With all of the hype around Black Friday, it’s easy to fall into the excitement of which latest and hottest gadgets, tech and toys are on sale. But not every Black Friday ad is created equal. In fact, lots of them contain more Misses than Hits when it comes to deals.
Often, retailers do what they can to build hype and excitement leading up to the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year. And while we try to guide you towards what the best purchases of the season are shaping up to be, sometimes it is just easier to tell you which deals to avoid.
Doorbuster TVs in general
Major retailers always heavily discount televisions during the holiday shopping season, but there are typically two important reasons they are so cheap: They are either an older model that is outdated or they’re an off-brand that is made of lesser quality. In either case, they’re not worth your hard-earned cash. A 4K television for only $150 might seem like a steal of a deal, but when that 4K stutters, shows jaggies, or the colors look washed out, you’ll quickly come to realize why that television was so cheap to begin with.
These kinds of televisions are more often headaches than fantastic deals. It might work well enough for a couple months, but we guarantee by this time next year you’ll be completely regretting that purchase. We recommend saving up some extra cash and waiting until the Super Bowl, when last year’s models go on sale for a ridiculous price. You could even wait until after the Super Bowl and score an open-boxed item for really cheap and use that extra money to put a two or four year warranty on it. Lots of times, people “rent” televisions for the Super Bowl, so major retailers often see a massive spike in returns following the Big Game. These kind of deals are vastly superior to anything you’ll find on Black Friday.
Whenever you shop for a TV, check the model number, so you know exactly what you’re getting. PCMag has a guide to understanding model numbers and SKUs.
Phones anywhere other than Walmart
Walmart’s Black Friday ad targeted two flagship cellphone models this year, the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S10. Activating a new line and buying an iPhone XS, Galaxy S10, S10+, or Note10+ will get you a $450 gift card for the mega retailer. If you activate a new line with a new iPhone XS Max or XR, you’ll take home a $400 gift card. An iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, a Galaxy S10e or a Note9 will net you a $300 gift card with new activation.
And that doesn’t touch their trade in program, which could add another $250 gift card to your total gain. Both Best Buy and Target come close, but ultimately won’t get you that much in returns. On top of all that, Walmart also includes the gift card with activation on Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T. If you are certain that you want one of those devices, avoid the other major retailers.
All the Black Friday 2019 Gaming bundles
This year has been a colossal disappointment when it comes to gaming console bundles. No retailer has really stepped up and dropped any console bundle that should get your full attention. And due to the release next year of the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Project Scarlet (name change imminent), even deals on the Xbox One X and the Playstation 4 Pro are questionable.
Buying into either the Playstation 4 or the Xbox One S at this point would just be a poor investment. Instead, we recommend putting that cash into savings and holding out until the new consoles drop sometime in 2020. Both will be major upgrades to the current models and it’s almost guaranteed that both new systems will be backward compatible with the current generation of games.
If you have your heart set on a Nintendo Switch this year, we highly recommend avoiding them on Black Friday, as the Switch console bundles are often paired with Mario Kart 8 and feature the older model of Nintendo Switch. Thanks to a leaked weekly ad, we know that Walmart will be running a sale on the new model Nintendo Switch starting Dec. 3, which will come with exclusive red joycons and $20 in credit for the Nintendo eShop. As a note, don’t mistake the smaller Nintendo Switch – called the Switch Lite – for the new model Switch. The Switch Lite is meant purely for handheld play and cannot display onto a television, unlike both the older model Switch and the newer model Switch. The newest model Switch can be easily identified by its mostly red box or by its serial number, which begins with XKW.
The cheap robotic vacuum deals
The robot vacuum market is bigger than ever and it is incredibly easy to get lost and confused when sorting through all the robot vacuums on sale during Black Friday. There is one simple solution: avoid them all. The reason? iRobot, the makers of the Roomba, launched two new Roomba models within the last year: the i7 and the s9. Both models feature a great new addition to the robot vacuum world: self-emptying. This tech feature means that instead of having to empty out your robot’s tiny compartment every time it vacuums, the device will empty itself when it heads back to its base to charge. These bases will store the dirt and dust until you’re ready to empty them, typically after 20 to 30 days of cleaning.
The Shark IQ was launched this year to directly compete with the Roomba i7 and the Roomba s9, featuring the same self-emptying tech but for roughly half the price of those models. We predict that most robot vacuum makers will move toward this self-emptying tech and that it will eventually be a mainstay of the industry. The Shark IQ has proven it can be done much cheaper than iRobot models and we predict that many more manufacturers will follow.
Many of the Black Friday robot vacuum deals are on older units, ones that don’t have several of the latest tech features – like self-emptying – and ultimately aren’t worth your time or money. They may be priced incredibly cheap, but there’s a reason for that. We highly advise to avoid these discounted units and wait until next year when the rest of the industry has caught up.
Avoid the iPhone 11 on Black Friday 2019
While we may have recommended Walmart for the place to snag your newest cellphone, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avoid one of those models. Apple releases new iPhones every year and it’s already been confirmed that next year’s iPhone models will all feature 5G connections. While most cell devices currently on the market only feature 4G, it’s a given that the industry, as a whole, is moving towards 5G as the newest way to communicate and surf the internet on mobile devices.
Since we already know that Apple will be moving all iPhones this direction next year, it makes little sense to buy into a device that won’t be on the latest technology come this time next year. If you can hold out, we highly recommend waiting and snagging the iPhone 2020 model. We believe it will be well worth the wait.
Avoid the Entire Groupon Ad on Black Friday 2019
If we were to rank Black Friday ads in order of Best Deals to Worst Deals, there is no question that the Groupon Ad would be at the bottom of that list. While Groupon is known for their great deals and savings on group activities or outings, their Black Friday ad is full of old, refurbished tech that isn’t worth your money.
Not only that, but their deals on some of the latest and greatest electronics are higher than the majority of other retailers. We highly recommend avoiding the ad altogether.