In the age of email and instant everything, it’s a treat to get snail mail. Couple that with our desire to have the convenience of doorstep delivery, and it’s no wonder that box subscription services are taking off. Some are marketed to save you money on items you already need. Others send clothing or grooming items hand-selected based on your preferences. There are plenty of good reasons to try out a subscription, but the trick is knowing which one will be right for you.
Birchbox, which launched its subscription service in 2010, is credited with jumpstarting the subscription box service model. Just five years later, you can choose from any number of subscriptions for beauty and grooming supplies, shoes, accessories, food, and drinks. It’s like that Wine of the Month club your mother joined years ago, except it’s delivered right to your door. Prices often vary between $10 per month and up to $100 or so for high-end luxury products. Receiving a new box each month actually creates an adrenaline rush in your body, LearnVest reports, which is why your friends might already be trying to convince you to try it.
If you can find a box that saves you money or time, or you have a few extra dollars each month to splurge, consider one of the following boxes. We’ve curated our list to include many of the most popular men’s subscription services, along with prices and reviews so you know what to expect.
1. Birchbox Man, $20
The subscription service that kicked off the whole thing with samples of lipstick and lotion for women also has an option of grooming products specifically for men. If you sign up for an entire year, you’ll also receive two months free, for a total payment of $195. Though most monthly boxes are a surprise, people who sign up before November begins can opt for a “Movember” box full of grooming supplies to keep your growing beard looking tidy. You’ll be able to see the theme for the upcoming month, but won’t know what’s in it ahead of time.
If you want to make sure you’re actually interested in the products Birchbox sends, take a look at some of the reviews from previous months. One of the reviewers on Hello Subscription detailed the contents of October’s box, and found the retail prices of the products included were well above the $20 subscription fee. “As always, Birchbox Man is a great deal, offering value well above the subscription price,” he wrote. The service includes a description of each product, though the product details switched from a printout in each box to an online listing last month.
Searching Twitter for #birchboxman will also show the following the subscription service attracts — especially on days when the new boxes arrive. Many users praised past products including English Laundry colognes, face washes, and a Baxter of California hand cream.
2. Bespoke Post, $45
You’ll get a variety of products in a Bespoke Post box, but most have to do with lifestyle accessories and tools. Some are new ways to make favorite drinks (in one box called “Distilled” you’ll get all of the ingredients and tools to make your own gin, except for the vodka supply). Others include new accessories or clothing, but you’ll always receive a variety. Unlike many other subscription services, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting before it arrives. Each month Bespoke Post sends an email with the curated box contents. You can choose to skip that month’s box for no charge, choose another box from past months if there’s still a supply, or receive the box as designed.
Most themed boxes on the website include comments below, and many reviewers are happy with what they receive. It’s also a place where reviewers can ask questions of the Bespoke team — including the sizes of samples and more. One reviewer on Curated Gentleman said he was impressed with the products in October’s box in particular. “Gilded Age sells this scarf for $125 so it’s pretty amazing to pick it up for $45. It’s very sharp looking,” he wrote. However, the incense that was also included in the box wasn’t as big of a hit. “This smells great but all incense smells like incense when you burn it, so we’ll be passing ours along to an incense-loving hippie.”
If you’re looking for real-time information about current box contents, Bespoke Post uses #boxofawesome on Twitter and other social media sites.
3. Trunk Club, prices vary
Are you stuck in a style rut, or just hate battling mall traffic to buy new clothes? Trunk Club has you covered — for a price. There isn’t a membership fee, and shipping is always free, but you pay for any clothes or accessories you’d like to keep. The rest you send back, again free of charge. Each man works with a personal stylist who takes into account your size and style preferences before sending out each trunk. If you give thorough feedback, the idea is that you’ll start getting items you’ll want to keep in your wardrobe, all without the hassle of hitting a department store.
One reviewer for The Modest Man suggests that it might be difficult to find clothing from the service for shorter men, specifically under 5-foot-8. Many of the jeans have at least a 34-inch inseam, and finding the right fit for other clothing as a result can be a challenge. However, most reviewers on Yelp and other sites had nothing but love for the service. “Got an email from Mark…asking me a few questions trying to figure out my style and what I was looking for, and within a week, I had my first box of clothes to choose from. I picked EVERYTHING and have been hooked ever since!” wrote one reviewer from San Francisco.
One of the few drawbacks people will mention about Trunk Club is the price. The company says its brands and products are close to the quality of a store like Nordstrom, so be prepared to spend between $170 and $250 for a pair of jeans, and $100 for most shirts. Companies like Bombfell offer products that cost less, but sometimes have their own issues with pricing and delivery.
4. Dollar Shave Club, less than $10
Like many early adopters, The Cheat Sheet’s Sam Becker signed up for the razor blade subscription service after seeing one of Dollar Shave Club‘s ridiculous advertisements (like the one above). The clever humor and wittiness carry over into the entire site and the products mailed to you each month.
You can choose how many blades you want in each razor (2 blades for $1 per month, plus $2 in shipping costs; 4 blades for $6 per month, or 6 blades for $9 per month. Shipping is free on the second two options.) Becker’s first box came with the razor handle and a pack of four blades, with replacement blades delivered each month. If you don’t shave that often, you can opt to have the blades delivered every other month, too. By opting to do this, Becker pays just $3 per month for razors. Plus, the company occasionally throws in some extras for grooming or just to be quirky — like the One Wipe Charlie butt wipes. “I immediately liked the company for not only selling an essential product at a very low price, but also for trying out new products, and having a good sense of humor,” Becker said of his first box, which included the sample.
Sure, if you’re organized you can buy razor blades in bulk on Amazon, but if you’re looking for an automated service, this is one to try. “It’s $3 per month, and I literally never think about it. I wish I could pay that much to not have to think about other things,” Becker said.
5. Scent Trunk, $18
A photo posted by Scent Trunk (@scenttrunk) on Jul 19, 2015 at 8:19am PDT
This is for the man who hasn’t found his “signature scent” yet, or who wants to switch it up a bit. Each month, the subscription service will send you a box of three sample-sized fragrances that are customized to your preferences. On its website, Scent Trunk says it works only with small-batch perfumers, so you’re going to get unique scents from high quality. If you’re ok with the sample sizes, the price is great. But if you do get attached to a scent, you’ll want to save your pennies — many full-size bottles can cost up to $200 (or far more!)
Though the samples are definitely small — most reviewers debate about whether the combination of all three samples would last the entire month — one reviewer on A Year of Boxes said it was perfect for someone who’s never explored fragrances before and is looking to learn what they like. Many of the comments on Twitter compare it to a “Netflix for cologne” and most praise at least one or two of the samples as new favorites.
6. MistoBox, less than $25
Obviously a coffee subscription service is gender neutral, but it’s a great way to round out our list, especially for the caffeine-addicted among us.
Pricing varies for MistoBox subscriptions, which delivers artisan coffee to your door, sometimes within three days of the beans being roasted. You can sign up to receive a sampler box that varies between $13 and $22 (you can set preferences and price tiers). In it you’ll get four 3-ounce packages of various flavors to try. Or you can elect for the MistoBox ONE package and receive one 12-ounce roast. As with most subscriptions, shipping is free, and many of the coffees included are either organic or direct trade, which is a step above fair trade coffees.
“MistoBox is a great way to discover coffee flavors, especially with the busy lives we all have. Loved the packaging and the resealable ziploc bags. I would imagine that the coffee lover in your life would love to get this as a gift,” one reviewer wrote on Subaholic. Plus, most Twitter commenters seem to give credit to the service for enhancing their morning brew.
Follow Nikelle on Twitter @Nikelle_CS