Personal Finance

Amazon Prime Day is on. These are the deals you can skip

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Key Points
  • It's Amazon's biggest Prime Day yet, with more than 2 million deals.
  • Here are some of the discounts you may want to skip.

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Target, Walmart and other retailers compete with Amazon's Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day is underway. But not every deal is as good as it seems.

The two-day shopping event, which started early Monday and runs through 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, is offering more than 2 million deals — and some are better than others.

"That is an incredible number," said Dave Kender, the editor in chief of Reviewed, but "most of the products are not that interesting."

Here are some of those discounts you may want to skip:

Pass on deals that are too good — or not good enough

While some of the biggest markdowns are on Amazon-branded products, including Fire TVs starting at $99.99, other budget TVs aren't as good, according to Nathan Burrow, the senior deals editor at Wirecutter.

"Look out for smaller discounts on quality options that will last you longer," he said.

Some savings are pretty insignificant, according to Casey Runyan, the managing editor for Brad's Deals.

"Don't feel like you have to buy something because it's Prime Day," she said.

Avoid the hype

Burrow predicted air fryers could be one of the most popular items overall, outshining even the Instant Pot, which has remained one of the hottest sellers for years.

And yet, such items are often "overhyped," he said. Burrow recommends "a nice convection toaster oven over an air fryer — it's more versatile." 

While a hot deal may catch your eye, look for savings on everyday essentials, such as lightbulbs and toilet paper, Kender said. "Unsexy products are also on sale right now."

"It's the television deal or the Instant Pot deal that gets you in the door, but before you hit purchase, you can pick up a bag of coffee," he said.

Remember: This isn't the only chance to get a good deal

Just because something is discounted on Prime Day, doesn't mean it's the best deal you'll see anywhere, or even all year.

In fact, some of the best bargains are not exclusive to Amazon at all.

WalmartTarget, Best Buy and other retailers are holding competing deals events — as they have in previous years — to coincide with Amazon Prime Day 2021.

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Best Buy is selling the Roku Express for just $29.99 and Jabra earbuds for $179.99, a $50 discount. During Office Depot's discount days, which run from June 21 to June 23, an Acer Chromebook is marked down 25% to $169.99. And while Amazon is offering 50% off Levi jeans, so is Levi.com.

Further, prices on mattresses and outdoor furniture will likely be even lower around Labor Day, toys get marked down further on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and televisions generally hit their lowest price point ahead of Super Bowl Sunday.

Be wary of unknown brands

Shoppers should also carefully consider off-brands, Burrow added, especially when it comes to tech accessories such as headphones or household appliances. "We see deep Prime Day discounts on unknown brands right alongside sales on known and reliable brands," he said.

Read user reviews as well as price histories so you can determine how good the product — and discount — really is, Kender said. As a rule of thumb, look for 1,000 reviews or more with 4.5 stars or greater, he suggested.

"You can't concentrate on the short savings, you've got to concentrate on the long dollar," Kender said.