CVS vs. Walgreens: Which Pharmacy Offers a Better Experience?

In this article...
  • Compare the savings and discounts offered by CVS and Walgreens. Find out which pharmacy offers better deals on prescriptions, health products and everyday essentials.

When you're looking for the best pharmacy to purchase essentials and prescriptions from, there's a lot to consider. CVS and Walgreens are two of the most successful pharmacy chains in the nation, but which one is best? Below, we've compared everything from prices and discounts to customer reviews to help you determine which brand is a better choice for you: CVS or Walgreens.

Everyday Prices

As inflation rises and Americans are becoming more conscious of spending, you're probably looking to pinch pennies any way you can. Although everyday prices at CVS and Walgreens vary depending on the product, CVS typically outshines Walgreens when it comes to affordability.

We've included a comparison of several essential products in the table below:


CVS Price

Walgreens Price

Dove Nutritive Solutions Moisture Shampoo, 12 oz.



Halls Defense Assorted Citrus Vitamin C Drops, 30 count



Bounty Select-A-Size Plus Roll White Paper Towels, 6 pack



Tide Simply +Oxi Laundry Detergent, 31 fl. oz.




Discounts and Savings

While CVS offers ExtraBucks, Walgreens offers Register Rewards. Both programs offer coupons at the register that can be used on future transactions. The programs are similar in their rewards; however, CVS comes out on top when it comes to redemption. 

While Walgreens Register Rewards don't offer more coupons when redeeming a reward, CVS ExtraBucks does. For example, if you purchase an item and receive a reward, you're able to redeem the reward on that item and, in turn, receive another reward from CVS. At Walgreens, you can only use the reward once.

Additionally, Walgreens offers discounts for seniors of 20% off on the first Tuesday of each month, while CVS doesn't appear to have any senior discount programs in place.

However, when it comes to discounts for veterans, CVS offers the Veterans Advantage program, which provides 20% off for veterans after they've enrolled. Walgreens only offers a discount on Veterans Day, which is available to veterans, active military members and their families.

Loyalty Rewards

CVS and Walgreens both offer beauty rewards programs. While CVS has the ExtraCare Beauty Club, Walgreens offers the Beauty Enthusiast Program. Each program provides customers with 10% savings on beauty products.

CVS ExtraBucks provides customers with a 10% back reward in ExtraBucks twice per year. Walgreens lets customers redeem one free beauty item each month, provided they've spent a minimum of $30 on beauty items. 

While the discounts are comparable, the Walgreens Beauty Enthusiast Programs' monthly bonus reward offers more opportunities for free products.

Return Policies

Return policies at both CVS and Walgreens require shoppers to retain receipts for a refund or exchange. However, CVS's 60-day return policy comes out on top. Walgreens only offers 30 days to return or exchange merchandise with a receipt.

Customer Conveniences

Many drug stores provide customers with conveniences to make shopping easier, especially for those who are on the go and don't have time to focus on shopping in store. One area in particular where Walgreens does this is with its curbside pickup option. This enables customers to shop online and pull up to the store to collect purchases. Even better, Walgreens customers can use digital coupons on curbside pickup orders.

Customer Reviews

In determining which is the better pharmacy, it's important to take customer feedback into account. One way of doing this is by checking online reviews. 

In looking at customer reviews on Consumer Affairs, CVS has an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars, with most reviews falling under the four-star rating. Walgreens has a also has an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars. 

CVS vs. Walgreens: Which Is More Popular?

CVS is slightly more popular in the United States than Walgreens. According to data published by Statista, CVS has 24.5% of the market share, making it the most popular pharmacy in the United States. Walgreens comes in second with a market share of 18%.

Is Walgreens More Expensive Than CVS? 

CVS is typically less expensive than Walgreens. That said, certain items at Walgreens do ring up cheaper, so it's important to compare prices individually when searching for a better deal.

What's Better: CVS or Walgreens?

When comparing CVS vs. Walgreens, customer reviews indicate that Walgreens is the better pharmacy. However, other factors, such as cost and rewards programs, give CVS a competitive edge, putting it slightly ahead of Walgreens in these areas.

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