Business News - Opportunities - Reviews
Amazon Prime Day has become Black Friday in July. It’s no longer just one day, with last year’s Prime Day going on for over 36 hours. It’s also more than just Amazon, with competing retailers offering discounts and price matches of their own. And while the opportunity to save has grown, so has the risk of wasting money some impulsive purchase you don’t need.
No matter where you shop, the key to coming out of Prime Day with your budget intact (and something useful, or at the very least fun, on the way) is a little bit of preparation and realistic expectations. No, browsing Lightning Deals at 4 a.m. is not going to net you a great 60-inch 4K TV at 50 percent off, but knowing what you want and the price to pounce on ahead of time will.
At Wirecutter, we’ll be sifting through the thousands of deals from Amazon and everyone else, posting only the best discounts (generally the lowest price we’ve seen in ninety days) on products our staff has reviewed and recommends on our deals page. You can also follow along on Twitter with the @WirecutterDeals account, or get the deals in your inbox via our deals newsletter.
Look for deals on small appliances, small electronics, and luggage
Amazon keeps a tight lid on its Prime Day deals until the event starts, but in Prime Days past, the best deals have been on kitchen appliances, luggage, and small electronics. Here are some of the biggest discounts we saw during Prime Day last year:
The Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, our pick at the time for the best sous vide machine, fell from a street price of $130 to $70 shipped from Amazon, and $72 from Williams Sonoma.
Our upgrade pick for the best cordless stick vacuum, the Dyson V8 Absolute Stick Vacuum, was discounted from $450 to $365. At the time, that was the lowest price we’d seen for non-refurbished model.
The Instant Pot Duo 6-Quart, our favorite Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker, dropped from $100 to an unheard-of $60 price.
Our pick at the time for the best carry-on luggage, the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 22” Rollaboard, went from $240 to $200. That may not seem like a lot, but it was the lowest price we’d seen in months.
The best blender you can get, the pricey Vitamix 5200, dropped from $400 to $300.
The Jabra Move, a former budget pick for the best wireless bluetooth headphones, went from $80 to $40.
What wasn’t on sale: the latest high-end electronics and entertainment. Don’t expect deals on top quality 4K TVs, iPads, iPhones, video game consoles, or new video games and Blu-rays.
[Wirecutter spends hundreds of hours researching and testing gear so you don’t have to. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get recommendations and real-world advice on upgrading your life.]
Start the day before
Just as Black Friday has gone from a single day to nearly a week of online and in-store sales, Prime Day is extending its hours as well. In 2018, Amazon officially expanded Prime Day to 36 hours, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern on Monday, July 16, but discounts were already appearing on Amazon the Sunday before. Expect the same this year.
Crash the party with a free trial of Prime
As the name suggests, Amazon Prime Day is only for Amazon Prime members. The service is $119 a year, or $13 a month, and gets you free two-day shipping on most purchases. After free shipping, Prime’s best features are streaming video and photo storage. Like Netflix, Prime Video has a rotating catalog of classic movies and TV shows. Plus, its original content has been coming into its own lately. And Amazon Photos gives subscribers unlimited storage of full-resolution photos. This could actually be a money saver if it lets you cancel similar services from Apple’s iCloud or Google Photos.
If you’ve never had Amazon Prime before, you can use the 30-day free trial to get access to Prime Day. Once it’s over, if you decide Prime isn’t for you, just cancel before it ends to avoid being billed. Set a calendar reminder so you don’t forget.
Decide what you want before you shop
Before Prime Day starts, write a short list of what you’d like to buy, and get specific. Not all 55-inch 4K TVs are created equal, so choose a make and model, (or at the very least identify the features you need,) and note its price before the sale, so you have some perspective.
Choose Lightning Deals in the morning
Some of the best deals offered by Amazon are Lightning Deals, which are available for a limited time, in a limited quantity. They go fast, and Amazon leaves the expired ones visible so shoppers see what they missed and feel compelled to watch for more.
The whole thing is designed to keep shoppers hooked, ready to pull the trigger with minimal time to assess the product and its price. If you do plan to shop Lightning Deals, check them first thing in the morning and look for the ones that are upcoming. This will give you time to research the product, and you can set a reminder on your phone for ten minutes before it starts so you don’t miss out.
Prime Day might be Amazon’s thing, but they can’t stop competitors from getting in on the action. Big box retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target routinely match Amazon’s prices on appliances, TVs, and other electronics. If the deal you want is out of stock on Amazon, check to see if anyone else still has it.
Keep your eyes on smaller, specialty retailers, as well as local shops. As Prime Day has whetted people’s appetite for shopping, stores of all sizes have started to use it to their advantage.
Sign up for the Wirecutter Weekly Newsletter and get our latest recommendations every Sunday.
A version of this article appears at Wirecutter.com.
Business News - Opportunities - Reviews