This year, the holiday shopping season started earlier than ever thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers have been stretching out their sales windows and making more deals available online so that shoppers stuck inside can still grab their most-wanted items at discount.
Even so, the day after Thanksgiving still stands to be the biggest shopping day of the year. But not all Black Friday deals are created equal. So if you’re wondering what’s worth snagging that day, here are some of the top picks from people who track Black Friday deals for a living.
Vava 4K HDR Ultra Short Throw Laser Projector
“A couple times I’ve been close to pulling the trigger on the Vava 4K HDR ultra-short-throw projector, which turns any wall into a huge home theater. It normally sells for $2,800, but on Black Friday it will be $1,950 ― possibly even less. That’s still crazy expensive, but I’m breaking open the piggy bank. This model is simplicity defined: Just park it a few inches from a wall and you’re done. No crazy ceiling installation, no complicated external speaker system ― it’s literally a plug-and-play theater.” ― Rick Broida, senior commerce editor at CNET
MacBook Air Or Pro
“I’m going to see just how good the prices on Intel MacBook Airs and Pros get. Apple recently announced Airs and Pros with its own M1 chipset. That could mean better discounts than we’re used to seeing on the pre-M1 2020 releases, which would make them awfully tempting for me. Usually, high-end laptop deals on Black Friday are rarer than you’d think, but circumstances like this may drive exceptions.” ― Nathan Burrow, deals editor for Wirecutter
Google Nest Hub Max
“We haven’t seen any indication it’ll go on sale for Black Friday, but I’m hoping it will. I’ve been wanting to put a smart display in our kitchen for help with recipes and timers and whatnot. We’re pretty solidly encamped in the Google ecosystem, so it’s only natural for us to try to keep the devices all in the same family. And we want the bigger screen because we’ll be using it for videos sometimes. The Nest Hub Max has a list price of $229, but I’m hoping for a decent discount to drop it to $180 (or lower!) for Black Friday.” ― Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews
“I’ve been holding off on a few home improvement projects because of the spike in demand and supply shortage of paint and other home improvement items due to the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve been watching paint sales and expect some of the best prices to fall during the holiday shopping season, so I’ll likely buy what I need for my next project on Black Friday.” ― Gabrielle Pastorek, retail analyst for Finder
“I have my eye on a couple of things from the #BuyBlack Friday Gift Guide. I am so obsessed with Melanin Haircare’s multi-use pure oil blend. Say that five times fast! It’s amazing, it makes my hair healthier, thicker, strong. I use it every single day. It makes me feel beautiful, it makes me feel like Rhianna when I put it on. What Black woman doesn’t want that? Just saying this stuff is amazing.” ― Phoebe Robinson, comedian, writer, actress and host of Facebook’s weekly #BuyBlack Friday show
“You really can’t get a better deal on an Instant Pot than over Black Friday. It’s such a hot holiday item and retailers race competitors to the bottom to offer the lowest price to win sales from shoppers, hoping they buy other items while shopping online or in store to make up for any loss in profits. However, when you keep your eye on the prize and don’t deter, this is a great deal at the average 50% off discount. I’ve seen some of the best deals at Walmart and will be eyeing their ads to see when I can snag it at the best price.” ― Andrea Woroch, money-saving expert
“I’ve been trying to get a PS5 since release after missing out on the initial pre-order period with no luck. It’s been a pretty frustrating experience, with a handful of retailers temporarily renewing stock only to sell out within minutes. Sony has also directly sold consoles from its site, but a long queue forms immediately when stock refreshes, and the rare times I’ve gotten through, the console sells out before I can complete my purchase. Select retailers have announced ahead of time that they will have consoles on sale again for Black Friday, so I’ll try again. I’m not holding out too much hope, though, as it should be even busier than the random weekdays my previous failed attempts took place on. Still have to try!” ― Matthew Buzzi, hardware analyst for PCMag
Lexon Mino L Speaker
“I’ve had my eye on the Lexon Mino L speaker for a while. It has great Italian design going for it and will look at home anywhere in my apartment. A Black Friday sale would mean I could pick up two of them for some stereo sound. The only thing I’m really torn about is what color to get.” ― Chandra Steele, senior features writer for PCMag
Havana Inflatable Hot Tub Spa
“Just like the rest of the country, I’ve been stuck at home most of the year. This past summer I wanted to spend more time outdoors and I looked into purchasing an inexpensive inflatable hot tub. Unfortunately for me, everyone else had the same idea and they sold out quickly. In fact, during the summer, they were impossible to find for a retail price and a lot of third-party sellers were selling for almost double the retail price. Even though winter is coming, I am looking to plan ahead and get the hot tub now. Walmart will be offering this hot tub for 50% off, which is much better than paying over retail for it!” ― Jon Vincent, founder and spokesperson for EarlyBlackFriday
Some responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.