I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had comparing Walmart vs. Aldi for groceries and other items you can find in both stores.
It’s a hot debate in the frugal living community. There are people on both sides who are passionate about their store’s merits, but which one is right?
This comparison of Aldi and Walmart will help you pick the right grocery store for your needs.
My Comparison of Walmart vs. Aldi
The price of groceries varies greatly depending on what part of the country you live. Make sure you are selecting the stores closest to your home before making your comparisons.
I am not going to list individual prices here because they will be useless for most people.
Where Aldi Wins
1. Every Day Foods
The foods you use every day represent a large part of your annual food spending. Aldi does a great job reducing the prices on items we use for baking (flour, sugar, etc.) and the ready-made items we regularly use (bread, milk, etc.).
If you are shooting into the store for a quick pickup, Aldi will get you the lowest price.
2. Special Buys
Aldi brings in both grocery and consumer items seasonally at highly reduced prices. These items include foods as well as other goods like tools and home decor.
These special buys have proven to be reliable items for my family. A friend of mine who does lawn care for a living has been using a tree lopper he purchased at Aldi for more than two years.
3. Organic Prices
Aldi has been steadily increasing the number of organic options it offers. The company is closely tied to Trader Joe’s, giving them easy access to the larger organic foods market.
Rarely can I get a lower price on the organic foods that Aldi offers at any other retailer.
Shopping at Aldi is meant to be as streamlined as possible.
Their stores have a much smaller footprint than Walmart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets. On top of that, they only carry one version of each item.
In a typical grocery run, I can get in and out of Aldi in much less time and with much less stress of choosing the right product than I can at Walmart.
Where Walmart Wins
1. Bulk Purchasing
Aldi has one size for any item it carries in the store. It is part of their streamlined approach.
For pricing, the one way Walmart wins consistently is on items you can purchase in bulk quantities. For example, my kids love cereal bars as a snack. If I buy them in the 32 count variety pack, I save 6% over the cost of the eight-count boxes from Aldi.
Walmart stores are a full-sized grocery store. The extra space allows them to stock many more items than you can find in Aldi, including a bakery section and much more produce.
When you compare the pricing of items Walmart carries to that of traditional grocery stores, you are usually looking at about a 20% savings.
3. Name Brand Products
Aldi does offer name brand products from time to time, but they are rarely a good deal.
Because Walmart always offers name brand products, they have more leverage with the manufacturers. Walmart will also price match other grocery stores in their area, and they accept coupons.
If there is a specific name brand product that you love, Walmart will get you the lower price.
These three considerations are outside of the grocery category of the Walmart vs. Aldi comparison.
Aldi offers a few clearance items here and there, but they tend to be seasonal or “special buy” items, and there are usually very few of them.
Walmart has clearance items all the time. Their bakery consistently puts things that are getting close to their sell-by date on discount.
On top of that, there are entire rows of merchandise dedicated to clearance in most Walmart stores. If you are looking at Walmart vs. Aldi for clearance shopping, then Walmart is the clear winner.
If you want to go on one shopping trip and get everything you need, you will be hard-pressed to beat a trip to Walmart. The selection of groceries, toys, electronics, automotive supplies, and so much more is unmatched in a single store.
Aldi is not trying to compete with Walmart on the one-stop-shop convenience. It is almost strictly a grocery store.
Walmart is far superior for online shopping when compared to Aldi. Walmart is the second largest online retailer in the United States.
This gives them a user-friendly system and a streamlined curbside pickup operation that Aldi has yet to match.
Aldi, to their credit, saw that they were behind on online shopping and partnered with Instacart to give shoppers a satisfactory online experience. It isn’t as complete as what Walmart offers, and there is a cost to using Instacart which may erase the cost savings of shopping at Aldi.
One part of being an Aldi employee is that you are evaluated on how fast you can run items through the scanner. This focus makes the checkout at Aldi much quicker than Walmart, even when the lines are long.
Aldi also keeps its stores low cost by cross-training all their employees and then paying them well. The cross-training allows Aldi to have fewer employees in the store.
When the line gets long, they call another employee to stop whatever store functions they are doing and speed people through the checkout.
Which is Cheaper, Walmart or Aldi?
As you can see from the points above, each store has its strong points. However, for your everyday shopping, Aldi does have lower prices.
The limitations of the Aldi model is what makes Walmart a favorite for many people. If you want to have one place with everything you need, Walmart will still provide low prices and have a larger selection.
Final Thoughts on Aldi vs. Walmart
I am a big fan of shopping at Aldi. The prices are so low that it is difficult to beat them at a conventional grocery store, even with a coupon.
I shop at Aldi because I get a great low price, and the time I spend in the store is MUCH less than at Walmart. Not only is there a maximum of two options for an item (organic and not organic), the store is much smaller, and I have no temptation to stray over to the electronics section and lose 15-500 minutes.
I do shop frequently at Walmart since it is two miles from my home, but I think that may diminish a bit when the brand new Aldi finishes its construction right next door. With the two so close together, you can be sure I will continue my Aldi vs. Walmart comparisons, and keep saving money at both..