By now, you have probably realized that the vast majority of Black Friday deals are duds. Many so-called bargains are undesirable products that have been marked down to help stores clear out inventory, or have discounts that aren’t any better than sales that happened earlier in the year.
It’s that time of the year again when retailers bombard you with ads promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Yet there is a silver lining: This is the best time to buy a few items, like video game consoles, televisions and smart home accessories, which plummet to their lowest prices. If you know ahead of time what to focus on, you might score a few good deals.
[Read more about the best ways to spend your money (or keep it) on Black Friday.]
“Come into Black Friday with a list,” said Alex Roth, a commerce editor for Wirecutter, a New York Times product review site that tracks deals year round. “Don’t just buy things and figure you can return them later, because the holiday return lines are horrible.”
to help narrow your search for good buys on Black Friday, I teamed up with Wirecutter to round up the products that are worth following — and the ones you can skip.
Video Game Consoles
If you’ve been planning to treat yourself or a loved one to a new video game console, this may be the best time of year to grab one. Some Black Friday ads for Best Buy and Walmart show that prices for some consoles will drop to their lowest all year, said Adam Burakowski, the deals editor for Wirecutter.
“This year in particular, the consoles are pretty much the best prices we’ve seen,” he said.
For example, both Walmart and Best Buy plan to sell Sony’s PlayStation 4 bundled with the new Spider-Man game for $200, down from the retail price of $300 for the console alone. In addition, Nintendo’s Switch console will cost about $300 together with a Super Mario Kart game — normally, the system costs that much without a game included.
For one, don’t be fooled by ads for so-called doorbusters — like jaw-droppingly cheap TVs — at retailers like Best Buy, Mr. Burakowski said. Those tend to be mediocre TV sets, or they sell out extremely quickly. For another, during Black Friday, manufacturers sometimes sell subpar televisions with model numbers that are nearly identical to popular, high-quality sets, he added.
The smartest way to buy a TV is to do research ahead of time and pick out a great set you want, then jot down the model number and periodically check retailers’ websites throughout the week to see if the price has dropped. (Price-tracking web tools like Camel Camel Camel can help automate this process.)