Deal Finders

Illustration by Gordon Studer.
Illustration: Gordon Studer
With comparison-shopping sites to guide the way, you can find enormous savings on your favorite tech (and nontech) products--everything from cameras to PCs, and from diapers to bottled water.

But the Web has so many comparison sites to choose from--how do you know which are worth a visit? To save you time, I did the legwork for you. First I sorted through 20 new and old pricing engines and then settled on 9 worth using.

While some of them--NexTag, PriceGrabber, and Yahoo Shopping--are old-timers, others, including Become.com, PriceRunner.com, and Smarter.com, are new to the scene. Still others have undergone recent changes: MSN revamped its shopping channel, Shopping.com is now an eBay company, and Shopzilla is the new name for BizRate.com. (Full disclosure: PriceGrabber and Yahoo link to PC World's reviews; PriceGrabber powers PCWorld.com's price-comparison engine, Product Finder, as well.)

To test each site's price-comparison prowess, I searched for Canon's PowerShot SD550 digital camera, Maxtor's OneTouch II 300GB external hard drive, and Pioneer's DVR-633H-S DVD player/ recorder. I also looked at each site's organization, interface, and extras. Overall, I preferred PriceRunner over the competition. Cheapskates will also find bargains at Yahoo Shopping. And research fanatics will find that PriceGrabber provides good tools, such as product reviews and merchant information, before you buy.

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