How Do You Get a Good Deal When Buying a Higher End iMac?

November 7th, 2018

Summer in California says:

I need to upgrade my computer. Does waiting for a Christmas or a “Black Friday” deal really make a difference when buying a higher end iMac? I use to a buy refurbished machines from Apple but I never see those deals for what I’m looking for now (other than the iMac Pro which I can’t quite afford). I understand you can get bundle deals, etc., but in the long run, am I really only going to end up spending the same amount and getting a few freebies. I would really appreciate any recommendations.

The problem with finding deals is they come and go quickly. Here is my take on where to find deals:

  1. It isn’t all that often that high-end iMacs get discounted and when they are discounted, it is usually not on Apple’s own website. The deals typically last a short while so what was a deal last month isn’t available this month. You have to keep searching for deals i.e. Google “deals on higher end iMacs” regularly and act quickly. These deals are usually $50 to $300 off.
  2. The best deals available are probably Apple Certified Refurbs. If you want to save money, I think this is the best way to go. They currently have a 27-inch iMac I5 with Retina 5K display for $350 off.
  3. Personally, I would only deal with reputable retailers like B&H, Amazon, or some other retailer you trust.

Does anyone have experience getting deals on high-end iMacs?

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15 Responses to “How Do You Get a Good Deal When Buying a Higher End iMac?”

  • Just picked up an iMac 5k with a 27″ built-in screen, from Apple web site, refurbished. $350 discount. It arrived looking brand new. Free shipping.

    iMac 4.2GHZ using an i7 chip with 32GB RAM. Radeon Pro 580 with 8MB graphics. Plenty of power for video. Works well with Lightroom and RAW files.

  • HI, i always used the apple edu store

    configure your own setup
    there is no check if you are actually studying.

  • Just a note to veterans. When I was switching to MAC for editing I just finished my class for graphic design.
    I heard about a educational discount but was told since I was no longer in school it was not available to me.
    But since I was a veteran, they offered me a military discount whic was about the same as the educational

  • Welcome to the world of manufacturer price control, where prices are the same everywhere…almost. About the only way around it are gimmicks, such as some no sales tax sites like B&H, store points programs, Target’s 5% debit card, etc, or belonging to an Apple sponsored special group, such as education as mentioned above. With the external business sources not all configurations are available. Deals being $50 to $300 off is very accurate and while Black Friday is just weeks away, it raises the question other times of year…how much does the delay cost you in business. That is a question that should not be ignored as you may find that the discount is expensive. While noting “they don’t check” on Apple education program as stated by another post above, the same can be said of Best Buy “back to school sell”- just telling the clerk the computer is a for grandchild in school. Software, such as Adobe, does check! Me personally, I am eligible through a veterans organization link into Apple’s Military/Government price list which is the same as the Education price list. Quite honestly, the $50-300 discount is accurate with some items, like iPhones, never discounted, but Black Friday pricing tends to mirror the special group price list which typically doesn’t decrease during Black Friday. For reference, on separate browsers just checked special pricing vs of the 27″ iMacs and it is a $100 to $200 difference. The newer iMac Pro is a $400 difference, but is way overkill and can buy two of the standard iMac’s for that price with some left over for accessories.

  • @Eric beat me to the veteran reference as I was typing the above. Another possible source are the Military Exchanges and they are exempt for sales tax everywhere. While you still can’t go into the Exchange unless retired military or 100% service connected disabled, they have relaxed the rules and veterans can now shop online. Not certain if any honorably discharged qualify or have to be VA service connected disability rating below 100%. I have both and forget which established eligibility. It is hit or miss though as I find cameras more popular consumer level, and Apple models limited configurations.

  • If you get set up at an Apple store as a business account, you get a ‘slight’ discount… I think it’s about 5%. I bought an iMac Pro last year and got the discount… But you have to buy a certain amount of Apple products each year in order to get the business discount.

  • For the last 20 years, I’ve purchased Apple iMac and Macbook refurbs exclusively. As Lee Miller said, they arrive completely repackaged and in mint condition–you’d never know it was refurbished. Not having access to a student or military discount, I’ve found it’s the next best option for lower pricing. You just have to do a fair amount of searching and waiting for the right refurb to come along that matches your needs.

  • Personally, I don’t deal with Apple any more. Poor serviceability/upgradability, planned obsolescence via software updates, and it is just to strange the way they can completely ignore their desktops systems letting them fall behind technologically. Then there is the price. I went back to Windows.

  • For many years, I’ve used a couple websites to find deals on electronics. They are and They often get deals reported there from users, coupon codes that are becoming available, and upcoming Black Friday deals. Slickdeals has a lot of credit card offers now that you have to wade through, and non-tech stuff, but tech is there. I’ve seen plenty of ipads on both sites but don’t know if imacs pop up. They do have a search feature though. I used to have their shortcuts on my Chrome bookmarks bar but I deleted them because I was visiting too often and buying too much stuff. “Whoa! 500GB SSD for THAT price? I gotta have it!”


  • Always had great luck buying Macs (and gear) on Craigslist. Just be cautious, make sure it works, take your time looking at it and use a public location like starbucks.

  • ASMP members get a member discount on new Apple products. Don’t think it applies to refurbished. The APA may have one as well.

  • I usually buy used, but I did buy some new stuff through a friend that worked at a college. If you have a junior college nearby and are looking at a big purchase like an iMac, signing up for one class (such as in the photo/art department) might be worthwhile. You could even take a business class on accounting or marketing. Don’t forget that you may also get free access to or other online tutorial sites at the media center/library when you are a student and that’s worth some money too.

  • You could also find a friend or friend of a friend who works for Apple and ask to take advantage of their 15% Friends & Family discount. I believe they still are able to make up to 10 purchases per year with that discount.

  • We used that family discount years ago to get one of the original Bondi Blue iMacs — the discount back then was 10% which goes to show that there wasn’t much fat for resellers to discount.

    If you are happy to void your warranty, then this video shows you how to save about a thousand backs on a current 5K iMac with higher specs:

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