Because we think we can make a small difference by being picky, here are some great deals on solid pieces of gear.
As of December 6th, 2013–starting with this holiday season–we’ve vetted over 9,000 so-called “deals” and published less than ~0.4% of them. This is how we track how picky we are and problems with BS deals listings often found on other sites.
We’ll always put the newest deals at the top of the page. We’ve also redesigned the deals page to be a more permanent addition to the site so you can now bookmark this page because the address won’t change like it used to. Follow us on Twitter at @wirecutter to see any updates we make throughout the day.
More about our deal our process:
When looking for deals, first I start with as many deal-gathering sites as I can find. There are dozens of new deals each week, so I put as much time as I can into eliminating the deals that really aren’t doing anyone any good. It’s more than just putting time into sorting through lists, it’s also about finding the items that were probably worth buying before they were ever on sale because a deal isn’t really a deal if the gadget still isn’t very good. So, I run the deals by the senior writers at The Wirecutter, check user and editorial reviews to see if the gear is any good. Finally, I check with price checking sites and other resources to see if the price will likely drop or if it’s been lower in the past. In the end, I’m left with just a few really good deals. Fewer than other many other sites would have you believe.
If you’re looking for deals on gadgets and technology, see our list over at The Wirecutter.
Street Price: $50 MSRP: $60 Deal Price: $40
The price on our favorite slow cooker has come down on Amazon by $10. The same price is available, with free 2-day shipping, from NewEgg until December 8. I’ve seen it drop down to $40 a couple of times on Best Buy, but that’s usually as a result of an all-encompassing “Get 20% off everything!” sort of sale. On Amazon, it hasn’t dropped below $45 since 2012.
As we said in our review, “Slow and low is the name of the game for braising, which gives these meals their unctuous, fork-tender consistency.” This model has the size you need to make a meal for a family of four, plus leftovers. In our tests, it made fork-tender rump roast and tasty vegetarian chili with a simmer in the right temperature range.
Though the probe seems gimmicky, it was recommended by our expert, Phyllis Pellman Good, author of the New York Times best-selling Set-It And Forget-It cookbook series. Good explains: “I hate overcooked meat, I always encourage people to use a meat thermometer to test a roast to see if it’s done. If you don’t need to lift the lid, it’s really helpful because lifting the lid lets heat out.”
On Amazon, this product has 4.2 stars based on 1,490 user reviews. Amazon customer Jemat says, “I can’t speak for others, but I can say that in 3.5 years this slow cooker has never let me down. And that’s with weekly use. My mom and both sisters have this slow cooker and all love it. The price is fantastic and it is by far the most-used kitchen appliance I have (including my stove).” Amazon customer mamaof6 says, “Love that the lid is locked so my kids cannot take it off during the day, love the different heating options and that I can leave something on warm so when my husband works late he dinner is waiting for him and not over cooked. Also since the pieces are dishwasher safe cleaning is a breeze.” permalink
Street Price: $179 MSRP: $325 Deal Price: $147
Amazon seems to have dropped the price on our pick for best food processor. Act fast – these price drops can be fleeting. This basic-but-efficient model worked for most tasks we threw at it, from mixing satiny pizza dough to pulse-chopping veggies. As we said in our review, “At the end of my testing, I found that the Custom didn’t dazzle me, but, like a good workhorse, it did everything I needed it to. The 750-watt motor was less powerful than the 1000-watt Cuisinart Elite or 1200-watt Breville, but this didn’t negatively affect its performance.” It comes with a 3-year limited warranty and a 5-year warranty on the motor — pretty good for this price point.
Cook’s Illustrated chose the Custom as their top choice, while Good Housekeeping gave it an A-, saying “it offers impressive slicing, shredding, pureeing, and chopping, but like many other Cuisinart models was less than impressive at chopping.”
Amazon customer Mama Bear says, “Nothing will bog this thing down. It works like a breeze. I love the large bowl and the large feed shoot.” Amazon customer Andrew Ford “from B-town” says, “Has it been seven years already? I have been using my food processor more often during the last few months. I have started baking my own bread, and this is indispensable to the process; it easily handles large batches of dough without complaint.” permalink
Street Price/MSRP: ~ $415- $450 Deal Price: $300
This deal offers a lot of DIY power at a great price. The base of the sale is a five-piece Ryobi cordless combo kit ($300) that includes a drill, a reciprocating saw, a circular saw, an impact driver, an oscillating tool, two batteries, and a charger. While supplies last, Home Depot is also throwing in a 7-¼-inch cordless Ryobi miter saw for free ($150 value). If you went and bought all of these tools individually, we estimate this gear would run somewhere around $415 to $450.
These tools represent all that someone needs to go from 0 to 60 on the DIY road of home improvement. We especially like the addition of the oscillating tool to the combo kit. This versatile workhorse can not only cut and sand, but because it’s compatible with all Ridgid JobMax attachments, the little tool can be quickly converted into a jigsaw, a ratchet, or a right-angle drill. A big benefit to this kit is that Ryobi makes it easy to expand your tool collection further. Because the batteries are compatible with all 18-volt Ryobi tools, you can pick up others as “bare tools” and not waste your money on additional batteries or chargers. For example, this flashlight is only $13 and this router is only $50.
A Ryobi drill was the step-up to our favorite cordless drill, the Porter-Cable 12-volt. Of the drills we tested, the Ryobi sunk the most screws on a single battery. It was heavier than the rest, but it impressed us with its strength.
Power tool combo kits are constantly being bundled in different packages, so there are no reviews of this specific selection of tools, but other Ryobi combo kits have been well received by professional tool reviewers. Jeff Williams writing at Toolboxbuzz.com says (of an earlier Ryobi kit), “The tools were the perfect size for some quick actions without having to get out the extension cords and heavier tools.”
Doug Mahoney, Sweethome contributor, reviewed the first generation Ryobi li-ion combo kit years ago and wrote that he has “always liked Ryobi because they manage to split the homeowner/contractor line so nicely and these tools are no exception. They’re tough enough for some serious work, but they’re also affordable and easy to use.”
Judging from the customer reviews, everyone who has cashed in on this deal is more than happy. After 20 reviews, the tools have an overall rating of 4.8 stars. They focus both on the solid quality of the tools as well as the excellent pricing. permalink
Sears customer JakeF says, “The fridge on the top is excellent from a usability standpoint. If you have a bad back or have trouble squatting down, this setup is a must. The interior is smartly designed as it allows you to set up the shelves in any way you see fit. The black textured exterior looks nice and doesn’t seem to smudge which is a plus. The compressor motor is very quiet.” permalink
With this deal, it’s important to note that some colors of this plate are cheaper on Amazon, but those are for colors like Shamrock or Lemongrass. If you want other colors like White or Cobalt it’s going to cost you closer to $20, sometimes not even including shipping costs. This deal from Macy’s covers every color at the same price, and you can order it for in-store pickup if you don’t want to pay the shipping fee.
Our second favorite pick for dinner plates from the Great Gear for Hosting Parties Guide is the Fiesta 10.5″ Dinner Plate. As we said in our guide, “They’re an American-made classic and they come with a five-year chip warranty.” They’re also extremely durable for ceramics — the dish passed our drop, bang, and scratch tests with flying colors. Though they were the heaviest plate we tested, they’re so strong that they bounced without breaking when dropped from waist height onto wood. They’re oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe.
There isn’t a great deal of editorial out there around dishes, so we based our pick on our own testing, customer reviews, and anecdotes around the web. People rave about the durability of Fiestaware. Macy’s customer Rainbowbrite says, “I have had my eye on Fiesta ware for years but was never willing to make the investment. Well, I finally did and could not be happier. I have had many types of stoneware, and nothing compares to the quality of these dishes.” On The Kitchn, commenter SexyAnteater says, “I grew up with Homer Laughlin’s Fiestaware and now those dishes have become a part of my kitchen. They’re a little more expensive but they’re sturdier (mine have survived being dropped many times) and though you could just get a whole bunch of one color, mixing it up with the different colors always manages to look quite nifty.” permalink
Street Price: $100 MSRP: $100 Deal Price: $79
Tools like this have deals all the time, but there are so many variations of them it’s hard to pin down the best products with the best sales. In this case, this is one we recommend, it has a lot of good reviews and this is the lowest price I can track for it. This price puts it about $10 below our main pick, but this drill isn’t as easy to handle due to the extra power. In fact, compared to our main pick, Doug Mahoney called the Ryobi “a tank.”
This is the runner-up alternative to our pick for the best drill. Doug Mahoney thought it was just a bit too much drill for the average homeowner, and it was more expensive than our main pick, but he said it “stood out in the power/battery test and is the recommended tool if you are heading in the direction of being a full-time do-it-yourselfer.” In the tests he’s talking about the Ryobi out-paced all the other drills he tested by driving and removing 28.5 TimberLOK screws on one battery charge (compared to 23 for the next highest).
The other thing he liked about the Ryobi is that it’s on the One+ system, which means the batteries it uses will work with any other Ryobi tools in the same system. This is a good thing if you’re looking to expand your tool collection because you can save a lot of money just buying the tools without the extra batteries and such.
Except for a couple of people complaining about problems with the battery, 53 of the 57 reviews on Home Depot are 4 stars or higher. permalink
More about our deal process: When I’m looking for deals, I start with deal-gathering sites like dealcatcher.com and dealdump.com, curating all the dozens of deals that come in each week to filter out the gems, and eliminate the deals that really aren’t doing anyone any good. It’s more than just putting time into sorting through lists; it’s also about finding the items that were probably worth buying before they were ever on sale because a deal isn’t really a deal if the product still isn’t very good. I run the deals by the senior writers at The Sweethome and check user and editorial reviews before checking with camelcamelcamel.com and other price tracking tools to see if the price will likely drop or if it has been lower in the past. In the end, I’m left with just a few really good deals. Fewer than many other sites would have you believe.