Comparison Shopping
-choosing the right product at the right price!

Comparison shopping serves multiple purposes:

  • It helps you understand what various advertised product features mean. For instance, when I wanted to buy a digital camera, I was confused about high vs. low megapixels, SLR vs. regular cameras, autofocus vs. manual focus and so on.
  • It helps compare the features of different brands of the same product (e.g. Sony vs. Nikon vs. Canon vs. Olympus in digital cameras).
  • It informs you of different stores (both online and in your local area) where a particular brand is available, alongwith price and other financing terms, discounts or deals.
  • It provides reliability ratings and warranty information
  • Where applicable, it lets you know where you can get used or preowned versions of a product.

Without doubt, one of the most reliable sources for comparison shopping, as reported by our readers, is Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is an independent, non-profit organization that tests and rates different brands for a variety of products. They make money through end-user subscriptions, and do not accept advertising. Hence they are more credible as an impartial information source. Consumer Reports publishes magazines and buying guides every month. But they also have a great website. I would strongly recommend subscribing to their website for online brand comparisons - it costs around $26 per year. Alternatively, when you are about to make a big purchase like a refrigerator or a camera, subscribe to the website temporarily for just a month (around $6). That will enable you to compare models, features and prices before committing your money.

Another good website is Angie's List. This site allows you to compare services (like plumbers, electricians, contractors, childcare) just like Consumer Reports compares products. But the subscription service is slightly expensive (around $75 per annum), though a monthly option is also available.

Some other sites for comparison shopping are listed below - these are more 'commercial' in nature and present the same information in different ways, but are still useful, before you embark on your next high value purchase.

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