Whether you’re pressed for time or find yourself uncomfortable in large crowds cramped in small aisles, the best grocery delivery services can help you save time and, in some cases, money on your food shopping. These online services streamline the process of grocery shopping, so you can spend that extra time working, bonding with family and friends, or doing anything else that strikes your fancy. There’s little limit to the groceries you can buy online - anything from fresh produce to pantry goods to even household items.
Although food delivery is not a brand new idea, retailers have recently revisited and revamped their grocery delivery services to be faster, more efficient, and more convenient for customers. It’s a simple click-to-order process - find what you need and want, put it in your online cart, and check out with just a few clicks. Do it on the go or from the comfort of your own home. We’ve compiled a list of the best grocery delivery services that actually make food shopping an easier and - dare we say it - a more pleasant experience.
Need another alternative? The best meal delivery services can cut down cooking time by more than half. Regardless of the diet or meal plan you’re on, pick from a wide array of pre-cut ingredients or premade meals to make perfectly portioned breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you feel the pressure to get creative in the kitchen but can’t find the inspiration, these services will make you feel like a 5-star chef without having you do all the work. And if you want to send a friend or loved one a quality ready-made meal and some healthy snacks, turn to the best gift baskets.
1. Instacart: Best overall
For getting groceries from local shops to big box stores
Minimum order cost: $10 | Delivery fee: Varies, starts at $3.99 with order of $10 or more; free with Instacart Express subscription | Delivery times: In as little as 1 hour | Membership required: No, but Instacart Express subscription ($99 per year or $9.99 per month) is available
If you love shopping local, look no further than Instacart. A popular option among the best grocery delivery services, it lets customers choose items from participating local stores to big box stores like Costco or Sam’s Club without needing a membership - that means that you can pick all your usual favorites without sacrificing brand preference or the quality of your produce, dairy, meats, canned goods, and so much more. In some places, you can even order items from pet stores and pharmacies. The fact that you’re not restricted to a single store is a huge plus, so if you can’t find what you need in one, you place an order at another store. Instacart employs individuals to do the shopping for you, so they will call you for a substitution for an item that’s no longer available, and provide live updates on expected delivery time. Along with fast delivery and the lowest minimum to order, Instacart is our choice for the best grocery delivery service- just be wary of accumulating delivery fees.
- Visit Instacart for more information and additional offers
2. Amazon Fresh: Best for Prime members
If you have Prime, look no further
Minimum order cost: None | Delivery fee: $10 for orders below $35; Free delivery above $35 | Delivery times: As fast as 1 hour | Membership required: Yes, Amazon Prime
If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, you’re in luck: you can get free delivery on all Amazon Fresh orders above $35. If you’re ordering groceries once a week, chances are you’re spending more than that amount, so you’d be getting a tremendous deal. It’s just like grocery shopping in person, but without the hassle, time commitment, and large crowds - so you’re saving more than just money, but also time. If you love Whole Foods and the chain’s high-quality items, you can get them with Amazon Fresh - and because Whole Foods has stores all over the country, Amazon Fresh is one of the most widely spread services. But if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you’re out of luck. A membership is required to order from Amazon Fresh, and that will set you back $119 annually. If you choose to opt in, you won’t regret it.
- Visit Amazon Fresh for more information and additional offers
3. FreshDirect: Best rewards program
Produce straight from the source
Minimum order cost: $30 | Delivery fee: $5.99-$15.99, free with DeliveryPass | Delivery times: Same day to 1 week ahead, depending on time of order | Membership required: No, but DeliveryPass membership available ($79 for six months or $129 for 1 year)
FreshDirect doesn’t seem like the best deal, at first: unless you have the DeliveryPass membership, you’re spending a good chunk of cash on delivery fees alone. However, every customer benefits from mountains of deals, coupons, and sales. And if you qualify for the Chef’s Table loyalty program (to qualify, place 12 orders or spend an average of $500 or more each calendar month during any three-month period), you’ll benefit from even more savings. With all those reductions and price slashing, you’ll more than likely make up the cost of delivery if you’re not a member. The savings alone are worth looking into FreshDirect, but don’t forget about the high quality produce and fresh fare that come straight from the source. Fill your online cart with the freshest possible food along with popular brand-name items, and you won’t miss your local grocery store - just first check whether or not FreshDirect can service your area, as coverage is limited.
- Visit FreshDirect for more information and additional offers
4. Walmart Grocery: Best for all needs
From produce to tools and everything in between
Minimum order cost: $30 | Delivery fee: $7.95 to $9.95; Free with Delivery Unlimited | Delivery times: In as little as 3 hours | Membership required: No, but Delivery Unlimited ($98 per year or $12.95 per month) available
Low Walmart prices apply to Walmart Grocery, which means you’re saving every time you buy. But that’s not all: you don’t just have access to Walmart’s fresh, canned, and frozen food selection, but also to everything else Walmart has in stock. You can add anything from kitchenware to beauty products to clothing in your cart when you use Walmart Grocery, so if there’s something you need but don’t have, you don’t have to waste time going to another store to get it. The big box retailer has stores in 1,600 cities all over the country, so wherever you are, you can turn to Walmart Grocery for your food delivery. Just be wary of the high delivery fees, though.
- Visit Walmart Grocery for more information and additional offers. For a limited time, new customers can get $10 off their first order of $50 or more with code WOWFRESH
5. Peapod: Best value
For Stop & Shop customers
Minimum order cost: $30 | Delivery fee: $9.95 for orders $30-$75; $7.95 for orders $70-$100; $6.95 for orders $100+; reduced delivery fees with PodPass | Delivery times: Same day available in some areas to up to 2 weeks ahead | Membership required: No, but PodPass subscription available (plan costs vary)
Current Stop & Shop members should choose Peapod for their grocery delivery needs: if you connect your Stop & Shop account, you’ll benefit from additional discounts on gas and school supplies. New customers also have an incentive to sign up now: not only does Stop & Shop have a full assortment of quality name-brand products as well as store-brand products, but they’re also offered at discounted prices. The site is always full of daily promotions and savings, and brand new customers get $20 off and free delivery on their first order. Every order over $60 during the first 60 days also qualifies for free delivery. Delivery fees vary by order amount, but you can reduce how much you pay if you opt for the PodPass subscription. Those plans’ costs vary too, so pick carefully if you want to maximize your savings.
- Visit Peapod for more information and additional offers
How to choose the best grocery delivery service for your needs
If you’re struggling to pick the best grocery delivery service for you, start by considering your needs, habits, and preferences to make your pick. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How important is it to you to support local businesses?
- How often do you go grocery shopping, and how much do you spend on groceries on each trip?
- What types of groceries do you buy the most? Do you prefer fresh, organic produce, or are partial to canned goods?
- How important is it for you to get member discounts, perks, and coupons?
- Are you willing to commit to a membership?
- Which grocery delivery services are available in your area?
Your answers to the above questions will help inform which of the best delivery grocery services you should pick. If shopping at independent and local grocery stores is of the utmost importance, your best bet will be Instacart. But if you want savings upon savings on each order, consider Peapod or FreshDirect.
How to get a grocery delivery time slot that's best for you
The best grocery delivery services are becoming increasingly popular. Everyone is eligible to get their groceries delivered, not just the elderly or those who are extremely busy - browsing cramped aisles in close proximity to others is an idea that many are turning away from.
But with the increase in demand, how can you ensure that you’ll get your groceries delivered at a time that’s best for you? And how do you guarantee a time slot, when there appears to be none available? Here are some tips to make sure that you can get your groceries delivered regularly.
- Try to be flexible: If you are home most of the time, you have the luxury of receiving your groceries at almost any point during the day. If you have a preferred time that’s often unavailable, opt for a time frame that is either very early in the day or very late - these are times when there is less demand.
- Order in advance: If you can order 2 weeks or more in advance, it’s wise to do so. It’s likely that not as many people are thinking about what they need in their fridges and pantries that far ahead of time, so you’re more likely to get a time slot you want and that’s convenient for you.
- Order with a group: If finding a time slot for grocery delivery is hard, regardless of the time of day, considering ordering with a group. There will be less competition for the time slot, and you’ll get the groceries you want, when you want.
- Order in bulk: Try ordering less often, and ordering more at a time. That will mean forgoing some fresh produce in favor of canned or frozen foods, but you’ll be more likely to have enough food for a longer period of time instead of scrambling for groceries if you can’t get a time slot.
- If you can, pick the time slot before you fill your cart: Some of the best grocery delivery services will allow you to choose when you want your groceries delivered before adding items to your virtual cart.
- Place your order very early in the day: Grocery delivery time slots will have the most availability earlier in the day, especially on the latest delivery day available for scheduling.
- Check for slots often: If you can't get a grocery delivery time slot, try looking for one at several points during the day. Set a schedule of checking every couple of hours, so you have a better chance of snatching one up as soon as someone cancels an order.