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A treadmill

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.

If you happen to be in the market for a new TV, a sound bar for that TV, fitness equipment, bedding, a wall oven, or a humidifier, January is one of the best months to keep an eye out for the lowest prices.  

When it comes to other products, other months may bring more savings. For instance, if you’re in the market for a mattress, wait until President’s Day next month or Labor Day in September to score the biggest savings. Air conditioners, on the other hand, are cheapest in May and September.

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

Televisions

If you didn’t find the TV you wanted on sale during the holidays, the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl are a great time to find more discounts at almost any store that sells them. This year, the game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 7, making the last few weeks of January the perfect time to shop and get ready for the big game.

More on Shopping

It pays to do some research before heading to a store because there are countless options available. You'll need to decide whether you want an OLED, a QLED, or an LCD screen. Determining the best size for your space will also help narrow your options. And once you've found a few potential models, you can get a better sense of what to expect in terms of pricing so you can make an informed choice. 

In general, we think most consumers are best served by high-definition TVs that have a screen that's at least 40 to 50 inches. A 46- or 50-inch set is often preferable in rooms where you’ll be sitting 8 to 10 feet or so from the screen. You may want an even bigger set for more spacious family rooms, and we've seen a growing interest in the 65-inch screen size. 

If you’re buying a newer ultra-high definition TV, also called a 4K TV, it will have a screen resolution of 8 million pixels, or four times the number of individual pixels as an HD set. The benefits of a 4K TV are more apparent in larger screen sizes—say, 65 inches and above—or when you’d like to sit closer to it. There are plenty of highly rated makes and models in our ratings from such brands as LG, Samsung, and Sony, whether you're looking for a big screen, something smaller, a high-definition picture, or smart features.

Our TV buying guide will help you get the most bang for your buck no matter how much you want to spend. Members should consult our TV ratings to make sure to get a set that performed well in our lab tests.

Hisense 75-Inch 4K Android TV
The deal:
$749.99 at Best Buy 
We didn’t test the Hisense 75H6570G, a 2020 model from the brand's entry-level 4K ultra-high definition series, but other sets in the series generally provide decent overall picture quality, though not great HDR performance. The model uses the Android smart TV platform with built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant.

LG 55-Inch 4K Smart TV
The deal:
$379.99 at Costco
CR’s test results: LG 55UN7300AUD
This entry-level 4K model, which has been on sale since before Black Friday, has decent, if not great, picture quality. It’s available for about $20 more as a members-only offer at warehouse stores such as BJ’s and Sam’s Club. The Costco deal price lasts until Jan. 16.

LG 55-Inch CX Series 4K OLED TV
The deal:
$1,499.99 at Best Buy and Target
CR's test results: LG 55OLEDCXPUA
This 4K OLED TV isn't cheap, but it's still at its Black Friday price, which is the lowest we saw it go in 2020. Better yet, it ranks among the best TVs we tested last year, with top-notch picture quality and effective HDR (high dynamic range) performance. It also delivers great sound, with support for Dolby Atmos immersive audio. And if you're a Best Buy member (it's free to sign up), you'll save an additional $50.

Onn 70-Inch 4K Roku Smart TV
The deal:
$448 at Walmart
TVs from Walmart's Onn house brand were so popular during the retailer's Black Friday sales event that many disappeared almost immediately. This one—the Onn 100012588—is still available at the holiday price. It's not technically discounted, but under $500 for this size is a bargain. We didn’t test the set, but a 65-inch 4K Roku model had only middling picture quality, plus ineffective HDR. Other Onn TVs have done a bit better in our ratings.

Sony 65-Inch 4K Smart TV
The deal:
$599.99 at BJ's and Costco
This entry-level set is sold mainly via warehouse clubs. We tested the 55-inch version (Sony KD55X75CH), and it had very good overall picture quality, though only limited HDR effectiveness. Also, unlike step-up Sony models, it doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR.

TCL 75-Inch 4K 6-Series Roku Smart TV
The deal:
$1,139.99 at Best Buy
This Roku smart TV from TCL’s step-up 6-Series is the bigger sibling to the TCL 65R615, which ranks among the best big-screen bargains we saw in 2019. And right now the set is even cheaper than it was on Black Friday. We didn’t test the model, but it probably delivers the same great overall picture quality and effective HDR performance found in other 6-Series sets. The R615 models—Best Buy exclusives—are much like the R617 sets sold elsewhere, but they come with a basic Roku remote, not a voice-enabled one.

Toshiba 32-Inch LED Smart TV
The deal:
$129.99 at Best Buy
This set, the Toshiba TF-32A710U21, was on sale for $10 less on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We didn’t test it, but other Toshiba high-definition Fire TVs have received decent scores for HD picture quality.

Vizio 55-Inch M-Series 4K Smart TV
The deal:
$499.99 at Target
CR's test results: Vizio M557-G0
This 4K ultra high-definition set is from the company's midline M-Series from 2019, and it's priced only $50 more than it was on Cyber Monday. It has commendable high-definition and 4K picture quality but less than stellar HDR performance. It also has the company's SmartCast smart TV system with built-in Chromecast, plus support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple AirPlay.

Sound Bars

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

January is proving to be 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 sound bars 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 sound bar buying guide and see which models we recommend.

Insignia 2.0 Basic Sound Bar
The deal: 
$49.99 at Amazon and Best Buy
A low-priced model that we haven’t tested, the Insignia NS-HMSB20 is from Best Buy’s house brand for electronics. It’s a small model—only about 20 inches wide—and it lacks an HDMI input, so connections must be made using digital optical or RCA connections, but it does have Bluetooth audio. This sound bar typically retails for $80.

Samsung 2.1-Channel Sound Bar
The deal: 
$99.99 at Walmart
This 2020 model—the Samsung HW-T410—is on sale at its Cyber Monday price. We haven’t tested it but in general, lower-priced Samsung sound bars have had decent, if unexceptional, sound quality. It’s a lower-priced 2.1-channel system with a separate wireless subwoofer, plus Bluetooth audio for streaming music from a mobile device. 

Samsung 5.1.2-Channel Dolby Atmos DTS:X Sound Bar
The deal:
$899.99 at Best Buy
This model, the Samsung HW-Q850T/ZA, appears to be a Best Buy exclusive. It sold for $700 on Black Friday. It’s a full-blown surround-sound system with a separate subwoofer and wireless rear speakers; it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive sound formats. Designed to work with Samsung’s QLED TVs, the model synchronizes with the TV’s speakers to produce a fuller sound. The robust feature selection includes built-in support for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.

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 humidifiers 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 like the highly rated Vicks V5100NS 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 shut-off timer or a humidistat that shuts it off if the humidity gets too high (or else your windows can 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.

Crane Drop Humidifier
The deal: $39.97 at Amazon
CR's test results: Crane Drop small-room humidifier
This humidifier is recommended for small spaces—no more than 299 square feet. In that category, it’s one of the best for adding moisture to the air, and it’s one of the quietest we’ve tested. Like most small humidifiers, it's not feature-heavy, and our testers noted that the water tank is too large to fill at most bathroom sinks. You can't get a hand inside it, making cleaning a bit trickier. (The manufacturer recommends daily cleaning, while most call for a weekly schedule.) 

Crane Owl Humidifier
The deal: $38.82 at Amazon, Home Depot; $41.99 at Wayfair
CR's test results: Crane Owl small-room humidifier
This humidifier, just one in the company’s series of animal-inspired machines, is as highly functional as it is cute. On just about every measure, including moisture output and noise, it excels in our tests. It’s convenient to use, though not being able to get a hand into the tank for cleaning is a drawback, as it is with the Drop.

Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier
The deal: $44.98 at Amazon and Sam's Club; $45.51 at Walmart
CR's test results: Vicks V5100NS midsized-room humidifier
This cool-mist humidifier, designed for a midsized room, excels across the board, garnering high marks for moisture output for the space, noise levels, and more in CR’s tests. Because the tank can’t be filled in a typical bathroom sink, it’s not as convenient as some other models, and the manufacturer recommends daily cleaning.

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.

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 like Walmart and Amazon, and sporting goods stores like Dick's for sales on fitness equipment. And be sure to see if the manufacturers are offering other ways to save as well.

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 the machines in a store before you buy one.

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 direct from manufacturers.

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.

You can find discounts on linens and pillows at many major retailers. This year we’re already seeing sales of up to 70 percent off at Pottery Barn, Sears, Wayfair, and West Elm. Keep a watchful eye at other places you like to shop for more ways to save on refreshing your linen closet.

Wall Ovens

If you’re in the midst of a kitchen renovation (or planning one) and looking to upgrade your appliances, January is an excellent time to look for a new oven. This is especially true if you're considering a wall oven, which offers lots of flexibility that you won’t find in a range and may be available at significant discounts this month. Because most wall ovens are electric, they can be installed on just about any wall in your kitchen and at any height, so you won’t have to bend over when pulling out hot, heavy dishes.

If you spend a lot of time cooking, you may want to consider a double oven. Or perhaps you’re in the market for one with a convection mode to reduce cooking times, or variable broil to cook with even more precision. 

All of these options are out there, making it paramount to research before you buy. Purchasing any major appliance, especially an oven, is a big decision, and we recommend reading our buying guide and exploring our ratings and recommendations before you choose a model. Doing the research will make it more likely you'll be satisfied with your new wall oven.

Wall ovens typically range from $850 to more than $6,000. But keep an eye out for sales at major retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, AppliancesConnection, AJ Madison, Sears, and Walmart.

Bathroom Scales

Today’s digital scales track more than just your weight; they also offer additional information, such as your body-fat percentage. 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. 

CR isn't currently testing bathroom scales, but you can 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.