Consumer Reports analysts track prices year-round, so we can tell you when products are on sale, month by month. If you're looking for a new swimsuit or summer sports gear to take advantage of the warm weather, you can find deep discounts on them in June. Time to spruce up your indoor living spaces? Look for great deals on furniture and carpets.
Just in time to record your famiy's summer vacation, camcorders will be marketed down this month. If you need to find gifts for June brides and grooms, pots, pans, and dishware will be deply discounted. Small consumer electronics such as Blu-ray players, home theaters, and streaming media players will also be on sale.
If you're in the market for these and other items on deep discount this month, we've got the shopping tips, buying guides, and ratings that can help you find the right models. Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? Check our calendar of deals.
––Mandy Walker (@MandyWalker on Twitter)
Buying a camcorder can be complicated. Models not only vary in size and capabilities, but also in price. You can spend as little as $150 or as much as $1,600, or more.
The right camcorder features are important. If you want better quality and more options, consider a full-size model. If you need a smaller, more portable model—or if you're an athlete or adventurer who loves to capture action footage—then consider an action cam.
Chances are you won't always be shooting in bright light. In our tests using the default mode, we found models varied in quality when shooting in dim light. Most full-sized HD camcorders captured at least good quality video in low light, but some had excellent quality.
Give some a try. In the store, try different camcorders to make sure they fit your hand and are comfortable to use. Most camcorders are designed so that the most frequently used controls—the switch to zoom in and out, the record button, and the button for still photos—are readily at hand.
Use our camcorder buying guide to discover which features are most important to you. We also have unbiased Ratings based on our lab tests, plus camcorder reviews to help you choose the best model at the right price.
Even the most luxurious carpet doesn't have to cost a fortune. Shop around to find carpet that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Get a complete quote. Always request separate pricing for materials and installation so you can make an "apples-to-apples" comparison among different suppliers.
Think about carpet care. The wrong carpet may wear out quickly, fade, or show stains that resist your best cleaning efforts. Our carpet cleaner buying guide lists the pros and cons of DIY carpet cleaning versus hiring an expert. Our Ratings of carpet cleaning machines show which ones did best in our tests. We also have stain-fighting tips in our carpet stain remover buying guide, and Ratings of the most effective stain-removing products. And we've found that upright vacuums, especially with a bag, clean carpets best.
Check out our computer buying guide to brush up on the latest features and shopping tips (subscribers can check out our Ratings of laptops, desktops, chromebooks, and tech support, and our Ratings of computer stores). Also watch our laptop buying guide video below.
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. New models show up in stores this month (as they do in January and July), meaning older inventory must be cleared out to make room. If a computer you like isn't on sale, ask for a better price.
Think green when you buy. Some computers meet the new Energy Star standard for efficient power use. Energy-use guidelines cover three operating modes—standby, sleep, and running—with systems entering sleep mode within 30 minutes of inactivity. Power supplies also need to operate more efficiently. You probably won't notice much difference in the operation of your computer, but your electricity bill might go down a bit. Look for the Energy Star label on qualified computers.
Furniture is on sale this month because stores need to make way for new lines that will arrive after the spring High Point Market.
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. See our guide to the best furniture stores.
Upkeep is key. Check out this interactive guide, which includes details on upholstered furniture, styles, and furniture-care tips.
You're likely to find these three products on many wedding registry lists. Luckily, many stores put them on sale now.
Don't automatically opt for the biggest set. If you're looking for a cookware set for a couple getting hitched, you'll want an assortment of skillets and pots, a stockpot, and lids. But a set that contains more pieces might not be the smartest choice if new cooks will use only a few and the rest take up space in their cabinet. For more shopping tips, see our cookware buying guide, and read our Ratings to find the brands and models that did best in our tough lab tests.
Keep 'em clean. If you take advantage of discounts to replenish your dishes, our dishwasher detergent buying guide will help you keep them sparkling clean (we've also got a dishwasher buying guide packed with shopping tips if you're in the market for a new model).
The early days of summer are a good time to buy many small consumer electronics such as MP3 players, DVD players, and Blu-ray players. As with many items you buy, deciding which ones are right for you depends on which type fit your needs and come with features that are important to you. Our buying guides can help; for example, we have one for MP3s, DVD players, and Blu-ray players, and a list of other electronics guides. Subscribers can also access our Ratings of MP3s and Blu-ray players.
Give them a try. For example, whichever type of MP3 player you choose, make sure you'll be comfortable using the device. Look for a display that is easy to read and controls that can be worked with one hand, useful features iPods lack. When it comes to home theaters, audition systems in the store and ask about a return or exchange if the one you buy doesn't suit you.
Consider online retailers, too. In recent years, the Consumer Reports readers we've surveyed who shopped online were more satisfied overall than those who shopped at a walk-in store. In fact, websites as a whole outdid walk-in stores for quality, selection, and price.
And tips on the best places to shop for any electronics you're buying, watch the video, below.
Two of the best ways to get moving this summer— walking and bicycling—are not only enjoyable, but they also happen to be among the most affordable.
Think about fit. Safety and comfort are the two most important factors when buying a bike, and finding one that feels comfortable is essential. Our lab tests show that the lighter the althletic shoe, the better—as long as cushioning and stability don't suffer. Consider investing in a pedometer to keep motivation up.
Bring the family along. Backpack baby carriers are great for people who want to hike nature trails with their tots in tow. We have more tips for ways the whole family can enjoy a workout this summer, plus info on the best sunscreens and the best ways to stop bug bites.
As temperatures soar, you'll find good deals on swimsuits (and fetching caps). Because it's the end of the swimsuit season for retailers, however, selection may suffer.
Time it right. You'll get the deepest discount on spring gear by timing it right, say the editors at Shop Smart magazine. It has found Kohl's fans could head to the "Gold Star Clearance" racks, where prices are slashed up to 80 percent on weekend nights. Every Wednesday, shoppers who are 60 years old and older received an extra 15 percent off. At Target, women's clothing was generally marked down on Tuesdays, men's on Wednesday, and kids' on Mondays. Markdowns at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx usually happened on Wednesday. Each store can be different and the policies can change at any time, so have a chat with store salespeople to find out what the deal is in the stores you frequent.
Look for deals from other seasons. If you can find winter clothing on the racks in stores, the prices should be slashed. And luxury consignment shops are good places to find first rate deals on second-hand designer goods any time of year. You might find the deepest discounts, however, on swimsuits at outlets; read our guide to outlet shopping.
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