Finding cheap dishwasher pods can honestly be a struggle in this economy. It seems like every time I go to the store, the prices keep going up and up. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not paying a ton just to get my dishes clean. If you’re also trying to get the best deals on cheap dishwasher pods, I got you.
I compared big brands like Cascade, Finish, and Seventh Generation, as well as store brand options to see which tabs get you the best bang for your buck. I’m also seeing which retailers have the best prices overall so you know what to get and where. With these tips, you’ll find that getting clean dishes has never been so affordable.
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1. Calculate the price per pod to determine what’s a good deal (and what’s not).
When it comes to dishwasher tabs, “cheapest” doesn’t always mean the lowest price at the checkout. Instead, to determine which packages give you the best overall value, you’ll need to calculate the price per pod. I say “calculate,” but don’t worry. It’s actually really easy. All you have to do is take the overall price and divide it by the number of pods in the container.
For example, Target sells an 84-pack of Finish Classic Dishwasher Detergent for $16.29. All you have to do is divide $16.29 by 84. That gives you a price per pod of $0.19. Now you have an easy way to compare value across different brands and package sizes.
2. Aim to spend $0.10 to $0.12 per tab for cheap dishwasher pods.
With those being the best deals on the market currently, without factoring in coupons, it doesn’t make sense to spend more than that. So if you can get a price per pod of $0.12 or less on your preferred brand by using coupons, go for it.
3. Buy packages that come with a larger number of pods to lower your price per pod.
The more pods you buy, the lower the price per pod. Let’s compare two packages of Cascade Original ActionPacs at Walmart. The package with 25 pods retails for $5.44, bringing us to a price per pod of $0.21. By contrast, the package with 105 pods sells for $19.94, or $0.19 per pod.
That’s a difference of $0.02 per pod, which is actually pretty significant savings when you consider how many pods there are. But that’s just my two cents. (See what I did there?)
Related: How to Save on Dishwasher Cleaners
4. For more eco-friendly options, expect to spend $0.33 per pod.
Seventh Generation and Grove Collaborative have made names for themselves in the world of green cleaning products. However, they’re a bit pricier — like, a whole $0.23 per pod more expensive than store brands. And $0.14 per pod more expensive than the non-green name brands.
If you prefer the Grove Co pod, just make sure you purchase from their online shop rather than Target. Grove.co regularly has sales of up to 30% off and offers freebies when you spend $35 or more. You have to be a member, but it’s free to sign up and has a lot of free gifts for signing up.
5. Opt for Cascade Original or Finish Classic for the cheapest name-brand dishwasher pacs.
While Cascade Original and Finish Classic might not be the most popular options for their respective brands, they are the cheapest. Cascade Platinum is the bestselling dishwasher pod for Cascade, while Finish Powerball Quantum is the most popular by Finish. How do the prices of these bestsellers compare to their less expensive, brand-name counterparts?
Let’s compare prices at Walmart for consistency’s sake. Cascade Original is $19.94 for a 105-pack, meaning it’s only $0.19 per pod. By comparison, Cascade Platinum is $19.94 for a pack of 62. Because there are 38 fewer pods in the more popular option, the price per pod is actually $0.32. That’s a big difference — $0.13 difference per pod.
At Walmart, the same is true of Finish. An 84-pack of Finish Classic is $15.44, or $0.18 per pod. However, Finish Powerball Quantum retails for $22.94 for an 84-pack. With a final price of $0.27 per pod, Finish Quantum is $0.09 more expensive.
6. For name-brand dishwasher tabs, shop at Walmart unless you have a Target RedCard.
For our purposes here, we compared the least expensive value packs of the big-name brands available at each retailer. For Target, Ralph’s, and Walmart, those products were Cascade Original, Finish Classic, and Seventh Generation Clean with Purpose. For Dollar General, they sold Cascade Complete and Finish Quantum.
Walmart had the lowest price overall when it came to Cascade, Finish, and Seventh Generation. However, if you apply the Target RedCard discount, you’ll actually get a lower price on Cascade and Seventh Generation at Target. The 5% off brings the price of Cascade down to $19 and the price of Seventh Generation to $14.14. But when it comes to Finish, even after applying the RedCard savings, it’s still $0.03 cheaper overall at Walmart.
7. Shopping store brands will save you the most.
With the exception of the Target generic, the store brand options are the least expensive at every retailer. As I mentioned earlier, name brands will typically cost around $0.18 or $0.19 per pod at big-box stores. However, you can score the lowest prices by opting for the biggest container possible of the generic. For the best deals, shop generics at Walmart, Kroger, or Sam’s Club.
But skip Target’s store brand since it’s actually more expensive than a bulk package of name-brand pods.
Related: Suds Up with Savings: Make Your Own Laundry & Dishwashing Tabs
8. Shopping wholesale doesn’t actually save you money.
Unlike other products, shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club won’t score you a better deal on cheap dishwasher pods than shopping at Walmart. Typically, the wholesale advantage is that you can buy items in bulk containers. However, when it comes to dishwasher pods, you can buy bulk containers with just as many pods (if not more) at Walmart. And Walmart actually has a better selection, whereas bulk stores only offer three or four choices each.
9. Use dishwashing coupons to cut down even more on your price per pod.
Dishwashing coupons really do make a huge difference, and we’ve got a bunch of them. Most coupons for Cascade save you between $2 and $3. However, at Costco, we recently saw a coupon for $4.80 off on Cascade pods.
When it comes to Finish, most coupons save you around $1.50 to $2 overall. But we’ve seen savings of as much as $7 off when you buy two, or $3.50 off each.
If you don’t have a preference between Cascade and Finish, be sure to check out our dishwashing coupons for savings across different brands.
10. If you see a good deal on dishwasher pods, stock up.
Dishwasher detergent is shelf stable for up to 18 months. As soon as you see a big sale or get your hands on a great coupon, buy as many as you can use in a year. Or maybe as many as you can comfortably afford. Just be sure to store the tabs in a low-humidity area that’s unlikely to flood (i.e. not underneath the sink or in a bathroom), since dishwasher tabs dissolve easily in water.
The last thing you need is a pipe bursting and your entire stockpile filling your cabinet with bubbles.