Let's face it: Apple's computers are expensive. Everyone's looking for a Mac computers sale. Here are the best ways and places to get a sensible price online. While the bad news is that Apple tends to charge a premium for the Mac experience, the good news is that there is ALWAYS a way to find a better deal on a Mac than you'll find at the Apple Store — even from the Apple Store itself! Read on to find out where and how to find Mac computers for sale.
Mac Computers for Sale: Cheap, Cheaper, Cheapest…
The size of your discount comes down to the question, “What are you willing to compromise to have a new Mac?” If you absolutely MUST have the latest model, then don't expect any bargain basement prices. If you're willing to take a slightly older model, you'll get a better price. If you don't mind if it's not “brand new” — or partially USED, even — well, then let's make a deal! Here are 3 increasingly cheaper ways of getting a good deal on a Mac:
- Cheap: Online Discount Stores
- Cheaper: Buy Last Year's Model
- Cheapest: Buy a Used or Refurbished Mac
Below I present the whys, wheres, and hows with links to specific shops and resources. My recommendations are based on my own personal experience, as well as shop reputations and their commitment to customer service, quality, and selection.
Online Discount Stores — “New Macs Cheap!”
Of course you want the latest and the greatest, and you want it at the best price possible. But the high demand for brand spanking new Macs means they come at a premium. Combine that demand with the fact that the markup on computers is already very low, and you'll have a hard time finding stores willing to cut prices much. This is where online discount stores come in. By saving on overhead and marketing, these stores allow you to shave off between $50-$100 off the price of a new Mac. Sometimes as much as $200. That might not sound like a lot, but in the world of NEW computers, that's nothing to sneeze at. What you save can buy you a backup hard drive, software & games, or even a service plan. (Oh, and sure, a service plan is often a good deal. I know most people say “don't buy them!”, but computer parts do sometimes fail, and they can be very expensive to replace or repair without the plan.) When buying online, be sure you're getting your Mac from an Authorized Apple Reseller. This will insure that you're getting the real deal, manufactured by Apple, and not something that won't be covered by a warranty. (Check Apple's list of resellers here.) My Recommendations:
- MacMall MacMall has been selling Mac computers online for over 25 years. Almost as long as Apple itself. Every Mac I've ever owned, I purchased from them. They have an extensive collection of computers and accessories, and provide excellent and prompt customer service. I've never had a problem. Highly recommended. www.MacMall.com
- Best Buy 10 years ago I would not have made this recommendation, but Best Buy has come a long way with improving their Mac computer selection. They have built a strong national brand and reputation for service, and their prices are good for brand new models. www.BestBuy.com
Buy Last Year's Model — “Out with the Old”
The best prices on NEW Macs will be for last year's models. Just because it's not the “latest and greatest” right now, doesn't mean that it's not still great — it was probably the top-of-the-line model only a month or so ago. Especially if Apple has only just started selling the new drool-worthy lineup up of Macs. But, if you can ignore the Apple hype machine, and resist the urge to keep up with the MacJoneses, you can get much deeper discounts by helping the stores clear their shelves to make room for the newer models. Look for Clearance Sales online. These will only be available when Apple announces a new line of Macs. Put “Mac Clearance Sale” into Google to get started. I will list good sources on this page seasonally as these sales become available.
Buy Used or Refurbished Macs — “Good As New”
Apple Computers: Used
Why on earth would you want to buy a USED Mac computer? For the same reason you would pay a premium for a new one: Macs maintain their high quality over a very long time. Buying used Mac computers can be tricky, though. You want to be sure you're buying from a trusted source — like a friend, or a legitimate computer store. Jumping on Craig's List or other classifieds ads might get you a good price, but not necessarily a good computer. You might also want to check and be sure they're coming from Authorized Apple Resellers or Service Provider to be sure you're getting a good computer. (See my note above.) UPDATE: Amazon has an excellent selection of older iMac and MacBook models. Start with this search on Amazon.com to see the deals.
Apple Computers: Refurbished
A refurbished Apple computer is generally one of two things:
- An older, possibly used computer that has been fixed up with new parts.
- A new computer that came off the manufacturing line with flaws that had to be fixed.
Either way, all the parts are working fine. But since it's not fresh off the production line, it cannot be sold as a new computer. So you get a discount. Getting a refurbished older-model Mac is like going back in time and buying that old Mac new again. The hard-drive or computer chips will have been updated, all the circuits tested, and your Mac will (usually) be under warranty by the seller. Older Macs in general can also be upgraded to increase their quality, speed, and functionality. Parts can be replaced quite cheaply if you do it yourself. OWC sells DIY kits with excellent instructions. Here are a few legitimate places to get refurbished Macs:
- The Apple Store What better place to get a fixed up or used Mac than from the Mac makers themselves? The only drawback is the limited selection. Apple probably only wants to show off their best and brightest computers, so you might not find as many options as you'd like here. www.Apple.com
- Other World Computing (a.k.a MacSales.com) OWC is another company that's been around over 25 years. Not only do they sell Macs, but they design and sell their own lines of Mac enhancements. Hard drives, memory upgrades, CD drives — you name it. They fully test and support the used Macs they sell under their own warranty. You will find a much larger variety here than you will at the Apple Store, above. www.macsales.com
If you're looking for a good deal on a Mac, you have various options. It's all a matter of what you need, and what you're willing to forgo to get it. You can also save a pretty penny from Apple by simply not getting the top of the line model, stocked with the highest amount of memory, speed, and storage capacity possible. Buy a low end model, and enhance it with third-party add-ons. I'll be discussing this in future posts. If you have any questions about the ideas above, please leave a comment below. Or, if you'd like to share your own experience with finding a good Mac computers sale, and getting your Mac at a discount, tell me that in a comment. I look forward to any new ideas I might have missed! ~ Scott