Is Walmart Really That Much Cheaper Than Target?

Is Walmart Really That Much Cheaper Than Target?

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Danielle Centoni
Mar 15, 2018
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Target sells just about anything, from motor oil to mattress pads to milk. But of course Walmart sells a lot of the same stuff, too (plus some). Both of these stores aim to be your one-stop shop, whether you're shopping in person or online, and this got us wondering: Are their prices as similar as their inventory?

We compared prices at both stores, evaluating some of the most common household goods and personal care items to see which one will offer the biggest bargains. Since we're searching for great deals, we stuck to the store brands whenever possible — Great Value, White Cloud, Equate and Parent's Choice for Walmart, Up & Up for Target.

Generally speaking, Walmart often beats Target's prices — but only by just a few pennies. And when Target does beat Walmart's price, it's usually by quite a bit. In the end it seems the best store might be more about personal choice (and experience) rather than price. Here's how they stacked up.

Note: Prices reflect local research in Portland, Oregon, and may vary by store.


Home Staples

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1. Paper Towels

Good Houskeeping gives Target's Up & Up brand a better-than-average review, saying the towels were quick to sop up liquids and left "little lint behind." But over at Consumer Reports, Walmart's Great Value paper towels earned an impressive 4th place score of 68 for their strength and absorbency. And since the rolls are big — about 168 sheets per roll, compared to 95 for Target's and most other brands — you won't have to replace them as often.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Split Sheets Paper Towels: $14.97 (12 double rolls, 168 sheets per roll, 924 square feet total / $1.60 per 100 square feet)
  • Target's Up & Up Make-a-Size Paper Towels: $12.39 (12 rolls, 95 sheets per roll, 513.7 square feet total / $2.40 per 100 square feet)

2. Toilet Paper

Consumer Reports ranked Walmart's White Cloud 3-ply Ultra Strong and Soft at an impressive #4 with a score of 52. That's a few points ahead of Target's score of 48. But Target's store brand is more than a dollar cheaper per 100 square feet.

  • WINNER! Target's Up & Up Soft & Strong Toilet Paper: $13.39 (36 rolls, 264 2-ply sheets per roll, 1,056 total square feet / $1.20 per 100 square feet)
  • Walmart's White Cloud 2-ply Ultra Bath Tissue: $10.27 (12 rolls, 308 3-ply sheets per roll, 410.6 total sq. ft. / $2.50 per 100 square feet)

3. Napkins

Both brands seem to offer napkins at the same price — about a penny a napkin. But those hundredths of a penny add up. You'll actually pay about 30 cents less per hundred napkins at Target.

  • WINNER! Target's Up & Up 1-ply Paper Napkins: $2.99 (230 napkins / $0.013 per napkin)
  • Walmart's Great Value Premium Napkins, Soft & Strong: $4.92 (three 100-count packs, 300 napkins total / $0.016 per napkin)

4. Kitchen Trash Bags

These trash bags are very close in price, but you'll ultimately save 30 cents per 100 bags if you buy them at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Strong Flex 13-gallon trash bags: $12.52 (90 count / $0.139 per bag)
  • Target's Up & Up Tall Kitchen FlexGuard 13-gallon bags: $16.99 (120 count / $0.142 per bag)

5. Sandwich Bags

You get 20 more bags, for almost 60 cents less at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Double Zipper Sandwich Bags: $5.12 (300 count /$0.017 per bag)
  • Target's Up & Up Double Zipper Sandwich Bags: $5.69 (280 count / $0.02 per bag)

Cleaning Supplies

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6. Liquid Dish Soap

Target customers give Up & Up brand great reviews, but it's 12 cents more per ounce than Walmart's.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Dish Soap: $5.64 (90 fluid ounces / $0.062 per ounce)
  • Target's Up & Up Original Refill Liquid Hand Wash Dish Soap, $4.49 (60 fluid ounces / $0.074 per ounce)

7. Dishwasher Detergent Packs

Consumer Reports rates Target's dishwashing detergent packs at 81, just enough to be recommended. Walmart's Great Value, on the other hand, got a score of 79 due to being only "very good" instead of "excellent" at cleaning dishes. Still, they're about $1 cheaper for every 100 packs.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Automatic Dishwasher Pacs, Fresh Scent: $12.47 (110 count / $0.1133 per pack)
  • Target's Up & Up Fresh Scent Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Packs: $10.49 (85 count / $0.123 per pack)

8. Liquid Laundry Detergent

Target's Up & Up tied with stalwarts like Gain and All in Consumer Reports' tests, rating "very good" at removing body oil and dirt stains. The only version of Walmart's Great Value detergent that was tested was the Natural version, and it scored an abysmal 22 "just slightly better than water alone." Thankfully that product doesn't seem to be sold anymore, so you'll have to conduct your own test with Walmart's Ultimate Fresh line, which is a penny cheaper than Target per load.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value Ultimate Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent: $6.28 (100 fluid ounces, 64 loads / $0.098 per load)
  • Target's Up & Up Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent: $10.49 (150 ounces, 96 loads / $0.109 per load)

9. Bathroom Cleaner

The store brand bathroom cleaners at both stores were a little too different to accurately compare, so we compared the price for the ever-popular Scrubbing Bubbles. Turns out, the price is about the same, with Walmart just a smidgen cheaper.

  • WINNER! Walmart: $4.97 (two 20-ounce cans / $0.12 per ounce)
  • Same product at Target: $4.99

10. All-Purpose Cleaner

They look nearly identical and cost almost the same, too.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Great Value All-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach: $1.83 (32-ounce spray bottle / $0.057 per ounce)
  • Target's Up & Up All Purpose Cleaner with Bleach: $1.89 (32-ounce spray bottle / $0.058 per ounce )

Personal Care

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11. Toothpaste

The same brand and size of toothpaste—Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Paste (5.8-ounce tube) is 3 cents cheaper at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart: $3.96
  • Same product at Target: $3.99

12. Body Soap

Both store brands offer body wash in a similar number of scents, but you'll pay two cents more at Target.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Deep Moisture Body Wash: $3.47 (24 fluid ounces / $0.144 per ounce)
  • Target's Up & Up Deep Moisturizing Body Wash: $3.49 (24 fluid ounces / $0.145 per ounce)

13. Hand Soap

The store brands of hand soap look virtually the same, and are nearly the same price too, with Walmart's just a nickel cheaper.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Clear Liquid Hand Soap Refill: $3.84 (56 fluid ounces / $0.068 per ounce)
  • Target's Up & Up Clear Liquid Hand Soap Refill: $3.89 (56 fluid ounces / $0.069 per ounce)

14. Deodorant

Target offers top selling deodorants for about a dollar cheaper than Walmart.

  • WINNER! Target - Gillette Cool Wave Men's Clear Gel Antiperspirant Deodorant: $4.09 (3.8 ounces)
  • Same product at Walmart: $4.97
  • WINNER! Target - Secret Outlast Clear Gel Antiperspirant Deodorant: $3.99 (2.6 ounces)
  • Same product at Walmart: $4.92

15. Diapers

Target's diapers get great reviews from Good Housekeeping, as well as experienced moms around the web. But Good Housekeeping gives Walmart's store brand a "below average" score for the speed of absorbency. They're a few cents cheaper per diaper, but it's up to you if that's worth it.

  • PRICE WINNER! Walmart's Parent's Choice size 4 diapers: $36.82 (296 count / $0.124 per diaper)
  • QUALITY WINNER! Target's Up & Up size 4 diapers: $28.99 (192 count / $0.15 per diaper)

16. Baby Wipes

Both brands offer unscented wipes, perfect for sensitive skin. But you'll pay a few cents less at Target.

  • WINNER! Target's Up & Up Unscented Baby Wipes with Aloe: $13.49 (eight 100-count soft packs with flip lids / $0.017 per wipe; $1.70 per 100 wipes)
  • Walmart's Parent's Choice Fragrance Free Baby Wipes: $14.47 (eight 100-count soft packs with flip lids / $0.018 per wipe; $1.80 per 100 wipes)

Health & Wellness

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17. Ibuprofen

If you want to stock up on 1,000 ibuprofen pills, they're a buck cheaper at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Ibuprofen, 200 mg: $12.97 (two 500-count bottles / $0.0129 per pill)
  • Target's Up & Up Ibuprofen, 200 mg: $13.90 (1,000 count / $0.0139 per pill)

18. Adult Gummy Multi-Vitamins

If gummies are your preferred way to take your daily dose of vitamins, they're about 10 cents cheaper at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Adult Gummy Multivitamins: $7.74 (150 count / $0.052 per vitamin)
  • Target's Up & Up Adults Multivitamin Dietary Supplement Gummies: $7.89 (150 count / $0.053 per vitamin)

19. Adult Fish Oil

For those who have made fish oil pills one of your healthy habits, get them at Target where they're a couple bucks cheaper. We compared Target's offering to the ubiquitous Nature's Bounty brand instead of Walmart's store brand, because the store brand only offered krill oil and it was even more expensive.

  • WINNER! Target's Up & Up 100% Wild Alaskan Fish Oil Softgels, 1,200mg: $4.79 (100 count / $0.0479 per pill)
  • Walmart - Nature's Bounty Fish Oil Softgels, 1,200 mg: $6.43 (120 count / $0.0535 per pill)

20. Antacid

Both store brands of Tums-like antacids will get the job done, but Walmart's is 7 cents cheaper.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Ultra Strength Antacid, 1,000 mg: $3.82 (160 chewable tablets / $0.02 per tablet)
  • Target's Up & Up Ultra Strength Antacid, 1,000 mg: $3.89 (160 chewable tablets / $0.024)

21. Sunscreen

It's just a penny cheaper per ounce to buy your sunscreen at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion: $4.98 (8 ounces bottle / $0.622 per ounce)
  • Target's Up & Up Sport SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion: $6.59 (10.4 ounces / $0.633 per ounce)

Beauty

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22. Shampoo & Conditioner

We couldn't find equivalent store brands so we compared the prices on Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner. Once again, technically Walmart is the winner here because its prices are just a few cents cheaper per ounce.

  • WINNER! Walmart - Shampoo: $6.47 (25 fluid ounces / $0.26 per ounce); Conditioner: $6.42 (23.7 fluid ounces / $0.27 per ounce)
  • Same products at Target: Shampoo - $6.99; Conditioner: $6.99

23. Body Lotion

With Target's store brand, you'll get about a cup more lotion for 23 cents less than at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Target's Up & Up Advanced Therapy Body Lotion: $3.19 (32 fluid ounces / $0.10 per ounce)
  • Walmart's Equate Advanced Therapy Skin Care Lotion: $3.42 (24.5 fluid ounces / $0.14 per ounce)

24. Makeup Remover Wipes

The cost per wipe seems almost the same, but when averaged over 100 wipes, you'll end up spending about 10 cents less at Walmart.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: $5.97 (2 packs of 40 / $0.074 each wipe; $7.46 per 100)
  • Target's Up & Up Refreshing Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: $6.79 (90-count / $0.075 each wipe; $7.54 per 100)

25. Razor Refills

Store brand razor refills are far cheaper than name brands like Gillette, and they're virtually the same price at both stores.

  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Men's 3-Blade Razor Cartridges: $6.47 (5 count / $1.26 per cartridge)
  • Target's Up & Up Men's Triple Blade Razor Cartridges: $6.49 (5 count / $1.30 per cartridge)
  • WINNER! Walmart's Equate Women's 5-Blade Razor Cartridges: $6.47 (4 count / $1.62 per cartridge)
  • Target's Up & Up Women's 5-blade Razor Cartridges: $6.49 (4 count / $1.62 per cartridge)
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