Black Friday Deals 2021: The Ultimate Shopping Guide

Black Friday 2021 is the day after Thanksgiving.

If you’re among the multitudes of shoppers who look forward to Black Friday deals each year, your wait is nearly over. Black Friday 2021 is coming fast. From now till the day after Thanksgiving, when Black Friday sales officially begin, we’ll track major online merchants and physical stores to bring you the best and latest news about upcoming Black Friday deals.

When is Black Friday 2021?

The official date for Black Friday 2021 is November 26, the day after Thanksgiving. Most merchants with Black Friday sales begin advertising weeks or even months ahead of time, so in that sense, Black Friday 2021 begins when you read about the first Black Friday deals.

When do Black Friday deals start?

Black Friday 2021 deals officially start November 26, but will certainly see many Black Friday sales before that date. When it comes to Black Friday deals, calendars and clocks don’t matter…until they do. Please keep with me while I explain this apparent contradiction.

Many merchants have no hesitation using Black Friday’s attention-getting power. So you will see retailers announcing Black Friday deals days and even weeks ahead of the actual Black Friday 2021 date. So who’s to say if a merchant announces a Black Friday deal and you can buy it days ahead of the actual sale date, that it’s not a Black Friday deal?

The other half of the puzzle is that even among merchants that are way early starters, there will be Black Friday sales on specific items that don’t start until November 26. Many Black Friday sales will start at 12:01 A.M. in the reseller’s time zone. You’ll also find merchants who roll out deals progressively during the day to keep customers coming back so they won’t miss extra-special Black Friday deals.

Bottom line: You can expect some Black Friday 2021 sales and deals to begin as early as mid-November, with more starting as November 26 gets closer, and others, in some cases the very best deals, that don’t launch until November 26.

Best Black Friday deals we saw last year

Black Friday 2020 was year one of the COVID-19 pandemic that changed much of what had been normal in our daily lives. Black Friday sales reflected COVID-19’s impact in several ways, including low inventories on hot products like fitness equipment and small kitchen appliances such as bread makers and home pizza ovens. However, despite the pandemic, there were plenty of jaw-dropping Black Friday deals last year.

Let’s start with 4K TVs because TVs are among the most sought-after Black Friday deals every year. Last year we saw knock-out deals from brands including TCL, Samsung, Sony, LG, Vizio, and many others. How about a 70-inch Samsung 4K TV for $530? That’s the kind of deal we saw. Some of the deepest discounts were for the largest, premium-technology TVs with QLED or OLED screens. Because brand competition is at its most intense levels among TV manufacturers during Black Friday, waiting for the Black Friday sales paid off.

Laptops were another super-hot category during Black Friday sales last year. For example, the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop was knocked down from its usual $910 price to just $650, a $260 savings. Gaming laptop sales were hot as were 2-in-1 laptops that fold to be used as touch-screen tablets.

With most kids learning remotely last year and many of us working at home, Black Friday 2020 sales on tablets were in huge demand as well as laptops. From Amazon Fire tablets to Kindles and the full lineups from Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, and others, mobile computing devices in laptop and tablet formats were among the best Black Friday deals.

Tech tools and toys always figure large in Black Friday sales and last year was no different, despite shortages in some categories due to manufacturer shutdowns and interminable shipping delays.

What Black Friday deals we expect to see this year

There’s every reason to expect Black Friday 2021 will follow the patterns set in previous years. COVID-19 continues to pressure manufacturing in many sectors and shipping issues have only gotten worse, but retailers have been planning their Black Friday sales and building inventories early to get ready for the mobs seeking the best Black Friday deals.

This may not be the best year to get a great deal on a house or a car, but Black Friday sales focus on tech for entertainment and productivity. Look for discounts on the latest TVs, laptops and tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, and pretty much all tech categories. Don’t be surprised to find discounts up to 30% or slightly more during the Black Friday sales. Because manufacturers and retailers also use the attraction of Black Friday deals to move overstocked or previous year models, you may also see deals at 40% off or even more. Pay particular attention when deals exceed 40% discounts because that’s the wholesale discount retailers pay for much of their inventory. If something is on sale below 60% of the regular price, it may be a special manufacturer promotion, an overstock sale, or last year’s model.

We certainly expect Amazon to offer deep, deep discounts on house-brand products such as Kindles, Echo devices, Ring and Blink smart home products, Eero mesh Wi-Fi Systems. Amazon just launched a line of Fire TVs so we expect great deals there. In previous Black Friday sales Amazon also offered deep discounts on new subscriptions and memberships for Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Prime, Audible Books, Amazon Music, and more.

Walmart plays hard during Black Friday and for several years has offered the widest selection of 4K TV deals, typically at the best prices. Best Buy is another strong competitor for Black Friday deals on new TVs, so if you’re shopping for a new set, don’t forget to cross-check with both Walmart and Best Buy. Target has also surprised us in years past with Black Friday deals on 4K TVs that undercut the other retailers, although Target offers many fewer models than Walmart and Best Buy.

Who has the best Black Friday deals?

You can count on Black Friday 2021 sales and deals for almost all product categories, but that doesn’t mean that all retailers are equal when it comes to pricing Black Friday sales. Also, no single online merchant has the best Black Friday deals for all products.

We mentioned above that Walmart and Best Buy have the widest selections and best prices for TVs and that’s generally true. If you’re looking for a specific brand, model, and size TV, it could pay off to cast your net a bit wider and check out the price at Target, ABT Electronics, and even Amazon, although Amazon isn’t typically competitive with TVs.

So it can pay off to know which retailers have the best prices for the product categories you want to shop. And watch for the nuances. For example, Amazon usually has a greater selection of Instant Pot models than Walmart, and often at slightly better prices. However, in the past, there have been times when Walmart has the best prices for one or two specific Instant Pot models. The reason? Walmart, like all other online retailers, wants to get customers on their website. They may advertise a few high-visibility products priced at a genuine loss to Walmart, but they still win because they know a certain percentage of website visitors will hang around and keep shopping.

We research and price compare all year long and get especially busy during big sales events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day. The sales we include in our deals posts are vetted and price-checked. Our Black Friday research and coverage starts early and gains intensity and updating frequency as the big day gets closer. On the actual day of Black Friday, for example, we check deal pricing and availability four times a day for many products and even hourly on the hottest category deals.

Are things really cheaper on Black Friday?

There’s no question you can save a lot of money buying Black Friday deals, but it’s also true you can spend too much. We highly recommend doing your research on products you definitely intend to buy during Black Friday 2021.

As noted above, most merchants offer significant discounts on the majority of Black Friday sales items. However, there are also products that retailers include with their Black Friday deals that aren’t actual sales. For example, a previous year’s model may typically sell at one price but during a major sales event, the merchant may compare the Black Friday sales price to the original product price when it was launched two or more years before.

You also want to be careful of time-limited sales in which an online merchant will scroll items across a screen at what appear to be deep discounts — but aren’t. There are often excellent deals in limited time or limited quantity sales, but when you have to make a buying decision without enough time to price check with other sellers or even against other products on the same merchant site, you’re vulnerable to paying too much.

We monitor and post the best deals we can find across multiple merchants to provide impartial advice. We price-check all deals and only highlight products we recommend so you’ll get the right product at the right price.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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