9 Items to Buy at Amazon Instead of Costco

Costco may not always be the best option when it comes to savings.
Updated May 1, 2024
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Grocery cart with toliet paper

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Costco can cover anything you need in bulk from chips to chicken to toilet paper. But is it the best place to buy everything? Maybe not.

Before you head out to your next Costco run, you may want to double-check your list to see if there’s a better place to get what you need. You may be surprised to find that Amazon could be a good alternative for some items and save you money and stretch your paycheck further.

Check out these items that you may be better off buying from Amazon rather than Costco.


natalialeb/Adobe Cute chubby baby sitting with disposable diapers

Buying items in bulk is a great idea when you’re dealing with a baby who goes through plenty of diapers and wipes. But you may not be getting a better deal from Costco compared to Amazon.

While boxes of diapers may be comparable in price, you could get extra savings by signing up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. The program allows you to set a time frame for recurring orders and gives you a discount if you schedule them to be sent on a regular basis.

The subscription program delivers to your home so you won’t have to fight the crowds at Costco every time you need diapers.

Auto parts

Dusko/Adobe hands of unrecognizable mechanic doing car service

Costco has a good service department for your auto needs, but you may prefer to head to Amazon to pick up your next spark plug or oil filter. You may be able to find a larger selection of parts to choose from. Plus, if you know how to do the work yourself, you can save some extra cash rather than paying a Costco mechanic to do it for you.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a new car, a great Costco shopping hack is to go through Costco Auto. They can get you a no-haggle price at a local dealer for different makes and models in your area.

Rotisserie chicken

nextrecord/Adobe fast food rotisserie grilled chicken

Costco puts their delicious smelling rotisserie chicken in the back of the store so you have to navigate through the store instead of a quick grab and go. But that $4.99 purchase may be more expensive than at a typical grocery store.

So what does that have to do with Amazon? The company also owns Whole Foods in the U.S., which may offer a better deal on chicken. You can pick it up in the store or have it delivered to your door. If you know the good shopping hacks for Amazon, you could get extra discounts at Whole Foods with your Prime membership.

Perishable goods

Sundry Photography/Adobe Amazon Fresh van making deliveries in San Francisco bay area

Once you open that jar of salsa or can of soup, the clock starts to tick on how long it may last before it goes bad. So while buying in bulk may be a good thing sometimes, you may end up wasting money if you don’t finish that item before it’s no longer palatable.

Instead, consider buying those things from Amazon. You may be able to get it in a smaller size to help reduce the amount of food waste once you open a jar or can.

Laundry detergent

sergeylapin/Adobe liquid detergent bottle pour washing machine hand

You may be surprised to find out that some laundry detergent has a “best before” date, which means it starts to lose strength after a certain length of time. It’s likely that detergent will expire if you buy it in bulk and then don’t use it by the “best by” date.

Instead, consider buying a smaller version from Amazon. You can also use the site’s Subscribe & Save option for additional savings.


Orawan/Adobe woman rinsing and gargling mouth with mouthwash

There isn’t much difference in this product when it comes to the sticker price. A two-pack of Listerine, for example, sells for $13.99 at Costco compared with $15.98 at Amazon. But it’s a good example of other factors affecting the final price.

Costco adds a shipping fee for an order under $75 while Amazon could get you some extra savings by picking up mouthwash with the Subscribe & Save program. Factoring those issues in may make it cheaper to go with the Amazon option.

Specialty foods

NYCStock/Adobe Amazon Prime members get member deals

Costco is great for bulk foods from big-name retailers or their own Kirkland Signature brand. But if you want something specific from a specialty brand, Costco isn’t likely to have it on their shelves.

On the other hand, Amazon is known for its wide selection. If you want a greater variety and selection of a specific food item, Amazon may offer you more.

Bed sheets

Wayhome Studio/Adobe Funny married couple lying in bed and hiding under white blanket

Costco may have some good deals on sheet sets, but they may offer a limited selection. Sheets may not be the right style, fabric, or size for your bed.

Amazon offers a larger selection, especially if you’re looking for a special size like California king sheets or a vibrant color or print.


Melica/Adobe Cup of hot coffee on wooden table

If you have a Keurig, you may usually stock up on K-cups when you’re at Costco. But like other products, you could lock in more savings by using the Subscribe & Save feature on Amazon.

You also may be able to get a variety pack, if you prefer to switch your favorite flavors each day. Costco doesn’t currently offer a box with a variety of coffees, while Amazon has many to choose from.

Bottom line

Koshiro/Adobe Costco icon on iPhone screen

Even if you use the best credit card for shopping at Costco, you still might not be getting the best deals compared to other retailers. Check both sites or stop by your local Costco to compare costs and find the best options for your budget.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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