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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 right now. Retailers typically use this month to offload the previous year's inventory to make room for new products, which translates to savings for shoppers.
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) tend to be 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.
March can be 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. Determine what type will best suit your needs and how much you're willing to spend, taking into account accessories like lenses, SD cards, card readers, spare batteries, and more. Our digital camera buying guide and ratings give you the details on different models as well as information on features and brands.
Deals on Cameras
Sony Alpha A7 III Digital Camera
The deal: $1,898-$1,900 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart
CR's test results: Sony Alpha A7 III camera with 28-70mm OSS lens
This mirrorless camera, which originally cost $2,200, earned high marks from CR testers for image quality, video quality, ease of use, and image stabilization. Handy features include a second card slot for more onboard memory and a swiveling liquid crystal display, handy for shooting at awkward angles. It’s a little bulky, though, even for a mirrorless model.
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 that 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.
Deals on Vacuums
Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum
The deal: $300 at Costco
CR's test results: Dyson V8 Animal
This vacuum usually sells for $380 to $400, and Costco’s current discount for members is steep. Though we haven’t tested the V8 Animal, we expect it to perform similarly to the V8 Absolute, which costs roughly $50 more, on average. The Absolute performed well on CR’s tests for power, noise, bare floors, and carpet. But our readers tend to agree that Dyson vacuums lag behind the competition when it comes to long-term reliability. Essentially, this vacuum will work well but might not last for a long time.
Hoover ONEPWR Blade Max Cordless Stick Vacuum
The deal: $237 at Amazon, $300 at Home Depot
CR's test results: Hoover ONEPWR Blade Max BH53350
The Hoover Onepwr Blade Max BH53350 has been on sale for around $300 for some time, but the price at Amazon just dropped even further. The cordless stick vacuum is part of Hoover’s cleaning system, which offers several floor-cleaning products that use 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.
iRobot Roomba e5 Robotic Vacuum
The deal: $300 at Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target
CR's test results: iRobot Roomba e5
This high-scoring model usually costs $350 to $400. The e5 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 usually 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 those 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.
Deals on String Trimmers
Ego Battery String Trimmer
The deal: $179 at Amazon and Lowe’s
CR’s test results: Ego ST1502SA string trimmer
The Ego trimmer is a great option if you want something cordless and rechargeable, especially at about $40 less than its original price. Our testers found that it handled well and was easy to maneuver. It’s designed to reduce how much it vibrates in your hands. It's a little more powerful than others, so you'll want to keep a strong, steady grip while using it.
Husqvarna Gas-Powered String Trimmer
The deal: $236 at Amazon
CR's test results: Husqvarna 322L
This is one of the top gas-powered string trimmers, and it's $20 less at Amazon than at other retailers. It tested well across the board, earning high marks for everything from trimming and edging to handling and ease of use. And CR's owner satisfaction survey shows that a majority of owners are happy with their purchase.
Snapper Battery String Trimmer
The deal: $212 at Amazon, $241 at Home Depot
CR’s test results: Snapper XD 1687875 string trimmer
Originally retailing for $300, this string trimmer scored high across the board in CR’s tests. It provides a clean trim in one pass thanks to a dual cutting string setup, and it’s quieter than most other models.
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.
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 to buy when the model you want goes on sale.
Deals on Space Heaters
Comfort Zone Space Heater
The deal: $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart
CR’s test results: Comfort Zone CZ499R space heater
This small Comfort Zone space heater boasts top-notch performance, starting with its room heating and space heating ratings, according to CR’s tests. In addition, the machine’s controls are easy to use, the fan can run at multiple speeds, and its low price is a bonus—it originally cost around $75. A handful of CR’s readers have reported that their heaters stopped working within a year, so this could be a good quick fix to get you through the rest of this winter but might not last forever.
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.
Deals on Humidifiers
Alen BreatheSmart Classic Portable Air Purifier
The deal: $600 at Amazon, $632 at Best Buy
CR's test results: Alen BreatheSmart Classic
The Alen air purifier is one of the top models CR has tested, especially when it comes to removing smoke particulates from the air. It also has an auto setting that adjusts the fan speeds to match the room's air quality. But it runs loud, and air filter replacements can be expensive.
Honeywell Portable Air Purifier
The deal: $226 at Amazon and Walmart
CR's test results: Honeywell HPA300
This air purifier, which is $24 off right now, got high marks in CR's tests for low-speed particle removal and high-speed performance. But like the Alen model above, the Honeywell is a bit noisy, and the replacement air filter prices and operating costs are relatively high.