Does anyone else feel like Christmas is approaching at the speed of light this year? It’s like while every other industry is sluggishly crawling along, the holiday is smashing through no matter what’s in the way.
Something that’s probably on everyone’s Christmas list is electronics. I first got into electronics because of trying to run 3D animation software–Maya attempted to murder my poor little 2010 MacBook pro with every class assignment. Since then I dove into gaming and streaming and found some amazing sites I wish I’d known about sooner. Sadly, I also found several to avoid.
I am not affiliated with any of these places, and I don’t get a commission if you make a purchase. I just wanted to share this list to show you some cool sites and save you from hard lessons.
The 5 best
For months now I’d been using my Canon EOS70D for everything. It was my webcam for my twitch streams and my camera for work. About 2 weeks ago I learned this was actually really dangerous! Even though my Canon looks amazing as a webcam, by using it for 4+ hour streams I risked burning the tiny mirrors inside. If that happened, I’d lose my webcam AND my camera for my job! So this black friday I fixed that. After a crap-ton of research and flip-flopping, I decided to stop being a Canon fangirl and bought my first Sony.
After figuring out what camera I wanted, the tricky part was buying one.
We all know that tech prices are super inflated right now. There’s also no telling if that will change anytime soon. But I found an amazing site the deals in used camera equipment ONLY.
Ah, newegg… How I love thee.
Since then I’ve used newegg to buy headphones as well. The headphones were…interesting. After googling why I only got sound from one ear, I learned that there was a secret sweet spot, you had to pull and twist the connection ever so slightly until you found it, and then the headphones would work great.
That wasn’t neweggs fault though, so overall I’m still very happy with all my newegg purchases. I recommend that you keep an eye out for deals on newegg if there’s an electronic device you’re dreaming of.
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Best Buy is really great for price matching, getting what you want the same day (if it’s in the store), and being able to touch and see stuff in person.
I’ve bought lights, a tv, many mouses (mice?), and software. I think even my Canon camera came from here. Best Buy is the best option if you want to be sure you’re getting a great purchase. They have retail stores, an excellent return policy, price matching, and their own super deals.
First I have to confess I have not used this site YET.
I plan to buy some apple tech from here—unless Apple happens to run a miraculous deal on the same stuff. However, I’m waiting since I just bought a new camera. So even though I’d love to jump on their deals today, my bank account says, “Hey, it’s Christmas! Think of others and stop buying stuff for yourself!”
An example of what I’d like to get is the apple pencils. Back Market has the 1st gen pencil for $70, while the same thing is $80 on Amazon and $100 from Apple.
I believe their products are refurbished. Yep, their motto is, “Welcome to Back Market, the refurbished (super) market.” This means their products used to have an issue, and someone else (usually the manufacturer) fixed it, so now they’re keeping it out of the landfill and reselling it.
If you care more about saving money than being the first to hold something, Back Market could be the market for you.
5. Apple – Best for Apple
I know I just picked on them in my example above, but sometimes the price for used Apple tech is less than $50 brand new. In that case, it’s worth it to spend the extra to have something that is guaranteed to be flawless. Apple also provides free engraving on some of their stuff, if it is large enough to be engraved.
Recommended with caution
The big 3: ebay/amazon/walmart
I know you know them. But even though they sell the same stuff, they have different value propositions.
Ebay consistently has lower prices, but you never know just how accurate the item description is and returning can be a pain. Sometimes you return the item and never get your money back so your double out!
Amazon has good prices, but because of “fulfillment by Amazon” (FBA), 100 sellers could sell the same thing with just a penny’s difference. Amazon, however, has a decent return policy in 99% of the cases. (Remember to purchase through smile.amazon.com so a portion of your purchase goes to charity!)
Walmart, my old friend, has the same stuff as Amazon–both the good points and bad. They don’t have a fulfillment service, that I’m aware of, so their market is less crowded. Returning tech is simple with Walmart. Just be aware if you’re buying from Walmart itself or from a marketplace seller.
Like facebook marketplace but better. I have not bought tech on mercari, but I have sold some! I like that mercari knows there’s risk when you sell to strangers online, and they tried to find a balance.
As a buyer, once you make a purchase, the seller has 3 days to ship your item (using a mercari shipping label). Once mercari knows the buyer received it, the buyer has 3 days to approve/release the funds and the seller gets the funds in their account.
If you buy something that’s not like you expected it, you can “deny” the transaction and contact support. I’ve never had to do that, so I’m not sure how it works. But it’s nice knowing there’s additional support available.
Not Recommended for tech
I’ve only bought one thing from here, a wireless headset. They didn’t have pictures of the product but I risked it anyway because the price was so good. When I opened the box, the headset was literally taped together and didn’t include the USB receiver so it couldn’t even be used. I may try secondipity again in the future because their return process was relatively pain-free (I got my money back once I mailed them the product). However, I cannot at this time recommend buying tech gear here.
Another site I’ve had great experiences with, but only FOR CLOTHES. I do not recommend buying electronics from here. First, I think the sellers do not take shipping as seriously as with other sites. The website itself is geared for clothes, so there are better options out there if you’re looking for tech.
I love Zulily. But, their return policy is no returns, and they always charge shipping. Those are things that matter a lot when you buy tech.
The websites listed under “best” often provide free shipping or some sort of incentive to get it for free. And if something doesn’t work, you need to be able to return it quickly. Which, we all know zulily is not good at fast. I shop at zulily, I still love it. But I don’t think I will ever buy tech from here.
I hope this list helps you (and Santa) find fabulous gifts this Christmas!
Do you know a great place not on this list?
Please share in a comment!
Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and movies, she studies 3D animation and graduated with a BFA with the unfortunate class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.
Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)
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