Best Buy vs Amazon.com vs Frys.com vs Costco vs Target: Consumer Electronics Stores Compared
Consumer electronics covers a wide number of items, and there are a wide number of stores that offer them. Here’s a comparison of some of the better options for making consumer electronics purchases, whether it’s televisions, home audio, computers, printers, MP3 players, video game devices or anything else.
Best Buy is known largely for their consumer electronics division. They often have some of the best deals online or in person when it comes to these items.
- 24 Month Financing on Home Theatre-If the consumer electronics you’re interested in are connected to home theater in any way, you can get free financing on purchases of more than $799.
- Free Shipping on TVs over 51 Inches-The shipping on very large televisions is often a lot of money, which is why this deal from Best Buy can make the purchase far more affordable.
- Deal of the Day Easy Access-This is right at the top of the site next to “weekly ad,” and it’s often a significant discount where you save $40 or more on items worth around $100. There is a time limit, however.
Amazon’s Internet-only approach makes for great Internet deals.
- Gold Box-There’s a little icon of a gold box on the Amazon site that you can click on to see what daily deals they have. These often involve consumer electronics.
- Amazon Prime-You can get 2-day shipping on your consumer electronics items by signing up for Prime. There’s often a free trial of it as well if you just need it one-time for that TV or computer purchase for Christmas.
- Extensive Electronics Categories-If you head to the electronics store page on Amazon, you can find a huge number of categories and subcategories, making it easy to find what you want quickly.
Frys.com has many consumer electronics deals available inside their stores, as opposed to on the Internet.
- A+ BBB Rating-The company gets the top rating from the Better Business Bureau, with only 8 complaints in the last 3 years.
- Frequent Giveaways-There are some free sweepstakes on the site including the $20,000 one where you can get up to $5,000 in Fry’s gift cards to get some hardcore electronics. You do have to go into the store for this, though.
- Deals on High-end TVs in-Store-You can get 40 inch 4k TVs for under $700, but you have to be near a store offering it.
Costco’s is wholesale and effective if you plan on buying high-volume.
- Extended 2-Year Warranties-Costco’s will extend the warranty on high-end televisions to 2-years, putting more time on the original manufacturer’s warranty for you.
- Member Benefits Including Annual Rewards-The highest Costco members with the Executive membership, get 2% back every year on all their qualifying purchases.
- Free Tech Support-Members get free tech support on their electronics purchases. So, if you’re buying a high-tech TV, computer, or something else and you know you’ll need help, this could be a good bet.
Target has one of the best shipping policies for electronics.
- Free Shipping and Returns on All Orders-Target is a good place to buy electronics online, especially if they are high-end because you can return them online for free.
- Red Card Rewards-The Target Rewards program is generous, with 5% off all orders for those planning to be loyal to the store with their electronics purchases.
- Cash Withdrawal-The RedCard gives you the option for cash withdrawal for as much as $40 when you do the in-store checkout.
Head to Head
Examples of pricing from Best Buy include just $80 for a 19 inch TV, or $429 for the 4K Ultra HD TV from Insignia.
Insignia TVs on include a 32 inch for $179. There are also 4K TVs from TCL that go for $429, including the potential for Amazon Prime shipping. So, overall, the sites are comparable for price between Amazon and Best Buy, with Best Buy being the better buy at the extreme low end.
Deals at Frys.com include a quad-core processor laptop for under $100. They also have 4K TVs such as their Samsung 40 inch that goes for under $700. These do sell out in their individual stores, however, and a lot of them are store-only, which is in contrast to Amazon that’s only on the Internet.
Costco’s charges $110 for Executive membership per year. You can’t buy stuff from the site generally without being a member. This means it’s worth it largely if you plan on buying a lot of electronics and other stuff throughout the year. You can get around this requirement by purchasing gift cards to pay for part of the purchase, and then cash or credit card for the rest.
Target prices include $529 for a 4K TV at 50 inches from Vizio, making it one of the better options for “bargain 4k” televisions. Vizio isn’t regarded as highly as Samsung or Sony, for example, and places like Fry’s will have better deals on those since the Samsung 55 inch 4k is $750.
Best Buy gives you a lot of deals and extras if you pay attention. This includes free shipping on many items like large TVs. You can get free store pickup and significant savings on consumer electronics through the “Deal of the day.”
Amazon has deals for quick shipping such as a combination of Amazon Prime 2-day shipping and a free trial of that option. So, those who want to get fast shipping to meet holiday deadlines for their electronics will be able to make good use of the site.
Frys.com has few complaints over the last 3 years, with only 8. Best Buy and Amazon definitely had much more for their electronics. Plus, most of the complaints were a problem with the product itself and not with the service on the Frys.com side.
Costco’s makes it easier to protect your high-end electronics purchases by extending the manufacturer’s warranty for you to 2-years. This means that you’ll often end up with a better warranty deal than the other sites. You do have to get a credit card to make this work, however.
Target has a better returns policy than the other stores since you can return anything you buy, just about, for free. None of the other stores made that claim on their main page.
Overall, this means that Amazon and Target are solid places if you’re going to make Internet purchases for electronics. Best Buy and Fry’s are better for if you’re going to be in-person.