Grocery delivery services have been around for years, but the pandemic caused more people to start using them.
While getting groceries delivered straight to your door has its benefits, you might pay delivery fees and membership costs. These factors can impact which service is best for your needs.
We analyzed the top companies to help you choose a service that won’t drastically increase your grocery spending.
What Are the Best Grocery Delivery Companies?
When you are looking into food delivery services from grocery stores, doing your research can get you the items you want at the best price.
With multiple grocery store delivery services available, it’s important to evaluate factors like pricing, membership costs, delivery speed, coupon policies, and more.
Here are the six best companies for getting groceries delivered at home.
Instacart is one of the most well-known grocery delivery apps in the space. You can order various items through the platform from places like grocery stores, drug stores, pet stores, and even liquor stores.
Locations: Instacart delivers groceries nationwide and is available in all 50 states. You can consult their site by providing your ZIP code to see if delivery is available in your area.
The grocery app works with over 300 retailers, including Costco, Aldi, Hy-Vee, and more.
Pricing: Pricing varies depending on the retailer you use. Many retailers have no difference in pricing, though some will charge slightly higher prices for the perk of using a personal shopper.
Those increased prices are reflected when making choices within the platform.
Membership: You don’t need a membership to use Instacart, though it does result in lower delivery charges.
Becoming an Instacart Express member gives you free delivery on orders over $35. The membership fee is $99 annually or $9.99 per month.
Delivery fees and time: Delivery speeds are commonly within two to six hours. Keep in mind that this can vary. In most cases, same-day delivery service is available.
Without a membership, there is a $3.99 charge for a $10 minimum order. Rates can go up to $7.99 per order.
Coupon policy: You can’t use manufacturer or store coupons with Instacart. They also don’t honor store sales. However, the company does run promotions and discounts within the app.
*Right now, Frugal Rules readers can receive free delivery on their first Instacart order when creating an account!
Pros and Cons: Instacart works with many top retailers and is available nationwide. The grocery delivery service also offers two-hour delivery.
Unfortunately, it’s easy for service fees to rack up. Additionally, they don’t honor coupons.
Read our guide on Instacart alternatives for other choices beyond the services listed below.
Shipt is a major competitor to Instacart. The service offers same-day grocery delivery nationwide with the exception of Washington D.C. and Alaska.
You can order groceries, office supplies, pet supplies, and alcohol in participating locations.
Locations: Shipt is available across the country, though not in as many locations as Instacart. You can consult their locations page on their site to see if your ZIP code is eligible for grocery deliveries.
Pricing: Pricing varies depending on the retailer, but it is common to expect a slight increase in prices. While these won’t be tremendous, their site says that it’s fair to expect to pay several more dollars per order.
Membership: You don’t need a membership to use Shipt, but it will help you save money on delivery fees.
Shipt Everyday costs $99 per year or $14 per month. This gives you free unlimited deliveries.
Delivery fees and time: If you’re not a member and your order total is under $35, there is a $7 charge for delivery. Alcohol delivery also incurs a $7 delivery fee.
In most cases, delivery is available within an hour. But, if you order later in the day, next-day delivery is a possibility.
Coupon policy: Shipt does not honor manufacturer or store coupons. Similar to Instacart, you can find available discounts when you log into your account.
Pros and Cons: Shipt works with many popular stores, is available nationwide, and has same-day delivery. Shipt Everyday also provides unlimited free deliveries.
In terms of downsides, it’s easy to incur fees. They also don’t honor coupons.
Amazon offers grocery delivery services. With AmazonFresh, you can order groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables from Whole Foods. You can even order items like pet food and liquor.
Locations: AmazonFresh is available in over 2,000 cities nationwide. You can consult the Amazon site to see if delivery is available in your area.
Pricing: Similar to other online grocery delivery companies, prices are slightly higher through AmazonFresh. This can vary depending on the product.
Membership: You need to have an Amazon Prime member to utilize the service. The cost is $119 per year or $12.99 per month.
Delivery fees and time: If your order is $35 or more, there is no delivery fee to use AmazonFresh. For orders under $35, you will have a $7 delivery fee.
Many orders are available in an hour, though it does offer free two-hour delivery.
Coupon policy: Similar to other grocery subscription services, AmazonFresh does not honor coupons.
Pros and Cons: If you love fresh produce from Whole Foods, AmazonFresh is a great choice. The company also offers free two-hour delivery.
Unfortunately, they do not honor coupons and aren’t as widely available as Instacart.
FreshDirect is a unique alternative to grocery shopping. Instead of using personal shoppers, the company sends you food straight from farmers or fishermen. This allows you to get quality products directly from the source.
You can order fresh food, flowers, pet items, pantry staples, and alcohol through the service.
Locations: FreshDirect offers limited delivery. The company is only available in the Northeast.
If you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or Washington D.C., you can order fresh food delivery through the company.
Pricing: Since FreshDirect does not buy products from your local store, there are no increased prices.
Membership: You don’t need a membership to buy from FreshDirect, though becoming a member will earn you free grocery delivery. The cost is $129 per year or $79 for six months.
Delivery fees and time: Fees range from $5.99 to $15.99, depending on the order total. The minimum order is $30.
Depending on what you order, delivery ranges from same-day to one week.
Coupon policy: This does not apply since you’re not purchasing directly from the grocery store.
Pros and Cons: FreshDirect is an excellent way to get farm-fresh foods directly from the source. They also offer meal kits if you want pre-made, high-quality meals.
The downside is that they have a limited delivery area.
Safeway is a grocery store chain owned by Albertsons. The store has been in business for over a century and is a good choice if you’d rather deal with a local store instead of a grocery delivery app.
Locations: Safeway has roughly 1,000 stores throughout the country. They offer grocery delivery or curbside pickup at all stores.
*Related: Want to order dinner in, but don’t want to spend a lot? Read our review of the best food delivery apps to save money and stay out of the kitchen.*
Pricing: There are no increased costs by utilizing their delivery service since you’re buying directly from the store.
Membership: Safeway doesn’t require a membership to take advantage of at-home grocery delivery.
Delivery fees and time: Safeway charges $9.95 for deliveries, though that may be reduced if you spend at least $150 on your order.
The store is currently offering a special of $20 off and free delivery on orders over $75. This special is not available on orders you place through Instacart. You must go directly through the store.
Orders may be delivered in as little as two hours, or you can schedule a delivery.
Coupon policy: You can use manufacturer and store coupons with Safeway delivery. They also allow you to use your store loyalty card.
Pros and Cons: Safeway is a good alternative for those wanting to deal with their local store and use coupons.
Unfortunately, they may not be available in your area.
6. Thrive Market
Thrive Market is similar to FreshDirect. You don’t get a personal shopper who goes to the grocery store for you. Rather, it’s a subscription grocery service that mails you fresh food.
The company specializes in organic and non-GMO diets. If you’re dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, or have other special dietary needs, Thrive Market is worth considering.
Locations: The service ships to the 48 contiguous states. It’s not currently available in Hawaii or Alaska.
Pricing: As the company is not buying groceries from your local store, there are no price increases.
Membership: Thrive Market costs $59.95 per year to use. You can try it risk-free for $5 for the first month.
Delivery fees and time: Shipping is free if your order is over $49. If your order is under that amount, they charge an extra $5.95 for shipping. First-time orders are free if you spend over $25.
Orders typically arrive within two to three days.
Coupon policy: Like FreshDirect, you’re not purchasing directly from a store. As a result, they do not honor coupons.
Fortunately, the service does often send out discounts you can use when placing your next order.
Pros and Cons: Thrive Market is an excellent choice if you’re on a specialized diet. Delivery is also fairly expedient.
Unfortunately, there is a membership fee required to use the service.
FAQs About Grocery Delivery
Grocery delivery services offer many conveniences, but you may have questions before choosing a company. Here are some questions we frequently receive from readers.
Should I tip the driver?
Tipping personal shoppers is common. They’re doing a service for you, and their income is largely dependent on tips.
It’s appropriate to tip ten to 20 percent, or a minimum of $5, for your order. If you’re happy with your service, it’s best to tip whichever amount is higher.
Which is better: Instacart or Shipt?
Instacart and Shipt are two of the leading grocery delivery apps. Instacart works with more stores and has wider availability, but Shipt offers many nice perks, such as free unlimited deliveries with a membership.
If they’re available in your area, it’s best to try both to see which is more affordable.
Does Walmart use Instacart?
Yes, it is possible to shop at Walmart through Instacart. Simply log into your Instacart account and select Walmart for the retailer.
You can have many items from the store delivered to your home through the app.
Is Shipt owned by Target?
Yes. Target owns Shipt, but that doesn’t mean that Shipt only shops at Target.
Shipt Shoppers select the store that’s closest to where you live, regardless if that is a Target location.
Are grocery delivery services cheaper than going to the store myself?
No, going to the store yourself is generally cheaper than having groceries delivered to your home.
However, using an app does save you time and helps you avoid impulse purchases. In turn, this can help you save money.
Can I have frozen foods delivered to my home?
Yes, you can have frozen foods delivered to your home with a grocery delivery company.
If you’re on a meal diet plan like Nutrisystem, you can also have meals delivered to your home.
What happens if an item I select is out of stock?
If you request an item that is out of stock at the store, most online grocery shopping apps make it easy to ask for a replacement.
Platforms like Instacart or Shipt let you chat with the shopper within the app so they can find you a suitable replacement.
Grocery delivery services are a terrific way to save time and avoid the store. There are numerous options that will do your shopping for you.
It may feel odd to have groceries delivered to you, but the time savings can be worth it.
Many of the services on our list regularly offer promotions. Make sure to check for deals before ordering to save money.
Is the time savings worth it to you to have meals or groceries delivered to your home? What do you look for when looking for an on-demand delivery service?