Best Buy lives up to its name for the biggest sale of the year. "It's really tough to beat Best Buy on Black Friday," says Rebecca Lehmann, manager at deals site BradsDeals.com.
And as you might imagine for Black Friday, you do have to start early--like grab-your-tent-and-go-now early--to get the very best deals. Best Buy's Black Friday sale officially starts on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m. local time at most stores. The pandemonium goes until 1 a.m., and then everyone gets a seven-hour break to regroup before most stores reopen at 8 a.m. on actual Black Friday. Check ahead, as hours will vary in some states and at certain locations.
Regardless of when your store opens, plan to get there well ahead of the scheduled time. The way it works for the hottest-ticket items is, within a couple of hours or so before the sale's launch, Best Buy staff members hand out actual tickets for select doorbuster items. Once doors open, you must purchase the item and redeem your ticket within the specified timeframe (a three-hour window in the past). After that, doorbusters start selling on a first-come basis while supplies last.
For an even earlier start, keep an eye out for pre-Black Friday flash sales on BestBuy.com. You might even find some at select stores. "Best Buy promotes short partial-day flash sales leading up to Black Friday that feature select items from their Black Friday ad available early, as well as other unexpected sale items," says Brent Shelton of deals site Dealcrunch.com. Best Buy is offering free shipping on all holiday purchases up until Christmas Day.
Various deals websites including Slickdeals.net, BFAds.net, BradsDeals.com and BestBlackFriday.com track Best Buy's flash sales, or you can opt to get alerts direct from the retailer. Sign up for emails and follow Best Buy on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. You can also download the Best Buy mobile app. Also become a My Best Buy member to get early access to Black Friday deals online, starting on Nov. 21.
So what should be on your Best Buy shopping list?
All the experts we've spoken with agree that TVs are the retailers' truly best buy for the holidays. "Best Buy is easily the top retailer for TVs during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the remainder the holiday season," says Eric Jones, co-owner of BestBlackFriday.com. "While Amazon often has cheaper overall models, Best Buy has the best overall mixture of price and quality."
Lehmann points to the front page of the store's Black Friday flyer for the hottest doorbuster deal. "The 50-inch Sharp 4K TV on the cover will be the one everyone camps out for this year," she says. The Ultra HD set with Roku will go for $180, down from $500, in stores only. Other TVs to watch: a 40-inch Samsung Smart 4K Ultra HDTV, down to $328 from $550, and a 75-inch Sony 4K Ultra HDTV with HDR, down to $2,000 from $2,800.
Laptops and Tablets
You can find good sales on smaller screens, too. "Best Buy offers some of the best pricing on laptops during Black Friday," says Shelton.
Apple products, notoriously discount-resistant, are particularly attractive. Lehmann suggests scoping out the 13.3-inch MacBook Air with 8GB memory and 128GB hard drive for $800, down from $1,000. And Jones always recommends going to Best Buy for iPads. You can nab an iPad mini 4 with Wi-Fi and 128GB for $275, saving you $125.
You can also save $200 on an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus with a qualified activation, but unlike in past years, Best Buy doesn't seem to be offering to throw in a gift card, too. So you may be better off grabbing the iPhone deal at Walmart, where you can get a $300 Walmart gift card bundled in with your iPhone purchase.
You won't find great deals anywhere on gaming consoles. That's because manufacturers lock in those prices, says Lehmann. (She and Jones agree that your best bet for one is to head to Kohl's, where you can at least collect Kohl's Cash with your purchase.) But Best Buy is the place to go for gaming bundles. "Best Buy is not including free gift cards with any of its consoles this year, but they are more creative with bundles than competing retailers," Jones says.
For example, Lehmann likes the Sony PlayStation VR Gran Turismo bundle for $300, down from $400. And Jones notes the Microsoft Xbox One S 500GB Madden NFL 18 bundle with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for $230, saving you $50. "Xbox One bundles are scarce this year compared to last year, but this is a good one from Best Buy," he says.
(Otherwise, Jones recommends going direct with the Microsoft store for Xbox One consoles, games and bundles. "They will have a larger online sale than anyone else with much more variety," he says.)
Other Gifts and Gadgets
Some additional fun goodies for grown-ups that Lehmann calls out:
- Beats Studio2 wireless over-the-ear headphones down to $160 from $380;
- Ring Video doorbell--which is a doorbell that has a built-in camera that connects to an app on your phone "because we live in the future," says Lehmann--for $100, down from $180;
- Keurig K200 coffee maker for $90, saving you $30, plus you get a $20 Best Buy gift card;
- Chefman sous vide precision cooker for $50 (was $100); and
- iRobot Roomba 690 app-controlled robot vacuum at $275 for a $100 discount.
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Copyright 2017 The Kiplinger Washington Editors