It’s no secret that Trader Joe’s is pretty great (after all, they have a cult following)–but are Trader Joe’s prices all that great? That’s what we set out to discover in this Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart price comparison.
In contrast to Trader Joe’s, Walmart has a cult following of a different nature. And while most people know that Walmart’s quality could be better, Walmart is well known for having the lowest prices around (although Aldi busts that myth in this price comparison).
So, instead of relying on gossip to decide where to shop, we’re going to look at the facts. How do Walmart and Trader Joe’s prices compare on 64 different items across 8 categories?
And what other essential information do you need to know when choosing where to spend your hard-earned cash?
All these questions and more will be answered in this ultimate Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s price comparison.
Comparison Methodology: How We Compared Walmart and Trader Joe’s
When we compare stores, the main goal is to help you discover which store is best for you. So, we created a total grocery list that includes basic items most shoppers will buy at Trader Joe’s and Walmart.
Since Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer all of the same products like Walmart, we didn’t compare every section that you can find in Walmart. After all, you can’t buy a TV at Trader Joe’s, so we really can’t do a complete comparison of the two retailers.
But, we did our best to compare similar-quality items while still searching for the lowest prices possible at both stores. And we looked at prices across eight different categories to provide both a broad and detailed look into how you can save money shopping at either Trader Joe’s, Walmart, or both.
Keep in mind that the prices you see here are unlikely to reflect the exact prices in your area. Prices can vary drastically between different locations across the US, because of things like suppliers, demand, availability, and transportation costs.
So, don’t go running to your nearest Trader Joe’s or Walmart just because you saw a great deal in this price comparison article.
Now, let’s get into the facts you need to know.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart Price Comparison Summary
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to dive into the details of this Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s comparison, then this is the essential information you need to know.
For a broad look at how TJ’s and Walmart compare, don’t miss the conclusion where we break down which store is best for you and why.
|Fresh Produce||$47.79||$44.08||$3.71 (7.76%)|
|Meat, Dairy, and Eggs||$36.11||$25.85||$10.26 (28.41%)|
|Vegan Alternatives||$23.74||$23.44||$0.30 (1.26%)|
|Pantry Items||$30.58||$30.16||$0.42 (1.37%)|
|Frozen Foods||$19.74||$18.42||$1.32 (6.69%)|
|For Your Home||$33.08||$17.61||$15.47 (46.77%)|
|Total Cart Price||$233.77||$197.78||$35.99 (15.4%)|
When we reached the metaphorical check-out counter, we discovered that shopping at Walmart saved us upwards of 15% across all of the categories we looked at.
Trader Joe’s was only cheaper in one category, which was snacks. This surprised us since we were expecting Walmart to be cheaper across the board.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Fresh Produce Price Comparison
First, let’s look at how Walmart and Trader Joe’s prices for fresh produce compare.
|2 lb Brussels Sprouts (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.99||$3.39||$0.60 (15.04%)|
|1 Honeycrisp Apples||$1.29||$1.54||$0.25 (16.23%)|
|1 lb Red Grapes||$3.24||$4.82||$1.58 (32.78%)|
|1 lb Gala Apples||$3.00||$1.37||$1.63 (54.33%)|
|6 Small Avocados||$3.99||$2.98||$1.01 (25.31%)|
|4 Cobs of Sweet Corn||$3.99||$2.88||$1.11 (27.82%)|
|1 Pineapple||$2.99||$1.98||$1.01 (33.78%)|
|1 lb Grape Tomatoes||$2.49||$2.48||$0.01 (0.4%)|
|1 lb Cauliflower||$3.05||$2.88||$0.17 (5.57%)|
|1 lb White Button Mushrooms||$3.58||$3.64||$0.06 (1.65%)|
|3 lb Bananas||$1.71||$1.89||$0.18 (9.52%)|
|10 oz Strawberries||$5.81||$1.86||$3.95 (67.99%)|
|1 lb Organic Baby Carrots||1.29||1.54||$0.25 (16.23%)|
|6 oz Organic Blueberries||$3.49||4.66||$1.17 (25.11%)|
|1 lb Organic Baby Spinach||$3.05||4.98||$1.93 (38.76%)|
|1 Organic Romaine Heart||$0.83||1.19||$0.36 (30.25%)|
We looked at the prices of 16 different items in the fresh produce section, and what we found was interesting. Walmart and Trader Joe’s tied when it came down to the number of cheaper items in this section, but Walmart won as the store with the lower total cart price.
Trader Joe’s organic produce is certainly cheaper than Walmart’s, but overall, Walmart produce is cheaper than Trader Joe’s produce.
Now, whether the savings are worth it is up to you. From my personal experience, the produce at Trader Joe’s is much higher quality than the produce at Walmart–but what’s in season and where you live can have a major impact on the quality and price of produce in your area.
My advice? Shop at Walmart if you care the most about finding the lowest prices.
Shop at Trader Joe’s if you:
- want higher quality produce
- don’t mind paying a little more
- buy a significant amount of organic produce.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Meat, Dairy, and Eggs Price Comparison
Next up: meat, dairy, and eggs. These animal products are staples for most people’s diets, and they’re common items to see on grocery lists.
|Half Gallon 2% Milk (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.99||$2.02||$1.97 (49.37%)|
|Dozen Large AA Eggs (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$1.49||$2.48||$0.99 (39.92%)|
|8.8 oz Salted Butter (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.69||$1.64||$2.05 (55.56%)|
|5 oz Plain Cottage Cheese (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$1.19||$0.40||$0.79 (66.39%)|
|12 oz Shredded Lite Mozzarella Cheese (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.29||$2.69||$0.60 (18.24%)|
|8 oz Grated Parmesan Cheese (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$2.99||$2.36||$0.63 (21.07%)|
|1 lb Fresh Organic Chicken Breasts||$6.49||$4.94||$1.55 (23.88%)|
|40 oz Frozen Chicken Breasts (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$6.99||$5.95||$1.04 (14.88%)|
|12 oz Uncured Beef Hot Dogs (Trader Joe’s Organic Grass-Fed vs. Ball Park)||$5.99||$3.37||$2.62 (43.74%)|
Again, Walmart reigned supreme as the store with the lowest prices overall in the meat, dairy, and eggs department.
This time, we saved a whopping $10.26 and walked away with 9 items for just $25.85 at Walmart.
Trader Joe’s is notorious for selling overpriced meat, although their selection and quality are higher than Walmart’s.
Just like the produce, choose Walmart if you prefer cheap options. However, we wouldn’t recommend buying any animal products at Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Vegan Alternatives Price Comparison
Walmart and Trader Joe’s both offer a wide selection of vegan alternatives, which makes them both good grocers for people with vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free diets.
|64 oz Non-Dairy Oat Milk (Trader Joe’s vs. Oatly)||$3.99||$4.35||$0.36 (8.28%)|
|8 oz Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative (Trader Joe’s vs. Miyokos Creamery)||$2.79||$4.78||$1.99 (41.63%)|
|1 Pint Strawberry Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (Trader Joe’s vs. Oatly)||$3.99||$4.47||$0.48 (10.74%)|
|8 oz Vegan Buttery Spread (Trader Joe’s vs. Country Crock)||$3.99||$1.66||$2.33 (58.4%)|
|11 oz Vegan Caesar Dressing (Trader Joe’s vs. Daiya)||$3.99||$2.88||$1.11 (27.82%)|
|24 oz Plain Non-Dairy Yogurt Alternative (Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Unsweetened vs. Silk Almondmilk)||$4.99||$5.30||$0.31 (5.85%)|
We did end up saving money by choosing Walmart as our vegan items supplier–but it was only 30 cents.
And, if we hadn’t picked up the vegan buttery spread or the vegan caesar dressing, Trader Joe’s would have been the cheaper option.
The moral of the story? Trader Joe’s offers competitive low prices on vegan products–but some select products may be sorely overpriced compared to what you buy at Walmart.
Overall, we would choose Trader Joe’s like the cheaper option for vegan products–as long as you avoid those specific overpriced items.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Pantry Items Price Comparison
Now that we’ve covered all the basic perishable groceries you might buy at Walmart and Trader Joe’s, it’s time to stock our pantries.
|32 fl oz Hamburger Dill Chip Pickles (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$5.98||$1.98||$4.00 (66.89%)|
|5 oz Avocado Oil Spray (Trader Joe’s vs. Chosen Foods)||$3.49||$4.87||$1.38 (28.34%)|
|16.9 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$7.99||$3.92||$4.07 (50.94%)|
|2 lbs Organic White Rice (Trader Joe’s vs. Rice Select)||$4.49||$9.41||$4.92 (52.28%)|
|12 oz Granola (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.49||$2.46||$1.03 (29.51%)|
|20 oz Organic Ketchup (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$1.66||$1.74||$0.08 (4.6%)|
|15.5 oz Can of Organic Black Beans (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$0.99||$0.94||$0.05 (5.05%)|
|16 oz Organic Thick & Chunky Salsa (Trader Joe’s vs. Late July Snacks)||$2.49||$4.84||$2.35 (48.55%)|
The results for this section were haphazard. Out of 8 items, both stores had the best price on 4, and there was only a 1% price difference on our total cart prices.
We saved 42 cents by choosing Walmart over Trader Joe’s, but the data doesn’t seem to point towards one store as the best or cheapest option.
So, let’s break it down.
Since Trader Joe’s we looked at only stocks some items as organic (like white rice, ketchup, and salsa), we were forced to buy the more expensive organic versions at Walmart, too. This threw off the price comparison a bit.
For example, the cheapest organic rice we could find was a whopping $9.41, but if we opted for non-organic white rice, we could have spent just 92 cents on a 12 oz bag of Mahatma long grain rice. That’s a major price difference.
And when Walmart had a lower price, their price was a lot lower. For example, TJ’s cheapest pickles were $4 more expensive than Walmart’s–and so was the olive oil. That’s $8 in savings for just two items!
So, if you don’t care if your food is organic, then Trader Joe’s is the more expensive choice.
But, the one exception is for people who gravitate towards organic foods, because Walmart’s organic foods are more expensive.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Frozen Food Price Comparison
Now let’s take a walk through the frozen foods aisle to discover who has better prices on frozen foods that stay good in your freezer for months.
|16 oz Riced Cauliflower (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$2.99||$2.64||$0.35 (11.71%)|
|1 lb Frozen Broccoli||$1.49||$1.33||$0.16 (10.74%)|
|1 Frozen Pizza (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$4.49||$3.17||$1.32 (29.4%)|
|16 oz Frozen Turkey Burgers (Trader Joe’s vs. JENNIE-O)||$3.29||$3.34||$0.05 (1.5%)|
|10.5 oz Frozen Vegetable Pad Thai (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.49||$3.05||$0.44 (12.61%)|
|10 oz Frozen Acai Bowl (Trader Joe’s Organic vs. Sambazon Amazon Superberry)||$3.99||$4.89||$0.90 (18.4%)|
Once again, Walmart defeated Trader Joe’s. We saved about 6% in this category, which ended up being $1.32 total.
Honestly, we were surprised we didn’t save more money by choosing Walmart’s frozen foods.
Trader Joe’s has formed a massive cult following for its unique, tasty, and affordable (for some) prepared frozen food. And it’s easy to see why. They have truly unique offerings that just can’t be found at other stores. And their grocery shopping experience is one of a kind.
To summarize, choose Walmart if you want low prices and Trader Joe’s for a unique experience with great prepared foods that are slightly more expensive than the competition.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Snack Price Comparison
Even though Trader Joe’s is a family-friendly grocer, I would not describe what we see in this section of our price comparison as fair play.
|5.5 oz Pre-Popped Kettle Corn (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$2.29||$1.36||$0.93 (40.61%)|
|32 oz White Corn Tortilla Chips (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$3.49||$3.10||$0.39 (11.17%)|
|6 oz Potato Chips (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$2.29||$1.07||$1.22 (53.28%)|
|2.64 oz Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar (Trader Joe’s vs. Lindt Excellence)||$1.99||$2.10||$0.11 (5.24%)|
|16 oz Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels (Trader Joe’s vs. Great Value)||$2.49||$4.42||$1.93 (43.67%)|
|2 oz Crispy Mushroom Snack (Trader Joe’s vs. VEGKY)||$3.99||$6.50||$2.51 (38.62%)|
Trader Joe’s beat Walmart in the snack department, but what we found surprised us. Again, Trader Joe’s and Walmart were caught in a 50/50 tie between the number of cheaper items. However, TJ’s won out with a total cart price that was $2 lower than Walmart’s.
Specialty snacks were more expensive at Walmart than at Trader Joe’s, even though we saw a general trend towards Walmart being cheaper than their competitor.
So, we saved a total of $4.55 on three specialty items: chocolate, peanut butter pretzels, and crispy dried mushrooms–at Trader Joe’s.
On the other hand, simple snacks like tortilla chips, popcorn, and potato chips were cheaper at Walmart. But we only saved $2.54 on these items, leaving Trader Joe’s in the lead.
If you’re a hard-core Trader Joe’s fan and want to indulge in their specialty snacks, then it’s worth a trip. But you should shop at Walmart for classic snacks if you want to save money.
And if you want to save money, we recommend you skip the snack aisle altogether.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Drink Price Comparison
Although bottled and canned beverages are items you’ll want to skip is saving the most money when grocery shopping is your main goal, they’re also a staple for many households.
|32 oz Ready to Drink Cold Brew Coffee (Trader Joe’s vs. SToK)||$4.99||$3.20||$1.79 (35.87%)|
|12 12 oz Cans of Flavored Sparkling Water (Trader Joe’s vs. Clear American)||$4.94||$3.57||$1.37 (27.73%)|
|750 ml Red Blend Wine (Organic Charles Shaw vs. Oak Leaf)||$3.99||$2.50||$1.49 (37.34%)|
|6 12 oz Cans of Beer (Boatswain Double IPA vs. Cauldron Road Brewing Wolf Pup Session)||$4.99||$6.77||$1.78 (26.29%)|
|64 oz Apple Juice (Trader Joe’s vs. Mott’s)||$3.99||$2.48||$1.51 (37.84%)|
|32 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemonade (Trader Joe’s vs. Marketside)||$3.29||$1.15||$2.14 (65.05%)|
Walmart smashed the competition by offering prices that were almost 25% cheaper on average. Trader Joe’s charged us about $26 for these six items, while our cart total at Walmart was less than $20.
We saved over $1 on every item we looked at in this category, so our solid recommendation is to shop at Walmart for drinks–especially if you’re having a party.
It’s also important to note that Trader Joe’s is unlikely to offer the sodas you might hope to see on the shelves, like Pepsi or Coke.
When it comes to beverages, Walmart is the clear winner.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Items For Your Home Price Comparison
Walmart and Trader Joe’s both sell home basics, but one retailer is clearly the cheaper option.
|16 oz Liquid Body Wash (Trader Joe’s Citrus Refresh vs. Suave Essentials Milk and Honey)||$2.99||$1.62||$1.37 (45.82%)|
|6 oz 50 SPF Sunscreen Spray (Trader Joe’s vs. Equate Ultra Broad Spectrum)||$5.99||$4.34||$1.65 (27.55%)|
|8.8 oz Bar Soap (Trader Joe’s Almond Ginger Oatmeal Exfoliant vs. Dial Antibacterial Spring Water)||$2.99||$2.67||$0.32 (10.7%)|
|3.2 oz Hair Serum Oil with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil (Trader Joe’s vs. Suave Professionals for Natural Hair)||$4.64||$1.32||$3.32 (71.55%)|
|8 oz Body Butter (Trader Joe’s Coconut vs. NIVEA Cocoa)||$5.49||$2.83||$2.66 (48.45%)|
|50 oz Liquid Laundry Detergent (Trader Joe’s Free & Clear vs. Purex Mountain Breeze)||$5.99||$3.45||$2.54 (42.4%)|
|1.35 oz Dry Shampoo (Trader Joe’s vs. Dove)||$4.99||$1.38||$3.61 (72.34%)|
We saved more money in the home and personal care aisles than any other category in this price comparison. The items sold at Walmart were about 47% cheaper on average than similar products sold at Trader Joe’s.
If you shop for things like soap or lotion at Trader Joe’s, you’re paying about twice as much as you would at Walmart.
Trader Joe’s also carries fewer products for home and personal care.
Again, Walmart is the better option for non-food items in the home and personal care departments.
Trader Joe’s vs. Walmart: Services and Public Perception Comparison
Now that we’ve seen how the prices compare, it’s time to look at how these two grocers compare when it comes to the services they offer and their public perception.
|Shipping and Delivery||Trader Joe’s does not offer shipping or delivery services. However, you can receive grocery delivery from Trader Joe’s through third-party services such as Postmates or Instacart.||Walmart offers free 3-5 day shipping on all orders over $35. And you can get free next-day or two-day delivery on orders over $35. However, the free delivery only applies to select items at participating locations.|
|Curbside Pickup||Curbside pickup is not an option when you shop at Trader Joe’s.||Walmart also offers fast and free curbside pickup. You can pick up your order the same day you place it (if you order soon enough).|
|Return Policy||Trader Joe’s offers one of the best return policies out there. You can return any item, any time, with or without your receipt. And, it can be in any condition (even half-eaten!). But do you want a pro tip? You can request a sample of anything in the store from a Trader Joe’s employee before purchasing it.||Walmart’s return policy isn’t as great as Trader Joe’s, but you still have 90 days to return most items. Under certain conditions, you can return items without a receipt—but don’t expect Walmart to refund a half-eaten bag of chips.|
|Loyalty Programs||Trader Joe’s does not offer a loyalty or rewards program–but that doesn’t stop their customers from being one of the most loyal fanbases out there.||Walmart now offers a rewards program called Walmart Plus. It costs $12.95 a month (or $98 a year) and benefits include free shipping and delivery, mobile check out, and exclusive discounts on gas and prescriptions.|
|Customer Service||Trader Joe’s customer service is unbeatable. Since the company lends an intense focus to positive customer experiences, TJ’s staff is exceptionally helpful and friendly.||In bleak contrast to Trader Joe’s, Walmart is notorious for its poor customer service. It’s almost unfair to compare them.|
When comparing Trader Joe’s and Walmart, the results are clear.
Trader Joe’s is more expensive, but they offer better customer service. That’s why people love Trader Joe’s so much.
Walmart is cheaper, but you’ll sacrifice quality for quantity.
Walmart also offers convenience with services like shipping and pickup, while you’ll need to use a third-party company to receive those services from Trader Joe’s.
Trader Joe’s is also strictly a grocer. They barely even sell items like personal care products or items to clean your home. Meanwhile, Walmart is the ultimate one-stop-shop that carries everything from groceries to home entertainment systems and prescription medications.
FAQs About Trader Joe’s and Walmart
Which is cheaper, Walmart or Trader Joe’s?
Walmart. In our ultimate price comparison that looked at 60+ items from Walmart and Trader Joe’s, we discovered that you save up 15% on average by choosing to shop at Walmart instead of Trader Joe’s. But, it’s a well-known fact what you save in your wallet, you’ll lose in the quality of your products.
Does Walmart own Trader Joe’s?
No. Walmart is primarily owned by the richest family in America, the Walton family. Sam Walton opened the first Walmart in 1962 and went on to found Sam’s Club in 1983 before his death in 1992. Walmart and Trader Joe’s have no connection in ownership since Trader Joe’s is owned and operated primarily by Aldi Nord, a company that is not affiliated with Walmart.
Is Trader Joe’s better than Walmart?
It depends on your definition of “better.” Trader Joe’s does offer higher quality items than Walmart, however, most of their options are under the Trader Joe’s brand. So, you’ll struggle to find familiar brand names on TJ’s shelves.
Trader Joe’s is also significantly more expensive than Walmart. Read our ultimate price comparison between Walmart and Trader Joe’s to discover just how much you could save by making the switch.
Why is everyone so obsessed with Trader Joe’s?
Trader Joe’s is a one-of-a-kind grocer with a cult following of superfans, because of their marketing strategy. The intense brand loyalty Trader Joe’s has developed is no mistake. Unlike Walmart, which seems to care most about the bottom line, TJ’s invests highly in a positive customer experience. Read on to discover how TJ’s and Walmart compare when it comes to prices.
Final Thoughts: Is It Better to Shop at Walmart or Trader Joe’s?
Other than the prices, the most significant difference between Trader Joe’s and Walmart is the shopping experience.
Although both stores can descent into shopping chaos, Trader Joe’s focuses on selling high-quality groceries to consumers who care about a healthy diet. They offer unique prepared foods, an entire section devoted to charcuterie board meats and cheeses, and stellar customer service that just can’t be beaten.
On the other hand, Walmart is an extremely affordable one-stop-shop.
Choose Trader Joe’s if:
- You don’t mind paying more money for a better shopping experience
- You’re a TJ’s superfan and can’t bear the thought of shopping anywhere else
- You buy a lot of organic items, including produce
- You buy vegan or dairy-free alternatives
Choose Walmart if:
- You want the lowest prices, no matter what
- You prefer to shop at one store for everything
- You’re okay with lower quality produce
- You don’t buy organic produce
- You don’t mind the “Walmart experience”
- You buy a lot of snacks and drinks or are throwing a party
Well, there you have it. This summarizes all the key differences between Walmart and Trader Joe’s, so you can choose the best store for you–if you haven’t already.
We want to hear from you. Which store do you prefer and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below!