As a software engineer by trade, I've been a geek all my life. I love technology, I love computers (when I don't want to throw them out the window), I love video games, and I love consumer electronics.
What I don't love is paying more for my technology than I have to!
You already know that I will use price comparison sites to quickly try and find the lowest price when making a purchase, but often times I actually go further than that – much further.
I actually have a bookmarks collection of electronics stores and I will open the entire list in a set of new tabs when making an electronics purchase. I then copy and paste the model number into each of these stores search boxes to see how much they are selling it for.
Why do I do this? Well, price comparison sites exist to make money so they often only list products on sites they have a partnership with resulting in many stores getting left out. Their prices can also end up being slightly stale, so if you want the most up to date price, then you have to visit the store itself.
That said, I've made purchases from many of the stores on this list at least once and I'm listing them in order from my most to least favourite.
My Top 10 Sites For Technology Lovers
NCIX is the biggest and best computer and electronics store in Canada. When it comes to shopping for computer parts online, their name is almost synonymous with that act just like Google is for searching.
They have an absolutely massive inventory, offer cheap express shipping options, have great weekly surprise sales with big discounts and limited quantities, have their own rewards system, and offer great and genuine user reviews from their large user base.
I think they even pioneered the easy online price match in Canada. All you have to do is put in the competitors price and URL directly as you are making your purchase, and your purchase price will automatically be adjusted on the fly. They do verify the price match to make sure it is reasonable, but I don't think I've ever been denied a valid match.
NewEgg has always been huge in the USA, but they've grown equally large in Canada after finally launching in October 2008. People were initially disappointed by the site and the prices when they first launched, but they eventually go their act together.
Now the site is very functional and has a great user experience. It's probably the best place to go for user reviews of computer and electronics parts as well because they leverage all the reviews from the USA site and make them available to Canadians as well.
TigerDirect.ca has never been my first stop when shopping for computer parts because their prices tend to be just a little bit higher, but they do have one of the largest operations in Canada. They have a very clean site that makes browsing fun and have a very large inventory as well.
People associate Dell just with computers and laptops, but they actually sell a whole host of electronics.
Dell also became famous on RedFlagDeals for their price errors. They run regular sales called "Days of Deals" and years ago their staff would often make errors when setting the sale prices where things would be ridiculously cheap by mistake. If you purchased fast enough, often they would ship the product to you before they caught the error and you would get to keep it.
I think one time I actually bought a memory card for $0. Yup nothing … they actually had it listed on the site for no money. I still gave them my credit card information but I was never charged and the package showed up at my door without even paying any shipping fees.
It's still a great place to shop today even with fewer price errors because they offer fast and free shipping on all their products, decent prices, and pretty good regular sales.
5) The Source
The source has been struggling in Canada for a long time to remain relevant, but when you take a look at their site you see that they do have something to offer. They are less computer focused than some of the other stores and instead offer a wide array of electronics, much larger than say Best Buy.
I actually purchased my most recent computer, the Surface Pro 3, there because I was able to get a bit of a discount when no one else had any savings on that model. The purchase went flawlessly.
Direct Canada is a little known store, but one of my favourites as I've made many purchases there. I believe they are actually owned by NCIX and are almost like a discount brand. They don't do any real advertising and the site is super simple.
There is one key thing though that keeps me coming back: their prices are almost always cheaper than the competition. Often times I'll find a product I like on NCIX, and then hop over to Direct Canada to see if they have a lower price that I can get NCIX to price match.
Shopping at Memory Express is a great experience. They are a customer first company. Instead of spending large marketing dollars, they spend their money on improving customer experience and making customers happy.
For instance, on Boxing Day one year I got gypped out of a motherboard and RAM combo deal because their site malfunctioned. There was only supposed to be a few to be sold at the best price. Even though they sold out and were most likely selling these package deals under cost, they came out good and gave me the discounted price.
They also have their Uber Price Beat Promise in that they will give you 25% of the difference between their price and a competitors if you find one of their products cheaper somewhere else. That makes it one of the best price match policies available in Canada. The only problem is I find their inventory to be quite limited so I often can't find the exact product or model I'm looking for. If that weren't the case, I'd probably shop there every time.
There isn't much to say about Canada Computers other than they have a good and straight forward name much like HowToSaveMoney.ca! They are very popular but they don't seem to be the top dog in any area. Jack of all trades but master of none.
Definitely worth a look though and I have made a few purchases from them.
Everyone has heard of Amazon. They are definitely the elephant in the room but they aren't necessarily known for their electronics. They do have an electronics section though with a half-decent selection. You'll get all the other great benefits of shopping at Amazon like fast free shipping (over $25), top notch customer service, easy returns, comprehensive customer reviews, and a name you can trust.
10) Best Buy Canada
Best Buy almost didn't make the top 10 for several reasons: they don't have a great computer parts selection, their prices are often among the highest out there, and they are more of an entertainment superstore really - they even sell appliances after all.
However, they are extremely popular and you can use their price matching to match online competitors if you need something same day and have to pick it up in-store. There's also advantages to be able to examine a product's packaging and hold the real thing in your hands before buying it so in the end they made the cut.
25 More For The Über Nerds
Why have 10 when you can have 36 right? Obsessive people like me will have fun clicking all the links and comparing prices, shipping costs, and coupon options across all these sites to hammer out the absolute best deal. Happy clicking!
- Sig Electronics
- Best Direct
- Visions Electronics
- PC Canada
- Mike's Computer Shop
- Ashlin Technology Solutions
- Computers Canada
- Apple Store
- Grand Crayon