7 Costco Kirkland Signature Products That Completely Failed

What keeps people going back to Costco? While you may think it's the hankering for its fan-favorite twisted churros and hot dogs, it is, in fact, Costco's own Kirkland Signature brand that has customers rolling their carts into the American warehouse — as per the American Customer Satisfaction Index Report 2018-19 (via Forbes). 

Kirkland Signature, a multibillion-dollar brand, has worked to earn customers' trust since 1995. Many people probably know that the brand's products are made by other well-known companies — the Kirkland Signature coffee that you brew every morning is in fact roasted by Starbucks; the Kirkland Signature makeup is made by the Italian makeup house Borghese Rama (though it is only available in Canada). 

Given that Kirkland Signature products are 20% cheaper than its name brands, per CNN Business; and some of them — like peanut butter pretzels, vodka, and chocolate-covered almonds — are also better than the name brands; it seems like a no-brainer to look for Kirkland Signature items when shopping at Costco, right? Erm, not really. Before calling yourself a hardcore #kirkboy (John Mayer said it first, not us), it's important that you embrace the brand after seeing its not-so-great offerings too. 

Wait, how can Kirkland — the brand that makes the best-tasting bacon – ever make anything bad? It's hard to take in, but a few of the company's items fall flat. Get that Kirkland Signature butter popcorn from the microwave and read on. 

Kirkland Signature Light Beer

Dimming the lambent sheen on Kirkland Signature's highly-rated alcohol collection was its light beer. If you had the misfortune of trying the beverage, you would be in a position to validate some of the very acerbic comments in its reviews. One writer compared the taste to "battery acid" on Beer Advocate – but if you thought that review was bad, someone on RateBeer went on to say that it smelled like "urine soaked diaper sitting on a piping-hot radiator." Yuck.

The beer scored a "poor" in Beer Advocate and an embarrassing 2.45 (out of 5) rating on RateBeer. It came in a massive 48-can pack (via Business Insider) — probably the only time customers didn't appreciate the quantity that came with the price. Each bottle cost just about 50 cents, but even that wasn't enough motivation for people to chug it. 

In 2018, Costco saw the lack of spirit for the product and discontinued it (via The Takeout). But not all were happy. A loyalist whose claim to fame was a series of faux commercials for Kirkland Signature (via Esquire) probably did not take this light beer news lightly.

Kirkland Signature Take-and-Bake pizza

Though there could be a multitude of reasons why Kirkland's Take-and-Bake Pizza failed — from COVID-related supply chain issues to the Ukraine-Russia-war-related wheat shortage — the more plausible one seems to be the fact that it just didn't taste good enough. Turns out that customers who bought the pizza expecting to bring home the cheese, pepperoni, or combo pizzas that Costco sells in its food court (via Bacinos) were pretty bummed out by the stark quality difference.

"The take and bake are replicas of the food court pizza. They look the same and [are] almost priced the same, until you take [one] home and bake it and find out it's nothing like the authentic. It's just trash," wrote a customer on Reddit. The comment was just one among many that seemed to suggest that Kirkland Signature Take-and-Bake pizzas weren't working for people — especially for those who held Costco's scrumptious food court pizza as the standard.

Kirkland Signature hearing aids

Did you know that the brand that makes chocolate almond dipped vanilla ice cream also makes hearing aids? Kirkland is not new to dealing with matters of the ear; in fact, its hearing aids have been among the bestselling items at Costco, according to Hearing Health Matters. However, when its latest launch — KS10, or Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids — hit the market in April 2021, it was far from the best. The platform Hearing Tracker had people complaining about rechargeability issues with the product — which seems like the primary reason why Costco had to yeet them from the warehouse.

Though some might have thought that the KS10 models, made by Sonova, were disappearing from the shelves to give way to the new KS11 model — Costco has a history of introducing a new hearing aid model every 18 months or so — this was not the case with KS10 (via Hearing Health Matters). As a customer wrote in the Hearing Tracker forum, "I called my local Costco and they advised that the KS10s were removed because they are having charging issues. They did not think it had anything to do with a new model. They had no idea when a new model might come out."

Kirkland's Signature 4-piece golf balls

Golf is a tough mental game. On top of that, imagine having to worry about the ball cracking at every swing of the club. Well, that's what happened to many of the players who bought the 4-piece Kirkland Signature golf balls from Costco. One of them took to Reddit to post a photo of the damaged balls after hitting just three holes. Following this Reddit post, more people shared their golf ball horrors, and the product got a measly 1.7-star rating on the Costco website (via Golf.com). 

The problem was the durability — the ball cracked under pressure.

It's unlikely that people saw this coming because the product was quite a hit when it was first introduced in 2016, according to Golf.com. It even made it to the Golf Digest Hot List in 2017. But the company soon found itself embroiled in a lawsuit filed by the leading golf ball maker in the United States, Acushnet, for violating patent rights (via Golf Digest). Though the case was settled in 2018, it was only the beginning of the downfall of Kirkland's golf balls. 

The rising complaints got the attention of Tim Farmer, Costco's VP/GMM of Merchandising; in an email to Costco customers, he accepted that the product was below par and agreed to refund those who had bought it.

Kirkland Signature 5-pocket jeans

While we are not here to judge your fashion choices, if your go-to jeans were a Kirkland Signature pair, we bet they were not the most flattering ones in your wardrobe. 

The reputation of the jeans — referred to as "dad couture" by a Reddit user — was damaged because, well, according to another customer on Reddit, they were "ripping/splitting or falling apart." So great was his trust in the brand that the user thought the issue was not with the jeans but his "caboose" until he learned that "Kirkland Jeans have been removed due to QA issues."

The downfall of the 5-pocket jeans presumably came with Costco's desire to be better. As per Yahoo! News, Costco found it necessary to do a design overhaul of its jeans in 2016. Though the intentions were good, the result? Not so much. According to a Reddit user, the new ones were a darker color and a "lot thinner," and no one liked the fit. Yet another reviewer added: "Their 5 pocket pants were slim and had a nice stretch. The second wave ran small though." 

Kirkland Signature bar soap

While everyone likes coming out of a shower smelling like a flower garden, Costco went a wee bit overboard. The extra-scented Kirkland Signature Bar Soaps put off some customers — so much so that Costco had to warn them about it. "I think it was recalled recently for an abnormally strong scent. They could still be working with the vendor," said a customer on Reddit.

Another Kirkland soap fan added that Costco had sent out a mail warning to customers about the "strong scent" and that they had the choice to return it: "From what I googled just now, apparently the Kirkland brand changed suppliers and/or formulas recently, everyone hated it and there was a ton of returns."

One user said that the soap was acting like a wannabe Dove; another noted that the soap smelled like "chemicals/the hospital ... or something to that effect." The soap, which lathered and moisturized well, just didn't pass the sniff test and, according to Better Be, Costco had to discontinue its production.

Kirkland Signature batteries

The drawback to using Kirkland batteries is that they leak. Twitter is awash with people dumping photos of their ruined electronics — all thanks to the faulty Kirkland Signature batteries. One of them posted a photo of the corroded insides of a camera, and yet another tweeted that they lost two flashlights to the issue. Given that it's not a one-off incident, most have given up on Kirkland Signature batteries — which are, in fact, made by Duracell (via Yahoo! News).

According to one reviewer on Reddit, the issue surfaced sometime around 2010 — and it seems to be continuing even a decade later, as is evident from the timeline on the tweets posted about them. Customers have started distancing themselves from the product. Said the Reddit user, "I have totally given up on the Duracell/Kirkland line of batteries. If buying alkaline, I've had much better success with Eveready." Yet another reviewer said on Twitter, "Do NOT buy #Costco #Kirkland batteries if you don't want half of them leaking all over the places...." From the many negative reviews, it seems the charge has run out on this Kirkland Signature product.