Which is better: Costco, Sam’s Club or BJs?

Lewis Center residents now have a new warehouse club option for grocery and home shopping.

A big, shiny, new BJ’s Wholesale Club opened on Route 23 in Lewis Center in December, rounding out our local warehouse shopping options. We already had Costco over in the Polaris area and Sam’s Club a little further away up in Dublin.

So, for those of us who were already members of Costco, is it worth also joining BJ’s – and what about Sam’s Club for those willing to drive up to Dublin?

Since I have a membership at all three wholesale clubs right now, I am here to spill the beans. I’ll tell you what I like – and what I don’t – about each of the three area wholesale clubs.

For starters, if you can get a discount membership at any of them, by all means take advantage of that. It has always bothered me that we are charged a fee to shop at these stores, so a discounted membership fee is a step in the right direction.

We got a great promotional rate for the grand opening of the new BJ’s and they may still be offering it. Likewise, I got an incredible deal on my Sam’s Club membership which is the only reason I have it. Costco is the only warehouse store that seems to rarely discount its membership fee; maybe that’s because they know they’re the most popular one of this bunch.

I have shopped at all three warehouse clubs and Costco is my favorite. A visit to Costco isn’t just a chore – it’s fun! I go to Costco for the bulk basics and to see what cool new things they might have.

Costco is known for its “treasure hunt” experience – and I don’t just mean the great food samples. Their business model includes surprising customers with good deals on fabulous, big-name brands and it’s part of what makes Costco shopping such a cool experience.

Our favorite things at Costco include the food court, killers samples, great produce, my family’s favorite frozen chicken nuggets, cinnamon streusel bread, Bibigo rice bowls, cheap gas, good prices on clothing and finding other “treasures” that vary from week to week (like the giant Squishmallow pictured above).

Sam’s Club in Dublin is a little smaller than Costco and has many of the same great deals on bulk items. One thing to note about Sam’s is that it’s owned by Wal-Mart, which may be enough to discourage some people from joining.

Our two favorite items at Sam’s are the packaged Swiss cheese (great value, price and quality) and their toilet paper. Sam’s Club “Member’s Mark” store-brand toilet paper is the perfect combination of both soft and strong. Ever since trying it, I can’t go back to other TP! I stock up on it every time I’m there.

As for BJ’s, we’ve only had access to the store for a few months and so far I haven’t found anything I would consider a must-have. They have the same great deals on bulk items as the other two. There’s so little to differentiate BJ’s, though, that I’m honestly unlikely to keep this membership once our initial year is up.

Gas is cheap at BJ’s – as it also is at Costco – but I don’t know if slightly discounted gas is a reason to keep the membership unless they keep throwing promotional rates my way.

I’m not the first to compare these three giant warehouse stores: you can check out other side-by-side reviews here, here and here.

I guess for me, there is only one warehouse club store that has won my heart and that’s Costco, even if it’s the most expensive. The others are okay but don’t offer enough to keep me paying that annual fee.

Let me know if you disagree – I’d love to hear your warehouse shopping stories in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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