This is the third of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need or Part 2 -Find the Best Items for Your Needs .
Part 3 – Find the Best Price from a Source You Can Trust
Once you’ve decided what you need, the next step is to figure out where to buy it. But how do you find the best price? And how do you find a vendor you can trust? This post will give you some ideas on how to do both and some resources to get you started.
Finding the Best Price
There are many price comparison sites available, and you can now even search directly for products from most major search engines. Check our resources page for links. Here are some suggestions to make sure you get the best price:
- Use more than one search tool: Different methods will search a different set of vendors. This is especially important if you’re searching for older or more obscure products.
- Sort by lowest total price for new items: Often the results aren’t sorted by price. Sometimes used items are included in the results. Be careful of prices that seem too good to be true, though. They usually are! See below for more hints.
- Don’t forget shipping and tax: Many sites offer free shipping (often with a minimum purchase) and taxes, of course, will vary based on where you purchase.
- Search for specific models, not for product names: There are often many slightly different models of the same product, especially for things like laptops. You want to compare prices for exactly the same model.
- Make sure that the product is the same one you searched for: Often when you go from your search results to the vendor’s product page you will find it’s for a different product. Verify before purchasing!
- Be sure that everything included: To undercut prices, some disreputable vendors will remove accessories that are supposed to come with an item and try to sell them to you at additional cost. Do you really want to buy a digital camera without a battery?
- Make sure that the item has a full warranty: Sometimes the cheapest prices are for “gray market” or imported items that don’t come with the full manufacturer’s warranty, but are warrantied only directly through the vendor. Look for terms like “Authorized Dealer”, “US Warranty” or “Full Manufacturer’s Warranty” to make sure you’re covered. Read the rest of this entry »