So, you need a laptop. Before you go out to buy one, you have one question: When is the best time to buy a laptop? As with most big-ticket items, when you make your purchase is just as important as what you are purchasing.
The most straightforward answer to this question is that the best time to buy a laptop is before you need one. Maybe you are starting at a new school or a new business venture. Or perhaps you anticipate that your current laptop is no longer powerful enough to do what you need it to do.
If you can anticipate when you will need a laptop, you can figure out when is the best time to buy one.
Beyond when you need it
But, of course, figuring out when is the best time to buy a laptop isn’t just about when you need it. When you buy a laptop, the chances are good that you want to get a good piece of hardware at a reasonable price.
In this case, finding a good laptop at a reasonable price is often the key to figuring out when is the best time to buy a laptop.
So when is the best time to buy a laptop?
Learn the sales
Everybody loves a good deal! When it comes to buying a big-ticket item like personal electronics, finding a good deal is essential.
The key to figuring out when is the best time to buy a laptop has a lot to do when sales are likely to happen. Luckily, retailers in the United States typically follow a set schedule that helps shoppers hone in on the best deals regularly.
BACK TO SCHOOL
According to Consumer Reports, the best time to buy electronics is during the Back-to-School sale season. The Back-to-School shopping season typically runs from about mid-July through August.
However, if you miss the Back-to-School season, the next best season to buy is the holiday season. Big-ticket items like laptops are always favorite gifts. Retailers love to entice generous gift-givers with some hefty discounts.
Start checking around the beginning of November for pre-Black Friday computer deals. Many traditional and online retailers may hold pre-Black Friday deals in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
Of course, Black Friday is not the only sales day. You can also possibly find good prices on laptops throughout December and even into the beginning of the New Year as stores clear out unsold holiday inventory.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the premiere personal electronics show in North America. When companies have new personal electronics to show off, this is where they do it.
CES usually takes place in Las Vegas, sometime during the first two weeks January. In response, retailers will typically cut prices on current electronics inventory during the month to help make room for the shiny new devices announced at the show.
DADS AND GRADS
The month of June often sees some pretty good sales for Father’s Day and school graduations. Start checking around the end of May throughout June for deals on laptops and other personal electronics.
While these three significant sales seasons are the best times to look for deals on laptops, keep your eye out for other sales throughout the year. Many stores, both traditional and online, will hold sales throughout the year for non-major holidays. While these sales may not be tech-focused, you may still find a deal lurking here and there.
Outside of retailers, be sure to check computer manufacturer’s websites to buy direct during sales seasons. Also, computer manufacturers may take advantage of less popular shopping seasons like President’s Day or Memorial Day to put their laptops on special.
A Generational Tip
Everyone wants the latest and greatest technology at their fingertips. But if you’re trying to figure out when is the best time to buy a laptop, you want to bide your time.
One of the secrets to getting a great deal on a laptop is to buy right when the next upgrade has been announced. While everyone clamors to get their hands on the latest model, manufacturers and retailers will reduce prices on their current inventory.
This trick works particularly well with Apple laptops like the Macbook, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Air. Apple products tend to be expensive, and newer models usually do not enjoy the same discounts you may be able to find on other laptops from PC manufacturers.
For the almost-latest generation, the best time to buy an Apple laptop is usually right after an upgrade was announced. However, older Apple products tend to be far more affordable than the current generation.
Other Ways to Get a Deal
Sometimes you need a laptop between sales seasons or refresh periods. Even so, you can still find ways to get a good deal even if it isn’t the best time of the year.
What is your current status?
If you are a student (or buying a laptop for a student) in K-12, college, or trade school, you may qualify for a student discount through the computer manufacturer. You can check the manufacturer website or contact your school for more information.
Likewise, if you are employed and have benefits through work, check with your human resources contact to see if you get any computer discounts. Some employee benefit programs offer discounts for various computer manufacturers for laptops, desktops, and other computer equipment.
What's that open box?
Even if you missed the latest sale season, a good deal on a great laptop might be closer than you think. If you are at a store, check their clearance section. They may have some good laptops at reduced prices.
Check stores to see if they have any open-box laptops available. Open-box laptops may be former floor models or customer returns. Retailers typically inspect open-box laptops to ensure that they are still in working condition.
Before purchasing an open-box laptop, check for the return policy. Some retailers may sell open-box items “as is” with a no-return policy.
Another way to potentially save big money on a laptop when you have missed the best sales is to buy a refurbished laptop.
Refurbished laptops are laptops that were previously used have since been restored. Some refurbished laptops may look and work like new. However, others may have some superficial cosmetic issues or slightly diminished battery life.
The refurbishment process typically inspects various component and verifies the laptop works, though this may vary from company to company.
If you choose to buy a refurbished laptop, Laptop Magazine suggests that you find one that has a one-year warranty. This can help protect you just in case you end up with a problem laptop.
So when is the best time to buy a laptop? If you are not on any time constraints, waiting for the Back-to-School sales season. July and August will be full of laptops on sale.
However, if you are not near the Back-to-School season, there are other ways to get a good price on a laptop. By shopping different sales seasons, or using other types of discounts, you can still score a great price on a good laptop no matter what time of the year you may be in the market for a new laptop.
Have you found any great sales? Let us know in the comments below!