We Broke Down the Top 5 Grocery Delivery Services So You Don’t Have to
Here’s the problem with grocery delivery services.
It’s not that they’re too expensive. It’s not that the inventory options are limited. It’s not that having someone else pick your produce feels weird.
The real problem is it’s hard to figure out how much they really cost.
Every grocery delivery service that lets you order online before dropping bags at your door distills its “How it Works” page down to about three steps. Order, pay, receive. None of them are upfront about how much the service costs per month or per order.
I’m not trying to tell you the cost, whatever it is, isn’t worth it. I’ll be the first to leave the shopping and driving to someone else who can do it more efficiently than I can.
But when you have to dig around for pricing, restrictions, delivery times and other information about the steadily increasing number of grocery delivery services, you can lose sight of sensibility. You can get sucked into the novelty of ordering leeks through an app without thinking about how the service fits into your grocery budget.
So to cut through all the marketing speak, I’ve broken down the details on five widely available grocery delivery services. Review the list before you sign up for a delivery service, and order those leeks with confidence.
What: Delivery is available from a variety of grocery stores in your area, including drug stores, pet supply stores and, in some areas, liquor stores.
Where: Instacart is available in 40 states, plus Washington, D.C. See the full map to zoom in on your location.
Pricing: Instacart’s rundown of available stores in your area includes notes on each retailer’s pricing policy. While most locations offer “everyday store prices,” others make it clear that the convenience of Instacart means you’ll pay higher prices than you would in stores.
Membership: Membership isn’t required to use the service, but if you’d rather skip the delivery fee every time you place an order, you can sign up for Instacart Express. In exchange for a fee of $149 per year, you’ll get free delivery for every order over $35. Express service also exempts you from peak pricing when Instacart is busy.
Delivery cost: Delivery costs between $5.99 and $11.99 per order for nonmembers. Orders under $35 cost more. If you want your order in an hour, that adds up too. Tipping is permitted.
Coupon policy: Instacart doesn’t honor sale prices in stores or manufacturer’s coupons. Instead, it offers special promotions you’ll see when you log in to your account. Once you order the required amount or type of product, the discount automatically applies to your order.
What: Shipt delivers from a variety of grocery stores in your area. Liquor delivery is also available in some locations.
Where: Shipt is available throughout much of the Southeast, in the Chicago area and in parts of Texas.
Pricing: Shipt prices are slightly higher than if you had taken the trip yourself. “Our members can expect to pay about $5 more using Shipt than they would on a $35 order purchased in the store themselves,” the company’s FAQ explains.
Membership: Shipt offers a free two-week trial before it charges you $99 annually or $14 per month for unlimited free delivery.
Delivery cost: Members must spend at least $35 to get free delivery. If your order is less than that, you have to pay a $7 delivery fee. Tips are permitted.
Coupon policy: Shipt offers in-app specials on items, but it doesn’t allow you to use manufacturer’s or store coupons.
What: Items skip the store and go from the Peapod warehouse directly to your home. It’s affiliated with Ahold-Delhaize grocery stores, including Giant and Stop & Shop. Unattended delivery is available in some areas, so you don’t have to be home when your delivery arrives — Peapod leaves it in an insulated container.
Where: Peapod is available in New England, the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.
Pricing: A Peapod spokesperson confirmed to us that delivery prices are comparable to in-store prices, but “there are some differences since Peapod’s warehouses operate separately.”
Membership: None required. Peapod offers PodPass, which provides unlimited deliveries for orders of $100 or more at a set price. The rate for 12 months of unlimited delivery is $119 plus tax. There are also three- and six-month subscription options that cost $49 and $69 before tax, respectively. If you pay for PodPass but place an order between $60 and $99.99, you’ll pay for any delivery fees beyond $7.95.
Delivery cost: You must order at least $60 worth of groceries to get delivery, which costs $7.95 to $9.95 — the larger your order, the cheaper the delivery. Peapod offers delivery discounts if you choose off-peak times. You can schedule delivery for as soon as the next day or up to two weeks in advance.
Coupon policy: Peapod accepts manufacturer’s coupons and doubles them up to 99 cents.
What: Walmart has two grocery ordering options. In some locations, you can have your order delivered to your doorstep. In many more locations, you can place your order for a pickup window, then get your order delivered to your car at the store. Some stores even allow you to pay for your groceries with an electronic benefit transfer card.
Where: Same-day pickup is available pretty much everywhere except Wyoming, Montana and New England. We asked Walmart where delivery is available but did not receive a response.
Pricing: Delivery and pickup prices are the same as if you had shopped in the store yourself.
Membership: None required.
Delivery cost: Unclear, since Walmart doesn’t have much info available on delivery yet.
Coupon policy: Walmart does not accept coupons for pickup or delivery orders. If you use the Savings Catcher app, it’ll verify that you received the lowest possible price and give you reward dollars.
What: Amazon’s grocery delivery service offers attended and unattended delivery.
Where: Amazon didn’t confirm where Fresh service is available, but you can search for your ZIP code to see if it’s available in your area.
Pricing: As far as we can tell, it’s regular ol’ Amazon prices.
Membership: Amazon offers a 30-day free trial for AmazonFresh, which then costs $14.99 per month on top of the basic $99 per year Amazon Prime Membership. Amazon Student Prime members can also subscribe to AmazonFresh delivery.
Delivery cost: Orders under $50 have a $9.99 delivery fee. Orders of $50 or more get free delivery.
Coupon policy: Save your coupons for somewhere else!
Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.