We really love it when Defender has something that we want to buy. But you have to think of Defender as the cut-rate low price and zero customer service/customer interaction type place. They do a great job figuring out what the biggest sellers are and then they carry ONLY those biggest seller items at the lowest possible price. That means they'll carry only one model of an item which West will have 10 models and most other discount vendors will have 7 models. If what you want is the one model of an item everyone else wants, you'll usually find excellent pricing at Defender. You'll not be able to get them to go out of their way to help you by ordering something special or giving you advice. That's not their strength. Their strengh is lowest price, period.
West Marine's prices are quite high. The only reasonable time to purchase from West Marine is when you just don't have time to find the item(s) at discount elsewhere. The local US stores are filled with friendly but unfortunately often clueless clerks. They all mean well, but often can't help you unless you're buying run-of-the-mill stuff that they've sold to thousands of other boaters--and that's the stuff that you'll find a good price at Defender. Here in the USA, they are more a "boating" store for the weekend boater, they're not specialized to cruisers. West Marine's policy of matching price doesn't really work well--I've had a little personal experience with it and don't want to get into it here on a forum. I just think of West as the emergency "back up" place to buy things if I'm in a hurry or lazy.
I've suggested elsewhere on one of Auzzee's threads that he investigate Downwind Marine. Originally owned by a cruising family (the Frost family) of San Diego and now part of the San Diego Marine Exchange. They are reputable, support cruisers, put together cruising seminars (free) in the fall when many cruisers are visiting San Diego on their way to Mexico. They ship all over the world and if they don't have something that you need in an out-of-the-way place, they'll source it for you and ship it to you. They will receive mail and packages for cruisers in the San Diego area as well--free of charge--and you can walk in and pick it up. That also means that as long as you're buying something that they don't vend themselves (e.g. you're getting a blanket from Lands End) they'll accept the package AND even (for cost of postage) forward it on to you in a foreign port. I can't say enough really good things about building a relationship with the company. Chris Frost ran the business for many years, he now works in the store but management is via Marine Exchange. While in San Diego, we purchased many things for the rebuild of our boat from Marine Exchange. We did set up a boatbuilder account since we were doing so much business with them during the rebuild. Without the account, Marine Exchange prices are about like those of West Marine (too high) but with the account they are reasonable. At the time, Downwind Marine wasn't part of Marine Exchange but we often did business with them anyway.
Downwind Marine has an online store so you can check their prices there as well. Downwind Marine
Other places for good pricing? Fisheries Supply (Washington State) has a good (large) catalog, they'll give you an account and discount pricing on big ticket items if you call them. Their online store: Fisheries Supply
Hamilton Marine Welcome To Hamilton Marine
is a really nice bunch of folks on the East Coast, much like Downwind Marine, they seem to really care about the customer and provide advice on product selection. They have a huge catalog which is a bit like West Marine with a little better pricing. I've bought from them when their pricing has been best on a particular item. Some things with them are very low priced. I think they have better pricing than West Marine but their general pricing seems higher than Fisheries and Downwind.
I'd suggest that you research each of your items and then decide the model/brand you desire and figure out who has the best price online and work from there.
There are numerous specialized (online) marine vendors here in the USA with excellent prices on the particular things they sell.