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A woman wearing headphones.

August is a great month to save on headphoneslaptops, printers, and other tech devices, thanks to discounts related to the back-to-school shopping season. And early promotions ahead of Labor Day mean it’s a good time to shop for appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. But that’s not all. As summer winds down, retailers will also often discount things like dehumidifiers, wood stains, paints, and more.

Consumer Reports’ market analysts monitor prices each month for all the products we test to determine when they typically become available for less. To find out which ones are bargains during other months of the year, see our calendar of deals.

Headphones

If you’ve been thinking of stepping up your headphone game, August is a great month to find the pair of your dreams at a discount. Back-to-school sales tend to focus on tech devices, and headphones are popular among students, especially this year, when many will be attending class via teleconference.

More on Shopping

Whether you’re looking for true wireless earbuds or a comfy pair of over-ear headphones that offer noise cancellation, you’ll probably find a model you’ll like on sale this month. Still, it’s important to research brands and models to ensure that the pair you buy will have the features you’re looking for.

Consumer Reports tests headphones in our labs to measure things like volume, noise cancellation, sound quality, and battery life. Review our recommended models to get more familiar with the best options before you start shopping. 

Laptops and Computers

With the new school year shaping up to be vastly different than in years past, many students, parents, and teachers are investing in new technology to make distance learning easier.

Laptops and computers always tend to go on sale in August for the back-to-school season. But this year in particular, you may find a broader range of models available for less all month and into early September. Usually these sales don’t begin until the middle of August, but they started in late July this year.

You’ll have the whole month to research the best model for your needs, and you can start with CR’s buying guide and recommended models.

Vacuums

Vacuums, including robotic vacuum cleaners, tend to fall in price in August, thanks in part to early Labor Day sales as well as back-to-school sales that target the dorm crowd. This an ideal time to finally replace your old one with an upgrade to something better.

There are so many different kinds of vacuums to choose from that it can be daunting to decide on the best option for your home. To make the choice easier, review our vacuum cleaner buying guide as well as our ratings to select the best brand and model for your budget.

Refrigerators

If you need to replace your refrigerator or you’re ready to upgrade to something better, August can be a good time to find a deal. The second half of the month will be the best time to shop for a new fridge.

There are so many types and styles to choose from, whether you want a French-door fridge or a more traditional top-freezer model. You’ll also want to consider the style and features of the ideal refrigerator. Do you want a water dispenser? Is freezer capacity important? Are you short on space? Take a look at CR’s buying guide to get a better sense of which type of fridge is best for you. 

Tablets

As with laptops and computers, tablet sales are also prominent this month. In fact, some of the laptops listed above can convert to tablets for added functionality.

When choosing the best tablet for you, consider how you plan to use it. If you want to watch Netflix or edit photos, look for something with a larger, higher-quality screen. If you just want to do simpler tasks, such as playing games and browsing the web, you don’t need to spend a ton. Other factors to consider are battery life, storage size (and expansion options), size, weight, and processor power.

To learn more about what will work for you, check out CR’s buying guide and recommended tablets.

Wireless Routers

A good wireless router can help boost your WiFi signal, eliminate any dead spots in your home, and ensure that everyone in the family can stream, play, and otherwise spend time online uninterrupted. August is a great month to find a new router for less.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new router, from the size of your home to cybersecurity protections. Start with CR’s buying guide, which walks you through all the factors to consider, to determine which model is right for you.

Microwave Ovens

You can find a budget microwave oven for $50 or you can spend upward of $1,000 on a high-end model that can be built in to your kitchen cabinetry. But the important thing is the microwave’s ability to reheat and defrost food, and not all models are created equal in that regard. So it’s a good idea to check out CR’s test results and ratings before you buy a new model.

The type of microwave is important to consider as well. Countertop models are the most versatile, and there are over-the-range options as well. This may be something to consider if and when you remodel your kitchen.

There are features to look for, too. Do you want the more common turntable or a sliding tray that may be better for reheating larger dishes? Do you need a rack? What wattage is best? Our buying guide can help you determine the best options for your budget. 

Dehumidifiers

As summer weather peaks, dehumidifiers tend to drop in price. They’re great for drying out the air in your home on muggy days, which can help things feel less sticky. Dehumidifiers can also take that damp feeling out of a basement or laundry room, and prevent a few other sticky situations. Humidity levels above 50 percent can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, triggering allergies or other health problems.

When choosing a dehumidifier, you’ll want to determine what capacity you need for your space. Large-capacity machines can work in smaller spaces, but small- or medium-capacity dehumidifiers may be more efficient. Read CR’s dehumidifier buying guide to learn more about what to look for.

Grills

August may be the unofficial end of summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop barbecuing. As we approach Labor Day, you’ll find prices starting to drop on grills. So whether you want a new charcoal, gas, pellet, or kamado grill, keep an eye out for sales this month. 

Prices can range from as little as $100 to more than $3,000, depending on what you want. CR tests grills to fit every cooking style and budget, from portable models you can take camping to larger grills designed to feed an extended family. We produce ratings of more than 150 grills to suit first-time buyers and seasoned grill masters searching for a replacement or an upgrade.

There are three main types of grills to choose from, and each has pros and cons when it comes to cost, ease of use, cleanup, and, most important, how it cooks food. So you’ll want to review our grill buying guide if you’re not sure whether you’d be happiest with a charcoal grillgas grill, or pellet grill

Printers

If a printer is on your back-to-school shopping list, you may be able to find a good deal on a top model this month. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you need a printer that can scan and fax or just want something basic to print occasionally.

There are two main types of printers: laser and inkjet. Some may be able to make copies or offer wireless printing over WiFi. CR’s buying guide can give you a more in-depth look at the different options and the best models so that you’ll be ready to pull the trigger when the printer you want goes on sale.

Freezers

The average price of a stand-alone freezer tends to fall in August. But this year you may not see as many chances to save if you’re in the market for a new one. Because of the pandemic, a lot of people bought secondary freezers to stock up on supplies in the spring, creating an increased demand. We’ve seen very few—if any—deals on freezers this year, but at least they’re in stock again and might possibly see some price drops this month.

Check out our buying guide and ratings to find the right freezer for your needs.

Cooktops

If you’re remodeling, a new cooktop can be perfect for your kitchen island, especially if you plan to install an in-wall oven. They tend to drop in price in August, making it a great time to buy.

You’ll find gas, electric, and induction cooktops ranging from 21 to 48 inches. Many have five or six burners, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have room to use them all at once. Generally, most 30-inch cooktops have four or five burners, and most 36-inch cooktops have five or six. 

Learn more about the advantages of each cooktop in our buying guide to determine which is the best fit for your home before you start shopping around. Then start your search with CR’s recommended models, which all passed our rigorous tests with flying colors.

Wood Stains and Paints

If you’re finding that you have more free time on your hands right now, channel your energy into tackling that home renovation project you’ve been talking about for ages. Both wood stains and interior and exterior paints tend to dip in price in July and remain low through August. If you’re planning to refinish your deck, breathe new life into an old dresser, or give your walls a fresh coat of paint, you may be able to find your supplies for less this month.

CR has tested a number of wood stains and paints for things like durability, weathering, fading, and cracking, as well as the number of coats needed to cover dark colors. We have thorough buying guides for wood stains and paints to help you learn more about which products are worth buying and why.

Steam Irons

Even if you don’t have a ton of clothes that need pressing after they come out of the dryer, it’s good to have an iron at the ready. Steam irons tend to drop in price this month, so if you need a new one, this is the perfect time to look.

Steam irons can cost anywhere from $15 to $150. Though cheaper models we’ve tested in the past haven’t performed all that well, you can find decent options for closer to $50 that can compete with more expensive models. 

We don’t currently test steam irons, but we have a buying guide you can read to learn more about your options and what to look for when you shop.