Comparison shopping is one of the great things about the web. Anybody can compare prices, research brands, read customer feedback and more right from their computer, anytime, day or night. Even visiting vendor sites one at a time is more efficient than driving to malls and stores to compare prices and features. However, online comparison shopping sites make it even easier by letting you search across a number of sites simultaneously.
While most comparison shopping sites offer the basic search, and most are fairly accurate in what they return, some are easier to use than others, and some offer more features. Here, in alphabetical order, are ten of the best, in terms of the quality of their search, their ease of use and the richness of their feature set:
Bing.com – Microsoft’s latest foray into search offers a comparison shopping site with a twist. They give you cash back. That feature alone is enough to put them on the list of the ten best comparison shopping sites, which is a good thing. They are fairly unremarkable otherwise.
Google.com – Froogle, Google’s shopping comparison service, makes the list because of the ease of use of a familiar interface. Other than that, their results are pretty much standard fare.
InStore.com – This is AOL’s comparison shopping site. It has product specs prominently displayed with the results, as well as recommendations for similar products. There is also a nice look and feel with mouse-over effects to enlarge product pictures.
PriceGrabber.com – This site is one of the easier ones on the list to navigate. You comparison shop online for the sake of efficiency; and an intuitive interface goes a long way.
Pronto.com – This site has a sophisticated look and feel, complete with useful mouse-over effects. Again, the comfort of use and ease of navigation can be a big factor in differentiating one comparison shopping site from another.
RoboShopper.com – RoboShopper has a lot of the top features of the other sites in this list. They will tell you the stock status of an item and calculate tax and shipping for you. And although the interface is a bit dated looking, they have one really unique feature, the ability to comparison shop with local merchants by putting in your zip code.
Shop.com – Rather than sending you to the individual merchant sites for product specifications, Shop.com puts them right on their page for you.
Shopper.com – This site does a nice job of combining all of the best features of the other comparison shopping sites in this list. It features a nice interface, product recommendations, stock status, calculation of tax and shipping, etc. It is certainly one of the best, if not the best, comparison shopping sites around.
Shopzilla.com – Well known, this site is another with a very usable interface and standard results.
It should be noted that digital cameras were the products used to conduct searches to evaluate the various comparison shopping sites in this list. However, most of these sites are equally reliable for searching other products as well. Any of these sites can be a valuable time saver for busy shoppers.