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March is the first month of the year without a major shopping holiday, but there are still opportunities to find savings on something you may need for the end of winter or the start of spring. Retailers are offloading the previous year's inventory to make room for new products, leading to big discounts if you know what to look for.
CR's experts track pricing for every product we test to determine how often items go on sale and when they're at their best price. In particular, our research has shown that digital cameras and vacuums (including robotic vacuums) are especially affordable this month. Seasonal items like space heaters, string trimmers, and air purifiers are often discounted as well, as retailers jump-start sales on spring items.
We are updating this article all month long as new deals on top-rated products we've tested become available. Bookmark this page and check back every week for new opportunities to save.
If you've been wanting to step up your photography game, this month is a great time to snag a deal on last year’s digital cameras as new models start hitting the shelves. Once you’ve settled on your budget (cameras can range from a hundred to thousands of dollars), you'll need to decide on the type of camera you want. A simple point-and-shoot is great if your phone camera isn't up to snuff. But you may want something more powerful, like a DSLR, if you're looking to capture top-notch photos.
Because choosing the right digital camera can be overwhelming, spend some time doing research before you shop. Our digital camera buying guide and ratings give you the details on different models as well as information on features and brands. We'll keep updating this with all the latest deals on top-rated cameras all month, but here's what we're seeing so far.
Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Camera
The deal: $548 for a bundle featuring the camera body, a 16-50mm lens, a camera bag, and more at Amazon and Walmart
CR’s test results: Sony Alpha A6000 camera w/ 16-50mm lens
Until recently, this camera was selling for more than $600. Other retailers have matched the new price but without all the extra goodies that come in this bundle. The Alpha A6000 is a solid performer, particularly when it comes to image stabilization and battery life.
Sony Alpha A6500 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm Lens Kit
The deal: $898 at B&H Photo
CR’s test results: Sony Alpha A6500 w/ 50mm 1:1.8 OSS camera
This 24MP camera typically sells for $1,200 to $1,500 for just the camera body, but B&H Photo has it for just under $900 with a lens included. We tested this camera with a fixed 50mm lens, but the 16-50mm lens in this bundle offers a bit more versatility, including the ability to capture both wide-angle and portrait shots. And if you hate waiting to recharge, you may love the longer-than-average battery life, a feature the A6500 shares with the A6000.
March tends to see a proliferation of vacuum cleaner sales as people start to think more about spring cleaning and allergy season. Vacuums are among the handful of products that are always going on sale, but this month you can expect to see even deeper discounts than usual, making it 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 it can be daunting to find the best option for your home. To help you decide, review our vacuum cleaner buying guide as well as our ratings to select the best brand and model for your budget.
Here are some the best deals on vacuums and robotic vacuums you can find right now.
Eufy Robotic Vacuum
The deal: $160 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Eufy RoboVac 11s
The Eufy RoboVac 11s cleans carpet well in our tests and leaves very little pet hair. It does even better on bare floors. Though it’s not the most efficient cleaner—testers note that it sometimes scatters debris—it eventually gets the job done, operates quietly, and has a cliff sensor so it won’t tumble down stairs. This robotic vacuum isn’t WiFi-enabled and can’t be used with a smartphone app. You’ll save $70 off the usual price right now.
Dyson Stick Vacuum
The deal: $239 at Walmart; $250 at Target
CR’s test results: Dyson V7 Motorhead
At $160 off the usual price, this may be the time to get your hands on a Dyson stick vacuum. This one is a good choice if you have a combination of carpeting and bare floors in your home and also a pet, because it performed impressively when tested. It also scoots easily along the edges, leaving little to nothing behind. It operates quietly and cleanly, keeping most of what it sucks up in the bin. But as with other Dyson stick vacs, the score for this one suffers from its poor reliability showing in our member survey.
iRobot Roomba e5
The deal: $300 at Amazon and Best Buy
CR’s test results: iRobot Roomba e5
This high-scoring model usually costs $350 to $400, so at $300 it’s not quite a steal—but it's still a good deal. This Roomba isn’t as “smart” as the top-of-the-line iRobot Roomba i7+, but it performs well cleaning carpet and bare floors. It's also a champ at navigating a room, then returning to its base for recharging. It has a convenient carrying handle. If you prefer a model with a remote, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Though we typically see seasonal items go on sale toward the end of their respective season, there are often preseason sales if you start shopping early. If you’re a lawn-care enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know you can find big discounts on string trimmers in March.
The ideal string trimmer will be able to trim, edge, and cut tall grass with ease, and you can find many top-rated gas, electric, and battery-powered models that handle these tasks. Gas-powered trimmers can handle bigger jobs; electric models tend to be better for smaller properties, and they're quieter. Corded trimmers are the most affordable of the bunch but may require extension cords. Battery-powered models tend to give you about 30 minutes on a single charge, which should be good if you have a small property. Otherwise, you may need additional batteries.
Not sure what's right for you? Read our string trimmer buying guide for lots of different options for different needs.
These are the best deals you can find so far on string trimmers we trust.
Homelite Gas String Trimmer
The deal: $99 at Home Depot
CR's test results: Homelite UT33650A string trimmer
If you're looking for a lightweight string trimmer, this Homelite model weighs just shy of 11 pounds, and it's under $100 right now at Home Depot. It usually goes for $115 or more, so you're saving more than 10 percent. The Homelite trimmer uses a blend of oil and gas, and it's great for tall grass and stubborn weeds.
Troy-Bilt Gas String Trimmer
The deal: $120 at Home Depot
CR’s test results: Troy-Bilt TB2044 XP string trimmer
This 27cc gas-powered string trimmer originally cost $165, but Home Depot is offering a $45 discount right now, so you can get your lawn ready for spring. Thanks to not one but two strings, this trimmer will clear grass and weeds in a single pass. It's also easy to wield and has a clutch so you can idle the machine safely.
Troy-Bilt Gas String Trimmer
The deal: $100 at Home Depot
CR’s test results: Troy-Bilt TB35 EC string trimmer
This gas-powered string trimmer is easy to handle and works great on tall grass and weeds. It usually costs around $160, but Home Depot has a great discount on it. It's been on sale for $130 for the last few weeks but recently dropped even more to just $100, making this a fantastic way to save on upgrading your lawn-care tools.
As temperatures go up outside, the price of space heaters goes down, making March a great time to grab a good deal. Look for a model that oscillates and has a fan, which will help distribute heat more quickly. It’s also important to buy a space heater that has safety features that prevent the risk of a fire, such as a sensor that will turn it off if it overheats or falls over, especially if you plan to use it in your office.
Perhaps the most exciting news is that the models with the strongest performance in temperature control, safety, and noise typically cost less than $100, so sales will make them a great investment for any budget.
There aren't many that are currently on sale that we've reviewed and recommend, so it might be good to check out the options with our buying guide to find which is best for you. That way you'll be prepared if the model you want goes on sale.
Lasko Motion Heat Plus Space Heater
The deal: $52 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Lasko CC23160 Motion Heat Plus space heater
This space heater usually sells for $70 at Costco, but Amazon has it for $18 less right now. It oscillates, distributing heat more evenly within a room. It’s also good for spot heating, making it a promising option for an office. But it's a bit noisier than other models.
As with vacuum cleaners, you may be able to find air purifiers on sale in March, perfect timing for spring cleaning season. They're great if you or someone in your household has asthma or is allergic to airborne allergens like dust or pet dander.
In addition to looking at the purchase price of a room air purifier, you’ll want to factor in its operating costs. You could spend $150 to $200 per year on filter replacements and electricity.
To reduce those costs, seek out energy-efficient models (check for Energy Star certification) and washable filters. Choosing a large unit and running it at a lower speed will keep the noise down. Use a higher speed to clean a large room quickly.
There are no deals on any of the models we've tested just yet, so start researching now to be ready when the discounts start. To understand more about what to look for and how much to pay, check out our air purifier buying guide and ratings.
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