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05-07-2020 11:06 AM - edited 05-07-2020 11:54 AM
in case anyone's interested...
from Consumer Reports
The month of May is usually a great time to shop and save on lots of necessities. Thanks to Memorial Day, we traditionally see numerous sales, especially on mattresses, grills, appliances, and tech devices such as smartwatches and Bluetooth speakers. It’s also an opportunity to score a deal on a new stroller, bike helmet, insect repellent, and sunscreen for the summer months ahead.
But this May is shaping up to be unlike previous years. As we continue to observe social distancing requirements, there’s a very good chance that Memorial Day sales will be primarily online and that certain items will be difficult to find, let alone at a discount. Take freezers, for example. They typically go on sale this month, but because of an increased demand for food storage now that more people are staying home, it’s hard to find them at all right now. The same may be true for air conditioners.
Consumer Reports as been tracking the products we test for years, noting the prices at multiple retailers to determine when they usually fall the most. While we can't guarantee the trend will hold true this month, you may be able to find a deal on these items.
May is a fantastic time to shop for a new mattress. With Memorial Day sales, you can typically find big discounts throughout the month. Mattress companies often start running their holiday promotions early in the month. But if you hold out until closer to the holiday, they may sweeten their offers with a larger discount or free add-ons, such as pillows or sheets, or discounts on bed frames. This can also be a good month to get a new air mattress at a discount if you’re in the market.
There’s a lot to consider when buying a new mattress, and it will depend largely on your body type and sleeping habits. Some mattresses use organic materials, some incorporate coils and memory foam, and some have special materials like cooling gels. And mattresses can range in price from a few hundred dollars to well over $1,000, so your budget will affect your choices as well.
May is the true start of grilling season. You’ll be glad to know this month usually brings discounts on gas and charcoal grills.
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 everyone from the first-time buyer to the seasoned grill master 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 your food.
Air conditioners often go on sale in May, well before the summer heat sets in. Retailers try to move old inventory to make room for the new. But it might be difficult to find air conditioners online right now, especially on sale, because many people have already bought them. So if you find a model you like, especially at a discount, you ought to snatch it up quickly.
You can choose a window unit or a portable AC, and it may have features such as WiFi connectivity and a companion app.
Going for a bike ride is a great way to get out of the house while still staying socially distant from your neighbors. You and your family should be safe when you ride, so you’ll need trustworthy bike helmets, especially if it's been some time since you bought the ones you have.
A proper helmet can significantly reduce the risk of injury if you’re in a crash, and CR has tested 48 models for adults and children to help you find the best, safest options. It’s recommended that you replace your helmet at least every five years or immediately if you’re involved in a crash, even if you can’t see damage.
Insect Repellents and Sunscreens
May is when the days grow noticeably longer and bugs start to appear in droves. So you’ll be happy to learn that there are often sales on insect repellents and sunscreens this month. Even if you’re not going farther than your backyard, you’ll still want to have these on hand.
Spending more time at home means cleaning more dishes every day. For those of us lucky enough to have a dishwasher, it helps a lot, but more wear and tear may mean it’s not performing as well. If your dishwasher just isn’t cutting it anymore, May could be a great time to invest in a replacement. Expect to see more discounts from more retailers the closer we get to Memorial Day.
Keep in mind that if you're in the market to replace an appliance, the entire process is going to be affected by the pandemic. From delivery and pickup options to scheduling installation, you’ll need to take even more into consideration than usual before you buy.
You may also find decent sales on ranges this month, again thanks to Memorial Day discounts and deals toward the end of the month. If you’re replacing your existing range, you may want to stick with a similar make and model because it will mean less hassle. Switching from electric to gas or vice versa requires more prep work and a more intensive installation and removal process. Even if you find a good deal this month, a new range may be a purchase to consider putting off unless absolutely necessary.
In the market for a new blender? CR has found that many tend to have price drops in May, which means you might be able to get a better blender while staying within your budget. Blenders can cost $30 to well over $500, and how much you should spend will depend on how often you plan to use it and what you want to do with it. Paying more generally means better results and more versatility. But there are exceptions, including high-priced models that cracked under the pressure of our tough tests and bargain blenders that exceeded expectations.
May tends to see a lot of price reductions on strollers, so whether you’re getting ready to welcome a new member of the family or you just want an upgrade for your family walks, this is the time to start looking around. Strollers can cost $100 to over $1,000. Styling, lightweight materials, and added features can increase the price, but our tests found that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good, safe stroller.
Buying a stroller requires some research first to ensure that you’re choosing a safe model that’s worth its price.
Wireless & Bluetooth Speakers
A wireless speaker can add a groove to any backyard barbecue. And according to CR’s data, prices tend to fall in May, so you might be able to score a deal on a new one. Decent Bluetooth speakers can range from $20 to $800. Some are waterproof, some have a longer than average Bluetooth range or extended battery life, and some may have smart features such as Amazon Alexa compatibility or companion apps. Of course, not all speakers sound the same, so if you fancy yourself an audiophile, be prepared to spend a bit more for quality playback.
May is also often a good time to start shopping around for smartwatches. Look for sales that are likely to crop up at many online retailers, especially around Memorial Day, 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.
Wood Stains and Paints
If you’re finding you have more free time on your hands right now, channel your energy by 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 around May. 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.
Leaf blowers are useful in other seasons as well as fall. They will make quick work of corralling grass clippings, weeds, and debris on your property all year. So you may want to invest in one this month while you can score a good deal.
Consumer Reports has put more than 50 models, including gas-powered, battery-powered, and corded electric, through rigorous tests to help you find the model that suits your needs. Check our website for ratings.
Spring cleanup isn’t just an indoor affair. If you’re ready to tackle some tree work, look for sales on chainsaws in May. A top-rated model can help you clear out brush too thick for electric loppers, fell a tree that’s threatening a roof, slice off dangerous broken tree limbs, or cut a tree into logs for your firepit this summer. Chainsaws come in a range of sizes, from small electric models (some with cords, some without) to hefty gas-powered models intended for heavier work. Prices often correlate with engine size for gas saws and voltage for electric saws, along with the length of the cutting bar—the arm of flat metal that guides the chain.
Finding the right model depends on how—and how often—you plan to use your chainsaw.
If you have a lot of carpeting and a house full of kids and pets, buying a carpet cleaner is a good investment, and they’re often more affordable in May. Homeowners who only occasionally clean their carpets may typically hire a professional carpet cleaner. Though nothing beats the ease and results of a professional clean, that might not be an option right now. But some of the machines we tested came pretty close for less money.
You may also be able to rent a carpet cleaner, something worth looking into if you don’t plan to deep-clean more than a few times a year. Rental fees typically run about $20 to $30 per day, but these models tend to be heavy and harder to use, and they're not always in the best condition. Keep in mind that rentals might not be available in your area until social distancing requirements are relaxed.
Stand-alone freezers tend to dip in price around May. But this year, don’t expect to find much in the way of shopping options or savings. Shoppers have been buying freezers to store extra food and reduce the frequency of their shopping trips, and retailers are struggling to keep up with demand. If you do find a quality freezer available to buy, make sure you look at the shipping options, too, because you may have to wait well over a month. If you need added storage now, you may want to consider purchasing a refrigerator with a larger freezer to expand your food storage sooner.
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