PS5 and Xbox restock cheat sheet — these tips give you a fighting chance

PS5 vs Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

With the holidays inching closer, Xbox Series X and PS5 restock events are happening almost everyday. In the past 48 hours alone we've seen console restock at Best Buy, Walmart, Sony Direct, and the Microsoft Store. 

Unfortunately, each time the consoles are restocked they've sold out in minutes. Our where to buy PS5 and where to buy Xbox Series X guides are great places to start if you're searching for a console, but here are some other tips you can follow to increase your chances of scoring a new console. 

Follow retailers on social media 

Prior to the pandemic, getting a new console on release day meant waiting in a physical line with other gamers in the hopes of being one of the first shoppers inside a store. These days everyone is shopping online and we all have a common enemy: the bot. Scalpers are using bots to buy up as much PS5 and Xbox Series X stock as they can. They then sell those new consoles at extraordinary prices.

The best way to crush a bot is to simply not buy from scalpers. To do that, you must remain vigilant 24/7. Twitter accounts such as @Wario64 and @PS5StockAlerts are great at providing updates on availability. It's also worth following the Twitter accounts of your favorite stores like Best Buy Newegg, and Walmart. Keep these feeds on your radar 24/7 and likewise you can sign-up for e-mail alerts from some of your favorite stores. 

Arrive early and don't give up

Console restocks can happen any time of day. While some retailers give at least 24 hours notice, others might give you a 10-minute heads up. The minute you find out of a forthcoming restock, bookmark that page and load that website a few minutes before the restock happens. 

In the case of the Sony Direct Store, you'll need to form a virtual queue before you can shop for the PS5. Many times your "wait time" can be hours. But don't fret because the estimates that retailers give are just that — estimates. In the case of the Sony Direct Store, we've found that their wait time estimates tend to be on the short side despite messages estimating wait times of over an hour. 

However, it's worth noting that just because you're in line to buy the console doesn't mean you'll actually get one. We've made virtual lines at the Sony store only to find out all consoles have been sold out after just 20 minutes. 

Know where to click

Below you'll find a list of PS5 and Xbox Series X landing pages at all major retailers. Whenever there's a restock event, these are the pages you'll want to constantly check. (Unless, of course, said retailer provides a link to a new landing page). 

Arriving at a retailer's homepage during a restock event is a surefire way to miss out on the console you want. Make sure to know what page to check and check it frequently. 

Check all PS5 inventory 

Check all Xbox inventory

Louis Ramirez

As deals editor-in-chief at Tom’s Guide, Louis is constantly looking for ways to avoid paying full price for the latest gadgets, appliances, and apparel. With over 10 years of deals-hunting experience, Louis price checks against multiple retailers and searches high and low for the best deals to bring readers. He's also always on the look out for the best coupon codes to use when shopping. A born-and-bred New Yorker, Louis is also an avid swimmer and marathoner. His work has appeared on Gizmodo, CNET, and Time Out New York.