You might think that because you faithfully compare prices online before buying, download coupons to your phone, and watch for deep discounts on yesterday's inventory as new models appear in stores, you're getting the best deals you possibly can.
Still, deep discounts for some products go by the calendar. Consumer Reports' product-research experts, who track prices all year long, have compiled a list of items that are typically discounted most deeply in February.
Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? Check our calendar of deals.
Furniture is on sale this month because stores need to make way for new lines that will arrive after the spring High Point Market (April 5 to 10 this year).
Where you shop makes a difference. Catalog retailers, for example, have been around for several years, sometimes as an adjunct to a chain of stores. Mass-market retailers, including Ikea, Levitz, Value City, and Walmart, tend to stress price. Expect a fairly limited fabric selection on upholstered furniture.
The moving hand grips and adjustable resistance on an elliptical machine allow you to turn cardiovascular exercise into a full-body workout.
Budget and midpriced ellipticals are sold at large retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Sears, Sports Authority, and Walmart. For more expensive brands, you'll generally need to hit a specialty fitness store.
Whether you want to shop online or purchase a machine from the store, be sure to try it out in person first. You might notice a problem that you couldn't detect by sight or reviews alone. For more shopping tips and a product comparison, check our elliptical buying guide and Ratings.
A piece of home exercise equipment can be a big purchase, as our tests of treadmills show. Our top-rated nonfolding treadmill costs a cool $4,000.
Spending that much can get you sturdier construction, better hardware, and more features. But you can get a decent machine that provides a great workout for less than a third of that price.
Our treadmill Ratings include dozens of models that we evaluated on construction, ease of use, ergonomics, exercise range, and safety. Our treadmill buying guide has information on different types and brands, features to look for, and other shopping tips.
A humidifier can relieve itchy eyes, sore throat, and cracked skin by adding moisture to dry, heated air.
Before you buy, check the features. A humidistat—if it's accurate—can help you maintain relative humidity between the optimal levels of 30 percent to 50 percent.
And put substance over style. Models resembling a radio can liven up your decor but their output might be too low for the area you need to humidify. Some models with a touch of whimsy, however—like the top-rated Penguin model from Crane (shown)—also delivered on performance.
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