Subscriptions aren’t just for magazines anymore. These days it seems just about everything you love can be delivered right to your door on a recurring monthly basis. From food to wine to grooming products, the business of hand-curated monthly subscription services is booming. We’ve combed through many such services and have come up with seven we think are just right for Primer readers, whether for yourself or as a gift. Here are our top picks for monthly boxes for men.
$60/week ($10 per person, per meal)What you get:
A large refrigerated box full of enough locally sourced, fresh ingredients to make three meals for two people, and idiot-proof recipe cards to help put them all together.
Who it’s best for:
Anyone who wants to learn how to cook or eat healthier but doesn’t know where to start.
To say my girlfriend and I are amateur chefs is a bit of an understatement. For our skill levels, haute cuisine at home usually consists of Taco Tuesday or breakfast for dinner. In spite of that, our first attempt cooking a meal with Blue Apron had us uttering phrases such as, “I’ll handle the salad and the sauce while you add the aromatics to the lamb.” The end result (lamb & beef sliders with cucumber/cheese salad) was delicious and flavorful, and the process itself made for a fun date night in. We popped open a bottle of wine, put on some music and zested and diced our way to satiety. The recipe cards correlated perfectly to the ingredients, which, helpfully, were individually labeled. The box came with just the right amount of everything—so no more buying a $12 thing of saffron from Whole Foods to use for a single recipe.
Blue Apron might sound a little pricey, but when you compare the price per-person of a Blue Apron meal versus a night out at a restaurant, it starts to sound like a bargain by comparison. And a restaurant meal doesn’t give you the immense satisfaction of cooking to perfection a delicious and healthy meal yourself.
You can build a profile and select dietary preferences through the website, and you can skip a week as long as you give them enough notice. Their customer service is also stellar. If you get a sub-par squash, a mushy mango or a questionable quince, they’ll swiftly credit your account for the value of the inedible meals.
$20/month or $195/year (2 months free)What you get:
A monthly box packed with high-end grooming products and accessories based on your personal style preferences.
Who it’s best for:
Men (and women) who love looking crisp and fresh, sporting the latest gear and learning about the latest lifestyle products.
Available in both a men’s and women’s version, each Birchbox contains a variety of high-end lifestyle and beauty product samples from big-name brands and up-and-coming boutiques tailored to your personal preferences. Started in 2010 as a women’s subscription box service, Birchbox expanded into the men’s category in 2012. Each month’s box contains a nice assortment of items ranging from pomades, fragrances, skin and facial care products and shaving gels. Each box also contains an essential piece of stylish gear—such as a wallet, a canvas zipper case, a leather-clad shoehorn or a spiffy pocket square. If you fall in love with a newly discovered product, the Birchbox shop sells full-sized versions of the items contained in each month’s offering.
Each box also comes with style and grooming tips, which explain everything you might need to know about the new products. Birchbox Women, the original, is a really fun gift for any woman in your life. And whatever your gender, what’s not to like about getting a box of goodies in the mail each month?
$10/month, $30/3 months, $60/6 months, $110/12 monthsWhat you get:
A hand-selected monthly box of supplements, vitamins, healthy snacks and other workout paraphernalia designed to help you stay healthy and up your fitness game.
Who it’s best for:
Fitness fanatics, nutrition nuts and health hounds who want to stay on top of new products and trends, fine-tune their workout or diet routines, and lead a more physically and nutritionally healthy lifestyle.
Bulu Box’s mission is to get people living healthier lives. To that end, the monthly subscription service partners with health and fitness brands to help you discover the latest and greatest in nutrition, fitness and weight loss. Each month, they send a box loaded with samples and products to try. If you find something you really like, you can buy full-size versions directly from Bulu Box. Their website also has an active community of “Bulugans” who help support one another in their quests for healthier lives. This month’s box includes a sample of deep sleep gummies, a full-size bottle of fat burning raspberry ketones, Volo Vitamins energy supplements and more. Whether eating right, exercising more often, or even sleeping better, our health is something that’s easy to take for granted until it’s gone. Everyone could stand to be a little healthier, and Bulu Box, along with a whole lot of grit, discipline and determination, might just help you get there.
$45/month (members) $55/box (non-members)What you get:
A monthly box of high-quality just plain cool items around a different manly theme.
Who it’s best for:
For guys who can never get enough cool, new stuff and like a little bit of everything.
Bespoke Post promises a “Box of Awesome” right to your door each month, and based on our experience, delivered on that promise. At $45 a month for members, each monthly box delivery contains items relating to a theme—recent examples including “Detailed,” featuring an array of washes, waxes and cloths to keep your car looking its best. Or “Dash,” a complete do-it-yourself bitters making kit including a book to get you started. The subscriber can choose from a list of boxes or set-and-forget to automatically receive the newest box each month. We received two boxes: “Frontier,” an adventurer-themed box that included an impressive oak-handled Opinel pocket knife, a fountain pen with refills, a soft-cover notebook and a weighty steel bottle opener featuring an engraved whale. We also received “Covered,” featuring items curated to keep your clothes looking neat and sharp no matter what life throws at them, including a high-quality black garment bag, a pair of magnetic collar stays and a clothes brush.
Every box also includes a smattering of sample products and info cards on the contents. One neat feature is that you don’t even have to be a member to buy, however you’ll pay $10 more than members if you want to buy a box outside the subscription, at $55 a box.
$39.99/month ($13 per bottle)What you get:
A monthly selection of three custom-selected, small vineyard wines delivered right to your door and tailored to your palate.
Who it’s best for:
Wine enthusiasts who love a chance to try new varietals and never miss a chance to add a touch of class by bringing a unique wine to a dinner party or newbies taking their first foray into the world of the grape.
Much like a fine red coupled with an exquisite cut of beef, Club W is all about pairing budding and seasoned wine enthusiasts alike with bottles they’ll love. After filling out a “Palate Profile” to give Club W a sense of your taste buds, they promptly send an attractive box containing three wines chosen specifically for you based on your answers. And I gotta say, my experience with it was frighteningly accurate.
Now, I’ve seen the film Sideways. Twice. So I’m a bit of a wine expert. Two of my selections were Rieslings (one of my favorite varietals) balancing perfectly on the dry-sweet line, and the third was a Lagrein, a red I had never encountered but enjoyed very much. In line with my stated flavor preferences, it was fruity and full-bodied, without being too heavy. Each wine comes with a dossier card detailing its origin and flavor profile, even recommending food pairings on the opposite side. Club W partners directly with growers to offer premium-quality, small-batch wines at a great price, cutting out the middlemen in the process. They make it easy to discover new wines with a selection of three different bottles per month, or if you find a new favorite, you can tailor-make the deliveries to your preference. All that for $13 a bottle.
Dollar Shave Club
$1, $6 or $9 a monthWhat you get:
One or more of several tiers of razors and blades mailed to you on a monthly basis, ensuring you’ll never be bladeless at an inopportune moment.
Who it’s best for:
Busy guys who dread the monthly purchase of disposable razor blades as well as the cost.
Dollar Shave Club has had a leg up in the name recognition department in part for its humorous and irreverent commercials featuring CEO Michael Dubin, who extols the virtues of membership during a chaotic hijinks-filled walk through the company’s warehouse. But the razors they’re hawking also happen to work really well, and the pricing model for the replacement razors is disruptive to say the least. They have three tiers of blades available, “The Humble Twin,” for $1 a month, The 4X “Lover’s Blade”, for $6 a month, and the “Executive” at $9 a month. The price for each includes shipping and comes with a box of replacement cartridges every month.
The blade handles themselves feel substantial in your hand and are of a high-quality build. Compared to buying blades in the store, which you also have to travel to get, these are dirt-cheap. And you’re not sacrificing on quality. They also carry a variety of other shaving and grooming products available for sale on their website, including Dr. Carver’s Easy Shave Butter and Post Shave and One-Wipe Charlies. The guys at Dollar Shave Club obviously have a sense of humor, but there’s nothing funny about razor burn.
$19 or $30 per monthWhat you get:
A monthly selection of exotic, hard-to-find gourmet coffee beans from all corners of the globe.
Who it’s best for:
Serious coffee enthusiasts who crave a little variety with their morning java fix.
The morning coffee routine is, for many, akin to a holy ritual. That first whiff when you open the bag, the feel of the scoop digging into the grounds, the sound of the percolating brew as it starts to drip. Many coffee lovers know these sights and sounds as well as the laughter of their own children. MistoBox offers two subscription tiers, the “Awesome”, at $19 a month, includes four 1.7-ounce bags of whole bean coffee. The “More Awesome” subscription runs $30 a month and doubles the amount of coffee. Shipping is free.
The people at MistoBox take their beans very seriously. Their team of highly caffeinated connoisseurs handpicks each month’s selections from over 50 coffees to ensure the satchels you receive are the cream (and sugar) of the crop, selections like Kenya Kiamabara Peaberry and Guatemala La Laguna. The coolest part is they don’t repeat themselves, so as long as you subscribe you won’t get the same bag twice, unless you want more of course, in which case you can buy it directly from the website (at a discount for subscribers.) Each svelte package of coffee beans contains helpful tips on getting the best grind and brew possible, with notes on the growers and the stories behind the beans themselves.