7 products that are cheaper this holiday season

By Amanda WalkerConsumer Reports

If you'd like to get the best deals on your holiday shopping this year, you’ll be happy to hear that Consumer Reports’ product research experts, who monitor the prices of many of the items we test, have found several that have gone down in price in the last 12 months. For each one we’ve provided a tip to help you cut your budget even more.

If you're in the market for one or more of these products, but you're not in a rush, it might be worth waiting until the end of December or January to shop. Prices might be even better after the holidays (though inventories may be thin).

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Since last year the prices for many comparable models have been slashed by 15 percent or more, probably because more people use their cell phones or tablet to take videos. And prices may drop another 25 percent or more around the holidays. Know what to look for by reading our camcorder buying guide.

To save even more Consider an action camcorder. These are smaller, lighter models available with rugged housing and mounting brackets for attaching it to a helmet or other object (see the photo at right). Many come with high-definition resolution. Our recommended models (available to subscribers) from GoPro, Polaroid, and Sony were about one-third the price of many of our top-rated full-size HD models. Subscribers can also check out our Ratings.

When our experts recently checked the prices of frying pans, they were surprised to see that they had dropped 20 percent since last year, most likely because of increased competition from celebrity-chef lines. Those savings should extend to cookware sets and continue after the holidays.

To save even more Check what’s in a set. Utensils and even a cookbook are sometimes counted as pieces of a set. And don’t overbuy. A set that contains lots of pots and pans might not be the best choice if the person you’re buying it for will only cook with a few pieces while the rest gather dust in a cabinet. For more tips, read our buying guide; subscribers can also check out our Ratings. To learn how we test pots and pans, watch the video below.

Point-and-shoot camera prices have dropped 10 percent or more since last year to lure back customers who now take more pictures with their phones and tablets. But digital cameras have better lenses that produce sharper pictures, especially in low lighting and zoom shots. And prices will drop even more around the holidays in the hope of clearing out inventory for new models, which are introduced in January and hit store shelves in March.

To save even more Don’t buy based on megapixel counts. More megapixels don’t produce better prints unless the person you’re giving it to blows them up to poster size. A Nikon 12-megapixel model was tops in our recent test of subcompact digital cameras, outperforming a Sony 18-megapixel model that cost $250 more. For more tips, see our buying guide and Ratings (available to subscribers)

Unlike many other products, food processors don’t change very often. Over time their prices tend to drop. Expect most models to be about 10 percent cheaper this holiday season than they were in 2012. For example, Cuisinart DLC-2011CHB (recommended in our recent test) was $200 last year and is now selling for $179.

To save even more Don’t buy based on price. In our tests we found that some recommended models from Cuisinart (such as the one mentioned above) outperformed other models that cost twice as much. To help you find the best models, read our food processor buying guide. Subscribers can see the models that outperformed the pack in our Ratings.

Shredding personal documents and statements before you toss them is a great way to help avoid ID theft. These munchers have dropped in price by 10 percent or more since last year. As with food processors, the models don’t change often. And prices tend to drop even more from the fall through the spring tax season.

To save even more Shop at the big box stores. Shredders are typically 15 percent or so less at places such as Costco and Walmart. Before you go, check out our shredder buying guide. To see the models that did best in our tests, subscribers can see our Ratings.

The average tablet price dropped 15 percent in the first six months of 2013. The cuts are probably due to an increase in sales of 7- to 8-inch models (now 60 percent of the market), which cost less than larger tablets and include the popular Kindle and Nook. Two exceptions: Apple and Samsung tablets, whose prices remain constant.

To save even more Go with the crowd. You can get a great 7- to 8-inch tablet for $250 or less, while tablets with larger displays can run up to $1,000 or so. For more shopping tips, read our buying guide; subscribers should see our Ratings. If your looking for kid's tablets, see the video below.

Prices have dropped by 10 percent or more since last year, and TV models with larger screens have gone down most. You can get more features at lower price ranges. November through January are strong selling months, and the competition for buyers should result in added price cuts of 25 to 50 percent.

To save even more Check out our TV buying guide. And use shopping bots. Many Internet sites are one-stop shops where you can check prices for specific TVs at hundreds of retailers. You can sort the listings by price, including tax and shipping. Some sites to consider: BizRate (and its affiliate, Shopzilla), Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, and Shopping. com. You’ll also find a price-comparison and local-shopping link in our TV Ratings (available to subscribers).

Want to know what's on sale the rest of the year? See our calendar of deals.

Mandy Walker

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