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Best Black Friday deals — sales to expect in 2021

Black Friday deals
(Image credit: Future)

Ready or not, retailers will soon start promoting their Black Friday deals 2021. There are officially less than two months left till the start of November. That means we're just weeks away from the start of the Black Friday season. As always, retailers will be more eager than ever to launch their Black Friday deals and we expect preview deals could start as early as late September. 

So we're taking a look at some of last year's best Black Friday deals and also looking at some of the best deals we've seen so far in 2021. That way we'll have a good sense of what we can expect from this year's Black Friday deals. 

While 2021 has seen some epic deals, Black Friday deals still remain the best. For example, last year we saw 4K OLED TVs drop to an all-time low of $899, whereas many 65-inch and 75-inch 4K TVs went for as little as $399. We've yet to see those prices so far in 2021. Could Black Friday deals for 2021 bring in even cheaper TV prices? 

Likewise, amazing Black Friday mattress deals from the likes of Nectar, Sealy, and Casper slashed up to $400 off our top mattresses. 

There's a lot of deal action that will happen in the coming weeks, so keep it locked to Tom's Guide for the best Black Friday deals of 2021. 

Black Friday deals to expect in 2021

Black Friday is traditionally the best time of year to make any major purchase. From TVs to mattresses, retailers save their best deals for the holidays with the majority of sales starting the first week of November. However, 2021 will be slightly different in that the pandemic is causing shortages of labor and essential material/parts. 

PS5 restock, for instance, is still near impossible to find. Numerous furniture companies are also backed up with delivery dates that are taking months instead of just a few days. New outbreaks in countries like Vietnam are causing factory closures, which in turn means less inventory for shoppers. 

You can expect these shortages and delays to last through the end of the year, which means Black Friday deals may be in large demand, but low supply this year. 

Below are the 25 best Black Friday deals we saw last year. We'll use them for reference as we predict the sales we expect to see later this year. 

Last year's best Black Friday deals 

Vizio 55" OLED 4K TV: was $1,299 now $899 @ Best Buy
Perhaps one of the best Black Friday deals of all time came from Best Buy last yet. They had the new Vizio 55-inch 4K OLED TV on sale for $899.99. That remains to this day the cheapest OLED TV we've ever seen. The 65-inch model was also $500 off. (The larger model is normally $400 off). View Deal

Vizio 50" 4K QLED TV: was $349 now $298 @ Walmart
The Vizio M506x is one of the least-expensive QLED TVs we've seen. This 4K TV is designed for gamers thanks it its IQ Active processor, which offers fast response times, low lag, and smooth action scenes. It also has built-in Chromecast and support for both Alexa and Google Assistant. It was one of the best Black Friday deals we saw last year. View Deal

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress: was $798 now $499 + $399 of free gifts @ Nectar
The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress sits at the top of our list when it comes to mattresses. Not only did it get a full five star review, but we found it exceptionally comfortable and supportive, and not too hot at night. Depending on which size you choose, there's a $300 or $400 discount. Plus, you'll get luxury sheets, pillows, and a mattress protector worth $399 thrown in for free.View Deal

Echo Dot (4th Gen): was $49 now $28 @ Amazon
The Echo Dot always hits a new price low on Black Friday and last year was no exception. At the time, it was a recently announced product yet Amazon slashed its price to just $28. It was bundled with your choice of a free smart bulb or 6 months of free Amazon Music Unlimited. View Deal

Hulu: was $5.99 now $1.99/month
Enjoy unlimited access to Hulu's deep vault of TV shows and movies, from classic sitcoms to mystery procedurals as well as addictive reality fare and Oscar-winning dramas. View Deal

Apple AirPods Pro: was $249 now $169 @ Amazon
The best AirPods Pro deal of all time dropped Apple's buds to just $169. That's $80 off and one of the best Black Friday deals of all time. Walmart matched Amazon and offered the same price. So far in 2021 they hit $179 on Labor Day, which sets them up nicely to hit $169 or less again this year. View Deal

Insignia 55" 4K Fire TV: was $429 now $279 @ Best Buy
Big-screen TVs were dirt cheap last year. One of our favorite deals knocked the Insignia 55-inch 4K Fire TV to just $279. (That's less than an iPad!) Like all Fire TVs, it gives you access to tons of content/apps as well as access to Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa. View Deal

Galaxy Chromebook 4K: was $999 now $349 @ Samsung
For a limited time, you can get the Samsung Chromebook 4K for as little as $349 with an eligible trade-in at Samsung. This is one of the few Chromebooks to feature a 13.3-inch 4K screen. It features a Core i5-10210U CPU coupled with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. View Deal

10.2" iPad (32GB/2020): was $329 now $249 @ B&H Photo
The current-gen iPad features an A12 Bionic CPU, 10.2-inch (2160 x 1620) LCD, 8MP camera, 12MP front camera, and an epic 12:57 battery life. It dropped to as low as $249 last holiday season. However, it also sold out rapidly at the likes of Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo. We think we'll have a new 2021 iPad his year, but again we predict it could drop to $249 come the holidays. View Deal

Bose 700: was $399 now $299 @ Amazon
The Bose 700 are one of the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy. They're stylish, comfortable to wear, and deliver superior noise cancelling. The Arctic White color is now $299, whereas the silver and black models are $339 in this epic Black Friday deal.View Deal

Apple Watch 6 (GPS/40mm): was $399 now $329 @ Amazon
The new Apple Watch 6 features a brighter display, new S6 processor, and built-in blood oxygen sensors that support Apple's new Blood Oxygen app. It's the best Apple Watch you can get and it's currently $69 off, which is an all-time price low. View Deal

Nespresso Essenza: was $199 now $99 @ Best Buy
The Nespresso Essenza is a compact espresso machine that uses Nespresso's capsules to brew the perfect cup of joe. This deal, which cuts the price by 50%, also includes the Aeroccino 3 milk frother for making cappuccinos. It's one of the best Black Friday kitchen appliance deals we've seen so far. View Deal

iPhone 12: free with Unlimited + trade-in @ Verizon
At Verizon, trade-in an iPhone X (or higher), sign up for a Verizon Unlimited plan, and you can get the new iPhone 12 for free (with a 24-month installment plan). That's $799 off and one of the best Black Friday deals we've seen on Apple's latest phone. View Deal

Board games: up to 40% off @ Amazon
Add some fun to your quarantine nights with a new board game. Currently, Amazon is taking up to 40% off select board games. The sale includes popular board games like Sorry, Battleship, and Jenga (pictured). View Deal

When is Black Friday 2021

Black Friday 2021 is on Friday, November 26. However, Black Friday deals will start well in advance of the Black Friday 2021 date. Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are just a handful of retailers historically start their Black Friday deals at the start of the month in November. 

Who has the best Black Friday deals in 2021

Every retailer has Black Friday deals available in November. However, if you're wondering who has the best Black Friday deals — the answer is based on what you want to buy. For instance, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart tend to dominate when it comes to deals on 4K TVs, laptops, and smartwatches. 

For deals on apparel and home goods, we recommend turning to stores like Macy's, Wayfair, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Home goods is a broad topic and also includes mattresses. If you're shopping for the latter, mattress manufacturers tend to offer the best and biggest discounts, oftentimes undercutting box retailers like Macy's and Amazon. 

Does Apple offer Black Friday deals

The Apple Store is renown for not offering deals. However, every November it offers its annual Apple Black Friday sale. The sale varies each year offering free Beats headphones with the purchase of select devices or discounts of up to 10% off on select Mac purchases. 

Last year, Apple offered a free Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select devices. For instance, buy an Apple Watch 3 and you'll get a $25 Apple gift card. To maximize the gift card value, Apple wants you to spend more. So to get the biggest gift card — a $150 Apple gift card — required that you purchase an iMac or a MacBook Pro. This year, iPhone 13 deals will play a big role on Black Friday. Expect to see epic Black Friday deals on Apple's latest iPhones and iPads. (The best deals will come from retailers and not from Apple).  

Are stores doing Black Friday 2021?

Black Friday deals

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Due to the pandemic, the majority of brick-and-mortar stores skipped their traditional Thanksgiving Day in-store events last year. Walmart, for instance, did not open its stores on Thanksgiving and instead released a new batch of Black Friday deals online. Other stores offered curbside pickup to avoid having customers congregate outside their stories. This year things are different. 

We've seen monthly Best Buy RTX 3080 restock nationwide this summer and there's even a rumor we may see in-store Best Buy PS5 restock soon. As a result, in-store shopping could make a comeback this year, as could early bird deals that requires shoppers to line up outside stores. 

Why is it called Black Friday? 

The use of the term "Black Friday" to describe the retail holiday dates back to 1961 in Philadelphia. It was used to describe the crowded pedestrian and vehicle traffic that resulted the day after Thanksgiving. By 1975, the term had gained traction and was being used outside of Philadelphia. 

These days, retailers have a different explanation for the term. For many companies, Black Friday marks the point in the calendar year when companies go "in the black," or finally begin to turn a profit for the year. The profit they make is due to the surge in shoppers looking for holiday deals. 

Louis Ramirez

As deals editor at Tom’s Guide, Louis is constantly looking for ways to avoid paying full price for the latest gadgets. 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. 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.