Smart Buying

Is Costco a Better Deal Than Sam’s Club?

We put the two leading warehouse clubs to the test over membership fees, product offerings and return policies.

Costco and Sam's Club are the nation’s most popular wholesale clubs, with more than 600 locations apiece. But is one store better than the other for your pocketbook? It’s close, but we give the edge to Costco.

Membership Fees

Winner: Sam's Club. Costco's $55 basic membership will soon increase to $60 a year. A Sam's Club basic membership costs $45. Plus, Sam's also frequently discounts its fee or throws in freebies for new members.

Better Products

Winner: Costco. Consumer Reports found prices to be comparable at both warehouse clubs. But when it comes to quality, Costco's Kirkland brand has earned more kudos than Sam's Club's products for everything from olive oil to tequila.

Return Policies

Winner: Costco. At Costco you can return virtually any item at any time, no questions asked, without a receipt or the original packaging. (There are some exceptions including electronics.) Return policies are similar at Sam's Club, except Sam's highly recommends a receipt and the original packaging.

Read more about the pros and cons of shopping at Costco versus Sam's Club.

Most Popular

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space
Budgeting

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space

In this hot real estate market, consider the costs of buying and selling a house along with the expenses associated with your new digs.
November 13, 2020
What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration
Politics

What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration

The Kiplinger Letter forecasts President-Elect Joe Biden’s biggest priorities -- and the likelihood of progress on them.
November 19, 2020
The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021
Kiplinger's Investing Outlook

The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021

Most of the best healthcare stocks for 2021 will have some sort of ties to COVID, whether it's producing a vaccine or cure, or benefiting from the vir…
November 20, 2020

Recommended

2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period
Smart Buying

2020 Tech Gift Guide: The 10 Best Values + The 10 Best, Period

From laptops to loudspeakers to, yes, shoes. Check out the latest gee-whiz to make an impression during gift-giving season.
November 29, 2020
Bad News for Super Savers
Financial Planning

Bad News for Super Savers

Low inflation keeps thresholds on retirement savings plans in check.
November 25, 2020
19 Best Costco Kirkland Signature Products to Buy for the Holidays
spending

19 Best Costco Kirkland Signature Products to Buy for the Holidays

From Costco Kirkland Signature Nuts and other holiday snacks to Costco Kirkland Signature fruitcakes and gift sets, there are a ton of holiday bargain…
November 24, 2020
Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks
Making Your Money Last

Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks

Ideally, living at home should provide a way to improve your financial well-being and lay the groundwork for future success.
November 17, 2020