According to a 2022 survey, more than 75% of Americans consume at least one daily dietary supplement. These include everything from multivitamins to male enhancement pills with various ingredient lists, prices, and efficacy. And for all the different supplements, there seem to be just as many marketplaces devoted to their sale.
That should be no surprise since the supplement industry is on pace for continued growth, despite occasional research reports trying to torpedo it. One week the headlines read that supplements pose no meaningful benefit, while the next week, a study comes out with impressive, peer-reviewed data saying otherwise.
As is the case with food, there are certain supplements you might take that will genuinely make you feel better. If a product’s clinical research shows it’s safe and effective, we recommend giving it a shot to see if it works for you. That might lead to a bit of guesswork, so having a reliable place to buy various supplements is critical.
iHerb is one such retailer who sets themselves apart by offering customers greater convenience — and often lower prices — than their competitors. In this review, we'll tell you everything you need to know about iHerb's product lineup, subscription options, and hidden features to make the most out of your shipping experience.
iHerb offers a staggering array of products, many of which they price to compete with brand websites. Subscription offers add convenience and a great way to save, and there's a 90-day money-back guarantee on iHerb branded products. We recommend iHerb more often than not as a way to save money and discover new products.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service or product we review. Our content provides you, our readers, with an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality and the latest medical evidence and health standards. We ask ourselves two simple questions: Would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren't part of our job? Would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
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iHerb is an online retailer with over 1,200 brands and more than 30,000 products in their catalog. Their primary focus is nutritional supplements, but the site also offers:
You'll likely recognize many of the brands iHerb stocks, and you may even find supplements you're already taking listed on their site for less than you usually pay. You'll find products from the likes of:
In addition to partnerships with all of these brands, iHerb has branded products of their own. None fly the iHerb company flag as their product name, but all live under iHerb as a parent company. All told, iHerb currently produces 22 brands that offer supplements, beauty products, superfoods, sports nutrition, and more.
The most bountiful of iHerb's brands is California Gold Nutrition, a brand with nearly 350 products. Vitamins and supplements from California Gold are all third-party tested for quality, efficacy, and safety. Blended supplements with targeted goals like brain health or immune support don't overcomplicate things, either. Their ingredient lists are streamlined and consist only of what has been shown to work.
iHerb branded products often cost less than similar products on the website, most likely because the company has more control over production costs and less overhead than they would buying from a third party. And iHerb Brand products carry a 90-day money-back guarantee, whereas all other products on the site can only be returned unopened within 60 days. So if there's any supplement you want to try but are unsure if it will work for you, going through an iHerb Brand guarantees your experience for up to three months.
Third-party testing is one of the most effective ways that companies can communicate to their customers both the exact purity and quality of their products and their commitment to transparency. We almost always recommend products that put themselves through third-party testing over those that don't. Some companies prefer in-house testing (or no testing at all) because it's less expensive. Other companies pay for third-party testing but fail to adequately communicate that to potential customers.
Some companies prefer in-house testing (or no testing at all) because it's less expensive. Other companies pay for third-party testing but fail to adequately communicate that to potential customers. All iHerb Brand products undergo third-party testing, which you can verify when you see the iTested badge at the top of a product page.
The iHerb Rewards program gives you financial credit toward future purchases in exchange for community involvement. You can get points for the following activities:
You'll notice that there aren't rewards granted for buying products. The rewards program is more about building a community than pushing sales. To review a product, you have to actually purchase it, which can create an economic barrier to the program for many users. iHerb has a category called 'Free Products,” which are items you can buy for $1, to compensate for this. If you review them, you get $1 back in credit, making them essentially free. But you'll still have to spend $20 or more to qualify the order for free shipping.
iHerb knows that the more educated their customers are about their health, the more they'll likely spend on health and wellness products. That's where the Learn & Win game comes into play. You have to download the iHerb app to play it. Once you connect your account, you must read daily blog posts and answer related quiz questions correctly to earn rewards.
If you accumulate more than $100 in Rewards credits, you can exchange them for an equivalent amount in cash. But if you go more than 90 days without earning any new credits, existing credits will expire.
iHerb's site represents a vast array of brands, many of which are among the top contenders in the supplements space. Quite often, iHerb will offer these supplements for less than what the original company websites will. Overall, the site is a great value.
Sometimes the savings aren't readily apparent, and some of iHerb's initial pricing may seem higher than you'd pay to go through a company directly. But many companies fail to offer subscription discounts or reasonable thresholds for free shipping. iHerb has autoship programs of some kind on just about all their products. You’ll save 5% on any auto-ship purchase and receive free shipping. And even if you don’t want to sign up for automatic shipments, you can still get free whipping by spending $20 or more.
Here’s a useful chart comparing prices, subscription options, and shipping time for various popular products on iHerb with those products’ company websites. Because some companies offer flat shipping rates and others calculate shipping by location, we’ve used Los Angeles as a sample location for both taxes and shipping.
|Total price||Subscription option||Shipping times|
|NaturesPlus GI Naturals Mega Probiotic||$54.75||2-4 business days|
|NaturesPlus Mega from iHerb||$38.84||2-3 business days|
|Garden of Life Raw B Complex||$25.13||2-5 business days|
|Garden of Life B Complex from iHerb||$21.84||2-3 business days|
|Sunwarrior Active Creatine||$38.76||2-5 business days|
|Sunwarrior Active Creatine from iHerb||$28.05||2-3 business days|
|Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric||$39.99||3-8 business days|
|PureSynergy Turmeric from iHerb||$40.36||2-3 business days|
You’ll notice that a few company websites offer subscription plans, but iHerb offers subscriptions for every product on this list. And while some companies can match iHerb’s fastest shipping estimate, the longest time a product can take to get to you is much longer from competitors than it is from iHerb.
To give you a better sense of cost, this little chart breaks down the savings you can expect from iHerb on various products.
|Price from vendor||Price from iHerb||Savings from iHerb|
|NaturesPlus GI Naturals Mega Probiotic||$54.75||$38.84||$15.91|
|Garden of Life Raw B Complex||$25.13||$21.84||$3.29|
|Sunwarrior Active Creatine||$38.76||$28.05||$10.71|
|Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric||$39.99||$40.36||-$0.37|
The first few examples in the chart show savings ranging from around $4 all the way up to around $16. In most cases, you're also getting the convenience of a subscription plan, and in all cases, you're seeing faster shipping times. Even in the case of Pure Synergy's SuperPure Turmeric, where the cost on iHerb is $0.37 higher, that increase gets you a subscription and faster shipping.
iHerb accepts payments from all major credit cards. They also take PayPal and Apple Pay, and they offer flexible financing options through Klarna.
iHerb's shipping is reliably fast and free on orders over $20. Most supplements have prices that qualify them for free shipping, and you can order some less expensive items in bulk if you want to save on potential shipping costs. If your order is just a few dollars away from free shipping, you can add one of iHerb’s trial size products to get you to $20. Otherwise, you'll pay a flat $4 fee for expedited shipping or a calculated fee for next-day delivery.
iHerb accepts returns on third-party merchandise for up to 60 days, but the item has to be unopened. If you're interested in more of a money-back guarantee, you should use iHerb's search filters to pursue iHerb's proprietary catalog. Any iHerb products are covered for 90 days instead of 60, and you can use the product for the duration of those three months and still receive a refund if you aren't satisfied.
Using iHerb's website is remarkably straightforward. For people who know what they want, it's as simple as using the readily available search function near the top of the page. If you're browsing around or don't know exactly what kind of supplements you need, there are a few other ways to go about your search.
iHerb's site has three drop menus that let you look for products from four angles:
You'll find a list of special requirements under both the 'Shop' and 'Help with' drop menus. Special requirements by which you can search include:
If you aren't entirely sure what kind of supplements you need, you can take the iHerb wellness quiz. The quiz consists of 12 questions designed to evaluate potential health goals based on age, gender, and activity level. At the end of the quiz, you'll get recommendations divided into categories like sports, immunity, or digestion. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but many of those initial recommendations come from iHerb brands.
While iHerb offers a significant quantity of products, other online retailers have similar catalogs and price ranges. Here are some potential alternatives to consider alongside iHerb for some more specialized product categories.
Like iHerb, GNC carries a wide array of supplements for both general wellness and physical fitness. Many of the latter category of products, like protein powders and pre-workouts, are less expensive through GNC. But iHerb has an edge on more general wellness products, and their full product lineup includes categories foreign to GNC, such as pet products.
The Vitamin Shoppe has prices that are nearly identical to iHerb's. You'd have to drill down into various product categories to find major discrepancies. Ultimately, the choice between the two may come down to product availability and slight differences in price. It's also worth noting that The Vitamin Shoppe has a $25 free shipping point compared to the $20 point from iHerb. iHerb also maintains a vast grocery catalog that The Vitamin Shoppe lacks, so if healthful foods are on your shopping list, iHerb may win for sheer convenience.
Vitacost is similar to The Vitamin Shoppe in that they also have a somewhat similar catalog to iHerb but slightly different prices. Some are a bit higher, others a bit lower. But like The Vitamin Shoppe, Vitacost also has a higher free shipping threshold than iHerb — the highest of the three — at $45.
Amazon has a lot of well-priced supplements on their site that provide competitive options over iHerb's catalog. Some of them are also available by subscription, and if you're a Prime member, many of them will ship free and with great speed. However, Amazon hosts many independent sellers, and some of these actors are unreliable. Members of our testing team have received counterfeit or expired supplements through Amazon in the past, and they’re far from alone in this experience. If you can verify the quality of the Amazon seller, you might be able to save a little extra money, but it will require some additional effort.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service or product. In general, we have five broad evaluation areas, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) or product(s)? How is advanced technology used for accuracy and safety? What evidence of effectiveness exists to justify the company's approach? Are manufacturing standards of high quality?
User-friendliness: How intuitive and convenient is the service or product? To what degree is the company interface helpful and understandable?
Value: Are you getting your money's worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, is it stored securely? Are payments secure? Does the company market your information?