More than 70 percent of consumers live within 15 minutes of a Best Buy retail location. Although that makes the electronics retailer a convenient choice, it might not always offer the best buy.
Consumer experts helped identify the best and worst deals at the retailer. Click through to find out how you can save money at Best Buy.
Best Things to Buy at Best Buy
There are great buys at the national retailer — and we’re not just talking electronics. Best Buy frequently has sales and special promotions that can add up to major savings. Click through to see the best deals at Best Buy.
Gamers can find some of the best pricing on video games at Best Buy, according to Brent Shelton, a savings expert with DealCrunch, particularly with pre-order deals for new video games. And, there are often gift card incentives and other add-on accessories.
“They also have late-night store openings for video game releases, giving gamers first access to the newest video games before anyone else,” he said.
Consumers can find this information directly on Best Buy’s website and can also search for nearby brick-and-mortar locations. Those looking to cash in on additional savings should become a Gamers Club Unlocked member — as consumers receive 20 percent off pre-orders of new releases, said Shelton. “If you’re an avid gamer, the $30 annual membership will pay for itself quickly.”
One of the smaller things you can shop for at Best Buy on Black Friday are movies on DVD and BluRay. According to Shelton, the retailer is priced pretty fairly with new releases year round, but Best Buy Black Friday deals might be some of the best.
As you know, DVDS can make great stocking stuffers. They’re also a convenient to have on hand when you can’t find your favorite movie or new release on Netflix or Amazon, so feel free to splurge.
Some of the most sought-after Best Buy sales are found during the holidays, specifically Black Friday. According to Shelton, the retailer consistently has the best doorbusters on Black Friday than any other retailer, especially on TVs, laptops and tablets.
“They are also one of, if not the only retailer willing to drop the price on new Apple products,” as opposed to the typical gift card incentives other retailers apply during these Black Friday promotions, he said. So, if you’re in the market for one of these gadgets, do consider Best Buy.
Small Kitchen Appliances
Chances are you’ll head to Bed, Bath & Beyond and similar retailers before Best Buy to purchase a small kitchen appliance. You could potentially be missing out on some great buys, according to savings expert Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.
“Best Buy can be a great place for small kitchen appliances, especially when it comes to things like pressure cookers and single-cup coffee makers. It’s also a good place for finding affordable but quirky machines, such as a Darth Vader toaster or a hot dog toaster that heats both the hot dogs and the buns at once,” she said.
Furthermore, Best Buy is especially good for snagging one-day-only deals on small appliances. And when you’re doing your holiday shopping, you might want to check out Best Buy for small kitchen gadgets, as discounts might be bundled with small gift cards in the $10 to $20 range, according to Ramhold.
Amazon devices are one of the best Best Buy deals, said Ramhold. You can frequently find excellent savings that beat Amazon itself throughout the year — not just the holidays.
“We recently saw Best Buy offer six different Amazon devices, all at the lowest prices we’d seen,” she said.
Even better, with a Best Buy in many people’s backyards, there’s no having to wait for the Amazon product to be shipped, as you can usually pick up right in the store (and save on shipping).
Always maxing out your hard drive capacity? It might be time to add an external hard drive to your Best Buy shopping list. The retailer is, in fact, a smart choice for computer storage devices, according to Ramhold.
“Whether you want an HDD or an SSD, Best Buy often has great deals,” she said. “Capacity varies, but it’s not uncommon to see 1TB to 4TB drives at prices that are $20 to $50 off normal retail. Models with 8TB capacities have also been popular this year, and we’ve seen notable deals that include an external drive bundled with gift cards to increase the savings.”
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Although Best Buy carries a variety of headphones, they’re not always the best buy. In this case, though, headphones can be — particularly around the holiday season.
You can also find great deals on them at the electronic retailer periodically throughout the year, as they can appear as a one-day only deal that’s worthy of purchasing, says Ramhold.
Best advice? If you’re not in a hurry, it might pay to wait and shop Best Buy’s daily deals.
This is another group of items that shine in one-day-only deals, according to Ramhold. As you might expect, Best Buy does have a fair amount of good deals around the holidays.
Outside of that, there are plenty of good buys on laptops at the store throughout the year. However, Ramhold said those one-day-only deals tend to yield better discounts.
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If you truly have your heart on Best Buy deals, then you have to check out the store’s online outlet. According to Shelton, it’s where many consumers find some of the best buys in many product categories.
“It features deep discounting of clearance, refurbished, open-box and pre-owned tech items up to 80 percent off,” he said. “Clearance is usually discontinued items at 50 percent off or more, and open-box items are simply returned/exchanged items you can nab up to 20 percent off new pricing.”
Its website also offers used Apple products that have been restored and verified to work, including Apple “certified” refurbished products such as MacBooks and iPads at a lower cost than directly from Apple, said Shelton.
Best Buy should be your go-to when you’re in need of a new refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer or comparable major appliance. Generally, these big purchases are good buys from the electronic retailer, according to Ramhold.
“We tend to see a variety of worthy deals on appliances throughout the year, but the best ones have been on things like chest freezers, washers, dryers and household items like vacuums, humidifiers and dehumidifiers,” she said.
In particular, Best Buy offers free delivery on major appliance purchases over $399. They’ll also recycle your older appliances for as little as $15, so getting rid of your old stuff is much easier. Don’t forget about price matching, too.
Worst Things to Buy at Best Buy
Although Best Buy is considered an electronics store, not all electronics are the best buys from the retailer. Here are 10 things in particular to avoid.
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If you ever entered the checkout line at Best Buy, then you know you’re asked if you want to purchase the extended warranty. You’re doing your wallet a favor if you decline the offer.
According to Shelton, Best Buy shoppers should avoid extended warranty upsells at the checkout. Instead of purchasing a Best Buy warranty, Shelton recommends consumers look for extended warranties from third-party companies like SquareTrade, where you can save as much as half or more on extended warranties.
Cables and Connectors
Best Buy isn’t considered an electronics retailer for nothing. Although it has a large inventory of A/V cables, including HDMI cables, home theater cabling, computer cables and smartphone adaptors, you’re better off shopping for these items online. The markup on these products tends to be high, according to Shelton
“Amazon, eBay, Newegg, Monoprice, Parts Express and other online consumer electronics resources offer significant savings across the board on most cable needs,” he said.
Purchasing batteries from Best Buy might actually drain your wallet. With the exception of its generic Insignia batteries, which are comparable to other generic batteries, you’ll find name-brand AA, AAA and coin lithium batteries a lot cheaper online or at Target, according to Shelton.
“Specialty online sites like The Battery Supplier offer name-brand batteries for half price versus most popular stores and sites, but you’ll have to buy in bulk (like 100 count),” he said.
As a general rule of thumb, don’t expect to find the lowest prices on wireless and smart speakers from Best Buy, with the exception of Black Friday doorbuster deals, according to Shelton. The prices are typically higher than other retailers.
“Do some price comparisons before buying these items anywhere, or set product alerts for insider info at sites like Slickdeals, where techie community deal hunters keep you in the know for when a blockbuster deal becomes available on the item you’re looking to buy,” he said.
The newest smart home speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo can generally be purchased from other retailers that carry consumer electronics at the same or better prices, said Shelton. The same can be said for most other higher-quality voice-assisted and Bluetooth speakers.
Has your computer ink run dry? Do yourself a favor and purchase new ones from an ink supplier rather than Best Buy if you want the most bang for your buck.
“The savings from buying ink cartridges from aftermarket and third party suppliers cannot be matched from retailers like Best Buy,” Shelton said. “Sites like InkJetSuperStore and Inkjets.com offer savings of 50 percent or more on most cartridge replacements.”
It’s important to note that Best Buy does price match competitors carrying the same name-brand cartridges but exclude daily, hourly and holiday sale price matches, says Shelton.
Whether you’re considering speakers for your car or just a simple mobile device mount, you might find better savings at other retailers. Shelton recommends checking with online retailers, such as Amazon, as well as websites where you can earn cash back. In many instances you can find the same products for less.
CDs have lost a lot of their popularity in recent years, so you’re almost assuredly going to be paying full price if you opt to purchase one at Best Buy, according to Ramhold.
“Some audiophiles have turned to vinyl, but for most people, listening to music these days involves downloading or streaming their favorite tracks on their smartphones. If you still want to purchase a physical copy, Amazon will frequently offer free MP3 copies when you make a CD purchase,” she says.
Although Best Buy does have a price match guarantee, it doesn’t apply to daily or hourly deals or over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Mobile Phone Accessories
Similar to computer cables, cellphone chargers and accessories tend to be overpriced at Best Buy, according to Ramhold. You’re better off shopping online for these at sites such as Amazon.
For instance, name brands such as LifeProof and Seidio are usually less expensive on Amazon, though it’s important to remember that Best Buy does say it price matches. You’ll also have to compare product descriptions, as many phone accessories are exclusive to Best Buy.
When it comes to cell phones themselves, you can find pretty decent deals as long as you’re looking to sign up for a contract, says Ramhold.
When you’re shopping for Best Buy sales, don’t bother stocking up on gift cards. Ramhold said it’s not necessarily a bad buy — you’ll just be paying full price for them like anywhere else. Unless you shop discount sites, that is. Ramhold recommends waiting for a BOGO deal around the holidays.
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Snacks are anything but a good buy at Best Buy. Just look at the prices the next time you shop.
“Food and drinks are incredibly overpriced at Best Buy,” says Ramhold. “As impulse purchases go, chips and sodas in its checkout area is a way to put a serious dent in your wallet. You can find them much cheaper at grocery stores, so skip the box of candy at movie theater prices.”
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About the Author
With a broadcast news career that spans more than a decade, Lia Sestric has had the opportunity to cover local and national news for television and radio. The Washington, D.C.-based writer has been freelance writing for a number of years. She frequently writes about higher education, careers, and finance. Along with GOBankingRates, her work has appeared on major sites like Yahoo, The Huffington Post, MSN and many other news outlets.