CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Tools for creating holiday-shopping lists

If you're in need of some organizing this holiday season, you'll want to check out the services we've found in this roundup. From Web sites to iPhone apps, you'll find something you like.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
5 min read

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just a memory, the holiday season is in full swing. For those of us who like to be organized when we hit the stores, creating a shopping list is really the best way to go.

Unfortunately, though, there aren't many services that do a great job at creating those shopping lists. Too often, they provide very simple functionality. Realizing that, I've compiled a handful of services that do perform well for anyone looking to get organized this holiday-shopping season. In this list, you'll find a few sites and a few iPhone apps to check out.

Let's get started.

Get your shopping on

Amazon Shopping List Not to be confused with the company's Wishlist, Amazon's shopping list helps you keep track of all the products you want to buy.

Overall, Amazon's Shopping List is useful. It's not the best service in this roundup, but it if you're looking for simple, one-click experience, Amazon's tool provides it. That said, I should note that you can't simply add any product on Amazon to the list. Unfortunately, I could only find items that could be added in the grocery, beauty, gourmet food, and health and personal care pages. Even then, not all the products listed in those categories were capable of being added to the shopping list. It was a little disappointing. But if you're a heavy Amazon customer who shops in those categories, try it out. If not, there are some better services out there.

Amazon Shopping List
My Amazon shopping list needs more products! Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Boxedup Boxedup is one of my favorite services in this roundup. It makes it quick and easy to find products anywhere from the Web and add those to a shopping list.

When you start using Boxedup, you'll need to download a Boxedup button that's added to your browser (I was using Firefox, which it works well with). From there, simply go out to any online retail site and click on the Boxedup button when you want to add the item to your shopping list. Upon doing so, it's added to your Boxedup list for later viewing. You can also add items to your profile right from the Boxedup page, but to be quite honest, that's not how the service was designed and that functionality is a little suspect. Regardless, having the option to add content to your list from just about anywhere on the Web is fantastic. Boxedup works quite well. Check it out.

Boxedup helps you add content from just about anywhere. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Cozi Cozi is ideally designed for families that want to organize their lives in one place. They can share memories, communicate with each other on the site, and much more. But it's the site's shopping lists that are also worth considering.

Admittedly, Cozi's shopping-list feature isn't as nice as many of the other services in this roundup. It doesn't give you the option of searching around the Web to add products to the list with a click. Instead, you'll need to manually input anything you want. That said, it does provide suggestions on items if you add home products to the list. If not, you're on your own.

Overall, I liked Cozi. It's a nice site that's designed well. Its family organization is one of the best services I've tried. But when it comes to shopping lists, it doesn't offer that same, outstanding experience.

Cozi lets you add items to your shopping list manually. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Google Shopping List Google's Shopping List is easily the best shopping-list service in this roundup. With the help of its search and intuitive interface, it easily bests the competition.

When you start using Google's Shopping List, you'll find the familiar, simple Google interface. Simply use the search box to find what you're looking for, make sure that's the product you want, and click the "add to shopping list" link. Once you do, the item is automatically added to a listing of products you want. The list displays pricing, availability, and some useful information about the items you add.

As I started using Google's Shopping List, I was immediately impressed. The service provides a slew of products, searching is quick and easy, and thanks to price comparisons, I was far more likely to find the best price than in any other service in this roundup. I really liked Google Shopping List. Check it out.

Google Shopping List
Google Shopping List has just about anything you want. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

iPhone shopping list services

Christmas Shopping List If you're looking for an app that will make it easy to keep track of all the gifts you plan to buy this year, the iPhone's Christmas Shopping List is a great way to go.

The Christmas Shopping List allows you to input the many people in your life that you plan to buy gifts for. You can also add the gifts you plan to buy for each person, including the kind of gift, the price, and whether or not you've bought it already. Once you do buy the gift, you can mark the box saying you've completed the purchase. You can also input who you bought it for, how much it cost, and mark that the person receiving the gift has been accounted for. The service also provides places to input a budget, so you can see how well you're staying within your desired spending range. For just 99 cents, Christmas Shopping List appears to be well worth the price.

Christmas Shopping List
Christmas Shopping List makes it easy to track your gift-giving. Christmas Shopping List

mGifts Similar to Christmas Shopping List, mGifts provides some useful options for those looking to pick up gifts.

When you start using mGifts, you can input the names of the people you plan to buy for, how many gifts you want to get them, and how many you've already purchased. You can also input what kind of gifts you want to buy, where you plan on getting them, and the expected price. mGifts also adds in a "stores" option that allows you to organize your gift giving based on where the products are available. Whenever you buy a gift, you need only to input it into the app and it will keep track of what you've bought and what you still need to buy. For 99 cents, it's a useful app.

mGifts tells you how many more gifts you need to give. mGifts

My top 3

1. Google Shopping List: If you're looking for the best shopping list, Google has it.

2. Boxedup: Being able to add items from across the Web is a really neat feature.

3. Christmas Shopping List: If you want a mobile shopping partner this year, Christmas Shopping List is the way to go.

See also: Create your own holiday wish list