Once you decide what computer or device to buy, shop around for a good price.

Although there is limited price competition for many computer and device models, if you compare performance, features, and prices offered by several manufacturers, you’ll find that prices vary considerably for similar setups. And even when comparing stores’ prices for devices configured with the exact same screens, hard drives, processors, memory, etc., you’ll likely encounter substantial price differences.

Checkbook’s undercover shoppers collected prices for 36 carefully specified and configured devices from a sample of sellers. We found big store-to-store price differences for most of the items. For example, prices ranged from $1,650 to $2,699 for a Dell XPS 13 laptop, from $1,500 to $2,110 for an HP Envy laptop, and from $349 to $835 for an Asus Chromebook Flip.

We used the prices collected by our undercover shoppers to calculate price comparison scores, which are reported on the table below. These scores show how each retailer’s prices compared to the average prices quoted by other surveyed stores for the same mix of items. A price comparison score of $105, for example, means that prices at this store were, on average, five percent above the average for the same items for all surveyed stores.

Our price comparison scores indicate that some retailers, on average, charge as much as 20 percent more than their competitors. In our survey, our researchers most often found the lowest prices by searching on Google Shopping, Wikibuy, and Yahoo! Shopping; at Costco; or at some manufacturers’ direct-to-consumer websites (Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, and Microsoft Store).

If a store gives you great advice but you find a much better price elsewhere, before skipping out on the sale give the helpful store a chance to match its competitor’s price, or at least try to match it. As we previously reported, many stores have little-known price-matching policies that are easy for consumers to trigger: You just ask.

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