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. They're all highly rated on Amazon and under $20. 1 The Overall Best: A Foldable, Reusable Bag That’s Cute and Washable
Baggu sets the standard for
reusable shopping bags that fold into themselves, made with a 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: “I absolutely love this bag! In addition to just being pretty, this bag is convenient and durable. I love that it's so much bigger than your typical reusable grocery bag, but still folds up easily into a small square. I will definitely be buying this [in] more patterns for the future and highly recommend this product!” 2 The Best Budget Set: A 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 3,000 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 28 color and print combinations to choose from, to truly make this set fit your fashion and functional needs.
Fans say: "I was looking for affordable, packable, decent sized reusable bags and these are perfect. [...] They carry more than a standard sized plastic bag at a grocery store and appear to be durable. The straps are wide so you can carry heavy loads comfortably, and these are lightweight and pack down really small, so its easy to carry them in my bag or put a bunch in the glove box of the car where they are out of the way but there if I need them. [...] Unlike some other reviewers, I found them really easy to refold into the attached pouch. I like that they are packable and discrete and plan to use them for all of my shopping needs, not just groceries." 3 The Best Reusable Shopping Bag With A Zipper: A Heavy-Duty Canvas Option
heavy-duty canvas tote bag holds up to 30 pounds of groceries and is highly rated on Amazon with more than 700 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: “This tote is definitely extra large and can carry a lot of groceries. It's very heavy canvas and the handles are well made. I expect this to last many years. I plan on getting a couple more for days when I hit multiple shops. I love using the reusable bags.” 4 The Best Insulated Grocery Bag: A Highly Rated Bag That Will Keep Groceries Cold
Not only does the
Rachael Ray ChillOut thermal tote bag boast an impressive 4.4-star Amazon rating, 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: “The Rachael Ray ChillOut Thermal Tote is the best thermal tote that I have ever used. It is the perfect size for even warehouse store shopping, like Costco, and is extremely well insulated. It keeps frozen food frozen for a long time. It doesn't leak at all, and there is no smell coming from it at all...It is very stylish and attractive looking. I really love it.” 5 Also Nice: 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 bought these bags to eliminate plastic produce bags...I love fresh vegetables and fruits and 6 oranges and 6 apples loose in my cart just wasn't cutting it any more. With these bags, I can shop to my [heart’s] content. The unexpected bonus is how well produce keeps in them. I have a bunch of flat leaf parsley that I bought a week ago that still looks perfect - lettuce stays crisp. Love these bags!” Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.