Save on Lactose Intolerance: Costco vs Sams vs Lactaid® which is Best?

Kirkland Lactase - lactaid package

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Are You searching for the best lactose intolerance pills? Are you wanting a cheaper option that really works?

Have you tried different solutions for your digestive issues?

The National Institute of Health estimates that about 68 percent of the world’s population has lactose malabsorption issues. That’s a lot of people who need help digesting lactose.

We’ve tried a number of natural and pill solutions for lactose intolerance.

We also did an in-depth comparison with Costco Lactase (Kirkland) or Lactaid® brand pills. You’ll be surprised by what we found.

If you have lactose intolerance, finding a solution so you can enjoy dairy is not an easy or inexpensive research project.

We hope you’ll read all of the options we tried.

Trying to eliminate bad gas:

Over the years Steve has tried dozens of enzymes, home remedies, and Lactaid knock-offs in a search to allow him to eat yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products without intestinal “repercussions.”

1. He tried apple cider vinegar – 1 tablespoon 20 minutes before eating dairy – and it worked fairly well. It was inexpensive, but it was very inconvenient to keep a bottle of vinegar on the table and at work and with him at a restaurant if we ate a meal out. Plus, it burned his throat when he swallowed.

2. We tried various digestive enzymes. He found that these Digestive Enzymes from Top Secret Nutrition worked  well for him—they have prebiotics and probiotics in them. They helped well with digesting heavy or fatty foods but were only marginally effective with dairy products.

3. He triedPineapple Bromelain pills from Puritan’s Pride. These worked well if he didn’t eat a large helping of dairy.

4. Then we tried Lactaid – 3 little pills right before eating dairy and voila – no pain or issues. Except for the cost. Lactaid costs about $12 for 120 capsules. That comes out to 10 cents per pill, but the recommended dosage is 3 pills. So the final cost of lactose intolerance protection is 30 cents per serving.

Lactose Intolerance and Saving Money

In an effort to cut costs, we tried Walmart’s private labeled Equate version of Lactaid which costs around $9 for 120 capsules (about 8 cents per pill / 27 cents per serving) and they worked as well as the real Lactaid. As you can see this really didn’t save much money, but the cost per package was less.

Walmart Equate Lactase pills bottle with supplement facts
Walmart Equate Lactase pills bottle with supplement facts

As Steve dug a little deeper he read that the amount of lactase in each pill was 3000 IU per. And that the recommended serving size was 3 pills or 9000 IU per serving.

Digging Deeper:

Doing a little sleuthing Steve found that Costco sells a Kirkland brand of Lactase pill (but you can’t buy it on Costco’s website — this was reconfirmed on April 13, 2024). It can only be purchased in the store.

And several times when we checked at our local Costco, their lactase pills were “out of stock.” So that was a little frustrating.

The Kirkland / Costco Fast Acting Lactase box holds 180 capsules for about $18 / 10 cents per pill. At this price, Costco’s Lactaid knockoff appears to be a little more expensive than the original Lactaid brand and Walmart’s Equate brand.

But wait, the devil is in the details—
and the details were interesting!

Only One Pill? Huge Savings

Here’s where it gets REALLY INTERESTING. if you read the nutritional information you’ll discover that the serving size of the Costco Lactase pills is only ONE pill.

Why only one pill?

Steve was shocked – why only one pill. He started digging deeper.

He discovered that each Costco Lactase pill contained 9000 IU of lactase!
(Lactaid Original Formula only has 3000 IU per pill)

That makes Costco’s Fast Acting Lactase WAY less expensive than Lactaid. Because in one pill they have put as much lactase as Lactaid put in 3 pills! It was an amazing discovery!

Options for Lactose Intolerance

Today, in 2022, there are more options than ever before to deal with lactose intolerance.

Lactaid Original – Supplement Facts:

Lactaid Original Formula
  • Serving Size: 3 Caplet
  • Lactase Enzyme: 9000 FCC Lactase Units
  • 2024 pricing: 120 caplets / 40 servings $15.54 = $.3885 per serving

Lactaid Fast Act – Supplement Facts:

Lactaid Fast Acting Lactase Enzyme Supplement
  • Serving Size: 1 Caplet
  • Lactase Enzyme: 9000 FCC Lactase Units
  • 2024 pricing: 32 chewables / 32 servings $10.18 = $.318 per serving

Members Mark Fast Acting Dairy Relief – Supplement Facts:

Members Mark Dairy Relief Lactase Tablets
  • Serving Size: 1 Caplet
  • Lactase Enzyme: 9000 FCC Lactase Units
  • 2024 pricing: 180 caplets / 180 servings $13.86 = $.077 per serving (BEST PRICE)

Kirkland Fast Acting Lactase – Supplement Facts:

Kirkland Lactase Supplement
  • Serving Size: 1 Caplet
  • Lactase Enzyme: 9000 FCC Lactase Units
  • 2024 pricing: 180 caplets / 180 servings $19.99 = $.11 per serving

What’s the Bottom Line on Lactose Intolerance?

Do you have Lactose Intolerance? Costco (Kirkland) lactase vs Lactaid® which is best?

The bottom line is that the cost per serving of the Costco/Kirkland product is 11 cents versus 38 – 31 cents for the Lactaid / Walmart brand – a savings of 63 percent!!! And if you can get to Sam’s Club the savings are even greater at 8 cents per serving versus 38 cents – a savings of 83 percent!

And the bonus is that Sam’s Club and Costco’s tiny pills come individually wrapped in a foil packet, which means less breakage and waste. They can be carried in a purse or wallet. Steve carries them in a datebook/planner or in his briefcase.

Reading and calculating the details can really make you more tolerant of saving money.

We’d love to hear how you save money on dealing with Lactose Intolerance – please post a comment – so others can have relief!

Oh, we forgot one more thing. The cost of the Costco membership. If you really want to be accurate, you’ll need to add in the $50 annual cost of a membership. Depending on how often you eat dairy and how quickly you go through lactase pills could be minimal or really jack up the price. But, if you don’t want to buy a Costco membership, there is one other option.

No Costco Membership . . . No Problem

You don’t need a Costco Membership or a Sam’s Club Membership to find relief from Gas or Spending too much. 

If you don’t have a Costco Membership, you can purchase their Kirkland brand of Lactase through Amazon for a penny more per serving.

Or you can find Members Mark Mark Dairy Relief on Ebay (but it’s about double the price) or on Amazon (Guardian Brand) for about $17 per box.

RELATED ARTICLE: Stores That Will Price Match Amazon Today!

For more money-saving ideas on groceries, visit our grocery tips page.

5 thoughts on “Save on Lactose Intolerance: Costco vs Sams vs Lactaid® which is Best?

  1. M Hold


    Developed lactose intolerance in the last year and decided it’s finally time to be proactive about it. This is a great article, thanks a lot, after doing plenty of reading online I’m going to go ahead and lactase pills.

  2. joe canoe 2018/04/17

    In Costco Canada stores, they carry the Webber Naturals product; same size; same quantity; same 11 cents per pill.

    Difference is the pill is a capsule, so you if are eating a little dairy, you can take 1/2 a capsule, by opening the capsule, taking 1/2 of the Lactese, and closing the capsule.

    The bottom line savings is now even higher.

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      That’s fascinating that Costco in Canada carries a different product. Love the idea of using less if you eat just a little dairy. Very smart.

  3. Linda L.

    Did you try apple cider vinegar in capsules? It eliminates the burning throat plus you’re not lugging a bottle around everywhere.
    Thanks for the tip about Costco’s lactase supplements – I’ll be passing this article on to my doctor. He and I were talking about the cost of Lactaid and he told me that a lot of his patients choose to give up milk and dairy because of the cost . This will definitely help some of them.
    You mention the price of a Costco membership and add it to the cost of the pills which isn’t quite fair unless this is the only thing that you would buy there. Even if it were the only thing and depending on how much lactase you purchase, it wouldn’t take long for the membership to be covered by the 2/3 savings over the other brands.

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Linda -thanks for the tip on the capsules for apple cider vinegar. We’re not sure it would be enough though to encourage proper digestion for Steve. He used to take a tablespoon of it before meals. Since we don’t have a Costco membership, we did need to factor it into the annual cost of their lactase pills. Fortunately we have several friends who have memberships, so we get the benefit, without the cost.

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