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August is a great month to save on headphones, laptops, printers, and other tech devices thanks to discounts related to the back-to-school shopping season. And early promotions ahead of Labor Day mean it's a good time to shop for appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. But that's not all. As summer winds down, retailers will also often discount things like dehumidifiers, wood stains, paints, and more.
Consumer Reports' market analysts monitor prices each month for all the products we test to determine when they typically become available for less. To find out which ones are bargains during other months of the year, see our calendar of deals.
If you've been thinking of stepping up your headphone game, August is a great month to find the pair of your dreams at a discount. Back-to-school sales tend to focus on tech devices, and headphones are popular devices for students, especially this year when many will be distance learning and attending class via teleconference.
Whether you're looking for true wireless earbuds or a comfy pair of over-ear headphones that offer noise-cancellation, you're likely to find a model you'll like on sale this month. Still, it is important to research the different brands and models to ensure the pair you buy will actually have the features you're looking for.
Consumer Reports tests headphones in our labs to measure things like volume, noise-cancellation, sound quality, and battery life. Review our recommended models to get more familiar with the best options before you start shopping.
Apple Airpods Pro
The deal: $235 at Amazon, Sam's Club, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Apple AirPods Pro earphones
The AirPods Pro reduce unwanted distractions with active noise cancellation and provide interchangeable ear insert tips. The sound quality should satisfy even critical listeners of music and movie soundtracks.
Bose 700 Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The deal: $339 at Amazon, B&H Photo, Best Buy, Microsoft, QVC, Staples, Target, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Bose 700 headphones
A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can make it easier to focus when you're working or learning at home. The Bose 700 model that launched last summer is a great option, especially with a $60 discount (or a nearly $100 discount at most retailers for the soapstone white version). The headphones earn high marks from CR, performing similarly to the popular Bose QuietComfort 35 II that have been out for a couple of years, but the 700 adds touch controls and a slight improvement to call quality.
Jabra Elite 65t Earbuds
The deal: $120 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Jabra
CR’s test results: Jabra Elite 65t headphones
Like the Apple AirPods, this sports-oriented model has a true wireless design, which means the earpieces are completely untethered from each other and your phone. The headphones deliver high-quality audio and come with convenient features, including a quick-charge function that extends your battery by 1.5 hours after only 15 minutes, according to Jabra. The advertised battery life of up to 5 hours falls in the midrange for true wireless models.
Microsoft Surface Noise-Cancelling Headphones
The deal: $193 at Best Buy
CR's test results: Microsoft Surface headphones
These headphones usually sell for about $100 less than comparable options from Sony and Bose, but they're an additional $57 off at Best Buy right now. According to our testers, this model is great for listening to music and watching movies, which means you can transition from work to relaxation with ease.
Vacuum cleaners tend to fall in price in August thanks in part to early Labor Day sales, as well as back-to-school sales that target the dorm crowd.
Vacuums, including robotic vacuum cleaners, are among the handful of products that tend to go on sale all year long. But when there's a big shopping holiday around the corner, you can expect to see even deeper discounts than usual, making this an ideal time to finally replace your old one with an upgrade to something better.
There are so many different kinds of vacuums to choose from that it can be daunting to decide on the best option for your home. To make the choice easier, review our vacuum cleaner buying guide as well as our ratings to select the best brand and model for your budget.
Eufy RoboVac 30C
The deal: $230 at Walmart; $240 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Eufy RoboVac 30C robotic vacuum cleaner
This powerful and quiet robotic vacuum is slim enough to fit under most furniture. It does a great job at picking up debris but requires a longer-than-most run time to get the job done. Plus, it can talk to Alexa and Google Assistant to start cleaning cycles with voice commands. It has been on sale at Amazon, but now Walmart has an even lower price.
Hoover ONEPWR Blade Max Stick Vacuum
The deal: $300 at Amazon, NewEgg, Walmart, and Wayfair
CR’s test results: Hoover ONEPWR Blade Max BH53350 cordless stick vacuum
The cordless Hoover ONEPWR Blade Max BH53350 is part of Hoover’s cleaning system in which several floor cleaning products have interchangeable batteries. Its strengths include cleaning bare floors, removing pet hair, and zipping along the edges of a room leaving nothing behind. It’s not too shabby on cleaning carpet, either. It’s fairly quiet, although some top-rated models are even quieter. And its emissions are clean. You can save $50 at a few different retailers right now.
Shark ION Cordless Stick Vacuum
The deal: $335 at Walmart; $340 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Shark Ion F80 Cord-Free MultiFlex IF281 cordless stick vacuum
This 8.8-pound Shark tackles pet hair and bare floors with ease but struggles on carpet, so it might not be the best option if you have a lot of rugs in your home. It comes with two batteries, so technically you’re getting twice the cleaning time—in our tests it ran for 24 minutes on one battery charge.
If you need to replace your refrigerator or you’re ready to upgrade to something better, August can be a good time to find a deal. As Labor Day draws nearer, retailers will hold early holiday sales so you can save. The second half of the month will be the best time to shop for a new fridge.
There are so many types and styles to choose from, whether you want a French-door fridge or a more traditional top-freezer model. You’ll also want to consider the style and features of the ideal refrigerator. Do you want a water dispenser? Is freezer capacity important? Are you short on space? Take a look at CR’s buying guide to get a better sense of which type of fridge is best for you.
Kenmore French-Door Refrigerator
The deal: $1,600 at Sears
CR’s test results: Kenmore 73035 French-door refrigerator
For a French-door fridge with all the bells and whistles, check out this stainless steel Kenmore. It offers superb performance in all our lab tests, and our latest member survey finds that Kenmore French-doors are fairly reliable. This 36-inch model, which originally cost nearly $2,300, comes with a through-the-door water/ice dispenser, spillproof shelving, half shelves for better organization, digital controls, and dual evaporators that prevent odors from mixing between the fridge and freezer.
LG French-Door Refrigerator
The deal: $2,448 at Best Buy
CR’s test results: LG LRFXC2406S refrigerator
This French-door fridge originally cost over $3,000, but Best Buy is selling it for hundreds less than that right now. It has ice and water dispensers on the door and is among the quieter models you’ll find.
Laptops and Computers
With the new school year shaping up to be vastly different than in years past, many students, parents, and teachers are investing in new technology to make distance learning easier.
Laptops and computers always tend to go on sale in August for the back-to-school season. But this year in particular, you may find a broader range of models available for less all month and into early September. Usually these sales don't begin until the middle of August, but they started in late July this year.
Acer Nitro 5 Laptop
The deal: $792 at Best Buy
CR’s test results: Acer Nitro 5 AN517-51-56YW laptop
If you or your kid is into PC gaming, consider the Acer Nitro. It’s one of the best laptops of 2020, with impressive specs for a machine at this price, including a dedicated Nvidia graphics card, an Intel Core i5 processor, and plenty of memory and storage. It’s heavy, but that’s what you get with 17.3-inch screen. For someone who’s going to sit down at a desk and crank out assignments for hours at a time (yes, with some gaming breaks in between), this can be a great option. And it’s made more attractive by Best Buy’s nearly $90 discount.
Apple MacBook Pro
The deal: $2,050 at Best Buy, $2,099 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch laptop
The new MacBook Pro isn’t cheap, but it combines raw power with a sleek package and an improved keyboard for students who need more oomph than the MacBook Air offers. The model we tested had 12 gigabytes of memory; this one has 16GB. The result is strong performance in a device fully capable of handling the most demanding tasks. You can get it for $50 less at Best Buy than Amazon if you’re a My Best Buy member (otherwise, it costs $2,150).
Lenovo Yoga Laptop
The deal: $695 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Lenovo Yoga C740-14 laptop
This laptop has good core specs for a midrange computer—an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive. It will purr along easily while performing most tasks, and it’s convenient to use on the go. It weighs an easy-to-tote 3 pounds and provides plenty of battery life, and the 2-in-1 convertible design lets you prop it up in tent mode or use it like a tablet.
LG Gram 14 Laptop
The deal: $1,047 at Amazon and B&H Photo
CR’s test results: LG Gram 14 (2020) laptop
The 2020 incarnation of the LG Gram is a highly rated laptop that practically defines thin-and-light design. The 14-inch version weighs a feathery 2.2 pounds—you almost want to hold it down if the wind kicks up. The other factor in portability is battery life, and with this machine we logged 19.5 hours under easy loads. (Play video continually, and that number drops by more than half.) The $150 savings makes these appealing deals.
As with laptops and computers, tablet sales are also prominent this month thanks to those same back-to-school sales. In fact, some of the laptops listed above can convert to tablets for added functionality.
When choosing the best tablet for you, consider what you plan to use it for. If you want to watch Netflix or edit photos, look for something with a larger, higher-quality screen. If you just want to do simpler tasks, such as playing games and browsing the web, you don’t need to spend a ton. Other factors to consider are battery life, storage size (and expansion options), size, weight, and processor power.
Microsoft Surface 2-in-1 Laptop and Tablet
The deal: $1,200 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Core i5) laptop
With fast processing speeds and a convenient touch screen, the Surface Pro 7 does very well in our tests, and the 256-gigabyte model with 16GB of RAM is about $200 cheaper at Amazon than at other retailers. Keep in mind that the keyboard, which detaches so that you can use the touch screen as a tablet, costs an additional $130.
A good wireless router can help boost your WiFi signal, eliminate any dead spots in your home, and ensure everyone in the family can stream, play, and otherwise spend time online uninterrupted. August is a great month to find a new router for less.
There's a lot to consider when choosing a new router, from the size of your home to the cybersecurity protections. Start with CR's buying guide, which walks you through all the different factors to consider, to determine whether it's the right time to invest in a new one and which model is right for you.
Netgear Nighthawk Wireless Router
The deal: $160 at Best Buy, Office Depot, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000) wireless router
This model is well-suited to small and midsized homes in need to reliable wireless internet for the upcoming school year. In addition to solid performance, it delivers the protection of automatic firmware updates and is easy to set up via a smartphone app.
You can find a budget microwave oven for $50, or you can spend upward of $1,000 on a high-end model that gets built in to your kitchen cabinetry. But the important thing is the microwave’s ability to reheat and defrost food, and not all models are created equal in that regard, so it’s a good idea to check out CR’s test results and ratings before you buy a new model.
The type of microwave is important to consider as well. Countertop models are the most versatile, and there are built-in and over-the-range options as well. If you don’t currently have one of the latter, this may be something to consider if and when you ever remodel your kitchen, but it will cost more than a countertop microwave.
There are other features to look for, too. Do you want the more common turntable or a sliding tray that may be better for reheating larger dishes? Do you need a rack? What wattage is best? Our buying guide can help you determine the best options for your budget.
LG Countertop Microwave
The deal: $199 at Appliances Connection
CR’s test results: LG LMC1575 microwave oven
This microwave typically costs $220, but if it’s the one you want, you can find it for $20 less at Appliances Connection. It touts a feature called a Smart Inverter that’s meant to provide more even cooking, and CR’s test results found that it does, in fact, do a solid job at cooking things evenly. It also performed well in our defrosting and cooking-speed tests.
As summer weather peaks, dehumidifiers tend to drop in price. They’re great for drying out the air in your home on muggy days, which can help things feel less sticky. Dehumidifiers can also take that damp feeling out of a basement or laundry room and prevent a few other sticky situations: Humidity levels above 50 percent can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, triggering allergies or other health problems.
When choosing a dehumidifier, you’ll want to determine what capacity you need for your space. Large-capacity machines can work in smaller spaces, but small- or medium-capacity dehumidifiers may be more efficient. Read CR’s dehumidifier buying guide to learn more about what to look for.
August may be the unofficial end of summer, but that doesn't mean it's time to stop barbecueing. As the season nears its end and we approach Labor Day, you'll find prices starting to drop on grills. So whether you've wanted a new charcoal, gas, pellet, or kamado grill, keep an eye out for sales this month.
Prices can range from as little as $100 to more than $3,000, depending on what you want. CR tests grills to fit every cooking style and budget, from portable models you can take camping to larger grills designed to feed an extended family. We produce ratings of more than 150 grills to suit first-time buyers and seasoned grill masters searching for a replacement or an upgrade.
There are three main types of grills to choose from, and each has pros and cons when it comes to cost, ease of use, cleanup, and, most important, how it cooks food. So you’ll want to review our grill buying guide if you’re not sure whether you’d be happiest with a charcoal grill, gas grill, or pellet grill.
If a printer is on your back-to-school shopping list, you may be able to find a good deal on a top model this month. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you need a printer that can scan and fax or just want something basic to print occasionally.
There are two main types of printers: laser and inkjet. Some may be able to make copies or offer wireless printing over WiFi. CR's buying guide can give you a more in-depth look at the different options and the best models so you're ready to pull the trigger when the printer you want goes on sale.
The average price of a stand-alone freezer tends to fall in August. However, this year you may not see as many chances to save if you're in the market for a new freezer. Thanks to the pandemic, a lot of people bought secondary freezers to stock up on supplies in the spring, creating an increased demand. We've seen very few, if any, deals on freezers this year, but they're at least in stock again and might possibly still see some price drops this month.
If you're remodeling, a new cooktop can be perfect for your kitchen island, especially if you plan to install an in-wall oven. They tend to drop in price in August, making it a great time to buy.
You’ll find gas, electric, and induction cooktops ranging from 21 to 48 inches. Many have five or six burners, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have room to use them all at once. Generally, most 30-inch cooktops have four or five burners, and most 36-inch cooktops have five or six.
Learn more about the advantages of each cooktop in our buying guide to determine which is the best fit for your home before you start shopping around. Then, start your search with CR's recommended models, which all passed our rigorous tests with flying colors.
Wood Stains and Paints
If you’re finding you have more free time on your hands right now, channel your energy into tackling that home renovation project you’ve been talking about for ages. Both wood stains and interior and exterior paints tend to dip in price in July and remain low through August. If you’re planning to refinish your deck, breathe new life into an old dresser, or give your walls a fresh coat of paint, you may be able to find your supplies for less this month.
CR has tested a number of wood stains and paints for things like durability, weathering, fading, and cracking, as well as the number of coats needed to cover dark colors. We have thorough buying guides for wood stains and paints to help you learn more about which products are worth buying and why.
Even if you don’t have a ton of clothes that need pressing after they come out of the dryer, it’s good to have an iron at the ready. Our data has shown that steam irons tend to drop in price this month, so if you need a new iron, this is the perfect time to look.
Steam irons can cost anywhere from $15 to $150. Though cheaper models we’ve tested in the past haven’t performed all that well, you can find decent options for closer to $50 that can compete with more expensive models.
We don’t currently test steam irons, but we have a buying guide you can read to learn more about your options and what to look for when you shop.
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