Major electronics chains

Last reviewed: December 2011

Electronics chains are probably still your best option when you can't wait to buy an electronics item such as an accessory. Yet our readers found Best Buy and RadioShack to be no better than middling in most respects.

Some regional chains scored better than average on most attributes. Those chains included HHGregg, which has stores mostly in the South and Midwest, and P.C. Richard & Son, which has stores in the Northeast. But P.C. Richard was also the pushiest retailer of all in selling extended warranties, which we think are mostly unnecessary.

Check prices online and try haggling before you make a big purchase. And be aware that return policies might be skimpy; Best Buy's 14-day policy is among the shortest in the industry.

Tip: Some chains, including Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples, allow you to order online and pick up at a store; shipping charges are then waived.