There are many things to consider when choosing a home computer, but the first thing to know is that it's best to buy new. Three years is the average time a computer stays relevant in this digital world, so buying used can be impractical.
Before you buy, consider major aspects of a computer:
Operating system (OS): Decide if you want your computer to run on a Windows or Mac OS. Feelings can run strongly for either choice. Spend some time talking to friends and others, read online information and compare features and costs.
Computer processing unit (CPU): Considered the brains of the machine, the CPU directly affects performance and price.
Memory: The amount of memory required depends on how the machine will be used. For example, a computer used only for basic web browsing and emails requires less memory than one used to run a business.
Monitor: Larger monitors may reduce eye strain and time spent scrolling, but the decision is strictly personal. Monitors generally range from 14 to 22 inches, though they can be smaller or larger.
Warranty: You'll probably be offered the chance to buy an extended warranty or service plan. This, too, is a personal decision. Some computer users feel more secure with a service plan while others believe they aren't worth the money.
If you're unsure of what kind of computer to buy, or what features you'll need, consider asking the help of a professional who repairs computers or trains people in their use. Angie's List members have access to local consumer reviews on computer technicians and trainers, as well as service providers in more than 550 other categories.