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How to shop like a pro during Amazon Prime Day

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How to shop like a pro during Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day It’s possibly one of the most confusing shopping holidays out there. It’s not even a “day” – the members-only event lasts 48 hours. Amazon also promises “millions of deals,” but the discounts shown are often misleading or completely false. In fact, some offers are available for people who don’t subscribe to Prime. Add in the frenzy of limited-time flash sales and you have a perfect recipe for spending too much money.

Do not fear! We are here to help. The WIRED Gear team is familiar with common shopping mistakes and I’ve been a deals writer for nearly a decade. What time do sales start and end? How can you tell if a deal is in fact a deal? We bring together our collective knowledge to prepare you for Amazon Prime Day.

Updated June 2024: We’ve updated this story with additional details about Prime Day, which is scheduled for July 2024.

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When is Amazon Prime day?

Amazon has officially announced that Prime Day will take place in July. We believe, based on past sales, that Prime Day 2024 will take place on a Tuesday and Wednesday in the middle of the month.

When do Prime Day deals start?

The event officially begins at 3 a.m. Eastern Time and will run for 48 hours. WIRED will cover the best Prime Day deals from both Amazon and retailers that have competitive sales. Some offers and sales will begin before the official start time. (We’ll cover those too.)

Are Prime Day deals only for Prime members?

Officially, yes. You must be an Amazon Prime member to shop Amazon Prime Day deals. There’s a 30-day free trial available for new accounts. (Prime membership comes with many perks, and we’ve rounded them all up here.) The trial will allow you to participate in the sale; just remember to cancel your membership to avoid later renewal fees.

There are some discounts available if you’re not a subscriber (those deals may not be as good). But other major retailers like Best Buy and Target often run simultaneous sales during Prime-only sales events. Their prices are usually close to what Amazon offers on the same products and sometimes they match the price. This is a good way to participate in the Prime Day Sale if you don’t want to support Amazon.

Walmart is launching a rival Walmart+ Plus Week Member sales event, taking place June 17-23, 2024. Like Amazon Prime, Walmart+ gives you free express delivery and a few other benefits, but it costs just $98 per year. Offers include 20 cents off per gallon of gas at Exxon & Mobil stations nationwide, so you could pay for your entire annual Walmart+ membership by purchasing just 490 gallons of gas.

Is Prime Day worth it?

It depends. For some items, prices for Prime members-only events tend to be some of the lowest we see all year. This is especially true for Amazon hardware, like Kindles, Fire tablets, Fire TV Sticks, and Echo devices, but there are other factors to consider. Prices fluctuate throughout the year and some products are discounted quite frequently. Even if the price is good, a deal on a product that goes on sale all the time diminishes the overall quality of that deal.

The sheer volume of deals promoted by Amazon during sales like Prime Day is a blessing and a curse. Really good discounts can be hard to identify – there are so many things on sale that the overall selection can be overwhelming. But there’s a good chance the item you want is on sale. We’ve seen some fantastic Prime-exclusive discounts in the past, ranging from dirt-cheap Kindles to hard-to-reach price drops on Nintendo Switch. The tricky part is finding the diamonds in the rough.

WIRED covers legitimately good deals all year round, even during the Prime Day event. Our tips below will help you find those great discounts on your own.

How do I know if a deal is good?

ABC: Always be checking (prices, of course). Researching the price of an item is the most important aspect of determining the quality of a discount. Don’t fall victim to misleading marketing language and inflated MSRP prices – our tips only take a few moments. The easiest step is to take a second to Google the items you are considering so you can see the price at various stores.

A tool we like to use is camelcamelcamel, which tracks Amazon prices over time. Paste the Amazon link or ASIN (found in the Product Information section on the Amazon product page) into the Camelcamelcamel search bar and you can see the lowest recorded price of an item, its average price, and with what price fluctuates frequently. Some deals, such as flash deals, are excluded from price history, but it’s helpful to see what price an item has sold for in the past. We also like Keep awhich has an extension (available for multiple browsers) that shows recent price history of products directly on the Amazon page so you don’t have to open a new tab.

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