I go out of my way to save a couple dollars when grocery shopping. I check weekly ads and download digital coupons onto my local supermarket’s app. I even use Ibotta to try and get a little bit of cash back after the sale. If you have the time, you can get some amazing deals.
Thankfully, there’s a way to get a great deal even if you don’t have the time: online grocery delivery services. Buying your groceries online can save you a trip to the store and, of course, save you money. Wondering which gives your family the best bang for your buck? Techlicious took a look at the four national grocery delivery services that offer the best prices and selection to find out.
When I say “Sam’s Club,” the chain’s massive members-only stores likely come to mind. But like its competitor Costco, plenty of Sam’s Club’s wares are available online, too. Quantities are large and the savings are big, but what else would you expect? It’s a warehouse store.
The biggest downside to shopping at Sam’s Club is the $45 yearly membership fee you’ll need to fork over before you can start shopping. You’ll also need to pay shipping charges on many of your purchases, so be sure to factor that into your budget.
Sam’s Club and other warehouse stores are not the most elegant solution for getting your grocery shopping done online, but they are a solid option if you already hold a membership.
There are two solid options for doing your household grocery shopping at Amazon: the company’s long-running “Subscribe & Save” program and the new Amazon Prime Pantry grocery delivery service. Both offer terrific prices and low (or free) shipping costs.
Amazon Prime Pantry, launched just last month, allows you to ship up to 45 pounds of groceries (or up to 4 cubic feet) for a flat $5.99 shipping fee. You’ll find a wider selection of your favorite brands than you would at a place like Sam’s Club, and in more reasonable quantities, too. You’ll need a $99 yearly Amazon Prime membership to take advantage of the service, however.
The company’s Subscribe & Save option, meanwhile, allows you to set a regular delivery schedule for grocery items your family uses the most, like your favorite laundry detergent, diapers or snacks. Subscribing to an item typically entitles you to a 5% discount on it, with free shipping offered as well. And if you receive 5 or more subscription items on the same delivery day, Amazon bumps the savings up to a healthy 15%. You can subscribe in intervals of one to six months.
The only trick: Sometimes, you can save more money by using Amazon Prime Pantry, and sometimes you can save more money with Subscribe & Save. It’s usually worth checking out both sides of Amazon to make sure you get the best deal.
mySupermarket.com is an incredibly powerful online grocery shopping price comparison site. It aggregates deals from Costco, Drugstore.com, Amazon, Soap.com, Walgreens, Diapers.com, Walmart and Target to tell you which stores offers the best prices on just the items you want to buy.
MySupermarket works like most other e-commerce sites – you simply fill your cart with items from your grocery list. When you’re done, the site will compare prices across its 8 member stores to determine the least expensive way to structure the order, including taking into account the free 2-day shipping you get if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. The site will even advise if you can save money by swapping out a different size or a different product, and offers free shipping on orders of $75 or more.
You pay MySupermarket.com directly, so there’s no need to complete separate checkout procedures for the different sites. It’s a surprisingly elegant solution for comparison shoppers, but be warned – in our research, it didn’t always find the absolute best price. And, to take advantage of the Costco offers and Amazon Prime free shipping, you'll need to enter your Costco and Amazon Prime membership information or subscribe.
The head-to-head comparison
To put these online grocery shopping sites to the test, Techlicious put together a brief shopping list of some common household items that a typical family might buy. We then compared unit prices across the above sites to see who is offering the best deals.
|Sam's Club||Amazon Pantry||Amazon Subscribe & Save (5%)||MySuperMarket.com|
|Charmin Ultra Soft
(price per roll)
|$0.52 (36 rolls)||$0.58 (12 rolls)||$0.71 (40 rolls)||$0.50 (36 rolls)|
|Dove Body Wash
(price per 24 ounce bottle)
|$4.32 (pack of 3)||$5.47 (single bottle)||$4.97 (pack of 4)||$5.49 (single bottle)|
|Nature Valley Sweet &
Salty granola bars
(price per bar)
|$0.26 (box of 30)||$0.49 (box of 6)||$0.47 (6 boxes of 6)||$0.83 (box of 16)|
As you can see, there’s no one clear winner shopping by price alone. MySupermarket.com comes out on top when shopping for Charmin toilet paper (but just barely), while Sam’s Club has the best price for Dove body wash and Nature Valley granola bars. Remember, though, you’ll pay more for shipping with Sam’s Club than the other options. And while Amazon Prime Pantry doesn’t offer the cheapest price for any of the items we checked, it does offer items in smaller quantities. That may be a better deal for smaller families who don’t need to buy 40 rolls of toilet paper at once.
Overall, my pick for favorite site goes to MySupermarket.com. There are no hefty membership fees, no subscriptions to manage, and shipping is free. You may pay more on certain individual items, but when you look at the grand total of a large order, you’re likely to save the most.