Buying Cheap Tech Gadgets Online

Posted by matt on April 30, 2008

garmin-nuvi-360-booting-up.jpgSo as someone who buys a lot of electronics (about 1 ‘thing’ a week), people always wonder how / why / where I get all these things. The “why” is somewhat of an addiction, so I won’t get into that, but the “where” and the “how did you get product x at y price?!” is something I can help you out with.

I’m a cheapskate at heart, and always look for the best deals. High quality is equally important though, so I do spend some time making sure I’m getting the correct solution to whatever problem I’m trying to solve (or whatever problem I first create, then try to solve!). While digging around can be time consuming, I’ve found a few resources that have helped me and saved me a ton:

Bensbargains.net - This is probably the best consumer electronic resource to get an idea of what’s out there. Ben scours the Internet for great deals and posts 50+ of them a day. Search becomes key here. If you are looking for something, lets say a 750GB hard drive, simply type in 750GB into his search and BAM, some of the best deals you’ll find. I (somewhat guiltily) check this site a couple times a day, as the best deals sell out fast. Don’t miss the ‘discuss’ portion of each deal, as you can learn about an item or read some humorous comments.

Slickdeals.net - This one is a little more causal, as there are only a few select deals out there each day. I do check this one, but not as often (Bens probably already has these deals on his site). The forums are excellent here though, with lots of great content–often where the deals come from in the first place.

Woot.com - I’ve been buying stuff off woot since the first month they launched (back in summer of 2004). Four years later, it’s still the best version of what’s out there, which is a site that offers one item per day (at midnight CST) until it’s sold out, or the next day rolls around. There have been many other rip-off type sites like midnight box and ThingFling, but woot still has game. Great deals, above-average podcasts and some of the best copy writing you’ll see. I usually check this everyday as well.

Newegg.com - I’m a long-time shopper of newegg, and if I’m building a new computer system, I just get all the parts from here. You can shop around at a bunch of different sites and maybe get a better deal, but you’ll get killed by multiple shipping charges and it’s a hassle. Also, newegg’s return policy is excellent, so if you have an issue you are covered. The user reviews are top-notch, and you can really get unbiased opinions. For instance, if you are looking for a laptop, check out the current laptop deals. You can usually find something for as good or better than any Best Buy or Circuit City. Shipping is really fast too.

Amazon - It’s obviously more than books, Amazon is excellent for electronics. I usually get a lot of my camera stuff there because if they don’t have it as the cheapest, they will link someone who does. Amazon should be part of your search, as it’s always one of the best online shopping experiences around.

Google Products (froogle)- As a sanity check on bigger ticket items, I’ll hop on Google product search and see if I can find some competitive offers. I’d rather pay a little more and get from a site I’ve worked with, but if it’s a lot less, I might gamble. You can’t find new good sites if you don’t do this… Beware though, there are a lot of rip-off sites out there, especially for camera stuff. If you see a price too good to be true for camera equipment, it’s probably one of the sites in Brooklyn, NY who are waiting to screw you over. Google the company name and avoid if you find a ton of bad reviews. You even have to beware of fake review sites that these guys set up! Do your homework if you go this route.

Others - Pricewatch was once the resource that I always went to, but haven’t used it since switching to froogle. You can usually find just as good a deal on Newegg or a link off bens (which may be to buy.com or another quality site) so it’s not worth looking on there. Finally as a last resort, many might use eBay, but I have already bought great deals off of Bens, and see them going for more used on eBay. It just shows you that eBay isn’t always the cheapest, plus you have a lot of unknowns to deal with in those types of transactions.

Those are the big ones for me. I average 50+ transactions a year doing this and have saved $100’s… so what sites do you use?

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Posted under reviews, tech gadgets
  1. nemolian Said,

    I’ve used Buy quite a bit in the past. I like the free shipping they offer. They still have really good deals I just have to coolest toy money can buy (a baby). Now I use Amazon for most everything…that Prime membership has to pay for itself somehow.

  2. tralewolf Said,

    The best gadget site out there for cheap made in china random stuff is dealextreme.com. Everything ships free (with fast shipping available) and the service is actually very good for a chinese wholesaler, they speak real english! They’ve got a lot of knockoffs but more originals and even some “un-branded” OEM hardware. If you’ve never been there check it out, you’d be surprised how much markup there is on some things. They are still adding products almost daily now. The only downside is that many items are not actually in stock and have to be ordered from the manufacturer before they can ship it to you which could add several days.

  3. matt Said,

    dealextreme.com does look pretty cool, thanks for sharing! Nice that they have rankings so you can get a good idea of what’s good and what truly is junk.

  4. GoldCoaster Said,

    I like dealextreme.com for cheap gadgets (well sometimes cheap quality too). And free postage worldwide , even for ipod looking earbuds that are $1.80.
    oops some already posted about them.

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