I'm looking for an idiom (or phrase) to indicate that despite something, specifically a solution, is better than previous ones and with more features, it is not without cost and some barrier.

E.g. However, the new solution is much better than the previous ones, this is not without overhead costs.

One alternative for highlighted sentence may be "this is not the silver bullet", but it's not perfect for my case. Is there any alternative?

  • There's a trade-off? caveat? catch?
    – NVZ
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:24
  • 3
    "there is a price to pay for the gain".
    – Graffito
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 12:07
  • "this solution is better, but more expensive."
    – P. O.
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 12:49
  • 'You get what you pay for' is a related fixed expression. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 13:24
  • Not without its limitations.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 17:55

4 Answers 4


To use a common idiom, it's better but comes at a price.

TFD (idioms):

come at a price
to include disadvantages in order to get what you want

The company's success was made possible by the country's rulers, but their support comes at a price.

Usage notes: sometimes used without come: Following the recommendation would have increased teamwork, but at a price.

Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2003. Reproduced with permission.


This new solution is much better than the previous ones, but there's a trade-off.


a situation in which you accept something bad in order to have something good: For some car buyers, lack of space is an acceptable trade-off for a sporty design

Usage examples:

Windows OS updates get simpler -- but there's a trade-off [1]
Plants help slow warming – but there's a trade-off [2]


"You get what you pay for"

This popular idiom is often used as a rebuke for an excessively cheap purchase (see Merriam-Webster). However it could work here as a simple way of saying that this is the better solution, and therefore will cost a little more.

From Wiktionary:

Sometimes used with the opposite nuance, meaning that because something is expensive, it is thus high quality – “This luxury car is awesome!” “Yeah, you really get what you pay for.”


This new solution is much better than the previous ones, but wait, there's a catch.

What's the catch?TFD

(slang) What is the drawback?; It sounds good, but are there any hidden problems?
"Sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?"
"This looks like a good deal. What's the catch?"

  • The cost, here, is not necessarily a problem. But it made the solution incomplete.
    – Eilia
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:39

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