Comparing offers has never been easier than in the era of information technology. There are tools and websites that do comparison instead of us and it’s almost like buying at all your favorite stores at once. The prices and product specs are available with a few clicks, you just need to know where to look for them – and that’s what this post is about.
What are price comparison websites?
Price comparison websites will differ quite a bit. Which one to pick will often depend on what you want to compare. For example, it depends what you want to compare.
- Compare the Market is what I use for Home/Car insurance
- Money Supermarket is what I use for banks/credit cards/savings etc
- ShopStyle is what I use for clothes
Here’s our reviews of the top 11 price comparison websites that consumers can use to find the cheapest prices on all sorts of things.
Reviews of the top 11 price comparison websites
Oftentimes, shopping engines are pretty badly designed and look like they’re from the 90’s, but this is not the case with Pricegrabber. Consequently, the user experience is outstanding and the site is easy to navigate. Items can be displayed as a list or in a grid view, and they seem to have complete descriptions. The site allows setting price alerts, searching for similar products, and selecting multiple items for comparison.
Pricegrabber offers you a nice description of the item you’ve searched for and the list of stores that stock it along with prices, which, in my opinion, is the main feature of any price comparison site. Category search is also enabled, and there is a huge selection of filters on results page, from weight to product-specific properties.
Shopping is limited to UK, US, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico. They also offer a mobile app for iDevices and Android.
Google is jumping on a bandwagon with this, but it seems they’ve missed it by a little bit and are now desperately trying to clamber their way up onto it. Some of the items have this neat 3D view that I haven’t seen on any other price comparison website, but this doesn’t quite substitute the insufficient descriptions that some items have. There are other great features like reviews from the sites, price comparison of the same product on a subpage, and shipment cost estimates. Google clearly states that it’s being compensated for including some of the products, which is a refreshing frankness that some other sites don’t have.
Another one of the nicely-designed sites. Apart from good enough UX, a big differentiating factor is the ability to sort results by payment processing certificates and payment methods – this can be super useful. They claim to have 500mil products, but I wasn’t able to check this. Either the location settings are pretty unreliable or they don’t support non-residents of the US (it’s the latter, but they do offer the UK version. clap, clap.). There is no way of browsing through categories, and you can get directly to the store after clicking on an item, or see the details first. Under details, there are coupons hidden under a separate tab – a pretty cool feature!
Shopping.com is an ebay service so lots of results come from there, but some of the information is still pretty inacurate (e.g. the product can already be sold). Product descriptions are not too consistent, and often missing information. After clicking on a product link, a screen appears that gets super-annoying after a few times. Site can be effectively used by people living in France, UK, Germany, Australia, and US.
Despite all that, the site is still pretty useful. Search results page offers plenty of filters that help you find the right item, and their shopping guides seem very accurate and helpful. Definitely worth checking out, even if it’s just for these guides. And since the site is backed by ebay, it’s likely it’s here to stay.
The front page of Shopzilla can easily trick you into thinking that this is going to be a pleasant, well-designed price comparison experience, but clicking on anything soon reveals otherwise. I would really love to see the subpages of this site redesigned as well, but other than that, the site offers more or less standard features of any shopping engine. All links are direct links to stores, which can be rather impractical if your goal is to compare not just prices, but also features and reviews. In terms of the latter, the site does offer individual stores’ reviews, which is a nice add-in. Additionally, unless you live outside the USA like more than 95% of the population, there is a nice tax & shipping calculator available based on your zip code. There are also sites available for France, Germany, and UK.
A rather average site that displays comparison of prices in different stores for that same product. The category browsing works great, but the search not so much, displaying what is in my opinion too many Google ads. The service does, however, let you know about the stores that may not ship to your area, and it lets you set a ‘Sale Alert’ on a particular product. They also have a subpage with stores that currently offer discounts. Design is pretty average, but not too bad either.
Finally, a site that is aimed at European residents. This 90’s-looking (read: ugly) website is surprisingly useful – the search works just as you’d expect, with a list of distributors of a single item and their prices, shipping prices, payment options, user reviews, voucher codes, stock, and more. Truly an information- and feature-packed website, highly recommended for europeans.
The site does not shine on great looks, but it makes up for that to an extent with their radar feature – it sends you an email when price of a certain product drop. This site features many stores that I haven’t heard of before, so in terms of money saving, it might be a good idea to check it out. There is a sister site available for comparing travel costs for USA and even international. The site itself supports Japan, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Australia, which is a much larger selection than we’re used to on competing sites. Another nice time-saving tool is the ability to buy items directly from their site. There is also a mobile app available.
Given the popularity of this site, I ended up being pretty disappointed with the whole experience. Searching for the term ‘e-reader’ did not present me with different e-reader models as I have mistakenly expected, but rather with a number of e-reader sleeves, bags, kids toys, fingerprint readers, etc. The site appears to be USA-only, so there’s another minus. The site, in short, is rather mediocre, with the exception of their thorough shopping guides.
This is another one of those sites that are really nothing special concerning look and functionality, but have nice shopping guides and other articles. The search sometimes tries to suggest related products instead of the one searched for. Unfortunately, there is no ability to compare multiple items before the buyer is ready to purchase, but you can compare prices of some products in different stores. They offer separate sites for Japan, Korea, and China, but the main site appears to be aimed at only USA.
The Shopper site is reliable, and we expect no less from this tech website network. It is fairly usual, with professional design and it’s easy to navigate. Search likes to sometimes suggest non-related products, but you can at least tick them off and compare multiple items. Ads are not excessive, they offer current promo codes and coupons, and they provide you with the shipping and tax info. US-only site, featuring many different stores.