Ethical Alternatives to Amazon

Welcome to the most lovingly curated selection of Amazon and Prime alternatives anywhere. We aim to make giving up Amazon easy and to encourage more people to spend their money with businesses that have higher ethical standards.

While Amazon's monopolistic stranglehold on our economy has made it increasingly difficult to completely avoid supporting them, we've discovered that—contrary to conventional wisdom—it’s often possible to find lower prices, sometimes substantially, by shopping elsewhere. You just have to know where to look...

Our Ideal Bundle

This is a subjective selection of our ideal Prime-replacing bundle from the extensive options we’ve researched and tested. We think the average user of these alternatives to Amazon will be able to access a broader selection of goods, save money and support more ethical business practices.


  • Wikibuy Solid browser plugin that looks for better prices while you’re browsing on Amazon (and elsewhere). Seems to find better prices about half the time but really depends on what you’re shopping for. Also searches automatically for coupons on most shopping sites. Free.
  • Rakuten (Formerly ebates) Browser plugin that often offers cash back at the places you’re already shopping, including many of the stores in this guide. Get their credit card to get an extra 3 percent off purchases. Free. When you join with our link you get $10 credit and our non-profit gets $25 as soon as you spend $25 at any participating store. This little icon in one of our entries means that store offers a rebate to shoppers using the Rakuten plugin.
  • eBayGood ol’ eBay has lightning fast checkout and usually has a shop that’s underselling what you saw on Amazon, sometimes significantly, and offering free shipping (63% of eBay listings offer free shipping). And, of course, you can still find used stuff there, too. Many listings include a “make an offer” button that can result in even lower prices if you like to bargain. Has some eye-poppingdaily deals ontech,fashion,home/garden,tools,sporting goods,toys, etc, with a guarantee of best price anywhere.
  • Your public library + app

    Borrow books, movies, audiobooks, online courses, and ebooks for free! Good for the wallet, the planet and democracy (the more we use shared resources, the more we want to support and protect them).Overdrive,Hoopla andLibby apps connect you to the digital content. Free.
  • BiblioBiblio seems to typically have the best prices on new and used books and eBooks, is ethically sound and builds libraries in the developing world.Better World Books is also awesome, does carbon offsetting, donates books for education, and has free shipping to anywhere.
  • Libro.fmBeautiful audiobook store that offers both membership and a la carte purchasing. Profits split between them and your local indie bookstore. Special offer when you switch from another provider.
  • Backmarket Refurbished electronics with a warranty, all the cool gloss to make you feel like you’re still getting the cutting edge and prices that are “sexier than a Bali sunset.” From a company on a mission to cut waste.
  • Co-operative GrocerLikely the best way to buy groceries that are good for your health, local community and the environment. Use Instacart, et al, if you need delivery.
  • ShopRunnerFree 2-day shipping and free returns at 100+ member stores. Membership is $79/year but free for AmEx and Mastercard holders and PayPal members (which is free, too, so...). Offers a global search box to search all member stores. Free.
  • Blaisdell's Business ProductsOffice supplies, electronics, furniture. Filter search results for “green” products. Price matching. E-waste and toner recycling. Donates percentagae of profits to community organizations that customers choose. Free next day deliveries on all orders in some areas and free 2-3 day shipping in other places.
  • TidalArtist-owned music streaming service with a focus on lesser known artists; music videos; exclusive ticket access; supports the end of mass incarceration; pays artists better than most others (6x what Spotify does). $10/mo, $15 for families, $5 for students.

Shopping Alternatives

Shopping General

  • EbaySelection of new items rivals Amazon and selection of used items dwarfs it; you’ll often find lower prices, too. Shipping charges vary widely and are often free. Yes, as a testament to Juggernaut Jeff's ever growing power, many ebay sellers use Amazon to warehouse, pack and ship their orders. To avoid this, ask the seller whether they use Fulfilled by Amazon, or watch out for sellers with no physical address who offer 2-day shipping.
  • RakutenBrowser plugin that often offers cash back at the places you’re already shopping, including many of the stores in this guide (denoted with this little icon). For saving money while shopping online, it’s a no brainer (as long as you don't let its emails sucker you into impulse buying). When you join with our link you get $10 credit as soon as you spend $25 at any participating store, and our 501c3 non-profit gets $25, too. Formerly known as ebates. Free.
  • EtsyMillions of one-of-a-kind items, often handcrafted by independent makers and sellers. From shoes to t-shirts to jewelry to toys to art to vintage, Etsy really does have a lot of unique stuff. With a mission to “keep commerce human,” and a strong commitment tocommunity,environment (including a commitment to 100% renewable energy and zero waste by 2020) and fostering economic security for creative entrepreneurs, Etsy is in many ways the antithesis of Amazon, although some sellers have complained that conditions for them worsened following the recent acquisition of the company.
  • EarthHeroSuper curation of eco brands and eco claims to bring you stuff made by really thoughtful people using their companies to try to do right by the planet. As EarthHero says, "literally anyone can say that their products are earth-friendly without having the facts to back it up." Do you know what the NSF/ANSI 305 Guidelines are? Us neither. Whether or not you're in the market for some consumption today, you'll definitely learn something about what separates the green washers from the Earth lovers in their super intricate5-step sourcing methodology. From refillable razors to eco-crayons, with svelt recycled pantyhose and reusable silicon sandwich bags in-between. Certified B Corp. 1% for the planet.
  • BrandlessBrandless is an online version of the “store” brand, eliminating all the expenses that normally accumulate between producer and consumer. They sell everything for $3. When we first read that, we thought “oh, it all must be cheap crap like at the dollar store,” but then we read theirmanifesto. It seems like they have a lot of integrity around sourcing and providing high quality stuff. They currently make and sell food, household, kitchen, personal care and some office products. Free shipping on orders over $39 or with a $36 annual membership.
  • OverstockOverstock has a membership programClub O Gold: free shipping, 5% cash back, free returns, up to $20 to review things, dedicated support line, free online stock trades, hotel discounts and so many deals and sales it’s hard to keep track. $20/year but free for military, students, teachers, first responders and holders of the Overstock credit card, which has no annual fee.
  • BonanzaA somewhat odd feeling marketplace with a wide variety of products and some good deals if you can successfully navigate the search. Highly rated by sellers for treating them well. Be warned that—as this monopoly trends—some sellers use Amazon for fullfilment.
  • CraigslistYou can almost certainly find it cheaper here if you’re willing to use CL’s “save search” function and wait for the right match to show up in your email inbox. For hard-to-find items, try a Google search of “craigslist” + “the thing you’re looking for” to search all the CL sites in the world.
  • LetgoLetgo andOfferUp are mobile-first competitors trying to outdo Craigslist by offering a better user experience, including simplified posting, profiles and user ratings. They both seem to get mixed reviews on Reddit, but their apps are well rated.
  • TargetLots of quick and cheap shipping options. Same day delivery by Shipt (free for 4 week trial). Free 1- or 2-day shipping for many items with $35 purchase. Customers using aTarget REDcard get free shipping on all orders—no minimum purchase—plus an extra 5% off. Return shipping is free as well. Full year to return or exchange Target-owned brands.

Apparel and Fashion

The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world. Major brands are exploiting garment workers and harming the environment in the production of shoes and clothing. The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing every year. And it takes around 1,800 gallons of water to make a pair of blue jeans. Watch Why your $8 shirt is a huge problem, then check out Ethical Consumer’s Fashion Guide before you buy. Most of our recommendations are centered on used clothing, since that's the most ecological way to get dressed! Ok, end of sermon. Here's how to avoid Amazon and find clothes you love:


  • Thrift storeYeah, you've heard of thrift stores, but this lady teaches you how the pros do it.
  • SchoolaThis non-profit supports 30,000 schools while selling new and gently used kid's and women's clothes. Parents can donate clothing by mail for the benefit of their school. Kids can track their school’s fundraising progress on their school page, and Schoola funds programs that have seen severe budget cuts, such as art, music, field trips and P.E. Looking for a fundraising idea that is easy, green, and doesn’t require students to be salespeople? Top-earning schools have raised more than $50,000 each.
  • thredUPKinda like a humongous online thrift store with 2 million items, all the conveniences of digital searching and deep discounts on fancy brands (and not-fancy ones too—they have 35k brands on the site). Free shipping on orders over $79 and a mission to "inspire a new generation of shoppers to think secondhand first." Want to sell? They’ll send you a huge polka-dot bag that fits all the clothes you no longer wear. Ship it back for FREE and they’ll inspect, photograph, and list your items.
  • swap.comSwap is similar to thredUP and offers free shipping on orders over $60 and free return shipping, too. This eco-focused blogger compares Swap vs. Poshmark vs. thredUP (and a few others, too).
  • PoshmarkApp and store for buying and selling new and used clothes for women, men, and kids. Sort by style, brand, size, and price point. Also has social features for getting style help and buyer protection.
  • ShopRunner storesMany (most?) of ShopRunner’s partners are apparel focused. Members (see ShopRunner in Our Ideal Bundle) can use theirglobal search to find what you’re looking for in a participating store and get free 2-day shipping.

Automotive

  • Rock AutoRock Auto is a family-owned business that ships parts from 300 manufacturers to customers' doors worldwide, with a range of prices and quality levels for any given part. Their prices are typically as good or better than everyone else's. Easy-to-use parts catalog saves your vehicle(s) to simplify parts search.
  • AutozoneFree next-day delivery of 80k+ parts on orders over $35 in certain cities. Free 2-day delivery of a broader selection in any location with ShopRunner. Sign up for their text deals to get substantial offers regularly. Please note that AutoZone has fought and lost numerous employee-discrimination lawsuits in the past. It may be that the culture has improved -- we don't see any evidence of suits in the recent couple years.

Books

Amazon sells about half of all new print books and 83 percent of Ebooks in the US. If they don’t like a book, for any reason, because they’re battling the distributor over price, or it takes them to task for their monopolistic tendencies, they can bury it in searches or just remove the Buy button. No bueno for democracy. Fortunately, there are still numerous thriving alternatives that offer both lower prices and a larger selection. Some offer free shipping, too. Many of our suggestions steer you towards used books, which are great for the planet and the pocketbook, but not helpful for the pocketbooks of the people who wrote them. After buying new, the second best way to support authors is to check out books from a library, since libraries are more likely to order books by the same author if previous ones were popular with their clientele.


  • BiblioOffers over 100 million used, rare and out-of-print books, often at a better price than anywhere else, from a global network of indy booksellers. Has used profits to build 12 public libraries in rural villages of South America. Strives for a bottom line called EPIC, balancing Environment, Profit, Independence and Community. The first bookselling marketplace to offer carbon-offsetting on all orders. Millions of used textbooks. Green America certified.
  • IndieboundIndiebound connects you to your local independent bookstore. Their homepage has some interesting data about the impacts of buying local, including: “Spend $100 at a local-owned business and $52 of that stays in your community. Spend $100 at a national chain and keep $13 in the local community. Spend $100 online with a remote vendor with no sales tax collected and keep not one penny in your local community. Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.” Unlike with purchasing used books, buying new ones from your local bookstore ensures that authors receive a small royalty and helps bookstores to promote and sponsor book events and author readings.
  • Better World BooksBWB does carbon offsetting of shipping, donates a book to someone who needs it for every book sold (over 13 million to date), and offers free shipping. Need it now? With eDelivery any physical book can be scanned and sent digitally in as little as two hours. Certified B Corp.
  • Half Price BooksSells from their own inventory and via a marketplace of used book sellers around the world. How can you go wrong when a book seller’s mission is: “Be fair to customers and our employees, promote literacy, be kind to the environment and remain financially viable so we may continue.”
  • AlibrisAlibris is a marketplace offering over 175 million books, textbooks, DVDs, CDs, vinyl and even cassettes from thousands of independent sellers worldwide. Arguably older than Amazon and certainlymore ethical. Alibris has also recently gotten into the textbook rental game. They allow you to return rentals for a full refund within 21 days and allow written notes and highlighting. Bonus: Many items ship for free, and if you sign up for their newsletter, you get loads of coupons.
  • BookMoochBookMooch is a free book exchange. Enter a list of the books you have to give away and a wish list of the ones you’d like to get. When someone requests one of yours, you ship it to them (that’s the only cost involved) and earn a point. You can use your point to request a book from someone else or donate the points you earn to charity.PaperBackSwap is very similar with an added bonus: you get two credits just for signing up, so your first two books are completely free.
  • DaedalusBooksDaedalusBooks brings you a curated collection of books that are remaindered by publishers — new books that went unsold last year, now selling at a very steep discount.
  • ABEbooks….is owned by Amazon.

eBooks and Audiobooks

  • Hoopla et alHoopla, Libby andOverdrive are apps that connect with your local public library, enabling you to borrow audiobooks and ebooks (and, in the case of Hoopla, feature films, music, comics, and TV shows, too) to enjoy on your computer, tablet, phone or TV. Overdrive is also a Certified B Corporation.Compare the three.
  • Some libraries alternatively or additionally use3M Cloud Library,Axis360, Enki,Freading, theDigitalia Public Library, SimplyE,Biblioboard or RBdigital, which has hundreds of digital magazines including popular titles like the New Yorker, Wired, Newsweek, the Economist, National Geographic. When libraries use multiple service providers, they make different book collections available though each. If your library doesn’t have what you’re looking for,several libraries offer cards to non-residents for free or modest fees. Many big city libraries offer free cards to everyone who lives in the state.
  • Libro.fmBeautiful audiobook store that offers both membership and a la carte purchasing. Profits split between them and your local indie bookstore.You can search by book first and choose your store later, or pick the store first and browse what your favorite indie bookstore has available. Special offer when you switch from another provider. Bulk memberships for corporate customers.
  • KoboEbooks, audiobooks, readers, apps for their device and other devices. Will match anyone’s price plus a 10% credit. 5 million titles. Offers titles in highly compatible EPUB and PDF formats.
  • BookmateBookmate is an eBook subscription service serving 12 languages with 850,000 titles (including 60,000 audiobooks) on their mobile app (iOS, Android and Windows). $9.99/month.
  • 24SymbolsEBook subscription service that allows you to read on any device. One million titles. Seems to pay authors 2-5x what Amazon does.
  • BookBub and ChirpHand-picked daily deals on ebooks (BookBub) and audiobooks (Chirp), no subscription necessary. They are able to offer such low prices because authors and publishers offer short term discounts to drive awareness. Get alerts of new offerings from your favorite authors, and get recommendations from authors, editors, and your friends.
  • ScribdScribd is a digital library, eBook and audiobook subscription service that includes one million titles. Scribd hosts 60 million documents on its open publishing platform.
  • DownpourAudiobook subscriptions for 12.99/month and a la carte, too. Daily deals at $2-4/title. Limited selection compared to Audible. All content is DRM free, meaning you can play it on any platform, now and forever. Once you buy a book it's yours. "When you buy from Downpour instead of Audible, you get the same book, at the same price, but you get a better product, because you don't have to worry about having it taken away from you by the march of time or the greed of faceless corporations that view you as an ambulatory wallet." -BoingBoing
  • Google Play BooksThree million eBook and audiobook titles. Unique service allows you to upload the ebooks you own to the player so your library is all in one place. A la carte, no subscriptions.
  • Apple BooksFor iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. You can add your own content to your library as long as its a PDF, EPUB or IBA file. There is no webpage for the Apple Books Store which means there is no way to browse the eBook selection without installing the app.
  • World Public LibraryThe world’s largest aggregator of electronic books and articles, a non-profit offering over 3 million ebooks and audiobooks to read online or download. The World Library Foundation is a global coordinated effort to preserve and disseminate digital copies of historical books, classic works of literature, serials, bibliographies, dictionaries and encyclopedias in a number of languages and countries around the world. $8.95/yr.
  • eCampusRents, buys and sells textbooks and eTextbooks. Free returns within 25 days. Free shipping on orders over $35.
  • SafariNo, not a trip to Kenya or the Apple browser; yes, business and tech ebooks, instructional videos, live courses, interactive tutorials, case studies, transformation playlists—all in all, probably beats just reading the book. The largest online library of reference and learning content for technical and business topics available on the Internet.
  • BookshareBookshare is a specialized online library for people with reading disabilities, offering almost 700,000 titles.
  • Free eBooks11 websites to find free audiobooks;15 places to find free eBooks. The World Digital Library has 20,000 items about 193 countries between 8000 BCE and 2000 CE, while the Digital Public Library houses 30 million images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States. One hundred extensive university libraries from around the world that anyone can access.
  • Audible….is owned by Amazon. "The fact that they demand DRM on all their products gives them even more competitive leverage to use against publishers and writers, since every Audible book you buy is locked to Audible's platform, and it's a felony to unlock them and move them to a competing one." -BoingBoing

E-readers

Are you content to read on your phone or tablet, or do you want a dedicated reader? Or do you need help deciding? If you already own a Kindle and you want to use it to read books from other sources besides Amazon, you can. An app called Calibre can convert almost any ebook file to be read by almost any e-reader. As with all electronic devices, buying second-hand is the best way to minimize the negative impacts of manufacturing. Ethical Consumer does not rate any e-reader manufacturer as an “ethical company worth supporting.”


  • KoboKobo is a 10-year-old upstart owned by a bigger company, Rakuten, who also owns the Overdrive public library app (and ebates). According toPC Mag (11 September 2018), the Kobo Clara HD is the best all-around e-reader for anyone who borrows books from public libraries. Buy it onkobo oreBay.
  • Barnes and Noble NookWorks with Google eBooks store. Buy oneBay.
  • iPadBuy refurbished with a warranty onBack Market. iPad gets higher marks from Ethical Consumer than most tablets and E-readers and Apple gets the highest ratings for avoiding conflict minerals, thoughnot all is rosy with the world’s most valuable company. According the Greenpeace, Apple products, including cables, are free from phthalates, lead, mercury, PVC/BFR and arsenic.

Food and Groceries

  • Thrive MarketMembership-based e-tailer offering natural and organic food products at reduced prices. $60 membership fee. Substantially better prices than Amazon on many items. Free shipping on orders over $49.
  • Local Co-Op GroceryEmployee-owned and worker-owned cooperatives almost always offer more local and sustainably produced products than their competitors and generallysupport the community and environment in myriad ways. They’re usually cheaper than Whole Foods, too. Many co-ops offer the option of ordering large quantities from their supplier for wholesale prices plus a modest markup.
  • Your local farmer’s marketWhereas the average food item in the US is shipped 1,500 miles to get to you, the carrot at the farmer’s market only came as far as the farmer could drive that morning. Skip the middle person and support small farms. Here arenine more good reasons.
  • Get a box from your farmerA CSA (community supported agriculture) membership will get you a weekly box of just-harvested veggies direct from the grower. Some CSAs include the option to buy shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, or flowers along with your vegetables. Connect with your farmer and eat in season!
  • Costco.comIt’s unlikely that anynonlocal big box chain store could ever score the highest marks in sustainability and community, but Costco does much better than others. Consistently earns kudos for social responsibility and consistently rated one of the top 50 places to work in America. Non-perishable food and household supplies have free 2-day delivery on orders of $75 or more, for Costco members. Web prices generally beat Amazon on a wide variety of items, and in-store prices are better yet. Costco Business offers free next business day delivery to business addresses for members on orders over $250.
  • BoxedCompeting with Costco and Wal-mart for bulk purchases of food, drinks, bath, body, home and cleaning. Limited, curated offering of “essentials” reduces the risk of impulse buys. Often has the best prices by a significant margin. Free samples and free 2-day delivery on orders over $50.
  • ShiptShipt,Instacart, andPeapod all offer same day delivery of groceries. Instacart seems to have the biggest service area and offers a broader selection of stores, including Costco, CVS, Petco, Kroger, Aldi, and many local grocers. Peapod shops from their own virtual stores. Here’s a nicecomparison of the three.

Games

  • Humble BundleSubscription and a la carte game store that promotes indy developers, allows you to choose how much you want to pay and how you want it divided between Humble Bundle, the developer, and charity. When you buy a cross-platform game, you get a version for each available OS. HB has contributed over $152,000,000 to charity since 2010.
  • Twitch….is owned by Amazon.

Computer and Electronics

  • Back MarketRefurbished electronics with a warranty and all the sexy gloss to make you feel like you’re still getting the cutting edge.
  • The local SFBay craigslistTypically has the best prices in the world for used Apple products.
  • EbayProbably the biggest selection anywhere.
  • Best BuyFree membership offers free shipping. By reaching an annual buying threshold, your membership category notches up and free shipping gets faster, among other benefits, including extended return privileges. Price matching in store.
  • NeweggVery highly rated by customers. Electronics focused, but also has apparel, automotive, toys, etc. No apparent commitment to sustainability. Weak position on supply chain ethics. Newegg Premier offers free 3-day-or-sooner shipping, free returns and the ability to add up to 4 friends to your account. $50/year. [ShopRunner]
  • Macmall/PCMallDeals on the full line of Apple/PC products and related accessories. [ShopRunner]
  • AppleApple stuff at Apple prices! Apple gets high marks for social responsibility in certain areas and low marks elsewhere. Overall, it does better than the other internet behemoths on the ethics scale, which, increasingly, isn't saying much.

Musical Instruments

  • ReverbWhat if there was an online marketplace like eBay, except it was dedicated to musical instruments—old, new, vintage—and run and frequented by musicians? That's what Reverb is all about. It's also home to what's possibly the world's most comprehensive "blue book" for pricing used music gear. Wholly owned subsidiary of etsy.

Home Improvements and Hardware

  • ReStoresNonprofit home improvement centers that benefit Habitat for Humanity. They sell much of what you’d see in a hardware or furniture store—new and used—but usually at greatly reduced prices. If you’re fortunate enough to have one in your town, it’s an unbeatable place to begin your search for tool, supplies and building materials.
  • Green HomeThe original online ecostore for greening your home and business. You can filter for a great array of features, including: organic, energy-efficient, water conserving, recycled-upcycled, health sensitive, non-toxic, USA made, socially conscious, sustainable and compostable. Gold certified Green America business, certified B corporation. Free shipping on orders over $100.
  • Northern ToolExtensive online hardware store. Free shipping with $40 membership, but you get a $25 gift card with renewal.
  • GraingerHardware and industrial supply (healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, etc) with mountains of inventory. Extensivecommitment to social responsibility.
  • EbayGenerally has a seller who offers a lower price than Amazon, especially on higher end tools. Generous return and buyer protection policies.
  • Home DepotNot generally recognized for a commitment to social responsibility, but does usually have competitive prices.
  • CraigsListBuy it used! Save money while saving resources.

Office Supplies

  • Blaisdell's Business ProductsOffice supplies, electronics, furniture. Filter search results for “green” products. Price matching. E-waste and toner recycling. Donates percentagae of profits to community organizations that customers choose. Free next day deliveries on all orders in some areas and free 2-3 day shipping in other places. Blaisdell's recently acquired Give Something Back, our previous top choice that was a certified B-Corp and donated 70% of profits. Hopefully some of that culture will rub off on the new owners.
  • Green HomeThe original online ecostore for greening your home and business. You can filter for a great array of features, including: organic, energy-efficient, water conserving, recycled-upcycled, health sensitive, non-toxic, USA made, socially conscious, sustainable and compostable. Gold certified Green America business, certified B corporation. Free shipping on orders over $100.
  • Staples.com If you’re buying office products, there’s no locally owned option and Blaisdell's doesn’t have what you need, this is a good one. Guaranteed lowest prices on your five favorite items, $25 paper deal every day, and no-minimum free next day delivery with $49 membership. Free 2-day delivery with ShopRunner.

Outdoor Gear and Apparel

  • Play It Again SportsNationwide chain of independently owned shops selling new and gently used sporting apparel and equipment.
  • REICooperatively owned outdoors-focused retailer with high standards of ethics and commitment to supporting environmental non-profits. Co-op members ($20/lifetime) get 10% back on most purchases.
  • Backcountry.comOutdoor gear at a discount.
  • PatagoniaNot cheap, but their stuff is built to last and last, and they’ll take it back when its life is over. Probably the most ethical large company in America.
  • CraigslistCheck here first for potentially amazing deals on used gear. After you've narrowed down your search using the menu on the left, try saving your search and getting email notifications when a new match is posted.

Pets

  • ChewyGiant selection, highly regarded customer service and free 1 or 2 day shipping on orders over $49. Daily deals. Owned by PetSmart.
  • TargetEasy navigation, less selection than Chewy. Same day delivery by Shipt (free for 4 week trial). Free 1-2 delivery on certain items with $35 purchase. Free same day order pickup at stores. Customers using aTarget REDcard get free shipping on all orders—no minimum purchase—plus an extra 5% off. Return shipping is free as well.
  • PetflowWell regarded customer service, 300+ brands, free shipping on orders over $49. Donates a bowl of food to a shelter for every bag you buy.

Prime Alternatives

Prime has thrived for a reason: the convenience of being able to order things with a single click and have them show up in 2 days and imagine that you’re getting the lowest price is a powerful trifecta; throw in a bunch of movies, original tv shows and music and you’ve got a recipe for hooking 100 million folks.

But, when we began to actively avoid Prime, we quickly realized that we weren’t just finding substitute ways to buy the same stuff but that we were actually buying less stuff. This confirmed a hunch that many of us probably have: convenient shopping encourages more of it. The realization that we are now buying less stuff and that the quality of our lives hasn’t suffered is a good “a-ha.” The best deal might be the one where you shut the computer (or watch the unboxing YouTube, if you must) instead of clicking Buy.

That said, we think we’ve done our homework on sleuthing out the best alternatives for every category of stuff that Prime serves up.


Free Shipping

  • ShopRunnerIf you happen to shop at some of the 100+member stores, a ShopRunner membership will get you free 2-day shipping and free returns. Many participating retailers have a $25 minimum purchase. Membership is $79/year but free for AmEx and Mastercard holders and PayPal members (which is free, too, so…). The app gets poor ratings, but you don’t need it to use the service.
  • OverstockOverstock has a membership program calledClub O Gold: free shipping, 5% cash back, free returns, up to $20 to review things, dedicated support line, free online stock trades, hotel discounts and so many deals and sales it’s hard to keep track. $20/year but free for military, students, teachers, first responders and holders of the Overstock credit card, which has no annual fee.
  • Best BuyFree membership offers free shipping. By reaching an annual buying threshold, your membership category notches up and free shipping gets faster, among other benefits, including extended return privileges. Price matching in store.
  • TargetLots of quick and cheap shipping options. Same day delivery by Shipt (free for 4 week trial). Free 1- or 2-day shipping for many items with $35 purchase. Customers using aTarget REDcard get free shipping on all orders—no minimum purchase—plus an extra 5% off. Return shipping is free as well. Full year to return or exchange Target-owned brands.
  • L.L. BeanL.L. Bean, Nordstrom, and Amazon-owned Zappos are among the retailers that always offer shoppers free, no-minimum-purchase-required shipping on all orders.
  • PostmatesFood, drinks and groceries delivered in under an hour. Pay a la carte, or $7.99/month for unlimited delivery.
  • Blaisdell's Business ProductsOffice supplies, electronics, furniture. Filter search results for “green” products. Price matching. E-waste and toner recycling. Donates percentage of profits to community organizations that customers choose. Free next day deliveries on all orders in some areas and free 2-3 day shipping in other places.
  • AutoZoneFree next-day delivery of 80k+ parts on orders over $35 in certain cities. Free 2-day delivery of a broader selection to any location with ShopRunner. Please note that AutoZone has fought and lost numerous employee-discrimination lawsuits in the past. It may be that the culture has improved -- we don't see any evidence of suits in the recent couple years.
  • Home DepotFree 2-day shipping on thousands of in-demand items. FREE standard shipping on most online orders over $45. Over 158,000 items are eligible for free shipping to Alaska and Hawaii. Free standard delivery on appliance purchases of $396 or more.
  • Northern ToolExtensive online hardware store. Free shipping with $40 membership, but you get a $25 gift card with renewal.

Movies and TV

Check out a good head-to-head of the big three streamers here. Tl;dr: Netflix. If you don’t want to pay any monthly fee, check out the great free options, some of which offer content you’ll never find on a subscription streaming service. See the Books section for tips about making the most of the public library. Of course, if you're addicted to an Amazon show, you might hold on to Prime but stop shopping at Amazon. Or, quit Prime and watch with a friend who hasn't.

  • kanopyOne of the largest film selections anywhere (five times that of Netflix), with over 30,000 feature films and documentaries and featuring over 1,000 producers and distributors, including Criterion Collection, Great Courses, BBC and more. “One of the most unique and compelling film collections in the world.” -Forbes. Use it to check movies out for free if your public library is a member.
  • HooplaHard to know how big their selection is (most likely depends on your public library), but they do have some classic films, new and old, and TV shows, too. Best of all, it’s Free. All you need is a library card.
  • Flix PremiereThousands of great independent movies don’t get seen each year. They play at prestigious film festivals, but it’s difficult to find them online. Flix finds and curates these movies in its quest to be your #1 destination for the best of independent film. Many films are free to stream. $5/month.
  • Second SpinBuy or sell CDs, DVDs, BluRays, and Vinyl. "No one pays more for your used music and movies." Very reasonable shipping rates, including international.
  • MubiCult, classic, independent and award-winning films from around the world. 30 curated films per month. $9/month.
  • Channel 4Non-profit British home of popular current and re-run TV shows, films and premieres from around the world. Ad supported. Free.
  • NetflixSheer size of film selection blows all others away. All content subtitled. Access to many popular TV shows from other networks—a year after originally airing. Netflix gets middling marks from Ethical Consumer, but better than most competitors.
  • HuluIt isn’t as big as Netflix but has gotten a boost from a move into original television shows. Hulu also has a highly rated interface and the most economical basic plan, and generally gets new content first.
  • HBO nowThe only option if you’re hooked on HBO programming. If not, Netflix is cheaper and has a bigger library.
  • iTunesNo subscription service but more new releases than competitors.
  • YouTubeHas lots of HD movies and lots of classics for free (unless you consider time spent watching ads to have a cost). And, of course, you can comment. Premium does away with the ads.
  • Vudu (owned by Walmart, bad).

Music

While the features of the major streamers are pretty similar, some pay artists much better than others. Tidal and Google Play Music pay about 7x what Spotify does, for example. A signed artist would need 4.2 million streams on YouTube in a month to make minimum wage; on Tidal, she’d only need 180k. An unfortunate thing about streaming music is that it’s harder on the climate than the radio. Streams come from data centers, which take electricity, lots of it. If you stream a song 100 times it takes 100 times more energy than downloading it once to your device and then listening to it whenever you want to. This is true for movies, too, but we don’t tend to watch a movie a hundred times. (Using YouTube to stream when you aren’t even watching the video is the most energy wasting way to play music.) So, we highly recommend downloading tracks and storing them on your device once you know you like them. Of course, doing it this way will also save you on your mobile data plan.

  • TidalFocus on lesser known artists; music videos; exclusive ticket access; supports the end of mass incarceration; pays artists much better than most others, owned by artists. Itsmanifesto is worth a read. Supports downloading for offline listening. TIDAL claims to pay the highest ratio of royalties vs. revenues to music creators of any streaming service, and equal rates are paid to artists regardless of whether they're signed to a major label, an indie label, or not signed to a label at all $10/mo, $15 for families, $5 for students.
  • Second SpinBuy or sell CDs, DVDs, BluRays, and Vinyl. "No one pays more for your used music and movies." Very reasonable shipping rates, including international.
  • Your local community radio stationHey, what ever happened to the radio radio? Not much, except now you can probably pick it up online if your antenna is too short. Still the best place to hear music chosen by real humans in real time. Almost certainly a more effective way to discover new music you like. Don’t like your local selection? Check out this list of40 great ones.
  • bandcampWhat CDBaby is for CDs, bandcamp is for digital: an artist-worshipping place to discover and buy real music (almost) directly from the people who made it. Fan-curated collections. Bandcamp has paid mostly independent artists almost $500 million since launch. Passes artists 80-85 cents of every dollar of revenue. iOS and Android app.
  • SpotifyThe world’s most popular paid service. Highly rated free version, too, and offers abundle deal with Hulu. Earns good marks inemployee reviews, but doesn't compensate artists well. Store up to 10,000 tracks locally.
  • Apple MusicComparable to Spotify; Apple and Spotify tend to have the highest rated apps. Easily integrate your iTunes library with music you don’t own. Download as many tracks as you like.
  • CDBabyNot a streaming service, but it is the best place to find and buy independent music and a good way to get more of your money to the artist. CDs and downloads.
  • PandoraThe world’s favorite free service. No downloading of songs, though.
  • Google Play MusicIntegrates your personal collection with the streaming catalog. Monthly fee includes commercial-free streaming on YouTube. Allows downloading.
  • PlaysterUnique service that offers on-demand movies, television shows, music, video games, ebooks and audiobooks all in a single subscription. Also offers unbundled options. Very spotty reviews of the tech, though.
  • FreegalAllows users to download up to 5 music track downloads a week from the Sony Music catalog. All selections are DRM-free in mp3 format. Works with your library card. Free.

Smart Speakers & Voice Assistants

What can we say that a Ecosia search (or a Duck Duck Go search if only they’d stop promoting Amazon in results) doesn’t say better? Well, maybe one thing: Alexa is recording you and storing your conversations in the Amazon cloud, and other smart speakers are equally scary from a privacy point of view, too. Make sure you know what you’re giving up in exchange for what you’re getting. Actually, scratch that, you don’t know what you’re giving up because they aren’t telling you. Then again, you could say the same things about smartphones...

  • MycroftMycroft is the world’s first open-source voice assistant, and the company promises to never sell your data or feed you ads. It runs on many platforms—including desktop, their Mark II device (for any level of tech expertise or lack thereof, but not yet in production), or on a Raspberry Pi (for the geeks). Although it may go without saying, it's absolutely critical that we support open source alternatives to the creepy, spying, ad-enabled versions brought to us "for free!" by Big Brother Tech Inc.
  • GladysGladys is another open-source voice assistant for the home. She runs on Raspberry Pi, which means, find your inner nerd or enlist one to get your smart home up and going without Big Snoopy.

Photo Storage

We’ve been putting more and more of our photos and videos in the cloud, which can make them more convenient to share and keep track of, but it also comes with privacy risks and an environmental cost. Data centers use a lot of energy. Up- and downloading big files increases that cost. Does every video need to be HD and every photo need to be 14 megapixels? You can adjust your phone settings so the resolution fits the purpose, and you can minimize file sizes before sending them anywhere, built into Mail and simple with Image Size on iOS, or Photo and Picture Resizer—and built-in options depending on your device—on Android. Amazon’s photo storage solution isn’t especially popular, so we haven’t prioritized identifying the best alternatives.


Buy less Stuff

“We have a problem with Stuff. We use too much, too much of it is toxic and we don’t share it very well. But that’s not the way things have to be. Together, we can build a society based on better not more, sharing not selfishness, community not division.” -Story of Stuff Project
Start the journey by unsubscribing from all the emails from companies that want to sell you stuff. Yes, you’ll miss out on some good deals, but you’ll most likely save more money by avoiding impulsive buys of things you don’t need.

  • New Dream New Dream empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to transform the ways they consume to improve well-being for people and the planet.
  • SoKindSoKind is a gift registry service for people who value meaningful experiences, time with family and friends, and offerings of service and support for events and causes that matter the most. Music lessons? Homemade dinners? A museum membership? Donations to your favorite charity? Register for gifts of time, experience, and skill, as well as traditional material gifts and secondhand items.
  • Buy Nothing groupJoin your local chapter or start one. Give Freely. Share creatively. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow.
  • IceboxIcebox is the anti-consumerist’s dream plug-in. Replaces the buy button on popular sites with a “put it on ice” button, allowing you to postpone the decision until later. Of the 88.6% of American adults who make impulsive online purchases, regret is their number one post-shopping concern. Free.
  • “Materialism is making millions of us feel joyless, anxious and, even worse, depressed,” arguesfuturist James Wallman. InStuffocation: Living More with Less, he offers cures for “affluenza.”
  • Four reasons to downsizeand buy less. Getting rid of possession after possession, the writer found his stuff threshold and it made his life better.9 Reasons Buying Stuff Will Never Make You Happy, from some minimalism experts.
  • Story of Stuff ProjectSoS's journey began with a20-minute online movie about the way we make, use and throw away all the Stuff in our lives. It’s now a community of more than a million changemakers worldwide, working to build a more healthy and just planet.
  • ShareableA news and connection hub for the sharing transformation, challenging outmoded beliefs about how the world works – that ordinary people can’t govern themselves directly; that nonstop economic growth leads to widespread prosperity; and that more stuff leads to more happiness. New and resurgent solutions like DIY, collaborative consumption, the solidarity economy, open source software, transition towns, open government, and social enterprise are democratizing how we produce, consume, govern, and solve social problems.
  • Catalog ChoiceA dope, techy way to get off the list of the companies that cut down forests to make paper and gulp fossil fuels to send you catalogs you don't want that entice you to spend money you don't have to buy stuff you don't need.

Tools + Ideas

  • BuycottFree app to vote with your wallet. Scan barcodes to boycott bad products and find sustainable alternatives. Includes eye opening family trees that show you the big companies that own the companies you thought were small.
  • WikibuySolid browser plugin that looks for better prices while you’re browsing on Amazon. Seems to find better prices about half the time but really depends on what you’re shopping for. Also searches automatically for coupons on any shopping site. One neat feature shows you a historical graph of a product’s price so you can get a sense whether it might come down in price if you wait or know a realistic price for a “Make an Offer” to an Ebay seller. Free.
  • Ethical.netHave you ever wished there was a meta-guide to ethical stuff—from web browsers to web hosts to phones to spreadsheets to maps to magazines to video hosting—you know, like a who's who of companies and non-profits that aren't spying on you or screwing the planet or buying politicians? Ethical.net is all that, and more.
  • LolliKinda like eBates but it gives you Bitcoin back instead of cash back as you shop at affiliated stores.
  • Ethical ConsumerUK-based and -centric non-profit cooperative with ethical ratings of 40,000 brands and products. Product guides help you learn about the ethical implications of would-be purchases. For example, Fleece Jackets explores the ethical and environmental record of 36 providers of the same (TL;dr: yes to Paramo, Patagonia and Fjallraven, no to The North Face, Helly Hansen, Nike, Jack Wolfskin and Marmot). A wonderful place to begin your shopping trip! High level info is free while access to detailed reviews requires membership. Ethical Consumer offers a well researched Amazon Alternatives resource for folks in the UK or Europe.
  • National Green PagesAll businesses listed are certified by Green America for their social and environmental impacts. They have reviewed over 8,000 small green businesses and offer one of the oldest and most reputable assurance programs for small businesses committed to social and environmental responsibility. Search for ethicalapparel,beds and bedding,personal care,kitchenware, and most of the other stuff you might want to buy.
  • HoneyBrowser plug-in that tries to find coupons for the site you’re already on. Also looks for better prices than the one you’re seeing on an Amazon product page.
  • PriceWaiterChrome and Firefox plugin that allows you to set your price on something and then gets merchants to bid to meet it.
  • IceboxBrowser extension that replaces the buy button on popular sites with “put it on ice” button that enables shoppers to think about it for 3-30 days. It even keeps track of how much you’ve saved by not buying things. Finder, the company behind the app, also has lots of well-researched, useful guides to choosing wireless plans, credit cards, etc.
  • ShoptagrSaves items from online stores via a one-click browser extension and also alerts you when they go on sale. This is a great alternative if you’re accustomed to using Amazon’s Wish List feature. Make multiple lists and share easily. WishList is a similar service that some of our users say gives more options for choosing sites and adding notes.

Businesses owned by Amazon

Books

  • Amazon Publishing (publishes and translates books)
  • Audible (sells and produces audio books)
  • Book Depository (UK and Egypt-based dealer)
  • Brilliance Publishing (book publisher)
  • Goodreads (site for book recommendations)
  • AbeBooks (sells books, art and collectibles)
  • Kindle (e-reader device)
  • CreateSpace (self publishing tools)
  • ComiXology (cloud based digital comics service)

Brands

In addition to the publically known subsidiaries, there are also upwards of 400 Amazon-owned brands available at amazon.com, most (all?) of which are currently simple to avoid simply by not shopping there. The biggest:

  • AmazonBasics (household goods, electronics)
  • Amazon Collection (jewelry)
  • Amazon Essentials (men’s and women’s clothing)
  • Pinzon (bedding and towels)
  • Solimo (household goods)
  • Amazon Elements (vitamins and supplements)
  • Simple Joys by Carter’s (children’s clothing)
  • Goodthreads (men’s clothing)
  • Daily Ritual (women’s clothing)
  • Lark & Ro (women’s clothing)

Cloud, Marketing, Tech

  • Amazon Web Services (sells data storage and computing power)
  • AWS GovCloud (part of AWS compliant with federal security requirements)
  • AWS Elemental (multi-screen video streaming)
  • Amazon Sumerian (platform on AWS to create 3D, VR, AR apps)
  • Amazon Drive (online storage for files, photos, videos)
  • Rekognition (mass surveillance and facial recognition)
  • Safaba Translation Systems (machine-learning translation technology)
  • Mechanical Turk (marketplace to hire humans for tasks that computers haven't learned yet)
  • Alexa (not the device—online marketing and website ranking)
  • Annapurna Labs (hardware and software)
  • Body Labs (AI that understands human body shape and motion from images and video)
  • Graphiq (AI driven infographics “research engine”)

Delivery and Fulfillment

  • Fulfillment by Amazon (sells package storage and delivery)
  • Amazon Flex (Uber-style contract delivery drivers)
  • Amazon Locker (self-service pickup locations)
  • Amazon Key (smart locks for deliveries inside homes)
  • Amazon Resturants (food delivery service)
  • Kiva Systems (AI-powered warehouse robots)
  • Amazon Robotics (warehouse robots and more!)

Entertainment

  • Amazon Prime Video (platform to stream TV shows and movies)
  • Amazon Studios (makes TV shows and movies such as Manchester by the Sea)
  • Amazon Music (platform to stream or buy music)
  • IMDb (information about films and TV shows)
  • Twitch (social platform to stream or watch live video)
  • Amazon Game Studios (develop video games)
  • DP Review (world's most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site)
  • Curse (gaming community with 65 sites)

Payments

  • Amazon Pay (lets shoppers pay through Amazon on other sites)
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa (a Chase credit card for Prime members)
  • Amazon.com Store Card (a Synchrony Bank credit card for financing)

Physical Stores

  • Whole Foods Market + 365 brand (upscale grocery chain acquired in 2017)
  • Amazon Books (sell books and Amazon devices)
  • Amazon Go (cashierless "grab and go" stores)
  • Amazon 4 Star (sell top-rated products)
  • Amazon Pop-Up (sell Amazon devices in malls, Whole Foods, Kohl's)

Devices

  • Amazon Alexa (AI-powered virtual assistant)
  • Amazon Echo (Alexa-enabled smart speaker)
  • Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick (stream Internet content to TV)
  • Ring (Wi-Fi-connected doorbells and security cameras)
  • The Fire Tablet (tablet computer)
  • Amazon Dash Button (Wi-Fi-connected button to reorder items)

Shopping

  • Amazon Prime, Prime Now (subscription service with fast delivery)
  • Zappos (sells shoes and clothes)
  • Amazon Prime Pantry (sells food and household basics to Prime members)
  • Amazon Fresh (delivers groceries to Prime members)
  • Amazon Home Services (home cleaning, handyman and other professionals)
  • Amazon Handmade (market for handcrafted products)
  • Diapers.com (diapers and baby stuff, now merged with Amazon.com)
  • Fabric.com (online fabric store)
  • PillPack (online pharmacy that delivers medications)
  • Shopbop/East Dane (sells clothes and accessories)
  • Souq (Arabic-language marketplace)
  • Woot (daily specials store)

FAQ

Does Threshold earn money for the referrals made here?

We hope to, and we will always be transparent about it if we do. We are a non-profit organization, and will use any revenues to support our mission of building a people powered movement for a just world that works for everyone. Please consider bookmarking this page and making it your first stop when you shop. (Just drag this AmznAlts link to your bookmarks bar.)

Have you vetted the ethics of all the Amazon alternatives you list?

No, but we have begun to and will try to steer you towards alternatives that appear to be more ethical based on our research. Also, if we can help change Amazon’s course, even if it means pointing you towards other companies that also have shortcomings, that’s still progress. In the short term, we hope to show there’s a market made up of people who like what Prime offers but are offended by Amazon. In the longer term, we hope to help spur a race to the top. If you’d like to help vet, or have an suggestion or opinion about an alternative, please contact us or share with our community on Reddit or Facebook.

What if I don't live in the US or Canada?

We hope to develop better alternatives for other countries in the future. In the meantime, if you're in the UK or Europe, Ethical Consumer offers a well researched Amazon Alternatives resource for that little piece of Earth.

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