Amazon has completely changed the way the world shops, and yes, that includes how we buy groceries. The e-commerce juggernaut offers several food delivery services including Prime Now and AmazonFresh. In advance of Prime Day, which will likely occur in mid-July again this year, we break down the differences between these two programs and what they mean for consumers. To use either, though, you do have to have Amazon Prime.

What Is Prime Now?

Cost: Free for Prime members

Delivery Fee: Free/included (some exceptions apply)

What they’ll deliver: Pretty much anything, depending on your location, from fresh produce to electronics; in some locations, this includes restaurant delivery and alcohol

Delivery window: Within one hour on select items (with an additional fee)

Pick-up option: In some locations

Prime Now is a service that is free for all Amazon Prime members. Prime Now offers free delivery within two hours for an array of groceries and household products, even toys, electronics, and pet supplies. And given their acquisition of Whole Foods, you can also get fresh produce, meat and dairy sent directly from those stores (in case you missed it, they lowered Whole Foods prices on more than 500 items last week, and Prime members get even more savings)—but depending on where you are, other grocery stores may also be part of the service. For an additional fee, you can also have products like electronics or printer ink delivered to your door within an hour. As amazing as this service may sound, it’s only available in select locations; however, the list of areas that have access to this program is ever-changing. You can search for your zip code on their site to see whether or not you qualify.

What Is AmazonFresh?

Cost: $14.99/month (in addition to Prime subscription)

Delivery Fee: Varies by location, but free if your order exceeds a certain amount (usually between $35-$50 depending on location)

What they’ll deliver: Grocery items, including pantry staples and home/cleaning supplies

Delivery window: Within one hour on select items

Pick-up option: Yes (within as little as 30 minutes; no extra charge)

While Prime Now is available to anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription, AmazonFresh is an add-on service that costs an additional fee (as of now it’s an extra $14.99 a month). AmazonFresh is exclusively focused on grocery delivery (in some areas, you can even have beer delivered along with your snacks, pantry and cleaning items, and fresh fruit and veggies). The service allows you to schedule the delivery time that is most convenient to you—or, in some locations, you can opt for pickup if you prefer. The groceries are delivered (or held at the pickup location) in insulated packaging and reusable totes to help guarantee freshness. Unlike Prime Now, AmazonFresh deliveries are not free, unless your order exceeds a certain amount.

Amazon Prime member discount at Whole Foods


Which one is best?

There were rumors last summer that the two services might be about to merge or become more interconnected in the coming months, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Whether or not either of these services are ideal for you depends on a lot of factors, most notably your geographic location and your budget. But even if you’re not willing to shell out the extra bucks for door-to-door delivery, Amazon Prime members are also eligible for certain discounts at Whole Foods. So even if you’re doing your grocery shopping the old-fashioned way, you can still take advantage of Amazon’s price points if you have a Prime membership. If you want to give it a whirl, sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial.

If you’re still exploring your options, check out some other grocery delivery services, or even meal kit delivery services if you have trouble deciding what to cook. And get prepping for Prime Day 2019.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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