What Performs Better? Tide Pods vs. Kirkland Ultra Pacs? Find Out! {Frugal Laundry Battle}

April 23rd, 2013 38 Comments

Though pods for the laundry might not seem like the most frugal of options, I love them. They’re easy to use, help me to avoid using too much detergent (since we mostly pour without measuring) and come with stain removing properties right inside of that little Tide Pod. 

However, Tide Pods can be quite expensive. While browsing through Costco a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the Kirkland laundry pacs and I knew that I had to give them a try. After all, they were $9 cheaper than our current Tide Pods. Wondering about the differences between the two? Here’s my take. 

Tide Pods: $23.99/90 pods
Kirkland Laundry Pacs: $14.99/90 pods (winner)

Both brands recommend using 1 pac for most loads. 2 for heavy, or heavily soiled loads. 

Tide Pods: Fresh, fills up the entire laundry room (winner)
Kirkland Laundry Pacs: Well, it’s not that Tide Fresh we’ve become used to but it’s not awful by any means. It was subtle, but fresh after washing. 

Stain Removal
Tide Pods: Includes brightener and stain remover
Kirkland Laundry Pacs: catch and release technology in the detergent to help remove stains

I use resolve quite a bit for stains, so I noticed no difference in stain removal between the two detergents. The Tide pods did seem to ‘brighten’ whites a little better. I had a shirt that had been stained with some kind of sauce of the baby’s and both the Tide Pods and the Kirkland Ultra Clear pacs were unable to remove the stains alone, I had to use a stain treatment to get the results. 

Tide Pods: Flip open lid (winner)
Kirkland Laundry Pacs: Pull off Lid

Both are suited to regular and HE washers. Make sure that you put it in with the clothes, and not in the detergent area. 

So – Which Did I Choose?
When it comes down to it, the better value comes from the Kirkland brand pacs. They’re comparable with the Tide Pods (although the pods have a bit of an advantage for whitening clothing). We’ll be buying the Kirkland Laundry pacs because of the great price (at $9 less per package and even more on sale).

What do you think? Do you Pod or Pac?


About the Author:

Lori is a busy mother of two passionate about shopping and saving. It's likely you'll find her at one of her favorite stores, camera , the kids and tea in tow getting the details on the best deals and latest products to share with Canadian Moms.


I have used Kirklands liquid laundry soap for a few years, however, after receiving a sample of Tide Pods at the grocery store about 6 months ago I was hooked! Since I started using the Pods I have reduced the amount of soap I purchase by about 50%! I didn't realize I was "over using". Recently I saw that Kirklands offered their brand of pods, so I switched. On more than a few occasions I found the packet didn't completely disolve and after drying a few pieces from each load would have to be rewashed. Also, I found that the color of my clothes faded faster with the Kirklands brand rather than Tide.
Thanks so much for the post! I was considering purchasing the Kirkland Pacs for my "soon-to-be college student" daughter. My question is, do you still need to use fabric softener (Downey) to the load or use dryer sheets? Is there fabric softener in the pacs? Those of you who commented about dullness, try adding some white vinegar to your wash load. It is a brightener, stain fighter, and color preserver to your clothes!
I switched to Kirkland laundry detergent about a year ago - the kind in the bottle, not the pods - and similar to a comment above I've just started feeling like my clothes aren't coming out quite as clean or bright as with Tide. I'm struggling with the price difference between name brand and Kirkland brand - but I'm thinking I might just suck it up and go back to Tide. Thanks for the post on the pods - I think I'll give the Kirkland pods a try before I give up on Kirkland laundry soap for good - but I'd be interested to hear your comments after using the Kirkland ones for a while to see if you still find them as good as Tide.
Heather S
Straight into your front loader with your clothes.
Oh...I loved using the samples that I got in the mail, but checked the price and thought saving money on liquid was so much better. I NEVER thought about the fact that I never measure and probably use way to much! I will be picking some up tonight :) Thanks
I used the Tide pods and loved them at first. But then I noticed that my clothes weren't getting as clean as when I used liquid detergent and that they still smelled dirty once they were dry. I won't be using the pods again. But on another note, I love hearing about the Costco deals. :)
I started using the Kirkland pods and I found that my clothes have started to come out dull looking. And thank you for your hard work. As a new mom and stay at home mom I appreciate all that you do
quick question with the you just throw it right in to you front loader? or do you put it in the detergent compartment? I am a pods newbie!
Sometimes, it's also more frugal to be able to get to one store and have to go less often.
I love the tide pods smell but don't find they wash any better then the kirkland pods, and yes the tide lid is much better to open. I was using way to much soap and with pods you get 90 loads. Ill take the less smelling one for the price they are then tide any day esp working just the same. Tide's prices are way over rated even on sale.
We love pods! I was going through a bottle per week, because the kids(14, 16, 19) don't bother to measure. So what should have been $.11/load was more like .25/load. The kirkland pods are $.16/load. Now if they go on sale it would be cheaper. I got the Arm and Hammer pods at $4.99 for 60 loads. So $.08/load. I don't find it cleans any less than tide did for me. So it works.

I didn't know there was a dispensing washing But I expect the price tag is pretty high.
Heather R
yes it is ECOS. I remember seeing it there and wondering if it was any good. Thanks!
I love that Kirkland makes these now!! makes buying them so much cheaper.

I find that the pods actually last me way longer than buying a bottle, me or the boyfriend never measure it from the bottle and both use way too much.

I also find the bottles are so messy, there is always detergent running down the bottle and I've knocked over entire bottles before (such a giant mess).

Checking out Costco ASAP for these! thanks!

Oh, but that's not very frugal (;
There's a really good brand someone mentioned that scent free and stuff ECOS I think? Plus, it's pretty affordable per load compared with something like Method (I love method but ouch expensive!)
Good to know they work well.We are thinking of switching to the pods because in the house we are moving into the washer/dryer are in a closet on the way up to bedrooms and liquid can get messy and i wouldnt want to spill on the carpet on the stairs.. Ill hafta go to Costco before i move!
Heather R
Does the Kirkland come in scent free? I wished the Tide Pods did. Love the scent but both mine and my kids skin reacts badly. I love your Costco posts. Now as a family of 4 we shop there all the time. Saves us so much money.
Obvs, you need to buy a washing machine with automatic detergent dispensing so you can save money on pods. And the matching dryer, too. ;)
This is the same philosophy I have as well. I work with special needs individuals and the pods have created a way for them to more independently do their laundry. I scope out the sales for all the pods, but the additional cost is well worth it in the end to the adult who can now say they can do their own wash!
I just did this!! Great minds (;
Keep the tide container and dump the kirkland pods into it then you can use the better container :)
After a bit of hemming and hawing in the aisle at Costco, I bought the Kirkland brand pods. Yes, pods are more expensive than pouring, but they're so convenient, that I'm OK with that. I just wasn't sure if the Kirkland brand was going to be as good as Tide. I haven't tried them yet so was glad to see that you liked them.
I am happy to see that there is a Kirkland brand for the pods, thank you for letting us know. I do realize that the pods are more costly than actual detergent, but for me it is the convenience. My children (since the age of 8) do their own laundry and it is super easy for them to just grab one little pod instead of dealing with detergent. I know they won't use too much and won't spill! I am teaching them to be independent, and if that means I pay a smidge more for a pod then so be it.

P.S. I appreciate you doing the Costco updates and look forward to them! If Costco isn't for you, then don't read that piece of the blog. FEM blogs about things that are irrelevant to me, so I just pass on those parts...I don't jump down her throat because I don't like it. Show a bit of respect people!
Thanks for the comparison. I've been wondering about the differences too at almost $10 cheaper. It lasts us about four months so that's $30 a year saved.
oh the things people say when they have nothing to do than complain about a blog title
Dear Anonymous person who thinks Costco is a waste of money. You obviously don't have a big family and therefore would never know the savings to be had at a place where you can buy in bulk. Maybe for you it's a waste of money, but it's not for a Mom and Dad with 4 kids. Think about that.
The oxi clean that has the mail in rebate is amazing!!!
Id like to hide my name to fight with you. (joke) i was wondering about them. I wonder what is the best stain fighter on the shelf. Lori do u know? (ruby)
I think we need to break up. It's not me, It's you. Costco is wonderful.
There, fixed it so it's a bit more clear (:
is anyone else sick of reading about costco? it's a waste of money to shop there.
I haven't bought pods only tried the samples i've recieved. I did not mind them. My son's school is a scentfree zone so the kirkland would instantly appeal more to me because of that. I may have to try them out.
Well, with tide pods you're getting brightener, stain removing stuff AND detergent. So, kind of frugal when you compare the cost of all three products anon...
No, it says the Frugal Laundry Battle.
The title of the post doesn't say Let's compare the price of pods/detergent in a bottle now, does it? (;
We love Tide pods since you mentioned them in the winter. I never thought to try the Kirkland ones.
I agree. Pods/Pacs not frugal. I take the extra 5 seconds and pour my laundry detergent in.
They are both an incredible waste of money when detergent on sale is half the price when you use a coupon. Not frugal.

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