Is Instacart Worth It? A Complete and Honest Review

is instacart worth it
My Verdict

Jessica Boulad Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

Table of Contents

Do you need groceries delivered to your home? Maybe you want to earn extra income by buying items for people and delivering them.

If you fit either scenario, consider checking out Instacart.

Is Instacart worth it? Is Instacart shopper worth it? What are the pros and cons of Instacart? Who should use this app?

I’ll answer all these questions (and more) in my complete Instacart review.

Let’s dive in.

Instacart: A Quick Overview

Ease of UseDelivery FeesRetailer OptionsCustomer Service
– Available all across the US and Canada– Smaller towns don’t have access to the service.
– Get same-day delivery– There’s a minimum order size
– Potential cost savings through the Instacart+ subscription– Additional cost compared to buying products in-store
– Reliable grocery delivery service– Delivery fees add up over time
– Earn as a full-service shopper or in-store shopper– There’s a slight chance of human error with grocery delivery services

What Is Instacart, and How Does It Work?

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Instacart is a grocery delivery service where you can hire someone to pick up groceries, pet necessities, makeup, health and hygiene products, or pharmacy needs.

People use it to have groceries delivered to their homes. In exchange for personal grocery deliveries, you pay Instacart service fees that they share with full-service and in-store shoppers.

Instacart has been around in the US since 2012. Its founder, Apoorva Mehta, is a previous Amazon employee.

Instacart has over 10 million monthly users in 2023.

How much is Instacart worth? The total Instacart value is around $24 billion.

Here’s how to use Instacart.

  1. Download the Instacart app (App Store or Google Play) or visit the Instacart website.
  2. Click Get Started and sign up with an email and password.
  3. Enter your ZIP code to see local stores.
  4. Pick a store and add items to your cart. Choose alternative products in case your choice is unavailable.
  5. Add optional notes for your shopper.
  6. Click the cart icon to proceed to checkout.
  7. Choose a delivery date and time, and optionally choose contactless delivery.
  8. Enter payment details and confirm your order.

What Stores Are on Instacart?

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Instacart has many grocery stores and retailers for your online grocery shopping needs, supporting over 900 retailers with tens of thousands of store locations as of 2023.

Here are some available stores on Instacart.

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Safeway
  • Costco
  • Rainbow Grocery
  • Walgreens
  • Woodlands
  • Bi-Rite Market
  • BevMo!
  • Whole Foods
  • Foods Co
  • Smart & Final
  • CVS
  • Lucky Supermarkets
  • Chef’s Store
  • 99 Ranch Market
  • Raley’s
  • Stables
  • Pet Food Express
  • The Vitamin Shoppe

Instacart Review: Is Instacart Worth It?

Here are my thoughts on four essential considerations when choosing a grocery delivery service.

Ease of Use

According to Instacart reviews, navigating through Instacart’s platform is straightforward. The interface is user-friendly, with a clear layout and intuitive design.

The app allows you to search for items, view deals, and sort products. Adding items to your cart and checking out is hassle-free, and the process is relatively seamless.

The app is easy to use and navigate. Anyone can use the app, so you’re likely to place an order without any major problems. You’ll be ordering groceries like a pro in no time! 

Delivery Fees

Instacart offers competitive rates. Depending on your location, the store you choose, and the speed of delivery you want, the delivery fee will change.

However, the company runs promotions that provide free deliveries or reduced fees. The only downside is the $10 minimum order.

You can get an Instacart Express membership for unlimited free deliveries on orders worth at least $35.

The delivery fees are reasonable for the convenience you enjoy. If you sign up for an Instacart Plus membership, you’ll quickly maximize its value if you order once per week or more.

However, some may consider these fees expensive, especially if you don’t use the app often or your orders never reach $35.

Retailer Availability

With over 900 retailers, there’s no lack of options when looking for grocery stores and merchants on Instacart. And many of these retailers are major shopping brands with thousands of products.

Most major cities in the United States and Canada will have available grocery merchants and other stores you can order from through the app.

You won’t have a hard time finding the products you need, given the number of major retailers available on Instacart. You should find all the items you need when ordering through the app.

Customer Service

One of Instacart’s strengths is its customer service.

When I had a question about a product, faced an issue with delivery, or needed help with my account, the Instacart customer service team was helpful.

Instacart’s support team is highly helpful and gives you peace of mind that the company will resolve any issues with your orders.

Instacart Pricing: Is Instacart Plus Worth It?

Instacart charges you in two ways: 1) through an optional membership fee and 2) per-delivery fees.

There’s an Instacart membership available, but it’s optional. You’ll pay an annual membership fee of $99 or $9.99 monthly as an Instacart Plus member (formerly Instacart Express).

Is Instacart membership worth it?

It depends on how often you use the app and how much you spend per delivery. Instacart waives delivery fees with a membership plan if your cart total is $35 or more. You can save money if you order grocery delivery regularly.

Instacart also lowers service fees for an Insacart Plus (formerly Instacart Express) member.

The service fee will be about $3 or more. You can maximize an Instacart+ account if you order at least four times monthly.

If you don’t use the app often, the regular Instacart service should suffice.

Aside from the optional membership fee, Instacart will also charge these fees depending on your order or location.

Fee TypeDescription
Delivery FeeStarts at $3.99 for same-day orders over $35
Heavy FeeFor orders with an estimated weight of qualifying items over 50 lbs.
Service FeeThere’s an additional service fee, especially during high-traffic delivery times.

The minimum service fee is $2
Alcohol Service FeeCovers delivery compliance and ID verification
Long-distance FeesCharged for deliveries 30+ minutes or with tolls
Priority FeesFor priority delivery windows
Pickup FeesSome retailers charge a fee equivalent to a delivery fee for pickup orders
Bottle Deposit & Bag FeesBased on local regulations
Shopper Tips100% goes to the shopper

The Pros and Cons of Instacart

ConvenienceUnavailable in some areas
Store varietyHigh prices
Saves timePotential miscommunications
Avoid long linesWaiting times
Real-time updatesEnvironmental concerns


  • Convenience

Users can order groceries from the comfort of their homes and deliver them directly to their doorstep.

  • Extensive Store Options

Instacart partners with multiple stores and supermarkets to let users shop from different places in one platform.

  • Time Savings

Busy people can save time by not grocery shopping themselves.

  • Avoid Crowds

You avoid crowded places and reduce waiting times in lines.

  • Real-Time Updates

Shoppers can communicate with you in real-time if an item is out of stock or clarifications on instructions.


  • Availability Issues

Some rural or less populated areas might not have access to Instacart.

  • Higher Costs

Prices of items on Instacart can be higher than in-store prices. Additionally, service fees, delivery fees, and tips can increase the overall cost of groceries.

  • Potential Miscommunications

Shoppers might choose replacement items or misunderstand instructions. There’s real-time communication, but it might not always resolve issues.

  • Long Wait Times

There can be longer delivery windows if there’s high demand when you’re shopping.

  • Environmental Concerns

Deliveries add to emissions from cars.

Should You Shop On Instacart?

Instacart has become one of the most popular grocery delivery services because of its convenience.

Instacart can be extremely useful if you can’t leave your home, can’t do grocery shopping because you lack time, or need to avoid crowds for health reasons.

There are minimal fees to consider, but the benefits far outweigh the costs if you need someone to run shopping errands. Plus, Instacart accepts EBT Food Stamps.

Instacart Shopper Review: Is Being an Instacart Shopper Worth It?

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If you want to become one of many Instacart full-service shoppers or in-store shoppers, consider how much you can earn and how much you need to work.

First, understand the difference between an Instacart full-service shopper and an in-store shopper.

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who shop for groceries and deliver them. Meanwhile, in-store Shoppers are part-time Instacart employees who shop for items within stores during scheduled shifts.

A full-service Instacart shopper sets their preferred hours. There are no required shifts. In-house shoppers work part-time in fixed shifts and can work up to 29 weekly.

According to Indeed, an Instacart shopper can make between $15,000 to $40,000 a year. While being an Instacart shopper might not guarantee full-time income, you can still turn it into a profitable side gig.

You can apply to be an Instacart shopper on the company’s website. After applying and qualifying, download the Instacart shopper app and create an account.

If you have a mid-sized to large private vehicle (e.g., a van or SUV), consider applying as a delivery driver in the Amazon Flex program.

Instacart Alternatives

You can consider alternatives to Instacart, including Amazon Fresh and Shipt.

AppInstacartAmazon FreshShipt
BenefitsLarge network of groceries and retailersControls its own stock, so they have direct control over product quality.Faster shipping times and lower fees in most cases
ProsA vast network of grocery storesHandles inventory and management on its ownFaster delivery window for eligible orders
ConsFees can be 
You have fewer options because you’re only buying from AmazonLimited service areas
Pricing$99 yearly or $9.99 monthlyFree$99 yearly or $10.99 monthly

Instacart vs. Amazon Fresh

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What is Amazon Fresh? Is it better than Instacart? It depends on what you need and prefer. Both have their distinct selling points.

Instacart works with thousands of groceries and retailers to give you access to groceries and suppliers. On the other hand, Amazon Fresh has its own online grocery.

You have more variety and individualization with Instacart. However, Amazon has more consistent quality because it manages its own supply.

Instacart vs. Shipt

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Shipt is a direct competitor of Instacart and has the same business model. Shipt will connect you with local stores and have shoppers buy and deliver the product.

Shipt is superior to Instacart on delivery windows for eligible orders. However, Instacart is available in more locations than Shipt. Check which service is available in your area before trying their app.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Convenient Is Instacart?

Instacart is extremely convenient for people who don’t have the time or energy to go on grocery runs on their own. With a few taps on your phone, you can order groceries and deliver them straight to you within the day.

How Trustworthy Is Instacart?

Instacart is a legitimate business with reliable security protocols.

However, you must still be wary of possible shoppers who provide terrible service. You can check the ratings and comments from other customers on a shopper’s page anytime.

How Is Instacart Pickup Different From Normal Store Pickup?

There are a few differences. Instacart gives you access to its platform, which can be easy to use. The costs can also vary depending on the location and distance from a shopping store.

In terms of services, there are few differences. Normal store and Instacart pickups require visiting a physical store to pick up your items. The main edge is that you can schedule your pickup for a future time.

Can You Get Scammed on Instacart?

Yes. It’s possible to get scammed on Instacart, so checking a shopper’s reviews before accepting their services is crucial.

Do not give your financial details directly to your shopper. Payments should only happen within Instacart’s platform. Anyone asking you to pay outside the platform could be a hacker posing as an Instacart shopper.

Can You Make Good Money Working for Instacart?

Is working for Instacart worth it, and can you make much money? It won’t make you rich, but it can provide additional income while maintaining some flexibility as a shopper.

You’re an independent contractor if you work as a shopper on Instacart, meaning you have more control over your schedule.

Instacart work can also be rewarding if you like getting around the city and enjoy being a personal shopper for others.

Working as an Instacart shopper can be demanding but compensates you well if you do the work.

Instacart Shopper Reviews: How Much Can Instacart Shoppers Make a Day?

It depends on how long you work and how many jobs you take. According to some Instacart job reviews, you can earn as much as a few hundred dollars daily by delivering through Instacart.

Instacart shoppers earn an average of $88 to 129 daily, but will still depend on your dedication. Getting more delivery and shopping requests can also mean you earn more money.

Payment for in-store shopping works differently. Instacart pays per hour with an average hourly pay of $16.49. Your rate will also increase with your tenure.

Which Is Better: Instacart or Uber Eats?

It depends on your location and preferences. Uber Eats is often a better option for food and beverage deliveries. Instacart works better for grocery deliveries.

Is It Better To Do Instacart or DoorDash?

If you want to start immediately, DoorDash is a better option because it has fewer requirements to apply as a delivery person than Instacart.

On average, people earn more on Doordash as annual income can range from $39,000 to $59,000 on Doordash. But more people are working on Doordash, meaning there’s delivery competition.

Based on Instacart driver reviews, Instacart’s application process is harder than Doordash’s. The strict entry will lessen the number of people working as shoppers on the app, so you’ll work with less competition.

Why Is Instacart Not Paying as Much?

Instacart pays less for orders now than before, going from $7 to $4. According to Instacart’s upper management, this is to account for the complexity and size of orders.

Is Instacart worth it for drivers considering this drop in pay? While earning as much as before will be harder, you can still make significant money on Instacart. You can also earn through tips and more complex orders.

If you give great service, you should still be able to make a decent wage delivering groceries. Try to stand out among other personal shoppers by always putting your best foot forward.

How Can You Ensure Your Safety as an Instacart Shopper?

If you’re an Instacart shopper, putting safety first is always a good idea. When driving, continue to follow road rules. You should also bring pepper spray or tasers in case of robberies and other criminal threats.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, my Instacart review helped you determine if this grocery delivery app is ideal for getting deliveries or working as a shopper.

I recommend trying the app yourself as a shopper or customer. You have little to lose and much to gain. If it doesn’t become the solution you thought it would be, you can stop using it anytime.

If you don’t think working for Instacart is a good idea, consider other driving apps to make money.

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