Tips for Buying Better Eggs

Cage-free, free-range, humane, organic—there are a lot of egg options out there. So what’s best to buy? “It really comes down to your personal preferences and concerns,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It. Below, she helps us decode the most common labels so you can make an informed decision:


These hens are uncaged inside barns, but they don’t necessarily have outdoor access and still may be kept in close quarters. There are also no regulations on food or conditions.

Free-range or free-roaming

“A lot of people think free-roaming hens are high-fiving each other in the field,” says Taub-Dix. But it really just means birds have access to the out- doors—there are no requirements for the space provided, how much time they spend outside, or what they’re fed.

Certified Humane

This label indicates that the farm has undergone a third-party inspection to ensure that the animals have clean food and water, are uncaged, and can move around freely. These hens are also kept on a diet free of hormones and antibiotics (unless they’re sick), although the feed is not necessarily organic.

USDA Organic

These hens are fed an organic, vegetarian diet free of antibiotics and pesticides. The birds are not caged and may have access to the outdoors, but there’s no requirement for how much time is spent outside or the quality of the outdoor environment.

See to see how name-brand eggs compare.