Steam Summer Sale 2021: How to get the best deals

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The Steam Summer Sale is upon us, offering some fantastic savings on a ton of games. 

Finding the best deals takes a little effort, but it's well worth it, giving you the chance to expand your Steam library without spending too much money. But that doesn't mean you should plough in and snap up every title you see; buy wisely and you'll pick up better bargains on the games you actually want to play.

When does the Steam Summer Sale start and end? 

The Steam Summer Sale started on June 24 and runs until July 8. Along with the Winter sale, the Steam Summer Sale is usually one of the store's two biggest events of the year and typically offers some of the best deals you'll find on Steam games.

What games are on sale?

Where do we start? There are many, many great games on offer in the Steam Summer Sale 2021, covering virtually every genre and price point. We've pulled together a selection of our favorites below, and for a longer list you can check out our best Steam Summer Sale games feature.

How to find the best Steam Summer Sale deals

Use your wishlist

Your first port of call for finding the best deals during Steam's sales should be your wishlist. Any time you see a game (or DLC) that strikes your interest, you should add it to your wishlist. Steam will notify you whenever it’s on sale. 

Any game you've wishlisted is probably going to be more interesting to you than random ones you find in the sale section. If there are great deals on some of your wishlisted games, it might be best to pick those up and worry about other options later.

Follow these Twitter accounts

We also recommend following Twitter accounts like @Wario64 and @videogamedeals. Both do an excellent job of highlighting the best deals in gaming. There are also subreddits like r/GameDeals and r/Steamdeals that are worth subscribing to. 

Lastly, just because a game you've been eyeing is on sale on Steam does not mean it's the best deal online. Be sure to cross-check or SteamDB to see if that current price is actually the best price. 

Check out the Steam Database

The Steam Database is a third-party site that does a fantastic job of tracking Steam sales and how much each game costs over time. On the site's sales page, you'll be able to see all of the games that are included in the Steam Summer Sale once it’s live.

You can sort games by price, rating, release date and, best of all, by discount percentage. If the latter is blue, that means it's the cheapest that game has ever been on Steam. If it's green, the discount matches the game's all-time lowest recorded price. It's a fantastic way to see at a glance the very best deals in a sale.

When you click on a game from the list, you'll see even more details, including the price in each Steam region and a chart tracking the price over time. There's also info such as whether there's multiplayer, controller, cloud or Remote Play support. 

Check out the Steam homepage

This is the first place many Steam bargain hunters visit during sales, and it's not a bad way to check out which major games have been discounted. Steam usually gives the biggest games in the sale the spotlight here, so if you've missed out some of the most talked about games of recent years until now, you might spot some welcome discounts on them. 

Take your time

The Steam Summer Sale will last for a couple of weeks, so don't rush to buy absolutely everything you're interested in. Take a moment. Think carefully about which games you're most likely to play over the next few months. You probably don't need to buy dozens for your library right now. You have some time, so take a few days to consider whether each game is something you're going to want in the near future. If not, save your money for something else. 

Grab a bunch of indie games

If you're unsure exactly what you want, why not take a chance on some indie games? You should be able to pick up a boatload of indies for a few bucks or even pennies each. They might end up better value for money in the long run, as you might snag five or six indies you end up loving for the same price as an okay AAA title. 

Wait for a better deal

If there's a specific game you're hoping to buy, but the discount is fairly small or it's not even part of the sale, just wait. Odds are you'll find savings on it at some point. Besides, if you've put off buying it until the Steam Summer Sale, you can probably wait a bit longer for the price to come down. You can also check out Steam resellers to see if they have better deals. And of course, cross-reference or SteamDB for historical pricing data.

Kris Holt

Kris writes about tech, streaming, games, esports, film and much more. He's a Scot who lives in Montreal with his partner and many, many plants.