Sam's Club
Sam's Club by Ambrosia LaFluer (CC BY)

Things I Always Buy at Sam's Club — Not Costco

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Sam's Club
Sam's Club by Ambrosia LaFluer (CC BY)

Warehouse Wars

Superfans are vocal in their love for Costco and its in-house Kirkland brand products, but what about the warehouse's largest competitor, Sam's Club? I've had memberships to both clubs for years now, and there are some things I prefer about Costco, like how they treat employees and the hot dog combo, for two. But there are a number of products I prefer getting at Sam's Club instead of Costco. Here's what I always buy at Sam's Club, not Costco, because it's cheaper, better quality, or I just plain prefer the Member's Mark version. (Not a member? You can apply here for Costco and here for Sam's Club.)


Prices and availability are subject to change.


RelatedFood Court Showdown: Costco vs. Sam's Club

Member's Mark Cookies Sam's Club
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Member's Mark Muffins Sam's Club
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Member's Mark Muffins

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Similarly, the bakery packs of those giant, delicious muffins are for sale in 6-packs. Unlike Costco, you don't have to buy two packs and figure out how you're going to go through them all fast enough. And at $4.48, it's a great deal and cheaper per muffins than at Costco.

Member's Mark Stuffed Salmon Filets
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Member's Mark Stuffed Salmon Filets

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I'm a dedicated salmon lover, so I've had the stuffed salmon in the premade meals section from both Sam's Club and Costco many times. The verdict: Sam's Club's is just plain better. The stuffing has whole little shrimp in it, along with pieces of sweet red bell pepper. The stuffing in Costco's version is pretty homogeneous and mushy. I also like that the portions and price per pound ($8.98) are smaller at Sam's Club.


RelatedPrepared Meals at Costco That'll Feed Your Whole Family

English Cucumbers Sam's Club
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English Cucumbers

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A lot of the produce is cheaper at Sam's Club than at Costco, at least in my area. Seedless cucumbers are one example. A three-pack is usually $6-$7 at Costco, whereas it's only $2.98 at Sam's Club for the same size package.

Member's Mark Ultra Strength Antacid Tablets
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Member's Mark Ultra Strength Antacid Tablets

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You'd think that all antacid tabs would be the same, but you'd be wrong. Having bought the giant two-packs of house brand tablets at both stores over the years, I found myself throwing out the ones from Costco. Sure, both brands are chalky — that what all these antacid tabs are like — but the Costco ones are waxy and stick in your teeth, too. The ones from Sam's Club dissolve more easily and just plain taste better. 

Sam's Club Chip Aisle
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Snacks

The selection of snack foods at Sam's Club is far greater than at Costco. There's three types of giant boxes of Pop-Tarts alone, and way more granola bar flavors to choose from as well. Costco tends to carry one variety of a product and that's it. The difference is especially noticeable when it comes to bags of chips. Sam's Club has multiple flavors of Doritos, Ruffles, Cheetos, and Lay's, just to name a few.

Coca-Cola 2-liter Bottles 4-pack Sam's Club
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Coca-Cola 2-liter Bottles 4-pack

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One of the weird things Costco doesn't carry is 2-liter bottles of soda. You can only find them in 4-packs if you happen to live near one of the Costco Business Centers. But if you're having a big party or going for the cheapest option, buying cans is not going to cut it. Sam's Club offers 4-packs of all kinds of sodas for around $8 each.

Member's Mark Ultra Premium Bath Tissue
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Member's Mark Ultra Premium Bath Tissue

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Look, the Kirkland Signature toilet paper sucks. It's linty, scratchy, and falls apart easily. I've fallen in love with the Member's Mark toilet paper, though — at least as much as a girl can love a toilet paper. It doesn't break, it's soft and cushy, and gets the job done way better than the other guy, and for a great price, too.


Related: Costco Brand Products to Avoid, According to Shoppers

Member's Mark Southern Chicken Bites
Sam's Club

Member's Mark Southern Style Chicken Bites

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These red bag frozen fried chicken nuggets taste exactly like Chick-fil-A, right down to the dill pickle brine. There's even pickles shown on the package, giving a hint of what lies inside. If you want to do up an entire homemade fast food spread, there's frozen fried chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, all in the same red packaging.  

Member's Mark Petite White Hoagie Rolls
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Member's Mark Petite White Hoagie Rolls

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As good as the Costco bakery is, they don't carry a lot of staples. When I'm planning to make lots of subs or banh mis, I always head to Sam's Club to grab a bag of the petite white hoagie rolls. They crisp up beautifully in the oven while staying soft inside. They freeze well and are a steal at $6.98 for 18. There's also 12-count packages of larger hoagies as well.


Related: Sam's Club vs Costco: Who Has the Best Bakery?