Autumn brings crisp air, colorful leaves, apple-picking and — this year — Amazon Prime Day, which is actually two dates: October 13 to 14. The mega-retailer postponed its big annual event earlier this summer due to pandemic-related supply chain delays, so it’s now poised to help shoppers get a head start on holiday shopping.
Nathan Burrow, deals editor at Wirecutter, says that early Prime Day promotions are available now: Until October 12, Amazon will offer Prime members a $10 credit to use on Prime Day when they spend $10 on items sold by select small businesses. And until October 14, Prime members can spend $10 at Whole Foods Market online or in-store to get $10 to spend on Amazon during Prime Day.
Burrow adds that Walmart plans to launch its competing sales event, called the Big Save, at 7 p.m. ET on October 11, while Target will host its Deal Days 2020 event October 13 to 14.
Whether you’re ready to start shopping for gifts early or simply looking for a bargain, here are some of the best things to buy in October — and a few you should pass on.
WHAT TO BUY IN OCTOBER
Lawn and Garden Equipment. Autumn leaves are beautiful — until they fall. But at least the change in season means sales on outdoor equipment such as leaf blowers and chainsaws. “They are good for dealing with fall foliage, but we will also see deals on other lawn and garden gear,” Burrow says. “Places like Home Depot and Lowe’s will have a lot of the items we put as picks in the guide that we posted this past spring.”
Smart Speakers, Displays and Smart Home Devices. “Check out both the Google Assistant and the Alexa ecosystem,” Burrow says. “Whether you’re into home automation or looking for new ways to stay in touch with family and friends, like video calls from a smart display, you can expect to see good deals.”
Select Small Kitchen Appliances. You’re in luck if your shopping list includes buzzworthy kitchen items like the Instant Pot or the Anova sous vide cooker, Burrow says, “but we’re less sure we’ll see deals of the quality we saw last year on sought-after kitchen items like stand mixers and high-end blenders, as those have seen markedly fewer sales over the past six months due to high demand.”
Small Electronics — Especially Audio. If you’re looking for some sound deals, Burrow says you can expect to see discounts on Bluetooth Headphones and Bluetooth Speakers along with the standard array of chargers and battery packs from brands such as Anker.
Apple iPhone 11. Whenever whispers of a new iPhone start getting louder, it’s a good time to look for deals on older models from carriers. “It’s looking likely that we’ll see a mid-month announcement of the iPhone 12,” Burrow says. “If that happens, we should start to see more promotions for the iPhone 11 almost immediately. As long as you’re OK with what will be a last-gen device, you could benefit from gift card deals, or even a buy-one, get-one plus a gift card deal if you’re looking to replace multiple phones.”
Fitness Trackers. If the cooler weather is beckoning you to take your workout outdoors, Burrow says you may find excellent prices on select fitness trackers and smartwatches. Top Wirecutter picks The Garmin Forerunner 645 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 could both go on sale, along with some of Fitbit’s newer devices.
WHAT TO SKIP IN OCTOBER
Game Consoles. Months of social distancing may have you itching for a new gaming console, but the Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X won’t be released until mid-November. Burrow recommends instead that you grab the sought-after Nintendo Switch, if it’s available.
Most Older Model Televisions. We know your household TVs have gotten quite a workout while you’ve been quarantining, but “big TV discounts are often for bargain-bin models that are low quality,” Burrow says. “Or they’re for older models that were formerly great options but have been replaced with more advanced models that offer much better performance.”
Select Apple Products. You may be planning to buy some new gear for working from home or home schooling, but Burrow recommends passing on the 7th generation iPad and Apple Watch Series 3. “The 8th gen iPad, released in September, offers a much faster processor,” Burrow says. “Initial sales include a discount of around $30, but we’d recommend waiting for discounts of $50 to $80 before you get one. That’s more likely to happen during Black Friday than Prime Day.” The Apple Watch Series 3, meanwhile, is seeing great prices, but is noticeably slower than newer Apple Watch options.