Last updated: March 22, 2019
Using price comparison websites is one of the easiest ways to save money when shopping online.
They also come in handy when shopping offline since stores usually have the same prices in-store and online.
One thing to keep in mind: no price comparison site has access to every store's prices. They only list information for retailers who've partnered with them and provided access to their product databases.
So it's best to check prices using multiple price comparison websites at once when doing your research, not just the one you happen to like most.
Whenever I make a purchase, I'll typically check all of them simultaneously along with manually checking a few other online stores that I know aren’t listed on any of the price comparison websites, just to be sure.
Below you'll find a quick blurb on each of the Canadian price comparison sites, including any special features or advantages they have going for them. I've done my best to order them according to monthly visitor traffic, which is usually a decent indicator of positive user experience and overall quality.
ShopBot has taken the top spot away from ShopToIt as the most popular price comparison site in Canada – an overdue feat since they're the older site (having started in 2004).
Related: Canadian Stores With Free Shipping
Their growth was probably stunted by their initial focus on electronics, but they've since expanded into a full range of categories. Now they have an impressive collection of both products and stores, many of which you won't find on other price comparison sites.
- Clean and simple home page that's easy to navigate and lets you quickly scan most of the available product categories.
- Doesn't display irrelevant search results by searching for permutations of the search terms you enter.
PriceGrabber started in the USA and eventually became the first price comparison site to migrate to Canada.
They actually used to be one of my favourite price comparison websites, but after a short time of always being updated and offering cool features (like paying users a small fee to review products) they mostly fizzled out.
- Simple and clean user interface with good filtering options.
ShopToIt is one of the oldest and best price comparison sites in Canada. They were launched all the way back in 2005 and have since added plenty of features and conveniences that make their site a joy to use.
It used to have the broadest inventory, but recent upgrades to other sites have made ShopToIt about average.
- A complete collection of shopping advice and buying guides – some may be a bit outdated now.
- Relevant guides are displayed when viewing individual products, which makes finding appropriate guides very easy.
PriceBat is 100% focused on computer and electronic stores, so their selection is somewhat limited.
That said, they do have the most comprehensive listing of electronics stores of any price comparison site in Canada. So if you're looking for the best deals on computer parts and electronics, look no further.
- The most comprehensive product listings for electronics and computer parts and accessories.
- A really nice price comparison page that is easy to scan through for the best prices and your favourite stores.
- Great for finding small stores that you’ve never heard of before.
- Even includes Ebay listings for the product you're checking out.
Bizrate is another big American price comparison site that has now expanded into Canada. The Canadian site is very plain at the moment although their product catalogue appears to be decent.
The site also displays prices for several USA stores that Canadians can make purchases from as well. Unfortunately, buying across the border is mostly impractical because of the high cost of shipping and border fees, but it's still useful for comparison purposes.
- Includes listings for quite a few USA stores that provide shipping to Canada.
- Ability to set price alerts for specific products you're interested in.
Comparator is new and currently only focuses on computer-related items, but I think they may be up-and-coming.
The site is easy to use and offers some great features. In fact, they remind me very much of what PriceCanada was before it closed down.
- Allows you to see all the deals for one item listed on a nice product page.
- Has a price history graph for each product to allow for smarter buying decisions.
PriceFinder has a very basic site that focuses heavily on computer equipment and electronics. Their home page is as simple as the Google home page was in the early days, which might be a good thing for some people.
The site uses a weird categorization system instead of displaying results right away, which is cumbersome. But, if you're looking for computer gear they do have listings from a lot of small Canadian stores that specialize in computer equipment that may get missed by others.
Standard price comparison site features
These features weren’t included in the above descriptions because they're pretty much standard. I'm including them here so you'll have a good idea of what kind of functionality these sites offer and to remind you to give these features a try:
- Find products either by search or by browsing through categories.
- Filter search results by price, category, manufacturer, store, etc.
- Product thumbnails on search result pages making it easier to identify products when searching.
Discontinued price comparison sites
As time has worn on since I first wrote this article, many price comparison sites have been discontinued for various reasons. Some of my favourite ones have been shuttered, including Wishabi (later renamed to DealGenius).
Fortunately there are still many good ones available and a few of the bigger USA sites are starting to support Canada as well.
1) Wishabi / DealGenius
Wishabi was one of the newest price comparison engines in Canada and looked prime to be one of the best as well. They had a lot of new and exciting features that you still can't find on any of the other price comparison sites.
For instance, they had icons beside store listing that indicated what kind of policies the store offers like free shipping, return policy, and warranty information. They also had a lot more fancy graphs and price notification features to get excited about as well.
They also had a focus on cross-border shopping and gave you cross border price comparisons in addition to Canadian pricing information.
- Price history graphs and price ratings that indicated if the current price was a good deal or not.
- Ability to share and like deals as well as post your own deals if you found something great – you could even earn a little money for doing so.
- You could create an account and receive alerts when a product you were interested in went into your price range.
- A heat map of related products so you could see what else you might be interested in.
- Icons that indicated store policies including return options, warranty service, customer support availability, price protection availability, and shipping options.
- Cross-border shopping tab so you could see how much the same product was selling for in the US.
PriceCanada was developed by RedFlagDeals and was actually one of my favourite ones to use.
They were the first price comparison site to offer a detailed pricing history and graph so you could track how prices rose and fell over time. This helps make your buying decision easier so you don’t have to worry about having missed an amazing deal in the past, which would indicate a likely similar sale in the future.
Unfortunately, their main focus stayed with computers, electronics, and entertainment items like DVDs and video games. I would have liked to see them branch out into other categories as well.
- Retailer ratings for every online store so you could easily balance price and customer experience when making purchasing decisions.
- Price history graphs and price ratings that indicated if the current price is a good deal or not.
- You could create a PriceCanada account and receive alerts when a product you were interested in went into your price range.
- A compact listing of all stores that sold a particular product for easy comparison.
- Detailed product specifications page for every product, a very rare feature.
- Lists of popular products and products with recent price drops so you could get in on deals as they happen.
- Raw pricing data so you could see detailed price history by date.
- iPhone app for comparison shopping on the go.
3) Canada Post Shopper
Canada post used a very similar price comparison engine to that of Wishabi, so it's likely they shared the same technology. It had essentially the same search results and stores, but lacked a lot of the awesome features of Wishabi. There was no real added value that Wishabi didn’t do better.
4) Bing Shopping
Bing also used the same price comparison engine as Wishabi and lacked even more features than Canada Post Shopper, so there were no real advantages to it.
PriceDX wasn't really worth including because it wasn't at all popular and the number of product categories they offered was extremely limited.
NextTag was a very popular American shopping site that had expanded to Canada. The user interface was very basic and easy-to-use but it didn't really offer any value-adding features.