The editors of Consumer Reports ShopSmart have been on a virtual shopping spree and can help you find deals on almost anything.
Price-comparison search engines are a must. They can save you time, and they can save you money, too. But ShopSmart's research found that some are definitely better than others.
ShopSmart assembled a virtual shopping basket of eight items, including New Balance sneakers, an Avatar DVD, and a Samsung netbook. Editors searched for each product at 25 price-comparison sites. They wanted to see which found the best prices and were easy to use.
Some turned out to be a waste of time. On Shopping.com, a search for the Avatar DVD turned up paintball goggles.
But one search engine identified the lowest prices for six of the items, including at least a $100 savings on that netbook. That top site is PriceGrabber.com. And it does a lot more than compare prices.
PriceGrabber will calculate taxes and shipping for you so that you can compare apples to apples. And if you don't like any of the prices you see, you can sign up for e-mail price alerts that will let you know when the prices drop! For shoppers, that means no good deal will go undiscovered in no time at all.
Consumer Reports ShopSmart says for the best results when comparing prices, use a product's model number. Also, the magazine found that it's worth using price-comparison search engines for small items as well as big ones. Prices do change, but ShopSmart found that the best sites turned up savings from about $10 on a hardcover novel to almost $400 on binoculars.