Best Savings: Costco Online Shopping or Amazon Subscribe & Save

By: Malika Wichner

Costco prices vs. Amazon

You don’t have to hurry to your local Costco to enjoy tons of savings on groceries and more. Shop Costco online instead, and enjoy equally amazing deals without having to leave your home or deal with the ever-present crowds. 

Anyone, Costco members and non-members alike, can shop online at Costco. That’s right, you do not have to have a Costco membership to shop costco.com. (But non-members will pay a 5% surcharge at checkout. Sometimes, the deals are so good, that even with the extra 5%, Costco will still have the best price you’re going to find.) The Groupon Coupons team has done the research, comparing Costco and Amazon to help you figure out which deals are worth your time. If you’re a discount lover like us, you don’t want to miss this. 


SAVINGS HACK: You can shop on Costco.com without a Costco membership. Non-members have to pay a 5% surcharge at checkout.


 

Basic Tips to Save Online with Costco

To help end the ongoing debate about which online store to shop at, we compared tons of products across both brands to come up with a few conclusions:

  • Costco’s Kirkland brand is a huge money saver. Many of the house brand’s products are well-known dupes of their more-expensive name brand counterparts. So you don’t have to sacrifice on quality to save money. While a few Kirkland products can be purchased on Amazon, the selection and inventory is much better at Costco.
  • Costco’s Return Policy is way more forgiving and relaxed. 
  • Costco and Amazon may have the same product, but buying in bulk can make all the difference when it comes to saving money. Costco specializes in bulk buying—just make sure you don’t buy more than you can use. That is the No. 1 savings tip.  
  • Home cleaning supplies tend to be cheaper at Amazon. 
  • Snacks, toilet paper and paper towels, and miscellaneous household items tend to be cheaper at Costco. 
  • Costco’s basic membership is only $60 a year compared to Amazon’s $119.

Without further ado, here's our list of Costco Must-Buys, broken down by category.

Health & Beauty

 

Neutrogena Sunscreen
Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 60+, 8.5oz., 2-Pack

Neutrogena Sunscreen 2-pack

Even with the 5% surcharge for non-members, it is much more cost-effective to buy this sunscreen at Costco than it is to shop on Amazon.

Costco: $16.99
Amazon: $29.50




Eye Drops
Bausch + Lomb Lumify Redness Reliever Eye Drops, 7.5mL, 2-Pack

Bausch + Lomb Redness Relieve Eye Drops 2-pack

 

For the same 2-pack of FDA-approved eye drops, you can save nearly $10 at Costco vs. Amazon. If this is a product you use a lot, those savings will really add up.


Costco: $29.99
Amazon: $39.87


 

Listerine Mouthwash
Listerine UltraClean CoolMint 1.5L, 2-Pack

Listerine Mouthwash 2-pack

There is a $3 delivery fee on this item at Costco, unless you spend $75 or more on your online order. But even with the fee, you’ll save by shopping online at Costco.


Costco: $13.49
Amazon: $18.39 


Baby Essentials: Diapers, Wipes & Formula

 

Huggies Diapers
Huggies Plus Newborn Diapers 

Huggies Newborn Diapers

Prices on diapers fluctuate a lot on Amazon and they are often out of stock. We don’t recommend shopping for diapers at either Amazon or Costco. Check out our Cheapest Diapers of the Week article, where Walmart and Target routinely win for the best diaper deals. If you are brand loyal to Huggies, Target is often the best price. If you are open to other brands, Luvs at Walmart are a great value.


Costco: $29.99 for 104 size newborn diapers + 22 size 1 diapers
Amazon: $34.15 for 128 size newborn diapers 


 

Similac Nutrient-Packed Baby Formula
Similac Pro-Sensitive HMO Infant Formula, 34oz.

Similac Infant formula

Different sizes at different stores can make it hard to compare prices quickly, so we did the math for you. For a two-pack at Costco, Similac’s Pro-Sensitive HMO Infant Formula is $1.03 per ounce, whereas Amazon sells it in a larger 3-pack, but it costs $1.18 per ounce.

Costco: $69.99 for 2-Pack
Amazon: $123.27 for 3-Pack with 5% Amazon Subscribe & Save discount


 

Pampers Baby Wipes
Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes

Pampers sensitive-skin baby wipes

Take it from moms everywhere, baby wipes are a great bulk buy. You will need so many more than you ever thought possible. Comparison shopping on this one is easy, you get 72 more wipes for about $5 less. It’s a no-brainer to buy the wipes at Costco.

Costco: $29.99 for 1,008 Count
Amazon: $33.89 for 936 Count


Household Essentials

 

Tide Laundry Detergent
Tide Advanced Power Ultra Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent, 150 Fl. Oz.

Tide Advanced Power + OXI Clean detergent

It’s easy to compare the two because the product is exactly the same, but the price is nearly 40% less at Costco. Per load, the savings are $0.30 (Costco) vs. $0.46 (Amazon). There is a $3 delivery fee at Costco, if you don’t meet the $75 online order threshold.


Costco: $23.99
Amazon: $37.59


 

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Household Cleaning Pad Variety Pack, 11-Count

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Variety Pack

One of the best parts about shopping online at Costco, is the automatically applied manufacturer coupons. At the time of writing this article, there was a $3 off coupon on this product at Costco, so the price was actually only $8.59!


Costco: $11.59
Amazon: $14.10


Cascade Dishwasher Pods
Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent Actionpacs, 90-Count

Cascade Complete Dishwasher Pods

This was the biggest price discrepancy we found in all of our searching. Including the manufacturer coupon (good through 4/11), you would pay almost twice as much for the exact same product if you bought it at Amazon versus at Costco. 


Costco: $18.99
Amazon: $29.99


Dog Food & Medicine

 

Dog Supplement
Vet’s Secrets Senior Joint Support + Turmeric, 50-Count (4 Pack Bundle)

Vet's Secret Senior Joint Support Dog Chews

This senior dog supplement is recommended for daily use, so you'll probably go through a lot. Bring on the savings! Your very good girl or boy deserves it.


Costco: $37.99
Amazon: $57.47


 

Dog Food
Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Puppy Formula Chicken & Pea Dog Food, 20lb.

Kirkland's Nature's Domain Puppy dog food

It’s no surprise that a Kirkland product—Costco’s house brand—would be cheaper at costco.com than on Amazon. But the fact that it is 20% cheaper on Costco is a little bit surprising.


Costco: $28.99
Amazon: $36.51


 

Cat Flea & Tick Protection
Seresto Cat Flea & Tick 8 Month Prevention

Seresto Cat Flea & Tick Prevention Collar

There are certain items at Costco online that are so such a good deal that Costco reserves them for their members only. This Seresto Cat Flea & Tick Collar is one of those deals. If you’re a non-member, Costco won’t even let you see the price. Just know it’s a really good deal. You could ask a friend or family member with a Costco membership to buy this for you, or you could just go ahead and get your membership today! Trust us, it’s worth it!

Costco: $45.99 *Member Only Item
Amazon: $59.98

 

 

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