Dawn Papandrea | 

Sam's Club vs. Amazon Prime: Who Has the Better Deals?

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If you’re a savvy shopper, you know that sometimes, paid memberships can actually pay off in the form of deep discounts, exclusive access to sales, and convenient perks like free shipping.

But it might not be financially feasible to join all the clubs, which is why we’re going to help you decide whether a paid Amazon membership (Prime) or the paid Sam’s Club membership cost is the best bang for your buck.

We’ve already explored Sam’s Club vs. Costco and Sam’s Club vs. Walmart — now it’s time to see how Amazon stacks. But as you'll see, this comparison is a little more complicated.

For one thing, we’re comparing shopping in a warehouse store with a fully digital shopping experience. Amazon is the biggest seller on the planet, with an estimated 12 million items available — and that’s not including items listed by third-party sellers. And Sam's Club stores sell about 6,000 - 7,000 items each (not including the stuff you can order online). We also had to compare regular prices, as coupons for Sam's don't really exist in a traditional sense.

Here’s a closer look at how Amazon Prime and Sam’s Club go head-to-head in popular shopping categories like food, clothing, household items, electronics, baby items, and more.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

Membership Cost: Sam's Club is cheaper


Starting with the basics, Sam’s Club is the clear winner for cheapest membership cost, but Amazon includes a lot of extras that can make the higher price point worth it for many shoppers.

Among the dozens of Amazon Prime benefits, the free two-day shipping is the biggest perk you get with the membership cost. But you also get Prime Video streaming, early access to Lightning Deals, Prime Reading, unlimited photo storage, and more.

Sam's Club benefits don't include streaming content, but you can unlock free shipping on most online items if you spring for the upgraded Plus membership level.

Amazon Prime

Sam's Club

Cost Per Month


~ $4.17 for Club or ~$9.17 for Plus (but you can't pay monthly)

Cost Per Year


$50 for Club or $110 for Plus

Food: Sam's Club has better prices

If you’re looking to cut your grocery bill and have a hungry family to feed, Sam's Club's food prices — especially for their prepared meals like the famous $4.98 rotisserie chicken — might be a key area in which Sam’s Club edges out Amazon. In fact, we include quite a few food deals in our list of the best things to buy at Sam’s Club.

Their prices are generally competitive with supermarkets and superstores, but remember that traditional coupons at Sam’s don’t exist (though they do have regular "Instant Savings" events, which are like sales).

Of course, Amazon has been known to offer great deals when it comes to pre-packaged snacks and other non-perishables. Here’s how the retail giants compare when it comes to the prices of some pre-packaged household staples.


Sam's Club

Creamy Peanut Butter

$10.53 ($0.13 per oz)

$10.98 ($0.11 per oz)

Mini Twist Pretzels

$10.79 ($0.27 per oz)

$7.84 ($0.13 per oz)

Capri Sun Variety Pack

$8.78 ($0.05 per oz)

$12.98 ($0.05 per oz)

Green Mountain K-Cup Pods

$34.99 ($0.36 per pod)

$41.98 ($0.42 per pod)

Bumble Bee Tuna in Water

$12.98 ($0.32 per oz)

$12.98 ($0.32 per oz)

Premier Protein Shake

$29.98 ($2.49 each)

$24.98 ($1.67 each)

Honey Nut Cheerios

$6.69 ($0.25 per oz)

$7.64 ($0.16 per oz)

As for fresh food like meat, produce, and prepared dishes, Amazon Prime members can get Amazon Fresh and/or Whole Foods grocery delivery depending on your location. Delivery is free for orders of $35 or more. You can also pay for unlimited grocery delivery for $9.99 per month.

If you like the idea of getting your groceries delivered to you at home, you can also get Sam’s Club’s same-day delivery if it's available at your location. You’ll pay a delivery fee of $8 if you’re a Plus member or $12 if you’re a Club member.

To save the most on fresh foods, your best bet is to head to Sam’s Club in person. You’ll have a wide selection of fresh bakery items, prepared foods, meat, fish, dairy, and produce with no delivery fee to drive up your cost.

Clothing: Sam's Club has the edge


When it comes to clothing prices, we picked five random items for a Sam’s Club vs. Amazon showdown, and the clear winner (surprisingly) was Sam’s Club. Whether it was comparing the basic store brands or popular designer brands, Sam’s Club came out on top. Check it out:


Sam's Club

High-Rise Leggings



Lucky Brand 4-Pack Knit Boxers



Izod Girls Short Sleeve Polo



Adidas Superstar Shoes



Men’s Straight Leg Jeans



But when it comes to clothing selection, keep in mind that Amazon has thousands of items in multitudes of sizes and colors, whereas Sam’s Club has what it has. In store, you’ll find a few aisles with select clothing items piled on tables, and you may not see them again if you return to the store a couple of weeks later. If you search for clothes online at Sam’s Club, the pickings are slim — just 90 items turned up in the “New Arrivals in Apparel” category.

But the Amazon Prime advantage is Prime Wardrobe. You get to select up to six clothing items to ship to you so you can try them on, and then you only have to pay for what you keep. Return shipping is always free. With Sam’s Club, there is no option to try on, though the Sam’s Club return policy is pretty amazing.

Household Items: It's sort of a tie

Most people love warehouse stores like Sam’s Club for buying household staples like paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies in bulk. But then again, Amazon’s Subscribe & Save pricing can sometimes offer better-than-supermarket savings on similar items.

When we put their prices to the test, we found that Sam's Club beat Amazon for Clorox wipes and Tide detergent, but Amazon won for store brand AA batteries. It was a tie for paper plates and paper towels.


Sam’s Club

10" Paper Plates

$13.76 ($0.09 per plate)

$18.98 ($0.09 per plate)

AA Batteries, Generic

$10.12 ($0.51 each)*

$15.98 ($0.53 each)

Clorox Wipes

$12.14 ($0.05 per wipe)*

$18.78 ($0.04 per wipe)

Paper Towels, Select a Size

$16.98 ($0.02 per sq ft)*

$19.98 ($0.02 per sq ft)

Tide + Downy Laundry Detergent

$18.94 ($0.20 per load)*

$19.98 ($0.18 per load)

*Price requires Amazon Subscribe & Save

KCL TIP: To get the Amazon prices quoted above, be sure to select the Subscribe and Save price — you can always cancel the subscription as soon as your order ships. I recommend choosing a delivery cadence of six months so that you have plenty of time to remember to cancel!

Electronics: It's a tie

Price comparisons are a bit more complex for big-ticket items like electronics, since model numbers are often slightly different at warehouse clubs. However, both Sam’s Club and Amazon have been known to have excellent deals on popular TVs, robot vacuums, earbuds, laptops, game consoles, and other tech products. 

Naturally, if you shop on Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, you’ll see the biggest price drops. For instance, during the most recent Sam’s Club Black Friday sale, we saw JBL Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds for 50% off.

And during the October Amazon Prime Day sale, they had 50% off select products from Sony.


Sam's Club

Samsung 55" QLED 4K Smart TV



Beats Fit Pro Earbuds



Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+, 12.4"



Ecobee Smart Thermostat



Brother Color Printer (same model)



Health & Beauty Supplies: Sam's Club typically wins

In the category of health and beauty supplies, both companies have been known for discounts and sales. But even regular prices at Amazon or Sam’s Club will usually beat the regular prices at drug stores and supermarkets, which is good news if you're a lazy kind of couponer.

For most shampoos, body washes, and deodorants, Sam’s Club prices generally dominate, but on beauty items and certain vitamins or over-the-counter medication, it can go either way.


Sam's Club

Axe Phoenix Body Wash

$15.14 ($0.24 per oz)*

$11.17 ($0.20 per oz)

Bic Disposable Razors

$11.11 ($0.93 each)*

$15.98 ($0.76 each)

Nature Made Prenatal Vitamins

$13.82 ($0.23 each)*

$23.47 ($0.16 each)

Tarte Tartelette Eyeshadow Palette



Extra Strength Acetaminophen

$7.80 ($0.02 each)

$13.47 ($0.03 each)

*Price requires Amazon Subscribe & Save

Baby Items: Sam's Club is cheaper


Our research found that when it comes to everyday baby supplies like diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food, Sam’s Club actually rules the nursery. Check out the price differences when you compare the cost per unit:


Sam's Club

Diapers, Newborn

$25.53 ($0.21 each)*

$16.98 ($0.16 each)

Similac 360 Formula

$33.23 ($1.61 per oz)*

$55.98 ($1.40 per oz)

Baby Wipes, Unscented

$21.14 ($0.03 per wipe)*

$21.74 ($0.02 per wipe)

Gerber Purees, Fruit & Veggie

$27.84 ($0.87 each)*

$19.98 ($0.67 each)

*Price requires Amazon Subscribe & Save

Books & Toys: Amazon is cheaper

Way back when, Amazon started as an online book store, and even today, they typically offer the best deals on books. For instance, I found “Indulge: Delicious and Decadent Dishes to Enjoy and Share” by Valerie Bertinelli is available from Amazon for $17.50, while Sam’s Club has it for $23.76.

For toys, Amazon usually comes out on top as well. As one example, the Lego Jurassic Park Visitor Center: T. Rex & Raptor Attack set is $110.35 on Amazon versus $199.98 at Sam’s Club.

Sam's Club vs. Amazon Prime: Which One Is Better?

We said this wouldn’t be easy, but after crunching the numbers, we found Sam’s Club prices to be better overall for most of the categories we researched. That said, if you’re not a fan of the type of shopping that Sam’s Club offers or rarely get to stores in-person, then the ability to save a few cents per ounce here and there is a moot point for you. And if you order Sam’s Club online for same-day delivery, the fees will most likely negate what you would have saved.

The membership that works best for you is also highly dependent on the things you buy most, if you like buying in bulk or not, and whether you’re looking for additional membership bells and whistles.

Here’s the bottom line…

Go with Amazon Prime if:

  • You enjoy a larger selection and prefer to shop online with free shipping

  • You don’t have storage room for bulk-sized purchases

  • You will get added value from using extra benefits like Prime Video 

  • You purchase books and toys often and find the best deals at Amazon

  • You would like to have early access to lightning deals and Prime Day 

  • You spend enough with Amazon to maximize their rewards credit card

Go with Sam’s Club if:

  • You have a large family and like to stock up your pantry with household items, snacks, and paper goods

  • You are in the thick of newborn baby raising and want to save on supplies like diapers, wipes, and formula

  • You want to save on prepared, fresh, and frozen foods

  • You would like the opportunity to earn Sam's Cash (with Plus membership) or Sam’s Cash bonus offers

  • You like finding bargains on clothing and electronics

  • You plan to use Sam’s Club pharmacy and optical services 

KCL TIP: Still on the fence? You can always give both memberships a try. Amazon Prime offers a 30-day free trial, while Sam’s Club has a 100% satisfaction guarantee if you find you don’t like it. 

Just be warned: You might very well find enough unique benefits within both clubs that you end up joining both. But hey, if you end up saving more than the membership fees cost you, then you’ll get a good return on your investments anyway.

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