What to buy and not to buy on Amazon Prime Day

Great deals on some items, but not everything

Amazon Prime Day 2018 is finally here.

For the first time ever, the savings extravaganza will run for almost two days this year. It starts at 3 p.m. Monday and runs 36 hours all the way through Tuesday evening.

That's a lot of time to spend on your phone or laptop hoping to find a deal.

So to simplify things, we have a list of what to buy and what you should probably pass on, along with advice on how to sift through the thousands of offers to find what you really want.

What to buy

It's impossible to predict all the deals that will pop up between now and Tuesday night, as Amazon won't say what will be on sale in advance.

However, Amazon-branded items are already on sale, and will be marked down to Black Friday-like prices through the entire day. If you want any sort of Alexa-enabled device, this is the time to buy it.

So the best things to buy, according to Tom's Guide to electronics (all prices were valid at the start of the sale but could change):

  • Amazon Echo 2nd Gen ($69, down from $99)
  • Amazon Echo Dot ($29, a $20 savings)
  • Amazon Echo Show ($129, a $100 discount)
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick ($19, which is half list price)
  • Kindle Fire HD tablet ($49, a $30 price cut)
  • Alexa-linked home security cameras
  • Ring DoorBell Pro ($174, down from $249)
  • Amazon Music Membership
  • Amazon Elements Vitamins
  • Amazon Mama Bear Baby Food

Tom's Guide says it is also worthwhile looking at laptops and HDTVs, though you should not expect Black Friday pricing.

What Not to buy

Based on four years worth of Amazon Prime Day deals, Marketwatch is among skeptics saying there are a number of items where you will find much better deals if you wait. Among them, Marketwatch says:

  • Big 4KTVs: Black Friday and the holiday season brings the best pricing.
  • Laptops: Expect a few good markdowns, but the best pricing is in August during back-to-school shopping, and on Black Friday.
  • Apple products: Amazon is trying to sell Amazon products, so it is not slashing prices on iPads and MacBooks.
  • Xbox and PlayStation consoles: Lower prices, plus free gift cards, on Black Friday.
  • Hot toys: Cheaper in December when stores slash prices.

Find deals, avoid a headache

Amazon Prime Day can become a big headache, if you are just watching the thousands of lightning deals that pop up.

Experts say the best steps to take to make the day easier are:

  1. Download the Amazon app on your phone.
  2. Set a Watch List of your favorite products, to get a mobile alert when the price drops.
  3. Enable "1-Click Ordering" to make purchasing hassle free.
  4. If an item is sold out, sign up for the wait list, as it often comes available when people drop it from their cart.

Finally, resist the urge to buy something simply because it is on sale. 

Do you really need 150 dryer sheets this week, simply because they are 75 percent off? Shop smart, so you don't waste your money.

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