Getting everything on your grocery list delivered may seem like a luxury -- as out of reach as that tin of imported caviar, that prized jar of European white truffles, or that top-shelf bottle of Macallan Single Malt Whisky.
While these decadent delights may remain out of grasp, a top-drawer delivery experience doesn't have to be, as a handful of grocery delivery services -- Instacart , Amazon Prime Now , Walmart Grocery, Delivery.com , Google Express, and Postmates are bringing door-to-door service to you with their apps for iPhone and Android at a price that's more affordable than you think -- sometimes even free.
But groceries are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce of what many of these grocery shopping apps offer for consumers. Not in the mood to cook? You can procure guilty pleasures from national fast food chains like McDonald's and Taco Bell as well as chef-prepared dishes from five-star restaurants. You can also order flowers, electronics, and so much more. You can even get your laundry washed and folded or delicates dry cleaned.
Looking for some cooking inspiration? Check out these summer recipes.
No time to shop for groceries at your favorite grocery store or supermarket? Available in hundreds of cities, Instacart gets everything on your grocery list to you from supermarkets in your area in as quickly as an hour for a low to no delivery fee, so you can skip the shopping trip.
The Instacart mobile app for iPhone or your Android device makes groceries its primary focus, with partnerships with more than 150 leading grocery chains nationwide to bring you all the fresh and shelf-stable foods and drinks you could ask for. View all the nutrition info just as if you were in the store.
Search Instacart's curated collections or by keyword and even enjoy coupons and deals on products that, if purchased, can even earn you free delivery. After placing your order -- which must hit the partnering store's delivery minimum -- these items, along with favorited items, will be saved for easy reordering next time. For speedier checkout next time, save your shipping and payment info in the free app.
Get updates along the way and even communicate with your personal shopper if any changes need to be made to your order. Then get it in as quickly as one hour for $5.99. You can get around this fee and even get unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more by signing up for Instacart Express for $14.99 per month or $149 a year.
If shoppers have an Amazon Prime subscription -- which costs $119 a year -- they can enjoy the benefits of the Amazon Prime Now mobile app. Available in more than 40 cities, Amazon Prime Now gets Amazon Prime members their groceries, restaurant items, and most everything on their shopping list in record times. Sign in with your Amazon account info and access tens of thousands of items from Amazon Prime Now as well as from beloved local stores including Sprouts, Bristol Farms, Gourmet Garage, and Fresh Thyme, among many top-shelf wine and spirits sellers. You'll even enjoy restaurant dishes from fabulous local eateries -- from Chai Pani and Farm Burger in Atlanta to India's Grill and Datz in Tampa (in select cities).
With the Amazon Prime Now app, you can also order a lot of the non-food items you'd find on Amazon, including electronics, household items, clothing and accessories, gifts, toys, and health items. Get delivery within an hour, in one hour, or two-hours. Note that delivery fees vary based on order size and your preferred delivery time.
The Amazon Prime Now app is a great way to get your Amazon, local store, and restaurant deliveries to you quickly for a small delivery fee. The app offers coupons that help to offset some of the cost, but the best deal on the app is the free two-hour delivery on orders of $35 or more from Whole Foods.
The nicely designed Walmart Grocery app enables you to order your groceries and other sundry items from the big-box store for pickup in-store or delivery for the same low price as you'd find in the store. If organic is your thing, you'll love the Organic Shop -- with its more affordable fruits and vegetables, meats, and pantry items -- and its Great Value Organic line of pantry foods, which proves that just because it's organic doesn't mean it has to be overpriced.
Shop curated collections, by two dozen departments, or search and order by keyword. And the Walmart Grocery app covers more than just groceries. You'll also find a Celebrations department, filled with everything from tablecloths to gift wrap supplies; a Kitchen & Dining division, stocked with everything from cookware to Tupperware; Home, Garden & Tools, filled with products like picture hangers and plant food; Office & Electronics, with everything from Rokus to Philips Hue smart light bulbs; Toys, featuring must-haves like Hot Wheels and Legos; and Sports & Outdoor, full of barbells, basketballs, and much more.
Once you've hit the $30 minimum and confirm your nearest location, you'll then reserve a day and time to pick up your order for free or for delivery for a small fee based on the time slot you book.
Groceries, gas, and your personal time are money, but with the Walmart Grocery app, you can save money on all three -- if delivery is available in your location. Otherwise, the ability to pick up your groceries is still a great help if you can get your order on the day and time when you need it.
FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter for all the latest app news.
Available in hundreds of cities and designed for easy navigation on even the smallest of devices, Delivery.com brings you groceries, spirits, restaurant orders, and even your wash-and-fold and dry cleaning from your local cleaners. Search for exactly what you want or try something new from the app's participating stores, restaurants, and laundries.
For laundry, specify which services you need (wash and fold, dry cleaning, or tailoring) and when you want it picked up and dropped off, and then you can compare prices, distances, and ratings, and schedule pickup and delivery. You'll even get a free laundry bag with your first order.
Delivery Points and app-only discounts and promos help offset delivery fees, making Delivery.com an excellent restaurant and laundry pickup and delivery app. But if you're looking for groceries, the options aren't as robust in this app, so stick with Instacart, Amazon Prime Now, or Walmart Grocery for those items.
Available in most U.S. cities, Google Express takes the convenience of shopping on the Google Express website and brings it to your smartphone and tablet. Shop grocery items from grocery stores like Costco, Smart & Final, Target, Walgreens, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market, as well as everything else you'd need for your home from 1-800-Flowers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Fry's Electronics, The Home Depot, Overstock, PetSmart, Ulta Beauty, The Vitamin Shoppe, Wayfair, and, of course, the Google Store.
Shop curated collections, search by keyword, or use the built-in Google Assistant to search by voice. Getting your orders of $25 to $35 or more in one to three days for free without a membership is no pipe dream. It's a reality on Google Express, and returns are accepted within 30 days.
Google Express doesn't stock perishables like milk, eggs, cheese, and produce. You can find, however, shelf-stable milk boxes, vegan egg replacers, Velveeta, and applesauce, if you're desperate.
With its extensive product selection, excellent search features, free delivery as long as store order minimums are met, and great return policy, Google Express is definitely worth a look. But if you're looking for fresh groceries, you're better off shopping Instacart, Amazon Prime Now, or Walmart Grocery.
No time to grocery shop? Available in most U.S. cities and Mexico City, the Postmates app helps you place your shopping list order on your phone, and it'll be delivered directly to your doorstep for a $3.99-$9.99 delivery fee, plus a variable percentage-based service fee.
If you're looking for fresh items and live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or New York, the Fresh section provides users with "high-quality, locally-sourced groceries" in around half an hour. Get to these premium foodstuffs by tapping the Fresh tile in the top carousel. (The adjacent Drinks tile takes you to wine, beer, spirits, snacks, ice cream, and cigarettes.) If you want to shop at a particular store, such as Whole Foods, you'll have to tap the search bar up top and then enter the store's name.
Postmates can deliver your groceries, but the service can also deliver restaurant dishes, gifts, and more. Unlike competing services, which make their last delivery before midnight, Postmates is a 24/7 service, which means you can use them to satisfy your late-night ice cream craving, too.
But beware of the app's surge delivery pricing during busier times. The only way to get out of paying surge delivery pricing is to sign up for the Postmates Unlimited program for $9.99 per month (or $83.99 per year) and get all orders over $20 with free delivery. Postmates also offers great deals to help offset delivery fees, but you can skip the delivery fee and the long waits by ordering for pickup on the Postmates app.
Other than the fact that it's 24/7, Postmates' greatest selling point is that it offers groceries, alcohol, *and* restaurant dishes. But the potentially exorbitant surge pricing, during busy times -- on top of delivery and service fees -- may eat into your wallet too much unless you pay for Postmates Unlimited.
- 9 Best Food Tracking Apps
- Make Adulting Easier With These Apps for Adulthood
- Best to-do list apps of 2018 for managing tasks for Android
- How to make a to-do list with Alexa (CNET)
- Google Tasks launches for Android and iOS: Basic list manager with potential for more (ZDNet)
- The 15 best cities for gig workers and freelancers (TechRepublic)