Fall has arrived, and that means Black Friday 2021 isn’t far off. The shopping holiday is set to officially kick off on November 26, and we expect to see a ton of discounts on products across all categories.
To help you prepare, we broke down everything you need to know about Black Friday 2021, along with a roundup of some of the best deals you can snag right now.
What time does Black Friday start?
Technically speaking, Black Friday starts at 12:00 a.m. local time on November 26 for online retailers. However, Black Friday sales start whenever each retailer decides their deals will go live.
Judging from what we saw last year, several retailers will be releasing new deals every week leading up to the main event.
How Long Does Walmart Black Friday Last?
Some of the most eye-catching deals will appear on Black Friday itself and on Cyber Monday. But don’t stop watching on Tuesday—some of the very best sales can actually appear in the weeks between Black Friday and Christmas, and then deep discounts appear in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to completely empty the warehouses.
How can you find the best deals? Walmart’s advertisement will be in the print ads in newspapers during the week of Black Friday, but you can preview many of the sales by checking out Walmart’s Weekly Ad and Savings Spotlight. In addition, Walmart’s new Walmart+ membership offers free shipping and other benefits. Since it provides a 15-day free trial, you can sign up shortly before Black Friday and enjoy those benefits while deciding if you’d like to remain a member or cancel at the end of the trial (enjoy those benefits while deciding if you’d like to remain a member—or cancel at the end of the trial if you decide it’s not for you). For more savings, check out Honey’s browser extension or Capital One’s shopping helper to track prices and make sure that what looks like a deal really is.
When does the Amazon Black Friday sale start?
Black Friday proper falls on November 26 this year, but we expect the Amazon Black Friday sale to start earlier with new deals dropping throughout the month of November. While we’re not expecting to see offers landing as soon as October like we saw last year, things will likely get started a little sooner than we’ve seen in previous years.
That means we’d keep an eye out for Amazon Black Friday deals over the course of the month, with a preamble sale likely offering smaller discounts. The best offers on the most in-demand products (think iPads, MacBooks, and Nintendo Switch) will likely hit on the weekend itself, though.
How Long Does Amazon Black Friday Last?
Because the deals kick off a week ahead of time, you really won’t have to worry too much about the official Black Friday start time on Amazon. That said, new deals start at 12:01 AM PST, so that’s the best time to look for new deals to pop up.
If you can’t check for deals every day of the week for Amazon’s Black Friday sale, we definitely recommend stopping by from 12:01 AM Friday November 26 until the end of the day. That should be when we see the best deals happening.
When will the Target Black Friday deals start in 2021?
This year, the Target Black Friday sales kick off in earnest on November 26. In the past few years we’ve seen an emerging trend of drip-feeding some decent deals before the true event – but if you make it that far, we’d recommend holding out until the big day itself unless something you’ve been dying to buy crops up at an all-time low.
Plus, that tactic was likely informed by the drama of COVID-19 and the subsequent shopping issues it caused – most notably the severe shipping delays.
While we can’t pinpoint exactly when the Target Black Friday sales will start, last year saw Target stores open at 7am, which is considerably later than some rivals. We think that’s good news, as you won’t have to wake up ridiculously early to bag a bargain.
Online, we’re less sure. We might see the discounts go live as brick-and-mortar stores open, but they may appear earlier. If we hear any news, we’ll update this page.
Best Black Friday deals 2021 — biggest early sales and what to expect
Get ready. Black Friday deals 2021 are starting earlier than ever. Although November is still a few days off, major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target are unveiling previews of their Black Friday deals for 2021.
Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K
8K might feel a bit like overkill to some, but there’s no doubt in our mind that the Samsung QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV has ushered in a new era of flatscreen television technology. Samsung’s Mini LED-sporting QN900A Neo QLED 8K TV offers stunning picture quality, exceptional color and brightness, terrific sound and outstanding blacks – all in a package that’s unmatched in terms of design.
For the uninitiated, Samsung’s ‘Quantum’ Mini LEDs are 1/40th the thickness of a regular LED, meaning thousands of smaller LEDs can be packed together in a much tighter fashion, allowing for far more accurate dimming zones and black levels that are practically indistinguishable from an OLED.
LG G1 Gallery Series OLED
The real hero here is LG’s new OLED evo technology, which updates the panel structure to eke out even more brightness – without increasing blooming effects or, we’re told, the chance of burn-in. The LG G1 looks to be a real revolution for the OLED TV maker, then, and certainly offers an upgrade over the cheaper LG C1 OLED – unlike last year, when the CX and GX models were worlds apart in price but effectively offered the same picture performance.
It’s an expensive set, and the Dolby Atmos sound system isn’t the best for bass – something that will effect all the other LG OLEDs in this guide. But the breathtakingly slim design makes it a real centerpiece television, with the contrast and color benefits of OLED pushed to new, lighting-enhanced heights. The new a9 Gen 4 AI processor is even more capable of smartly upscaling and processing onscreen objects, too, with motion processing in particular getting an upgrade.
TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635)
The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) offers enormous value for it’s affordable price, offering premium picture quality and a great smart TV experience for much less than the competition. As TCL’s best mainstream smart TV the R635 ups the ante with mini-LED backlighting in addition to QLED. The result is impressive color and brightness, with some of the best HDR performance we’ve seen on anything this side of an OLED display. It’s enough to win a 2021 Tom’s Guide Award for best innovation in TVs.
But TCL keeps delivering more, like THX Certified Game Mode, which makes the 6-Series one of the best gaming TVs available, even for yet-to-be-released consoles like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. From the design’s smart touches, like cable management in the stand, to the always-solid Roku TV platform, the TCL 6-Series R635 is the best TV value, and it’s not even close.
Vizio OLED TV
The Vizio OLED TV is the most affordable OLED TV on the market, and the first to offer a less-premium alternative to offerings from LG and Sony to shoppers in the United States. Selling for hundreds of dollars less than the competition, the Vizio OLED packs plenty of smart features alongside the 4K OLED display, and delivers the sort of premium picture quality that normally costs much more.
Vizio’s SmartCast smart TV platform has also expanded its app selection significantly, and all of the major apps you might want – from Netflix to Disney+ – are available right on the TV. The few that aren’t offered on the home screen (HBO Max is the most glaring omission) can still be enjoyed through the TV’s built-in Google Cast and AirPlay 2 support.
Sony Bravia XR A80J
The Sony Bravia XR A80J is absolutely packed with futuristic technologies: this 4K OLED TV has HDR, a 120 Hz refresh rate, ATSC 3.0 tuner, Google TV streaming and Sony’s own Bravia Core service, Acoustic Surface Audio+ technology… the list goes on. Sure, not everyone will need everything here, but it’s nice to have the option.
Just as importantly, it also excels at the basics — contrast is superb, colors are rich and varied, viewing angles are impressive and it handles upscaling well. Sound is also excellent and Google TV is a big upgrade on the older Android TV. Against that, the XR A80J requires a little more tweaking in order to look its best; it’s fine out of the box, but to really reach its full potential, you’ll want to play around with various modes. It’s not the cheapest and other sets beat it purely based on picture quality, but as an all-round package the A80J is a great choice.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch 7 is the best Apple Watch yet. It’s not a major upgrade over the Apple Watch 6 in terms of features, but it does have a larger display in new Apple Watch 7 sizes. For the first time, the Apple Watch comes in 41mm and 45mm versions, complementing the large screen. The seventh-generation Apple gets some exclusive watch faces and a full QWERTY keyboard, too.
While we would like the Apple Watch to improve its 18-hour battery life, the Series 7 does benefit from faster charging. You can completely juice it up in about an hour, letting it spend less time hooked up to the new USB-C to Magnetic cord and more time with you on the go. Whether you want a smartwatch for working out, answering calls from your wrist, or using the best Apple Watch apps, this is the best smartwatch for you.
The Fitbit Sense is the company’s top-shelf smartwatch that comes with more advanced health and wellness features that the Versa line. Not only does it have an FDA-approved ECG sensor and blood oxygen reading, but the Sense has the ability to measure electrodermal activity and skin temperature, too.
As one of the best Fitbits, the Sense works with both iOS and Android, and comes with on-board GPS, a native app store, Alexa and more. No longer is Fitbit just a brand with products for tracking our steps: Fitbit devices like the Fitbit Sense show what it means to take a holistic look at our health.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Though it’s been replaced by the Galaxy Watch 4, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is still available to purchase and remains one of the most stylish smartwatches around. It’s available in two sizes, as well as in LTE variants. The Galaxy Watch 3’s rotating bezel makes navigating the watch’s interface easy, while access to thousands of watch faces lets you customize the display to your liking.
Although the Galaxy Watch 3 has a shorter, 2-day battery life compared to the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, it introduces more music storage, FDA-approved ECG tracking and trip detection. Of course, you’ll get Samsung Pay for contactless payments, and some good fitness features too.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is the best smartwatch money can buy right now, but it’s only the right choice for you if you own an iPhone. Scroll down for our second choice in this list if you’ve got an Android phone.
If you do have an iPhone, you may wonder why the Apple Watch 6 doesn’t take our title of the very best smartwatch? That’s because the Apple Watch SE does almost everything that smartwatch can, but for a much lower price.
The Apple Watch SE comes with some top-end specs, a high-end design and a great range of features that you can’t get on every other smartwatch right now.
The battery life isn’t the best on the market based on our tests, and there isn’t an always-on display, but if you’re after a great value for money choice for your next wrist companion you should opt for the Apple Watch SE.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a wearable that had a lot of hype around it. This sees Samsung return to Wear OS, having used Tizen for recent models. But this isn’t Wear OS as you might know it – it’s a new take on the operating system, designed alongside Samsung, and with a very Tizen-like skin on the top.
That means you get the best of both worlds, with the functionality and apps of Wear OS, coupled with the look and feel of Tizen.
Add to that great performance, what we found to be a comfortable fit, a lightweight build, and interesting new body composition measurement tools, and this makes for a top smartwatch, especially for those interested in tracking their health and fitness.
But with some of its features requiring a Samsung phone, and no support for iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 isn’t something we can recommend to everyone. It also arguably isn’t worth upgrading to if you already own a recent Galaxy Watch.
Apple iPad 2021
The new 9th Gen iPad looks just like the 8th Gen update, and that’s (mostly) OK. The A13 Bionic chip gives the 2021 iPad that necessary bump in performance to keep it speeding along, as iPadOS 15 brings more machine learning tricks like LiveText. The iPad’s screen is still bright and colorful, and just what it needs at this price point. Also, Apple’s sticking with its first-gen Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio for its supported Apple-made accessories, which many may find easier to use than third-party Bluetooth options.
The Pencil will come in handy for Scribble-based annotation, and the keyboard will help take advantage of the improved keyboard shortcut support. Sound is still good, as is battery life, the only thing we don’t like about the iPad is that the iPad mini and iPad Air are making it look even older than its design is. Added support for Apple’s finer accessories would be great, but it still has a headphone jack (no other iPad does), which is a win for the wired headphones crowd.
Amazon Fire 7
For a lot of customers, price makes the big difference, so Amazon could have coasted when it comes to the $50 Fire 7 tablet. Fortunately, the most recent iteration of the company’s cheapest slate packs a snappy quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, which helps you navigate apps and browse the web faster than you’d expect from a tablet this cheap. And while previous Fire tablets made you tap to activate Alexa — which made no sense, it’s meant to be summoned with your voice — the Fire 7 finally added voice triggers for the digital assistant.
Just don’t expect any frills that come with more expensive tablets. The Fire 7 tablet’s sub-HD screen is not sharp enough for anyone used to an iPad, and its lock screen is filled with ads unless you pay extra. Still, it’s a great pick for kids looking for a media consumption device.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
Sometimes, it takes a second try to make a thing go right. The Surface Go 2 takes aim at all the flaws of the predecessor and knocks them all down. First of all, thinner bezels make way for a bigger screen, arguably the most important part of a tablet. The Surface Go 2 has a 10.5-inch display, compared to 10 inches for the previous model.
The biggest upgrade is the Surface Go 2’s 11 hours and 39 minutes of battery life, which is over 5 hours longer than the original Surface Go.. Microsoft also answered my prayers for a laptop with a great webcam. The 5-megapixel 1080p camera in its top bezel is great for the era of online video calls, and its second front camera sensor adds Windows Hello biometric login.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
The first Android tablet on our list is the best tablet that Samsung has ever made, and it’s a serious rival to the iPad Pro range that you’ve read about above.
In fact, its screen arguably has those slates beat, as it’s a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED one with a 2800 x 1752 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The iPad Pro range can match much of that, but those slates have LCD screens that for the most part aren’t as good.
Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset, which we found to be plenty powerful, and it comes with a premium metal build that is incredibly slim with it only being 5.7mm thick.
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
It’s not often that we see a Lenovo tablet in this list, but the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is deserving, as it combines loads of premium features with a mid-range price.
The highlight is undoubtedly its screen, which is an 11.5-inch 1600 x 2560 OLED one with 263 pixels per inch and HDR10 support. So it’s big, sharp, and being OLED arguably gives it an edge over LCD rivals – including Apple’s entire iPad range.
That screen makes it great for visual media, but it’s great for audio too, thanks to four powerful speakers. And it’s also well built, with a metal shell that leaves it looking as expensive as any other tablet.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro also supports both stylus and keyboard accessories, so it’s similarly versatile to the iPad Pro range and the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.
Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050
Whether you’re looking for a budget-oriented machine to fill a gap in your kitchen or you’re after a compact machine for a college dorm, the Braun Brew Sense manages to hit a sweet spot between price and quality that secures it top position here.
The Brew Sense KF6050 comes in just under $100 but still manages to brew great tasting coffee with some excellent quality of life features as well. You won’t be fiddling around with too many complicated settings here, which may be a blessing if you simply want to make a cup of coffee in the morning. However, you’ll still have access to a programmable timer, brew pause settings, and a 1-4 cup setting for smaller brews.
While that compact design certainly looks great, we did find it difficult to access the water and coffee reservoirs. However, at this price point a little frustration in refilling your machine is an excellent trade-off for performance that beats out the competition.
Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer
If you’re looking for a powerful air fryer and insist on a dehydrate function, the Instant Vortex Plus is for you. Like our favorite Instant Vortex, the Plus model is designed with a roomy basket and a sleek exterior. The interface on the Instant Vortex Plus is also very user-friendly with a touchscreen for pre-programmed settings and a dial that can up the temp in 5-degree incriments.
We found the dehydrate function perfectly dried fresh strawberries and we could see it working well on other produce. The one downside of the model is the broil function, which is preset at 400 degrees F for 2 minutes. We tested out broiling mac and cheese topped with extra cheese and breadcrumbs and found that neither browned particularly well.
Dash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer
This oversized air fryer is easy on the eyes. The Dash Deluxe has the largest cooking capacity of any of the ovens we tested with a 6-quart cooking basket. It also has some undeniable retro appeal and is available in a few fun colors. The appliance we tested was aqua, though it also comes in red, black and white. This model also has all manual controls with no presets and was exceedingly simple to operate.
Aesthetics aside, the Dash fried up batches of wings, Brussels sprouts, tater tots and French fries that were all cooked evenly and well. In our first round of testing, we found it easy to overshoot when air frying a mozzarella stick if you’re not careful. For us, that’s a good thing and only means the air fryer has considerable power that you simply need to learn to manage.
Headphones & Earbuds
If you’re really set on owning the absolute best headphones that money can buy, we advise spending your Christmas cash on the WH-1000XM4. Not only are Sony’s flagship headphones the top noise-cancelling model at the moment, but they outperform every competitor in numerous categories, including sound and special features. The company’s loud and dynamic soundstage delivers plenty of boom and detail to give songs full-bodied presence. Listeners can also play around with the Sony Headphones Connect app to personalize audio by selecting from several well-engineered presets or by manually adjusting the EQ to their liking.
The Bose 700 are the runner-up for best headphones and have a sexy new design and cool features that come with its high price tag. They’re equipped with a whopping eight microphones, six of which are employed to deliver Bose’s champion noise cancelation when listening to music or talking on the phone. It offers up to 11 levels of adjustable ANC that work equally well to neutralize noise across different frequencies. Bose even made improvements to sound quality, as the 700s produce clean, balanced audio for crisp highs and solid bass; lows are felt more when at max ANC level.
Despite sharing the same battery life as its predecessor, the QC35 II, it still holds up strong at 20 hours with ANC on. Smart assistant integration, touch controls, and improved multipoint technology also make these some of the most intuitive noise-cancellers for commuters and music lovers alike.
1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone
After testing the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones for a few weeks, we were blown away by their fantastic value for money. That’s why we consider them to be the best headphones for those who like wired earbuds.
For $100 / £100 (about AU$168), it’s hard to find a better-sounding and more well-built pair of earphones than the 1MORE Triple Drivers. Although, if you do want a little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Drivers are still a bargain at twice the price.
At this price with such excellent build and design, it’s hard to fault the Triple Drivers. Sure, the inbuilt remote feels a little cheap, but that’s more than made up for by the lush sound quality offered by these luxe-looking earbuds that are unmatched in value and sound. For the price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
The market’s best wireless earbuds (and best sport headphones) just got better, thanks to a free over-the-air ANC update that adds active noise cancellation into the mix. Don’t think that you’re going to get Bose-caliber results, or anything close to what the more premium Elite 85t delivers, but Jabra did do an impressive job tweaking its algorithm to block out a good amount of external sounds.
Even before the inclusion of ANC, the Elite Active 75t proved itself as the model to beat, offering better battery life, durability, sound, and special features than its biggest threat: the AirPods Pro. The design remains sleek, though it is sturdier this time around, with IP57 certification granting waterproof protection and dust and sweat resistance. Sound is lively and can be customized through the Jabra Sound+ app, which is loaded with presets and other cool features that enhance both sound and call quality.
Apple AirPods Pro
It’s pretty amazing how Apple continues to enhance the performance of its noise-cancelling earbuds through software updates, and if it keeps up the good work, then the AirPods Pro could climb its way back to the top of our best wireless earbuds list. Spatial audio is an incredible addition that creates a 3D-like soundscape to enjoy movies and video games a whole lot better. Even simple, but practical, inclusions like auto-switching make a noticeable difference with functionality, allowing users to easily switch between iDevices that are connected to the same iCloud account.
The great news is that even without the latest iOS updates, the AirPods Pro still operate at a top-tier level, thanks to improved sound, strong ANC, a more ergonomic design for better comfort and fit, and all of the perks that come with the H1 chip. If there is any complaint to be made, it’s the same one every Apple fan has voiced since the first-gen AirPods hit the market, that being the subpar battery life.
Otterbox Symmetry Series
The Otterbox Symmetry gives you the same level of protection you’ve come to expect from the Otterbox Defender Series, only this time without the added bulk. The ultra slim yet protective design is perfect for carrying your phone in your pocket. The Symmetry Series also has a wide range of color and style options including the Otter + Pop iPhone case, which comes with a swappable Pop Socket for easy gripping — meaning, there will be a smaller chance of dropping it on your face while in bed.
The Incipio DualPro is the perfect combination: a slim fit and ultra protective. With its super-soft exterior and flexible buttons, it’s very comfortable to grip. And with a price just under $10, you can’t go wrong with this simple, sleek, and (most importantly) cheap phone case.
Speck Presidio wallet
The Speck Presidio wallet is a hardback minimalist wallet designed to store up to three credit cards, though we found you can get away with storing four cards and some cash. While it won’t hold all of the contents of your wallet, this protective case lets you keep the necessities handy. It’s durable and also holds its shape once cards are removed — which is easy to do, thanks to the cut-out. Just note that this phone case is not compatible for wireless charging.
SILK Wallet Slayer Vol. 2
Unlike the Speck Presidio, the Silk Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 is a flexible softback wallet case. It’s designed to hold three cards, but you might be able to squeeze in a fourth depending on the thickness. But if you only want to carry a single card, don’t worry: There’s a protective lip to prevent it from falling out. The textured sides make it easy to grip, but it’s also a protective case, so it will survive any drop test you throw at it. Just note that it’s not compatible with wireless charging.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid
If you’re looking for a cheap clear case for your new iPhone 11, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid is a good value at around $11-$15, depending on which version of iPhone 11 you have. No drop rating is listed for the case, but it feels like Spigen transparent cases offer reasonable protection (if you want even stronger protection, consider shelling out $35 more for the Spigen Tough Armor case), and it should appeal to folks who want a case that’s neither too thin nor too thick (Speck’s clear case is a bit thicker and does seem more protective). Unlike the Tough Armor, a lot of these cheaper clear cases have a habit of turning yellow over time (and becoming less translucent), but they’re cheap enough that you probably won’t mind shelling out for a transparent case replacement if that happens.