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Today, many municipalities have rules that ban the use of plastic bags at places like grocery stores. Other stores charge a nominal fee for each bag. But even if your area doesn’t have policies like these, reusable bags are a great, eco-friendly addition to your errand run. And the best reusable bags are just as functional—if not more—than the ones they hand out at the store.
If you’re looking to make the switch, consider these top-rated picks.
Best Overall: Bagpodz Reusable Shopping Bags
Convenient carrying case
Hold up to 50 pounds each
Each set only contains one color
What good are your reusable grocery bags if you don’t remember to bring them to the store? This set solves that problem, with ten bags that fit neatly into a compact zippered pouch. They're easy to stash in your purse or glove compartment, and an included carabiner clip even lets you hook it onto your bag or keys.
The function is there, too. Each bag in the set holds up to 50 pounds—multiply that by 10, and there’s no question you should be able to fit the contents of your entire shopping trip. When you unload, simply stuff the bags back into the carrying case for next time, or send them for a spin in the washing machine for a thorough clean.
"All of the bags come inside a 'pod,' which has a separate zipper and drawstring opening for easy access to the bags. The pod also features a clip so you can attach it to your cart when shopping. We loved this feature because our bags were readily available (literally right at our fingertips) when we needed them at checkout."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
Best Budget: Gogooda Reusable Grocery Bags
Hold 50 pounds each
Convenient carrying cases
Prone to premature wear
Designed in the style of much more expensive reusable shopping bags, these Gogooda Reusable Grocery Bags comes at a fraction of the price—in fact, you get all six for less than the more expensive and ultra-popular lookalike. Sure, you’ll sacrifice on the fun patterns, but you’ll still get six vibrant colors.
The bags are just as functional—they hold up to 50 pounds each—so most individuals (and even families) are sure to get all your shopping into just one set of bags. They’re machine washable, to boot.
Best Machine Washable: BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags
Hold 50 pounds each
Convenient carrying cases
Straps tend to slide off shoulder
When you’re toting things like eggs, meat, and yogurt, accidents are bound to happen, which can lead to a sticky mess inside of your reusable grocery bags. But if you have one that’s easy to wash, you don’t have to cry over that spilt milk. This set of reusable bags has a lightweight nylon design that’s incredibly easy to clean. Simply toss them in the washing machine.
Like other great reusable bags, these have a convenient expandable design that can hold up to 50 pounds each—plenty for a quick shop, or an entire shop if you bring all five.
As an added bonus, these bags come in some fun designs that rival those of more expensive brands.
We took these bags out to run our weekly errands and were super pleased with how many items these bags held. According to BeeGreen, each of their bags replaces two to three typical plastic grocery bags. We only needed three bags to stored a week’s worth of groceries (for a family of three)."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
Best Design: Baggu Standard Baggu Nylon Ripstop Tote
Hold 50 pounds each
No carrying case
If you want your grocery bag to be more of an accessory than a utilitarian piece, Baggu is the way to go. Of course, you’ll also get the function of other, blander options out there. Though they come in some seriously fun and stylish patterns—think leopard or floral, for example—they are one of the toughest and most durable bags available.
They’re also roomy enough for a surprisingly large amount of groceries. If you’re someone who shops a few times a week, you may even be able to fit the bulk of your goods in one bag. Each bag has a 50-pound carrying capacity, so you can even sneak in heavier things like 12-packs of soda or a jug of milk. We love how light and airy the 40-percent recycled material is. When empty, fold it up, toss it in your purse, and you’d never know it was there. After use, simply toss it in the washing machine to get it clean and ready for your next shopping trip.
Best Set: Lotus Trolley Bags Reusable Grocery Cart Bags
Includes an insulated tote
No need to transfer groceries
Holds up to 50 pounds each
Cannot be used as regular bags
Rather than transfer your purchases to your bags at the end of your shopping trip, consider this set, which hangs over the sides of the shopping cart so you can put all of your food directly inside. (This is especially good for people who use the scanner at the grocery store, since you won’t ever have to take anything out of the bag until you get home.)
The set includes four roomy totes, one of which is insulated for things like milk, cheese, and meat. Each one is big enough for about 50 pounds of food, and the insulated tote can even fit standard frozen pizza boxes—something most other reusable bags can’t easily accommodate.
Best Insulated: Veno Bag Insulated Reusable Grocery Bag
Holds 30 pounds each
Prone to premature wear
When you’re doing a full shop (including dairy, meat, and bulky frozen foods like ice cream), your standard set of reusable bags simply won’t do—especially if you live a decent distance from the grocery store. To keep your foods from thawing, melting, or, worse, spoiling on your way home, ensure you have an insulated reusable bag (or two) in your stash.
This version by VENO Bag is made from an extremely durable and heavyweight non-woven recycled fabric, so you can stuff it with all of your favorite cold items without worry it’ll break. It easily holds 30 or more pounds and has a reinforced dual tab zippered top to keep items cooler, longer.
Best Recycled: Planet E Recycled Reusable Grocery Bags
Made from recycled plastic bottles
You’re already doing right by the environment by using reusable bags, but why not go the extra mile with reusable bags made from recycled plastics? These bags by Planet E are made from nonwoven PET, a form of recycled plastic bottles. But that’s not the only reason you might pick these bags. The trio has reinforced bottoms and collapsible sides, so you can easily store them flat in your car, pantry, or closet. The capacity is great, too. Plus, the flat bottom means they stay upright while packing.
If there’s any downside, it’s that they’re not machine-washable, so you’ll have to spot clean or replace any with significant stains.
Best Canvas: Earthwise Reusable Grocery Bags X-Large 100% Cotton Canvas Shopping Tote
Extra durable straps
Not as roomy as other options
For durability, turn to a canvas tote like this option from Earthwise. These lightweight bags have all of the benefits of canvas, minus the bulk; this makes them far easier to fold and stash when not in use.
The plain canvas aesthetic is a nice option, too—especially if you plan to use the bags for more than just groceries. The bags are 20 inches wide by 16 inches tall, making them suitable to use for things like the gym or a picnic as well as your weekly shop. And if you're feeling crafty, you can even tie-dye these bags or add other fun designs—an option that you don't have with your typical nylon bag.
Best Flat Bottom: Creative Green Life Reusable Grocery Shopping Box Bags
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to stuff something in a bag that won’t stay open, but you can solve that problem with a set of reusable bags constructed with a wide, flat bottom. The Creative Green Life Store Reusable Grocery Shopping Box Bags make shopping easier because they have a rigid box structure that won’t collapse in on you as you pack. They won’t tip over in the trunk, either, so unpacking is just as easy as packing.
What’s more, they are extra roomy. A three-pack holds the same amount of items as 10 single-use grocery bags.
Our best overall pick are the BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags, because they’re sleek but roomy enough to fit up to 50 pounds worth of purchases. They also come with an extremely handy carrying case that stashes nicely in your purse or glove compartment. If you're on a budget, we recommend the Gogooda Reusable Grocery Bags (view at Amazon). For less than $15, you'll get six brightly colored bags that are fairly durable and can be machine washed.
What to Look for in a Reusable Grocery Bag
Toting groceries can become a messy job—a spilled container of blueberries or a package of meat that leaks on the way home can introduce stains, odors, and bacteria to your bags. While most reusable grocery bags can be spot-cleaned, many people prefer those that can be machine-washed for a thorough clean. Just follow the care instructions for any bag you choose, and keep in mind that many will need to be air-dried to avoid shrinking.
It pays to know how much you can load up a set of reusable grocery bags. If your bags won’t hold enough, you’ll be stuck taking home disposable bags, too. And if you overload your reusable bags, you risk a tear or the handle ripping. Some can hold up to 50 pounds, which is 2-3 times the load in an average grocery bag, while others have a lower weight rating of only 20 pounds. Make sure to pay attention when purchasing yours.
Reusable grocery bags can be made from many different materials. Nylon bags are among the most common, and 210T polyester bags are considered to be some of the most durable. There are also insulated grocery bags that are a must for food safety if you’ll be transporting cold goods a considerable distance. In addition, coated canvas reusable bags offer durability and years of use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer who has spent the last 10-plus years researching the best home goods for various digital publications, including The Spruce and Good Housekeeping. Brigitt owns more than a couple of Baggu bags, and finds them extremely useful for everything from groceries to toting her kids' toys to the park.