Though their primary appeal is to reduce plastic bag use, the best reusable grocery bags are strong enough to hold plenty of groceries and look stylish too. The
ban on plastic grocery bags from most stores in California and New York makes a reusable option not only trendy, but a necessity. So, it's a good time to stock up on a reusable shopping bag suitable to your needs.
If you tend to forget your reusable bags, consider a foldable shopping bag that's easy to keep with you. When the grocery store is a trek from home or you prefer to do multiple errands while out, an insulated shopping bag may be the way to go. To use your grocery bag as your purse, choose one with zippered pockets that can hold a phone, wallet, and keys.
What's The Best Material For Reusable Bags?
The best material depends on your priorities, but some factors are durability, waterproofness, washability, and recyclability.
Nylon is lightweight, yet durable and strong, so it's a popular choice. Look for
ripstop nylon fabric for a more waterproof, washable, and puncture-proof bag thanks to thicker, tighter threading; this pick isn't biodegradable.
Polyester fabric, a material commonly used for hiking backpacks, is also a solid choice for sturdiness and
water-resistance; especially with a 450 to 600 denier, indicating fabric thickness. This pick doesn't break down easily.
Some shoppers prefer the classic look of a heavy-duty canvas tote, which is usually made of cotton —
a biodegradable material. While still durable, canvas often requires specific care instructions to avoid losing its shape or becoming wrinkly.
The best insulated grocery bag will keep food at the desired temperature, whether hot or cold, but also use easy-to-clean materials, like Sanafor-coated fabric, which
inhibits the growth of bacteria for added food safety. Though it's unclear how well it biodegrades.
No matter your shopping style, listed below are the best reusable grocery bags.
1 A Foldable, Reusable Bag That’s Stylish, Durable, & Washable
Baggu sets the standard for
reusable shopping bags that fold into themselves, made with machine-washable, ripstop nylon that's as lightweight as it is strong. The Standard Baggu holds up to three plastic grocery bags worth of stuff (or about 50 pounds) and folds into a slim 5-inch pouch that's easy to store in a purse, car, or larger bag. Much loved for its designs, shoppers also enjoy that this cute reusable bag is available in dozens of colors and patterns and new ones are regularly released. The sturdy bags are now made with 40% recycled material from pre-consumer waste, meaning it doesn't end up in a landfill. The brand's sustainable practices extend to using environmentally responsible dyes to minimize runoff. Fans say: “These have changed my life, or at least the grocery shopping portion of my life. Gone are the days of praying to the Plastic Bag Gods that my groceries will be safely contained, and make it to my pantry, without escaping across the parking lot or down my driveway. The only downside to these bags is that I now spend more on groceries because they are so fun and easy to use. You can fit so much in just one bag! Frozen pizza boxes or gallons of coffee and creamer? No problem, they all fit! Also... The wide handles allow me to comfortably line my arms and fill my hands to fulfill the coveted dream of carrying it all in one trip. Best reusable bags ever!” 2 A Budget-Friendly 5-Pack Of Foldable Bags
To better accommodate a more robust shopping trip,
this foldable set of five bags, gives you more bags for your buck than the other picks on this list. With over 10,000 reviews, 90% of those being five-star, the Bee Green reusable grocery totes are a solid choice. Made from 100% rip stop polyester fabric, this set comes with five extra large bags that measure 15-inches by 16-inches by 6-inches with 8.7-inch long handles and can hold up to 50 pounds.
Like the first option, each bag in this set comes with an attached pouch to fold the bags back onto when not in use. That makes these a cinch to throw into a car, purse, or pocket for easy storage on the way to the store. You also have your choice of 10 color and print combinations to choose from, to truly make this set fit your fashion and functional needs.
Fans say: "These are great bags that are very well made and have a great capacity for all your groceries. I like the shape of each bag because they will hold large boxes like cereals or Bisquick and still have plenty of room for you to have a good grip on the handles. They are great for bulk produce which can get a bit heavy because the soft fabric doesn't cut into your hands like plastic bags do. I've ordered these several times to keep in all our vehicles and even use one to hold my gardening tools. Well worth the money. They are made much better than similar bags I've bought.” 3 This Strong Canvas Shopping Bag With A Zipper Closure
heavy-duty canvas tote bag holds up to 30 pounds of groceries and is highly rated on Amazon with more than 3,000 reviews from shoppers who appreciate the high quality of the materials and construction. The bag is off-white cotton canvas with wide straps available in 10 different accent colors. Details like an exterior pocket for small items, such as a phone or wallet, and a zippered main compartment set this reusable shopping bag apart from other canvas tote bags. For care, it's recommended that you hand wash this bag and avoid ironing. Fans say: “LOVE this! It's absolutely perfect for grocery shopping. I like to use re-usable bags for groceries since I live in a major city and mostly walk to and from the store. This is easy to carry and I have no fear of the handles breaking or the bottom falling through. It's really large and easily carries the majority of my groceries for the week, highly recommended!” 4 A Pack Of 3 Bags Made Of Organic Canvas Cotton
Similar to the previous pick, these
canvas shopping bags are machine washable, durable, and eco-friendly. But this pick lacks a zippered top and is instead made from organic cotton. These come in a pack of three, each containing six interior bottle sleeves. It isn’t clear exactly how many pounds these can hold, but reviewers confirm that are strong and can handle plenty of groceries. They have a 4.7-star rating and more than 1,500 reviews. Fans say: “Incredibly happy with this purchase. These bags are thick and STURDY and just the right size to fit in the grocer's bagging area. The bottom isn't tapered, the seams are secure, and the handles aren't too long. I didn't think I'd like the side pockets, but I do. They can hold a huge amount of groceries and still be carried without the bulk of those oversized totes. Mine did not have any odor either. I bought 2 packages and am thinking I might like more. An excellent investment for me and the environment!! [...]” 5 An Insulated Grocery Bag To Keep Food Cold
Not only does the
Rachael Ray ChillOut thermal tote bag boast an impressive 4.6-star Amazon rating, but it's also America’s Test Kitchen's favorite insulated bag for keeping groceries cold — and ATK found the wide straps far more comfortable than those of the competition. The bag is made of 600-denier polyester fabric, and inside the bag is foam insulation and a Temperfoil lining with sealed seams for great insulation and no leaks. The bag wipes clean and is treated with Sanafor to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. The zippered tote bag comes in seven colors and holds up to 5 gallons, or roughly 41 pounds. It also features an exterior pocket to hold small items, like a phone or wallet. Fans say: “I have had several of Rachael Ray's insulated bags over the years. I live in Arizona and for 6 months it's HOT.....so I depend on insulated bags to bring my groceries home. They are always still cold, and I've never been disappointed. I just recently ordered another one because I love them. They are light weight, and just the right size. Some bags are too large, and then consequently too heavy when they are filled. These bags are the perfect size, and great colors. You won't regret your purchase.” 6 This Chic Striped Tote Bag That Folds Up Into A Pouch
This chic striped
reusable shopping bag has shoulder-length straps and comes with a carabineer so you can clip it to surfaces. It can carry up to 40 pounds but then folds down to a compact drawstring pouch. Toss it in the washing machine when it needs to be cleaned and choose between five unique prints. The bag has a near-perfect 4.8-star rating on Amazon and also comes in floral designs. Fans say: “Absolutely love this little bag. It folds up and is able to clip to my pocketbook. Great for anything; groceries, clothes, bringing to the beach. It's lightweight and washable, very convenient to bring with you everywhere.” 7 A 3-Pack Of Sturdy Canvas Bags That Stay Upright
reusable shopping bags stand up straight in your trunk so that your groceries never spillover. The box bags have long, sturdy straps and handles and have a reinforced bottom that can hold up to 65 pounds. When you’re finished using them, fold them flat and they’ll take up no more storage space than a notebook. These double as amazing bags for toys and storage, as well. They have a 4.8-star rating, more than 2,400 reviews, and come in a pack of three. Fans say: “These work so much better than regular reusable grocery bags! They are very well made and hold a lot of groceries! Open them up in your grocery cart while shopping and load your items right in. Nothing flops around there or in the back of your car. And they fold up easily for your next trip to the store. Love everything about them! I just wouldn’t order the white ones again because they look grubby too easily. I have the gray ones too, much better color choice.” 8 This Set Of 10 Bags With A Handy Carrying Pod & Clip
Convenience is the name of the game with this
reusable shopping bag set that comes with 10 machine washable bags and one carrying pod where you can stash bags and hang them from your purse with a carabiner clip. Each bag is designed with strong RipStop nylon and can accommodate up to 50 pounds. Pull one out one at a time from the pod to keep everything neat and tidy. They come in pretty shades of green, yellow, red, or blue. Fans say: “These bags are amazing. They hold SO much more than a regular grocery bag, are super sturdy, and are the most convenient way to use reusable bags because I can just clip them to my purse and never forget them. They are by far my favorite reusable bags!! I wasn’t sure if 5 would be enough, but for shopping for just my husband and I, 5 seems to be just right! Occasionally we have to use one additional plastic bag so that the eggs don’t get broken, but we save so much plastic!” 9 The Reusable Bag That Folds Into A Compact Pouch
One of these extra-large
reusable shopping bags can hold as much as three plastic bags and accommodate up to 50 pounds of groceries or other items. They have a tote shape and sturdy shoulder straps, but the real drawer here is that they fold up into the cutest pouch (with a button) that fits right in your purse. This bag has one roomy main compartment and one smaller pocket in the front. They come in a pack of five in bright colors. Fans say: “These bags are great! I absolutely love that they fold and then snap together instead of me trying to stuff it into a tiny bag like my others. These bags are sturdy and well made. The extra stitching looks great and feels strong. These bags also have a definable bottom unlike others i have seen and they sit upright with little caching for filling. I would recommend these bags to anyone looking to purchase reusable shopping bags, i know i plan to buy more!” 10 An Oversized Reusable Bag In A Fun Rainbow Print
Not only is this two-pack of
reusable grocery bags priced affordably, but it’s really large, made from water- and tear-resistant nylon, and perfect for lighter shopping days (reviewers can’t confirm how many pounds it can hold). The machine-washable bag has a tote-style strap, folds down to a pouch that you can stash inside of your purse, and comes in a bright, fun rainbow pattern. It’s also available in eight more unique prints like cats, birds, and ice-cream cones. This pick has an impressive 4.7-star rating. Fans say: “I bought these bags as shopping and beach bags for an overseas trip and they worked out great. They took up no room in my suitcase, I could carry it folded up in my purse around town and they were sturdy and washable. I now use them for grocery bags at home and they can carry a heavy gallon load of milk and other stuff. They are of high quality, very sturdy and can carry a lot of items. I love these bags!” 11 These Surprisingly Strong Mesh Bags For Keeping Produce Fresh
mesh grocery bags are so much stronger than they look and can carry produce, cans, and frozen food with ease. They have smaller handles than the others on this list and may prove best as accessories to your other reusable bags. The money-saving three-pack of bags are made from machine-washable cotton and have a 4.7-star rating and more than 1,300 reviews. Fans say: “I use them to store onions, garlic, potatoes and yams – hanging them from hooks in the kitchen.However, they could be used for anything that won’t get snagged on or fall through the netting. The bags are a nice size, have a soft feel, are a pretty ecru color, and can be tossed in with a load of laundry (I put them in a lingerie bag to avoid snagging.) They also last a long time – my last bag finally frayed after about 10 years of use. I will buy these forever.” 12 Also Nice: A 6-Pack Of Reusable Produce Bags
With the best reusable grocery bag on your shoulder, it's also nice to have the
best reusable produce bags for plastic-free shopping. This six-pack has you covered with two large bags which hold up to 10 pounds, two medium bags which hold 6 pounds, and two small bags for 3 pounds. The breathable organic cotton muslin allows ethylene gas to escape, keeping many fruits and vegetables fresh longer than if stored in plastic bags. These machine-washable bags are also great for bulk bin shopping, especially for grains, since they're not mesh like many other reusable produce bags. A tag on each bag with the exterior tare weight makes checkout easy, and care for the bags is simple, too: Just hand or machine wash them in cold water and flat or line dry. Fans say: “I’m slowly trying to bring our home to zero waste, and the first, easiest step was to stop using plastic produce bags. We buy a lot of greens and was a little worried how I would keep greens fresh in the fridge. These bags are amazing! I rinse the greens so they are damp and put them in the bag then into the fridge and they stay fresh for weeks! These have so far worked great for kale, broccoli, celery, green onions, and carrots. Keeps everything fresh and crisp.”
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 13, 2019