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Black Friday is only days away, and many retailers are already offering excellent deals ahead of the big event. The early discounts we're seeing now mark the best prices we've seen all year on a ton of products across all categories, including tech, home, kitchen, and more.
However, if you're holding out on shopping until November 26, it's important to know what you want ahead of time. Acting fast is key to snag products in limited supply, so we've rounded up answers to frequently asked questions to help you prepare for Black Friday 2021. Plus, you can find some of the best early deals available right now, below.
Best early Black Friday deals of 2021
What is Black Friday?
Black Friday is an annual sales event that traditionally happens at the end of November, marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The savings event is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year — sales are so high that the day can push a retailer into "the black," or solvency.
We've been seeing noteworthy price drops for the entire month of November, with all-time lows cropping up more and more as the day gets closer.
When is Black Friday 2021?
Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday falls on November 26. However, we've already seen Black Friday-caliber deals pop up in the weeks leading up to the big day.
What time does Black Friday start?
Technically speaking, Black Friday starts at 12:00 a.m. local time on November 26 for online retailers. However, Black Friday sales start whenever each retailer decides their deals will go live.
How long do Black Friday sales last?
Don't be fooled by the name that suggests Black Friday is a single day. It's most definitely not. It's more like a shopping season that begins in early November.
What should you buy on Black Friday?
Since it falls a few weeks before the gift-giving season, Black Friday provides excellent opportunities to buy and save on all your holiday gifts before the last-minute rush.
It's nearly guaranteed that you'll get great value for your money on certain products during Black Friday — but some items tend to see better discounts at other times of the year. If you go in knowing what you're looking for, you're less likely to be ripped off by a fancy-looking coupon or to spend money on products you don't need.
Shoppers can expect tons of great deals — including so-called "doorbusters" — online before and early on in Black Friday. During the event, prices will drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over the course of the year. The sale covers every product category: tech, home and kitchen, fashion, and smart home.
This Black Friday, shoppers should expect to see similar offers to the ones we saw on Amazon Prime Day, except more wide-ranging.
We recommend focusing on the following product categories if you want the best deals:
Historically, Black Friday has been a great time to purchase big-ticket electronics — especially larger TVs. Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-line Samsung set or LG OLED, or a budget-friendly TCL or Hisense model, Black Friday will likely deliver several deals.
Much like Amazon Prime Day, we saw tons of discounts on smart home products last Black Friday. Amazon Echo products dropped to their lowest prices ever, plus we saw several discounts and bundles on Google's recently released products.
This Black Friday we expect to see discounts on the latest Xbox and Playstation games. While we didn't see any markdowns on new consoles last year, we did see a few bundles crop up and we expect more of them in 2021 if retailers are able to secure stock.
If you're looking for a kitchen upgrade, Black Friday is a great time to shop. We saw big discounts on Instant Pot pressure cookers, KitchenAid appliances, pots and pans, plus everything else you'll want for the upcoming holiday season.
Of course, the deals found during Black Friday are incredibly wide-ranging. There have also been several deals on diapers, toilet paper, and other household essentials.
Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better?
It's complicated, and it matters less every year.
For those unfamiliar, Cyber Monday traditionally comes three days after Black Friday, on Monday. However, we've seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday slowly merge and expand to a weeklong, or even a month-long affair. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary.
A good rule of thumb to follow: If you think you see a good deal, (e.g., one we recommend) create the order as soon as possible. While you can always cancel or return a product, it's impossible to take advantage of an inactive, or expired deal.
Suppose you purchase a discounted product during Black Friday and see a more significant markdown at another retailer come Cyber Monday. Don't sweat it.
You can ask the original storefront to match the price (some automatically refund you the difference), or you can return or cancel the order, then place a new order with a better price. Some orders won't even ship during the weekend, which makes it easy to cancel orders.
For those who can shop in-person during Black Friday, we've found that it's better to shop on Black Friday in these situations:
- For expensive products
- For major stores
- For this year's products
What stores have Black Friday deals?
Outside of a few notable exceptions like REI, nearly every major retailer and direct-to-consumer company is offering markdowns during the event. We've seen deals from Walmart, Best Buy, Dell, Amazon, Adorama, Lowe's, The Home Depot, and more.
As we do every Black Friday, we will be sifting through all of the offers and rounding up the best deals from your favorite retailers.
Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?
Shipping delays and major shopping holidays go hand in hand, and this year is no exception. Supply chain issues are cropping up, but they probably won't ruin your Christmas. To be safe, try buying your gifts as early as possible to avoid stock issues. With so many deals rolling out early, that's easier than ever.
When do Black Friday ads come out?
Best Black Friday Deals we saw last year
Last year, we rounded up the best Black Friday deals we could find. Some of the best deals we found discounted many products over 50% with hundreds of dollars in savings. Here are some of the best markdowns we saw last year.
- iRobot Roomba 675 robot vacuum was $179 on Amazon, originally $229.
- LG 75" 80 Series smart webOS TV was $999 at Best Buy, originally $1,499.
- Insignia 24-inch Fire TV was $100 from Amazon, originally $170.
- Lenovo smart clock was $35 from Best Buy, originally $80.
- Samsung 1TB internal SSD was $100 from Walmart, originally $280.
How we select the best Black Friday deals
- We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage and that we've either used ourselves or researched carefully.
- We'll compare the prices among top retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart and include only the deals that are better than all others offered (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards).
- All deals will be at least 20% off, with the occasional exception for products that are rarely discounted or provide an outsize value.