Target vs. Walmart: Which Is Best?

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These two favorite retailers have a lot to offer, but which is a better shopping choice?

It’s an endless debate: Target vs. Walmart—which retailer is better? If you’re on the hunt for great deals, both stores offer exceptionally affordable pricing, quick delivery, and top-notch customer service. There are several differences between each of the mega-retailers, though. Picking the right one for your shopping style could boil down to the types of products you like to buy. While there are some things you should buy at Target and things you shouldn’t buy at Walmart, the inverse is certainly true as well.

What’s the difference between Target vs. Walmart?

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, with a dizzying number of stores spread across the United States. There are nearly 4,800 Walmarts of varying sizes and styles in America, whereas Target has fewer than 1,900 stores in the same geographical space. But for what Target lacks in its number of locations, it more than makes up for in shopping experience appeal. Discerning between the two stores can be difficult since both offer in-house brands that customers rave about, rock-bottom pricing on household essentials, and quick delivery for online orders.

Target

target storefront exteriorSOPA Images/Getty Images

The in-store shopping experience at Target is miles beyond the typical Walmart shopping experience. However, it comes at a cost and is balanced by Walmart’s far-better online shopping interface. Target has wider aisles, less crowded shelves, department store-like merchandising, and trendy design touches. All these details make it feel a bit more elevated than a waltz through Walmart.

Household goods like toilet paper, cleaning products, and bottled water may be at the lowest available price. But other items from the store’s fashion and cosmetics departments are often several percentage points higher in price than at Walmart. That’s not really a problem if you’re shopping for major national brands because Target’s Price Match Guarantee covers most competitors. But when it comes to buying a plain cotton tee that has Target’s store label vs. Walmart’s, expect to pay more at the former.

Target also has several brands it carries exclusively or owns altogether under the company’s umbrella. Good & Gather is the store’s private label for household items like paper goods and grocery items. Famous names like Chip and Joanna Gaines dot the aisles with their Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line. Cat & Jack children’s apparel and Smartly household essentials are other store exclusives that provide hundreds of new inexpensive Target products to choose from each season.

Target’s return policy is also an appealing draw for shoppers. “Most unopened items sold by Target in new condition and returned within 90 days will receive a refund or exchange,” the company’s website reads. “Some items sold by Target have a modified return policy noted on the receipt, packing slip, Target policy board (refund exceptions), Target.com or in the item description. Items that are opened or damaged or do not have a receipt may be denied a refund or exchange.”

Our Favorite Target Products:

Walmart

Walmart Storefront Gettyimagesrd.com, Getty Images (2)

Shoppers know that Walmart is most consistently going to give them the absolute cheapest deal on major name brands and household goods. That’s because Walmart offers the same price matching as Target but then one-ups it by offering rollbacks.

Rolled back prices on popular items ranging from cheap shampoos to diapers often see savings of 5 to 10 percent off Target’s prices, That’s enough to entice shoppers to stay loyal to Walmart. Typically, shoppers don’t even really have to head to the Walmart customer service desk to ask for a price match. The store has a team dedicated to monitoring competitor pricing and then altering its own pricing to keep customers satisfied.

What Walmart lacks in posh interiors, it makes up for in pricing and convenience with added perks like Walmart+. It’s a subscription model that rivals Amazon Prime to deliver just about anything directly to your door same or next day without elevated prices. Plus, members get other perks like discounted gasoline.

If you’re not a Walmart+ member, don’t worry—you can still opt for two-day delivery or free curbside pickup on most orders. Those curbside pickups often happen within a matter of minutes and make shopping for busy families a breeze.

Walmart is also stepping up its style game with signature brands and collaborations it offers exclusively. You can find house brands like Pioneer Woman clothes and kitchenwares at affordable prices, plus Equate, Mainstays, Scoop fashion finds, and Parent’s Choice.

You don’t have to worry about ordering the wrong size either, because Walmart’s return policy is one of the best in the country. Shoppers have up to 90 days to return items, and those returns can easily be processed online and through the store’s user-friendly app.

Our Favorite Walmart Products:

Target vs. Walmart: Black Friday Sales 2021

Both retailers promise the lowest prices on name-brand products for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They’ll happily match each other’s prices if one offers something better than the other. Walmart tends to edge out Target for early shoppers though because it typically offers its Black Friday deals several weeks in advance.

In fact, Walmart’s Black Friday deals for 2021 are available for browsing now. The event starts online at 7:00 p.m. ET on November 3 (with an exclusive preview event for Walmart+ members from 3:00-6:00 p.m.) and continues in-stores at 5:00 a.m. on November 5. You can expect to find savings on Samsung Chromebooks, Keurig coffee makers, and the season’s most popular toys.

Target, on the other hand, is later to release its Black Friday deals. It does offer early savings throughout the month of November, however. From November 4 through 6, the retailer kicks off its Early Black Friday deals on an Element Frameless Roku TV, Bose QuietComfort Wireless Headphones, and Ninja Kitchen System 7-Speed Blender.

When Black Friday finally hits, you can expect to find drastically reduced prices on Target’s popular in-house brands like Cat & Jack. Doorbuster deals as low as $2 aren’t unheard of on items like baby leggings, children’s tees, and other basics. Target also pulls ahead in Apple tech gift offerings and rare but wonderful discounts on coveted items like iPhones, iPads, and Airpods.

The bottom line

Target vs. Walmart: Deciphering which retailer is best comes down to personal preference. It depends on which types of things you buy and your shopping style. Walmart is typically the most reliable for the best bargains and perks. Target offers an upgraded shopping experience and premium design-forward products that feel far more expensive than they really are. Shopping at either of these retailers helps you save cash and time, so you can feel good about whichever choice you make.

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber covers gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Reader's Digest. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.