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Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which one really is the best deal?

Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which one really is the best deal?
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Alex Sadler |
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Warehouse clubs offer great ways to save on a variety of things — including groceries, electronics, clothing, cars, tires, gas and even insurance. They also offer great travel deals and other little-known perks.

Read more: 9 secret perks that make a Costco membership totally worth it

When it comes to national warehouse clubs, shoppers have two main choices: Costco and Sam’s Club. But when it comes time to choose, how do you know which one really has the best deals?

Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which one has the best deals?

To help shoppers decide, Consumer Reports conducted a survey and compared customer reviews on each club’s prices, membership fees, product quality and customer service.

And before we get to the results, it’s important to point out that while both retailers offer savings on a lot of similar products, each store also offers members unique services and other ways to save. For example, Costco offers mortgages and car insurance, while Sam’s Club offers online auctions for electronics, as well as an option to order items on a recurring basis (things you need to buy on a regular basis).

Read more: 5 things to always buy at a warehouse club

And the winner is…

Costco! While it was a close call, Consumer Reports found that Costco comes out to be the best deal. Here’s a breakdown of each area the group studied:

  • Membership fees: There isn’t a big price difference on membership fees, and customers rated the two chains about the same. A yearly Costco membership starts at $55 and a yearly Sam’s Club membership costs at least $45.
  • Product quality: Costco scored higher in several departments, including jewelry, women’s and kid’s clothing, and eyeglasses. Consumer Reports found that both retailers offer the same quality when it comes to electronics.
  • Customer service: Costco came out on top for customer service, but Consumer Reports says it was close, pointing out that both stores offer flexible return policies.

Final word

While Costco was declared the official winner, Consumer Reports says both warehouse clubs are worth their membership fees.