WIRED legally covers great deals all year round, including on Prime Day. Our tips below will help you find the great discounts on your own.
How do I know if a deal is good?
ABC: Always be checked (prices, that is). Examining the price of an item is the most important aspect in determining the quality of a discount. Do not fall victim to misleading marketing language and high MSRP prices – our tips only take a moment. The easiest step is to spend a second to Google the items you are considering so you can see the price across multiple stores.
One tool we like to use is Camelcamelcamel, which tracks Amazon prices over time. Simply paste the Amazon link or ASIN (found in the product information section of the Amazon product page) into Camelcamelcamel’s search bar and you’ll be able to see the lowest recorded price of an item, its average price and how often the price fluctuates. Some deals, such as Lightning Deals, are excluded from the price history, but it’s still helpful to see what an item has sold for in the past.
We also really like Keepa, which has an extension (available for multiple browsers) that shows the latest pricing history of products directly on the Amazon page, so you never have to open a new tab. Other good tools are Honeywhich can potentially save you money through promotional codes, but also track price history at various retailers across the web, and Octoshopwhich can quickly show you the price of a product across multiple retailers.
Keep in mind that these services may not work all the time. But to be able to see how much a product cost just before the sale started (and about MSRP happened to increase) can be very useful. Putting these tools together can help you deduce whether a deal is worth your money.
WIRED always fact-checks agreements to determine their quality. You can check our ongoing quote coverage to find summaries of the best discounts available – during Prime Day and year-round.
What is a Lightning Deal?
Lightning Deals are time-limited deals that Amazon runs for only a few hours each. They are not limited to Prime Day, but they are especially prevalent during major sales events. When an item is sold out, you may be able to sign up for a waiting list, but not always.
To put it bluntly, the Lightning Deals range is often filled with impulse purchases, such as makeup and skin care products or toys. Prime members can browse upcoming offers on Amazon’s website and in the mobile app. The app can also alert you before a Lightning Deal begins.
How do I make sure a deal is not sold out?
It is always disappointing when an item on sale is sold out. If you know when an appointment starts, be sure to actively pay attention to the product page around the start time. You may also be able to add an item to your shopping cart before the sale begins, so you can refresh the page to catch it right away.
It’s smart to set up an account with trusted retailers so you can save your credit card information and shipping information in advance. This will make the payment process as fast as possible. It is also a good idea to clear your web browser cache before you start shopping during sales events like Prime Day. Just be sure to log on to these resellers afterwards.