Gentleman’s Box vs. SprezzaBox: The Comprehensive Showdown
As you are no doubt aware, we have spent quite a bit of time on this site reviewing the various different monthly subscription box services for men. Each one has its own niche, and promises to deliver something every month that will get you excited to open the box. Perhaps the two most popular, and most similar services, are Gentleman’s Box and SprezzaBox. They are both “men’s accessories” boxes that will run you about $30 a month (see more on this below), promising to deliver a bunch of men’s style pieces each month, like a tie, tie clip, pocket square, cologne sample, socks, and so on. Sometimes, they’ll also throw in a curve ball, something more along the lines of a cool bottle opener, a nice pen, or similar items that the modern “gentleman” might like.
The fact of the matter is that both of these services are super similar, and many guys want to know what the difference between the two might be, and which is better overall. Because, and I can say this right off the bat, you definitely do not need to be subscribed to both of these services. They are similar enough that one would suffice.
We here at The Peak Lapel have now spent enough time reviewing both of these services that we think we can pretty fairly and officially declare a winner between the two. Let’s run through the various categories and see which service comes out on top!
SprezzaBox: To start, you of course get the typical socks, ties, and pocket squares in each box. It’s usually two of those three items. The brands vary — usually smaller, lesser-known companies, though occasionally ones you might have heard of — and there is almost always something included from Sprezza’s own brand (the quality of which is on par with most other brands they would put in their boxes). Their styles have always been nice, and well-themed — each time matching the other items in the box. They definitely seem to lean a bit more on the conservative side over Gentleman’s Box, sending more basic patterns and colors. While both boxes offer similar items, SprezzaBox seems to do a much, much better job at the more unique, interesting items. For instance, they once included a pair of headphones and a nice cologne sample, a bottle opener and toothpaste, and that is not to mention the month they included both a solid watch and a nice, classy pen! SprezzaBox also generally includes six items (except for when one item is much more expensive), while Gentleman’s Box includes no more than five (just about always). Overall, I love the fact that Sprezza includes not only solid, classic staples like ties, pocket squares, and socks, but also branches out to interesting and unique other products in addition to the classics, like watches, grooming accessories, and more. You never know what you will get in addition to the basics when it comes to SprezzaBox — they have really hit it out of the park a number of months with what they have included. You can rest assured, though, that you are in good hands, and the items you get will be well-liked.
Gentleman’s Box: There is, as mentioned, the standard ties, pocket squares, and socks. Again, you will likely get some combination of this every month. I don’t like their styling choices quite as much as Sprezza. Gentleman’s Box seems to play a bit more edgy when it comes to colors, combinations, and matching. They one time included light blue polkadot socks with buttons, and a bright orange tie clip. While these sorts of boxes are indeed a good time to step outside of your comfort zone, sometimes it is a bit too far out, and the items end up sitting in a drawer, wasted. Gentleman’s Box usually only includes five items, and their more unique items fall way short of Sprezza’s. While there was one box I thought was great, with a nice wallet and a face wash, all the other boxes had real mess-ups in them. There was that time they included a super cheap lapel pin, not to mention the disaster-of-a-box that was their suspenders and a balloon box (yes, you read that correctly). So, getting to a discussion about quality (see more below), Sprezza seems to have a much better idea as to when to bother with a certain item or not given their budgetary restrictions for each box. When Sprezza included headphones, they were solid-enough quality. I did not feel like they were crap. Gentleman’s Box recently included a manicure set, and it was super cheap-feeling, and thus next to useless (except for a real backup/emergency). Before concluding, I should take the time to mention that Gentleman’s Box does also include their “Gentleman’s Post” which is a mini-magazine detailing the various products, giving styling suggestions, and one or two brief men’s style related articles. This is much nicer and more elaborate that the simple card SprezzaBox includes listing all the included items, so kudos to Gentleman’s Box on this. Overall, though, SprezzaBox seems far more free with their slightly higher monthly budget (see below), while Gentleman’s Box seems restricted because of their lower budget.
As far as quality is concerned, both of these services pretty much bring the same thing to the table. You are not going to be getting top of the line quality in either box as the prices are so low. You are getting more value for what you are paying based on the sticker price of each item, so don’t expect anything from Tom Ford to arrive in one of your boxes. There is typically one higher quality item, and then the rest of the items are either middle of the road, or lower quality. For instance, you might get a 100% silk tie, but then the pocket square is made up of synthetic materials, and so on. Both boxes are priced comparably, and so neither really does anything super different from the other in this regard.
That all being said, the general quality of the items in these boxes is generally more than passable. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s fine, and sometimes it’s meh. I have never seen something in either box that was flat out awful or total crap, though neither have I seen something that was so super nice it was of particular note. It’s very middle of the road.
On that note, when it comes to the more unusual items, there seems to be no question that Sprezza takes the edge there, as discussed above. Thus, overall, since it’s a draw with the main items, and advantage Sprezza when it comes to the rest, it has to take the win here.
WINNER: SprezzaBox takes the slight edge
SprezzaBox: The first box I received from Sprezza took way too long to arrive. It was delayed for over a week, and simply read “Out For Delivery” on the tracking site with USPS. I contacted Sprezza about this and they said that they knew it was an issue, and would be switching to DHL for future deliveries, and I have to say that since then, I have not had an issue with them at all. All the boxes arrive in a week (give or take) from when they ship out.
Gentleman’s Box: I have never had any issues with shipping here. It’s always reasonably quick — a week or so, give or take depending on the month.
WINNER: Draw (While Sprezza had issues at the beginning, in recent months, and ever since then, they have both been exactly the same when it comes to shipping, really.)
Price & Value
The real question when it comes to these boxes is that of value. The companies claim that you are always getting a collection of items worth many times the price of what you paid for the box (so, if even one or two of the items are something you like, you come out “ahead”). This is technically true, but my original thoughts on the subject are still very important:
"I cannot help but feel a little bit scammed when it comes to all of these new subscription box services. The way that they promise you a value two or three times (or more) of what you paid always seems to rub me the wrong way. Sure, at retail price, you've gotten more than what you paid for. And I understand that they surely worked with these companies to offer these products at such a good deal in exchange for the exposure. And typical reviewers of these boxes always explain that if you get even one or two items that you like, you've come out ahead (as they likely total $25 or more by themselves). But what this all seems to be missing is that what, really, is a box of stuff from companies that no one has ever heard of actually worth? Do you not usually buy things on sale anyway, and thus aren't the sticker prices on these items irrelevant? The retail price of these items is surely more than $25, but you now have a monthly expense that you otherwise would not have had, for a box of unknown items.
Of course, none of this is a secret, it's just important to be aware of. In fact, many people will tell you this is all exactly the point of these boxes: to discover new products from obscure brands that you otherwise never would have had access to, and have them delivered to you neatly in a box without lifting a finger, even if that means some items will sit unused in a drawer somewhere. Maybe I just need to warm up more to this business model. After all, I can say personally that it was a heck of a lot of fun to open up my box of surprises, and I'm very much looking forward to using all the products within it that I actually can get use out of. That's no small thing."
With that in mind, let’s proceed…
SprezzaBox: $28 per month (though you can almost always find crazy deals on Facebook, etc., to get a box or two for much, much less).
Gentleman’s Box: $25 per month (plus you also get a free GQ subscription).
WINNER: SprezzaBox. While the GQ subscription is nice, you can get those for a few dollars, if not for free, many places online. Plus, that is not why you order a subscription box. For just a few dollars more a month (not to mention all the available SprezzaBox deals), you get one more item in each box, what I think are better stylists selecting the patterns and colors for each box, and, most importantly, far better items beyond the mainstay ties, pocket squares, and socks.
FINAL WINNER: SprezzaBox!
If you ask The Peak Lapel, we wholeheartedly recommend that, if you are going to get just one of these two boxes, it should be SprezzaBox! The difference in price is essentially negligible, and for that money, you get more items and better items, leading to a more exciting unboxing experience every month. It’s a lot of fun, and if you’re considering getting into these monthly box services, SprezzaBox is the place to start!
(Next up we will consider how the pricier Bespoke Post fits into all of this! Stay tuned…)