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Which Is Better: Sam's Club or Costco?

A researcher from Cheapism.com went to both Sam's Club and Costco to try to find out which club gives its shoppers the best deal. Here's what they found. Although they both offer significant discounts for buying in bulk, the research found that Sam's Club offers a slightly better experience for shoppers than Costco, largely due to the additional in-store benefits, larger selection of brands, and smaller unit packaging that is more manageable for smaller households.

Membership Comparison


Sam's Club membership fees in 2012 remained at the same level as 2011:
Business Membership: $35
Individual Advantage Membership: $40
Business Plus or Advantage Plus Memberships: $100

Costco raised membership prices in 2012:
Gold Star and Business Memberships: $55
Executive Membership: $110

Pharmacy and Health Services


Both Sam's Club and Costco offer health and wellness services to members (on-site vision exams, glasses and contacts, and free hearing tests). Both clubs offer health screenings, and Sam's Club has announced that they will also be offering 10 vaccines for cold and flu season.

Coupons


Costco mails and emails coupons to all members, while Sam's Club only offers eValue coupons which are loaded onto Advantage Plus and Business Plus members' cards and redeemed at checkout.

Delivery and Warranty


Sam's Club delivers and installs most relevant products for a fee ranging from $59 to $159. Electronics can be installed for $89 and Sam's Club also offers technical assistance 24/7 at no charge. Business Plus and Advantage Plus members at Sam's Club get an extra year warranty with the purchase of any warranty.

Costco does not deliver, although they will arrange installation services for $89.99. Costco also offers free technical assistance to members and a second-year manufacturer's warranty is provided for televisions, computers, and projectors at no additional charge.

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