Gifts that Keep on Giving: 25 Fantastic Subscription Boxes

By on February 18, 2015

Loot Crate Feature

Subscription boxes make great gifts because they’re not something you’d normally buy for yourself and you can order them from the comfort of your home. They’re good for the people who are hard to shop for or who like to think outside the box (yep, went there).

Although the subscription e-commerce model (i.e. products delivered to your home weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) has been around for years, it’s still new enough to most people that there’s a novelty factor. Plus, there’s a convenience to receiving goods on a regular basis, saving the time and energy of buying something individually and repeatedly.

First world problem? Sure. But who doesn’t love to receive goodies in the mail?

There are a plethora of subscription services aimed at different demographics, with a particular emphasis on women’s and men’s products. The first shipment usually arrives the following month, especially if you order after the 15th, although it can arrive the same month. Check the specific service for shipping details.

We’ve broken down our favorite subscription boxes into five categories. Almost all of the subscription boxes below have a gift subscription option and most allow you to cancel after the first box.

For Techies, Geeks and Nerds

Loot Crate

One of the most popular subscription boxes around, Loot Crate was founded in 2012 and sends 6 to 9 themed collectibles aimed at geeks and gamers every month. Recent crate themes have been Heroes, Villains, sci-fi and horror.

Look out for deals: they’re currently offering $3 off their January crate with coupon code SAVE3, and we recently saw one month for just $10 and another deal for as low as $5.

  • Monthly Rates:  $13.37 (1 mo.), $12.37 (3 mos.), $11.67 (6 mos.)
  • Shipping: $6

Nerd Block 

Nerd Block has a choice of 5 themed mystery box toy subscriptions: Nerd Block Classic which will send you 4 to 6 collectibles and toys including one custom T-shirt every month; Arcade Block for gamer collectibles;  Horror Block for pop horror collectibles; Nerd Block Jr. for Boys (ages 6 to 11); and Nerd Block Jr. for Girls (ages 6 to 11).

Value of the boxes tend to be over $40.

  • Monthly Rates (Classic, Arcade Block or Horror Block):  $20 (1 mo.), $18 (3 mos.), $17 (6 mos.), $16 (12 mos.)
  • Monthly Rates (Jr. Boys or Jr. Girls):  $14 (1 mo.), $13 (3 mos.), $12 (6 mos.), $11 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping:  $10

Quarterly Co.

This premium subscription service is curated by celebrities (Wil Wheaton, Pharell Williams, Chef Ludo, etc.), style experts, authors, bloggers and others. As the name suggests, you receive a box quarterly rather than monthly, and the price is usually at a $50 or $100 price point.

The quantity and types of items in each box will vary for each curator and season.

  • Quarterly Rates:  $25 to $100
  • Shipping:  Free (for subscribers); $8 (for one-off purchases)

Geek Fuel

Geek Fuel will send your geeky recipient a monthly mystery box filled with 6 to 9 toys, games and collectibles from the worlds of Star Wars, Japanese anime, video games and so on. Recent boxes have included goodies like Star Wars Pez dispensers and Princess Bride playing cards.

  • Monthly Rates:  $18 (1 mo.), $17 (3 mos.), $16 (6 mos.), $14 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping:  $6

Phone Case of the Month

No clever/catchy/cute name here. If you know someone who really abuses their cases or tires of them quickly, there’s now a subscription box for them. Phone Case of the Month ships one original hard shell case design made of polycarbonate and ABS with a soft-touch silicone coating.

iPhone 6/6+ cases will be available in January 2015.

  • Monthly Rate:  $10
  • Shipping:  Free

For the Kids and Pets (not to be confused)

Green Kid Crafts

Each month receive 3 to 4 earth-friendly creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) science kits for children ages 3 to 10. Rave reviews from users, educators and Wired Magazine.

If you’re trying to encourage the kids to go outside, this is the box for them.

  • Monthly Rates:  $20 (1 mo.), $19 (3 mos.), $18 (6 mos.)
  • Shipping:  Free

BarkBox and MeowBox

Your dog (four weight categories) receives 4 to 6 all-natural treats, toys and occasional hygiene products. BarkBox gets great reviews (check out the YouTube reviews) and is considered the best or among the very best of pet subscription boxes. There’s even an app for it.

  • Monthly Rates$29 (1 mo.), $24 (3 mos.), $21 (6 mos.), $19 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping: $5 / box

Hey, don’t forget about the starz of the internets! BarkBox for the feline set, MeowBox sends 5 or more personalized goodies to your cat, including such things as salmon jerky treats, organic cat nip toys and cat grass. (Queue requisite YouTube reviews.)

  • Monthly Rates:  $33 (1 mo.), $28 (3 mos.), $23 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping: Free

Citrus Lane

Citrus Lane is like BarkBox, except for human babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Just kidding (kind of).

Seriously, though, 4 to 5 curated products are tailored to your child’s age and include toys, books, household products and the like. Launched in 2011, Citrus Lane has gotten great reviews from parents over the years and is one of the success stories in the subscription box space.

  • Monthly Rates:  $29 (1 mo.), $27 (3 mos.), $24 (6 mos.), $22 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping: Free

Pley

Pley is a monthly rental subscription for LEGO toys. You have unlimited exchanges of one set at a time in the plan of your choice, which is based on age level and average complexity of the sets. The newest themes are represented, like The LEGO Movie and LEGO Friends.

  • Monthly Rates:  $15 /mo. (age 2 to 5 yrs), $25/mo. (age 4 to 9 yrs), $39/mo. (age 6+ years)
  • Shipping:  Free both ways
  • Free Trial:  Yes

For the Trendsetters and Stylistas

BirchBox

One of the original subscription box services, BirchBox (launched in 2010) offers beauty products for women and grooming products for men. Subscriptions for women include 5 beauty samples per month from high-end brands while subscriptions for men include 3 to 4 grooming samples plus an accessory or gadget.

Men’s boxes can be tailored to personal style and appearance.

  • Rates (Women’s):  $10/mo. or $110/yr.
  • Rates (Men’s):  $20/mo. or $195/yr.
  • Shipping:  Free

Dollar Shave Club

Launched in 2011, Dollar Shave Club is another stalwart of subscription services that we reviewed (9/10) here on The CheckOut earlier this year. As seen in its viral video with over 17 million views on YouTube, subscribers receive new disposable blades every month (4 to 5 cartridges with compatible handle).

With rates starting at $1 per month (plus $2 shipping), the savings over store-bought disposables can be huge.

  • Monthly Rates:  $1 (twin-blade cartridges); $6 (four-blade cartridges); $9 (six-blade cartridges)
  • Shipping:  $2 for the $1 plan; Free for the other plans

Bombfell

Hate shopping but want to wear good clothes? Bombfell will tailor the monthly clothing selections to your style (casual, hipster, preppy, classic) and taste (major brands like Penguin, Ben Sherman and French Connection are represented). It’s gotten a lot of press from the likes of Time, TechCrunch, CBS and ABC.

This subscription box is a little different than others since you pay for the items you like and return what you don’t like.

  • Average Price Per Item:  $69
  • Shipping: Free (including returns)

Bespoke Post

Bespoke Post is a service geared towards men’s goods. Its unique setup has members of the club (membership is free) receiving a preview of their box (3 to 6 products) on the 1st of each month. You have until the 5th of the month to accept or decline the selection or choose another box if there are other boxes that month.

If you don’t want to deal with this membership system, you can just buy a one-off box for $10 more. However, as a member, you can decline selections as often as you like, return anything you don’t want for free or cancel the membership altogether at any time.

  • Rate:  $45/box ($55 for one-off purchases)
  • Shipping:  $5

Fancy Box

At Fancy, you can select boxes curated by the Fancy community, tastemakers and celebrities (like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kelly Rowland and even the Rockettes) with boxes valued at over $80. Items range from men’s and women’s clothes to gadgets and home products.

Caveat emptor: Although you can select your product category and box curator, Fancy Boxes tend to be a lot more random than the other services on this list.

  • Monthly Rate: $39
  • Shipping: $8 (U.S.)

For the Health Nuts and Foodies

Conscious Box

Conscious Box is a health food subscription box with 5 to 8 (“Taster” size) or 8 to 12 (“Plus” size) all-natural and GMO-free food, bath, beauty and home products per box. There are gluten-free and vegan options, as well. As its name implies, you’ll find fair trade, certified organic and medicinal grade products represented in each Conscious Box.

Conscious Box has received a lot of positive press from major outlets like Yahoo!, L.A. Times and Wired.

  • Monthly Rates (“Taster” size):  $10 (1 mo.), $9 (3 mos.), $8 (6 mos.), $7 (12 mos.)
  • Monthly Rates (“Plus” size):  $20 (1 mo.), $19 (3 mos.), $18 (6 mos.), $17 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping:  Free

Graze

Graze is another health food subscription service that we’ve occasionally featured on Ben’s Bargains. Graze focuses on snacks from pure fruit to popcorn to dips & dippers (90 snacks with millions of combinations). Food is GMO-free with no artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup or trans fat.

Graze boxes arrive weekly or bi-weekly depending on your location and can be canceled any time.

  • Weekly (or Bi-Weekly) Rate: $7
  • Shipping:  Free

NatureBox

Each month, NatureBox sends you 5 different nutritionist-approved snacks with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or sweeteners or trans fat. You can choose the snacks or they can be chosen for you from a large collection of sweet and savory foods.

  • Monthly Rates: $20 (1 mo.), $18 (3 mos.), $17 (6 mos.)
  • Shipping: Free
  • Free Trial: Yes (plus $2 shipping)

Treatsie

No, not more health food. It’s dessert for discerning tastes. Treatsie has been reviewed by Mashable, BuzzFeed and Forbes, among others.

Every month, you get sweets from 3 of the best small-batch sweets vendors in the country with a total value of $20 to $25.

  • Monthly Rates: $15 (1 mo.), $14 (3 mos.), $12 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping: $5

Mantry

Mantry, aka The Modern Man’s Pantry, is promoting itself as the “#1 Food Gift for Men this Holiday Season.” Mantry is a food of the month club focused on manly artisan food and drink—things like Bacon Peanut Brittle, Smoky Borsellino, Mocha Coffee Syrup, Bloody Marys, smoked sausage and barbecue sauce.

It’s pricey at $75, but you get 6 full size premium items in a wooden crate.

  • Monthly Rate: $75
  • Shipping: Free (with free membership); $10 for non-members

For the Rest

Papirmass

Papirmass has a unique concept. Instead of food, household goods or clothes, they will send you one art print of varying size every month. On the back of each print, you will get writing from new writers. The format changes monthly so items can also include paper sculptures, small books and large posters.

At $5.75 per month (with annual subscription), it’s on the cheaper side of most subscription services.

  • Annual Rate:  $69
  • Shipping:  Free

Doteable

It’s the college care package updated for the 21st century. College students can subscribe to the classic Dorm Duffel or a mini version (for men or women) that includes essentials like socks, underwear, T-shirts and shaving razors.

  • Monthly Rates:  $15 for the mini; $45 for the classic
  • Shipping: Free

 

Amazon Subscribe & Save and Prime Pantry

This solution is for the DIYers and has been around the longest, as well. Since 2007, Amazon has offered its Subscribe & Save service which allows you to pick select items (like cereal or pet food) for monthly delivery (or other intervals such as every 3 months).

You get 5% off the product’s current Amazon price and free shipping with no minimum. Even better, if you do 5 or more subscriptions on your monthly delivery day, you get 15% off. Cancellation is easy and can be done at any time.

Amazon is also currently offering 50% off the first Subscribe & Save order for Prime subscribers who haven’t had an active subscription since April.

  • Rates:   Varies; 5% off for first 4 subscriptions and 15% off for 5+ subscriptions
  • Shipping: Free

This year, Amazon launched Prime Pantry, which is more like a regular subscription box than Subscribe & Save, but you still get to pick what goes in the box. Aimed at the grocery shopping segment, Prime Pantry allows Amazon Prime subscribers to fill a box up to 4 cubic feet (or 45 pounds) with select items earmarked for Prime Pantry.

  • Rates:  Varies (requires $99 / year Amazon Prime subscription)
  • Shipping: $5.99

Mystery Tackle Box

Every month you will receive at least $20 worth of products (4 to 5 items). Lures are tailored to bass fishing, inshore saltwater fishing or ice fishing and you can change the box type each month (before the 1st of the month).

User reviews for past boxes have been really good.

  • Monthly Rates:  $15 (1 mo.), $14.50 (3 mos.), $14.25 (6 mos.), $13.75 (12 mos.)
  • Shipping:  Free

Subscription Boxes on Groupon and Living Social

At any given time on Groupon and Living Social, you’ll be able to find deals on various subscription box services with discounts over 60% off the monthly rate in some cases.

Right now, Groupon has four Graze deliveries for just $14, which is 50% off the regular price, 25% off four months of Mystery Tackle Box and 21% off a month of BarkBox.  Just recently, you could get one month of Loot Crate for $10 which is 50% off the usual price.

  • Rates:  Varies
  • Shipping:  Usually free

About Joe Warner

I'm the senior editor of The CheckOut. I am an aficionado of shiny gadgets and classic Hollywood movies and can also tell you the names of the late '80s Swedish Davis Cup team members.

One Comment

  1. Matthew

    February 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Definitely worth checking out Broni&Bo, they offer the latest an accessories box as well as a tie or bow tie a month, they specialise knitted accessories http://bit.ly/bbsubscription

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