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Difference Between Sam’s Club and Costco

Warehouse stores have witnessed a surge in popularity over the years, reshaping the retail landscape and consumer shopping habits. These stores have become popular for their bulk-buying model, offering customers the opportunity to purchase goods in larger quantities at discounted prices. And the best part is that these stores sell just about anything you want.

Two such renowned wholesale retailers known for their bulk products and competitively low prices are Sam’s Club and Costco. But which one’s a better option for you? Let’s break down how they differ in prices, product selection, and more.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club is a membership-based retail warehouse club that operates as a subsidiary of Walmart, Inc. It was founded in 1983 by Sam Walton and has since become one of the largest warehouse club chains in the United States. Sam’s Club is known for offering bulk quantities of products at discounted prices to its members, who pay an annual fee to access these exclusive deals.


Costco is a multinational retail corporation and one of the largest warehouse club chains globally. Established in 1983, Costco operates on a membership-based model, requiring customers to pay an annual fee for exclusive access to bulk quantities of products at discounted prices. Costco offers a diverse range of items, including groceries, electronics, clothing, and more. The company places a strong emphasis on private-label brands, providing quality products under its own name.

Difference between Sam’s Club and Costco

Membership Fees and Benefits

Sam’s Club offers two membership tiers: Club membership, at $50 per year, provides access to its entire warehouse clubs and Plus membership costs $110 per year. Perks include early shopping hours, fuel discounts at Walmart gas stations, and pharmacy savings.

Costco offers two premium membership tiers, Gold Star and Executive, at $60 and $120 a year, respectively. Executive members get additional rewards like 2% cash back on most purchases and access to travel deals.


Sam’s Club has around 600 locations, heavily concentrated in the Southeastern and Eastern United States. Stores are typically smaller and easier to navigate than Costcos. However, customer service experiences may vary.

Costco operates over 800 locations worldwide, primarily in larger cities and suburbs. Their warehouses are expansive and organized, but navigating them can be overwhelming for first-time shoppers. Customer service is generally well-regarded.

Store Brands

Sam’s Club carries a wider variety of products, including more name brands and smaller pack sizes. Prices may be slightly lower than Costco on non-bulk items, but their private label, Member’s Mark, might not offer the same quality consistency.

Costco focuses on a curated selection of high-quality, often name-brand items in bulk, often leading to better per-unit value compared to smaller quantities. Their Kirkland Signature private label is also known for good quality at competitive prices.

Online Shopping Experience

Both Sam’s Club and Costco have websites and apps where you can order online and get delivery in a day or two. Sam’s Club goes a step further with Scan & Go—just scan items, pay through the app, and avoid checkout lines. Sam’s Club even has special deals for Scan & Go users. Costco, on the other hand, is known for long checkout lines, making Sam’s Club more convenient for quick shopping without the wait.

Sam’s Club vs. Costco: Comparison Chart


In a nutshell, warehouse stores like Sam’s Club and Costco have become synonymous with smart, value-driven shopping. Their ability to offer competitive prices, a wide range of products, and an engaging shopping experience has contributed significantly to their enduring popularity in the retail landscape. Ultimately, the “better” choice depends on individual needs and preferences. Consider your budget, desired product selection, preferred shopping experience, and location convenience when making your decision.


Does Canada have Sam’s Club?

No, Canada doesn’t have Sam’s Club. It formerly had six locations in Canada, but Walmart closed all the locations in 2009.

Which bakery is better, Costco or Sam’s Club?

Both Costco and Sam’s Club offer a variety of baked goods, so it’s best to try both and see which you prefer. Consider factors like price, selection, taste, and freshness. However, Sam’s Club offers a wider range of cake options and flavors.

Can you go to Sam’s Club without a membership?

No, Sam’s Club operates as a membership-only warehouse club. You can purchase a membership at the store or online.

Is Sam’s Club owned by Walmart?

Yes, Sam’s Club is owned by Walmart. It was founded in 1983 as a subsidiary of Walmart.

Why is Sam’s Club better than Costco?

Sam’s Club may be considered better than Costco for some because of its Scan & Go feature, which allows users to scan items with their phones and skip checkout lines. Sam’s Club also offers curbside pickup, a service not provided by Costco.

Is Costco chicken better than Sam’s?

Both warehouse clubs offer quality chicken products, including fresh, frozen, and rotisserie options. The choice between the two can vary based on individual preferences. Consider trying both to see which you prefer.

What is Sam’s Club known for?

Sam’s Club is known for its role as a membership-based warehouse club, offering bulk quantities of products at discounted prices. It is recognized for providing a wide range of items, including groceries, electronics, household goods, and more.

Does Sam’s Club ship to Canada?

No, Sam’s Club does not currently offer shipping to Canada. Their services are limited to the United States.

Which came first, Sam’s or Costco?

Costco actually came first! It was founded in 1976, while Sam’s Club opened its doors in 1983.

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References :

[0]Backman, Maurie. “Costco vs. Sam's Club: Which Should You Join?” The Ascent, 26 Aug. 2023, www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/articles/costco-vs-sams-club-which-should-you-join/.

[1]Catalano, Patty. “Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which Wholesaler Does It Better?” The Kitchn, 28 Sep. 2023, www.thekitchn.com/costco-vs-sams-club-23581642.

[2]Palmer, Barclay. “Sam's Club vs. Costco: Which Has Better Deals?” Investopedia, 4 Mar. 2021, www.investopedia.com/articles/budgeting-savings/091016/sams-club-vs-costco-which-has-better-deals-wmt-cost.asp.

[3]Bryant, Sean. “Costco vs. Sam's Club: What's the Difference?” Investopedia, 21 Sept. 2023, www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/061715/business-model-analysis-costco-vs-sams-club.asp.

[4]Howe, S. G. “Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which Has the Better Rotisserie Chicken?” Mashed, 7 Mar. 2023, www.mashed.com/1217125/costco-vs-sams-club-which-has-the-better-rotisserie-chicken/.

[5]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAFwyHNXxrY-taiwan-22-september-2023-shopping-cart-in-costco-store/

[6]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAF293I-taI-taiwan-08-december-2023-inside-of-the-costco-store-in-taiwan/

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