Costco vs Sam’s Club: Which Is Better?

Before paying for a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, savvy shoppers should research which club is better for their shopping needs. A recent consumer magazine compared Costco and Sam’s Club in 5 different categories, and one club came out on top. 

Costco vs Sam's ClubShopSmart Magazine, a shopping guide from Consumer Reports, recently ran an article which compared Costco and Sam’s Club. The warehouse clubs were rated in 5 categories: cost, selection, services, quality, and customer service.

The results? On a 5 point scale, Costco scored a 3.8 to Sam’s Club’s 2.8. Although unlikely to sway “store loyalists,” these scores may be helpful to those seeking a bit more info before choosing between two memberships.

Despite Costco’s higher overall score, ShopSmart Magazine says that either warehouse club can deliver big savings for members. In this ShopSmart article,  it says that shoppers can save $23 dollars on batteries alone by purchasing at Costco instead of the grocery store.

My pick: I was a Sam’s Club member for years (it was the only option at the time) but am now a devoted Costco fan. I feel that the quality and selection of grocery items~produce, meat, and bakery~is markedly better than that offered at Sam’s (which to me is like a larger version of Wal-Mart).

 Cost: Shoppers save more than 11% of goods compared with retailers such as Amazon & Home Depot. Score: 5

Selection: Shoppers have a limited selection in some categories tested. Score: 1
Services: Costco offers mortgages, car & home insurance, RV or boat insurance & securities investment.  Score: 5
Quality: Shoppers can expect high quality in eyeglasses, clothing, jewelry, home decor and more. Score: 5
Customer service: A few negatives in customer service were offset by the generous 90-day return period. Score: 3


Cost: Slightly less savings, roughly 5% on most goods, are offset by lower annual fees ($10 less than Costco’s). Score: 4
Selection: In treadmills, Sam’s Club had 32 to Costco’s 6. In most areas, no huge difference. Score: 2
Services: Other than product auctions (not offered by Costco), Sam’s Club services don’t compare. Score: 2
Quality: Although tied in the electronics category, Sam’s Club quality fell a bit short in other areas. Score:4
Customer Service: Although it offers refunds with receipts, the 30 day window is shorter than Costco’s. Score 2

Do you have a favorite warehouse club? Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions. As always, thanks so much for reading! Be blessed, and stay savvy!

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