Top ten price comparison websites
Looking to save pennies in the aftermath of a blowout Christmas? Made a New Year’s resolution to tighten your belt? You need to get down to your local price comparison website.
It isn’t just about Kelkoo and Google Products any more either. These days there’s a huge choice of specialist sites, catering for everything from supermarket shopping to selling your mobile phone. Here’s our pick of the best.
This is not your run of the mill price comparison site. Instead of comparing prices of individual products, it allows you to compare the cost of your whole shop. First, choose from one of the four supported supermarkets – ASDA, Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Waitrose – then fill up your cart with groceries as normal.
The site displays the cost of your shop in tabs at the top of the screen as you go; you can switch to the cheapest at the end and even book your delivery slot.
The truly impressive thing about this website, however, is its Swap & Save feature, which suggests better value alternatives to items you’ve already selected. It has an uncanny knack of rooting out the best bargains, and has the potential to slash even more off your weekly bill.
Trawling around the individual mobile networks’ websites trying to find a good deal on a phone is so tortuous the CIA ought to use it on terrorist suspects as an alternative to waterboarding. If you want to avoid the pain, we suggest Omio – a fantastic comparison website for skinflints with no patience.
It compares prices across a huge number of brokers and networks, and offers every filter and sorting option you can think of. Want a free phone on a 24-month contract with internet but below £15 per month? How about the best free gift or cashback offer? Omio’s sliders and simple-to-use front end make it easy to ferret out the best value deal. Give it a whirl: even £5 cut from your monthly mobile bill would save £120 over the course of a 24-month contract.
You can maximise your money saving in the New Year not only by using a price comparison site for your new smartphone, but also selling your old handset to the highest bidder. One way of doing this is to hawk it on eBay, but if you don’t want to take the risk of the phone being damaged in transit, or having your buyer fail to cough up, this is the website to try.
SellMyMobile compares the prices mobile phone recycling websites offer for your model of phone and helps you find the best one. Prices offered for an 8GB Apple iPhone 3GS ranges from £150 to £186, so it definitely pays to use the site.
This one isn’t a specialist comparison engine, but it does offer one unique feature that no other site we use does. As well as straight product prices from all the big name vendors, Sccope also offers price analysis tools.
Displayed as a line graph alongside your traditional results, you can see maximum, minimum and average prices across all retailers over the past three months. The filtering options across the various categories could be better, but for the tactical bargain hunter it’s an indispensible aid: a flat graph for months, then a momentary dip in the minimum price might indicate a not-to-be-repeated deal, for instance, while an unstable, fluctuating graph could help you decide whether to wait for a currently high price to drop again.
Visit Virgin Media or Sky’s websites and it’s easy to be confused into signing up for a deal you don’t want, and paying more than you planned to. You can cut through the confusing bundles and options, however, by using Cable.co.uk.
Pop your postcode into the search box and it quickly allows you to compare sports, movies, and HD packages available in your area, as well as broadband and phone packages across multiple suppliers. Through the website we discovered a deal for Sky Sports 1 and Eurosport, plus 65 other channels, for £17.75 a month for the first six months, then £21 per month for the remaining 12 months of the contract. It’s a brilliant way to save on what for many people (especially sports fans) is one of their highest monthly outgoings.
Of all the broadband comparison websites we’ve seen (and there’s a bundle out there, believe us), TOP10.com is the best. Although very simple, it has a wide-ranging list of suppliers on its books: type your postcode into the box on the home page and you’ll be provided with not only a list of deals, sortable by speed, cost, or the size of the download cap, but also a page of information showing you how far you are from your nearest exchange, and the sorts of speeds others near you are getting from their broadband suppliers. Don’t take its results as gospel – some quality providers such as Zen Internet don’t make the TOP10.com cut – but it is very useful as a general guide.
If you’re not among the legion of illegal music downloaders, there’s no need to pay top whack for your downloaded music. Tunechecker compares prices for MP3 downloads (and CDs – remember them?) across a total of 11 different services. It isn’t the most attractive website, but in a matter of seconds it will find you the cheapest single or album and allow you to search by artist, single, album title and more. With potential savings of up to a fiver an album these aren’t savings to be sniffed at.
With energy prices rising every year there’s every reason to switch supplier, but with each of the big companies offering an array of prices and deals that would baffle even money-saving expert Martin Lewis, it can be hard to see the wood for the potential eco-friendly energy source.
Use uSwitch.com’s comparison engine to keep on top of prices, however, and you could be saving yourself over £100 per year. Not only that, but it’s a good source of news on price rises and movements in the energy markets, so you can make sure you’re not switching to a supplier that’s about to put its prices up by 10%. uSwitch also has comparison tools for everything from mortgages, credit cards and loans to insurance and broadband. A well-laid out, very easy to use comparison site.
We love the Amazon Kindle for the sheer convenience and the (generally) low cost of books in the Kindle store. But some prefer the more open approach, the touchscreen and better build quality of Sony’s eBook readers. Trouble is, the prices of non-Kindle ebooks can vary wildly from website to website, making it a slow process to find a good price on a particular title.
eBookPrice.info may be a bit sparse on the design front, and it certainly isn’t exhaustive in its list of suppliers, but as it’s the only comparison site we’ve come across to make an even halfway decent stab at comparing eBook prices, it’s worth bookmarking.
10. Google Products
No price comparison round-up would be complete without mentioning the king of comparison engines, Google Products. It’s great: we use price comparison sites every day at PC Pro to find the best prices for laptops, netbooks, peripherals, PCs, gadgets and phones, and the one we come back to every time is Google’s.
In short, there is no general price comparison search engine that can match Google’s reach and breadth of product search, and it manages to pack in a wealth of features too, from overviews and specifications lists for individual products to reviews and ratings for the retailers themselves. We wouldn’t be without it, and nor should you. A class act.