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Reviewing Low Cost Supplement Shops: Swanson & Piping Rock

For those who purchase a regular supply of vitamins & herbals, I recently found a couple affordable sources to share with you.

For the record, I have no connection with these companies other than being a shopper. I simply wanted to write a review in case it could help others save money, as the cost of non-prescription “meds” can add up so quickly every month!

Amazon

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Amazon’s prices have been steadily increasing, while quality seems to be declining. That’s discouraging those of us who relied on Amazon’s prices to beat the cost of drug store supplements, and we’re turning to other sources once again. Amazon’s healthcare department has become so competitive that sellers can raise their prices, and they have! Because the sale of vitamins and herbal supplements aren’t monitored by the FDA like milk and eggs are, we place our trust in vitamin companies every time we purchase a health product. I dare to guess that we’ve all been disappointed from time to time in online supplement shopping.Amazon’s ease of use from home, good selection, access to comparable customer reviews, low price, and fast delivery has made it simple to stock up on necessities. (Let’s make these our quality standards for reviewing the below shops.)

Even if “old faithful” isn’t on their game, we still have to take our medicine. What’s a girl to do?

Initially, I found these shops when I was in search of the elusive Vitamin C at the start of Corona. Then, when Amazon stopped carrying my brand of Chlorophyll, I happily found it at the same site I found the Vitamin C. More recently, when researching a vegetarian D3, the result brought me to yet another discount vitamin store. I feel as though I’ve found 2 precious unicorns among a large sea of very expensive, high-end, specialty horses. I don’t need specialty supplements with a high price tag, fancy packaging and brand recognition. I just need the basics, consistently.

In the last year, I’ve ordered from these shops more than once, and have also communicated with their customer service. I’ve ordered my usual supplies, and have tried new items as well. Because of my experience, however brief, I hope it’s enough to give you a rundown of what you can expect.

Swanson Vitamins

Swanson has an expansive selection of supplements, and plenty of options to choose from. Every day they seem to be running a new sale, but the recurring sale I notice most often is the BOGO on their own house brand products.

Swanson has plenty of customer reviews to ponder, for those of us addicted to reading customer reviews before buying.

I learned that their own label, Swanson Epic Pro Full Spectrum Probiotics at $10/bottle was apparently such superior quality that when the bottle ran out, GNC’s associate read the label and told my caregiver that they didn’t have anything as good to replace it! I attempted to try the best GNC probiotic, but I will be continuing with Swanson’s Epic Pro for my gut’s needs.

On the other hand, Twenty-first Century is a brand of vitamins Swanson sells on their site, around only $3 per bottle. It’s one of the least expensive brands I found among the broad range of prices. I’m trying the Potassium, so it’s hard to tell one way or another, but it definitely doesn’t seem as potent as my last bottle of drug store brand Potassium. I haven’t gone back for more of their Twenty First Century brand.

Something new I found on Swanson that I’m very happy with is their Vitamin C with Rose Hips. Vitamin C has always caused me issues, no matter what brand. From stomach upset, heartburn, mouth sores, and that characteristic bright yellow urine, I tend to avoid taking it even though it’s supposed to be so good for those of us with CRPS.
At the start of Corona, when all the Vitamin C (and toilet paper) on the planet was sold out, Swanson’s C with Rose hips was the only vitamin C to be found. (Rose hips have naturally occurring Vitamin C which is why rose is such a common ingredient in skin care). Reluctantly, I picked up a bottle, certain that the rose would cause a bad reaction. It was inexpensive after all, so no harm done if it didn’t work out. That’s the supplements game we play after all! However, none of the nasty vitamin C effects occurred, and to my surprise, no reaction to the rose hips occurred either! I know it’s potent however, because I could tell a difference in my skin after taking it for a couple weeks.They also carry my life-saving, blood building supplement Chlorophyll, which is becoming harder to find in the brand I take at an affordable price. I was so thankful to find it!

To be honest, I have hit a few snags with my orders and shipments. I’m sure Covid is playing a role in this, but ordering hasn’t always gone as smoothly as one would expect, and the packages are slow to arrive. (I must admit, you do get spoiled by Amazon’s 2-day shipping.) Customer service’s email department seemed to be completely automated, likely thanks to Covid. They did rectify the issue promptly, however. From ordering to arrival, Swanson takes about one full week.

Swanson:

-Ease of website ✔

-Large selection✔

-Customer reviews ✔

-Low prices✔

-Fast delivery✖

-Customer Service ✖✔

-Quality✔✖ (just like anything, don’t go with the lowest priced brand and it will be fine)


Piping Rock

Piping Rock finishes just behind Swanson. Along with supplements, they also sell essential oils, natural hair & body products, and they have a sweet selection of snacks such as dried fruit and nuts.

Last week I ordered my first package of snacks from Piping Rock, and was so pleased at the large quantity for the cost! If I had purchased that amount of dried fruit from the grocery store, it would’ve cost me 3x more.

Looking through their offerings, they seem intent on keeping things simple and natural. It reminds me of my local herb shop, only it’s a web-shop.

In my snack pack, everything was great, however one of the products wasn’t what I expected based on their description. It was a sweetened dried fruit, and I wasn’t able to eat it.

The day after I left the review for the sweetened fruit on their website, an email appeared with a receipt for a full refund of the item I wasn’t satisfied with!
I was shocked.

They saw my review, and took the initiative to issue me a refund!

They certainly did not have to, but that single act of customer service will draw me back to shop at Piping Rock again, knowing they will take care of any problems I have.They have a smaller selection than either Amazon or Swanson, but they aren’t selling a variety of brands. Instead, Piping Rock lists their own in-house brand only.

I cross-checked my staple supplements between Piping Rock and Swanson, and the prices are about the same at both shops.

Just like Swanson, Piping Rock is also American owned and their headquarters are here. If Amazon’s international seller base is a concern for you, then you can rest easy knowing that Piping Rock and Swanson are both US operated. They both formulate their house-brand supplements at their own labs, and ship to customers from their own headquarters. (Neither ship outside the US, however. Sorry to my international friends.)

Apparently, Piping Rock’s owners also began the successful drug store supplement brand, Nature’s Bounty, which was a cool tid bit to unearth. I just stumbled on that little nugget today!

Their in-house vitamins boast to be on par with their original brand Nature’s Bounty, only more cost effective and accessible to just about anyone’s budget.

Here’s the breakdown for Piping Rock. In the instance of quality, there have been hits and misses, both in the supplement department as well as snacks which is why it’s reflected as 50/50. On the bright side, they will make sure you’re satisfied, and they have far more than just supplements.

Piping Rock:

-Ease of website ✔

-Large selection✖

-Customer reviews ✔

-Low prices✔

-Fast delivery✔

-Customer Service✔

-Quality✔✖

If you’re like me and have a supplement haul every month, then you look for savings wherever you can find it. If Swanson or Piping Rock have an equivalent swap out that costs you less, then that’s a win!

Swanson has a HUGE supply of supplements and herbals from a wide variety of brands, and Piping Rock has a prolific affordable Natural Health shop- which happens to include vitamins. If you like using natural shampoo, face cream, organic soap, cooking oils, etc., then definitely check out Piping Rock. I continue to do most of my supplement shopping on Swanson Vitamins for now.

I hope this helps you, and please let me know where you purchase your supplements!

If you’re interested to see what my full list of supplements and herbs are, and how they each help me, let me know by dropping a comment down below.

Be well!

-Mary

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