Real-world shopping isn't exactly on the cards right now and there's always something special about getting some surprise post – which is why we've rounded up the best subscription boxes you can sign up to right now.
Our subscription picks cover a wide range of subjects, including vinyl, camera film, comics and healthy meals. So whatever your tastes and hobbies, you'll likely find something that'll bring a smile to your face when you inevitably forget about signing up.
Of course, many subscription boxes also make great gifts, so the choices below are well worth considering for the tech or pop culture fan in your life. Particularly if you can't physically meet them to hand over a birthday present in person.
We'll be updating this page regularly, but right now these are our favourite subscription boxes around – so in no particular order, let's get browsing...
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Best subscription boxes at a glance:
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- Wax & Stamp
- Loot Crate
- Watch Gang
- Cool Film
- Gadget Discovery Club
- The Retro
- Mindful Chef
- Snack at Franks
Wax & Stamp
- Best for: music lovers
- What do you get? Two hand-picked vinyl records a month
- How much? £30 per month
Yes, Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist is a decent way to unearth new music, but it doesn't exactly have the human touch of Wax & Stamp. If you (or your birthday friend) has a turntable, then its subscription service makes for a lovely monthly treat.
Once you're signed up Wax & Stamp will send you two records (one album and one EP or single) in the post, along with a monthly letter talking about its choices. Previous records have included Snail Mail (pictured) and Todd Terje's 'Inspector Norse'. Before it became massive, of course.
- Best for: Gamers and TV fans
- What do you get? A crate of assorted goodies related to your chosen theme
- How much? Prices range from £9 to £59 per month
In this world of instant digital gratification it's sometimes nice to have a good, old-fashioned analogue object to go with the game, movie or TV show you're currently obsessed with – and that's where Loot Crate comes in.
This subscription service is as obsessed with pop culture as you are and proves it with crates of collectibles, apparel, accessories and figures that it delivers to your door every month. The themes cover everything from Fallout to Harry Potter, via Rick and Morty. If you can't decide, you can just go for a broader Loot Crate which will serve up themes like 'agents' containing a mix of James Bond, Batman and Archer.
- Best for: Horologists
- What do you get? A new watch from a different maker every month
- How much? Prices range from $50 to $300 per month
If you don't know your crowns from your chronographs, or simply want to start a new watch collection, then Watch Gang could be the monthly subscription box for you. Once you've answered a few questions on your preferred style, Watch Gang will send you a new timepiece every month that it guarantees to be higher value than what you paid.
There are three tiers of membership (original, black and platinum) and whichever one you choose you'll be automatically entered into a daily competition to win a Rolex, TAG Heuer or Seiko. Shipping varies depending on where you live – the basic rate for the US is $9.82, while for the UK it's $19.82 USD and in Australia you'll need to pay US$34.82.
- Best for: Retro snappers
- What do you get? Two rolls of mystery film every month.
- How much? Prices start at £15.50 per month.
Smartphone cameras are great, but they're also a little bit clinical and soulless. If you still prefer the distinctive character variation of 35mm (or 120mm) film, then Cool Film is your new monthly friend.
In each bundle it packs two rolls of 35mm or 120mm film with a description of what you can expect, whether that's the vibrant colours of Fujicolor's Pro 400H or the atmospheric, monochrome charm of an Ilford HP5 Plus.
Gadget Discovery Club
- Best for: Tech fanatics
- What do you get? A new gadget every month.
- How much? Prices start at £24.99 per month, with annual subscriptions also available.
You're reading TechRadar, so you're clearly already a big tech fan. But if you miss that Christmas morning feeling of a gadget surprise, then this subscription is here to give you a taste of the good old days.
The Gadget Discovery Club might not send you the latest iPhone, instead focusing on smaller brands in areas like wearables, smart home tech and headphones. But it claims that each box is valued at around twice the price you pay and if you've already got one of the items it sends, there's a 30-day money back guarantee to help you return it.
Sign up to Gadget Discovery Club
- Best for: Comics book fans and nostalgists
- What do you get? Five hand-picked comics a month
- How much? £14.95 a month
The Retro does subscription boxes for vinyl, classic video games and even cassettes, but its most unique offering is its comics box, which it started back in 2014. Choose your favourite fictional characters (from Iron Man to Doctor Who) or universe, and it'll send out five hand-picked comics in the first week of every month.
It guarantees no duplicates, promises that all comics will be boarded and bagged, and says it sources copies from independent comic book stores around the UK. You can also tweak your tastes at any time to start broadening your collection too.
Sign up to The Retro Comics subscription
- Best for: Lego fans
- What do you get? A themed box of Lego sets every month.
- How much? £24.99 per month
A fine gift for kids and big kids alike, this Lego box subscription will send you a themed box of official sets to tinker with and build every month.
What kind of builds do you get? They tend to focus on smaller sets, with the most recent BrickBox following the theme of Lego Jungle. This included a Jungle Starters Set with three minifigures, the Jungle Buggy and a Jungle ATV Polybag, allowing you create a little themed world with pieces that all work together. There are various plans available too, with the 12-month option bringing the monthly price down.
- Best for: Healthy eaters
- What do you get? A weekly box containing two to five meals.
- How much? Prices start at around £21 for two meals.
Launched in 2015, the Mindful Chef takes the healthy, environmentally-friendly approach to the meal subscription box. Its recipes are all approved by nutritionists, and the ingredients are all apparently gluten-free, dairy-free and ethically sourced, with no refined carbs. Even better, every meal you buy also sees one donated one to a child in poverty thanks to its collaboration with 'One Feeds Two'.
After you've chosen a delivery slot, you pick between two and five recipes from its menu of 16 options, with the amounts tailored to how many people you're cooking for (one-person sizes are available). Delivery is free across the UK and there's no contract either, so you can cancel at any time.
Snack at Franks
- Best for: Furry friends
- What do you get? A monthly pack of healthy dog treats, plus a surprise toy
- How much? £22.79 per month
It isn't just humans who deserve a monthly treat through the letterbox – dogs can also get a gift box of healthy snacks too thanks to this bark-worthy subscription service.
Sign up to Snack at Franks and it'll send you four 50g snack packs, three long-lasting chews, and a surprise toy every month. The snacks are apparently low in fat and suitable for all dogs, even those with allergies or diabetes. Delivery is free across the UK too, and the snacks range from Rabbit Stew to Chicken Nuggets.
Of course, there's still nothing quite like having a high-quality magazine land on your doormat, and here at Future Publishing we have a huge variety of those. To see some of the latest offers check out the links below.