Household appliances and electronics are expensive, but less so than in Europe, for example, especially if you take into account the dollar to euro conversion rate. It makes it very interesting for European expats to buy a laptop or a camera during the stay in the USA. The main chains have all the same products and all at almost the same price. The difference will be in the customer service. Moreover you can find very good sales during special holidays sales, like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, in November).
All the chains listed below offer online purchase with the possibility either to ship or to pick up at the store.
Best Buy http://www.bestbuy.com/
There are four stores located inside the city of Chicago. At Best Buy, you will find TV and video products, cameras, computers, GPS, mobile phones, office appliances, and household appliances. The price level is medium to high. According to the product and the time of year, they can have good discounts.
Lowe’s is specialized in home improvement and decorations. Therefore you will find at Lowe’s stores everything from household appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooking appliances and small appliances) to plumbing items. For household appliances, you will find a better price at Lowe’s than at Best Buy.
Radio Shack http://www.radioshack.com
Radio Shack is an electronic store with numerous locations in Chicago. There you will find TV and video products, cameras, computers, GPS, mobile phones, office appliances but no household appliances. The price level is medium to high, but on average with other stores considering the type of products the stores carry.
The Great Indoors http://www.thegreatindoors.com
The Great Indoors belongs to the Sear group. It looks like a department store specializing in the home decoration field. They have a large offer of household appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooking appliances, microwaves, vacuums and small appliances). The price level for household appliances is at the same as Best Buy and Lowe’s.
The Home Depot http://www.homedepot.com
As Lowe’s, The Home Depot is a home improvement and decoration store but of a higher quality. Anyone interested in DYI (Do It Yourself) projects will find everything they need to remodel their house and improve it. They also sell all kind of household appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooking appliances and small appliances). The price level is a bit higher than elsewhere. Home Depot has a very knowlegable staff who can answer questions, big or small, regarding DYI. They also hold workshops occassionally on home improvement topics.
Department stores such as Sears (see the “Department Stores and Shopping Centers” section – http://www.sears.com) or Target (see the “Super/Hyper Market” section under food – http://www.target.com) sell appliances and electronics at decent prices (online and in stores).
ABT Electronics http://www.abt.com/
ABT Electronics is located at 1200 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025. As its name says it, this store sells only electronics from household appliances (washers, dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, cooking appliances, microwaves, vacuums and small appliances) and electronic appliances for home, car and office (TV and video products, cameras, computers, printers, scanners, GPS, mobile phones). They provide free shipping on some products (see their website for more details). The price level on average with other stores.
Apple Store http://www.apple.com/
679 N Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Located in Michigan Avenue, this store is really huge and filled with all the Mac products. This is the paradise for the Mac addicted. Prices are rather high.