7 Things You Should Buy (and Avoid) on Amazon Prime Day
Based on sales we saw during last year's Prime Day, we've created a handy checklist of items you should buy on Prime Day and a few you should avoid. Not a Prime member? You can sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial to enjoy the savings.
From the Echo to the Kindle, Prime Day is an excellent time to purchase Amazon hardware. Although Amazon discounts its devices throughout the year, Prime Day — along with Black Friday — tend to offer the best dollar-off discounts of the year with prices that are up to $20 cheaper than your typical Amazon sale.
This year, Amazon is slashing the price of the Echo Show by $100 to $129. Earlier this week it also slashed the price of its Echo Dot to $34.99. That's just $5 shy of it's all time low of $29.99, which we saw on Black Friday 2017.
That said, don't expect to see deals on every Amazon device. Some gadgets, like the Echo Look, rarely see discounts and have managed to escape Prime Day unscathed.
Amazon may have started out as an online bookstore, but these days, the online giant sells a multitude of digital products as well. Last year, both the Amazon Music and Video Store offered a wide array of discounts with movies and rentals selling from $4.99 and $0.99 cents, respectively. Amazon services also received steep discounts. Already, Prime members can get a 4-Month Music Unlimited Trial for $0.99 ($30 off), 3-Month Kindle Unlimited Membership for $0.99 ($20 off), $10 off two separate Prime Now orders via coupon code "20PRIMENOW", 40 percent off 1-year FreeTime Unlimited plan or 3-month plan for $2.99, and three months of Audible for $4.95/month (normally $14.95/month). You may have to sign into your Prime account to see these specials. We expect similar discounts this year from Amazon installation services as well, which were discounted by $40 last year.
Cheap accessories and products
Prime Day is Amazon's opportunity to clear its virtual shelves. That means you can expect to see deals on everything from headphones to fabric cases for your Echo Dot. Also keep an eye out for savings on Amazon's own brands. For instance, you can now save 30% on Mama Bear Baby Food, Amazon Elements Vitamins, Wickedly Prime Nut Bars, and AmazonFresh Coffee. But shop carefully. Just because you see a panda iPhone holder on sale, doesn't mean you need one.
While we naturally gravitate toward tech deals, it's equally important to remember that Prime Day goes well beyond tech. In fact, last year, Amazon sold more than 3.5 million toys and more than 200,000 women's dresses on Prime Day alone. Shoes have also proven to be popular items with major discounts on brands like Adidas, New Balance and Asics, each of which have seen discounts of up to 60 percent in previous years. Nothing is off limits.
Consoles and video games
Nothing gets our attention like a good console deal, and you can expect to see plenty of those on Prime Day. Any PS4 or Xbox One S bundle under $239 would be considered a good deal. Standalone consoles with no bundled games should sell closer to the $199 mark for it to be a worthy deal.
We also expect to see sales on pre-orders of popular console games as well as deals on both the PS4 Pro and the Nintendo Switch, both of which escaped Prime Day 2017 untouched. Since the start of the year, Amazon has sold the PS4 Pro for as low as $349 ($50 off). Sometimes it's offered the console with a free game or two for its list price of $399.
Meanwhile, the Switch hasn't seen any significant dollar-off discounts from Amazon (instead the retailer has offered gift cards or freebies along with the console), but other retailers have sold the Switch for as low was $239.99. We don't expect Amazon to follow suit, but we wouldn't be surprised if it offers another tempting Switch bundle sold at list price.
Credit: Sony; Nintendo; Microsoft
Last year we recommended shoppers steer clear of laptop purchases. This year, however, we're doing a complete 180. Retailers and manufacturers have been especially aggressive with laptop sales and even pricey gaming laptops with GTX cards have seen impressive discounts in the past months.
Black Friday will still see better laptop deals, but if you can't wait that long, Prime Day should bring excellent deals on both previous-gen laptops (those with Intel's 7th-gen CPU) and current-gen laptops (those with Intel's 8th-gen CPU).
Look for budget systems and Chromebooks to start as low as $149 with mainstream 8th-gen systems close to or under the $500 mark. As always, compare prices and remember that if you don't score a deal on Prime Day, back-to-school sales are just beginning, so you have all summer to land that perfect laptop deal.
When it comes to HDTV deals, no holiday matches Black Friday, and that's because every retailer, not just Amazon, offers steep TV discounts during this time.
As a result, last year we warned consumers to hold off on TV purchases during Prime Day. This year, however, we're giving TVs the thumbs up. Here's why.
Since the start of the year, TV deals have been extremely aggressive with some units reaching price lows you'd normally expect from Black Friday. This summer is also unique because the World Cup is currently being played and retailers are tempting shoppers with lower-than-average prices on big-screen 4K sets.
Yet another reason we're bullish on TV deals this Prime Day is because of an announcement Amazon made earlier in the year. The retailer disclosed a partnership with Best Buy in which Best Buy would sell 4K Fire TV Edition TVs from Toshiba and Insignia.
The Toshiba Fire TV Edition is already available for pre-order from $329.99, and we can almost smell a price cut in its future. Will Black Friday season offer better deals, yes, naturally. But we expect TV sales to take center stage like never before this Prime Day.
Amazon isn't known for its steep Apple discounts, and it's a safe bet that Prime Day will be no exception. For sales on Cupertino's latest kit, we recommend shopping at competing sites such as Best Buy, where you can often find steep Apple discounts on any given week.
Camera deals are not Amazon's forte, and we don't expect to see many noteworthy camera deals on Prime Day. Sure, you'll see discounts on popular brands such as Canon and Nikon, but the absolute best camera deals are usually reserved for the end of the year or when new models hit the market. If you happen to come across a particularly attractive camera deal, we advise comparing Amazon's price to those on competing sites like B&H Photo Video, or tracking that camera's price with a price tracker such as CamelCamelCamel or a price comparison engine such as ShopSavvy (a Purch company).
Amazon has Lightning deals every day of the year, and while we generally think they're an excellent way to save money on select products, Prime Day's Lightning deals tend to be an exercise in frustration. That's because, the best Prime Day Lightning deals have lasted no more than a few minutes.
Amazon is promising more stock this year, but the company made similar promises in previous years, and consumers were still stuck with low inventory. Your best bet is to make a list of which items you'd like to buy and check Amazon — and its competitors — for those items throughout the day. You can also watch deals via the Amazon app to see upcoming discounts.