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September is a great time to save on a variety of items across multiple categories. There are three main reasons you’ll find so many ways to save: Labor Day, back-to-school shopping, and the seasonal shift from summer to fall.
All of these factors lead retailers to drop their prices on these 15 products, among others. There are opportunities to save on outdoor items like grills, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers, as well as discounts on tech, including cell phones, printers, and wireless routers. Add to that price drops on freezers, air purifiers, and cooking appliances, and you can makes upgrades across your whole home for less. Plus, you’ll often see sales on other large appliances, mattresses, and even apparel and home goods this month.
Consumer Reports tracks the prices of the products we test to determine the times of year they will most likely be at their best discounts. To learn more about what goes on sale and when, check out our calendar of deals.
Labor Day is the last chance of the year to find grills on sale. Retailers are looking to make room in their warehouses as the outdoor cooking season draws to a close. And with a few months left until it’s too cold to barbecue often (at least in some parts of the country), you might as well make the most of the fall grilling season. So whether you want a new charcoal, gas, pellet, or kamado grill, keep an eye out for sales this month.
Grill 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 or tailgating to larger grills designed to feed an extended family. We produce ratings of more than 150 grills to suit both first-time buyers and seasoned grill masters 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 food. So you’ll want to review our grill buying guide if you’re not sure whether you’d be happiest with a charcoal grill, gas grill, or pellet grill.
Lawn Mowers and Tractors
Having the right tools makes it easier to get any job done, and that’s especially true when it comes to yardwork. A good mower can make quick, easy work of unruly turf, and you may be able to find a good deal on a new machine in early fall.
Prices for lawn mowers range from a hundred bucks to several thousand. Though it’s not necessary to spring for the priciest model on the market, spending just a bit more than the lower end of the price spectrum will get you a higher-quality machine.
You’ll want to research the options to find the best model for your property, whether gas- or battery-powered, push or ride-on mowers. And beyond that, consider factors like size, power, and upkeep. Check out CR’s lawn mower and tractor buying guide to learn more about your options and find a suitable mower for your home.
If your current smartphone isn’t that current anymore and you’re finally ready to get your hands on something newer, September may be a great time to find a recent model at a discount. While Black Friday in November is when you’ll find the widest variety of phones on sale, the fall season kicks off with early discounts as carriers and retailers prepare for new phones.
You’re especially in luck if you’re an Apple fan, because the brand typically unveils its new devices in September. As a result, prices on the previous year’s models begin to drop this month.
Not sure which phone is right for you? Our smartphone buying guide can help you find the perfect option to suit your lifestyle.
For those with a printer on your back-to-school shopping list, you may be able to find a good deal on a top model this month. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether you need a printer that can scan and fax or just want something basic to print occasionally.
There are two main types of printers: laser and inkjet. Some may be able to make copies or offer wireless printing over WiFi. CR’s buying guide can give you a more in-depth look at the different options and the best models so that you’ll be ready to buy when the printer you want goes on sale.
A good wireless router can help boost your WiFi signal, eliminate any dead spots in your home, and ensure that everyone in the family can stream, play, and otherwise spend time online uninterrupted. Thanks in part to continuing back-to-school sales, September is often a great month to find a new router for less.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new router, from the size of your home to cybersecurity protections. Start with CR’s buying guide, which walks you through all the different factors and features so that you can determine which model is right for you.
Air conditioners often go on sale in September because they’re no longer as in-demand as summer winds down. Get one for less this month to beat the last of the summer heat or just be ready for next year.
You can choose a window unit or a portable AC, and some models may have features such as WiFi connectivity and a companion app. CR has tested and rated 50 models, so be sure to check out our buying guide and recommendations to find the best fit for your home.
If you have a lot of carpeting and a house full of kids and pets, buying a carpet cleaner is a good investment, and our data shows they’re often more affordable in September. Homeowners who clean their carpets only occasionally 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 come 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.
Read CR’s buying guide to get a better idea of what’s out there and what will be best for your needs.
September is a good time to invest in replacement windows. This home improvement project can help better insulate your home before the temperatures start to fall. Plus, CR has been tracking window prices for years and our data shows prices tend to dip this month.
Upgrading your windows is not going to be a cheap undertaking, so you may as well take advantage of any opportunity to save on materials. Opting for just replacement windows, as long as your sills and frames are in good condition, is a good start. But if you have to replace everything, the cost will go up. Using Energy Star-certified windows offers another potential way to save on your energy bills. And there may even be local or state rebates or incentives you can take advantage of as well.
But before you can buy new windows, you’ll want to do your research. Consult CR’s buying guide, which goes over everything from choosing the right windows and materials to finding the right installer. CR has rated 14 different double-hung replacement windows for wind and rain resistance.
Stand-alone freezers tend to dip in price a few times a year, including September. But this year, we haven’t seen much in the way of savings. More shoppers than usual have been buying freezers to store extra food and reduce the frequency of their shopping trips, and retailers have struggled 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 there are still residual shipping delays and slowdowns. If you need added storage now, you may want to look for curbside pickup or in-store options, or consider purchasing a refrigerator with a larger freezer to expand your food storage sooner.
Check out our buying guide and ratings to find the best freezer for your needs so that you’ll be ready to buy when it’s in stock.
Need to tackle some tree work? Look for sales on chainsaws in September. 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 fireplace this winter.
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. Check out CR’s chainsaw buying guide and ratings to learn more about the various models.
As the weather changes from summer to fall, seasonal allergies can hit hard. An air purifier may be a smart investment if you’re sensitive to this shift. They’re great if you or someone in your household has asthma or is allergic to airborne allergens like dust or pet dander.
In addition to looking at the purchase price of a room air purifier, you’ll want to factor in its operating costs. You could spend $150 to $200 per year on filter replacements and electricity.
To reduce those costs, seek out energy-efficient models (check for Energy Star certification) and washable filters. Choosing a large unit and running it at a lower speed will keep the noise down. Use a higher speed to clean a large room quickly.
To understand more about what to look for and how much to pay, check out our air purifier buying guide and ratings.
Leaf blowers are a great time saver in the fall if you have trees on or near your property. They will make quick work of corralling fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and other debris all season and all year long. 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. CR’s buying guide will help you learn more so that you can shop with confidence.
If you’re remodeling, a new cooktop can be perfect for your kitchen island, especially if you plan to install an in-wall oven. Cooktops tend to drop in price around Labor Day and into mid-September at least, making this month a great time to buy.
You’ll find gas, electric, and induction cooktops ranging from 21 to 48 inches. Many have five or six burners, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have room to use them all at once. Generally, most 30-inch cooktops have four or five burners, and most 36-inch cooktops have five or six.
Learn more about the advantages of each cooktop in our buying guide to determine which is the best fit for your home before you start shopping around. Then start your search with CR’s recommended models, which all passed our rigorous tests with flying colors.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your appliances for a kitchen renovation or suddenly find yourself in need of a new oven, September is an excellent time to be on the lookout for sales. This is especially true if you’re considering a wall oven, which offers lots of flexibility that you won’t find in a range and may be available at significant discounts this month. Because most wall ovens are electric, they can be installed on just about any wall in your kitchen and at any height, so you won’t have to bend over when pulling out hot, heavy dishes.
If you spend a lot of time cooking, you may want to consider a double oven. Or perhaps you’re in the market for one with a convection mode to reduce cook times, or variable broil to cook with even more precision.
All of these options are out there, making it paramount to research before you buy. Purchasing any major appliance, especially an oven, is a big decision, and we recommend reading our buying guide and exploring our ratings and recommendations before you choose a model. Doing the research is essential to ensuring you’re satisfied with your new wall oven.
Wall ovens typically range from $850 to upward of $6,000, but keep an eye out for sales at major retailers like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, Appliances Connection, AJ Madison, Sears, and Walmart.
Smart speakers enable a lot of entertainment and smart home options, and if you’ve wanted one, September is a great time to get it on sale. They originally were best used as virtual assistants, but now there is a wide world of options that offer impressive sound quality for music playback.
There are three virtual assistants: Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant. Siri is available only in the Apple HomePod, whereas you can find a variety of brands offering smart speakers that rely on Alexa or Google. These assistants can set reminders and timers, call an Uber, order pizza, answer trivia questions, share news and weather updates, and so much more.
Smart speakers can be especially useful if you have any smart devices in your home, providing voice control for things like lights, thermostats, and even TV control. Just make sure to check compatibility, because not every device works with every smart speaker.
CR has tested 52 different smart speakers for sound quality, versatility, and ease of use, among other factors, to help you choose the best option for your home.
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