Staples Vs Office Depot: Which Is Better?

Staples and Office Depot are the two giants of retail supplies for offices and businesses in the U.S. Both brands sell at very competitive prices and share a few similarities.

A few differences also exist between them. These distinctions can go a long way in saving schools or offices extra pennies when ordering supplies.

In this article, I will be exposing you to the major similarities and differences between both brands. Some of these differences will help you make better decisions as procurement personnel.

As much as this guide will provide you with current details, the best practice remains carrying out proper research before placing orders for supplies. 

Differences Between Staples and Office Depot

While both Staples and Office Depot share major similarities, these are the key differences you should know:

1. Headquarters

Thomas. G Stemberg, Myra Hart, and Leo Khan founded Staples in May 1986. 4 years after its emergence, the company became a force in most western states and has its headquarters at Framingham, Massachusetts, U.S.

F Patrick Sher founded Office Depot also in 1986 with its first stores situated in Boca Raton, Florida. Merging with Office Club, Office Depot also services a large portion of the west coast.

2. Revenue generation

Staples boast of a better income and profits when compared to Office Depot. According to Forbes, in 2019, Staples recorded a profit of $14 billion while Office Depot only did $11 billion.

3. Array of products

In terms of product variety, Staples is also a step ahead of Office Depot. Not just Office Depot, they are better than all other office supply retailers in the U.S.

4. Available payment methods

Office Depot accepts popular payment methods like MasterCard, American Express, Visa, Discover, Office Depot® OfficeMax® business and personal credit cards. 

It also accepts secure payment such as Office Depot® OfficeMax® Gift Cards and Reward Cards, PayPal, and Cash and Cheque Payments, and PayPal. Please note that orders for delivery must be paid for in advance with a credit card.

Staples accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, gift cards, and cheque payments. It also allows unique options like the Staples® Credit Cards. 

You can pay for your order online and at the kiosk using any of these methods. However, Staples does not accept debit or credit cards issued outside the U.S. 

Hence, Office Depot usually offers a better shopping experience for foreigners.

5. Sales events

Office Depot offers sale events. For Staples, promotional events are somewhat unlikely. You can find out more by visiting their customer service pages for more information.

6. International shipping

Office Depot offers international shipping to an extent. To know the areas currently on their international shipping list, check out their customer service page. 

Staples does not offer international shipping.

7. Free shipping

Both Staples and Office Depot offer free shipping. Just that Staples only offer this option for orders worth $49 or more.

Office Depot offers 4-5 business days free shipping service. Only VIPs can enjoy access to a 2-day free shipping service.

8. Student discount

Office Depot offers a 20% discount for only physical purchases at selected stores. This option is usually not available for online purchases.

Based on the information available on Staples’ customer service page, they do not offer student discounts. Please note that these stores change their discount prices per store and frequently.

You should also do well to compare the prices in these stores with that of Amazon’s office supplies section.

9. Supply chain & market share

Staples has a better and more functional supply chain than Office Depot. Staples also has a bigger market share than Office Depot. No wonder it has a better revenue margin.

10. Return policy

Both Staples and Office Depot offer free returns and exchanges. However, the number of days differs for both brands. For Staples, there is a grace of 30 days.

Office Depot, on the other hand, offers up to 90 days return period. For gadgets such as laptops, smartphones, sealed drones, and e-Readers, both companies only offer a 14-day return window.

When returning a product, ensure it is in a sellable condition and with the original packaging. You should also go with the UPC and receipt. 

Similarities between Staples and Office Depot

  1. Both companies dominate the US market for office and school supplies
  1. They offer a better product range than Office Max and Walmart
  1. Both brands have thousands of outlets within the U.S
  1. They often engage in discount battles on similar products. This is called competitive pricing.
  1. Both stores do not accept Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency. 

Which is best for school supplies: Office Depot or Staples?

When weighing your options between Office Depot or Staples for School supplies, these are the factors to consider:

1. Price

Prices of supplies in Office Depot are highly competitive. They also offer higher discounts and promotions for basic school supplies.

Staples offers the best price for almost all products. It is scarce to see a price at any store beat that of Staples.

2. Location

Since Office Depot merged with Office Max in 2013, they have closed many outlets. This means Office Depot offers less in terms of stores.

Staples, on the other hand, has the highest number of stores in Europe, Asia, and South America. Hence, there is a high chance a Staples outlet is closer to your school.

3. Extras

Office Depot offers various reward programs and a one-hour store pick-up window. Staples also offers a wide range of reward programs, easy reordering, and unannounced discounts in various sectors.

With this information, it is safe to say Staples is the best choice for procuring school supplies. Nevertheless, you should also carry out diligent research and make comparisons before choosing which will be more economical.


What is Office Depot called now?

Office Depot’s new name is ODP

This change of name happened recently and also influenced the brand’s logo.

Is Staples and Office Depot the same?

Staples and ODP (the new name for Office Depot) are not the same.

Although both brands pursued a merger in the past, it was rejected by the Federal Trade Commission.

Who are Office Depot’s competitors?

Office Depot’s major competitors include Staples, Amazon, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Best Buy.


Again, both Office Depot and Staples are fantastic choices for most (if not all) office supplies. This is because they offer varieties, competitive prices, and numerous outlets.

If you wish to enjoy better shipping options, return policies, or shopping experience in any country, go for Office Depot. For Staples, you will get to enjoy better pricing, variety and accessibility.

I hope you found this guide helpful. If so, you may also be interested in learning about Walmart Orientation

Thanks for reading.