Seasoned holiday shoppers know that things are a little different this year. Retailers began rolling out pre-Black Friday deals in October and haven’t let up. From Amazon to Costco to Walmart, these big names have been offering discounts online and in-store that rival what you’d find the day after Thanksgiving. This has been especially helpful for the millions of consumers who’ve chosen to shop exclusively online this holiday season to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19. Starting November 23 and throughout the days immediately leading up to Black Friday, the bargains will only get better.
Although many retailers are shuttering their doors on Thanksgiving Day, holiday shoppers can find many of the same doorbusters online -- unlike in years past. We’ve compared prices and talked to trusted smart shopping experts to find out which Black Friday deals are worth your time and money. Take a look:
If you’re looking for home goods, add the e-commerce giant to your list of retailers to shop at. No matter if you’ve got a neat freak on your gift-giving list or you’re looking to step up your cleaning game around the house, don’t miss out on the iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum (currently on sale for $399.99, marked down from $598 -- about 35% off). The vacuum cleans carpet and hardwood, is Alexa-compatible and connects to WiFi allowing you to operate it from your smart phone via an app.
If someone on your list has been perfecting his or her culinary skills during the pandemic, then a new cookware set may be on your must-give list this holiday season. Consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch recommends the Ayesha Curry Home Collection Cookware line. It made Oprah’s Favorite Things list this year and is available at a variety of big-box and online retailers. However, bargain shoppers will find many of the pieces available at significantly lower prices on Amazon. For example, the 12-piece Porcelain and Enamel Nonstick Cookware Set (in the brown sugar colorway) sells for $85.99 on Amazon, compared to $139.99 at Kohl’s. You’ll pay about 40% more at the big-box retailer.
Remember Black Friday shopping in the pre-COVID-19 days? Seems so long ago. Shoppers would line up for hours to be one of the first to grab doorbuster deals on TVs. Holiday shopping, including on Black Friday, will be enormously different this year, but the TV deals will still be a hallmark of Best Buy’s doorbusters, says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae.com. “Many deep Black Friday discounts are on items from the previous season, but these sales are on new units from VIZIO with OLED technology and superior viewing for sports and gaming.”
Look for the Vizio 55-inch Class OLED 4K SmartCast TV (currently, $1,299.99) to be reduced to $899 (a more than 30% drop) and a Vizio 65-inch Class OLED 4K SmartCast TV (currently $1,899.99) to fall to $1,499.99 (a 21% discount) for Black Friday.
Expect Best Buy to unload more deals as Black Friday approaches, says Nathan Burrow, deals expert for The New York Times’ product review site Wirecutter. He favors Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless In-Ear headphones for $25, a savings of about 40%; Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers (3rd generation) for $19 -- a 53% drop; and the Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker for $70 -- a 25% discount.
As for TVs, Best Buy will offer a blockbuster deal on the TCL 75-inch smart TV priced at $500. “If you have room for a huge TV, this is one of the best deals we've seen this year,” says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. “TCL is a pretty well-known brand now, even if it doesn't reach the tiers of Samsung and LG. But if you prefer, there's also a Samsung 70-inch 4K UHD smart set for $530. These are both strong prices for TVs in this size range in general, with both beating out the average price we saw last Black Friday.”
To go streaming with your new TV, Ramhold has spotted another big deal: Google Chromecast for $19. “This deal jumped out at us because we expected it to drop to $25, but no less,” she says. “If you need an affordable streaming media player and aren't interested in the Amazon ecosystem, this is a hard-to-beat deal.”
Costco is a members-only warehouse club, and if you’re not a member -- it costs $60 to $120 for an annual membership -- now’s the time to consider joining. One perk for the holidays is price protection, says Wirecutter’s Burrow. “Costco offers price protection within 30 days of purchases in the event that Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales get even better than an early sale price you’ve nabbed,” he says.
Black Friday 2020 deals that Burrow is watching include Samsung “The Frame” designer TVs starting at $480; the GoPro Hero8Black action cam bundle discounted $60; the Ring Alarm 10-piece security system $100 off; the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd Generation) $50 off; the Dyson V11 Animal+ stick vacuum discounted to $400; Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 computer speakers for $90; and Jabra Elite Active 75t wireless workout buds for $150.
Other Costco Black Friday deals, cited by DealNews’ Ramhold, include the LG 55-inch 4K UHD smart TV for $379.99. “It's a name-brand 4K smart set under $400, so if you're in the market for a mid-size set, this is a solid purchase,” says Ramhold. “We're particularly impressed with this one because it's less than last year's average Black Friday price for a TV in this class size, which was $425.”
The big-box home improvement chain has remodeled its approach to Black Friday, notes Wirecutter’s Burrow. “Home Depot has presented a slightly different promotional plan from other retailers, explicitly stating that it wouldn’t offer a concentrated grouping of Black Friday deals in late November, but that it would instead offer continuous deals from November 6 until December 2,” says Burrow.
“With a few exceptions [such as a Werner 8-foot ladder for $50], we’re seeing a slate of solid but unexceptional prices,” Burrow says. “We’ll see if Home Depot betters the sales we’ve seen so far when Black Friday begins. At the very least, we expect to see deals on some tools and select housewares.”
Michael Bonebright, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com, calls out a couple of exceptional Home Depot deals:
- two free tools or batteries with select combinations of tool kits from Milwaukee, DeWalt and Makita. Savings can be as much as $398.
- 75% off on clearance items, mostly fall goods for home and garden.
Shopping for a new drill? TrueTrae.com’s Bodge sees value in Home Depot’s Black Friday deals on drills -- in particular, the ATOMIC 20-volt MAX Cordless Brushless Compact Drill/Impact Combo Kit, which includes two tool with two batteries and charger. It’s on sale Black Friday for $149, down from $229, a 35% discount. Also a big drill deal: an 18-volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Cordless 6-tool combo kit with two batteries, charger and bag for $199, down from $299, a 33% discount.
Bodge’s annual plea to smart shoppers is to forgo cutting down a live tree for Christmas and go faux. Now’s the time, and Lowe’s is the place, on Black Friday, says Bodge. “Usually, the best deals on faux trees are in December – and better yet, after Christmas – but Lowe’s has several faux trees on sale for Black Friday.” As an example, the GE 7.5-foot Fraser Fir Pre-Lit traditional artificial Christmas tree, with 600 color-changing LED lights, will be $158 on Black Friday, down from $298, a 47% price drop.
Bonebright likes Lowe’s Black Friday buy-one, get-one deals on power tools from DeWalt, Bosch, and Craftsman, as well as Lowe’s usual deep-discount pricing on appliances (a game Home Depot always plays on Black Friday, too), but fair warning:
Burrow predicts huge Black Friday deals -- as of this writing, specifics have yet to be released -- at Lowe’s on smart home items. “Lowe’s may seem like an unlikely place to grab smart home and electronics gear, but they’ll offer a slate of discounts that looks set to compete with the best ones out there,” says Burrow.
Consumers on the hunt for deep discounts on electronics items should add Target (or Target.com) to their list of go-to stores this holiday season. The big-box retailer is offering several can’t-miss deals, including wireless headphones and TVs, from top brands, says TrueTrae.com’s Bodge. You can snag the Beats by Dre Studio3 Wireless Over-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones for a steal at $174.99 (marked down from $349.99 -- that’s 50% off).
Looking for a Black Friday-worthy deal on a brand-name television? Bodge points to the LG 55-Inch NanoCell 81 Series 4K UHD Smart TV, on sale at Target for $499.99 (marked down from $699.99 -- about 30% off). The retailer also has the LG 70-inch 4K UHD Smart LED HDR TV on sale for $549.99 (marked down from $849.99 -- that’s $300 less).
Portable bluetooth speakers remain a top gift this time of year. The versatility is a big draw: You can use them in the kitchen, in your office or your kid’s playroom. The big-box retailer will have Bose’s SoundLink Color Wireless Bluetooth Speaker on sale for $79.99, Bodge says. (That’s $50 less than the original retail price.) An added bonus: This speaker is water-resistant. CNET.com gave it 4 out of 5 stars, highlighting its compact size, sound quality and battery life.
Walmart unveiled its holiday sale earlier this month, dubbing it “Black Friday Deals for Days.” Each week, they’ve been offering up discounts on everything from Lenovo laptops to children's pajama sets. Some of Walmart’s advertised deals are available in-store only, while others are online exclusives, warns consumer savings expert Woroch.
A brag-worthy online bargain to jump on: Apple’s AirPods Pro headphones, recommends TrueTrae.com’s Bodge. Starting on November 25, they’ll be on sale at Walmart.com for $169 (originally priced at $249 -- about 35% off). The headphones are sweat- and water-resistant and come with a wireless charging case.
Rather-Be-Shopping.com’s founder Kyle James offers up a gift idea for parents looking for a low-cost mobile phone for their “tweens”: the Straight Talk LG Style 5 Smart Phone. Priced at $129 (marked down from $199 -- 35% off), it’s a prepaid phone, and you can choose from three no-contract 30-day plan options that include unlimited talk, text and phone calls. Once that 30 days is up, you can simply refill your current plan or purchase a new one.
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.
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