Amazon vs. Walmart: Which one really has the best prices?

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Amazon vs. Walmart: Which one really has the best prices?
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All year long, Clark.com’s Michael Timmermann is sharing quick and easy ways to save money as part of our Michael Saves series. Check in every Monday as he puts new and familiar savings strategies to the test. Sign up for our newsletter to have these stories delivered to your inbox!

Is Amazon Prime really worth it? Millions of people ask themselves that very question before paying $99 a year (or $10.99 a month) for a membership.

Now, a move by Walmart could make it harder to justify spending the money on Prime — at least for some.

Read more: Secret Amazon Prime perk you probably don’t know about

Amazon vs. Walmart: Which retailer has the best prices?

Walmart.com recently began offering free two-day shipping on eligible orders of $35 or more, with no membership fee required.

It prompted Amazon to quietly reduce its free shipping minimum for non-Prime members to $35 as well, although you’ll have to wait 5 to 8 business days for your package to arrive.

Editor’s note: In May, Amazon lowered the free shipping minimum to $25.

But there has been no change to Amazon Prime, which still offers free two-day shipping on a much larger selection of products than Walmart, a big selling point for online shoppers.

Comparing prices on 15 popular items

With similar shipping policies, I wanted to see how the retailers compare when it comes to price.

In February, I checked the prices of 15 items from multiple categories (electronics, household, food, books and more) to see which retailer was cheaper. Some of the prices below are for Amazon Prime members only.

Here are the results of my comparison:

Amazon vs. Walmart: This chart shows how their prices really compare

And the winner is…

In this price comparison, Walmart.com offered the lowest price eight times, and Amazon was the best bargain in two cases. The retailers surprisingly had the same price on one-third of the products I compared.

When I added up the total for all 15 items in my shopping cart, Walmart was the big winner: 17% cheaper than Amazon!

What it takes to get free shipping

All of the items in this price comparison were eligible for free shipping, but Walmart’s new shipping policy seems a lot more straightforward.

For example, Dove shampoo was priced $4.88 on both websites.

However, as an Amazon Prime member, I would need to add four other qualifying items to receive free shipping because the shampoo is part of Prime Pantry.

Walmart simply requires a $35 total on qualifying items for free two-day shipping.

Use Amazon’s app to comparison shop

Of course, this was just a comparison of a small number of items, but it’s a good reminder to never assume that one retailer always has the best deals.

I like to use Amazon’s app to compare prices when I’m in a store or shopping online.

Amazon vs. Walmart: This chart shows how their prices really compare

When you open up the Amazon app, just search the product you’re looking for to see Amazon’s price. The camera icon launches a barcode scanner that you can use while you’re shopping in stores.

Which do you prefer: Amazon or Walmart? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

Why you don’t want to buy these gift cards

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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