Subscription Box Insanity: BarkBox vs. Petbox (Nov. ’14)

W doing some product testing.

W doing some product testing.

In case you are tuning in for the first time, let me introduce Wednesday, my slightly spoiled fur-baby who is, in reality, a four-year-old Doberman Pinscher. She is beloved, that’s for sure!

To prove it, I’m putting her two (two?!) subscription boxes- BarkBox and Petbox– head to head to see if a clear winner will emerge. (Though who am I kidding? She will probably continue to get both. -sigh-)

Last month I also reviewed a special, limited edition Petbox that I ordered on its own because it supported the movement against domestic violence and abuse. Buy with purpose, my friends!

I’ll also note that the original Petbox subscription was only for three months. So this is the second box and a third and final one should be coming in December, at which point I’ll probably decide if I’m going to keep it.

Hello November showdown!

See my other Petbox reviews here and my other BarkBox reviews here.

THE DETAILS:

BarkBox is for dogs only and allows you to somewhat personalize your monthly boxes based on the size of your pet. So Wednesday’s box is for larger dogs of course. It is normally $29 a month but I decided to get a full year subscription and, with a coupon I had, got the boxes for about $17 a month. Not bad if you have a heavy chewer like we do. We’d spend at least that much a month on chewing bones, treats, and toys that die quick deaths so it saves us some time having them delivered to our door. The monthly price includes shipping and the box will ship throughout the U.S. and Canada. I believe all or most of the items in their boxes are made in the USA.

Petbox caters to both dogs and cats (and even, possibly, other pets like pigs based on a line I read on their site). They do not currently ship outside of the U.S. and a single box from the deluxe plan (2-3 items a box) will run you $19.95 a month (includes shipping). Groupon recently had a deal, so I picked up the three-month deluxe subscription for $32.99 total- i.e. $10.99 a month. One difference with Petbox is that you can be surprised every month or you can hand-pick your items, so there seems to be quite a bit of flexibility. Especially for those of you with both dogs and cats since you can mix items for both pets in one box. Also, for each box shipped they donate a meal to a rescue animal; there is a place on their site for rescue organizations to sign up to be partners.

BARKBOX REVIEW

First look...Turkey Day!

First look…Turkey Day!

This month’s theme for BarkBox is, you guessed it, Turkey day! Here’s the first look and it already looks fun. Wednesday is nosing around trying to lay claim to some items. She and my husband both have a hard time with this aspect of my blog reviews.

Squeaky Turkey Leg toy

Squeaky Turkey Leg toy

The first item I pull out is this Petprojekt Dogmeat Turkey Leg. Wednesday keeps diving in trying to get this which makes me wonder…what about Mr. Bones from last month’s box?! I’ll tell you what about him…W has a new favorite and Mr. Bones is now chopped liver. =/ This retails for $9.57.

Baked Turducken treats

Baked Turducken treats

Next up are treats that represent a meat-esque product that was all the rage once, turducken! These treats are by Feel Good Treat Company and are Slow Roasted Rosemary Turducken. I couldn’t find these retailing online so will have to go with the retail value given by BarkBox which is $6.

Hedgehog chef toy

Hedgehog chef toy

Yay for another toy! This Petmate Chef Heggies is a stuffed one and has a plastic bottle-like element inside. W is interested but these don’t last long against her monster teeth so she will only get this on a special occasion. It retails for about $7.

Organic dog biscuits

Organic dog biscuits

The last item in this box were baked biscuits by Wagatha’s Kitchen Sink. This size retails for approximately $3.65.

There are fewer items in this month’s box than in past boxes. By my calculation, the total dollar value comes to about $26.22. That’s more than the discounted $17 I paid, but slightly less than the normal monthly price of $29…for the second month in a row. I guess I’ll see how Petbox does before evaluating how I feel about that.

PETBOX REVIEW

Petbox is here!

Petbox is here!

First look: We've fed a hungry pet!

First look: We’ve fed a hungry pet!

Our second Petbox has arrived! Their packaging does a great job of reminding you that your purchase has also done some good for a homeless pet.

First look

First look

Here’s the first look. Seems like there are 2-3 items, which is I think on par with what a deluxe box is supposed to get.

Poo bags

Poo bags

The very first item I pull out is much needed. It is a four pack of fully compostable/flushable doodie bags by Flush Puppies. We were running low so this saves a trip to the store. Retail value is $6.49.

Tick Twister

Tick Twister

This O’Tom Tick Twister is also a great item for us. Ticks in my area have an exceptionally long season and we often take W out and about in some more tick-prone areas. So I’m happy to have this item; it retails for about $6.46.

Yummy chew bone

Yummy chew bone

Last but not least is this chew bone which is always welcome in this house. By Barkworthies, it is a smoked, all natural beef shin bone from US livestock.  I found it online for $4.99.

So the grand total value for this box is $17.94. With my coupon I got each box for $10.99 but a normal deluxe box runs for $19.99. So again, this box has a retail value less than what one would pay at normal price.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Okay, so now for the head-to-head comparison:

  • NUMBER of ITEMS: This month’s BarkBox had 4 items– two toys and two treats. Petbox had 3 items– one treat and two non-treat items. BarkBox wins; though the number of items from them this month is less than last month.
  • TOTAL VALUE: Barkbox had a total value of $26.22, or $6.56 per item. Petbox had a total value of $17.94, or $5.98 per item. BarkBox wins.
  • VALUE vs. MONTHLY COST GAIN: I paid $17 for Barkbox, so I experienced a gain of $9.22. I paid $10.99 for Petbox, so I experienced a gain of $6.95. BarkBox wins.
  • INTANGIBLES: W loved the squeaky toy in BarkBox. The doodie bags and tick twister were much needed and new items for us. I say Petbox wins this one.

However, it looks like that BarkBox came out ahead this month…though I’d say just barely since the value of the box seems to be lower than any they have ever sent before. Hoping they both step things up for the December holiday!

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