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Smart Buying

Best Doorbuster Deals for Thanksgiving Day at Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and Other Big-Box Stores

You'll find deep discounts on TVs, tablets, laptops, smart phones and more the day before Black Friday.

Like it or not, sales on Thanksgiving Day don’t seem to be a trend that’s fading. In fact, more consumers plan to shop on the holiday this year than last year (39% versus 23%), according to a survey conducted by RetailMeNot, a Web site that provides coupons and promo codes. And most major retailers will be starting their big sales on Thursday rather than waiting until Black Friday--which means hard-core bargain hunters might have to plan their Thanksgiving meal around store hours.

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To help you figure out which deals are worth excusing yourself from the table to pursue, we asked Ben’s Bargains Managing Editor Kristin Cook, BFAds.net founder Michael Brim and FatWallet online shopping expert Brent Shelton for their picks for big-ticket doorbusters, pricey items that are deeply discounted but in limited supply. These three spend their days combing through retailers’ Thanksgiving and Black Friday sale ads, so they know which offers will be hard to beat.

All of their picks have been advertised as in-store deals, but it’s worth checking retailers’ sites before you head out the door to see if they are offering any of their doorbusters online.

Televisions

Panasonic 50-inch 1080p, 60Hz LED HDTV -- $199.99 at Best Buy. All three of the deal experts we surveyed picked this TV doorbuster. In fact, Brim of BFAds.net says it’s the best deal of the holiday weekend. “It’s unheard of getting a top name-brand 50-inch HDTV for anywhere near $200,” he says. This TV normally sells for $549.99. Best Buy will be handing out tickets to customers who want this item (and other doorbuster deals) outside its stores two hours before they open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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Element 40-inch 1080p LCD HDTV - - $119.99 at Target. Both Brim and Shelton of FatWallet rank this as the second-best TV deal. Although it’s an off-brand, you can’t beat the price, which has been slashed from $349.99. Target stores open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Note, however, that Walmart has marked down various 40-inch off-brand HDTVs to $115 as part of its pre-Black Friday sale that started November 21.

Vizio 65-inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV -- $648 at Walmart. For consumers looking for something a bit bigger and nicer, Brim says they’ll get an exceptional price on this set, which normally sells for $1,098. It’s one of Walmart’s one-hour guarantee doorbuster items that will be on sale from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. If it sells out during the hour it's on sale, Walmart will offer customers in the store vouchers to buy it at the discounted price and pick it up when it ships to the store. For those who want an ultra-high-resolution 4K set, Brim recommends the Samsung 55-inch 4K Smart LED HDTV, which normally sells for more than $1,200 but will be marked down to $899.99 at Best Buy during its 5 p.m. sale on Thursday.

Laptops

Apple 13.3-inch MacBook Pro -- $899.99 at Best Buy. This is Shelton's top pick for a laptop deal, and it’s Cook’s pick for best Apple deal. It is marked down from $1,099.99 and will be one of Best Buy’s doorbuster deals at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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Asus 11.6-inch Laptop -- $99.99 at Staples. Brim says that this laptop with an Intel processor, 2GB of memory and Windows 8.1 is the main competitor of the Panasonic 50-inch HDTV for best doorbuster deal this year. This basic laptop, which will be marked down from $249 at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, is perfect for light word processing and web browsing.

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HP Envy Touchsmart 15-inch Laptop -- $499 at Best Buy. If you need something with more power than the Asus, Cook recommends this HP laptop, which normally sells for $699. It’s part of Best Buy’s 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day sale.

Note: Amazon.com, Dell.com, Microsoftstore.com and Newegg.com will have the best laptop deals online for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, according to the deal experts at Ben’s Bargains.

Video games and consoles

Microsoft Xbox One Console with "Assassin's Creed Unity" and "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" -- $329 at Target. Target also is throwing in a $50 Target gift card with this console/game bundle during its 6 p.m. Thanksgiving sale. Walmart also will mark down the Xbox One to $329 from $399 and bundle it with "Halo: The Master Chief Collection" and a $30 Walmart gift card during its 6 p.m. Thursday sale. But both Brim and Cook say the higher-value gift card gives Target the edge on this deal.

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Sony PlayStation 4 Console with "Grand Theft Auto V" and "The Last of Us" with $50 Shopping Credit -- $399.99 at Meijer. Brim says that this Meijer bundle that will be on sale at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving is the best deal on the PS4 this year. However, Walmart is selling just the PS4 console for $399 but throwing in a free $50 store gift card as part of its pre-Black Friday sale November 21 through 27.

Xbox 360 Console -- $99 at Walmart. If you or your kids don’t have to have the latest-model gaming console, Cook says this Xbox 360 is the best deal. It will be marked down from $179 at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. You should also look to eBay, Fry's and Groupon for aggressive pricing on consoles during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, she says.

Smart phones

Apple iPhone 6 16GB with 2-Year Service Contract -- $99 at Best Buy. Best Buy is cutting the price in half (from $199) on this new iPhone at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Brim says the retailer is guaranteeing at least a $100 gift card when you trade-in any working iPhone. If you miss this deal, Sam’s Club will offer the same phone at the same price with a 2-year service agreement at 7 a.m. on Black Friday, Brim says. Note, also, that Walmart is offering the iPhone 6 for $0 down with an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge contract for "well-qualified buyers" and a $75 gift card as part of its current pre-Black Friday sale.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with 2-Year Service Contract -- $0 plus $50 gift card at Best Buy. This is one of Shelton’s for best smart phone deal. It’s part of Best Buy’s 5 p.m. Thanksgiving sale, and is available to buyers with good credit.

Samsung Galaxy S5 with 2-Year Service Contract -- $0 at Radio Shack. Cook says you can get this $199 phone for free with a 2-year service plan when Radio Shack opens its doors at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving.

Tablets

Apple iPad Air 2 16GB -- $499 plus a $140 gift card at Target. Brim says it is impressive that Target is offering what is essentially a $140 discount on a new Apple item that was just released a month ago. However, Best Buy is offering the same model for $399 during its 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day sale. So you can decide whether you want the discount at Best Buy or gift card at Target. Or you can get the iPad Air 2 now through November 27 at Walmart’s pre-Black Friday sale for $489 plus a $100 gift card.

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iPad Mini 3 -- $324 at Best Buy. Best Buy is marking down all 16GB, 64GB and 128GB iPad Mini 3 tablets by $75 during its 5 p.m. Thanksgiving sale, Shelton and Cook say. However, Walmart has marked it down to $389 and thrown in a $100 store gift card for its pre-Black Friday sale going on now through November 27.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite -- $89 at OfficeMax and Office Depot. Cook says this is the best deal on a budget seven-inch tablet. Doors will open at these stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S -- $399 plus $20 in rewards points at Sears. This is the best deal on a high-end 10-inch Samsung tablet, Cook says. And member of the Sears "ShopYourWay" loyalty program get $20 in rewards points with this purchase. Doors open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.

Headphones

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD Headphones -- $69.99 at Radio Shack. Despite being featured on the front page of Target's Black Friday ad (for $100), the best price for the Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD headphones comes from Radio Shack at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving Day for $69.99 after $60 rebate, Brim says. You could avoid dealing with a mail-in rebate and pay $10 more than at Radio Shack to get the headphones from Best Buy. But Radio Shack will probably have a much smaller crowd than Best Buy, so the chance of getting the headphones in-store at Radio Shack are better, Brim says.

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Beats by Dr.Dre Wireless Headphones -- $149 at Walmart. If you prefer wireless headphones, Shelton says this is the best deal. These headphones usually sell for $279. It’s one of Walmart’s one-hour guarantee doorbuster items that will be on sale from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Toys

Lego Sets – 40% off at Target. Kmart also is marking down Lego sets 40%, but Shelton says the selection will be better at Target’s Thanksgiving sale that starts at 6 p.m. Walmart already has marked down select Lego sets to $39 for its pre-Black Friday sale. Depending on the set, the discount could be as deep as Target’s 40% off.

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Barbie Dolls -- $5 at Target and Walmart. Both of these big-box retailers are marking down various Barbie dolls from $20 to $5 during their Thanksgiving sales that start at 6 p.m., Cook says.

Playskool, Fisher-Price, Little Tikes, Barbie, Monster High, Hot Wheels, Nerf, Play-Doh, and others – 50% off at Kohl’s. Toys from these brands will be half price during Kohl’s sale that starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Shelton says. Plus you can get $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent.

Kitchen and home

12-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set -- $29.99 with $20 rebate at Macy’s. Cooks says this is the best cookware deal you’ll find on Thanksgiving. This set that includes pots, pans and cooking utensils usually sells for $120. Macy’s opens its doors at 6 p.m. Thursday, and the price on this set will jump to $69.99 after 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Kitchen a la Carte 22-piece Knife Set -- $19.99 at Kohl’s. This set of triple-rivet knives is Cook’s top pick for a knife deal because it usually sells for $99.99. Kohl’s sale starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, and the $19.99 price is valid only until 1 p.m. Friday.

Pyrex 18-piece Storage Set -- $14.99 at JCPenney. Shelton expects this to be one of the hottest deals with the FatWallet community because the original price on this set was $78. It’s currently on sale for $44.99. JCPenney’s sale starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, and shoppers can earn $20 in “bonus cash” when they spend $75 in stores before 1 a.m. Friday, Shelton says.

Keurig K45 Elite Single Serve Coffee Maker -- $99 plus a $20 gift card at Best Buy. This popular brewing system was originally priced at $119 and includes a 12-count K-cup pack. It’s part of Best Buy’s 5 p.m. Thanksgiving sale. Note that Walmart is offering a $25 gift card with a $99 Keurig K40 now through November 27.

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