Gearing up for your holiday shopping? 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 November.
You should be able to find great prices on a variety of baby products this month, including strollers. First and foremost, you want your baby to be safe and comfortable in her stroller. But think about yourself, too, since you're the one who'll be pushing it. Subscribers will notice in our Stroller Ratings that there's a wide price range among types and brands. What makes one stroller worth $100 and another $1,000 or more? Several things drive up the price–such as accessories–but we've found good models in a wide range of prices.
Shopping tips: Consider your environment. If you're a city dweller who relies on subways, buses, and cabs, you'll need a lightweight but sturdy stroller that folds quickly and is compact. If you'll be tromping through snow or on unpaved roads or grass, a model with large wheels is a great option. Think about extras. Factor stroller accessories into the price of models you like, because you may find yourself needing (or wanting) extras such as a parasol, rain cover, netting to keep out bugs, drink holder, and more.
For stroller shopping tips, check out our buying guide.
Like last month, you'll find great deals on these wheels in October, because we're approaching the end of the riding season in many places in the country.
Shopping tips: Decide what kind of riding you'll do. That will narrow your choice to one of the four basic types. If you're an avid cyclist, you may prefer a conventional road bike. Looking for a leisurely ride on flat, paved roads? A comfort bike may be more your speed. If rugged trails are in your sights, than a mountain bike might be best. Find a good bike shop. You'll pay more, but we think you're more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body. If you don't like the pedals or seat on a particular model, some bike shops will swap components at little or no cost.
For more shopping tips and information about different brands, see our bike buying guide. And read our bike helmet buying guide to make sure you get the best fit (subscribers can read our Bike Helmet Ratings).
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. Shopping tips:
The right camcorder features are important. That's true whether you're considering a standard definition or high-def model. 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.
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.
Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? See our calendar of deals.
Like bikes, it's the end of the season for grilling (even though some of us have been known to clear a path through the snow to do some wintertime grilling), so you'll find some deep discounts on the stock still in stores.
Think about size. Match the grill's cooking area to the number of people you typically feed. Remember, manufacturers might include racks and searing burners when tallying cooking area. Our measurements are based on the main cooking area and how much food it will hold.
Think about space. Next factor in how much area the grill will take up on your patio or deck. Some of the grills we tested are a whopping six feet wide.
In today's competitive market, GPS prices have come down to the point where even budget units include features previously available only on more expensive models (and not available on some apps), such as the ability to speak street names, issue speed warnings, and provide reality view, graphically representing major intersections. Shoppers looking for navigational aid can choose from many types of GPS devices, including aftermarket portable or in-dash units, cell phones, factory-installed in-dash units, telematics systems, and even laptop computers.
All GPS types advantages and disadvantages, as our GPS buying guide points out, and choosing the right one for you depends on your needs and budget. Subscribers can get a list of recommended models and our GPS Ratings.
Do some research. Before you buy a GPS navigator, think about your typical driving conditions, how often you're in unfamiliar areas, and figure out which features are most important to you. For example, if you often encounter traffic congestion on your commute, choosing a nav system with real-time traffic information can help you avoid traffic congestion, accidents, or road construction, and plot a route around it before you even get to the trouble area.
Think about where you'll use it. If you're buying a new car, check to see if a built-in system is available and how much it costs. These are nicely integrated into the car, but they are typically far more expensive than portable systems, initially and for subsequent map updates. Still, if most of your driving is done in one car, you might be happier with a built-in system. If you often fly to new places and rent vehicles, or if you own more than one car, a portable system might be the way to go, especially with prices for entry-level systems starting at less than $100.
Early holiday shoppers will find great sales on toys this month, although you may not find discounts on the hottest playthings (such as a singing Elsa from "Frozen" doll). The right toy can make key developmental stages more fun—or your child and for you. Our toy buying guide can help you to find age-appropriate toys for your baby—and to learn what you can do to play up their important lessons.
Consider the classics. Don't overlook toys such as stackable plastic "doughnuts," shape sorters, building blocks, and interlocking plastic oversized beads for very young children. There's a reason that they've been around so long. For more clues about what toys your child might like, take note of what toys he or she gravitates to on play dates and/or at day care.
Shop around. Browse stores, catalogs, and Web sites for other ideas. Also, ask for suggestions from parents who have children of similar ages.
It's possible to find good TVs selling for a few hundred dollars, while others go for several thousand, and there are many sets that fall in between those extremes. Screen size, features, brand, and more affect the price. Our TV buying guide will help you get the most bang for your buck, no matter how much or how little you want to spend. The video below outlines even more ways to save.
It's hard to judge TVs well in stores. That's because TVs are usually set to a Retail or Store mode, which pumps up brightness and color to a level that looks great under fluorescent lights. Subscribers should consult our TV Ratings before hitting the stores to make sure you get a set that performed well in our lab tests.
Shop where you'll get a price guarantee. Many retailers will match or beat a lower price from a local competitor, so go to the store with those prices in hand. Even after the sale, some stores promise a refund within a specified period of time, often 30 to 60 days, if they reduce the price of your TV within it or if you find the set selling elsewhere for less. There are usually restrictions, so check the details. Save your receipt and keep checking the ads even after you buy.
More from Consumer Reports:
4 terrific electronics products you can actually afford
How to choose long lasting tires
Top mattress brands and retailers
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