Despite Amazon’s reputation as an online colossus with the lowest price for every product, it̵7;s not always the place to find the best deal. As during pandemic, many families are working on a tighter budget as unemployment rises to historic highs. In this economy, it is important to find the lowest price.
If you shop in a physical store (while wearing a face mask and of course practicing social distancing), you can use the Amazon app to compare the price you see in person with its online counterpart. Just click on the camera icon next to the search bar and scan the barcode.
There are many other tools to help you find the lowest price for a product – whether it’s on Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy or any other store, online or IRL.
We’ve rounded up five free browser extensions (most also have apps for shopping on your phone) to quickly determine if Amazon’s price is the best price – and if not, where to shop instead.
Honey compares prices between Amazon, Amazon’s third-party retailers and other online retailers and discusses estimated shipping costs and Prime status to find the best deal.
When you install the browser extension (on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Edge) and navigate to a product page on Amazon, you will see the “h” icon appear on the product photo. If you click on it, you will go to the Drop List function, which shows the price history and allows you to set a warning for drops. If you see a tag that says “Best Offer”, you can be sure that no other Amazon seller is offering a lower price.
You can also search for products through the extension or on Honey’s website to see current and historical prices, coupons and availability on a number of e-commerce sites such as Walmart, JCPenney and Home Depot.
PriceBlink / Screenshot by Rick Broida / CNET
PriceBlink also offers price comparisons and coupons, but with a slightly different interface. Once installed (on Chrome or Firefox), when navigating to an online webshop, a yellow bar will appear at the top of the screen. It will alert you to all the offers and coupons available on the site, and if a better price is available elsewhere.
When navigating to an item on Amazon, click “Compare Prices” in the field at the top to see where else it is available, along with base price, shipping costs and total price. If Amazon has the best price, the bar will say “second best price.” If it does not, it will say “Savings found! Buy this for less” and list the amount and the other site.
With PriceBlink, you can also track prices over time and add items to your wish list, as well as find coupons on its website.
If you see a “Best Price” icon above the Amazon price, you know that Popcart (available on Chrome) has certified it as the lowest price currently available among 13 other stores, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Click on the icon to see prices at other retailers and shipping costs. If Amazon has the best price, an icon next to the price will say so. If not, it will tell you how much you can save by going elsewhere and letting you compare prices and shipping costs between stores.
Popcart compares products in three dimensions. Say you’re shopping for a bottle of detergent. You see different retailers, packaging options (like a 100 ounce versus a 150 ounce bottle) and variations (like meadow fresh versus unscented), instead of just matching barcodes. This will help you break down exactly what you are paying for. In a search for Lysol wet wipes, for example, I showed Popcart packages with different sizes and divided how much I would pay per wet wipe in each. And since COVID-19 began disrupting supply chains, the company has now added a delivery finder to alert you when unavailable items are reloading.
OctoShop / Screenshot by Alison DeNisco Rayome / CNET
OctoShop checks stores in stores to help you track down a product that is often out of stock, such as Nintendo Switch or Oculus Quest. It’s less useful than some of the others on this list when it comes to telling you at a glance if you have the best price (you have to click on the OctoShop icon to see it instead of showing it automatically), but doing so makes it easier to switch between different options.
Once you have installed the browser extension, the OctoShop tab will appear above Amazon’s price. Click on it to see if you get the best price and where else the item is available. You can set price warnings and notifications from different retailers.
Are you looking for more offers? Check out our list of more money-saving Chrome extensions, how to take advantage of Amazon Warehouse deals, and all the deals we collect daily on CNET.