

3. Cape Cod chips

If you want to go with a chip brand that doesn't have a ubiquitous presence at every supermarket, grocery store, vending machine, and corner store in the United States, purchase Cape Cod chips to be hipster cool without sacrificing texture or taste. When you see the lighthouse on the package of your chips, you can be confident of the quality of what you will discover in the bag. Cape Cod chips are obviously crafted with love, as each chip is hearty and exploding with the flavor.

Though most chip brands seemingly believe that quantity is more important than quality, Cape Cod obviously disagrees. The flavors aren't numerous, but each one is a masterpiece. If you want a recommendation so that you can understand exactly what you're dealing with, go with the Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno chip by Cape Cod. The spectacular roller coaster ride each chip takes your taste buds on will convince you to be a customer for life.

2. Lay's chips

Why are Lay's chips so addicting? It defies logic how it's impossible to put down a bag of Lay's until it's empty. There are probably not any illicit drugs added to the recipe (just like how Lay's chips probably aren't actually an aphrodisiac), so it's a yummy mystery you can ponder while you continuously stuff your mouth with these chips.

The secret to Lay's likely has to do with how lightness and the crispiness of each chip. When you bite down, the instantaneous crunch is rewarding. Moments later, your tongue is inundated with flavor — with the flavor increasing with each subsequent bite. "Betcha Can't Eat Just One" was a genius yet obvious marketing slogan that has helped these chips become a household name and a snack necessity for many Americans.

Lay's chips are available in a multitude of styles, shapes, sizes, and flavors. They're all tasty, so you can hop from variety to variety until you find the one you enjoy the best.

1. Doritos chips

When it comes to the absolute best brand of chips, Doritos simply checks all the boxes. The texture is pleasurable and results in a pleasing crunch. It's a filling snack that you will enjoy from the first chip to the last chip. It has universal appeal — from daycare centers to the White House. And the flavors, oh man, the flavors. The regular Nacho Cheese flavor is iconic. The Cool Ranch flavor is the best ranch-flavored chip in the world. And when it comes to spicy chips, nothing beats the Flamin' Hot Nacho flavor. It's spiciness hits you hard but in a way that is oh-so-satisfying.

While Lay's are certainly addicting, Doritos is right there in the same conversation. In fact, the addictiveness of Doritos was proven by science. Thus, the next time you eat more than your share of these godly chips, don't blame yourself — just chalk it up to science and go grab your next bag of Doritos to enjoy.