Consumer Reports analysts track prices year-round, so we can tell you when products are on deep discount, month by month. In September, as summer winds down, it’s good time to buy lawn mowers and tractors. And if you can bear to think ahead to snowy weather, you can find deals on snow blowers, too.

With the new school year starting, it’s also a good time to buy computers and printers, and even other smaller electronics such as digital cameras and wireless speakers.

Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? Check our calendar of deals.

A couple of caveats though: There will always be exceptions. Stores in your neighborhood could find they're overstocked on an item at any time and mark it down, for example. So keep an eye on Sunday circulars, text alerts, and social media for price cuts in your area. And bear in mind that the best time to save money isn't always when you'll find the best selection. Deep discounts on some items here, like mowers and plants occur now because their season is coming to an end. That means inventories are thin. Other sales occur when new inventory is about to be delivered, like snow blowers and electronic items so you'll find the best prices on older models.

If you're in the market for these items on deep discount this month, we've got the shopping tips, buying guides, and ratings that can help you find the right models.

Digital Cameras

Whether you're looking for a basic digital camera (simple point-and-shoots with just the features needed for routine shots), or an advanced model (feature-laden cameras that include sophisticated models that let you change lenses), now is a good time to buy on deep discount. Our digital camera buying guide and our ratings give you the details on different models, as well as information on features and brands.

Innovations have made digital cameras smaller and less expensive, with more features. You can get a good one for as little as $100.

Shopping Tips

Do your research. Buying a digital camera can be confusing. There are hundreds of cameras available at many different types of retail outlets (online and in traditional stores), with prices ranging from cheap to several thousand dollars. Some cameras are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Others are large and can weigh up to two pounds. Some are easy to use. Others look like you need an engineering degree to operate them.

Never mind the megapixels. The number tells you how fine the resolution your photos will have. But all new cameras have enough megapixels for most people. You only need more than 16 megapixels if you want to send out for literally poster-size prints of your photos.

Compare sensor size. This is the chip inside that captures images. If you’re choosing among several cameras, for the best-quality shots, go for the largest sensor size. Large sensors include 1-inch sensors and 35mm full-frame sensors.

Take next steps. After you consider the type of camera you want and the number of megapixels you need, but before you dive into specific models, be sure to check out our brand profiles, which outline many of the most popular camera product lines and their respective character traits. 


If all you need to do is print documents and photos, a basic inkjet is the best bargain option and you'll find plenty on deep discount. If you also need to copy, fax, or scan, you’ll need an all-in-one printer.

Shopping Tips

Go basic. If you don’t print photos or color graphics, you can buy a simple black-and-white laser printer. You’ll save money and gain speed. You can pick up a basic inkjet for well under $100, while you can also pay $400 for some models that come packed with additional features.

Factor in ink. Look at the two-year Cost of Ownership estimate in our ratings. Printers that use a lot of ink will cost you more over time. 

Lawn Mowers and Tractors

You can get spend as little as $100 for a manual reel mower or $4,000 or more for a tractor. The best model for you on deep discount depends on your lawn size and preference. But price doesn’t necessarily equal quality; check our ratings for Best Buys. They are based on our tests as well as reliability data from more than 13,800 Consumer Reports subscribers.

While you're checking out the great deals on mowers this month, read our buying guide to decide which type of mower fits your needs.

Shopping Tips

Don’t pay for more power than you need. It can be tempting to spring for a pricey tractor with lots of bells and whistles, but unless you have a very large yard, a push mower may be all you need. For less than a half-acre, a basic gas or electric push mower, or even a motorless reel mower, is plenty. For larger (or hilly) lawns, you’ll probably want a self-propelled push mower or ride-on tractor.

Consider maintenance costs. A dull blade won’t cut well. Rather than replacing your mower’s blade, sharpen it at least once a season. 

Computers: Laptops and Desktops

A laptop is the best choice for college students, so they can take notes in class. But a desktop model will cost you a lot less. To figure out the right one for you, read our buying guide and see our ratings.

Weigh the advantages. For students, consider the weight of the computer. Some laptops are much heavier than others. Also consider ergonomics, another important factor. For instance, Chromebooks are the smallest laptops on the market and cost only a few hundred dollars, but if you don’t find them comfortable to type on, they may not be a good buy for your purposes.

Consider other key features. Battery life is important when you are on the go. Make sure you have enough memory, without paying for more than you need. While 8 gigabytes (GB) is common, for anything other than heavy multitasking or video editing, 4GB should be plenty.

Snow Blowers

Sales started on snow blowers last month, but prices will still be low in September. So if you couldn't bear to think about the white stuff piling up on your driveway, there's still time to get a great deal.

It can be tempting to buy a more powerful machine than you need. But that could mean spending more too. Prices range from $200 to $1,000 or more. 

You can pick up lots of shopping and safety tips in our buying guide, and you'll see which models did best in our ratings.

Shopping Tips

Consider size and power. Smaller machines are easier to handle, so if you have a small driveway, you may not need a very powerful machine. But if you have a large or hilly driveway, and live in an area that gets lots of deep, heavy snow, you’ll want to buy a bigger blower with power-driven wheels.

Don’t bother with a corded electric model. These are typically the least expensive, but they don’t cover much terrain and won’t work if the power is out. Our experts say a shovel works as well or better than these blowers.

Trees, Shrubs, Flowers, and Other Plants

September is a great time to fill in neglected parts of your yard. Trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants will be on deep discount at your local garden centers. For tips on buying, planting, and caring for them, read our fall lawn and yard checklist.

Planting Tips

Time it right. For cooler regions, planting now through the end of October gives most plants a head start in the spring, since roots will grow in still-warm soil long after air temperatures drop. Where winters are mild, the fall planting season extends into winter. Be sure to soak the root ball thoroughly at least weekly if the weather is dry in your area. In the frigid North, apply mulch after the soil freezes to prevent the soil around plants from thawing and refreezing, which can damage tender new roots.

Measure the depth. Large bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, should be planted about 8 inches deep, and smaller bulbs, such as crocus, about 5 inches deep. If you're combining them with other bulbs, figure on two to three daffodil and tulip bulbs (full-size varieties) per square foot. For smaller bulbs, plant three to five per square foot—twice as many for a solid bed of color.