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Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime: Should you switch grocery delivery services?

Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime: Should you switch grocery delivery services?

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Walmart’s new delivery service competes with Amazon on groceries and other products. Here’s how the two compare on price, free trials and the number of products and other perks available.

James Bricknell Senior Editor

James has been writing about technology for years but has loved it since the early 90s. While his main areas of expertise are maker tools — 3D printers, vinyl cutters, paper printers, and laser cutters — he also loves to play board games and tabletop RPGs.

Expertise 3D printers, maker tools such as Cricut style vinyl cutters and laser cutters, traditional paper printers Credentials

  • 6 years working professionally in the 3D printing space / 4 years testing consumer electronics for large websites.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor

Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.

Expertise Home Tips, including cooking, cleaning and appliances hacks Credentials

  • National Silver Azbee Award for Impact/Investigative Journalism; National Gold Azbee Award for Online Single Topic Coverage by a Team; National Bronze Azbee Award for Web Feature Series

While Amazon has been a fixture in many people’s lives for a long time now, over the last several years other services and retailers have sprung up in an attempt to offer alternatives to the home delivery behemoth. Being the largest brick-and-mortar retailer in the United States, it made sense for Walmart to try and beat Amazon at its own game with a product to compete with Amazon Prime.

While both Walmart Plus and Amazon Prime are subscription delivery services, they have different perks to offer. Here’s a breakdown of what you get with each, and how the two compare. 

Read more: Prime vs. Fresh vs. Pantry vs. Whole Foods: Every Amazon grocery delivery service, compared

Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus, compared

Amazon Prime Walmart Plus
Availability Now Now
Yearly cost $119 $98
Monthly cost $12.99 $12.95
Free trial 30 days 30 days
Same-day delivery For orders $35 and up For grocery orders $35 and up; free for other products
Products available for same-day delivery 3 million 160,000
Grocery delivery Yes Yes
Streaming service and other media Yes Yes (Paramount Plus and Pluto TV)
Fuel discount No Yes

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shipping deliveries amazon prime shopping

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James Martin/CNET

You’re probably already familiar with Amazon Prime: Amazon’s membership program has been around for 15 years, and has more than 150 million paid subscribers. A Prime membership (which costs $119 a year, or $12.99 a month) includes in the US, and free same-day delivery in certain areas. You’ll also get free release-date delivery on certain preorders. If you’ve never signed up before, you can get a 30-day Prime free trial. And if you’re a or you , you can also get a discounted membership. 

Amazon Prime’s biggest benefit is the wide variety of products available for free delivery within one to two days with no purchase minimum. You’ll find more than 10 million items available for , and an additional 3 million for same-day shipping (but you’ll need to spend $35 minimum for the same-day option). 

One large element of Amazon Prime is all of its streaming benefits. With your Prime subscription, you’ll get access to Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Gaming (Prime Video is the biggest perk here, with its large catalog of new and old TV shows, movies and originals.) Prime Reading lets you borrow books and magazines for your Fire Tablet or Kindle e-reader or app. And Amazon First Reads gives you a free new book download each month. Prime Wardrobe also lets you try on some clothes on the site before you buy them. 

Read more: Amazon Prime: 21 benefits ever member gets

Prime members in certain cities get 2-hour delivery from Whole Foods Market, and those with an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card also get 5% cash back on Whole Foods purchases. Prime members in certain areas also get free grocery delivery through Amazon Fresh, which fulfills orders through Amazon warehouses instead of Whole Foods or another grocery store. Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh do not have a grocery delivery minimum, unless you want free two-hour delivery, in which case your order will need to be at least $35, or you’ll have to pay a $4.99 delivery fee. 

Prime members also get extra discounts through the Subscribe & Save option on certain products, like regular household items. 

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Walmart

A Walmart Plus membership costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. There’s also a 30-day free trial but still no word on any discounts for students or others. Walmart Plus builds on the retail giant’s original Delivery Unlimited option, offering “in-store prices” and “as fast as same-day” delivery on more than 160,000 items. In other words, a membership will send almost anything in-store to your door within a day, or even on the same day, with no additional fees. While there is a $35 purchase minimum for grocery orders (which is the same for Amazon Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh deliveries), there’s no minimum for free delivery on other items in the store. 

Walmart Plus offers some in-store benefits, too: Subscribers will get access to Scan & Go, a feature in the Walmart app that will let you scan items as you shop in the store, and check out using Walmart Pay, so you won’t have to stand in a checkout line. 

Read more: Compare Amazon’s price to Walmart and other stores with these 4 tools

Members will also save up to 5 cents per gallon on gasoline at nearly 14,000 Walmart, Murphy USAExxon, Mobil, and Sam’s Club gas stations nationwide.

Walmart doesn’t seem to specify how your proximity to a store will impact delivery time, but it’s probably safe to assume that the closer you are, the more likely it will be that you can take advantage of the same-day delivery offering. 

While Prime offers far more in terms of streaming and product range, Walmart Plus does offer a free subscription to both Paramount Plus and Pluto TV. Although Amazon Prime does offer more in the way of streaming with music, podcasts and books, the addition of streaming services on Walmart Plus makes it a worthwhile contender.

Walmart still has the edge when it comes to groceries, too: The big box store is the largest grocer in the US, and its prices are typically a lot lower than those at Whole Foods.

Which should you choose? 

While the two memberships have some things in common, they’re ultimately pretty different. Amazon Prime wins out in terms of the variety of products available, and the extra streaming and variety of other benefits. But Walmart Plus may be the better choice if you’re primarily looking for affordable grocery delivery and more convenient in-store shopping, too. 

As the CNET team pointed out, if you usually shop for groceries once a week and use Walmart Plus each time, it works out to $1.89 per week (based on the $98 annual rate) to get your groceries delivered — saving you time and lowering your risk of COVID-19 exposure. Walmart Plus’ yearly membership is also $21 cheaper than Amazon Prime’s, though the monthly costs are about the same.

It’s also worth noting that you can still take advantage of many of the Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus delivery services without subscribing. Walmart customers who aren’t Plus members currently get free two-day deliveries for millions of items on orders of $35 or more, and can sometimes get same-day delivery too, depending on where they live. Meanwhile, Amazon customers who aren’t Prime members can get free standard shipping on orders of $25 or more. 

For more, check out the CNET Deals page and the CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and more

Watch this: When one-day shipping is the new normal

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