- Internet & the Web
10 Sites Like ThinkGeek
noun: geek; plural noun: geeks
- an unfashionable or socially inept person.
Now that we understand the meaning of the word ‘geek’ as it applies to ThinkGeek we can then begin to understand the type of people this site caters to. I think it’s easy to say that most of us have a little ‘geeky’ side and enjoy standing out from the norm. At ThinkGeek, they have made it easy by providing us easy access to Sci-fi, comic book, and other techie apparel, electronics and gadgets, outdoor and survival gear, collectibles, and other items that you can’t just pick up at your local department store.
The site, Thinkgeek.com is listed as #175 on the Internet Retailers Top 500 list so it is a well trusted and popular brand. However, being big does not always translate to being the best or having the most of a certain product. Below, you will find 10 sites like ThinkGeek where you can find similarly related items and merchandise where you can really stand out among your geek friends.
What started out as a couple college friends creating a shot glass chess set to sell has now turned into a huge Internet retailer servicing the tech and geek culture around the world. While firebox.com has its headquarters in London, it also has a US based distribution center.
If you’re the type of person that is looking for obscure and hard to come by items to give as gifts or just to collect then this is a great alternative for finding geek lifestyle items such as personalized superhero action figures; tech gadgets such as the world’s first 3D printing pen; or something fun like dinosaur cookie cutters.
2. Sharper Image
You may remember this company having physical stores in malls throughout the US but when the economy took a nosedive in 2008, so did The Sharper Image. But even though the physical stores are all but gone, the name lives on through joint ventures and partnerships with manufactures and through the branded website where you will find the latest in home electronics and other lifestyle products.
The website has a very clean setup where you can search for items that are gender specific or purpose specific, such as the full size Pac-Man arcade game for the man cave, or an electric S’mores maker for the home.
3. Entertainment Earth
Here is one of those sites that survived the .com explosion at the turn of the century. It’s is an e-commerce website that was created by a trio of friends who worked out of a garage in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. Being collectors, they knew just how difficult it is to find mint condition toys and collectibles so they put this site together for other collectors.
Now the company is a worldwide retailer and wholesaler of over 15,000 licensed products with a huge focus on Hollywood entertainment, comic book heroes, and other pop culture entertainment. It is the go to site for action figures and bobble heads.
4. Edmund Scientifics
Norman Edmund started this business over 50 years ago when he discovered the need by other hobbyists to locate hard to come by items. His venture led to the creation of a monthly newsletter that was sent out by snail mail and has now grown into a global source for science and engineering hobbyists.
Here you will find unusual science related activities, toys, and gifts to feed the ideas and inventions of the next generation of scientists. This is the place to go to if you are searching for crystal growing kits or solar robot kits, or wherever your imagination is taking you.
Here is another success story of a company that started out in a 10 x 10 bedroom in Southern California. It started out as a T-Shirt design company with a focus on hacker culture but after the first year it doubled in size and the company expanded their product line to include apparel with video game and other geek culture themes. It has also expanded its product line to include other non-apparel items such as toys and board games, action figures, posters, stickers, and other collectibles.
This is an online retailer based out of Vancouver, BC, Canada that specializes in products specifically geared toward geeks and gamers. While most of their products are T-shirts which are billed as being “Hot, Scorching, Bio-hazardous, and potentially nuclear,” they do have other products such as stickers and posters.
One thing that is particularly appealing about this site is their attention to their community and targeted audience by allowing them to vote on specific designs and to also submit their own designs for consideration. If you have an artistic side to you that is also geek in nature, then you might find your designs being worn by other like minded individuals.
Edit: As of July 2015, it looks like the Splitreason servers are down. I will re-edit the link when and if it becomes available again.
7. Neato Shop
Here is a site that is listed as one of the world’s largest blogs as it is on the Technorati Top 100 Blogs list. The site claims to have “the neatest stuff on Earth.” Whether you are a Star Wars fan or a Zombie lover, this place probably has something you will like.
While a lot of their most popular products are T-Shirts and other apparel but they also carry decorative products for the home and garden, jewelry, and car accessories such as those stickers you see in the rear windows of vehicles depicting the makeup of the driver’s family.
8. Geek Armory
The staff of this site search out the top gadget review sites to discover new and exciting geek stuff and post the items on the site for an easy shopping experience. Items include men’s and women’s T-shirts and other geek wear, books and DVD’s, cool gadgets and gaming accessories, and lots of zombie stuff.
9. The Geeky Store
At this site you will find all things nerd/geek, including apparel, books, and gadgets. The site has a clean navigation and the most important thing to know about the products listed here is that they are all found and actually purchased from the world’s leading e-commerce site, Amazon.
You can sort through the products by price or by product category and you will also find real customer reviews on these products. Of course you could go directly to Amazon but this site makes it easy for you to discover items you probably weren’t even looking for.
10. Dude I Want That
As you can probably imagine from the name of this site, you will discover items you would really, really want. This is by far my favorite geek and gadget site to explore because I always find items that I have never seen before or only herd rumors about.
The site curates items from all over the world and most of the items are buyable; however you may discover an item or two that are on some other nerd’s wish list. And though many of the items listed have a price tag and purchase links, this site does not actually sell any of the products. Discovering the products is almost as exciting as owning them.
Whether you are searching for a new Harry Potter, or Iron Man T-shirt, solar operated robot, or a Game of Thrones gold ring, you are sure to find it on one of these sites. As I mentioned, discovering the vast amount of geek and nerd product available is almost as exciting as owning some of it. Almost!
Take a look around and if you find something incredibly special, be sure to come back and tell us about it in the comments below.