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February 17, 2016 12:11 PM   Subscribe

What durable Costco items are worth buying?

I've seen many questions on the best items at Costco, but they tend to focus on consumables and especially on food. I'm a new Costco member, and I'm also going to need to acquire a whole bunch of home items in the next few months. I know Costco offers many quality items at a terrific price, and tell me, hive, what should I seek out there? I'm especially looking for things that are a good value and made to last. I'm interested in both generic and often-stocked name brand goods.

For instance, I've read that their French-made enameled cast iron rivals Le Creuset and I LOVE my Costco down comforter (the top budget pick from The Sweethome!). Many of their generic items, though, don't have a ton of reviews (unfortunately) so it's hard to pick out the good stuff.
posted by R a c h e l to Shopping (43 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
Their dog beds are fantastic. My spoiled little pup has his own little living room set with a kirkland brand dog couch at the center. He sleeps on it, digs in it, drags it around the house, licks it sometimes when he forgets that couch is not food, and in general gives it a healthy daily dose of hard use. The thing doesn't look any worse for the wear ~two years on, hasn't lost its squish, and for the $35ish I paid for it (got it during a month when it was in the coupon booklet) is easily one of the best dog purchases I've made.

I also bought my mattress at Costco, though it wasn't a Costco brand. I had been reading online about mattress specs for weeks and only feeling less and less informed, and decided to buy one from Costco because of the great return policy and free both ways shipping. I figured if I didn't like it I could give it back and take my money elsewhere--didn't need to.
posted by phunniemee at 12:26 PM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

I have a memory foam mattress from Costco and love it.
posted by serelliya at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

I've been happy with my Kirkland brand refrigerator. Upholstered furniture has held up well, but I don't recall the brand.

All of the Kirkland brand items I've ever bought have been very good quality for the price. Even things like shoes where the store brand is usually to be avoided have been good. That said, sometimes a cheaper and lower quality item from elsewhere is what you are looking for, and Costco is not the store for that.

The down side is that often things are only in stock for a short time, so if you are trying to price things and look at different options it might not be in stock when you come back.

Costco also offers an extended warranty on many of their electronics, and it's much easier to return things to Costco than to some other stores.

If you are outfitting a household, consider the executive membership, it costs more up front but will give you a rebate later.
posted by yohko at 12:31 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

That Le Creuset clone is awesome. The day I got mine, Costco had the Kirkland and Le Creuset models side by side, and I have to believe the Kirkland ones are whitelabel from Le Creuset. The two were identical down to color and casting and "made in france," the only difference being the silver knob on the lid for the Kirkland version vs black for the Le Creuset.
posted by zippy at 12:40 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding: mattresses.

Adding: Kirkland brand women's thin, light merino wool trail socks. They're literally a quarter of the price of their outdoor-store equivalents.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:44 PM on February 17, 2016 [16 favorites]

Oh my god, the dog beds are *amazing*. I have two of the enormous round ones (85lb dog + 60lb dog routinely share, sprawled out back to back with their legs out), one of which is outside in the California sun (and frequently forgotten in the rare California rain), and they're both a little smushed in but otherwise pristine 2 years later. I have another smaller one (which I have not seen in the stores in the past year or so) that's sort of sofa-shaped that also still looks new. And they're really pretty - earthy neutral furniture-y colors, attractive brocade patterns, tweed bottoms.

I do love their merino socks, but most of mine do not make it through winter and spring without blowing out at the ball of my foot. I don't have any other socks that have worn out there.

I won't buy any more Le Creuset because the Kirkland is absolutely as good. I think Costco also carries the Tramontina line of cladware, just as good as All Clad for a fraction of the price. I got a set when I got married 12 years ago and all of it is still good as new.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:04 PM on February 17, 2016

Definitely dog beds - the memory foam kind. The dogs love them and they hold up really well.

We also have a memory foam mattress from Costco that we're very happy with.
posted by thejanna at 1:09 PM on February 17, 2016

Their workout gear is great, just as good as more expensive stuff elsewhee.
posted by fshgrl at 1:11 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

85lb dog in repose in giant bed. This is probably actually too big for some spaces, but they are comfy - I've curled up with him for a little nap before.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:18 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

We've been happy with our two-person sit-on-top kayak from Costco, but they sold them for only a month or two. We had to make our decision quickly.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 1:18 PM on February 17, 2016

* The men's merino wool socks are excellent and much cheaper than their name brand equivalents.
* The Kirkland Signature stainless steel cookware set is outstanding. We bought a set for something like $150, I think two years ago, and the cooking surfaces look new. These will easily last a decade. The complaints you read about these on Costco's website are about food sticking, which is because people don't know how to cook using stainless steel and what should be made in nonstick pans.
* I bought a CyberPower UPS there for $40 less than I could find it anywhere else.
* Their tires are a very good price-to-quality ratio. We couldn't do significantly better anywhere local. (We didn't check Walmart.)
* They have local movie tickets, restaurant gift cards and sports tickets for lower prices than anywhere else.
* We bought a Ninja blender set for $30 less at Costco than we could find it anywhere else.
* Their sheets are well-regarded, but we haven't purchased those.
posted by cnc at 1:23 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Their cat litter is an amazing deal - 35 pounds for $6.99, plus it doesn't have all the added scents that you find in Tidy Cat et al. The actual users have no complaints.
posted by mogget at 1:40 PM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I bought a foam bed from Costco, it's held up very well. My wife insists by the Costco cooling pillows.

Very happy with a shower head we bought from there once.

The return policy is outright amazing. I really appreciate it.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've got a number of Kirkland women's T-shirts, which have lasted extremely well.

Bedding, as well as towels.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ditto towels
posted by bq at 2:23 PM on February 17, 2016

So many things!
Kirkland brand:
The men's T shirts are terrific. Better than any name brand ones.
The wool socks are just as good (and my preference) as all of the 15-20 dollar ones at REI. I I love the women's socks for me and all my boys. They seem to fit a wide range of feet which saves me a lot of money. Good kids wool socks are 4x as much as these.
The men's wool dress pants and great at a fraction of the regular regular retail.
Men's underwear is a great bargain.
Their diamonds.
Dog bed.
I was happy with the Ugg style boots for a quarter of the price. Just as hideous but way cheaper!

The only clunker I ever got from Costco was their Kirkland Mac and Cheese. yuck.
posted by ReluctantViking at 2:23 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've had a set of Kirkland luggage for 12 or 13 years. Even after repeated trips around the baggage carousel, its only damage is a broken zipper pull or two.

And, if you wear glasses, they have the cheapest eyeglass frames around -- name brands that sell for $200-$300 at my optometrist's office go for just $50 or $60 at Costco. Their lens prices are very good too, AND they accept most vision insurance. Getting glasses there is much cheaper, for me, than getting them at the eye doctor's place.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

The men's undershirts in particular are pretty good (a lot thicker than other men's undershirts, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your POV).
posted by dismas at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Those Kirkland Women's Trail Socks are FANTASTIC. So comfy, and they hold up really well.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:35 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

We got our surprisingly simple and stylish faux-suede sectional couch (kinda like this one) from Costco back in 2007. We haven't been to Costco since, and we aren't members anymore, but we still get a bit of glee when people ask us where we got our couch and we get to say, in unison, "IT'S FROM COSTCO!"

I really can't believe the thing has held up as well as it has. It was maybe $1,000, far below any other option we could find, and it's held up to us, three kids, a dog, living in a sandblasted beach apartment, and several long-distance bang-up moves. We've had to flip it over to reattach springs a couple times, but that's simple enough, and we just had it professionally cleaned for $200 for the first time last year (after what was hopefully its last move to a permanent address). 10/10, would buy again.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:09 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

If they fit you, the yoga pants they sell are terrific quality. The old style fit me better than the one that's in stock now (moral: the style changes so if you find one you like, stock up.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 3:29 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

We bought a huge RCA flat-screen television for a very reasonable price. Costco concierge service (for electronic purchases) spent a considerable amount of time on a three-way call with Comcast and TiVo service reps to get our setup working properly.
posted by Joleta at 3:43 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have a leather couch + loveseat + armchair set from Costco that has been moved at least six times since it was purchased and sat on almost daily, and is still going strong. We do literally nothing to maintain them. The leather looks a little cracked and worn in places but I fully expect this furniture to last many more years.
posted by town of cats at 4:11 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kirkland Salsa (not refrigerated) - my husband swears by it.
+1 on the women's wool trail sox
Mattress - I'm always amazed I see people picking them up and trying to figure out how to get them home - order from the warehouse and delivery is FREE!
Kirkland vanilla ice cream - no junky ingredients, seriously good ice cream for a party
Kirkland brand single-malt and blended Scotch Whiskeys - these are so delicious, and so cheap, compared to name brands!
Kirkland Prosecco Superiore (with the pink foil) - yum yum yum!
Kirkland Organic butter - it's almost half the price you'd pay for organic butter anywhere else

There's probably more, but that's off the top of my head.
posted by dbmcd at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing dog beds, people mattresses, towels and sheets.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 5:14 PM on February 17, 2016

I bought a big 30-pack of microfiber towels for car washing and household cleanup to cut down on our disposable paper towel use. They're not quite as nice as the fancy 'auto detailing' type, but they're much nicer and less linty than the typical ones from other stores. I think the pack was $20 and they're washable.

I also take my car there for tires, which is a consumable but it's worth mentioning. Their tire centers use nitrogen fill, which is free to use if you pull up and ask the tech to borrow an air chuck.
posted by a halcyon day at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know if you're looking for clothes at all, but these are on the way out right now. JACHS men's "brawny" flannel shirts are really well made, sturdy flannel shirts, and they're $13. They've already stopped selling them on their website, but they still had a table full of them at my local Costco just a few hours ago, so you may be able to find them. They had a women's style, too, but those looked pretty janky in comparison, so I got a men's one for myself a while back, and my son and husband were both envious of my fantastic flannel shirt, so I went back and got them each one, and then my son's friend was envious of his, so I got him one the next time I went, so now we all have the same shirt and whenever I go out in mine, I run the risk of impromptu "Who wears it best?" competitions.

Like everyone else, I recommend their Novaform mattresses (ours is about seven years old and holding up great), dog beds, and women's trail socks. Costco is also the first place I check for electronics. Their selection is pretty small, but when they have what I'm looking for, they have the best deals considering price and return policy.

Generally speaking, if I see something I need ("need") at Costco, I'll get it there, because they tend to carry good quality stuff. Especially Kirkland brand.
posted by ernielundquist at 5:41 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you see something and you're not sure if you'd like it -- BUY IT. If it's not right, return it. The return policy is so great, nothing like it anywhere else. My husband bought 4 (count 'em, 4) big screen televisions, one after the other. Finally got whatever esoteric mix he was looking for, and is happy as a clam. On the other hand, I had this idea of me with my new GoPro -- Tried it for a month, really wasn't that interested, returned it for immediate credit.

Seconding the eyeglasses, also. Top value.
posted by kestralwing at 5:58 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Free hearing tests!
We called their number for flooring, and they referred us to a local outfit. We got a gift card in return for 10% of the value of the flooring we purchased. Seriously, $700!
When I order Disney vacations, Costco came in cheaper by about a grand. The hotel they work with is right next door to the parks, and closer than some of Disney's own resorts. Same perks, even.
I'll be calling them the next time we shop for appliances, or a car.
posted by wwartorff at 6:42 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, their sheets ARE really nice! We have them on our guest bed and I keep getting a little jealous whenever I make the bed.

And I have to be the millionth person to say yeah definitely dog beds. The dogs look so comfy on theirs. We bought one in 2009 that lasted about 5 years and the new ones are almost 2 now and still look great.
posted by town of cats at 8:11 PM on February 17, 2016

This reminds me - Costco travel almost always has the best rental car deal. Another upside is that you cancel any time. So if they have a better price before your trip, book a second car at the lower price and cancel the first. I paid less than $200, including taxes, for a 10 day rental in Maui that way. The guy at the counter flat out said "You got a great deal on this car!"
posted by cnc at 9:15 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

You might be better off asking, What durable Costco items are not worth buying?

Costco is known for aggressively pursuing value for their customers. They have a cap on their average margin (a tiny bit of detail in Costco's Simple Strategy For Outperforming Wal-Mart And Target).

My understanding is that Costco is not interested in selling profitable products that don't work out for customers. And I think their Kirkland brand shows this. Also, if you get a Kirland product and it doesn't meet expectations, you can simply bring it back (Costco Return Policy).

I have to believe that they wouldn't keep that policy if they got too many returns of Kirkland products.

My personal favorites have been a dog bed and some wool socks. Both were a great value.
posted by reeddavid at 9:30 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dog Beds
Compost Bins
Garage/Basement Shelving

They also have awesome deals on cameras if you are patient.
posted by Ostara at 10:51 PM on February 17, 2016

Garden stuff! Bulbs and perennials.

Sheets, towels, bath mats, pillows.

Dog beds, dog meds.

Pharmacy items.

Kitchen gear. Small appliances. Batteries in bulk packages.

Wool sweaters and socks, underwear.

Bathing suits, goggles, beach towels.

There has been very little that I've bought there and regretted. And I've been able to return things easily if I do.
posted by instamatic at 3:37 AM on February 18, 2016

Kirkland Extra Fancy Unsalted Mixed Nuts (Cashews, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans), 2.5 pounds in a clear plastic open mouth jar. Note the clear jar which lets you see even before you buy for the first time the distribution and quality of nuts within. That is the kind of quality detail that I find very consumer friendly.

Kirkland's Men's Athletic Shoe White. Yes, a basic sneaker, but so cheap I bought 3 pair once I realized how comfortable they were. I keep one pair in my emergency kit in my car, one I am still using and one for when these wear out.

Which brings me to the only thing about Costco I don't like (and I've been a member for many years). In my Evernote Costco list I have items that I never find any more. I have asked and they say that they are still "in their computer" but just don't seem to be coming in. This was mentioned up thread so I am not the only one. This is not a big deal, but if you buy something and love it and it's not perishable, don't assume you'll be able to get it again when it wears out. Just saying.
posted by forthright at 4:21 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

The men's snow boots that look like hikers are fabulous for $29.99. I've been buying a pair every year for my teenager for 3 years. One really wet and snowy year, they got trashed both the tread and the integrity of the inside of the show. Lighter use would last several years but he grows out of them. 29.99!
posted by RoadScholar at 6:35 AM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Mr. works at Costco, so a lot of their merch winds up making its way home.

We got our leather sofa for $750 dollars a couple years ago. I love our sofa.

Other home goods I love from Costco:
-Their sheet set that comes with 4 pillowcases. It's cheap, sturdy, and the extra pillowcases are great, since we usually have 4 on the bed all the time anyway.
-Their basic staple garments, for men and women. I love their leggings, socks, and undershirts/camisoles.
-I got my rice cooker there last year upon another mefi's reccomendation, and it's the BEST for the price. I also got my vacuum sealer there, for a decent price, and they'll be my go-to for more bags when I need them.
-My cutting boards, dutch oven, a few other kitchen utensils.
-Over the counter medication, especially their allergy meds, which are an insane value.
-Cell Phones -- we upgraded our phones at the kiosk in December, and got a discount and a gift card for doing so.
-Our mop, with the self-wringing basket
-Their wipes. They include this awesome scrubby pack in their set, which are great for my grimy counters and cleaning the stovetop.

(I also like their wine and a lot of their grocery items.)
posted by PearlRose at 6:58 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

This feels like a meeting of the evangelicals, so let me shout out AMEN and HALLELUJAH for their car insurance! I thought I had a decent deal with one company, then another, Costco in MA saves me way more than 20% than other places, AND I have a teenage son on the policy.

And a shout out for their camisole/bra combination.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:06 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Their sheets are fantastic.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:16 AM on February 18, 2016

I love their bath towels. (Charisma, I think they're called?) They're thick, soft, and absorbent and hold up very well. Same for beach towels.

I had heard raves about their bed sheets, but when I tried them I found them far too stiff and scratchy for my taste. I ultimately returned them. (Yay for Costco's great return policy.)

We've been very happy with the leather storage bench / coffee table we purchased a few years ago. Looks far more expensive than it was and has held up well.

I was happy with the 8x10 indoor/outdoor rug we bought there for only $100, until my dog peed on it enough to ruin it completely :\ It wasn't the plushest rug, but it looked nice and was a great price for a rug that size.

We have *not* been happy with the CFL/LED bulbs (Feit brand) we've purchased there. While they work well enough, they really don't last as long as they should. The LED bulbs we purchased buzz and flicker.
posted by geeky at 8:32 AM on February 18, 2016

We bought both the Ninja and Vitamix blenders from Costco to compare them for ourselves with the intention of returning one. The Vitamix is markedly more expensive than the Ninja but at the time Consumer reports gave the Ninja a higher rating. The Vitamix hands down is a better blender than the Ninja in that the Ninja didn't blend to the level of creaminess that the Vitamix does, even after a loooong blending. Ninja still had food particles and provided a much junkier smoothie. I cannot live without my Vitamix. We make nut flours, salad dressing using tons of fresh herbs, and super creamy soups.
posted by waving at 10:21 AM on February 18, 2016

Kirkland's Men's Athletic Shoe White.

These appear to have been discontinued! Haven't seen them for a few months now. And actually I was going to call those out as not durable. Cheap and comfortable, yes, but they wore out fast.

In homewares: we have a Kirkland roasting pan that is heavy enough to be basically bulletproof -- I suspect this rotates in around Thanksgiving time? and also a couple of sets of really good sheet pans. Cookware is also good: I liked their big non-stick skillet, but as usual with Costco it now seems to have rotated out of stock.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:38 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Regardless if it's Kirkland brand, Costco has one of the best return policies of any company.

Example being a Ninja we bought my Mother-in-Law last summer we returned with no box and pretty much everything in a grocery sack 6 months later for a full refund.
posted by wcfields at 3:32 PM on February 18, 2016

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