Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.
When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.
Think a smartwatch or fitness tracker would be the perfect gift for that special someone in your life? Good news! Best Buy, Kohl's, Target, Walmart, and other major retailers have Black Friday deals in the works.
The new Apple Watch doesn’t appear in any of the offers, but earlier models and a few highly rated wearables from Samsung and Fitbit do. And there are good deals on other new products, including some that we've just finished testing.
Thanks to early releases from some retailers and leaked ads posted on bestblackfriday.com and bfads.net, we have deals from Best Buy, BJ’s, Costco, Dell, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Walmart and Target. We’ll update this article as the big shopping day draws closer and more ads come out.
Apple Watch Series 4
The deal: $300 at Best Buy
CR’s test results: Apple Watch Series 4 (44mm) Aluminum Case GPS
Best Buy is offering $50 to $300 off last year’s Apple Watches, depending on the version. All of the Series 4 watches we tested earn an Excellent score, and they’re not a whole lot different from this year’s models in terms of features. But you’d better act fast. Apple discontinued the Series 4 when it rolled out the Series 5, so retailers may run out of stock. And this deal is available now, so you don’t need to wait till Black Friday.
Apple Watch Series 3
The deal: $130 at Walmart
CR’s test results: Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) Aluminum Case GPS
Apple decided to discontinue its Series 4 models, but it’s keeping 2017’s Series 3 models around as a less expensive option. Other retailers will probably offer similar discounts, so shop around. While they might not have all the bells and whistles of the Series 5 devices, these are compatible with the latest version of WatchOS. And they’re great at heart-rate tracking and counting steps.
Fitbit Versa 2 With Bonus Band
The deal: $150 at BJ’s and Costco
CR’s test results: Coming soon
We’re not quite done testing Fitbit’s latest smartwatch (look for results soon), but past versions have done fairly well in our testing. What’s new about the Versa 2? It comes with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant built in. Other retailers—including Dell, Target, and Best Buy—are also selling the Versa 2 for $150 but without the bonus band. Buy one for $150 at Kohl’s and you’ll get $45 in Kohl’s Cash to spend on something else.
Fitbit Versa Lite
The deal: $100 at Kohl’s, Best Buy, and Target
CR’s test results: Fitbit Versa Lite
This may not be the fanciest smartwatch out there, but at this price it’s cheaper than some fitness trackers. It has an easy-to-read display and will adequately count your steps and track your heart rate. Buy it from Kohl’s and get $30 in Kohl’s Cash.
Samsung Galaxy Active 2
The deal: $200 to $240 at Costco, Best Buy, JCPenney, and BJ’s
CR’s test results: Coming
We’re still testing this recently released device, but the original Galaxy Active watch scored well in our testing. All of the mentioned retailers have discounted the Active 2, but the exact amount depends on the version. For the most basic model, Costco has the best deal at $200, while you’ll pay $230 at Best Buy and JCPenney, and $240 at BJ's.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
The deal: $250 at Target
CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Watch (42mm)
This looks a little more like a dress watch than other models, and it’s a bit on the large size. The watch can be paired with Android and iOS devices, though some features are Android exclusive. If you’re looking for a larger version, Best Buy has a 46mm Galaxy Watch for $270.
Garmin Vivoactive 3
The deal: $130 at BJ’s and Target
CR’s test results: Garmin Vivoactive 3
This watch works with both iOS and Android phones. It’s easy to use and pair. And it has a very generous claimed battery life of up to seven days. Buy it from BJ’s and you'll get a bonus band.
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire (51mm)
The deal: $300 at Best Buy
CR’s test results: Garmin fenix 5X Sapphire
Great for both iPhone and Android users, this watch scores points for durability. Our testers found its glass to be exceptionally scratch-resistant, and the company made good on its claim of water resistance at the equivalent of 192 feet for 10 minutes.
Fitbit Charge 3
The deal: $90 to $100 at Costco, Kohl’s, BJ’s, and Best Buy
CR’s test results: Fitbit Charge 3
This is Fitbit’s flagship tracker, and Costco has the best deal on it. In addition to being $10 cheaper than most other places, the retailer is throwing in a bonus band. Don’t have a Costco membership? Kohl’s will sell the Charge 3 to you for $100 and give you $30 in Kohl’s Cash. BJ’s also has it for $100 but with a bonus band. And Best Buy is selling it for $100 straight up.
Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR
The deal: $50 to $80 at Kohl’s, BJ’s, and Best Buy
CR’s test results: Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR
If you’re looking for something smaller than the Charge 3, this might fit the bill. Kohl’s and Best Buy will sell you the basic Inspire for $50 (with Kohl’s throwing in $15 in Kohl’s Cash). Or you can opt for the Inspire HR, which, as you would expect, adds heart-rate tracking. Kohl's has it for $70 and will give you $15 in Kohl’s Cash, and BJ's is bundling it with two bonus bands and selling it for $80.
Garmin Vivosmart 4
The deal: $100 with a bonus charging cable at BJ’s
CR’s test results: Garmin Vivosmart 4
If you’re looking for a Fitbit alternative, think about one of these. They performed very well in our testing, receiving top marks for readability in both bright and low light. They’re also good at counting steps and tracking your heart rate.
More from Consumer Reports:
Top pick tires for 2016
Best used cars for $25,000 and less
7 best mattresses for couples
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2019, Consumer Reports, Inc.