At a glance
Amazon Prime subscribers have access to many exclusive perks, including fast, free shipping and a dedicated credit card. Amazon Prime Pantry is one of the less-known benefits of being a Prime member, but it can be an exceptionally useful one for many shoppers. Read on to see if the service is a good fit for you.
How Prime Pantry Works
Amazon Prime Pantry is a special store within the larger Amazon store open only to Prime subscribers. (If you’re on a Prime free trial, you too can access Prime Pantry.) Unsurprisingly, Prime Pantry stocks the kinds of items you’d keep in your kitchen pantry: nonperishable foods such as cereal and snacks, household supplies, and soft drinks. It also includes health and beauty products, first aid supplies, and other bathroom staples.
In addition, Prime Pantry has a large baby care section that’s popular with many parents. Prices are comparable to what you’d find at big-box stores, although one comparison found Costco to be cheaper overall than Amazon Prime Pantry.
Partly because of the shipping time (see the next section for more on this), Amazon Prime Pantry does not sell perishable foods such as fresh meat, dairy, or fruits and vegetables. It also doesn’t sell frozen food of any kind.
There’s a Prime Pantry page on the Amazon website that you can browse. As you shop within Amazon, you may also notice that certain items have the Prime Pantry tag, meaning they can only be purchased using the Prime Pantry program.
You can add Prime Pantry items to your shopping cart through the dedicated Prime Pantry store, on the regular Amazon website, or using the Amazon app. Once you add a Prime Pantry item to your shopping cart, it will go into a separate category within your cart for Prime Pantry items. You will see a list of the Prime Pantry purchases you’ve added to your cart so far, along with a running total for these items.
Because Prime Pantry items tend to be bulky, the shipping rules work differently for this program than they do for most Amazon purchases. Prime Pantry members have two options for shipping:
- They can pay a monthly fee to receive free shipping on all Prime Pantry orders of $10 or more.
- They can choose not to pay the extra fee, in which case free shipping won’t kick in until their Prime Pantry order reaches $35 or more.
In either case, Prime Pantry orders that don’t hit the free shipping threshold incur a flat shipping fee. See the Prime Pantry terms and conditions for more details on all fees.
Prime Pantry orders, unlike most Amazon Prime orders, use ground shipping. That means they take a bit longer to arrive than standard Amazon Prime orders do – typically, up to four business days. Also, ground shipping is only available within the continental U.S., so Alaskans and Hawaiians can’t sign up for Amazon Prime Pantry. Prime Pantry orders also can’t go to P.O. boxes, dorm rooms, and certain other unconventional addresses.
Because they use a different shipping method, Prime Pantry orders will never arrive in the same box as standard two-day Amazon Prime orders.
Perks of Prime Pantry
Prime Pantry subscribers get access to items that regular Amazon shippers can’t buy through the website. They also get weekly deals, coupons, and discounts on popular Prime Pantry items.
Some Prime Pantry items are also eligible for Subscribe & Save benefits. The Subscribe & Save program allows you to pay a reduced price for certain items and have those items delivered automatically at regular intervals of your choosing, such as weekly or monthly. The Subscribe & Save discount starts at 5%, but once you’ve accumulated five or more different subscriptions that are delivered at the same interval, it jumps to a 15% discount for each subscribed item.
Limitations of Prime Pantry
Because the Prime Pantry store doesn’t include perishables, the program likely can’t replace your weekly grocery trip. You’d need to sign up for AmazonFresh if you’re looking for a true grocery replacement program, but the AmazonFresh delivery program is limited to a handful of major cities. Incidentally, if you’re an AmazonFresh member, you get Prime Pantry membership at no additional charge.
Prime Pantry items tend to have middle-of-the-road brands. You won’t find a lot of high-end or luxury brands in the store, and you definitely won’t find generics. If you prefer either high-end brands for the quality or generic items for the price, Prime Pantry is not the best choice for you.
Should You Sign Up for Prime Pantry?
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you already have access to the Prime Pantry store; you’ll just need to accrue at least $35 worth of Prime Pantry items to get free shipping on your orders. So if you come across a Prime Pantry item that’s not available locally or is significantly cheaper on Amazon, it may be worth looking around for other Prime Pantry items to accumulate that $35 for the whole order. Just remember that it will take somewhat longer than you’re used to for your Prime Pantry order to arrive.
Amazon Prime subscribers can also claim a 30-day free subscription to Prime Pantry. If you spot an item you want in the Prime Pantry store but don’t want to go through the hassle of finding enough items to add up to $35, you can always grab the free trial and purchase the item as a one-off. After your 30 days are up, you’ll have to decide whether purchasing the desired item is worth either the monthly charge or spending $35 or more on each Prime Pantry order.
Unless you become a regular Prime Pantry shopper, you’re best off skipping the monthly fee and just saving up Prime Pantry items in your cart until you hit $35 and qualify for free shipping. That way, you can enjoy access to Prime Pantry items without paying anything above your regular Prime subscription. This approach turns Prime Pantry into a great deal for any Amazon Prime subscriber.
Are you a regular Prime Pantry shopper? What do you think of it? If you tried Prime Pantry but didn’t stick with it, what made you decide to give it up?