Walmart+ vs. Instacart: Here’s what you need to know
Here's how the two grocery delivery services stack up.
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Walmart rolled out its new grocery-delivery service, Walmart+, earlier this month. The program offers member pricing on fuel, streamlined in-store shopping with the Walmart app, and fast, free delivery right to your door.
But how does it stack up against competitors like Amazon Prime and Instacart? That depends on each individual shopper’s location, needs, and schedule. If you’re just looking for convenient delivery on groceries and other essentials, you’ll want to give Instacart a look and weigh your options. The service has its own membership-based option, Instacart Express, that offers benefits similar to Walmart+. But which service is better for you?
Here’s what you need to know about the differences between Walmart+ and Instacart Express.
Walmart+ vs. Instacart: What are the main benefits?
Both Walmart+ and Instacart Express will offer free, unlimited grocery deliveries when you spend $35 or more, but there are many other factors that separate the two services. Here are the basics:
|Price / month||$12.95||$9.99|
|Price / year||$98||$99|
|Free trial||15 days||14 days|
|Free shipping||On deliveries over $35||On deliveries over $35|
|Free one-day shipping||✔||✔|
|Free grocery delivery||✔||✔|
|Delivery from multiple stores||✘||✔|
|Gas benefits||Member pricing on gas||✘|
|In-store perks||Scan-and-go mobile shopping||✘|
If you’re looking for an all-in-one program, Walmart+ is an excellent value. It doesn’t have as many extra little perks as Amazon Prime, but it does give members a discount of five cents off per gallon at almost 2,000 participating gas stations nationwide—with Sam’s Club locations joining that count in the near future.
Walmart+ also gives you access to mobile scan-and-go service while shopping in stores, so you can scan your order using the Walmart app and bypass the typical checkout experience altogether. You simply scan your phone at the self-checkout station, grab your receipt, and you’re good to go.
The bad news: Walmart+ isn't available everywhere. You'll need to check your zipcode to make sure you live near a participating Walmart to see if you're even eligible to sign up.
Instacart Express offers something else: flexibility.
On Instacart, you’re not limited to a single retailer, the way you are with Walmart’s service. Instacart Express works with tons of your favorite grocery stores—Aldi, Big Lots, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Safeway, Sam’s Club, Target. The program serves roughly 25,000 stores around the country, meaning you can get pet supplies, groceries, and even office supplies all in one delivery.
You can also set a special “weekly items” list in the Instacart app. You’ll be notified as soon as your virtual shopping cart’s been populated, and then you can make any necessary additions or changes before checking out. But there’s no obligation, and you’ll never be charged automatically.
Walmart+ vs. Instacart Express: What’s the difference in price?
A Walmart+ membership will set you back either $12.95 a month or $98 annually. You can try it out with a 15-day free trial to see how you like it.
Instacart Express costs either $9.99 per month or $99 a year. Instacart also offers a 14-day trial, so it’s easy to give each service a spin and see which one truly fits your needs.
If you're paying monthly, Instacart has the better pricing. But if you upgrade to yearly, Walmart+ has the advantage.
Walmart+ vs. Instacart Express: Which offers the fastest delivery?
Instacart offers one-hour delivery windows between the hours of 9 a.m. and midnight, depending on your local coverage. So this is where a two-week trial might come in handy: Instacart’s service will be a lot quicker and more convenient in certain parts of the country.
Walmart+ orders should ship on the same day from about 2,700 store locations, but, in many cases, Instacart Express will be the clear winner when it comes to speed. If you’re hoping to get something delivered after 8 p.m., Walmart simply won’t be able to help you.
If getting your order an hour sooner’s important to you during the day, Instacart ought to win out there, too, but it’ll depend on both your choice of retailer and the coverage in your area.
Walmart+ vs. Instacart Express: Which is better for groceries?
For grocery delivery, there may be one major factor that heavily drives your decision: Your zipcode. Both services are limited by their coverage, so it's important that you check your zipcode before committing to either. If you live in a major city, like Boston or New York, you're likely ineligible for Walmart+. But if you live in a small town where Walmart is the only store around, Instacart won't cut it.
Walmart+ vs. Instacart Express: The final verdict
First, check to see whether Instacart offers coverage in your area, and which retailers that includes, then consider how Walmart+ compares.
If a fuel discount, “contact-free” in-store shopping, and additional perks down the road sounds enticing, Walmart will always have the advantage over a third-party delivery app like Instacart or Shipt.
But if you’re just looking to get groceries delivered to your door, the convenience and flexibility of Instacart Express is hard for a single retailer to beat.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.