Where Dr. Mac Shops for Value

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #347

After thirty plus years of doing what I do, I am asked a lot of tech questions by my readers, friends, acquaintances, associates, and social media connections. A good number of them begin, “where is the best place to buy a fill-in-the-blank?”

Regardless of what they seek—a new or used Mac, a peripheral, an iDevice, a performance upgrade, a protective case, or something else entirely—I almost always have an opinion on where I like to shop for the best product of that type at the lowest price.

2019 iMac
2019 iMac. Image credit: Apple

Apple Deals

Let’s start with new Apple products. Since discounts on Apple products are rarer than hen’s dentures, I almost always start with Apple’s Certified Refurbished offerings. These are “like new” products, refurbished by Apple and backed by the same one-year warranty as new products. I can’t remember the last time we bought a new Apple product when a refurbished one was available. With savings up to 30% or more, and products that are indistinguishable from brand new, there’s just no reason to pay more.

The only drawback to refurbished Apple products is that inventory can change from hour to hour and the product you desire may not be available when you look. Never fear. Visit refurb-tracker.com, create an alert for the product you seek and you’ll receive notification the moment that item is back in stock.

Refurbished Macs from OWC

Another place to find great deals on refurbished stuff is Other World Computing’s New & Used Macs Store, which often has older Apple products you won’t find in Apple’s refurbished store and even lower prices. For example, refurbished iMacs from $299; iPads from $165; and MacBook Pros starting at $425.

Other World Computing also has a “garage sale” page where you’ll find new and used peripherals such as hard drives, keyboards, cables, and more at rock-bottom prices.

Cables and Other Necessities

Moving right along, my favorite store for cables, headphones, earphones, displays, batteries, and other necessities is Monoprice.com. Most of the products are manufactured by Monoprice, priced aggressively, and offered in a variety of sizes. For example, Monoprice HDMI cables start at around $4, and are available in a wider variety of lengths, gauges, and colors than any other store I can think of. I’ve bought dozens of Monoprice products over the years—including 27-inch monitor I bought 7 or 8 years ago and am still using today—and have yet to be disappointed.

For do-it-yourself Mac RAM, storage, or other upgrades, I recommend Other World Computing or Ifixit without hesitation. Both offer high-quality upgrades for almost any component in your Mac that can be repaired, replaced, or upgraded. And most upgrade kits include everything you’ll need such as comprehensive written instructions, installation videos, and special tools (torx screwdrivers, spudgers, safety straps, etc.) required for the job. If I’m gonna do it myself, OWC and iFixIt are the ones I trust.

Cases & Watchbands & Screen Protectors (oh My)!

Last but not least, I like to shop for iPhone, iPad, cases, Apple Watch bands, and tempered glass screen protectors at Amazon.com, which has a huge selection of all three at reasonable prices. Amazon also has a terrific returns policy—if a product doesn’t live up to its claims, I can almost always return it for credit (but rarely have to).


Cables and Peripherals:

Mac Upgrades:

Cases and Screen Protectors:

4 thoughts on “Where Dr. Mac Shops for Value

  • Another thought: Some prominent mac retailers ( B&H is one ) offer not only free shipping but ZERO sales tax ( depending where you live – it’s zero for me in AZ ). Since sales tax can easily add $250+ to the total cost, my B&H price is actually less than Apple’s refurbished price for a 27 in. iMac. YMMV

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