This post is was originally published on The Penny Hoarder
By now, you’ve flipped through the Sunday paper and pulled out the Black Friday ads. Or, because it’s 2017, you simply visited your favorite stores’ websites to peruse electronic flyers.
But over the years at The Penny Hoarder, we’ve learned one important lesson: Just because a store tells you an item is a great deal doesn’t mean anything about whether it actually is.
Sale ads often inflate the original prices on items that have been discounted in order to show you a better “percent off” price.
Sometimes those discounts are still a great deal. But it takes some extra research to know for sure.
This year, we want to help you save time and money on your holiday shopping.
We took note of items that are frequently discounted during the holiday season — the ones that stores advertise as being 40-50% off. Then, we checked those sale prices, not just across other Black Friday advertisements, but also against the manufacturers’ usual prices.
A few questions you’re probably asking out loud to your screen:
Why aren’t any kids’ toys listed?
Most children’s toys aren’t expensive enough to warrant going out of your way to get a markdown at a store you don’t usually shop at. Stick with the convenience of your usual spot for kids’ toys, and you’ll reap worthy savings.
Why aren’t any clothes listed?
Most large discount and major department stores advertise sales on their own brands during Black Friday, so you can’t compare the same exact item among stores. If you like a certain store’s brand of clothing for kids or adults, you’ll be able to make the best judgment on its sales.
Where are all the TVs and laptops?
Black Friday specials on TVs and laptops are almost never worth a glance. These deals are usually special-ordered for the shopping weekend and offer less robust specifications than the options you’ll find at other times of year.
Based on our very particular criteria, we came up with this short list of deals that are actually worth your time this weekend.
Best Deals on Home Gadgets
Photo courtesy of Amazon
Amazon Echo (Retail: $99.99)
Amazon Echo Dot (Retail: $49.99)
Kohl’s and Target: $29.99
Google Home (Retail: $129)
Target, Walmart: $79
JCPenney, Kohl’s: $79.99
Google Home Mini (Retail: $49)
Walmart, Target: $29
Best Deals on Small Kitchen Appliances
Photo courtesy of KitchenAid
Keurig K55 Brewer (Retail: $119.99)
JCPenney: $59.99 after mail-in rebate
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Model KSM150PS (Retail: $459.99)
Kohl’s, JCPenney: $279 after mail-in rebate
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Model KP26MIX (Retail: $599.99)
Kohl’s: $399.99 after mail-in rebate
Ninja Blender 72-ounce jar with two 16-ounce Nutri Ninja Cups (Retail: $99.99)
Sam’s Club: $69.99
Nutri Ninja Pro 18-ounce AND 24-ounce Blender (Retail: $79.99)
Best Deals on Small Electronics
Photo courtesy of Apple
Apple iPad 32 GB Wi-Fi (Retail: $329)
Apple iPad Pro 10.5-inch 256 GB Wi-Fi in silver (Retail: $779)
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch 16GB tablet (Retail: $199.99)
Sony Extra Bass Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones (Retail: $249)
Best Buy: $124.99
Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones (Retail: $349.95)
Vtech Digital Video Baby Monitor with dual cameras (Retail: $219)
Best Deals on Vacuums
Photo courtesy of iRobot
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Bagless Upright Vacuum (Retail: $499.99)
Best Buy, Kohl’s: $299.99
Dyson DC39 Ball Multifloor Pro Canister Vacuum (Retail: $299.99)
iRobot Roomba 614 Robotic Vacuum (Retail: $299.99)
iRobot Roomba 690 Wi-Fi Vacuum (Retail: $374.99)
Target, Best Buy: $274.99
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum (Retail: $239)
Best Deals on Health and Fitness Gadgets
Photo courtesy of Fitbit
Garmin Vivosmart HR Activity Tracker (Retail: $179.99)
Fitbit Alta HR Heart Rate Wristband Smart Watch (Retail: $149.95)
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband (Retail: $149.95)
Kohl’s, Costco, Macy’s: $99.99
Oral B Pro 6000 Rechargeable Toothbrush (Retail: $199)
Sam’s Club: $99.98
Philips Sonicare 2 Series power toothbrush (Retail: $69.99)
Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. Think she missed an awesome deal? Share details on Twitter @lisatella.