Buying a computer is a HUGE purchase, not only in terms of money, but because (if you're anything like us) you have a relationship with your computer, spending long hours staring into the soft glow of the screen. Whether you're a Mac lover or a die-hard PC user, we've got a few recommendations for the best places to shop.
- Apple Outlet (Online): Apple has always sold refurbished product through their website, but they've also expanded into a full blown Apple outlet. You won't be getting the latest tech buying from this store, but what you will get is good value and a warranty to boot.
- Amazon.com (Online): Amazon.com features almost anything you could want. In addition to the regular electronics and computers sections, the Outlet, Used and Refurbished sections are just as large with the possibility of finding some good deals if you're lucky.
- Buy.com (Online): With pretty much any electronic gizmo you could need or want at what looks to be pretty good pricing, it seems that they are spot on. In particular, the hot deals section is probably worth a regular look, as a different product is offered at a reduced price every day.
- TigerDirect.com (Online): We have used Tiger Direct before and found the online shopping experience to be painless and shipping quick. The site offers a rebate center for easy access to coupons and manufacturers' discounts, a product clearance center, and a recycle for cash program.
- NewEgg.com (Online): NewEgg.com is one of the largest e-retailers for computers, TVs, and other tech gear at reasonable prices. We've recommended it before as a place to buy tech for less, and we frequently check in with their sales and clearance section.
- Abt Electronics (Chicago/Online): We came across Abt Electronics haphazardly while looking for the best price on a printer on Pricegrabber. We found good prices and a variety of appliances from computers to refrigerators, all under the same roof. A traditional "mom and pop" store founded in 1936, Abt Electronics is located in Chicago but serves the entire US through its website.
- RePC (Seattle/Online): RePC (Recycled Computers and Peripherals) with two locations in the Seattle area and online, is just one example of a store that allows us to revamp, reuse or recycle our old gadgets.
- Frys (Various Locations/Online): You can find yourself any manner of PC (they serve all religions here, Wintel and Apple), monitor, input device, wireless keyboard or mouse, and needed accoutrement.
- Small Dog Electronics (Vermont/Online): Small Dog Electronics is a father and son-owned Apple store with a penchant for dogs. Championing itself as a socially responsible business, it is proud of its charitable contributions and offers an e-cycling service at its retail locations.
- Microcenter (Various Locations/Online): It's a smaller brick and mortar chain that has twenty locations nationwide and offers a great alternative to the suburban Best Buy. In the Return aisle, you can find returned items at greatly reduced prices.
Photo: Sony VAIO from Tiger Direct