From laptops to televisions to video game systems, electronics get pricy. That's probably an understatement, given that a PlayStation 5 sits at just under $500 and a new TV will run you at least a few hundred bucks. Still, we live firmly in an age of electronics, and most houses sport at least a few staple gadgets. Are you harnessed to the sticker prices for these items, though? Of course not! In this article, we'll show you how to find the best tech deals and score cheap electronics, whether it's through price drops or picking up a new skill and building your own.
If you're looking for great deals on electronics, consider purchasing refurbished items. Refurbished electronics are items returned to the manufacturer for any reason, including some incredibly innocuous ones. These electronics will be in like-new condition, and some even come with a manufacturer's warranty attached, meaning you're getting a good deal and a guarantee.
When you purchase refurbished electronics, you're getting something that performs just as well as a brand-new item. Your experience will be the same, and you likely won't be able to tell that it isn't new. Refurbished items are tested for defects and issues before being sold again, so don't think you're just spending money on something broken.
Plenty of major brands and stores offer refurbished products at a fraction of the cost of a new model. You stand to save as much as 50% on electronics by going refurbished, and you can get the goods from reputable places. This isn't some back alley deal. Here are just a few recognizable names that sell refurbished goods.
- Apple - Apple offers certified refurbished products, complete with a one-year warranty. With the refurbished price, you'll save hundreds on an iPhone 12 Pro, MacBook Pro, and other products.
- Best Buy - Best Buy has a whole section on its site for Geek Squad Certified refurbished products. You can score a discount on AirPods, tablets, game systems, smart home equipment, and practically anything else sold in a standard Best Buy. All Geek Squad Certified items have been inspected, tested, sanitized, and repaired (if necessary) by technicians and come with a 90-day warranty.
- Gamestop - Gamestop offers refurbished game consoles and other items. Before being sold, they go through a refurbishment process that includes testing for any defects. They come with an automatic 30-day warranty, but customers have the option of adding an additional one to two-year warranty if desired.
- Walmart - Walmart Restored is Walmart's line of refurbished products. It includes tech deals and electronics, as well as refurbished appliances. All the products come with a 90-day return (or replacement) policy.
This is just a sampling of the brands offering refurbished electronics, but they're great places to start shopping for good deals. When you purchase refurbished items, you're getting the best discounts and shopping more sustainably all in one.
Know the Best Time to Buy
Certain times of the year bring on lower prices, discounts, and special sales. The market updates on a fairly reliable schedule, with the latest models and updates rolling out at around the same time each year.
This is particularly useful when you're in the market for something like a new television. New TV models drop in spring, usually around March or April, meaning you can count on the previous year's models to be discounted. Prices start to drop around January and continue through Super Bowl weekend, which is a great date to remember for television shopping. You'll get the best price a few weeks before the big game, but you might see closeout prices continue to run through early summer in some stores.
Certain major shopping days, like Black Friday, also come with deep discounts on electronics. You'll usually have to act fast to get the doorbuster items if you're shopping in-store, but Walmart, Target, and other sites have started to offer their deals online, too.
Look for Open Box or Display Models
Open-box products are exactly what they sound like - products whose packaging has been opened. It can be a great way to get electronics at a discounted price, but it's a bit less reliable than the refurbished method mentioned earlier. Customers may return something that is brand new and saw no use at all, or it could've been used for weeks before making it back to the store. Generally, you'll still have your own window to return or replace the item, so it's worth the slight risk to get a potentially stellar deal.
Display items are a great option for certain types of electronics, but it depends on how they're used in the store. Display televisions can be on for several hours every day the store is open, meaning they see a lot of heavy use before being sold at a discount. This likely means they'll have a shorter lifespan and may need replacing more quickly, which you should factor into any potential savings. However, items like display headphones in glass cases don't see a lot of use or wear during their display time and are probably worthwhile to buy at a discounted rate.
Build or Update Your Desktop
A high-quality gaming desktop, which can be used to play games, record and stream video, or do any activity that puts a big demand on the CPU, can cost thousands of dollars to buy outright. If you're tech-savvy to any degree (or willing to sit through tutorials to learn), it may be more cost-effective to build your own. That's especially true if you're not in a rush and can wait on sales for certain computer components.
Occasionally, the inverse is true and you'll find that it's less expensive to buy a pre-built computer, but long-term savings may still favor building your own. You'll know the computer inside and out and can more easily replace or update certain parts to improve performance or fix issues. You're also guaranteed certain savings because you're not paying for labor and assembly, since you're providing both yourself!
Building a computer is quite an undertaking, though, and it's one of the most involved ways to save on this list. Use your best judgment to determine if it's right for you or if you'll fare better from buying a refurbished computer instead. Either way, you save money.
Since we use electronics for everything from work to entertainment, it's likely inevitable that you'll replace yours at some point. Think ahead and make a game plan. If you know your TV is on its last leg, count on shopping for its replacement early in the year. If you want a game console but can't swing the price for a new one (or don't want to spend that much), start searching for deals on refurbished options instead.
You may discover other tricks to saving along the way, and we even have one final tip to offer. You'll have more to spend on your next device by installing the Comrade browser today. Comrade offers relevant recommendations from brands while you shop, and you'll earn cashback from brands when you interact with their ad. Discover the best deals on electronics and earn money while you're searching. All you have to do is create your free account, install the extension, and start shopping!