What’s the Difference Between Amazon Subscribe & Save and Amazon Pantry?

A tiny shopping cart full of boxes on top of a laptop keyboard.
William Potter/Shutterstock

Amazon offers both a “Subscribe & Save” and “Pantry” service. They’re similar, but one typically saves you more money, while the other sends your groceries faster. Those aren’t the only differences, though—let’s break it down!

What You Get From Both

Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” and “Pantry” services have a lot of overlap. With either service, you can buy at least some of your household items without setting foot in a store. You also have to wait longer than you would if you’d gone to the store, as neither offer same-day shipping.

Your patience is rewarded by the convenience of ordering stuff you need from any internet-connected device, and getting it delivered to your doorstep…eventually.

Now, that we’ve covered how the two services overlap, let’s discuss the differences.

What Is Amazon Subscribe & Save?

Glad trash bags with the Subscribe and Save option on Amazon.com.
When you subscribe, you can save 72 cents (even more if you subscribe to other products) on this order.

One nice thing about Amazon is it does an excellent job of clearly naming its offerings. In the case of Subscribe & Save, you pick an item—like toothpaste or shampoo, for example—to be delivered regularly. You choose how often Amazon sends you the item—such as every month, every three months, or every six months—and you get a discount against the total cost of the item.

The more subscriptions you have, the more you save, overall. If you have five or more active subscriptions, you get 15% off the total cost. Fewer subscriptions nets a smaller discount. If you’re a Prime Member, you get additional discounts on some items like diapers and baby food.

Another advantage of Subscribe & Save is it has a broader selection of product categories than Amazon Pantry. You might think services like this are intended for basics or groceries, but that’s not the case. While you can subscribe to items like dishwasher pods (don’t eat them, please) and paper towels, you can also order regular deliveries of mascara, dog treats, or painkillers.

Subscribe & Save does have a few downsides, though. For starters, the price of an item can change between the first time you subscribe and future orders. You might sign up because of a great price on paper towels, only to find they cost more than your local grocery store six months later. Fortunately, Amazon emails you before shipping and keeps you updated on prices.

The way the process works is another downside, though. You choose how often Amazon sends new shipments, but you might get your timing wrong. For example, if you choose every two months for trash bags and run through your existing supply sooner, you have to make a choice. You can either wait for the shipment or grab some at the store, and tell Amazon to skip the next delivery. You can also order trash bags from Amazon outside Subscribe & Save, but you won’t get the discount, and you’ll be at the mercy of whichever shipping option is available (Prime or otherwise).

What Is Amazon Pantry?

An Amazon.com order page showing $40 of items and free shipping.
You have to spend at least $35 to get free shipping unless you subscribe to Pantry Prime.

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