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With a little planning and patience, you may never have to pay full price for anything. Sales take place throughout the year, but some months and holidays are better for finding deep discounts on certain items.
If you happen to be in the market for a new TV, a sound bar for that TV, fitness equipment, bedding, a wall oven, or a humidifier, January is one of the best months to keep an eye out for the lowest prices.
When it comes to other products, other months may bring more savings. For instance, if you’re in the market for a mattress, wait until President’s Day next month or Labor Day in September to score the biggest savings. Air conditioners, on the other hand, are cheapest in May and September.
If you want to know what’s on sale the rest of the year, check our calendar of deals.
If you didn’t find the TV you wanted on sale during the holidays, the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl are a great time to find more discounts at almost any store that sells them. This year, the game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 7, making the last few weeks of January the perfect time to shop and get ready for the big game.
It pays to do some research before heading to the store, because there are countless options available. You'll need to decide whether you want an OLED, a QLED, or an LCD screen. Determining the best size for your space will also help narrow your options. And once you've found a few potential models, you can get a better sense of what to expect in terms of pricing so you can make an informed choice.
In general, we think most consumers are best served by high-definition TVs that have a screen that's at least 40 to 50 inches. A 46- or 50-inch set is often preferable in rooms where you’ll be sitting 8 to 10 feet or so from the screen. You may want an even bigger set for more spacious family rooms, and we've seen a growing interest in the 65-inch screen size.
If you’re buying a newer ultra-high definition TV, also called a 4K TV, it will have a screen resolution of 8 million pixels, or four times the number of individual pixels as an HD set. The benefits of a 4K TV are more apparent in larger screen sizes—say, 65 inches and above—or when you’d like to sit closer to it. There are plenty of highly rated makes and models in our ratings from such brands as LG, Samsung, and Sony, whether you're looking for a big screen, something smaller, a high-definition picture, or smart features.
Our TV buying guide will help you get the most bang for your buck no matter how much you want to spend. Members should consult our TV ratings to make sure you get a set that performed well in our lab tests.
Hisense 75-Inch 4K Android TV
The deal: $749.99 at Best Buy
We didn’t test the Hisense 75H6570G, a 2020 model from the brand's entry-level 4K ultra-high definition series, but other sets in the series generally provide decent overall picture quality, though not great HDR performance. The model uses the Android smart TV platform with built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant.
LG 55-Inch 4K Smart TV
The deal: $379.99 at Costco
CR’s test results: LG 55UN7300AUD
This entry-level 4K model, which has been on sale since before Black Friday, has decent, if not great, picture quality. It’s available for about $20 more as a member-only offer at warehouse stores such as BJ’s and Sam’s Club. The Costco deal price lasts until Jan. 16.
Sony 65-Inch 4K Android Smart TV
The deal: $599.99 at BJ's and Sam's Club
CR’s test results: LG 55UN7300AUD
This entry-level set is sold mainly via warehouse clubs. We tested the 55-inch version (Sony KD55X75CH), and it had very good overall picture quality, though only limited HDR effectiveness. Also, unlike step-up Sony models, it doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR.
The deal: $1,599.99 at Best Buy and P.C. Richard & Son
This model, the Samsung UN85TU8000, is now on sale for $200 less than its Cyber Monday price. It's similar to the UN85TU800D sold at warehouse clubs. We didn’t test the set, but we did evaluate the 75-inch version, and it had only middling overall picture quality and ineffective HDR performance. But it did have a wider-than-average viewing angle for an LCD-based set.
TCL 50-Inch 4-Series Roku Smart TV
The deal: $279.99 at Best Buy
This Best Buy exclusive features a nice price for a 4K TV this size, just $30 more than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And though we can’t vouch for the set’s performance, we can say we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the overall picture quality of other models from TCL’s entry-level 4K series. But don’t expect it to ace HDR. Roku TVs are also easy to use and offer lots of streaming services.
Toshiba 32-Inch LED Smart TV
The deal: $129.99 at Best Buy
This set, the Toshiba TF-32A710U21, was on sale for $10 less on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We didn’t test it, but other Toshiba high-definition Fire TVs have received decent scores for HD picture quality.
Vizio 65-Inch 4K OLED Smart TV
The deal: $1,499.99 at Best Buy
CR's test results: Vizio OLED65-H1
We tested this set, and it does great in our ratings, though it can’t quite match the HDR performance of OLED TVs we've seen from LG and Sony. It's now back to its impressive Black Friday sale price.
Whether you’re buying a new TV or you want to make the one you have sound better, sound bars offer a great upgrade option. They're much easier to set up than traditional surround sound systems with three or more different speakers, and you can add more speakers to many models if you want to expand later.
January is proving to be a great time to save on these increasingly popular devices as retailers make room for new inventory. You may be able to find discounts at major retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, or member-exclusive deals at BJ’s, Costco, and Sam's Club.
Most sound bars are long, thin enclosures that are mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf above or below the TV. There are also pedestal-style devices called sound bases that can serve as a base for a TV.
Insignia 2.0 Basic Sound Bar
The deal: $49.99 at Amazon and Best Buy
A low-priced model that we haven’t tested, the Insignia NS-HMSB20 is from Best Buy’s house brand for electronics. It’s a small model—only about 20 inches wide—and it lacks an HDMI input, so connections must be made using digital optical or RCA connections, but it does have Bluetooth audio. This sound bar typically retails for $80.
LG 2.1-Channel Sound Bar
The deal: $149.99 at Best Buy
The 2.1-channel LG SL4Y is a lower-priced but full-featured model that comes with a wireless subwoofer. It can be expanded to a 4.1-channel surround sound system by adding an optional LG SPK8-S wireless rear surround speaker kit. The unit has built-in Bluetooth for streaming from a mobile device, and it can also connect wirelessly to LG TVs that support the company’s Sound Sync technology.
Treadmills are the most popular workout machines in the U.S., and there’s an option for every budget and fitness goal. That can make choosing one complicated.
The key is to find a machine that’s durable, comfortable, and easy to use. Try one out in a store before making a purchase, and read our treadmill buying guide to familiarize yourself with the available options. To learn more about the ones we consider top-notch, check out our treadmill ratings.
Look to big-box retailers like Walmart and Amazon, and sporting goods stores like Dick's for sales on fitness equipment. And be sure to see if the manufacturers are offering other ways to save as well.
Elliptical exercisers are part stair climber, part cross-country ski machine. Unlike a treadmill, which allows you to move free-form, an elliptical limits your movement. That’s why it’s especially important to test out the machines in a store before you buy one.
Our elliptical buying guide and elliptical ratings will help you select a machine with the quality and features you want. Once you've selected a model you can shop around for the best discounts. As with treadmills, you'll have the most luck scoring a deal at major retailers or buying direct from manufacturers.
As the temperatures drop and we crank up the heat in our homes, the air we breathe becomes drier, which can lead to chapped skin, nosebleeds, and sore throats. This is a good time of year to find humidifiers on deep discount.
When shopping for a humidifier, you can choose between two types: warm mist and cool mist. Warm mist humidifiers essentially boil water and emit a warm vapor into the air. Cool mist humidifiers like the highly rated Vicks V5100NS use a variety of methods to create a cool vapor without boiling water.
In addition to deciding on the type of humidifier to buy, there are a few other things to consider. For instance, you’ll probably want to look for a model that’s easy to move and clean. And if you want to run the unit for long periods of time, you might need one with a shut-off timer or a humidistat that shuts it off if the humidity gets too high (or else your windows can fog up).
The new year is a chance to start fresh, and many retailers will hold white sales where they offer big discounts on bedding, including sheets and pillows. These winter sales, made famous by the department store owner John Wanamaker, have been used since the turn of the last century as a way to boost sales.
These sales provide a great chance to replace worn-out bedding. Check out our sheet buying guide to determine what material and thread count you should look for, and browse our top-rated pillows to find the right fit for your sleeping needs.
You can find discounts on linens and pillows at many major retailers. This year, we’re already seeing sales of up to 70 percent off at Pottery Barn, Sears, Wayfair, and West Elm. Keep a watchful eye at other places you like to shop for more ways to save on refreshing your linen closet.
If you’re in the midst of a kitchen renovation (or planning one) and looking to upgrade your appliances, January is an excellent time to look for a new oven. This is especially true if you're considering a wall oven, which offers lots of flexibility that you won’t find in a range and may be available at significant discounts this month. Because most wall ovens are electric, they can be installed on just about any wall in your kitchen and at any height, so you won’t have to bend over when pulling out hot, heavy dishes.
If you spend a lot of time cooking, you may want to consider a double oven. Or perhaps you’re in the market for one with a convection mode to reduce cooking times, or variable broil to cook with even more precision.
All of these options are out there, making it paramount to research before you buy. Purchasing any major appliance, especially an oven, is a big decision, and we recommend reading our buying guide and exploring our ratings and recommendations before you choose a model. Doing the research will make it more likely you'll be satisfied with your new wall oven.
Wall ovens typically range from $850 to more than $6,000. But keep an eye out for sales at major retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, AppliancesConnection, AJ Madison, Sears, and Walmart.
Today’s digital scales track more than just your weight; they also offer additional information, such as your body-fat percentage. Some even connect to your phone, fitness tracker, and other smart devices for easier data tracking. You'll often pay more for such features, so it’s important to decide what you want before you start shopping.
CR isn't currently testing bathroom scales, but you can check out our buying guide to see whether extra features are worth the added cost. According to our testers, weight measurements are consistent and accurate across most digital scales, but body-fat measurements aren't.