I really am in the need for a dictionary now because my current one is just plain sad. It's a non-college dictionary that's 8 years old, missing a few pages, and torn into two different pieces. It just isn't adequate anymore now that I'm getting into harder HS classes. I'm currently looking at these (I don't want to spend over $30):

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary with CD-Rom

American Heritage College Dictionary Deluxe Edition

Concise Oxford English Dictionary

I was originally thinking about getting the first one, but then I found the two others, which also seemed like great choices (Also look at their Amazon.com Sales Rank versus the first dictionary, pretty big difference). So, which one should I get?
I've thought about it some more and I've ruled out the last one. So, now it's between Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and American Heritage's College Dictionary. The American Heritage one was published 2 years ago (1 year older than the Merriam Webster's one), will that be an issue with the dictionary?
Buy the American Heritage! I have a great big American Heritage and I like the format very much. The extra material on word derivations and the usage notes are great. Of course I don't know if the one you're looking at has these features, but it may have equally useful features.

As for publication date, the English language is not changing that fast!!!
I'd even recommend an American Heritage from 25 years ago!

Hope that helps you with your choice.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
What edition of the American Heritage dictionary do you have?

Hmm...I guess I'll go with the American Heritage one. Would you happen to know if I could get a special version of it that includes a CD-Rom? What concerns me is the very small margins. There isn't much space between the inside edge of a page and the end/start margin for the text, making it difficult to read certain words without putting a lot of pressure on the book to make it straight,
I wonder if you' a native speaker of the language. If you are then any of the dictionaries you have mentioned will be good. If you are not a native speaker and you want to imrove your english then I would strongly suggest that you should go for collins cobuild english dictionary.

But never buy the concise one. Buy the one that has example sentences for each sentence

Hope that helps
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
... And I swear by the Webster's Collegiate. I have the CD in my computer, but seldom use it, reaching instead for the Big Red Book that has all the answers.

I use the big Cobuild with my students too. Its weakpoint is that it has a smaller vocabulary, but it does have more explanation in simple words, and example sentences, than Webster's.

And then to check Briticisms, I have an old Shorter Oxford, which is certainly overkill.

I blush to admit I have never felt the need to look further afield, so cannot comment on the American Heritage. If Jim advocates its use, it must be durn good too.

I guess you cannot go very wrong with any of them. Have you a chance to browse the actual volumes at a bookstore? If so, you might better find the book that matches your personality.