Consumer Reports tracks the prices of lots of products all year long, which means we can let you know which month (or, in some cases, months) you can find the best deals on those items.
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The five products listed below should be available at their lowest annual price in April. Just keep our usual caveat in mind: Great sales offen occur at the end of a season when inventories are thin, so you may not have a huge selection from which to choose.
As a result, it's important to check our buying guides (and for subscribers to check our Ratings and Reliability data) to make sure you also get a great performing product.
Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? See our calendar of deals.
You'll get the deepest discounts on spring gear by timing it right, say the editors at Shop Smart magazine. Kohl's fans, for example, should check out the "Gold Star Clearance" racks, where prices are slashed up to 80 percent on weekend nights. Every Wednesday, shoppers who are 60 years old and older get an extra 15 percent off.
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At Target, women's clothing is generally marked down on Tuesdays, men's on Wednesday, and kids' on Mondays. Markdowns at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx usually happen on Wednesday.
Desktops deliver more performance for the money than laptops and are less costly to repair. They allow for a more ergonomically correct work environment, let you work on a larger screen, and typically come with better speakers. Desktops are available in various styles and configurations, all designed to appeal to different tastes—and uses.
But, with the exception of all-in-one or compact computers, most take up a lot of space, even with a thin monitor. For tips on getting the right model for you, read our buying guide. To see which models did best in our lab tests, subscribers should check out our Ratings.
Digital cameras have better lenses than smart phones or tablets, which means they produce sharper pictures, especially in low lighting or when taking zoom shots.
But buying a digital camera can be confusing. There are hundreds of cameras available at many different types of retail outlets (online and in traditional stores), with prices ranging from $75 to several thousand dollars. Some are easy to use. Others look like you need an engineering degree to operate them.
Laptops let you use your computer away from your desk, but you pay for that mobility with a keyboard that's a little more cramped, a higher price, and sometimes, reduced performance.
They're also more expensive to repair than desktops. Technological advances have lessened the performance compromises for the most part, though.
Whether your main consideration is portability or power, screen size will be an essential factor in deciding which type of laptop is right for you. To help you select the right model, see our buying guide. Subscribers can see our Ratings and reliability data.
Even if you don't plan to shop for a mower or tractor, you could end up doing so if you own an older model and it breaks. The latest data from the Consumer Reports National Research Center show that push mowers usually aren't worth fixing after four years and self-propelled mowers after five years. Older tractors might be worth repairing, but getting them to and from the shop can add expense.
When you're choosing a new mower, consider how you'll use it. Most models come ready to mulch, bag, or side-discharge clippings. But mulching or bagging with a riding machine usually requires a kit that costs $50 to $500. And check the features and controls before you buy.
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