10 Best Reusable Grocery Bags of 2023, Tested by Experts

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10 Best Reusable Grocery Bags of 2023, Tested by Experts

We reviewed this article in March 2023 to ensure all featured products were correctly priced and in stock. Our top picks remain the same.

If you’re looking to reduce your overall plastic usage, swapping to reusable grocery bags is an easy place to start. In fact, in the states and cities across the U.S. that have banned plastic bags in some capacity, making the swap to reusable bags is a must.

There are many different options to consider depending on your needs, including machine washable totes, bags that fold up into a pouch for easy storage, canvas carryalls and polypropylene bags. Once you find the style you like, you can stash several in your car, purse or backpack so you'll always have one on hand. To find the best reusable shopping bags, we spent hours testing, researching and vetting the best options based on our sustainability experts' categorical expertise.

In the Good Housekeeping Institute, we value finding ways to live more sustainably. In 2009, we created the Green Good Housekeeping Seal to help consumers sift through the confusing clutter of “green” claims on products. We test everything from reusable water bottles to reusable straws in order to help support sustainable living on an accessible level. If you’re looking for more single-use swap outs, try trading plastic baggies for reusable snack bags, plastic wrap for DIY beeswax wraps and plastic produce bags for reusable produce bags.

Whether you have a long commute with groceries or you're trying to keep frozen groceries cool, the PackIt Freezable Grocery Shopping Bag will help ensure your groceries don’t spoil or melt before arriving home. “I love how it’s functional as a grocery bag, but keeps food frozen for long periods," says GH Institute Textiles Lab Executive Director Lexie Sachs. The night before you head to the store, fold up this grocery bag and place it in your freezer. The soft-sided tote is insulated with freezable gel that stays put and a zippered closure to lock in cool air. However, the gel ice packs make it heavier than some reusable shopping bags, especially when frozen.

For under $20, this five-pack of reusable grocery bags can be stashed in its matching carrying pouch in your purse, trunk or car door. Small but mighty, our pros love that each bag is waterproof and reinforced, so you don't have to worry about it breaking even when you're carrying a heavy load (up to 50 pounds, according to the manufacturer). This set of five bags comes in over a dozen different color and pattern combinations, and our pros love that they are all machine washable. Since there's no structure to the bags, they might not be ideal for more delicate grocery items.

Our Lab experts like its sturdy wire structure, which not only gives it durability but makes it easier to see everything in your grocery bag. It can hold up to 30 pounds of groceries when open and folds flat to less than two inches thick when not in use, according to the manufacturer. There's even an elastic to ensure the bag stays folded. There is also an interior pocket that's great for keys or your shopping list. Choose between an insulated and non-insulated version to best fit your grocery needs.

If you need more than a few reusable grocery bags, BagPodz offers a great option for buying in bulk. Each purchase gets you 10 reusable grocery that hold up to 50 pounds each, and the bags fold into the pouch neatly, according to the manufacturer. GH Lab pros love that these are made out of machine washable RipStop nylon and are water-repellant, helping to contain a grocery leak. Our pros suggest keeping the zippered pouch clipped on your purse, so you always have reusable bags on hand.

Make green shopping a little easier with these sorting bags: They fit most standard shopping carts, so you can divide up your groceries while you're shopping to make the loading and unloading process so much easier. “Lotus is great to stay organized while shopping — especially when shopping for the family because we buy so much,” says Sachs. The set even comes with wine and egg pockets, a mesh bottom so that any potential leaks will not pool at the bottom and a separate cooler bag for perishable items. Take note that if you shop at grocery stores with larger grocery carts (like Costco or Sam’s Club), you will have to purchase a different version of these bags.

Even though it's light and compact enough to carry around all day, this machine washable nylon shoulder bag is surprisingly strong, holding up to 50 pounds without ripping, according to the manufacturer. “The included carrying case makes it so easy to always have a bag with me when I’m out and about," says Emma Seymour, Senior Product Analyst in the GH Textiles Lab. We love that they come in an assortment of bold patterns and bright colors, so you'll never lose sight of it. Even though they are machine washable, they are not safe to put in the dryer.

Hydro Flask’s Insulated Tote helps ensure that your temperature-sensitive dairy or proteins stay cold for up to four hours. With its fully lined interior and waterproof zippers, this bag helps contain any leaks, too. That's why GH Kitchen Appliances Lab Director Nicole Papantoniou loves it for transporting meats from the grocery store or for keeping food cold at the beach. While this bag isn’t cheap, Hydro Flask stands behind it, offering a five year warranty.

Pretend you’re Emily in Paris with one of these chic French string bags, perfect for shopping at the farmer’s market or picking up a few groceries after work. These cotton string bags look delicate, but easily stretch to accommodate whatever you put inside and hold up to 40 pounds, according to the manufacturer. If they get dirty, they are machine washable. Pro tip from our Lab experts: Since this bag has a net design, it’s helpful to carry some reusable produce bags inside so that nothing small falls through.

This machine washable, stylish reusable grocery bag looks like the plastic grocery bag that it is replacing, but reinvented with much more durability. As a response to San Francisco's plastic bag ban in 2017, designer Lauren DiCioccio embroidered bags made out of recycled taffeta with all-too-familiar messages, "thank you" and "have a nice day." According to the manufacturer this bag is machine washable, but make sure to hang dry to ensure that the embroidery remains in good condition.

Ideal for heavier loads, this jute bag stands up straight, so you don't have to worry about your eggs or other fragile items toppling over. The best part: There's an easy-to-reach pocket inside, so you can safely stash your keys, phone, wallet and shopping list. We also love that the interior has laminated lining to resist a leaking grocery mishap. Keep in mind that if you do stain the exterior of the bag, it is spot clean only.

To find the best reusable grocery bags, our analysts and editors evaluated reusable bags for factors like material, style, shape, durability and cleanability. In the past year, we have tested over 50 bags, including duffles, backpacks, totes and suitcases.

In making our recommendations, we prioritized bags that are lightweight, durable and machine-washable with easy accessibility. We also gave preference to bags that were easy to shove into another bag for storage and could be comfortably worn over the shoulder.

✔️ Material: Reusable grocery bags are made up of numerous materials, including cotton, burlap, polyester and canvas. There are three material characteristics to keep in mind when choosing the bag for you. A lightweight foldable material like nylon is helpful if you need to store your bags in your purse or bicycle, so that you never forget them. Look for a sturdy burlap or canvas bag with durable handles if you need to carry heavier items that may break a flimsy bag. A bag with insulation or embedded ice packs will keep groceries cold for a few hours before arriving home.

✔️ Capacity: If you need to carry large items, a bag with a little stretch will help or one with expandable sides will also come in handy. Manufacturers will often state their weight capacity. If you tend to have heavy groceries, opt for one that has a capacity of at least 40 pounds.

✔️ Washability: Groceries can be messy, whether your pickle jar leaks or your kale is still damp from its daily misting. Reusable grocery bags are sanitary if they are cleaned regularly. You can machine wash most reusable grocery bags (depending on the material or decoration), but some require being hung dry. Look for a machine washable bag unless you do not mind spot cleaning or hand washing your reusable grocery bag.

At GH, sustainability is important to us: We hosted our fifth annual Sustainability Summit in 2021, launched our Sustainable Innovation Awards in 2019 and created the Green Good Housekeeping Seal in 2009.

This story was written by GH Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab analyst Eva Bleyer, who has tested everything from blenders to kitchen scales. She also earned a B.S. in Food Studies, Nutrition and Public Health from New York University, where she studied sustainability practices. Eva always carries a reusable grocery bag with her, due to NYC’s plastic bag ban and her frequent impromptu grocery runs.

To write this guide, Eva relied on the categorial expertise of the GH Institute's textile and kitchen experts, including Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab Director Nicole Papantoniou, Senior Textiles Product Analyst Emma Seymour and Paper & Apparel Lab Executive Director Lexie Sachs.

Amanda Garrity is a lifestyle writer and editor with over seven years of experience, including five years on staff at Good Housekeeping, where she covered all things home and holiday, including the latest interior design trends, inspiring DIY ideas and gift guides for any (and every) occasion. She also has a soft spot for feel-good TV, so you can catch her writing about popular shows like Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias, Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart and more. 

Eva (she/her) is a reviews analyst in the Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, where she tests kitchen gear, home appliances and culinary innovations. She graduated from NYU with a bachelor of science in food studies, nutrition and public health and is a trained chef through the Natural Gourmet Institute. Eva has more than 10 years of experience in the food industry, working as a food stylist, personal chef and marketing manager.

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10 Best Reusable Grocery Bags of 2023, Tested by Experts

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