In today’s time-starved world, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to cut corners, affording us a few precious extra minutes doing something else.
Most men, particularly those that live in a busy city, scarcely have time to restock the fridge, let alone the bathroom cabinet, sock drawer, tie rack and coffee pot. That’s where subscription-based services come in.
Aimed at alleviating the task of regular online shopping or the pain of crowded stores, these mail-delivered boxes are the silent minders of our razor stock, our beer shelf, and even our aftershave assortment. What a time to be alive, eh.
Here are the best subscription boxes for men, 12 delivered-to-door ways around those everyday buys that will make adulting a whole lot easier.
Clothing Subscription Boxes
Amazon Prime Wardrobe
World-domination is one step closer for Amazon, thanks to its Prime Wardrobe service which makes online shopping even easier for guys allergic to standing in queues and conversing with real-life humans (shudder). Though not a subscription box service in the traditional sense, signing up to Amazon Prime will allow you to choose between three and eight items of clothing you like which can be delivered to you within a lightning fast 1-2 working days.
If you’re among the masses of people who have an Amazon Prime membership, Prime Wardrobe is already at your disposal. Otherwise, you’re looking at a ridiculously reasonable £7.99 a month. Unlike most other clothing subscription services, you can try before you buy too. The service provides a seven-day grace period, and anything that you return within this time won’t come out of your bank: a godsend for indecisive types.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe is best suited for seasoned menswear types: there’s no hand-holding here, guys. The bells and whistles of other clothing services (think human and virtual stylists) are absent, so you’ll need to take the reins. The range of clothing isn’t as extensive as some of its rivals either, so despite (probably) boasting the largest product inventory known to man, Amazon isn’t your one-stop-shop for menswear just yet.
London Sock Co
Socks are the kind of thing you only get for Christmas, so in January it’s likely your feet are looking sharp. But by the time December rolls back around, most men’s foot covers are more hole than hosiery. The London Sock Co’s subscription service aims to put an end to this constant cycle of disintegration with its monthly deliveries which will easily eclipse even your mum’s best efforts.
For those without the time (or inclination) to go shopping for new skivvies, deliveries from the London Sock Co — which has previously partnered with David Gandy — are a blessing. Quality is always high (made from Scottish lisle cotton), and there are plenty of design options to get stuck into. Whether you’re a black socks only kinda guy or want something a little more eye-catching, all are catered for. Plus, you can crank up the sock delivery number or cancel at any time without too much hassle.
Membership starts at a £30 for three months, so for those wedded to the multipack way of life, a solitary sock (okay, two socks) for a £10 will seem pricey. If you want several pairs a month, the cost starts to climb further. Therefore this service is best suited for those who want quality over quantity and don’t mind shelling out for it.
Thread is the best example of an online shopping experience that combines artificial intelligence with a human touch; ideal for those dubious of technology’s capability to get the finer points of style right. By using a combination of algorithms and stylists, Thread is able to make suggestions for your wardrobe based on an initial style questionnaire that you fill in on signing up. Once you’ve picked all the clothes you want, Thread will deliver them all in one smart brown cardboard box.
Like Prime Wardrobe, Thread isn’t a traditional subscription box service, but this stands to reason: who wants a meagre handful of clothes chosen by someone else delivered to them each month? Thread’s main appeal is its ability to seamlessly fuse human curation and computer learnings to streamline its offering from hundreds of brands for you to pick from. That means no scrolling through pages of irrelevant tat, as everything shown — from Oxford shirts to sneakers — will correlate with your budget, size and style preferences.
If you’re a chronic sufferer of buyer’s remorse, you can return your items free of charge within fourteen days. You will be charged and later refunded, though, which will no doubt be a deal-breaker for those who get chronically overfamiliar with the add to basket button. Regular email updates with product suggestions are a minor nuisance too, but these can be switched off easily enough.
Grooming Subscription Boxes
Men are creatures of habit, apparently. Grooming subscription service Cornerstone has built its entire business on that ethos, aiming to jettison the crippling amount of choice on offer in the toiletries aisle. A Cornerstone subscription will regularly deliver essentials such as face scrub, razor blades and shave cream, saving hours of agonising over the stupidly vast amount of products on the store shelves.
Once you’ve chosen a selection of products, you simply pay a monthly fee to have your all-important bathroom buddies delivered on the reg. The upshot is that you’ll need never worry about having to go at your face with a rusty, hair-clogged razor. The products and packaging visuals are on point too, plus for those would-be Hugh Hefner’s there’s even the option to have your razor handle engraved. Snazzy.
Those who like a weighty razor handle will instantly notice that the Cornerstone offering feels featherlight, which is the intentional result of being crafted from lightweight aluminium. The full set (six blades, shave cream, post-shave balm and face scrub) is priced at £30 for 12 weeks, so if you’re economical with your grooming products, it’s going to cost you more for the convenience of not making a (rare) trip to toiletry town.
While some men stick to a signature fragrance with slavish dedication, for others, variety is the spice of life. If you fall into the latter camp, the Secret Scent subscription service is the easiest way to overload your nostrils with different notes. For £15 a month, you’ll receive three 90ml fragrance samples from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Givenchy and Prada to trial.
Because one man’s vetiver is another man’s soggy diaper, fragrances benefit from a try before you buy approach. With Secret Scent, every month you can get sniffing without committing to an eau, and you don’t have to endure the hard sell from a department store employee, which is an underrated bonus. The variety on offer here is impressive too, we’ll eat our hat if you can’t stumble across something you want to douse yourself in.
Long-term filling up on travel size (3ml) fragrances across months will fast cause your bathroom cabinet to become plagued with plastic, and you may end up with you more choice than you actually need. If you’re a man of habit, then a few month’s membership should suffice before you settle on full-size signature fragrances. Long-term, this subscription could be impractical, and you run the risk of amassing more bottles than an average recycling point.
While plenty of grooming boxes cater for shaving, few cover the broader grooming market. Birchbox Man (which is only currently available stateside) will let you get to grips with as many new products as your body can handle. From $10 a month, you’ll receive five new bathroom goodies as curated by the brand’s team: it’s basically catnip for grooming junkies.
Unlike shaving subscription boxes, Birchbox Man is a bit more adventurous, which means it’s a lot more likely to quicken your pulse than another set of shavers. The rotation of product types on offer also means that you’re way more likely to stumble across a bathroom addition that you never knew you needed. The price tag is inexpensive too, so you’ll barely notice your bank balance dipping.
Those who want to keep their grooming cabinet pared-back to the essentials may find themselves with too many tools to hand: beard oil, for example, won’t be welcome for those with baby faces. You can’t choose what you want to receive either, so you might end up with a dud box some months and a grooming cabinet that’s perilously overstocked.
Food Subscription Boxes
As anyone with a 9-5 job will know, doing a weekly shop is the stuff of nightmares and nipping to the local ‘convenience’ store after work is a far more likely scenario. That’s where Hello Fresh comes in, promising to replace hastily bought microwave lasagne with precisely measured out ingredients to make healthier meals without using too much of your precious grey matter. There are new recipes to choose from each week, and each meal takes between 20-50 minutes to prepare.
The pros here are obvious, with not having to stand in the checkout queue coming out as the most appealing. The fact that Hello Fresh suggests recipes (some regular, some weekly additions) takes a lot of the effort out of deciding what to have for dinner too. After having a play around on the website, you can customise a plan based on your dietary requirements and budget. Portion sizes come precisely measured, so rogue vegetables festering at the back of the fridge can be consigned to the bin of history. For those who claim that expense is a barrier to eating food that contains anything remotely natural, meal plans start from £4 per person, so there goes that excuse.
In an age of short attention spans, the idea of choosing a meal in advance and sticking to it is contrary to the 24/7 culture of endless choice, so commitment-phobes be warned. If you’re feeling particularly peckish, you’re stuck to a one-size-fits-all portion size as well, so you may end up troubling your snack cupboard rather more often than you’d like. You can’t feed the five thousand either, as Hello Fresh only caters for two or four people (sorry, singletons), so the service is no silver bullet for catering en masse.
We’re yet to meet anyone we fully trust who doesn’t like pasta. And, while we’re happy enough to tuck into the dried stuff, fresh is obviously best. Enter Pasta Evangelists, a subscription service which will make proper penne a staple rather than a rare restaurant treat. This proudly carb-heavy service offers a saliva-inducing weekly delivery box containing fresh pasta, sauces and garnishes.
Backed by card-carrying foodies Giles Coren, Prue Leith and William Sitwell, the quality on offer is a world away from your bog-standard microwavable mac n cheese, and it doesn’t involve anything so tedious as actually making your own dough and putting it through a pasta maker. Prices start from £13.90 for two servings, which is cheaper than both eating out and ordering in extortionate (and extortionately bad) pizza.
As with all food subscription boxes, portion size isn’t something you can control, so if you’re a growing boy, you may be left wanting. And, unsurprisingly for fresh pasta and sauces that occasionally contain meat, you have to move fast if you don’t want your premium pasta to pong. You’ll only have a day after your delivery to consume the contents of your box unless you want to stick the lot in the freezer, which kind of defeats the point.
Farmison & Co
Buying meat in bulk may not sound like the most appealing prospect if your last name isn’t Lecter, but it can be both cost-effective and practical, especially if you’re all about that gains life. Farmison & Co’s meat subscription box will let you stock up on protein in the form of like steak, pork shoulder and duck breast while bypassing whatever pale, slimy monstrosities are left in your supermarket’s meat aisle. Valuing quality above all else, this subscription box serves up seasonal meats sourced from heritage breed animals. It’s like your friendly neighbourhood butcher has been dragged into the 21st century.
For unrepentant carnivores, Farimson and Co’s high-quality produce is enough of a draw in itself. But not only will you get top quality food, but there’s also plenty of variety to tuck into. From basic chicken breasts and burgers to veal, roasting joints and steak cuts that’ll have you salivating at a mere mention, the variety of boxes on offer here is impressive.
With meat, you get what you pay for, so the quality on offer here means you’re not going to be paying rock-bottom prices. These boxes pack in a lot of raw protein too, so unless you’re munching on meat every day (which we don’t advise), you’ll need plenty of freezer space and organisation to ensure that your spoils don’t spoil.
Drink Subscription Boxes
Not having a supply of coffee come the weekend is a painful bind to find yourself in; that lazy Sunday morning won’t quite work groggy-eyed and cloudy of mind. Pact Coffee’s intention is to keep you constantly caffeinated, which sounds very practical to us indeed. Choose your coffee freshly-ground, whole bean or in pod form and expect the deliveries to roll in.
Unless you consume demonic amounts, Pact Coffee’s weekly delivery should be enough to satiate your slurping habits, though you can get daily drops if needs be. Subscription starts at £6.95 per week, so it’s undoubtedly more cost-effective than frequent visits to a coffee chain. The company’s direct relationships with its farmers mean that there’s no whiff of dodgy working practices either, so you get to be a little bit smug.
If you don’t really care about your joe being ethically sourced and high-quality coffee (and drink considerably more than your recommended daily allowance), the price is going to feel like daylight robbery compared to freeze-dried storecupboard fare.
Wine is intimidating, with most of us just about able to recognise the difference between red, white and rosé. Your Sommelier aims to alleviate the crushing embarrassment of hurriedly asking for house white by delivering three bottles of plonk to your door each month with profiles of what’s going on in those boozy bottles. See, learning can be fun.
From £36 a month, you’ll get your hands on three bottles of French wine and some tasting cards with information on each variety, its region, food pairing ideas and some other interesting soundbites. It’ll gently wean you off the mass-produced corner shop stuff and gently usher you towards being a proper, grown-up adult.
You have to be reasonably open-minded about which wine will be passing your lips, as although all this stuff has been selected by the company’s sommeliers, you essentially get what you’re given for each month. So, if you’re not into red, wince at white or wretch at the thought of rosé, it’s going to be a problem.
After a man reaches a certain age, he should experience the epiphany that it’s no longer acceptable to chuck any old alcohol in a glass alongside a mixer and hope for the best. With over 15,000 fine spirits on offer, subscription service Flaviar aims to end your reliance on vodka Red Bull with its curated spirit alcohol box containing whiskies, rum, bourbon, gin and cognac.
Alongside big brand heavy hitters, you’ll find plenty of off-the-beaten-track options which will broaden your horizons and impress guests. Membership (which costs £15 per month) gets you access to a tasting box every three months and access to a catalogue of spirits that you’d struggle to find elsewhere.
If you’re looking to stock up your alcohol cupboard for regular use, or are looking to host a party worthy of Gatsby, Flaviar’s quarterly tasting box isn’t going to keep you well-oiled. Discovery, rather than volume, is the main draw here. Plus, if you really hate anything in the pre-curated boxes, you’ll be saddled with small bottles of stuff you’ve no intention of drinking.