I buy much of my tech gear at amazon.com and apple.com, but there are some products—and indeed, entire product categories—that I prefer to shop for (and buy) elsewhere.

Sweet Music Deals (and More) at Sweetwater

For example, when I need a piece of audio gear for GarageBand or Logic Pro, the first place I look isn’t Amazon or the Apple Store, it’s  Sweetwater.com. From audio interfaces to keyboards to microphones, if you can use it for recording with your Mac (or iDevice), you can find it at Sweetwater.

Several things make Sweetwater a standout in my mind. First and foremost, they have one of the widest selections of audio gear and musical instruments on the internet today. If you use it to make or record music, Sweetwater has it at a reasonable price with free shipping.

Another thing that makes Sweetwater unique is its customer service. Their “sales engineers” are musicians and producers who use these products and often make helpful recommendations. Really. And, the few times I’ve needed support, Sweetwater’s technicians knew more about the Mac than I expected. And, with a “no-hassle” return policy, I’ve never regretted a purchase from Sweetwater.

Finally, although this has nothing to do with technology, Sweetwater offers some of the most beautiful guitars on the planet, beautifully photographed in-house for high-res clarity. (But, be careful—it’s easy to get lost down this rabbit hole.)

So many beautiful guitars; so little time.

So many beautiful guitars; so little time.

Monoprice: Premium Products at Popular Prices

Moving right along, you’ve heard me mention it before, but I love Monoprice.com for cables and other necessities like headphones, microphones, earphones, displays, speakers, batteries, and more. I like that they make most products themselves, offer them in more sizes and colors than most, and price everything aggressively.

I also like the quantity discounts on almost everything. For example, a single Monoprice HDMI cable goes for $6.49 but is only $4.00 when you buy five or more.

I’ve bought dozens of cables and many other products at Monoprice.com over the past decade, including a nine-year-old display I use every day. I have yet to be disappointed by something I’ve ordered from Monoprice.com, and that’s high praise.

 Refurbished Macs for Less at OWC

Finally, last month I told you about the great deals you can find on Apple’s Refurbished and Clearance page. But I neglected to mention another place you can find great deals on refurbished products, namely Other World Computing. Among other things, Other World Computing (OWC for short) offers older refurbished Apple products, older than you’ll find in Apple’s Refurbished store. Better still, OWC has many products at lower prices than Apple is likely to offer, such as refurbished iMacs from $499; iPads from $299; and MacBook Pros starting at $399.

I’m also a big fan of OWC’s “garage sale” page, where you’ll find deals on new and used peripherals, including hard drives, keyboards, upgrades, cables, and more, all at rock-bottom prices. If you love a good deal you’ll want to visit often.

The OWC garage sale page is a good place to find unusual bargains.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Bob:

Great advice. Another place one can look for refurb deals might be their local authorised Apple repair/service provider. Near my US home, we have MacMedics, which I have used for repairs and servicing when I need a faster turn around time than the Apple service centre; however these providers often have some of the more recent devices, along with guarantees. 

FCompton

I’ll add my hearty endorsement to all three of these. Sweetwater is the newest discovery, but I have used the other two for years. Never a disappointment.

Scott B in DC

For used Macs I’ve used BackMarket. I just bought a 2017 13-inch MacBook Air. It was a great deal and the machine works like a champ!

geoduck

I’ve shopped OWC for years. They are great to deal with.
On the flip side I do not shop at Amazon, ever, for anything.

Macfox

Thanks Bob. I’ve used all, except Sweat water, and have always been very happy with products and price. OWC is a great company and also for support if anyone has a technical question.
good to remind others of these Mac sources.