The winter sales frenzy is in full swing. But while many of you might be seduced by the seemingly low prices, be aware that not all offers reflect a true discount.
In fact, some key products promoted during popular sale seasons are the same price – or even cheaper – at other times of the year.
We keep a constant eye on what's in the shops and how much retailers charge, so we know which kitchen and home products aren't usually on sale. Use our guide to make sure you walk away with the best products at the cheapest prices.
If you intend to bag some top deals during this year’s sales, you need to be prepared. Doing your research on retailers and comparing prices before parting with any money is the best place to start.
Our year-long investigation tracked prices of 32 of the most popular makes and models of home and tech appliances across five of the biggest retailers: Amazon, AO.com, Argos, Currys PC World and John Lewis, with surprising results. Not only were there considerable price variations for specific products, the retailers behaved differently, too.
For home products such as cordless vacuum cleaners and ovens, we found that John Lewis is the most competitive retailer for pricing, while Amazon came top for home electronics such as kettles and electric toothbrushes.
Remember that most big-name stores also support a price-matching scheme:
Don’t always wait around for the sales to buy a new vacuum cleaner. For example, our research showed that while November's Black Friday wasn’t necessarily a bad time to buy a new vacuum cleaner, it wasn’t always the best either.
The three cordless vacuum cleaners we tracked varied in price pretty regularly over 12 months – going through a cycle of a few weeks at a higher price and a few weeks at a ‘sale’ price. This makes it tricky to know when you’re really bagging a bargain.
When you know which model you want, we would suggest keeping an eye on prices for a month or two to work out what constitutes as a real discount. This goes for washing machines, fridge freezers and tumble dryers, too.
Start your research by looking at our Best Buy vacuums. We cover products from big brands including Dyson, Hoover, Miele and Vax.
Keep an eye on Shark this year. The American manufacturer is relatively new to the UK market, so we expect to see a few discounted models during the winter sales.
Does this mean you should buy one, though? Find out how Shark vacuum cleaners compare with rival brands.
One brand we don’t see many variations in price with is Miele – an established name that is at the more expensive end of the market. You won’t typically find these models in the sales, so if you do it’s probably a purchase to consider.
Compare Miele vacuum cleaners before making a final decision.
After recently launching the DuoClean Liftaway Truepet, Shark might be considering dropping the price for some of its older cordless models. We’ve reviewed five of their cordless vacuums, so you can find out whether they're worth spending money on.
Similarly, the new Vax Blade 2 MAX launched in September, which means its predecessor – the Vax Blade Ultra – could be in the running for a price drop. The highest price we’ve seen for this is around £300, while the lowest was £139 – so if you see it any cheaper than this, it’s a legitimate discount.
Last Black Friday, both Vax and Shark discounted some of their models by an average of £100, so expect to see more of the same.
If you’re keen to get your hands on one of the new Nespresso launches of 2018, the DeLonghi Lattissima models are the ones to watch out for. The Lattissima One originally launched at £219, which is cheaper than other Lattissima machines but pricier than most original Nespresso machines. If you can get your hands on it for less than £140 – it’s a steal.
For extra features, keep an eye out for the Lattissima Touch, which has a built-in automatic milk frother and a clean button to make cleaning the internal parts of the carafe possible. It’s meant to be pricier than the ‘One’ model, and averages around £250.
For lower budgets, the Nespresso Vertuo range has been around for a little while now. Its redesigned system uses centrifugal force to extract coffee, which is supposed to produce better long coffees. The collection is priced between £130 and £190 depending on the model, and this has remained standard across retailers, but as competition heats up in the run up to Christmas you may see it for less.
If you’re willing to wait for an elusive discount then put a Sage machine on your wishlist. The super-expensive Creatista launched last year and is rarely on sale, but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for possible discounts.
The Dedica EC685 coffee machine launched in June 2017 and is the updated version of DeLonghi’s Dedica EC680. Best suited for those of you that want to make coffee the traditional way, it also comes in a variety of colours.
Since it launched last year, we haven’t seen the price dip any lower than £130. So if that’s the model you want, and you see it for less than this, it’s a good deal.
If you’re planning on pushing the boat out, then the DeLonghi Primadonna, a bean-to-cup model that costs upwards of £900, could be for you. Let’s face it; any discount on that price would be welcome. Is it really worth it though? Our DeLonghi Primadonna review reveals all.
Bosch has recently launched the Tassimo Happy, a pod machine that retails at a cheap and cheerful £99. We typically suggest avoiding Tassimos during sales periods as they are regularly on sale anyway, but as it’s a new model this one could be worth checking out.
This super-premium blender is the newest addition to the well-known Nutribullet family. At £150, it’s the most expensive blender in the range and claims to be able to analyse the nutritional content of your smoothie through a smartphone app.
Since it launched, its price has stayed consistent, so if it pops up in a winter deal it might be worth a look. Use our full Smart Balance review to find out whether it lives up to its claims.
Not fussed on the fancy features? You might be better suited to the 2017 Nutribullet 1200. This older model is more likely to be discounted over winter – add it to your shopping cart if it’s advertised for less than £100.
The price of this blender from the popular retro brand has remained stubbornly stable over the past year. But if you see one for less than £130, you’re getting a good deal.
The distinctive looking appliance launched in November 2016 and has an 800W motor, 1.5-litre capacity and four speeds. But what’s it like at blending? Find out in our Smeg Blender review.
The retro-looking KitchenAid Artisan mixer has achieved cult status in the baking world. But with prices rising to more than £500 for some models, it’s not at the top of everyone’s shopping list.
These two models are the updated versions of the iconic – and very similar looking – KSM150 stand mixer. They both come with a handy extra mini bowl that is better suited to mixing small quantities, but they also cost an eye-watering £450 to £550.
These high-end models very rarely drop below the price thresholds above, but KitchenAid might try to tempt you with a free additional accessory across the sales period.
To find out which model performs best in our tests, check our KitchenAid mixer reviews.
This model from Sage flew off the shelves last winter, perhaps because of its illuminated bowl. The integrated light puts your cake mix in the spotlight, so you can keep a close eye on its progress and avoid over-mixing.
Sage rarely takes part in sales, so you're unlikely to see a big reduction in price over the winter sales period – if you spot it for less than £300, you know it’s the real deal.
Remember, though, any mixer is only worth buying if it properly combines everything you put inside. That’s why we check how many times the sides of the bowl need to be scraped down during mixing to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Tefal is one of the biggest brands in the air fryer world, along with Philips – both of which tend to offer deals in the sales.
The ActiFry Genius XL is the newest addition to the Tefal collection. It’s pricier than most, but it’s claimed be super easy to use. In fact, Tefal states that with its dual-motion technology meals can be cooked without any shaking or monitoring.
Priced at £270, it’s not a cheap appliance, so if you're interested in buying it anyway, even a small reduction is likely to be of interest.
It’s important to note, though, that Tefal and Phillips typically only discount older models so we can’t guarantee it will make the sale.
We tracked this brushed steel kettle from well-known brand, Russel Hobbs to see how much the price fluctuated over a year.
The most we saw it being sold for was £39.99, while at its cheapest it was nearly half that at £23.20, proving that key sales dates like Black Friday aren't the only times at which you can get a deal.
Check the Buckingham kettle review to find out what we made of its features, energy efficiency and noise level. If you think it’s the kettle for you, keep your eyes peeled for a price tag of £22 or less.
Similarly, the price of the Breville Impressions VKJ738 kettle also ranged from around £20 to £40 throughout different times of the year.
If there's one product that you’re almost guaranteed to find offers for during sales it’s an electric toothbrush. But you can’t be certain you’ll be getting the biggest saving.
During our investigation, the price fluctuation of one particular toothbrush stood out. The Oral B Genius 9000 in rose gold was marketed at a staggering £209.99 one month. But then dropped to just £84.94 during another.
Other popular toothbrushes saw big price drops during the 12 months, but deals typically averaged out at a saving of around £60.
Either way, you want to be sure the toothbrush keeps your teeth and gums healthy regardless of how much it costs.
To see which models aced our tests, check out our list of Best Buy electric toothbrushes before making your final decision.