Black Friday is the most popular retail holiday of the year. If you plan on shopping this season, this guide will show you where to go and how to get the best deals.
According to the National Retail Federation, roughly 164 million people visited retail stores or shopped online on Thanksgiving weekend in 2018 – up from 151 million two years earlier. The average shopper spent about $313 over those four days, with most of that total specifically earmarked for gifts.
Most retailers offer exceptional Black Friday shopping deals that are difficult or impossible to find any other day of the year. Thanks to extended hours and Thanksgiving evening blitzes at many retailers, it’s easier than ever to score great Black Friday deals without encountering crippling crowds or stress. In many cases, it’s no longer necessary to even leave the house.
However, research and planning remain key to any successful Black Friday shopping trip. Use this Black Friday cheat sheet to draw up an efficient shopping plan that includes as many great deals as possible.
Remember that some of the retailers outlined here specialize in specific product categories. For example, Home Depot specializes in home improvement and will have knowledgeable staff to help you analyze and compare products. Other retailers, such as Target and Walmart, take a more generalized approach that may require more DIY research.
Also, unless otherwise noted, the in-store tips and deals outlined here also apply online, so if you forget anything while you’re out and about, all is not lost. Some deals are even online-only. They’ll be waiting for you when you get home from a long day of shopping or on your phone as you wait in line at the store.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday Open Hours
Your Black Friday experience will be infinitely more rewarding – and probably a fair bit less stressful – if you know when to go where. These are the Thanksgiving and Black Friday open hours for all the physical stores listed in this article:
- Ace Hardware: Varies by store.
- The A&T Store: Varies by store.
- Best Buy: Hours vary by location. In most states, stores are open from 5pm Thanksgiving to 1am Friday, then open again from 8am Friday until 10pm or 11pm Friday. In Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, stores are closed on Thanksgiving and open at 12am or 1am Friday.
- Fry’s Home Electronics: Hours vary by location, but stores generally remain open from about 9am to 1pm Thanksgiving, then reopen at 6am Friday and stay open until regular closing hours (typically 9pm or 10pm). Online deals may start earlier on Friday.
- Home Depot: Stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Most open at 6am Friday and stay open until regular closing hours (typically 9pm or 10pm).
- JCPenney: Most stores open at 2pm Thanksgiving and stay open until regular close on Friday. Online sales may begin earlier.
- Kmart: Most stores open from 6pm to midnight on Thanksgiving, then open again at 6am Friday and stay open through regular close. Online sales may start as early as the Monday before Thanksgiving.
- Kohl’s: Most stores open at 5pm on Thanksgiving and stay open until regular close on Friday. Online deals start as early as the Monday before Thanksgiving.
- Lowe’s: Stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Most open at 6am Friday and stay open until regular closing hours (typically 9pm or 10pm).
- Macy’s: Most stores are open from 5pm Thanksgiving to 2am Friday, then open again at 6am Friday and stay open through regular close.
- Menards: Hours vary by store. Most are closed on Thanksgiving and stay open from 6am Friday through regular closing hours (typically 8pm to 10pm).
- Old Navy: Most stores remain open from 5pm Thanksgiving to 11pm Friday, subject to landlord restrictions and local ordinances.
- Sears: Most stores open from 6pm to midnight on Thanksgiving, then open again at 5am Friday and stay open through regular close.
- Staples: Stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Most open at 7am Friday and stay open until 10pm, subject to landlord restrictions and local retail ordinances.
- Target: Stores are open from 5pm on Thanksgiving to 1am on Friday. Most stores reopen at 7am Friday and stay open until regular closing hours. Target REDcard holders get early access to Black Friday deals online.
- The Verizon Store: Varies by store.
- Walmart: Stores open at 6pm Thanksgiving and remain open until regular close on Friday. This may vary by location.
It’s worth noting that major warehouse club stores, including Costco and Sam’s Club, also run Thanksgiving and Black Friday promotions. The catch is that they all charge annual membership fees, so they’re not included in this guide. That said, if you’re intrigued by the promise of super-cheap, bulk-bought merchandise, it’s worth considering whether warehouse club membership makes sense for you.
Black Friday Deals by Category
1. Small Electronics
Includes gaming systems, smartphones, tablets, cameras, wearables, and other electronic gadgets
Target is a general merchandise retailer with competitive storewide Black Friday pricing. To avoid getting distracted by banners advertising deals on everything from clothing to household appliances, make a beeline for the electronics section. It’s typically located on the back wall opposite the entrance.
Keep in mind that while Target’s electronics employees are just as knowledgeable as their counterparts at specialized electronics retailers, other departments’ employees probably won’t be able to answer your electronics questions.
To stretch your Black Friday dollars even further, sign up for a Target REDcard for an immediate 5% off your total purchase, plus 5% off on all future in-store and online purchases. With relatively laid-back underwriting standards, it’s also a great way to build credit, and there’s a debit card option for credit-challenged shoppers. REDcard holders also get exclusive access to early Black Friday deals beginning on November 27, as do Target Circle rewards club members.
For all Target shoppers, select Black Friday deals are available online starting early in the day on Thanksgiving.
Hot Deal: Fitbit Versa Lite Edition swimproof smartwatch, $99.95 (normally $159.95)
Walmart is synonymous with general merchandise retailing. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s a great place to find Black Friday deals on small electronics and accessories.
Walmart boasts across-the-board discounts – up to 50% in many cases – on small electronics starting early Thanksgiving evening. Use Walmart’s color-coded Black Friday map, available online and in-store, to locate deals in your favorite merchandise categories quickly.
Before you head to your nearest Walmart location, download Walmart’s iPhone or Android app, which has useful Black Friday store maps that point you to hot in-store deals at your local Walmart (use the store locator to select the right one).
Also, all online purchases over $50 qualify for free shipping in the continental U.S.
Hot Deal: Apple iPhone 6s on Straight Talk Wireless, 32GB, $99 to $149 (normally $299)
Best Buy is the strongest of the surviving U.S. big-box electronics retailers. Thanks to uber-knowledgeable employees, it’s also arguably the best electronics retailer for Black Friday shoppers who don’t quite know what they want when they walk into the store. Every Best Buy employee is an expert in something, and with stores staffed to the gills on Black Friday, you’re sure to find someone to answer your questions quickly.
If you prefer to shop online, Best Buy offers free shipping on all purchases through the holidays. If you encounter a problem with a Black Friday purchase, Best Buy’s Geek Squad team offers expert advice, troubleshooting, and repair – often included in item warranties.
Geek Squad service and protection policies can be pricey – at times well north of $100 – but they’re worthwhile for consumers looking to protect their investments years into the future. Here’s how to determine if an extended warranty is worth the cost for your new electronic device.
Hot Deal: Amazon Fire 7 – 2019 Release – 7″ Tablet, 16GB, Black, $29.99 (normally $49.99)
Fry’s Home Electronics
Fry’s Home Electronics is a regional electronics retailer that mainly serves the southern and western states. The company’s employees are every bit as knowledgeable as Best Buy’s, and the “order online, pick up in-store” process is seamless. Plus, Fry’s pays sales tax on select items where applicable.
This year, Fry’s is running “Black Friday all November long” sales, lessening the pressure on casual shoppers looking to get a head start on holiday gift-buying. But Black Friday diehards shouldn’t fear; the best deals are reserved for the day after Thanksgiving, as always.
If you’re a frequent online shopper, set up a myFry’s account for an expedited checkout process.
Hot Deal: Select Ematics tablets, starting at $49 (normal pricing varies)
Staples is one of the country’s leading office supply stores – and one of the few national chains remaining after waves of consolidation. Its employees are great at dispensing advice on which phones, tablets, and other gadgets are ideal for small business use. Throw in discounts of 70% or more on electronic devices, accessories, supplies, and equipment, and Staples’ Black Friday sale offers an unmissable opportunity to cut your business expenses.
Staples More Account cardholders get an additional 5% off in-store and online purchases, free shipping for online purchases, and $50 off their first purchase of $150 or more. More Account cardholders also get deferred (0% interest) financing for large purchases: 6 months for purchases over $299, 12 months for purchases over $499, and 18 months for purchases over $799.
Hot Deal: Roku Streaming Stick+, $29.99 (normally $49.99)
The Verizon Store
If you get chills at the thought of braving Black Friday crowds at the big-box stores, skip the rush and head to the Verizon Store. Although Verizon plans and products are widely available at Best Buy and other large-format retailers, Verizon stores offer a host of deals that aren’t available anywhere else. It’s worth making an extra stop (or heading online) to see what you could save on a new phone or plan.
If you’re a current Verizon customer, you probably received an email advertising exclusive device markdowns – often 50% or higher – in the run-up to Black Friday. Those deals are good online and in-store.
Just know that Verizon’s Black Friday deals are notoriously fickle, so it’s not a bad idea to call ahead and make sure your desired items are still in stock at the advertised price.
Hot Deal: Get up to $750 off top Android phones when you switch to Verizon (savings varies)
The AT&T Store
The AT&T Store‘s appeal is the same as the Verizon Store’s: similar savings and less chaos than at big-box retailers. AT&T’s inventory is also similar to Verizon’s, offering both in-store and online-only exclusive deals.
The online deals are particularly juicy, though many require a two-year contract. In-store staff members are generally helpful and unhurried. The website could use a little work, but you should still be able to find what you’re looking for online.
Hot Deal: Get an iPhone 8 64GB for $0 with a qualifying new line (normally $449.99)
Kohl’s is a general merchandise retailer that focuses on clothing, toys, gadgets, and durable home goods. Though it’s not really known for its electronics selection, you’ll find plenty of good Black Friday deals here.
Kohl’s typically runs multiple Black Friday and Thanksgiving week promotions in parallel, starting as early as November 19 this year. Check the website frequently for available deals in your area, and remember that promotions are likely to change as the week goes on.
Hot Deal: Fitbit Charge 3 fitness tracker, $99.99 + $30 Kohl’s cash (normally $149.99 to $159.99)
Includes HDTVs, ultra HDTVs, smart TVs, LED TVs, and related accessories
Walmart has an expansive selection of flat-screen TVs and accessories. The retail giant is one of the best places to find Black Friday deals on these items, period. In many cases, it beats dedicated electronics retailers such as Best Buy and Fry’s. If you want to impress your friends and snag a great deal in the process, inquire at your local Walmart’s electronics section about Walmart-exclusive TV brands.
Hot Deal: Philips 65″ Class 4K Ultra HD (2160p) Android Smart LED TV (65PFL5504/F7), $278 (normally $499)
Target is upping its TV game these days. It’s advertising its lowest price ever on the popular Westinghouse 55” UHD TV, and it’s slashing prices on smaller TVs by 50% or more. Deals are particularly good on off-brand items from manufacturers like Polaroid and Element.
Hot Deal: TCL 65″ Roku Smart 4K UHD HDR TV with 120Hz refresh rate, $399.99 (normally $749.99)
Best Buy’s Black Friday TV deals are among the year’s best consumer electronics deals anywhere, online or in-store. Discounts north of 70% aren’t uncommon, particularly during doorbuster hours on Friday morning.
For even deeper discounts, check out Best Buy’s “Beat the Rush” deals, which are available in the days leading up to Black Friday. Note that some of the best deals, including the one mentioned here, are in-store only.
Hot Deal: Samsung 70″ Class LED 6 Series 2160p Smart 4K UHD TV with HDR, $549 (normally $899.99)
Fry’s has an impressive collection of affordable TVs, including many compact LED and smart TVs that fit right in the kitchen or bedroom. Mail-in and instant rebates can further reduce the cost of these TVs.
Some online deals require special promo codes. If you can’t find them in the product listings, do a quick Google search.
Hot Deal: 49″ Class LED 4K TV, starting at $229 (normal pricing varies)
3. Laptops & PCs
Includes laptops, notebooks, and 2-in-1 devices
Walmart’s laptop and PC selection is just as impressive as its TV selection, and it’s possible to find Walmart-exclusive models from HP, Dell, and other well-known manufacturers. Check Walmart’s website for online-only deals and promotions too.
Hot Deal: SAMSUNG 11.6″ Chromebook 3, 16GB eMMC, 4GB RAM, Metallic Black (XE500C13-K04US), $99 (normally $229)
Best Buy reliably stocks just-released laptops and PCs at industry-leading prices. Black Friday discounts of 30% to 50% aren’t uncommon, even on models hot off the assembly line. Geek Squad protection plans really shine on higher-priced devices.
Hot Deal: Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Touch-Screen Laptop, Intel Core i3, 8GB Memory, 128GB SSD, Black, $279.99 (normally $449.99)
If you’re lucky enough to live in its territory, Fry’s is one of the best stores to visit for eye-popping discounts on already affordable devices, particularly if you don’t care about having the latest or fanciest model.
Keep in mind that some of the best deals require mail-in rebates, and many of the deepest discounts are reserved for refurbished devices.
Hot Deal: Lenovo 12.5″ Laptop With Intel Core i5 Processor, $239 (normally $349)
Staples has a nice lineup of larger electronics, including laptops, PCs, and two-in-one devices. Though you have to dig to find spectacular deals, it’s worth your time, particularly if you’re seeking low-cost items made even more affordable by Staples’ deep Black Friday discounts.
Hot Deal: HP 14″ Pavilion Laptop With Intel Core i5 Processor and 8GB RAM, $369.99 (normally $629.99)
Walmart has a vast stock of toys and games. Check out its Black Friday discounts on the latest gaming consoles, games, and non-digital playtime accessories for kids of all ages.
If you buy online, your order may qualify for free shipping, provided you spend at least $35.
Hot Deal: JLab Studio Wireless Headphones, $15 (normally $29.83)
Kmart is a well-known discount merchandise chain that features an ample selection of toys for kids of all ages. Online orders of $35 or more qualify for free shipping.
Note some online deals in Kmart’s Black Friday flyer are sold through Sears, its sister store. Make sure you’re clicking the right links before you buy.
Sign up for the Sears Card from Citi to get $5 off your first purchase of $50 or more at any Kmart location. And when you spend over $50 in Kmart stores, you get a voucher good for $0.20 off per gallon on gas purchases of up to 20 gallons at participating Speedway, BP, and Kmart Express gas stations.
Hot Deal: Up to 30% off select kids’ scooters (savings vary)
Kohl’s shines in the kids’ merchandise department. It’s not uncommon to find discounts of 60% or more on slow-selling toys and accessories.
Hot Deal: Hover-1 Firefly self-balancing scooter with Bluetooth, $129.99 (normally $199.99)
5. Home Improvement
Includes raw materials, fixtures, tools, gardening supplies, and decorations
Lowe’s is a national home improvement chain that’s paradise for DIY fixers and handy types. Typically, in-store staff members are a bit more plentiful and hands-on than those at other big-box home improvement chains, like Home Depot.
Online orders over $49 qualify for free shipping. Sign up for the Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card to receive an additional 5% off all in-store or online purchases. Active-duty military and vets get another 10% off eligible purchases.
And be sure to look out for special one-day-only deals throughout the holiday season, including the run-up to Black Friday. They’re often far better than advertised specials.
Hot Deal: Up to 25% off all LEVOLOR custom blinds and shades (savings vary)
Home Depot is a one-stop home improvement superstore that offers competitive prices year-round. On Black Friday, the deals seem almost too good to be true.
Watch for “special deals of the day,” which promise savings of 50% or more on certain items, such as a Hoover Air Lite Compact vacuum cleaner. When purchased online, these deals always earn free shipping or local delivery (store to home), regardless of order size. You can also do free same-day pickup at your local store for pretty much any online purchase.
Hot Deal: Up to two free tools and batteries with select tool kit purchase (up to $260 in savings)
Menards is a home improvement retailer with stores in over a dozen northern states. It’s best known for its frequent “take an additional 11% off” sales and industry-leading prices on lumber, paint, and plumbing supplies. And its warehouse-like stores are more consumer-friendly than Home Depot and Lowe’s outlets.
To boost your Black Friday savings, apply for the Menards BIG Card from Capital One. Every time you make a purchase, you earn a 2% rebate redeemable for in-store or online Menards purchases once you earn at least $5 in rebates. You can also take advantage of 6 months of interest-free financing on purchases over $299 and 3.99% APR financing for 48 months on purchases over $1,500. Also, the BIG Card earns an additional 1% rebate on purchases at Speedway, Holiday, and Kwik Trip/Kwik Star convenience stores, redeemable for Menards purchases.
If you’re not sure the BIG Card is the right Capital One credit product for you, check out the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If you own your own business, look into Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which earns unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.
Hot Deal: Save up to 60% off select clearance and bargain merchandise, including display models and open-box deals (savings vary)
With over 4,600 locally owned, small-format stores nationwide, Ace Hardware is a neighborhood alternative to Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards. If you’re going to be out and about on Small Business Saturday the day after Black Friday, make Ace one of your first stops. Prices are competitive with those of larger home improvement retailers throughout Black Friday weekend.
Hot Deal: Weber Genesis II SE-410 gas grill, $699 with assembly (normally $949)
6. Clothing & Apparel
Includes clothing and accessories
Although Target certainly shouldn’t be your first choice for high-fashion purchases, it’s chicer than big-box peers Walmart and Kmart. And its pricing power is evident in deep, extensive Black Friday discounts on everyday apparel and accessories.
Hot Deal: Goodfellow & Co. men’s sweaters, $20 (normally up to $34.99)
Old Navy is known for apparel bargains year-round, but its Black Friday deal is truly magnificent: Shoppers get 50% off the entire store, with even deeper discounts on select items. $1 socks, anyone?
If you’re shopping online, you can apply multiple coupon codes to the same item, if applicable, to boost your spending power. The multi-coupon trick doesn’t work in-store, however.
Hot Deal: 50% off your entire clothing purchase (some restrictions may apply; savings vary)
The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t the only reason Macy’s is synonymous with holiday shopping. The famed department store offers deep Black Friday discounts on virtually everything in the store, from high-end beauty products to budget-friendly clothes.
Arrive earlier in the week – starting November 19 or before – or shop online for sneak-peek discounts on over 100 popular items, including name-brand infant and toddler clothing. You’ll get free shipping on online orders of $25 or more.
And watch out for Macy’s low-key coupon deals: a $10 off $25 coupon and a $25 off $50 coupon. Unfortunately, you can’t apply those coupons against doorbuster deals.
Hot Deal: 60% or more off select women’s coats (savings vary)
Once the go-to retailer for affordable, fashionable clothing, JCPenney has lost some of its luster since the early 2000s. But with over 1,000 stores in 49 states, it’s still a top destination for clothing bargains.
In the past, JCPenney has offered doorbuster coupons for early arrivals on Thanksgiving – anywhere from $10 to $500 off your total purchase. These doorbuster coupons kicked in as soon as you clear their face value, so they’re far more powerful than your typical Black Friday discount. Check ahead this year for current promotions.
If you’re shopping online, spend $49 or more for free shipping.
Hot Deal: Liz Claiborne Fall 19 Women’s Cowl-Neck Long-Sleeve Knit Blouse, $18.50 (normally $37)
Kmart is a great place to find clothing and apparel deals for the whole family. Shop online earlier in the week – starting November 19 or earlier – for Black Friday VIP Preview discounts up to 50%.
Hot Deal: Up to 60% off fall and winter clothing for the whole family (savings varies)
Includes laundry equipment, refrigerators and freezers, cooking equipment, dishwashing equipment, and home mechanicals
Sears is a major appliance and home improvement retailer. Though the company has fallen on hard times since the Great Recession, it’s still a great place to find Black Friday deals on its high-quality Kenmore appliance line. Sears Cardholders are entitled to exclusive perks and discounts, including interest-free financing on select purchases.
Hot Deal: Up to 40% off select appliances plus a bonus 10% off appliance orders of $399 or more with qualifying Sears credit card (savings varies)
Home Depot’s Black Friday appliance sale promises up to 40% off select models, with daily deals pushing savings north of 50% on select merchandise. It’s also offering free delivery on orders of $396 or more.
Sign up for Home Depot’s mailing list and automatically get $5 off your next order. If you’re a landlord or remodeler in the market for multiple major appliances, instantly save up to $600 off multi-appliance orders.
Hot Deal: Samsung 4-piece stainless steel kitchen appliance package, $2,772 after $350 Samsung instant savings (normally $5,006)
When you open a Lowe’s Advantage Credit Card account, choose six months’ special financing (interest-free) on purchases over $299, which covers most appliance buys. Though special financing is available year-round, it’s an opportunity to reduce the upfront cost of Black Friday specials. You’ll also get 5% off across the board on select purchases and may qualify for 84-month financing at 7.99% APR on purchases over $2,000.
Hot Deal: Up to 40% off select appliances and free delivery for purchases over $299 (savings varies)
Walmart isn’t the best place to shop for major appliances – that honor falls to any of the home improvement stores listed in this section. But it’s not a bad source for countertop appliances and kitchen accessories. I found top-of-the-line coffeemakers for under $10.
Hot Deal: Instant Pot 6 Qt. Duo, $49 (normally $79)
Pay no mind to the “Home Electronics” portion of the name. Fry’s also has an impressive selection of non-electronics, including home appliances. Most discounts come via instant rebate, so there’s no action required after the fact.
Hot Deal: Samsung 24-cubic-ft. French door refrigerator, $1,849 (normal pricing varies)
Includes just about everything else you’ll need to round out your holiday gift list
Target has lots more up its Black Friday sleeve. One promotion that really caught my eye last year was a cool 50% off deal on some high-end vacuum cleaners. This year, I’m eyeing deep discounts on baby products like strollers and car seats.
Hot Deal: Rec-Tek 9-ft. table tennis table, $70 (normally $149.99)
Like Target, Walmart has a slew of Black Friday deals that don’t fit neatly into any of these popular categories. This year’s furniture and home goods selections are better than I remember from years past, for instance.
Hot Deal: $20 off select Goodyear tires, starting at $40 per tire (normally $60 per tire and up)
Looking for Price-Match Guarantees
Many U.S. retailers offer expansive price-match guarantees on full-price and on-sale holiday merchandise. If you plan to shop at more than one location on Black Friday or complement in-store buys with online purchases, don’t forget to keep your receipts on hand – whether in your wallet, handbag, or email account. This simple step costs nothing to take, and the potential payoff is huge.
However, not all retailers make it easy to take advantage of price-match guarantees. Take the time to read every retailer’s price-match policy in detail. Though some policies are customer-friendly, others are restrictive. For instance, Best Buy’s price-match guarantee covers all local competitors, plus online deals offered by brick-and-mortar retailers operating in your area. However, it excludes most online-only retailers.
What’s more, most price-match policies require covered items to be identical – the same model number or SKU, same size, same specs, same trim, and so on. Even slight variations can void a seemingly generous price-match policy. Also, most retailers pointedly exempt clearance items from price matching, meaning many of the best Black Friday deals aren’t eligible.
On the bright side, retailers want your business, and they’re apt to grease squeaky wheels. So, if and when you do invoke a price-match policy, don’t be afraid to escalate your complaint as high up the chain of command as necessary.
A backlash is brewing against one of the most popular Black Friday alternatives: shopping during Thanksgiving Day. The Mall of America, one of North America’s largest retail centers, made waves this year when it announced it would encourage its stores to close on Thanksgiving. According to KARE 11, only three Mall of America stores chose to remain open on Thanksgiving Day 2016 – a sharp departure from previous years. Other malls, shopping districts, and individual retailers followed suit. I noticed several on this list that opened on Thanksgiving 2016 but chose to close on Thanksgiving 2017 through 2019.
That’s great news for retail employees who work hard during the holidays and surely deserve time off with their families. But it’s likely to increase traffic on Black Friday and the rest of the long post-Thanksgiving weekend.
In a more crowded, higher-stakes holiday shopping environment, pre-Black Friday planning is more important than ever. Use this guide to create a detailed list of your intended shopping destinations. Determine what you want to buy at each place. Come up with some alternatives for each item in case you can’t find it in stock. And don’t forget to keep this post handy on your phone as you work your way through the aisles.
And if you forget something when your Black Friday shopping bonanza is done? Well, there’s always Cyber Monday.
What’s your plan for Black Friday this year?