Are These Subscription Boxes Worth the Hype–and the Price?


With the ever-growing popularity of subscription boxes, more and more American consumers are receiving regular packages that are full of cool stuff that fits their specific interests. But while the anticipation and surprise associated with these services are certainly more exciting than receiving a bill in the mail, the question remains: Are they really worth it?

To help explore the answer to that question, the CouponSurf team researched some of the most popular subscription boxes from various categories. Below, you’ll learn what these top subscription services offer and whether or not the things you find inside are really a good value or not.

  1. Birchbox

Who It’s For: Women looking to try new high-quality cosmetics and beauty products.

What It Includes: Every month, subscribers receive a box of five sample items that are tailored to the beauty profile they design through their account. Samples include carefully sourced premium products that may fall into makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrance, or bathing categories.

Cost: $10 per month.

Verdict: It’s worth it. Although the sample sizes can run out fast, the variety and personalization of the selection can really transform the way you experience beauty. In fact, you may end up trying things that you wouldn’t have ever considered using through your own purchase—so it’s a great way to expand your horizons.

For $10 a month, the price is highly competitive. However, there are a few other great ways you can save on Birchbox. For example, new customers often have the opportunity to receive a discount and free welcome gift with their first order. Those who subscribe for longer periods of time and pay for it all upfront can also get a small price reduction. And, if you end up liking something in your box enough to buy a full size from Birchbox’s store, you’ll receive loyalty points for your purchase.

2. BarkBox

Who It’s For: Dogs!

What It Includes: This monthly box consists of all things canine. On any given package, dogs (and their owners) can delight in incredibly cute toys, yummy all-natural snacks, and chews that are all curated to match the theme of the month.

Cost: $10 per month.

Verdict: BarkBox is a good buy. Given the amount of high-quality stuff that the package includes, $10 is a small price to pay to please a pup. Your dog will likely gobble the snacks up fast, but this subscription box is truly a gift that keeps on giving. For example, toys can last for months and the adorable photos you take of your pooch with them might just end up as your new desktop background.

On a more practical note, BarkBox allows pet parents to see what snacks their dog enjoys without having to make a big investment. In addition, all the playtime that comes from the toys can be a great way for owners and their companions to bond. And if you peek around the BarkBox website, there’s a good chance you can score a great deal on your subscription—such as bonus months or discounted rates.

3. Kiwi Co Crates

Who It’s For: Creative and curious kids of all ages.

What It Includes: Kiwi Co has a variety of crates that are designed for specific age groups and interests. In general, these monthly crates arrive with a variety of activities that can appeal to budding artists, engineers, and DIYers. In addition to creative projects, boxes include the most recent issue of explore! Magazine for kids.

Cost: About $20 per month.

Verdict: Ultimately, the value of this subscription box will depend on how interested the kid is in that material it presents. While the activities are engaging, they can get repetitive over the course of a year and lose a child’s interest. Additionally, some may be able to complete the projects fairly quickly. If you’re interested in a few of the specific contents of a box, you may be able to find a similar kit at Target where Kiwi Co retail products are sold.

If you know a child who is specifically captivated by tinkering with things or figuring out puzzles, Kiwi Co Crates could be worth the expense. However, if you’re looking for a more well-rounded experience, Surprise Ride may be a better, similarly priced alternative. Each month, Surprise Ride sends members a specially themed learning kit that contains crafts, projects, learning materials, toys, and snacks that are all designed to get kids engaged away from screens.  

4. Graze

Who It’s For: People who love to snack, but want to munch in a more healthy way.

What It Includes: Every month, Graze members receive five or more healthy snacks that are tailored to specific taste profiles. Graze hand-picks orders from a selection of over 100 nutritious snacks that are portion-controlled and free of artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat.

Cost: $13.99 per month.

Verdict: There’s no doubt about the quality of snacks that Graze provides. So if you’re looking to expand your nutritional noshing options, the subscription may be well worth the price. However, the portion sizes that Graze offers are certainly not enough to last throughout the month. And while you can purchase your favorite snacks directly through their website, those items feature higher prices that aren’t so easy to agree with. But, since Graze offers a half-price deal for your first box, it can be worth trying at least for one month. Otherwise, use that $13 to grab some full-size snacks at the store.  

5. Gentleman’s Box

Who It’s For: Guys who have a taste for the finer wares and fashions in life.

What It Includes: This monthly subscription box includes four to six different items for men that are all focused on refined style. Typical packages include exquisite ties, designer socks, accessories, and grooming products. Each order also comes with the latest issue of GQ. Certain add-ons are also available for an extra fee.

Cost: Basic packages start at $25 a month.

Verdict: While $25 may be inching toward the high-price territory of subscription boxes, the value of the items included in the Gentleman’s Box justify that price. That’s especially true if you opt for the mystery box add-on, which will include an item worth $100 or more for an extra $34 charge. But if you stick to the basics, you’ll still be treated to a growing wardrobe of snazzy accessories. If you’re hunting for a bargain, you might consider paying upfront for an entire year subscription. This option includes a free month of service and a bonus mystery box.

While these subscription boxes are full of great surprises—and great value—they only represent a fraction of the choices out there. With hundreds of subscription services available today, there’s a box to fit most interests, taste levels, and budgets. If you end up browsing your options, be sure to consider the number of products each package contains and what their true value is to make sure you’re getting a good deal.