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10 Best Shopping Apps

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Posted on 12/15/2011 7:44 EST
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More and more savvy shoppers are using shopping apps on their smartphones to find the biggest and best deals. In this week's app roundup, we bring you some shopping apps that can help you find the best products for the lowest price as you wrap up (or embark on) your holiday shopping. (Make sure to also read our retail stores apps review for the top ten store-specific apps.)

No. 1: ShopSavvy

The barcode scanner and keyword search on this app reveal coupon codes, price comparisons from more than 40,000 retail outlets, online and in-store locations, updated rebates, and upcoming sales to help you pick up products for the lowest prices. With a recent upgrade, users can purchase items they find through the app with just one tap (billing information must be entered prior).

Pros and Cons: One of the first barcode-scanner shopping apps to hit the market, ShopSavvy garners mostly positive reviews. In an About.com buying guide, the app is hailed as the app to have and possibly even the reason to get a smartphone. That said, some users reviewing Android shopping apps at the Android Market say the barcode scanner is a bit slow and the app takes lots of space on your phone; others, however, find themselves using it more than they expected.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone, Android, Windows Phone

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No. 2: Barcode Scanner

This simple but useful app lets you scan barcodes to check prices and reviews.

Pros and Cons: One of the top Android shopping apps, Barcode Scanner earns plaudits from users commenting on the Android Market. They say it works very fast and is very handy, especially for holiday shopping. One user prefers it to other similar shopping apps because it won't open a link to an item online without your say-so.

Cost: Free

Availability: Android

No. 3: Decide.com

What ShopSavvy is to general consumer products, Decide.com is to electronics. This app has a barcode scanner that reveals prices online and in nearby stores. But the real selling point is that the app tells you whether to buy the item now or to wait for a newer model or lower price.

Pros and Cons: This is a top shopping app for electronics. Expert reviewers at CNET consider the app a powerful resource that enables consumers to shop with confidence because they know they're getting the best price. When the app recommends against a purchase, the experts say the reasons are accurate and well-informed.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone

No. 4: ShopAdvisor

Enter search terms for an item you have in mind and ShopAdvisor tells you where you can find it and how much it costs. The app locks into your smartphone's GPS system to tell you where it's on sale nearby. It also offers pros and cons of the purchase, lets you create a WatchList, and notifies you of price and availability changes.

Pros and Cons: ShopAdvisor was named the best app in the iPhone Utilities category in Apple's 2011 App Store Rewind for the U.S., and consumers seem to appreciate one of the year's top shopping apps. Android users commenting on AppBrain about Android shopping apps say ShopAdvisor is helpful, although one notes that the database seems to be missing some local stores.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone, Android

No. 5: Barcode Scanner Pro

With a database of more than 20,000 retailers, Barcode Scanner Pro lets you scan a product and delivers price history, price comparisons, product information, and location for thousands of items, including groceries.

Pros and Cons: This is a very highly rated iPhone app for shopping. Users commenting on iTunes say it works like a charm every time, and many report that the app saves them lots of money.

Cost: 99 cents

Availability: iPhone

No. 6: Google Shopper

This app has a barcode scanner for price comparisons and lets you search for products via photo, keyword, or voice. Once the item is found, Google Shopper provides detailed product information, nearby prices, online prices, and local store information (including directions), plus the day's deals and nearby deals.

Pros and Cons: This app gets a nod of approval from Trusted Reviews, which notes that the extensive database of retailers ensures the best price comparisons; the multiple ways to search for a product are a nice touch.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone, Android

No. 7: CNET

Use a CNET app as a barcode scanner and get user ratings, price comparisons, product review videos, photos, and access to all of CNET's editorial reviews.

Pros and Cons: This is one of the best apps for shopping, according to users posting reviews of iPhone shopping apps on iTunes. It provides fast feedback on products that would otherwise require hours of research and has saved users hundreds of dollars.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry

No. 8: TheFind

A barcode scanner that compares both local and online prices, TheFind provides coupon codes and deals for each item, and gives you directions to local retailers with the item in stock or takes you to it online. This app also notifies you when coupons and deals become available for products you want.

Pros and Cons: Numerous experts and consumers find this popular app useful. For example, a review of the shopping app on Appdictions says the features are easy to use and the lack of advertising clutter is a welcome relief compared with similar shopping apps. One user reviewing Android shopping apps in the Android Market reports that the app saved him $50 the first time he used it at Best Buy: He found a lower price elsewhere and showed the cashier, who promptly matched the price. Note that some shoppers complain that the scanner doesn't work all the time and the prices are sometimes a bit off.

Cost: Free

Availability: iPhone, Android

No. 9: Nextag

This app lets you compare prices, locate products, and save favorite items to your "wish list." You can also use advanced search options such as price, rating, and brand, and calculate tax and shipping costs.

Pros and Cons: Users are divided about the merits of this shopping app. Reviewers of iPhone shopping apps commenting on iTunes report that the barcode scanner works well and the app is adept at finding accurate comparisons, but users reviewing Android shopping apps at the Android Market report some problems with the barcode scanner, less-than-accurate comparisons, local comparisons that are left out, and unusual permission requests.

Cost: Free

Availability: Android, iPhone

No. 10: Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper

This mobile shopping app has a barcode scanner, like most shopping apps, but once you scan a product, you get access to price comparisons and to Consumer Reports' expert review of that product, plus information on products not reviewed by Consumer Reports. The app also delivers links to local and online shopping destinations for the product you're after.

Pros and Cons: PCMag deems this one of the top shopping apps, saying it's hard to do better than getting the inside scoop from Consumer Reports while you're out shopping, in addition to the user reviews and buying advice all in one package. That said, users of the app who posted shopping app reviews at iTunes and the Android Market gripe that it's slow and has very limited information on scanned products. Consumer reviewers seem to find it a waste of money and a disappointment compared with other shopping apps.

Cost: $4.99 per year

Availability: iPhone, Android

App iTunes Rating Number of Reviews Android Rating Number of Reviews
1
ShopSavvy
4.5 (current version), 2 (all versions)
411 (current version), 40,804 (all versions)
4.2
77,779
2
Barcode Scanner
N/A
N/A
4.3
243,404
3
Decide.com
4.5 (current version)
65 (current version)
N/A
N/A
4
ShopAdvisor
4.5 (all versions)
0 (current version), 52 (all versions)
4.4
41
5
Barcode Scanner Pro
4 (current version), 3.5 (all versions)
14 (current version), 146 (all versions)
N/A
N/A
6
Google Shopper
3 (current version), 3.5 (all versions)
8 (current version), 160 (all versions)
4.2
29,918
7
CNET
4 (current version), 4 (all versions)
35 (current version), 2,243 (all versions)
3.5
3,127
8
TheFind
3 (current version), 3 (all versions)
17 (current version), 1,317 (all versions)
3.9
289
9
Nextag
2.5 (all versions)
2,379 (all versions)
3.8
221
10
Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper
1.5 (current version), 2 (all versions)
10 (current version), 35 (all versions)
3.3
43


Filed in: Android, Apps, Best time to buy, Cheap Groceries, Cheapest, Cost of Living, Deals, Frugal tips, Frugal Tools, iPhone, Shopping
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