How to Use Advanced Search for Amazon to Find What You Want

Philip Bates 01-06-2017

Amazon is a vast mall filled with all your favorite things… and lots of dross too. That’s the problem! How do you sort the wheat from the chaff?


Sometimes, an ordinary search just isn’t enough. Fortunately, that’s where Amazon’s Advanced Search comes in. It might just save you some extra money Save Money on Amazon With These 8 Sub-Reddits Reddit can be a great place to learn how to save money on Amazon, from shopping tips to great deals. Here are 8 sub-reddits that will help! Read More too!

What Is Advanced Search?

The first thing you should know about is the bar to the left of any department sub-menu page. This lets you filter what you see. You can toggle it so you only see new releases, products on Prime Is Amazon Prime Worth Your Money? We Help You Decide! Amazon Prime is a big deal. But is it worth the money you pay for it? We answer your questions and concerns. Read More (get your Prime membership here), and price. You can also tamper with it so you only view well-reviewed items.

amazon advanced search options

Still, that’s often not enough. Okay, you’re not going to struggle to find the latest Star Wars novel or anything, but what if you’re looking for something more niche?

Let’s take a graphic novel called Pigs Might Fly as a real-life example. It’s pretty easy to pre-order in America, but in the U.K., it’s promoted as a paperback only — except I’d seen a gorgeous hardcover on Twitter, which I knew I wanted. Amazon UK didn’t show it, not even as an alternative option when purchasing the book.


Using Advanced Search, I located it in seconds.

amazon pigs might fly hardcover

This function is simple to find: just go to any department and look for “Advanced Search” in the navigation bar. You’ll notice that many categories don’t offer it (and depends on your region), but there’s a solution to that too, which we’ll cover later in this post.

amazon advanced search


You can use it to find books The Ultimate 50 Ways to Find New Books to Read There are some books which we don't want to put down. Thanks to the many tools available today, your next reading adventure can begin instantly. Find what you should read next with this guide. Read More , music, DVDs and Blu-rays, and video games primarily. You can even use it to find books without knowing the title or author. Each iteration offers different search terms (ISBN numbers in Books, for instance), but do have a few uniting factors — namely, “Title”, “Keywords”, and “Sellers”. The latter lets you choose to filter results solely to Amazon and not third-parties.

Sadly, you’ll find dead links. Despite some iterations of Advanced Search supposedly offering more, support for most departments has ended.

How Do I Use It?

Searching solely for its “Title” will only work if you know the release exactly. Take the Avengers movie as an example. In America, it’s known as The Avengers (2012), but in the U.K., to avoid confusion with the classic TV series also sharing that name, it’s called Avengers Assemble.

blu-ray avengers assemble amazon


That’s a well-known title, but it demonstrates the ambiguity that might account for rubbish results in searches for more niche items.

This is where “Keywords” come in. Sellers often add in hidden phrases that help the search, but aren’t seen by customers. This also searches product descriptions, so you’re more likely to find what you’re after. In most cases, having a title and artist/author will be enough information without adding in keywords anyway, but they definitely help.

ISBNs are the codes on books by the barcode, an identifier unique to that edition. They’re specific to the format, so they’ll differ between paperback, hardcover, and Kindle. Admittedly, very few know ISBNs. Even most authors won’t know without checking out a copy. Still, if you visit a publisher’s site, you should be able to find them there.

x-men omnibus italian edition


Beyond paperbacks, hardcovers, and ebooks, you can further choose formats, including CDs, releases through Audible Audiobooks Are Expensive! 6 Ways to Listen for Free or Cheap Audiobooks can be quite expensive. Here's how to get free and cheap audiobooks you can listen to without breaking the bank. Read More , and PDFs.

It might also be worth setting the language criteria: this saves you being bombarded with cheaper offers, only to be disappointed to find the titles themselves are in Italian! This is especially an issue with graphic novels 8 Places To Buy Comics Online, Whether You Like It On Paper Or Digital I am presuming here that you the reader are now an adult or at least in your late teens who is probably reading at least a Dan Brown or the latest bestseller on political philosophy.... Read More .

Which Other Services Offer Advanced Search?

If you’re looking for something not covered in Advanced Search, you have other options Make Amazon Better: 5 Tools to Save Time & Money on Online Shopping Save money on Amazon with a simpler shopping experience. These five useful tools will make shopping on Amazon a whole lot easier. Read More .

Your first port of call should be Jeviz, with a fantastic range of changeable criteria. Bargain hunters especially should check this one out 10 Super Ways to Save When Shopping on Amazon There are plenty of ways to save some bucks when shopping on Amazon that you may or may not know about. Read More as it offers a sliding scale of discounts. In fact, you can limit your search to products just with a 99 percent discount on RRPs, but it is just that: limiting. Nonetheless, setting it to a reasonable 40 to 60 percent should elicit solid results.

You can also apply minimum and maximum prices, and filter it to cater just for items with Coupons or through the Warehouse Deals section Are You Taking Advantage Of All The Money Saving Deals On Amazon? I'm such a big fan of Amazon, and if you're someone who shops online then you have almost no choice but to be. You can get anything and everything on Amazon. It's trusted and reliable.... Read More .

jeviz homepage

The list of searchable departments is extensive, even including Gift cards, then each breaks down into further categories still.

Amazon’s normal search will let you filter to four-star or above reviews. But look closely, as the results might be reviewed only by a couple of people. Perhaps most pleasingly, Jeviz gives you more peace of mind by offering you the ability to sort via “Most Reviews”!

As long as you sign up, you can also save your search parameters for next time. Fortunately, it’s free and assures users that they won’t receive loads of spam.

You’ll be redirected straight to Amazon after you input all your search criteria.

If you prefer a different interface, try Jungle Search. It’s very similar, but its main advantage is a “Quick Search” chart of bargains. All you have to do is click on the percentage discount from the respective department and you’ll be redirected straight there. It’s absolutely ideal to grab a quick overview if you are pressed for time.

jungle search chart

The core issue with both of these right now is that neither offers search capabilities for international versions of Amazon. They just work on its American iteration. Still, once you find the product there, you can always copy its title to another version (though that doesn’t guarantee the same items, and obviously doesn’t take price, Prime, or Pantry into account Is Amazon Prime Pantry Worth It? 5 Things You Need to Know Prime Pantry lets you shop for pantry items and groceries right on Amazon. But is it a good deal? Will it save you money? Read More ).

Better still, copy the ISBN, or, in the case of DVDs and games, the EAN. But do keep an eye on them both as international counterparts are planned.

Other Handy Features on Amazon

Beyond Advanced Search, Amazon has a couple of features that can speed up your shopping; after all, it’s in Amazon’s interests to. The easier it becomes to use, the more you’re likely to visit.

The online store began as a great way of finding popular items — DVDs, books, and music — cheaper than in a high-street shop. To emphasize the bargains on offer, Amazon adapted to a generation using QR scanners to find the cheapest alternatives You Can Finally Delete That QR Code Scanner Off Your Phone You can finally delete that third-party QR code scanner you only use once in a blue moon off your iPhone, because Google has added a native QR code scanner to Chrome for iOS. Read More online. This is through Amazon Flow, an app that allows iPhone [No longer available] and Android users to scan a product’s barcode (via a smartphone’s camera) and find its online price. From this, it compiles a shopping list.

As with most scanners, however, the results vary, so beware Flow adding something to your basket that isn’t what you’re looking for! As long as you check what you’re purchasing before completing a transaction, Flow does speed up your day.

It’s perhaps most unpredictable when it comes to more niche items; then again, you’d be surprised at the amount Amazon does offer. For instance, did you know it has a section devoted to original art?

amazon art

In fact, lots of these departments have specialized webpages that are far more aesthetically appealing than the plain Amazon homepage. If you know you’re on the look-out for, say, clothes for your summer vacation, head straight to its dedicated page.

There, you can check out subcategories: Fashion, for instance, boasts sections for Women, Men, Boys, Girls, Babies, and the latest trends. Art, meanwhile, lets you filter within price ranges, prints and photographs, and the type of painting if you’re enquiring after original work. Pretty neat, eh?

Two More Quick Tips for Searching

It’s not rocket science, but there are a couple of very simple tricks to keep in mind when using Advanced Search.

First: It’s tempting to throw in as many keywords as you can think of. Don’t. It actually lessens the chance of you finding what you’re looking for. Use three or four instead.

Second: Put a hyphen immediately before a keyword, and you can exclude it from your search. This is especially handy if you’re only looking for licensed products, in which case you could type “-unofficial” in the “Keywords.”

Do you use Advanced Search? What’s it most useful for? What further tips have you got?

Image Credits: Estrada Anton/Shutterstock

Related topics: Amazon, Online Shopping, Web Search.

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  1. David
    February 18, 2019 at 12:37 am

    That Amazon doesn't have an 'exclude products that contain word X in the title/tag” filter (similar to Ebay) is simply disrespectful of the customers. Consumer fatigue is real, what with 1000s or 100,000s of choices on Amazon. I often get products that have nothing to do with my search. E.g. I searched on (I'm in Canada) for 'socks' in the Clothing & Accessories : Men : Socks, sorted according to Average Customer Review (to help me make a more educated choice). I got 50,000 results, with backpacks, wallets, shirts, shin sleeves, underwear, baseball caps, suspenders etc populating the first page. There's not even a little X in the corner -- to click and remove an irrelevant result from the list. That's why Amazon really needs competition.

  2. wle
    October 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    " Put a hyphen immediately before a keyword, and you can exclude it from your search. This is especially handy if you’re only looking for licensed products, in which case you could type “-unofficial” in the “Keywords.” "

    this is WRONG for amazon, there is no 'do not find items with this word' option!
    try it

    • S
      December 31, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      I find that true as well, and in fact went in search of instructions to allow me to search Amazon more effectively. One of my biggest beef with the search function is the inability to eliminate products with undesired qualities, e.g. "faux". I can't type in "-faux". Amazon just uses that as another search term. Back to eBay, it seems. Amazon, fix this issue.

  3. Hildy J
    June 1, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    One caveat if you are looking for a type of product rather than a specific product - some advanced search options only show up after you have picked a department and some similar products are listed in different departments. Doing multiple advanced searches for the product in multiple departments may benefit your search.

    When you know exactly what you want, you can Google it. Just add the site operator. I found your book (after adding the author; I was amazed at how many authors have written "Pigs Might Fly") by searching for:

    "pigs might fly" hardcover abadzis

    • Philip Bates
      July 16, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Really good advice, there - thank you, Hildy!