Costco or Sam’s Club? The battle of the two bulk warehouse giants. These two have many similarities, but some stark differences might make your choice easier in deciding which one you’ll choose.

Costco vs. Sam’s Club Locations

Nationwide, Costco has 564 stores, and Sam’s Club has 599. Costco has been expanding heavily in recent years, whereas Sam’s Club has been holding steady. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Costco edge out Sam’s Club in stores in the coming years.

Product Selection

Costco has a smaller selection than Sam’s Club, but its focus is on quality over quantity. Costco carries around 4,000 different SKUs, while Sam’s Club has been said to have in the neighborhood of 6,000-7,000 different SKUs.


Costco is a much better option for anybody looking for brand-name clothing from a budget plan perspective. 

Costco likewise caps its markup on clothing, which assists keeps the rates low, too. On Kirkland Signature pieces, the cost is never more than 15% over the expense to make.

That’s not to say the clothes choice at Sam’s Club is dreadful; I’ve bought some incredible pieces at Sam’s Club. Clothing brands found at Sam’s Club seem to be a tier below that of Costco.

Wine and other Alcohol

Costco has quite a selection of wine. They have a vast selection of wine and have great prices too. 

Sam’s Club has a decent selection of wine, but compared to Costco is underwhelming.

Household Essentials

When the brand doesn’t matter much, that’s where Sam’s Club shines. Household essentials seem slightly cheaper at Sam’s Club.

Costco has Kirkland Signature versions of brand-name products; they are of good quality and offer significant savings on most products.


Costco offers a basic membership for $60 per year. And an Executive membership for $120.

Sam’s Club is a little cheaper at basic membership for $45 per year and a Plus membership at $100 annually.

Return Policy

Costco and Sam’s Club have very similar return policies; they differ ever so slightly with the edge going to Costco.


One of the most important deciding factors for many is pricing. While Sam’s Club doesn’t offer the same level of high-quality generic products as Costco if you’re looking pearly at pricing, Sam’s Club overall has the lower prices, especially when it comes to household essentials.

Gas Stations

Both offer significant discounts on gasoline. Costco is TOP TIER certified, whereas Sam’s Club is not. 

If you’re incredibly picky about the gasoline you put in your vehicle, then Costco has the better gas (most likely).

Sam’s Club is partnered with a major oil company but doesn’t come with TOP TIER certification.

Final Verdict

Sam’s Club and Costco are great at what they do, providing bulk items at a discounted price. If you mostly purchase household essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, soaps, that sort of thing, then Sam’s Club might be right for you. Sam’s Club membership price is lower as well. 

Sam’s Club variety seems to be quite a bit more than Costco. I’d say they’re less about quality more about quantity. 

Costco, on the other hand, is suitable for you if you value quality over quantity. You will find a better selection of healthy foods at Costco and higher-quality generic brands.