Grocery Delivery
ablokhin/istockphoto

Online Grocery Delivery Comparison: Is One of These Services Right for You?

View Slideshow
Grocery Delivery
ablokhin/istockphoto

Compare Online Grocery Delivery Services

With more consumers looking for ways to grocery shop without leaving home, we've rounded up details on the top services. While large online grocers maintain their own warehouses and will ship directly to your doorstep, many neighborhood supermarkets also offer curbside pickup and delivery. Customers often have to pay for this convenience, but it may be worth the price to avoid in-store shopping, not to mention save time, reduce mental stress, and cut out impulse buys that can wreck a weekly grocery budget. This list includes a variety of outlets covering different geographic areas and customer needs, from bulk buys to organic options. We've also included pricing for some favorite local grocery chains, as well as information on where SNAP recipients can order groceries online and pay with EBT.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many grocery delivery services are experiencing huge surges in traffic. Customers may have difficulty scheduling deliveries, orders may be delayed, and certain items may be out of stock.

Related: These Grocery Stores Have Special Hours for Seniors and Other At-Risk Shoppers

Amazon Fresh Logo
Amazon

Amazon Fresh

For Amazon Prime Members
Sign Up for Amazon Fresh
Service:
Free for Prime members ($12.99/month or $119/year; $6.49/month or $59/year for students)
Delivery: Free with $35 minimum in eligible areas; $50 minimum elsewhere

Not every Amazon shopper has access to this convenient service, but many Prime subscribers count it as one of the best benefits of membership. Amazon Fresh service is available in more than 2,000 cities, with two-hour delivery in regions where Whole Foods fulfills orders (check the home page to see options in your region). Consumers can shop for all kinds of groceries, from meat and dairy to produce, packaged foods, and paper goods at prices that are at least on par with grocery chains. Food is delivered in climate-controlled packaging, so you don't necessarily have to be there when your order arrives. Parcels can be dropped off at an unattended location or can even be picked up in certain areas, in which case there's no minimum purchase required.

prime pantry
Amazon

Amazon Pantry

For All Amazon Customers
Sign Up for Amazon Pantry
Service:
Free
Delivery: $5.99; free for Amazon Prime members with $35 minimum

Amazon users who need nonperishables, especially items that are heavy (such as laundry detergent), can turn to Amazon Pantry. Users pay $5.99 to fill a box with household necessities that is shipped to their homes. Purchase five items, and you'll get 5% off your bill, add 10 or more and you can save 10%. Amazon's pantry is well-stocked and includes anything found in a grocery store except for produce, dairy, or meat. Shoppers can see how much of the box has filled after adding an item to the cart. Just keep in mind that packages that are weighty are shipped via ground, so even Prime members aren't guaranteed a fast two-day delivery. Amazon tells customers that orders can take one to four business days to arrive.

Instacart
Instacart

Instacart

The Grocery Delivery Default
Sign Up for Instacart
Service:
5% fee ($2 order minimum); lower fee with Express membership ($9.99/month or $99/year)
Delivery: Typically $3.99-$7.99; free for Express members with $35 minimum

Now available in a wide number of areas — from major metropolitan centers like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago to places as far afield as Eagle River, Alaska — Instacart partners with supermarket chains such as Safeway, Kroger, Acme, and Albertsons, as well as local high-end grocers. Customers can even shop warehouse stores Costco and Sam's Club, in addition to retailers like Petco, CVS, and more to fulfill a wide range of grocery needs. A personal shopper does the work, sends a text if substitutions are necessary, and gets it all to consumers' doors within hours or at a prescheduled delivery time. Prices don't necessarily replicate those on the store shelf; retailers decide how much to charge Instacart customers. In-store sale prices may not be honored, but manufacturers' coupons are. Savings are also available through occasional Instacart sales and promotions. Instacart Express members get perks like reduced service fees, and the ability to multiple stores in the same order. Tips on deliveries are optional, but the default is 5%. Store pickup is available in certain areas, in which cases the delivery fees are waived and stores determine pickup charges.

CostcoGrocery
Costco

CostcoGrocery

For Warehouse Club Prices
Sign Up for CostcoGrocery
Service:
Costco membership required ($60/year; apply here)
Delivery: Free 2-day with $75 minimum (fee varies for smaller orders); same-day via Instacart with $35 minimum

Costco members looking to avoid long in-store lines might want to give online grocery ordering from the warehouse club a shot. There are two options for getting needed supplies to your home. Fresh orders are handled by Instacart, but same-day service shoppers can expect to pay a bit of a premium over typical Costco prices. With service and delivery fees baked directly into the cost of items, markups can be quite high, but you'll still likely save over what you'd pay at a regular supermarket. If you're only stocking up on dry goods and staples, Costco's two-day grocery delivery service, which ships direct from Costco's storehouses, is probably the better deal. Prices might include added cushioning to cover processing fees — but with free shipping factored in on bigger, bulkier orders, many consumers will find the service a real bargain.

Related: 25 Costco Dinners You Can Make in Under 25 Minutes

Walmart Grocery
Walmart

Walmart Grocery

For Delivery or Pickup
Sign Up for Walmart Grocery
Service:
Free with $30 minimum
Delivery: Usually $7.95 to $9.95 depending on delivery window; free for Delivery Unlimited members ($12.95/month or $98/year)

Walmart shoppers can order groceries online or via the app and set same-day pickup times at local stores free of charge or pay an extra fee to have products delivered straight to the home. You'll get the same low in-store prices for both fresh items and pantry-fillers, as well as cleaning supplies and household staples. Walmart Grocery's in-store shoppers will bag groceries up and get them ready to go, and customers receive a text or email when orders are ready. Then, just let store employees know when you're on your way (which takes just a simple tap of a button if you've downloaded the app), and follow directions to your designated pickup area from there. At some pickup locations, they will even put your groceries in your trunk for you. Walmart Grocery delivery services are available in more than 1,600 stores in about 46 states, with pickup options at nearly 3,100 stores, according to recent company reports.

Related: I Tried Walmart's Grocery Pickup and This Is What Happened

Target Shipt Delivery
Target

Shipt

For Target Shoppers (and Others, Too)
Sign Up for Shipt
Service:
Free for Target customers
Delivery: $9.99 for Target shoppers; free with $35 minimum with Shipt membership ($14/month or $99/year)

While Target does offer delivery and drive-up services, shoppers can snag items from the store via same-day delivery with Shipt. Target owns this company, which is similar to Instacart and will send its personal shoppers into a number of partner stores (including Costco, H-E-B, Meijer, and others) to fetch items for consumers shopping from home. Usually, Shipt customers have to pony up monthly or annual service fees to take advantage of the company's services, but consumers who use Shipt through Target can skip the subscription and simply pay a $9.99 fee for each individual order (there's also an offer on Target's site to try a free 14-day Shipt trial). One of the real perks of the Shipt membership is the wide breadth of items it'll deliver; not only are groceries and other household staples, but even bedding, sporting goods, and patio and garden items aren't too tall an order. Some retailers add small service fees to prices, so you may pay a bit more than you would in stores.

Boxed
Boxed Wholesale

Boxed

For Bulk Products Without a Warehouse Club
Sign Up for Boxed
Service:
Free with $19.98 minimum
Delivery: $6.99 or free with $49 minimum or Boxed Up membership ($49/year)

Bulk items that are cumbersome to bring home in a car or on public transit are the order of the day at Boxed. The selection is limited (only about a half dozen shampoo choices, for example), but prices are low and delivery is free for orders of $49 or more. Boxed ships by UPS throughout the lower 48, with delivery within one to three business days. Need produce and perishables in addition to shelf-stable items? With Boxed Express — available in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, New Jersey, and parts of New York City — a personal shopper gathers groceries from a local Costco or Lidl to hand-deliver to your door. Eco-conscious shoppers who return the reusable bags in which groceries arrive will receive a $1 account credit for each. While, unlike Costco, Boxed requires no annual fees to take advantage of its bulk deals, frequent users who do decide to opt in for membership will get free shipping on every order no matter the price in addition to 2% cash rewards every time they shop.

FreshDirect
FreshDirect

FreshDirect

For NYC Metropolitan Area
Sign Up for FreshDirect
Service:
Free with $30 minimum
Delivery: Starting at $5.99; free with DeliveryPass membership ($79/6 months or $129/year for Anytime DeliveryPass; $39/6 months for Midweek DeliveryPass)

This online food delivery service sources many of its offerings from local farms and artisanal producers and also sells brand-name groceries. Aside from the tried and true, FreshDirect customers can order meal kits and exotic meats and cheeses. Prices are not cheap (a 10.8-ounce box of Honey Nut Cheerios costs $3.99 compared with $2.99 at many supermarkets, for example), but there are frequent sales and coupons. Delivery to all New York City boroughs excluding Long Island costs $5.99. In parts of Long Island and the tri-state area — which includes locations in northern New Jersey and Connecticut — that fee is $6.99. And you'll pay a dollar more in areas farther south, like Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. A heads-up to apartment-dwellers, however — FreshDirect won't deliver to buildings without an elevator above the fifth floor.

Peapod
Peapod

Peapod

For Variety
Sign Up for Peapod
Service:
Free with $30 minimum
Delivery: $6.95-$9.95 based on order total

One of the original grocery delivery services, Peapod was once the largest online delivery service in the country, but in recent years has cut service in the Midwest and focused on New England and the East Coast. It's affiliated with the company that owns Giant and Stop & Shop stores, so prices and selection often match those found in these supermarkets and the other local grocers the brand partners with. On top of the standard fare, Peapod offers a wide range of organic food and locally sourced specialty options, alcohol in certain markets, and meal kits that users can prepare at home. Delivery fees vary based on total order cost, and free pickup is available in certain areas. Orders are usually scheduled for next-day delivery, but in some locations, same-day delivery is an option. Peapod does offer a Podpass subscription service, but it's only available in certain areas (in fact, you'll find no mention of the program on the site's main landing pages).

Thrive Market
Wikimedia Commons

Thrive Market

For Healthy Food at Wholesale Prices
Sign Up for Thrive Market
Service:
$9.95/month, $19.95/4 months, or $59.95/year
Delivery: $5.95 or free with $49 minimum

Thrive Market is a subscription-only online grocery site that delivers healthy food and beauty products at comparatively low costs. They’ve got a huge selection of organic items and health brands and a social mission to help all families thrive; for each customer who pays to sign up, the company provides a free membership to a low-income family. Site users can search by dietary preferences — vegan, paleo, ketogenic, and gluten-free, for example — and there’s a convenient labeling system on products that helps shoppers determine at a glance whether they meet other key criteria, from being caffeine-, dye-, and GMO-free, to being ethically sourced or recyclable. While fruits, produce, and other perishables can’t be purchased from Thrive, they do ship bulk frozen meat and seafood from their private label suppliers. Naturally, these items meet standards for humane and sustainable farming practices, are free of hormones, antibiotics, dyes, and fillers and are packaged using low-impact, biodegradable materials. While healthful living rarely comes "cheap," the site offers lots of sales and promotions (including a rewards program and a savings guarantee) and prices at Thrive are generally lower than you’ll find at your local Whole Foods.

Safeway
Albertsons Companies, Inc.

Safeway/Albertsons

For Safeway and Albertsons Loyalists
Sign Up for Safeway or Albertsons
Service: $3.95-$4.95 with $30 minimum order
Delivery: $9.95 in most areas

Safeway and Albertsons supermarkets (both owned by parent chain Albertsons) offer home delivery wherever those stores are located. A $9.95 delivery fee is usually charged but may be reduced on orders of $150 or more. Same-day deliveries are offered between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week, and there are frequent promotions for free or discounted delivery. There's also a curbside Drive Up & Go service available in select locations where shoppers can have groceries loaded directly into their cars within three hours of checking out online. Consumers shopping online with Safeway can save grocery lists so that items ordered frequently pop up automatically, and products bought with a loyalty card are added to the shopping history. Most goods are available at in-store prices and all coupons and sales are valid. Delivery options are the same at most other brands within the Albertsons supermarket chain. In some cases, deliveries will be outsourced to Instacart (or customers can choose that option for rush delivery), and shoppers are subject to Instacart's fees and policies.

ShopRite
Wakefern Food Corp, Inc.

ShopRite From Home

Personal Service for ShopRite Customers
Sign Up for ShopRite From Home
Service:
Usually $10 for pickup (no minimum purchase)
Delivery: Fee varies

Personal shoppers are integral to ShopRite From Home, which means orders can be customized for preferences like the thickness of deli meat slices. Your in-store shopper will also inquire about substitutions and deal with delivery issues. ShopRite usually charges a $10 service fee, so you'll pay that even if you opt to pick up your groceries at the store. But among the perks that come with the pickup cost is a designated pickup area by the store's entrance, so you have groceries loaded into your car quickly and hassle-free. Delivery fees vary by area, but in some cases delivery incurs no additional charges on top of the standard service fee. Products and prices offered are the same as those on store shelves, and include sale and special promotional items. Just keep in mind that online shoppers must have a loyalty card. Need bulk groceries — or electronics, or even small appliances? ShopRite Delivers will ship directly to all 48 contiguous states except California. Orders are delivered via UPS or FedEx Ground and usually arrive within three to five business days; rates vary, but many items ship free.

Other Grocery Delivery
Cleardesign1/istockphoto

Online Shopping at Other Stores

For shoppers wondering if their favorite local stores offer online grocery services, we've rounded up the details on a few other top chains. As always, pickup and delivery may not be available at all locations.

Acme: Delivery via Instacart (no pickup service).
Aldi: Pickup and delivery via Instacart.
Giant Eagle & Market District: Pickup is free with $35 minimum order. Next-day delivery is $5.95; same-day delivery is $9.95.
Harris Teeter: Pickup or delivery service is $4.95. Delivery is $9.95 (with $50 minimum) or $11.95. A subscription for unlimited shopping and no service fee is $16.95/month or $99.95/year.
H-E-B: Pickup or delivery service is $4.95. Delivery is $5.
Hy-Vee: Pickup or delivery service is free with $30 minimum order. Delivery is $9.95.
Kroger: Pickup is $4.95. Delivery is usually $9.95 but can vary. Shipping for bulk and non-perishable items is free with $35 minimum.
Lidl: No pickup service; delivery via Shipt and Boxed.
Meijer: Pickup is $4.95. Delivery is $9.95 via Shipt; memberships honored.
Publix: Pickup and delivery via Instacart.
Wegmans: Pickup and delivery via Instacart.

EBT Cards
Wikimedia Commons

Online Grocery Shopping With EBT

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is a system that allows recipients to authorize the transfer of government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products. Only a few states, and just a handful of retailers within those states, have launched the USDA's SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, which enables SNAP households to use EBT to pay for online-ordered groceries (but not delivery, pickup, or other associated service fees). It's worth checking the link above to see what may be available in your area.

Related: 55 Big-Batch Meals That Will Last for a Week