9 Products on Deep Discount in January

CR's lab tests and shopping tips will help you find what you want—and what to avoid

Illustration of a person running on a treadmill Illustration: iStock

With a little planning and patience, you may never have to pay full price for anything. Sales take place throughout the year, but some months and holidays are better for finding deep discounts on certain items. January tends to be a great time to find a good price on fitness equipment, from big investments like treadmills and ellipticals to fitness accessories like smartwatches and fitness trackers.

And if you happen to be in the market for new bedding, a soundbar, a wireless router, or a humidifier, January is one of the best months to keep an eye out for the lowest prices. You may also see more sales around Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, especially when it comes to bigger purchases, such as mattresses and large appliances. But because January comes after two months of heavy holiday sales, deals tend to be a bit sparser overall.

If you want to know what’s on sale the rest of the year, check our calendar of deals.

Treadmills

Treadmills are the most popular workout machines in the U.S., and there’s an option for every budget and fitness goal. That can make choosing one complicated. While a top-of-the-line treadmill can cost $4,000 or more, our recommended models start at just $1,000—and our highest-rated machine comes in at $2,500. If you’re looking to save even more, you can get a reasonably well-rated foldable treadmill for $700.

More on Shopping

The key is to find a machine that’s durable, comfortable, and easy to use. Try one out in a store before making a purchase, and read our treadmill buying guide to familiarize yourself with the available options. To learn more about the ones we consider top-notch, check out our treadmill ratings.

Look to big-box retailers—such as Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart—and stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods for sales on fitness equipment. And be sure to see whether manufacturers are offering other ways to save as well.

Soundbars

Whether you’re buying a new TV or you want to make the one you have sound better, soundbars offer a great upgrade option. They’re much easier to set up than traditional surround-sound systems with three or more speakers, and you can add speakers to many models if you want to expand later.

January is a great time to save on these increasingly popular devices as retailers make room for new inventory. You may be able to find discounts at major retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart or member-exclusive deals at BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club.

Most soundbars are long, thin enclosures that are mounted on a wall or placed on a shelf above or below the TV. There are also pedestal-style devices called sound bases that can serve as a base for a TV.

To help you decide which is the right one for you, check out our soundbar buying guide and see which models we recommend.

Check out the following soundbar deal.

Sonos Beam
The deal:
$350 at Best Buy
CR’s test results: Sonos Beam soundbar
We don’t often see discounts on Sonos soundbars, and this one is among the better-sounding models in our ratings. The price, available for the white version only, is even better than the $20 discount we saw on Black Friday. The Beam is a compact all-in-one model, though you can add an optional Sonos subwoofer and rear speakers. It has Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built in, and it supports Apple AirPlay 2.

Ellipticals

Elliptical exercisers are part stair climber, part cross-country ski machine. Unlike a treadmill, which allows you to move free-form, an elliptical limits your movement. That’s why it’s especially important to test out machines in a store before you buy one.

High-end ellipticals cost upward of $2,500, but you can get a good machine for less than half that price. More expensive machines are often heavier and have a larger footprint because of their beefier frames. The number of features also tends to increase with the price. 

Our elliptical buying guide and elliptical ratings will help you select a machine with the quality and features you want. Once you’ve selected a model you can shop around for the best discounts. As with treadmills, you’ll have the most luck scoring a deal at major retailers or buying directly from manufacturers.

Humidifiers

As the temperatures drop and we crank up the heat at home, the air we breathe becomes drier, which can lead to chapped skin, nosebleeds, and sore throats. This is a good time of year to find a humidifier on deep discount.

When shopping for a humidifier, you can choose between two types: warm mist and cool mist. Warm-mist humidifiers essentially boil water and emit a warm vapor into the air. Cool-mist humidifiers use a variety of methods to create a cool vapor without boiling water.

In addition to deciding on the type of humidifier to buy, there are a few other things to consider. For instance, you’ll probably want to look for a model that’s easy to move and clean. And if you want to run the unit for long periods of time, you might need one with a shutoff timer or a humidistat that turns it off if the humidity gets too high (otherwise, your windows could fog up).

Make sure to check our buying guide, ratings, and recommendations before you start shopping so that you have the information you need to make the best choice.

Smartwatches

January is often a good time to start shopping around for a smartwatch, according to our data. Look for New Year’s resolution-related sales that are likely to crop up at many online retailers, and you can finally take the plunge on some high-tech jewelry without overspending.

You’ll want to make sure the smartwatch you choose is going to fit your lifestyle. First and foremost, it should be compatible with your smartphone. But do you want one that has its own network connectivity? How about a heart-rate monitor? Or the ability to pay for purchases? You should also take into account things like size, battery life, and replacement bands.

Read CR’s buying guide to learn more, then check out our ratings to find the best smartwatch for you.

Check out the following smartwatch deals.

Apple Watch Series 7
The deal: $369 at Amazon and Walmart
CR’s test results: Apple Watch Series 7
If you want to brag to friends that you got a deal on the latest Apple Watch, Amazon and Walmart are offering token discounts on the Series 7. The model has a slightly larger display and faster battery charging than its predecessor, but there’s no big reason to upgrade beyond that.

Fitbit Versa 3
The deal:
$208 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Fitbit Versa 3
If you’re a runner, the Versa 3 is a solid smartwatch choice because it has built-in GPS capability. The speaker and the mic allow you to take calls when the watch is tethered to your smartphone. Our testers found the model’s step-counting and heart-rate monitoring to be solid, too.

Fitness Trackers

Much like smartwatches, fitness trackers are often discounted in January as retailers target shoppers with New Year’s resolutions about their health. Fitness trackers range from simple to sophisticated, with corresponding prices. Some simply count your steps while others use GPS to map your workouts, and many also measure your heart rate and can even monitor your sleeping patterns.

With so many different options, there’s sure to be a fitness tracker that fits your new lifestyle and your budget, especially if you find one on sale. Take a look at CR’s buying guide if you want a little more guidance to find the right tracker for you.

Check out the following fitness tracker deals.

Fitbit Charge 5
The deal:
$150 at Amazon, Best Buy, Fitbit, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit’s top-of-the-line tracker adds smartwatchlike functions for stress management and EKG monitoring to the manufacturer’s usual array of fitness features. The model has a color display and a stainless steel case, both upgrades from the Charge 4. The Charge 5 is very easy to use, solid at counting steps, and okay at heart-rate accuracy. The $180 price is just a bit steep, and this discount helps with that. 

Fitbit Luxe
The deal:
$130 at Amazon, Best Buy, Fitbit, Target, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Fitbit Luxe
Loaded with features and style, the Luxe is a fitness tracker that drifts into smartwatch territory. In addition to Fitbit’s robust array of fitness functions, the model adds an EKG function usually found on smartwatches, and some stress-monitoring features. The slim, sleek, and shiny case works as well in the office as the gym.

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. January can be a great month to find a new router for less, according to Consumer Reports’ data.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new router, including the size of your home and cybersecurity protections. Start with CR’s buying guide, which walks you through all the factors to consider.

Check out the following wireless router deal.

Netgear Orbi Mesh Router
The deal: $109 at Walmart; $115 at Amazon
CR’s test results: Netgear Orbi AC1200 wireless mesh router (three-pack)
This three-unit mesh router system performed well in our tests but doesn’t rate quite as high for speed at midrange and far distances. It’s also not compatible with the latest WiFi 6 standard, which might not be ideal for early adopters with the latest smartphone and gadgets.

Given the relatively low price, however, there’s a lot to like here, including an easy app-based setup, a built-in Ethernet port, and automatic firmware updates, which protect you from hackers, malware, and other security vulnerabilities.

Bathroom Scales

Today’s digital scales track more than just your weight; they also offer additional information, such as your body-fat percentage or body mass index (BMI). Some even connect to your phone, fitness tracker, and other smart devices for easier data tracking. You’ll often pay more for such features, so it’s important to decide what you want before you start shopping.

Check out our buying guide to see whether extra features are worth the added cost. According to our testers, weight measurements are consistent and accurate across most digital scales, but body-fat measurements aren’t.

Check out the following bathroom scale deal.

Fitbit Aria Scale
The deal:
$40 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart
CR’s test results: Fitbit Aria Air 
The glass-top 400-pound-capacity scale earns top marks for accuracy, consistency, and unbalanced weighing, and measures weight in 0.2-pound increments. It can be used with Bluetooth or WiFi to connect to the Fitbit smartphone app to upload weight readings and track your progress digitally. Up to eight users (such as other family members) can be invited via the app to create a profile on the scale for weighing themselves, provided they also have their own smartphone with the Fitbit app installed and a log-in.

Bedding

The new year is a chance to start fresh, and many retailers will hold white sales where they offer big discounts on bedding, including sheets and pillows. These winter sales, made famous by the department store owner John Wanamaker, have been used since the turn of the last century as a way to boost sales.

These sales provide a great chance to replace worn-out bedding. Check out our sheet buying guide to determine what material and thread count you should look for, and browse our top-rated pillows to find the right fit for your sleeping needs.

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Head shot of CR Shopping Deals Editor Samantha Gordon

Samantha B. Gordon

I am an avid writer, editor, and consumer with an unusually deep love for finding amazing deals on amazing products, especially when those things can make my life, or yours, a little easier. When I'm not critiquing deals to find the best of the best, you can find me crafting on a barstool with a fancy cocktail or editing a science fiction novel (also with a cocktail). Follow me on Twitter (@sam_the_editor).