Our 30 favorite subscription services of 2020
Here's what you need to subscribe to for a better 2021.
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
If there’s one respite the majority of us had during 2020—a year we’ll never forget—it’s the sheer joy of checking for packages each day. Though we couldn’t necessarily see friends or loved ones, our courageous frontline delivery people continued to deliver our packages, however necessary or not, to make sure we had what we needed to be healthy and happy during this wild, wild time.
For many of us, those subscriptions—both physical and digital—included regularly scheduled subscription boxes containing essentials like snacks or beauty products, to kits that kept us entertained with the mundane things we didn't really need, but were essential to our well being, like language learning apps that keep us dreaming about travel again. From our quarantine dog’s first Barkbox to boxes filled with kitting gear that simply gave us something to do, subscription took on a new meaning in 2020.
Now, as we enter a new year full of cautious optimism and unknowns, we’ve pulled together the best subscription services we tested over the course of the year to help you decide what to sign up for in 2021. Just remember, if you do sign up for a physical subscription, thank your delivery person the next time you see them; as we all know, a little goes a long way.
Kitchen and Cooking
Since the majority of us couldn’t travel in 2020, finding a snack box entirely dedicated to a place we couldn’t physically visit made it feel like we were, for a second, somewhere else. With Bokksu, subscribers can get a temporary (and tasteful) retreat to Japan in the form of 20 to 25 Japanese snacks and treats, from tea pairings to candy to rice crackers and more. Each box has a different theme, like Mochi Madness for March, so you can always expect something new and exciting.
2. Crowd Cow
In 2020 getting high-quality meat was challenging for a lot of people. That’s why meat subscription boxes like Crowd Cow were a hit for Reviewed’s readers. With Crowd Cow, subscribers can sign up for monthly shipments of meat from small, ethically-sourced farms that use ethical practices. Customers can build their own boxes with their favorite cut starting at $99 or choose preselected kits with luxury items like authentic Wagyu beef. You can also order individual items to supplement your grocery store runs.
With restaurants closed for many people at different times throughout the year, people who love to eat out felt the struggle. Luckily, Freshly, a company that makes healthy, pre-made microwavable meals saved the day. Reviewed tested five different pre-made meal kits and found that Freshly was the best, offering the most variety and convenience. With the subscription, customers can expect nutrient-rich, restaurant-quality meals that aren’t just your regular ol’ TV dinner, all in just a few minutes.
If you were stuck in LA and wanted Nashville hot chicken or stuck in Nashville and wanted an authentic New York bagel, hopeful you found Goldbelly. If not, this company partners with world-famous restaurants to send kits to help you have some of their most iconic dishes right at home. To put it in perspective, our reviewer got teary-eyed getting a piece when she realized she could have her favorite childhood pizza shipped straight to her door.
5. HelloFresh's 20-minute meals
For people who are new to cooking or like cooking but want it done in a snap, HelloFresh is the meal kit for you. What’s great about this box designed to help you cook at home is that meals are fast and easy, especially if you snag the reviewer-approved 20-minute meals. Though, depending on our skill level they might take a tad bit longer, these delicious meal kits, with dishes like pork and cabbage stir fry and Mexican rice bowls, are still a hit with our readers around the country.
Hungryroot isn’t your ordinary food subscription—it’s a hybrid of sorts. According to our reviewer, “it’s a personalized grocery delivery service that also includes recipes. It’s not a traditional meal kit, where each ingredient is planned and portioned to make an exact number of meals.” Perfect for people looking for a little wiggle room, the flexibility in Hungryroot gives you the means to craft the perfect or stray and use the ingredients however you feel fit for the time without a trip to the grocery store.
7. Jasper Hill Farm
An “all around artisan cheese institution,” according to our reviewer, Jasper Hill Farm is a Vermont-based company that ships high-quality, artisan cheese to dairy lovers near and far. To get one of these highly-coveted boxes you must join the company’s cheese—sounds bougie, right?—and you’ll be gifted with a monthly delivery of three different cheese, cheese tools, and cheese-themed merch. Or, if you don’t want to commit to joining a full-on club, Jasper Hill also has individual boxes you can order, too.
8. Thrive Market
Described as “Costco meets Whole Foods,” Thrive Market is an online grocery service that makes it easier to get the products you need in a way that you can feel good about. As our reviewer wrote, “Thrive Market promises low prices, high-quality ingredients, and an effortless online shopping experience—especially compared to brick-and-mortar retailers—all within reach for a yearly membership fee of about $60.” With free shipping on boxes over $49, this service lets you pick exactly what you need instead of sending pre-selected items each month.
Let’s face it, knives are taken for granted in kitchens around the world. And Togu, a Massachusetts-based company, wants to change that. With a Togu subscription, you get two Japanese-made knives—a chef's knife and paring knife—that are exchanged every eight weeks to be sharpened. While this may not be something you think you need, having a sharp knife can really change the way you spend time in the kitchen. As our reviewer wrote, “If you’re a home chef who spends a lot of time chopping ingredients, you may benefit from a knife subscription service that delivers freshly sharpened knives once every eight weeks.”
10. Usual Wines
Look, wine can be confusing and overwhelming. For people who want to cut the clutter and just have the best sent to them, Usual Wines is here at your service. Beloved by Instagram, Usual Wines gives customers a 6.3 ounce “fresh, full glass” of wine in a charming bottle. What’s great about this service is that you can mix from the company’s three different types of red, brut, rosé (or combine all three) so you’re not married to an entire bottle you might not like, and choose between an individual order or a monthly subscription. Even better, your IG clout goes up significantly with each bottle... just don’t forget to post!
One thing about subscription boxes is that you often can’t choose exactly what you’re getting. But that’s not the case for Winc, which uses a quiz to help you discover what you like and then lets you actually pick what you buy. According to our reviewer, Winc’s wine recommendations are fantastic and helped her find a handful of wines she never would’ve found for herself in a store. With a membership, customers get about $60 in “credits” each month that then apply to your total selection, meaning you could go over or under. But hey, that’s just proof this service is truly customizable.
12. Eucalyptus Farms
Add this one to the list of things to make you feel good right now, Eucalyptus Farms delivers 12 to 16 fresh eucalyptus leaves to your door each month. As our expert reviewer wrote, “eucalyptus is known for its relaxing, minty aroma, as well as how gorgeous the plant looks when hung on a shower... so why wouldn’t you want to add that into your home right now?" And at just $12 bucks a delivery (plus shipping) this might just be the best way to help your resolution for self-care in 2021.
When it comes to plants, reviewer Lauren Manaker, knows that “looks don’t equal longevity.” And that’s exactly why she loves Horti, an indoor plant subscription service to help people grow their confidence in taking care of houseplants. At $25, Horti sends a new plant each month, starting with the hardest to kill and working it’s way up, plus a pot, soil, and detailed instructions to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing to keep your new plant baby alive.
14. Public Goods
Essentially, Public Goods is an online store that helps you buy your everyday goods, from deodorant to pasta to dish soap, in a highly sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Customers pay a yearly fee of $59 and then can order everything they might need in non-branded packaging. The company plants trees for packages sold, and it uses renewable and sustainable materials like bamboo instead of single-use plastics. Try it out for yourself or check out our review of a handful of Public Good items for a more in-depth analysis.
If you live near a Walmart, it might be time to consider signing up for Walmart+. At $12.95 a month, subscribers get free unlimited, same-day delivery on groceries; lower prices on fuel; and mobile scan-and-go capabilities when you shop in-store. And for our reviewer who tested it out for 2 weeks, “if you prefer to stay at home or don’t have access to a car to pick up groceries, Walmart+ delivery is a great option.”
Plenty, plenty, plenty of us decided 2020 was the year to finally learn another language—and Babbel, an online language-learning platform, was there to help. Offering 14 different languages, Babbel helps people learn a new language by teaching them information that is relevant to them. While there are many different ways to learn a language, each unique in their own way, our review found that “Babbel is a great, budget-friendly option for diving into a new language.”
Say you want to look and feel as good as Hollywood heartthrob Chris Hemsworth, it’s as simple as signing up for his app, Centr. With the app, Hemsworth and his lifestyle experts use a range of tools, from workouts to diet plans and guided meditations to live your best life possible. Though pricey, our reviewer found that “if you are looking for a long-ish term health investment, and feel relatively confident that you will use more than one of its components, Centr is worth it.”
18. Hunt A Killer
In a year where people were desperate for any form of safe, at-home entertainment, Hunt A Killer, a subscription crime-solving box, was a total hit. For $165 for a six-month subscription, you get a box (or episode, as they’re called) in the mail full of clues and evidence to help solve a fictional murder. Taking up to three hours to solve one box, each month (or sooner if you want to request) you’ll receive a new box with more details to help you solve the crime like Sherlock Holmes. Not convinced? Read our full review from our in-house crime solver to get the full experience.
Since getting to the nail salon was difficult for a lot of this year, plenty of people turned to Maniology, a subscription service that lets people turn their homes into nail art studios. The company offers two different nail subscription kits, and our reviewer tried Mani X Me, a kit that comes with two nail polishes, two stamping sets, and a gift. Whether you’re a pro at doing your nails or just looking for some fun, this kit is a great way to learn a little something new while making you feel fresh and polished—even if people only see the final product on Zoom.
Earlier this year, I broke down exactly what Noom is,, but in a nutshell, it’s a personalized service that helps uses health experts to help you build and maintain the healthiest lifestyle possible, in terms of what you eat and you exercise. Plenty of people love Noom, and we even had someone test it out for three months and, as that reviewer wrote, “Is Noom a miracle? No, but it feels like a sustainable way to create healthier habits.”
21. We Are Knitters
This year a lot of us decided we wanted to learn a new skill, but were never quite sure how. For people who committed to knitting, We Are Knitters was the perfect entry. A Spain-based company whose mission is to help people learn the skill while using ethically sourced materials that are good for the environment, the box comes at different prices for different projects, but promises you’ll be given the tools and instructions you need to get it right.
If you didn’t hear the news, Weight Watchers now goes by WW and isn’t just about reaching a certain “number” anymore. The new program is more of an entire lifestyle plan. Offering a variety of different programs (digital only, digital plus workshops, or digital plus personal coaching), WW works to help people meet their personalized goals. Our reviewer tried it for a year and lost 30 pounds, but is quick to point out that it was no piece of cake.
Perfect for families who love cooking and want to share with their kids, Eat2explore is a company that sends boxes called “Explorer Kits” to help kids and their parents cook three dishes inspired by a specific country. Each kit comes with all the spices, sauces, and recipes; all the necessary cooking tools but no fresh ingredients; activity and learning sheets about that country; and a flag pin. According to our review, eat2explore probably isn’t something you want to do every month but is a nice way to change up meals with your kids every now and then.
24. Everlasting Wardrobe
The thing about kids is that they don’t stop growing for a while, meaning clothes only last for a hot second. Everlasting Wardrobe solves that problem by sending four outfits (or eight pieces of clothing) directly to your house each month. For kids aged 6 months to 14 years, Everlasting Wardrobe lets you have some input into what kind of styles you get for your kids and, depending on price, whether the clothes have been pre-worn or if they’re the first to have them. “Honestly, pretty much everything about Everlasting Wardrobe is great, but I think the best thing is that it really does provide a way for you to keep your children's wardrobes fresh—and fitting properly—without having to buy a ton of clothing,” our Parenting Editor Anna Lane said.
25. Little Global Citizens
Little Global Citizens is perfect for people who want their kids to experience cultures from around the world—especially in this weird time when we can’t necessarily travel. In each box is a colorful brochure about that box’s country, suggested activities, craft and supplies, and a children’s book. “I was really impressed with how many items are packed into each of these slim boxes,” said Anna Lane, who reviewed Little Global Citizens with her children.
For kids ages 25 to 36 months, Lovevery is a toy subscription box that sends toys designed to challenge your kids and help them grow. Delivered every three months, each box is for a different period of the child’s development until they eventually age out of the program. Our reviewer said that Lovevery is a great investment, and that “Lovevery’s Play Kits for toddlers are the perfect way to make sure your little one has access to a rotating mix of age-appropriate toys.”
27. Raddish Kids
Raddish was designed by an LA mom/teacher who wanted to use cooking as a way to help teach her kids about math, science, creativity, and independence. At $24 for a single kit or less for a subscription, customers get a box with three recipes geared to a certain cuisine, cooking utensils, a badge, and four laminated cards to help spark conversation at the dinner table. The kit doesn’t come with any fresh ingredients, but was worth it for our reviewer who claimed the recipes were absolutely delish.
28. Sago Mini Box
As our expert reviewer said earlier this year, “the Sago Mini Box was created by self-described ‘parents, programmers, artists, dogs, designers, and kids-at-heart who believe in the power of play.’” Aimed at kids three to five years old, the monthly box comes with toys mean to inspire “open-ended play and creative learning,” and are centered around themes including fairy tales, airplanes, and the forest.
For people around the country, BarkBox is the best shipment of the month, because it means your dog’s got mail and their tails are a waggin’. Basically, each BarkBox comes with a very cute theme (like Home Alone earlier this year) and toys, treats, and other goodies your dog will love. At sign up you simply put in your dog's info, like weight, and they make sure to get the best options to your lil’ critter. Reviewed’s top dog, Gus, got the chance to try out BarkBox for himself, and let’s just say he’ll never bite the postman again.
30. Kong Box
If you have a dog and haven’t tried a Kong toy yet, keep reading. If your furry friend is already addicted to the amazing rubber balls and tasty treats, then it’s time to add a Kong Box to your credit card statement. Each box comes with a variety of items: one Kong training toy, a “personality toy,” three types of treats, as well as recipes and tips for using your Kong. Plus, you’ll also get a Classic Kong in your first box. And, when signing up, you can specify specific areas your pooch needs help in growing, like barking or separation anxiety, to get more specific items to combat those issues.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.