Instacart vs Doordash – A comparison between consumers and drivers

You want the food delivered to your home as soon as possible. You tap your phone and see a pair of options staring at you – DoorDash and Instacart.

Which one do you choose?

This article helps you answer that question.

However, this is not the only question we will answer here. DoorDash and Instacart both use freelancers as the mainstays of their business. If you're a budding driver, you need to know which company gives you the best return on your time investment.

This article also helps you answer that question.

So, which is better between DoorDash and Instacart? Let's find out for both consumers and drivers.

Instacart vs. DoorDash for consumers

With both apps available on Android and Apple devices and accepting Apple and Android Pay, there seems to be little to separate Instacart and DoorDash. However, they differ in several respects, including the specific markets they serve.

DoorDash is a restaurant food delivery service that provides access to over 110 restaurants in the United States and Canada. Instacart is more like a personal shopping app as it connects you to local grocery stores rather than restaurants. Yet both have the main offering of delivering food to your doorstep at an affordable price. Let's look at the specifics of each app's service to consumers.

variety of food

Both apps offer a huge range of food varieties. By allowing consumers to order products such as Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Baskin-Robbins and many more, DoorDash offers a comprehensive selection of restaurant-quality dishes.

However, Instacart offers access to many grocery retailers, including Whole Foods, Safeway, and Costco. Plus, you can add any food, including fresh fruit and even treats for your pets, to your order.

For sheer variety, Instacart comes out on top. However, DoorDash still offers plenty of options, including access to vegan and gluten-free restaurants for people with specific dietary needs.

Delivery tracking

Both apps allow users to track their orders in real time through their apps. In the case of Instacart, you receive a notification when your driver is on the way. Opening the app reveals a map you can use to check the driver's progress. You can even give your driver instructions by tapping on the 'Chat with customer' option.

DoorDash works the same way, with a map appearing in the app as soon as a driver agrees to deliver your order. You can also contact your driver using the "text" or "call" buttons in the app. However, some restaurants use their own delivery drivers, which the app may not track.

Both Instacart and DoorDash do a great job of notifying users of the delivery status of their order.

Shipping costs

DoorDash entices customers by offering $1 shipping for the first month of using the service. After that, delivery is $5,99 per standard order, although some restaurants can order up to $8 per delivery. You may also need to pay additional fees, such as an extra $2 for small orders.

Instacart offers free shipping on your first order. Thereafter, its fees start from $3,99 for orders over $35, with additional fees charged for same-day, club, and small-quantity deliveries. However, you can also subscribe to Instacart Express, which offers unlimited deliveries for an annual fee of $149. You also have to pay high order fees if the estimated combined weight of your items is over 50 pounds. The minimum order for Instacart delivery is $10, while DoorDash has no minimum delivery requirements.

With both services offering similar delivery rates, it's hard to pick a winner in this category. DoorDash comes out on top thanks to its simpler pricing structure.


Instacart and DoorDash cover thousands of cities in the United States and Canada, with DoorDash also offering services in Japan and Australia. In total, DoorDash currently operates in over 7 cities. Instacart is a little more reluctant with its coverage areas. However, you can use the "Locations" to see if your city is covered.

With both national coverage and services to Canadian citizens, DoorDash and Instacart are nearly neck and neck in this category. However, DoorDash wins because it has expanded to countries that Instacart does not currently serve.

Instacart vs DoorDash – consumer results

Instacart and DoorDash offer fast delivery, reasonable fees, and a wide range of dining options. They are also both growing businesses that already cover much of the United States and large swathes of Canada. In the end, little separates companies based on the quality of their service.

Rather, your choice comes down to the type of food delivery you are looking for. If you want to order restaurant-quality pre-cooked meals, DoorDash is the service for you. However, those who want their groceries delivered, along with a range of other items, will find they need it with Instacart.

Instacart vs DoorDash for Drivers

Both Instacart and DoorDash use self-employed delivery drivers, taking advantage of the "gig economy." Prospective drivers will want to know which of the two does best to protect them while they work and, most importantly, which service will allow them to generate the most revenue.

The article will now consider which service is best for delivery drivers.

To be employed

DoorDash and Instacart both offer security features designed to protect drivers and customers. They screen their drivers by doing background checks before hiring. Both also have a detailed set of requirements that a driver must meet before working for the service.

The requirements for Per Dash are:

  • Drivers must be at least 18 years old.
  • Drivers must own a car or scooter. Some drivers may also use bicycles in some cities.
  • Drivers must provide their social security and driver's license numbers.
  • The driver must consent to a background check.

For Instagram:

  • The driver must be at least 18 years old.
  • Drivers must be authorized to work in the United States.
  • Successful applicants must be able to lift 50 pounds without additional accommodation.
  • The driver needs constant access to a vehicle.
  • The driver must have a recent smartphone. Currently, Instacart specifies at least Android 5.0 or iPhone 6s.
  • The driver must consent to a background check.

Thus, the hiring process for each service is quite similar, leaving little choice between the two.

Payment options

With Instacart, you have the option of being a full-service or in-store shopper.

Full-service shoppers collect user orders from stores and deliver them. They keep 100% of tips given to them by users and earn a fixed amount based on the size of each order. This can correspond to an average hourly rate between $11 and $25. You are also classified as an independent contractor with this option, which means you can set your own hours.

As an in-store shopper, you earn an hourly wage, which is determined as a result of your application and outlined in the offer letter you receive from Instacart. You work contract shifts up to a maximum of 29 hours per week, with little flexibility.

On the other hand, DoorDash drivers receive a base payment calculated using several order factors. These include the cost of the order, the distance and travel time, and how desirable the order might be to a driver. Plus, DoorDash drivers also keep 100% of their tips. Generally speaking, the hourly wage can range from $12 to $17, and all DoorDash drivers are treated as independent contractors.

DoorDash operates during peak hours, when drivers can earn more money per delivery. The service also offers “Challenges” which allow drivers to earn extra money for reaching milestones, such as completing a set number of deliveries per week.

Both services allow drivers to cash out daily and offer similar payment structures. However, DoorDash seems to offer a more stable hourly income, with Instacart offering higher earning potential with more complex orders.

Driver Rating Systems

Instacart and DoorDash offer users the ability to rate their drivers.

Instacart allows users to rate drivers on a five-star scale. The rating a driver sees is the average of their last 100 deliveries. The closer your average rating is to five stars, the more likely you are to receive desired batch requests first. Unfortunately, having a lower rating limits the batch requests a driver receives, allowing them to earn less money.

DoorDash uses a similar 5-point rating system, with drivers' ratings also being the average of their most recent 100 deliveries. However, having a lower rating has less impact on the number of delivery requests a driver receives, giving them plenty of opportunities to increase their ratings. Drivers who consistently achieve high ratings are also invited to the "Top Dasher Program", giving them priority access to orders during off-peak times.

Instacart vs DoorDash – the pilot results

Both services have similar hiring requirements, so drivers should have no problem working as long as they're of legal age, have proper transportation, and pass a background check.

DoorDash seems to offer more stable compensation. Its rating system also has less impact on the income a driver can earn. However, Instacart rewards its higher rated drivers with more valuable orders, allowing them to earn more money than they could earn with DoorDash.

Now we would like to hear from you. As a consumer or driver of either service, do you have any experiences you would like to share? Do you think DoorDash or Instacart could improve their services? Let us know below.

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