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.
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: “It seems perfect for groceries and packages. I like that it is easy to fold and store.”
A Budget 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 10 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.”
This Canvas Shopping Bag With A Zipper
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: “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.”
An Organic Cotton Canvas Pack Of Three Bags
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 1,300 reviews.
Fans say: “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.”
An Insulated Grocery Bag To Keep Food 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.”
This Chic Floral Tote Bag
This super-chic floral
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 two shades of lighter or darker purple. The bag has a near-perfect 4.8-star rating.
Fans say: “I’ve been looking everywhere for foldable, lightweight bags for shopping and errands, and this is one of the most beautiful designs I’ve ever seen. It is simply gorgeous and I receive compliments on it everywhere I go. The bag is VERY roomy and can fit A LOT of stuff. The material is strong, lightweight, easy to clean. I like that the pouch is attached to the bag so it won’t get separated or lost, and there’s even a clip to attach it to your purse or backpack.”
A 3-Pack Of Canvas Bags That Stay Upright
reusable shopping bags stand up straight in your trunk so that your groceries never spill over. 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 1,200 reviews, and come in a pack of three.
Fans say: “These “bags” are the best! They aren’t really bags but collapsible boxes. They are sturdy, easy to carry, and hold a lot! […] The shorter grab handle is great for carrying the box in and out of the car. What I like most is that the boxes don’t tip over in the trunk when driving. So all the contents stays intact as I packed them inside.”
This Set Of 10 Bags With A Carrying Pod
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: “Great quality product! Would highly recommend this convenient set of 10 reusable grocery bags handy packed in one bag. material used is of high quality. I find this purchase as a great impact into nature care.”
The Reusable Bag That Folds Into A Pouch
One of these extra-large
reusable shopping bags can hold as much as three plastic bags and accommodates 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: “I LOOOOOVE saving space with these bags when storing them, I got rid of the clutter at home. They look neat when folded!I’m also surprised how easy it is to fold them, I was afraid it would take a long time or that it would be difficult, but I got it right the first time without even looking at the instructions.”
An Oversized Reusable Bag With A 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 4.8-star rating.
Fans say: “The bag is a little bigger than most of the other reusable grocery bags: it easily stores a towel, change of clothes, swim-suit, child size robe, toiletries and flip-flops with room to spare (albeit this is all child sized stuff). The design is bright and easy to spot, very roomy and the wide straps are easy to carry.”
These 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 stuffed both bags with the same things: 6 oz can of olives, 16 oz jar of salsa, 2 lb box of spaghetti, 2 packages of 8 oz block of cream cheese, 12 oz package of coffee beans, 16.9 fl oz standard water bottle, 7 oz jar of instant coffee, 5 oz bag of pork rinds (basically a regular sized potato chip bag, not the family or lunch size).The regular plastic bag from the grocery could not hold any more.”
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!”