We're finally in the throes of Black Friday week, which means it's time for our final roundup of the best Black Friday ads. We've done our best to sort through the myriad offers that have flooded the internet over the last few weeks, putting all the projected promos through the rigorous dealnews screening: we checked to see how prices and sales stacked up to past and current offers and have taken note of the cream-of-the-crop discounts.
Below we've included the best ads for various electronics, appliances, apparel, video games, and toys. But, since laptops and HDTVs continue to be important standalone categories in their own right, we updated those roundups separately. We hope you use all this information to guide your purchases this Black Friday, and be sure to set up an email alert for any items that strike your fancy, so that you know as soon as these discounts go live. Happy shopping!
The Best Tablet & eBook Reader Ads
Despite the ongoing tablet wars, your chances of seeing a deep dollar-off discount on any of today's most popular tablets are slim. There are a few bargains out there (as described below), but your best bet for purchasing a tablet is to find the biggest tablet/gift card bundle available.
- Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet bundled with a $75 Gift Card for $399 at Walmart
We predicted that this Black Friday, we would see the iPad 2 drop to as low as $299. If you take into account the $75 gift card, it's close to what we expect, but not quite there. Though, for what it's worth, this is also one of the items that Walmart guarantees will be in stock for the first hour. That might push this deal into "pretty good" territory, since the availability of iPad deals on Black Friday is always risky. (A $299 iPad 2 would almost certainly sell out very quickly.)
- Apple iPad with Retina Display 16GB WiFi Tablet (4th generation) bundled with a $60 Gift Card for $500 at Target
- It may be list price, but factor in the $60 gift card and suddenly this deal beats our Black Friday prediction for current generation iPads. That said, Best Buy unleashed a deal yesterday that offers this model for $440, the same net price but without having to factor in the value of a gift card. However, not everyone can avail of the deal since it's for Best Buy Reward Zone Premier Silver members only.
- Amazon Kindle Fire 8GB Tablet bundled with a $30 Best Buy Card for $160 at Best Buy
- At $159, Amazon's Kindle Fire SD is perhaps the cheapest mainstream tablet out there. If you miss Amazon's own lightning deal that cuts it to $129, this is your next best bet.
- Amazon Kindle Fire HD 16GB 7" Tablet bundled with a $30 Best Buy Card for $200 at Best Buy
- As we stated in our Black Friday tablet predictions, your best strategy for slate shopping this holiday season is to seek out bundle deals, as retailers are unlikely to discount a $200 tablet. That said, this offer from Best Buy throws in a generous $30 gift card with your purchase of the Kindle Fire HD. That beats both deals from Staples and OfficeMax, which only bundle it with $20 and $25 gift cards, respectively. However, we still recommend waiting to see what kind of bundle Amazon will offer (that way you can use the Amazon credit to purchase content for your Kindle). Otherwise, this deal is solid for any Kindle HD seeker.
- Barnes & Noble NOOK Simple Touch WiFi eBook Reader for $39 at Sears
Although we predicted popular tablets wouldn't see any dollar-off discounts, in this case, we're happy to be wrong. Not only is this NOOK $60 off list, it's also the lowest price we've ever seen for this device by $31. Should you miss out on the Sears sale, Target gets honorable mention for having the second-best price for the NOOK at $49.
The Best Smartphone Ads
Although you may not be inclined to associate smartphones with Black Friday doorbusters, the truth is that last year Amazon caught everyone by surprise with its Penny Pincher Sale, which dropped current Android smartphones to just 1 cent (with a new contract). In general, we saw three times as many smartphones deals in 2011 than we did in 2010, and we expect it to be a big category this year as well.
- Samsung Galaxy S III 4G Android Smartphone for 96 cents at Sam's Club
- Not only is this an all-time low for the Galaxy S III, but it's quite possibly one of the best Android smartphone deals we've seen to date. It even beats Best Buy's deal on the S III by $47. Keep in mind that we predict many popular — and current — Android smartphones will hit a penny this Black Friday as they did last year during Amazon's unprecedented Penny Pincher Sale. Our advice: check sites like Amazon and Wirefly before you pay for any Android smartphone.
- Motorola Atrix 4G, Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, or Samsung Stratosphere 4G for 1 cent at Staples
- Although we've seen the Atrix and Stratosphere fall to 1 cent before, it was a one-time deal back at the start of the year. And if you're shopping for a new Android smartphone, this is as low as you can go. However, it's possible to get a newer Android phone for a buck or less as well, so make sure to take that into consideration.
The Best The iPod is the king of all MP3 players, so, not surprisingly, the most noteworthy promotions in this category involved the Apple device. Below are the best ads we've seen thus far for the ubiquitous do-it-all handheld.
MP3 Players iPod Ads
- Apple iPod touch 32GB MP3 Player (5th generation) bundled with a $50 Gift Card for $295 at Best Buy
- We always advise our readers to buy Apple products from authorized resellers, and this deal is a good example of why; this new, 5th generation iPod touch 32GB MP3 Player is listed for $295 with a $50 Gift card from Best Buy. Assuming you use the gift card, that easily trumps the 5% to 10% off discount you can expect from Apple's annual (and predictably boring) Black Friday sale.
- Apple iPod touch 16GB MP3 Player (4th generation) bundled with a $40 Gift Card for $195 at Target
- If you take the gift card into account, this deal blows Walmart's Black Friday iPod deal out of the water by $40. Also remember that Apple is only going to discount these items by 10% at best; this deal is essentially 20% off.
- $50 iTunes Gift Card for $35 at OfficeMax
- You can't have an iPod without some tuneage! At 30% off, this is the best iTunes gift card deal we've ever seen. (It even beats the Editors' Choice deal we saw two weeks ago, which was discounted 20% off). A close runner up is Toys "R" Us' sale which offers a $50 iTunes Gift Card bundled with a $15 iTunes Gift Card for $50 (roughly 23% off). And honorable mention goes to this $100 iTunes Gift Card Multipack for $80 at Sam's Club.
- Apple iPod nano 16GB MP3 Player (7th generation) bundled with a $20 Gift Card for $145 at Best Buy
- If you missed Amazon's lightning-fast early Black Friday deal for the latest 16GB nano for just $125 (by our count, it lasted all of three minutes), then here's your chance to score the same net price. With the $20 gift card, this deal offers the same value. Plus, it should undercut Apple's Black Friday sale by $10.
The Best Digital Camera & Camcorder Ads
Even this close to Black Friday, ads for digital cameras have been somewhat mediocre, but a few offers stand out. That said, keep in mind prices will drop further once the new 2013 models are announced at PMA/CES in January.
- Canon PowerShot A3400 IS 16-Megapixel Digital Camera bundled with an SD Card and Case for $90 at Target
- At $90, this camera bundle is $29 under the lowest price we've seen this year. Even better, it includes both an SD card (capacity not described) and a camera case.
- Canon PowerShot A2300 16-Megapixel Digital Camera bundled with a 8GB SD Card for $80 at Sears
- This deal at Sears replaces our last "best of" mention of this camera because, though it's the same price, it's bundled with a memory card. At this price, it's $14 under our last mention and a current low by $19.
Better still, BJ's Wholesale Club also offers this camera bundled with 2 4GB SD Cards and a camera case for the same price. However, you have to be a BJ's member to get this deal and membership costs $50.
- Sony DSC-W620 14-Megapixel 5x Zoom Digital Camera for $80 at Kmart
The current lowest price we could find for this camera is at TigerDirect for $98 with free shipping, making this Black Friday price the lowest we've seen by $18. That's a respectable deal, but probably not one worth going to Kmart for unless you plan to buy other things there that day.
- Nikon J1 10-Megapixel Mirrorless Digital Camera for $400 at Walmart
This is a super buy for a Micro 4/3 camera. We've seen several refurbished units of this camera for $270 last month, but the best we've seen for a new unit is $447, currently available at Amazon. Of note, Dell is rumored to have the same camera available to purchase online for a buck more, which is worth paying if you can save yourself an early-morning trip to Walmart on Black Friday, right?
- JVC Everio 40x Zoom HD Camcorder for $119 at Walmart
Even though Walmart isn't specific with the details of this video camera, we can still tell you that it's the lowest total price we've seen for any JVC Everio HD camcorder by $10. It's also a current price low for the same by $80.
The Best Blu-ray Player AdsDespite the preponderance of digital ways to stream movies and TV shows, Blu-ray players have stuck around. Perhapse it's because we never see digital HD movies on sale for $4 at Black Friday? Or people just like owning something tangible? Either way, there are several Blu-ray players that will be available this year.
- LG Blu-ray Player for $38 at Walmart
This is another of the deals that Walmart is guaranteeing will be availabile on Thanksgiving between 10 pm and 11 pm. Outside of refurbished units, we've only ever seen a Blu-ray player this low once before: a Toshiba for $35 total. This deal also solidifies our Black Friday prediction of seeing a Blu-ray player for $39.
- Digix BD-500 Blu-ray Player for $30 at hhgregg
Though it shatters our Blu-ray player price prediction, it's hard to get excited over a no-name device that will probably sell out before you even set foot in the store. That said, this is an amazing price on a player that is currently sold at Fry's Electronics for $59.99 with $10.54 for shipping.
The Best Gaming Console & Video Game AdsWhether you're buying your first console or upgrading to a newer model, the best strategy for savings is to hunt for console bundles. Below we've rounded up the best bundles we've seen to date, along with a few choice deals on select games.
- Nintendo 3DS Handheld Game System Bundle with a $30 Credit for $170 at Meijer
If you factor in the $30 credit, this is the least-expensive 3DS bundle we've seen by $39. While we've seen the handheld alone for much lower (it hit an all-time low of $130 last Black Friday), as far as bundled are concerned, this is your deal. It also tops goHasting's price for the console alone.
- Dance Central 3 for Xbox 360 for $30 at Meijer
- Released in October for the Kinect, this game is barely two months old and already at an all-time low by $19. Of note, Kmart is also offering this price.
- Medal of Honor: Warfighter for PS3 for $30 at Meijer
- Like the above-mentioned title, Medal of Honor: Warfighter made its debut in late October. At $30, it's 50% off its full retail price, which many stores are still charging for this title.
- Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Bundle with 2 Games for $200 at goHastings
- Although we've seen the console for as low as $140 (last Black Friday), this is the best deal we've seen for the console/Kinect bundle by $50. It also beats Toys "R" Us' offer by $50.
- Halo 4 for Xbox 360 bundled with a $20 Gift Card for $60 at Target
- This deal gets an honorable mention for being the second-best bundle deal we've seen for Halo 4. (It loses out to a deal we saw at the start of the month which included a $25 gift card via the Microsoft Store.)
- Wii U Games: Buy One, Get One for 40% off at Toys "R" Us
- If you're one of the lucky few who scored a Wii U, Toys "R" Us is having a BOGO 40% off sale on its selection of Wii U games. The first such sale we've seen this month for Wii U games.
- Microsoft Xbox 360 4GB Kinect Bundle for $200 at Target
- Target's Xbox 360 deal is the lowest total price we've seen for an Xbox Kinect bundle by $50. (We've only ever seen a refurb of this bundle for this low, before.) Even better, this price confirms our 30% to 40% off Black Friday prediction for gaming consoles.
- Sony PlayStation 3 250GB Console Bundle bundled with an Air Flo Controller for $200 at Toys "R" Us
- Just announced by Sony in September, this new PS3 console — which houses a bigger hard drive than the traditional 160GB console — retails for about $299. At $200, it's $99 off and the lowest price we've seen for this particular model. It also beats RadioShack's and Target's offers (which don't include the Air Flo controller) by $20.
- Borderlands 2 for Xbox 360 for $35 at Best Buy
- Though we've seen plenty of deals on this game for PC, we've only seen one notable deal for the Xbox 360 version of this game: $60 with two $10 gift cards back in September. At $35, this Best Buy deal crushes our September mention, with or without the gift cards.
- Microsoft Xbox 360 4GB Console bundled with Skylanders for $149 at Walmart
- Even if you're not a fan of the Skylanders game, we haven't seen the Xbox 360 4GB Console this inexpensive since last Black Friday. (Although we listed it for $200 with a $75 gift card in December 2011.) That said, this is a great deal if you're looking for a secondary Xbox or simply want to upgrade your existing one. Plus, it's within $10 of our Black Friday prediction for an Xbox 360 console.
- Nintendo Wii Console for $89 at Walmart
- After years of seeing little or no price drops on Nintendo's highly sought-after Wii, Walmart is finally discounting the console to $89. (It's on page 5 of their circular.) However, keep in mind that the Nintendo Wii U is the console everyone will want under the tree this year and this deal is on Nintendo's now outdated console. That said, your kids may resent you when they unwrap this last-gen system, but rest assured, your wallet won't.
The Best Children's Toys AdsAlthough we generally recommend shopping for toys two weeks before Christmas, below are a few hand-picked toy deals and sales that caught our eye.
- Power Wheels Kawasaki Sport Quads for $50 at Toys "R" Us
- Not only is this the cheapest price we've seen for any Power Wheels truck, but it's also $9 under last year's best holiday price.
- Power Wheels Barbie Sport for $50 at Toys "R" Us
- Like the above-mentioned Power Wheels truck, this deal is an all-time low by $9.
- 50% off Beywheelz Toys at Kmart
- Aside from a BOGO sale we listed this week, discounts on Beywheelz toys have been very scarce. This 50% off sale is the first such discount we've seen on these toys.
- Thomas the Tank BOGO Sale at Kmart
- A buy one, get one free sale on Thomas the Tank toys is an ingenious way to keep siblings from fighting for the same toy. It's also the first such sale we've seen on Fisher-Price's popular series of toys.
- 60% off Hasbro, Playskool, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Mattel Toys at Bealls
- Not since Christmas 2011 have we seen such a significant percent-off sale on these brands. While we don't expect this discount to apply to all categories of toys, it's still among the biggest discounts we've seen for many of these brands, and a 10% greater savings than our Black Friday toys predictions.
- 50% off Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Toys at Kohl's
- Like the above-mentioned promotion, this Kohl's sale on Fisher-Price toys is the biggest percent-off discount we've seen on these toys since last Christmas.
- 40% off LeapFrog Tag Books at Toys "R" Us
- It's not often we see discounts on LeapFrog Tag Books. In fact, we've only seen two sales, both in January 2012: a BOGO 50% off sale, and a 15% off discount. Needless to say, a 40% off discount is the second-best we've seen on these books.
- LeapFrog Tag Reading Learning System with Tag Book for $20 at Toys "R" Us
- At $20, this bundle is $16 under the best deal we've seen this year for the LeapFrog Learning System.
The Best Appliance Ads, Large and Small
From what we've seen so far, in general, Lowe's has dominated the appliance category with its offers. However, when price checking popular KitchenAid and Keurig small appliances, nearly all were terrible deals; some were even more expensive than what you could currently find now. While just one KitchenAid mixer made the cut, we'd advise readers to avoid most appliances from these manufacturers (unless better deals pop up), as you're likely to find better deals come January. Below are some healthier appliance deals available on Black Friday.
- Whirlpool GB2FHDXWS 21.9-Cu. Ft. Bottom-Freezer Stainless Steel Refrigerator for $999 at Lowe's
You've had a freezer on top of your refrigerator your entire life. Isn't it time to try something new? For $78 under what we can currently find this unit for, you can turn things upside-down to get a new perspective on your food. It's also one of the best deals on refrigerators of any kind that appeared in this year's Black Friday ads. There's also the Samsung RS267TDRS 26-Cu. Ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator for $1,200 at Sears, which is $98 under the lowest price currently available. Plus, it doesn't require you to turn your chilled-food world completely topsy-turvy.
- Samsung 3.6-Cu. Ft. Washer and 7.3-Cu. Ft. Electric Dryer Bundle for $1,198 at Lowe's
Buying these items together on Black Friday will yield massive savings: this pairing is $215 under what we could find if you were to buy any two similar units separately.
- Samsung DMT400RHS Dishwasher for $499 at Lowe's
This ties last year's Black Friday mention for this exact dishwasher (also sold at Lowe's), so it's now officially a "tradition." We look forward to seeing this unit for this price next year, too. It's also currently $99 under the lowest price we could find elsewhere, and a buck less than what hhgregg charges.
- KitchenAid Pro 500 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer for $250 at Sears
This is the lowest total price we've seen for this mixer this year and it's a current price low by $60. However, we saw it for $60 less one year ago in the run-up to Black Friday 2011. Despite that, we include it here because we've not seen it for less all year. If you have to get a KitchenAid mixer, you'll feel the best about getting this one.
The Best Apparel Ads
Black Friday isn't just about deals on high-tech gadgets. There's a plethora of bargains on men's and women's apparel as well. If you're looking to update your (or a loved one's) wardrobe this holiday season, be sure to be on the lookout for the very best apparel deals:
- Men's Jeans for $15 at Old Navy
- We've seen women's Old Navy jeans hit this price point before (they were actually $3 lower last Black Friday), but for men, this is an all-time low by $3.
- Aeropostale Men's Puffer Jacket for $20 at Aeropostale
- At $20, the Aeropostale men's puffer jacket is $18 under last year's best holiday price. Women, however, take note as we've seen the women's puffer jacket for $2 less this year, albeit only once back in January.
- Men's Polos, 3 for $10 at Modell's
- We've seen generic men's polos for as cheap as $6, but never before have we seen three polos for $10. At about $3 each, this deal serves up the least-expensive men's polos we've seen.
- Under Armour Women's Fleece Hoody for $38 at Modell's
- Rarely do we see discounts on women's Under Armour hoodies. That said, this particular fleece hoodie is $3 under the best deal we've seen this year for an Under Armour women's hoodie.
- Wrangler Men's Jeans for $10 at Walmart
- These Wrangler jeans are $6 under the best sale we've seen this year on any style of men's Wrangler jeans. And considering how rare it is to find jeans at this price point, this is one sale you'll want to stock up on.
- Rider by Lee Women's Jeans for $10 at Walmart
- Women's Lee jeans have hit $25 a few times this year, but never have they dropped below that. At $10, this sale is more than 50% off our lowest ever price for any style of Lee jeans for women.
- Jordache Women's Skinny Jeans for $10 at Walmart
- Love them or hate them, skinny jeans are here to stay, and at $10 these women's skinny jeans are the least-expensive pair we've found all year by $6.
- $15 off Nike, Adidas, or Reebok Apparel of $59 or more at Dick's Sporting Goods
- Excluding shoe purchases, it's rare to see a dollar-off discount on Nike, Adidas, or Reebok gear, yet this sale takes $15 off purchases of $59 or more on all three major brands. Needless to say, this is the sale you'll want to take advantage of if you're shopping for athletic apparel.