Prime Pantry lets you order small quantities of shelf-stable groceries and home items - here's how it differs from regular Amazon orders
- Prime Pantry lets Prime members buy packaged groceries and household items in everyday sizes that would otherwise never qualify for free shipping on their own.
- The basic version is free with your Amazon Prime membership, but has a $35 order minimum. Prime members can add $4.99 to their monthly bill to get free shipping on all orders over $10.
- I used Prime Pantry to order cereal, rice, and snacks at typically low Amazon prices without needing to buy any one item in bulk like I normally do on Amazon, or meet a high shipping minimum. Keep reading for my Prime Pantry review.
If you've ever wanted to order a single box of cereal but shied away from a disproportionate shipping fee - and you have access to an Amazon Prime membership - then you may want to check out Prime Pantry.
Prime Pantry is one of the 30+ Amazon Prime membership perks that go beyond two-day shipping. It lets you order household items and shelf-stable groceries in everyday sizes with fast and sometimes-free shipping (if your cart is over $35). If you want, you can also buy in bulk through Prime Pantry - like a large pack of Gatorade bottles or paper towels. The major difference between Prime Pantry and regular Amazon orders is that Prime Pantry allows you to get single items rather than a whole pack (like a single box of Easy Mac, rather than six of them at once)Typically, orders under $35 cost a $5.99 shipping fee. Orders over $35 earn free shipping. But, Prime members can add a Prime Pantry membership for $4.99/month to their membership to get free shipping on all Prime Pantry orders of $10 or more. If you belong to AmazonFresh, Amazon's $14.99/month grocery delivery service, you'll also automatically get free shipping on all Prime Pantry orders as an added benefit.
However, a current promotion means all Prime Pantry members receive free shipping on everything - no $10 minimum to meet - from now until July 31. Prime members without a Prime Pantry membership also receive free shipping on orders over $25, rather than $35.
My review of Prime Pantry
As a single person living in a tiny NYC apartment, I theoretically like buying groceries online (fewer sweaty, soul-crushing, hours-long grocery runs and heavy bags to lug up the stairs), but the lack of space means that buying in bulk or meeting a $50 minimum isn't always realistic for storage, and the shipping fee for single products like a bag of rice - plus the comparatively slimmer savings on those single items - means I'll often simply go without the item I was looking to buy.
To test Prime Pantry, I ordered a few of those classic individual items: a single pack of granola bites, one box of Cheerios, one Annie's Mac and Cheese box, and two boxes of instant couscous at lower-than-average Amazon prices.
I placed my order on a Thursday and was guaranteed two-day shipping, but it came earlier than expected on Friday. My total was $13, and I received free delivery as an added benefit to my AmazonFresh subscription. If I'd opted into a $4.99 Prime Pantry membership, I'd also have gotten free shipping for the $10+ order.All my single, disparate items arrived together in one standard Amazon box.
You won't be able to order fresh produce like a single green apple - you'll need to use AmazonFresh for the full range of grocery options - but you can find a wide range of categories that fall under the Prime Pantry umbrella: beauty and personal care items, grocery and gourmet foods, health and household items (adhesives, paper towels), office products, automotive, electronics, and even books.
The bottom line
All in all, Prime Pantry basically just brings the characteristically low prices and convenient, fast shipping of Amazon to single items that are typically tough to order online, as well as bulk buys. If you realize you'll need a new bottle of laundry detergent or a single bag of pasta or dog food in a couple of days, it's a pretty useful and often-overlooked perk of a Prime membership.
It's not ideal to have to reach a $35 minimum for free shipping or pay $5 per month to get free shipping on orders over $10, but, for me, I'll probably pass $5 worth of value early on in the month thanks to the convenience and the savings from paying Amazon prices. To see if it's right for your lifestyle, you can try it now and get a lower minimum needed for free shipping while the promotion lasts. Or, sign up for a 30-day trial of AmazonFresh and try both AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry - the latter with free shipping on every order you place.