Best Price and Value for Garbage Bags (Karrie’s Research)

Karrie's Research: What is the Best Value for Garbage Bags

Back by popular demand – ITS ANOTHER HAPPY MONEY SAVER RESEARCH PROJECT! I know it doesn’t get much better than toilet paper but this time I wanted to find out which garbage bags were the best value .  As you know, not all garbage bags are created equal; you have drawstring, flap ties, tear resistant, force flex, scented and more.   The choices for garbage bags can seem endless and it can be really hard to know which is the best value and quality for your hard earned money.

I love these kinds of research projects! You can also see my posts on Best Value on Toilet Paper and Best Prices for paper towels. These research projects are fun for me as I love knowing how to save money on things I buy all the time.   I plan to doing a new research project each month for my awesome readers.

Doing research on what the best value for garbage bags has been something I have been curious about for awhile (ok maybe I need a life!) As a coupon shopper I haven’t seen too many amazing deals on garbage bag coupons and I wanted to find the best place to spend my money. I also wanted to test the quality because I know there are some really cheap generic brands that break easily. There is nothing worse than having your garbage bag break open all over the place. It’s messy, gross,  and nobody likes doing the leaky garbage bag dash to the outside bin.


I did some research at 6 large stores to compare every brand of plastic garbage bags available.  The stores I went to are Costco, Walmart, Target, Cash n Carry, Dollar Tree and Winco.  My research was to  determine the answer to this question, “Which Plastic Garbage Bag brand is the best value?”

I created a spreadsheet you can view that shows regular price, brands, the price per bag, and gallon size of bags from the 6 stores.  Feel free to print this out, and keep it in your purse/wallet as a reference guide. 

You have two options to view this list:

  • View in Google Docs
  • For printable version: from Google Docs Click File, Download As, choose PDF and export to your computer
  • There are four tabs at the bottom, make sure and check each tab as there is useful information in each one.



To test the strength of the garbage bags I decided to use a 15 lb. cinder block. It’s got a rough texture and heavy enough for me to see if these bags could handle the weight.

Many of these bags failed this test. One of the dollar store bags broke super fast. And the Glad bags? Let’s just say their results did not make me “Glad.” I also tested the Winco’s Better Value brand, and the block tore & broke right though as well.


Now I know that the Glad Force Flex has been rated really high by consumer reports, and you might be wondering why it’s name is on this FAIL LIST. While it never did break open totally, the pressure did create some smaller tears as you can see if the picture. If I had something heavy or sharp in my garbage plus something like pine-shavings from cleaning out my chicken bins, I would really hate for my bag to start tearing/leaking. So I added it to the fail test. All the others the block actually broke all the way through on this fail list.


Here are the garbage bags that passed this test! Kirkland, Great Value, Up & Up and Good Sense did not break.  I was actually quite shocked that the Good Sense Dollar Tree brand was that strong – but their bags were only half the width of the other bags, (small & skinny) so that’s why they still aren’t making it in my top winners lists.



The #1 best price per bag for 13 gallon kitchen size was Winco’s Better Value twist tie variety at $0.058 cents per bag. This one doesn’t have drawstrings, its just a basic plastic garbage bag that uses twist ties. But it wasn’t good quality because the block tore right through it. While the price is good, it is just not worth it if it isn’t strong enough to handle a large bag of garbage.

Plus I just have to have drawstrings. I don’t like trying to tie a knot in the bags.


My final winner for all around best value goes to Kirkland (Costco) brand plastic garbage bags with expandable drawsting. You get 200 of them for $13.99 (which is $0.07 per bag). They were strong enough to hold my 15 lb. block and not tear or break! Plus they were a nice quality bag and at this price it’s the natural winner.


If you don’t have a Costco membership I will give you my second favorite value choice.  My #2 is Walmart’s Great Value Drawstring 13 gallon kitchen bags. They are thick and smooth so they will slide out of the can easily. Plus the drawstrings are strong and don’t tear. It also passed the block strength test. They cost around $0.10 per bag and you would need to buy the 150 pack of them for this price at Walmart.

I didn’t do any tests or comparisons on the black 30+ gallon bags or the smaller sizes of garbage bags, but the prices were all included in the google spreadsheet.

I hope you enjoyed my research project! Make sure and subscribe to my email newsletter so you don’t miss out on all my fun posts.

Happy Savings everyone!30 Comments

Best Price and Value for Garbage Bags (Karrie’s Research) was last modified: July 12th, 2014 by Karrie

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  1. Thanks for doing this test. I love the Kirkland bags, but it helps to know this research so I won’t waste money trying other ones.

  2. Awesome information :D. I buy the Costco bags, so it’s nice to know I’m getting the best value for great bags. I have had some issue with the drawstring part starting to break when I go to take the bag to the garbage, but I haven’t had any major spills because of the bag breaking or anything. It’s also nice to know the Walmart bags are good so if I just can’t get over to Costco, I have a backup. Thanks!

    • Hi Jill, I also really really hate when the drawstring breaks. I have been using the Great Value ones and haven’t noticed that problem. Maybe I will test both of my winners for strength of drawstring this week and update the post. Thanks!

  3. Oh my goodness Karri, I love you and your helpful research! I can’t wait to see what future research you choose!

  4. Outstanding report! Thank you for the research…huge fan of this series! Whew, I say…my fingers were crossed for the Costco ones only because I just bought a big box yesterday and already cracked it open this morning! (Psst…you are not alone…I have wondered for a lifetime too! LOL! 🙂 )

  5. Hi Karrie! I love you site! Thanks for all of your research and tests that you share with your readers! Glad I came across your sight! Blessings from Bama!

  6. Great post Karrie, I have always wondered. We usually get the ForceFlex, but love that the KS brand is cheaper and still really good quality. Thanks for doing the work for us!

  7. Becky E in Yakima says:

    I have TRIED to skimp and get the Dollar Tree bags, but they are TERRIBLE! I did the math and figured I was only saving a penny or two compared to Costco, but the difference was amazing!! So we are lovers of the Costco bags around here!!

  8. Thanks Kerri!

    We love the Costco bags. I love how they don’t ever slip in our can and eliminates the yucky garbage oozing under the bags. Ick.

    The only issues we have ever had with the drawstring is when hubby crams too much in the can (hates taking it out and does whatever he can to procrastinate) the drawstring sometimes starts to tear
    Through when he has to use lots of force to get the bag out of the over crammed can.

    Never had total separation tho. 🙂

  9. Thank you for your research! I love this series and can’t wait to see what you test next. I like knowing the Kirkland brand is a good deal and with a box of 200 I only have to buy one box per year!

  10. We have used the Kirkland bags for a few years and you can’t beat them!!

  11. I’ve just found your site! Thank you! (Your Pioneer Soup simmers as I type this!)
    I have a BIG box of the junky bags that using two at once doesn’t help! Once they are gone (with my patience), I’ll know which bags to grab! Thank you!


  12. Kirkland bags are awesome! We are using Berkley & Jenson bags now (From BJ’s) and they are just as good. Only BJ’s is closer to our new house now, that’s all. Good to know that Walmart bags work well too! I bet they are SUPER cheap, too!

  13. Eirykah says:

    I KNEW IT!!! I have been telling everyone Kirland trash bags are the best. Now I have “scientific” proof. LOL.

  14. Thanks! I’m also excited to see your future projects! Are you taking suggestions for future projects?

  15. I’m new to this site, and enjoying it a lot – I appreciate the tips and recipes. I also like to live as green as possible…would you consider adding eco-friendly products in future products!


  16. Costco’s 200 ct. has been my go too for years! When we stopped our Costco membership.. it’s the 1st thing I buy when i tag along w/ my MIL! Luckily.. they last for a long time! Only stopped our membership when we no longer were in the Tri Cities that often. Hard to justify the $50.00+ membership when you don’t have a costco in your town!

  17. What about Sam’s Club?

  18. We don’t have a Costco. I wish we did. I will try to remember to try the Walmart brand trash bags. We currently use Glad Force Flex. I’ve always hated spending the extra money on them but felt they were the best. Looks like the other options that are better! Thank you!

  19. AMAZING!!!!!!! I have always been a kirkland fan and seeing them at #1 is awesome. Thanks for doing this post! I have been on your blog all morning. I just love it!!

  20. Thank so much for putting this information together!!

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