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Walmart vs Target vs Amazon: Where are the best prices on household staples?

10 ways grocery stores trick you into spending more money
Posted at 9:30 AM, Jan 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 09:30:08-05

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Buying groceries and common household items continues to challenge many families. The Consumer Price Index, a statistic that measures the average price paid by consumers on regular expenses, including gas or groceries, showed an 2.7% increase in food prices between Dec. 2022 and Dec. 2023, according to Nerdwallet.

While this increase is less than 2021-2022’s data, high prices still push the family’s budget to the brink. In an effort to cut spending budgets, people will look all over to find the best prices on household staples such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap and more.

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Finding these deals, though, can cause frustration because there are so many options out there. That’s why we researched three of the top retailers to compare prices on 10 of the most common household items people use or stock up on for their homes — to help you know the prices of your favorite items so you can shop and save.

How Did We Do This Research?

Our goal with this research was to compare some of the market’s most popular items as closely as possible. We accomplished this by:

  • Using only three retailers: Amazon, Target and Walmart
  • Choosing 10 specific items to review at each retailer
  • Finding the same brands across each retailer and as close to the same quantity as possible. Some retailers carry different size products, so we compared the closest quantities in that case
  • Determining the best value based on per unit cost and/or potential savings programs such as subscription shopping or loyalty programs
  • Considering discount programs, including Amazon’s Subscribe and Save, Target Circle Rewards, and other product sales happening as of publication. Note: these prices can change without notice, so always double check before making your purchase.

Of course, prices are volatile and can change from day to day. However, as of press time, these are the most accurate costs and comparisons.

Now that you know the process, here’s a look at the cost analysis of 10 items:

1. Diapers

The product: Pampers Swaddlers, Size 4, 66-count box. This product was listed as each retailer’s No. 1 best seller.

Diapers are one of the biggest expenses parents of young children have, and it is a regular expense, because new packages are need frequently.

Amazon

  • List price: $30.49
  • Potential savings: Shoppers can save an additional $10 on an order when buying $50 worth of select P&G products

Target

  • List price: $28.49 (online price)
  • Potential savings: Shoppers can get a $20 Target GiftCard if they spend $100 on baby care products

Walmart

  • List price: $28.22

Overall Best Deal: Walmart

Walmart has the best deal when you’re looking to simply re-stock your low diaper supply and not wanting to buy anything else.

Walmart

$28.22 at Walmart

2. Dish Soap

The product: Dawn Powerwash Spray Dish Soap, 16-oz bottle

Whether its to quickly clean some plates without running the dishwasher or for other uses around the house, it’s handy to stock up on dish soap.

Amazon

  • List price: $4.99
  • Subscribe and Save price: $4.94

Target

  • List price: $4.99

Walmart

  • List price: $4.94

Overall Best Deal: Amazon

If you plan on using dish soap on a regular basis, the Amazon Subscribe and Save price will save you 5% and will get mailed directly to your home at the schedule you choose.

Amazon

Starting at $4.94 on Amazon

3. Dryer Sheets

The product: Bounce Dryer Sheets, 240-count box

Dryer sheets add softness and a pleasant scent to our laundry, but stocking up on them can cost more than we like.

We looked at the Bounce Dryer Sheet 240 pack and found the following prices:

Amazon

  • List Price: $9.94
  • Subscribe and Save prices: $9.44 if ordered individually or $8.44 (15% off when ordering 5 or more subscribe and save products)

Target

  • List Price: $9.99
  • Target Circle price through Jan. 28: $8.99 (in-store only)

Walmart

  • List Price: $9.97

Overall Best Deal: Amazon

Amazon had the best list price of all three retailers. Target’s sale price is for a limited time, and Amazon’s Subscribe and Save price is less expensive than the Target sale price.

Amazon

Starting at $9.44 on Amazon

4. Garbage Bags

The product: Glad ForceFlex Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags, 13 gallon (various sizes.)

For this comparison, we looked at the Glad ForceFlex Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags. The three retailers did not all have the same box sizes, so we’re going to look at the unit price to compare prices.

Amazon – 80-bag box

  • One time purchase price: $17.38 ($0.22/bag)
  • Subscribe and Save price: $16.51 ($0.21/bag) or $14.77 if you have 5 subscribe and save products

Target – 100-bag box

  • List Price: $21.99 ($0.22/bag)

Walmart – 80-bag box

  • Regular Price: $20.91 ($0.26/bag)
  • Sale Price: $17.90 ($0.22/bag)

Overall Best Deal: Amazon

Amazon’s one-time price and subscribe/save price are the best deal, even compared to sale prices from the other retailers.

Amazon

Starting at $16.51 on Amazon

5. Glass Cleaner

The product: Windex Glass and Window Cleaner Spray Bottle (varying sizes)

Windex is one of the most popular window/glass cleaners on the market, which is why we chose it as one of our comparison products.

Amazon – 23-ounce bottle

  • List Price: $3.97 ($0.17/ounce)
  • Subscribe and Save price: $3.37 ($0.15/ounce)

Target – 26-ounce bottle

  • List Price: $3.99 ($0.15/ounce)
  • Target Circle price (thru Feb. 3): $3.49 – available in-store or online

Walmart – 32-ounce bottle

  • List Price: $4.17 ($0.13/ounce)

Overall Best Deal: Walmart

Walmart’s 32-ounce bottle is the best deal, based on unit price, even compared with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save prices. Plus, you get 6 more ounces in the bottle.

Walmart

$4.17 at Walmart

6. Hand Soap

The product: Softsoap Antbacterial Liquid Hand Soap Refill, 50 oz.

Keeping constantly supply of hand soap in the kitchen and bathroom means a healthier house during cold and flu season. That’s why we chose to compare prices of a large, refill-size hand soap.

Amazon

  • List price: $5.97
  • Subscribe and Save price: $5.67

Target

  • List price: $5.99
  • Potential savings:  Buy 3, get $5 Target GiftCard through Jan. 27

Walmart

  • List price: $5.97

Overall Best Deal: Toss-up

This is a toss up between Amazon and Walmart. It all depends on whether or not you want to sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program.

Amazon

$5.97 at Amazon $5.97 at Walmart

7. Laundry Detergent

The product: Gain + Aroma Boost Liquid Laundry Detergent, HE Compatible, 113 fluid ounces

As one of the most popular laundry detergent brands, Gain seemed like an ideal choice to comparison shop. Walmart doesn’t carry the same size in store or via shipping, so we went up the next size.

Amazon

  • List price: $12.76 (11 cents per ounce)
  • Subscribe and Save price: $12.12 (10 cents per ounce)

Target

  • List price: $12.99 (11 cents per ounce)
  • Potential savings: Save $0.50 with Target Circle – in store only through Jan. 28; Buy 2 get a $5 Target GiftCard through Jan. 27

Walmart – 154-ounce bottle

  • List price: $15.94 (10 cents per ounce)

Overall Best Overall Deal: Walmart

If you don’t mind getting a bigger bottle, then Walmart has the best deal.

Walmart

$16.74 at Walmart

8. Paper Towels

The product: Bounty Select-A-Size Paper Towels, 2 Triple Rolls

Bounty is practically synonymous with paper towels. We compared a two-pack of triple-sized rolls.

Amazon

  • List price: $6.97
  • Subscribe and Save price: $6.62

Target

  • List price: $6.99

Walmart

  • List price: $6.97

Overall Best Deal: Toss-up

Take your pick between Amazon and Walmart for the best price on these paper towels. Or, add this to your Amazon Subscribe and Save order to save a little more.

Walmart

$16.74 at Walmart

9. Scrub Sponges

The product: Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges, 3-pack

A strong, durable scrub sponge is the cleaning powerhouse of the kitchen. Scotch-Brite’s reputation makes it one of the most commonly purchased home cleaning product on the shelves.

Amazon

  • List price: $3.32
  • Subscribe and Save price: $3.15

Target

  • List price: $3.32

Walmart

  • List price: $3.32

Overall Best Deal: Amazon (with caveat)

The Amazon Subscribe and Save price is the best, but with the identical prices, we feel this is a toss-up if you’re just looking to grab a package of sponges at the store.

Amazon

Starting at $3.15 on Amazon

10. Tissues

The product: Kleenex Soothing Lotion, 4 boxes

When you need to blow your nose and aren’t feeling well, you need to have a facial tissue that soothes. Kleenex Soothing Lotion tissues does the job and here is the price comparison.

Amazon

  • List price: $8.29

Target

  • List price: $7.39
  • Potential savings: $1 off with Target Circle through Feb. 11

Walmart

  • List price: $6.98

Overall Best Deal: Walmart

Walmart is the hands-down winner for the best price on this facial tissue.

Walmart

$6.98 at Walmart

11. Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is never something you want to skimp on, if at all possible. But, prices on multi-packs can put a dent in the wallet.

Amazon

  • List price: $9.49
  • Potential savings: $8.79 (current sale price)

Target

  • List price: $6.99
  • Potential savings: $2 off with Target Circle through Feb. 11

Walmart

  • List price: $6.98

Overall Best Deal: Target

Through Feb. 11, Target will have the lowest price on this product at $4.99. Once the sale ends, Walmart will be your best deal.

Walmart

Starting at $4.99 at Target

 

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.