The most difficult part of Black Friday shopping is knowing when to hold. As prices start dropping, the temptation to pounce on the first decent discount becomes overwhelming.

Since forewarned is forearmed, we’ve gone through popular retailers’ Black Friday advertisements to find the gems arriving Thursday and Friday, and listed our findings below. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to compare prices and more accurately judge when to grab an early deal and when to wait a couple more days.

Don’t expect to wait idly and be triumphant, though. Stores can spontaneously undercut their own advertised prices, and days ahead of the planned sale date—all part of the game of chicken that retailers currently play with each other.

So if you see something you like in the lists below, start monitoring its price now, lest it go on sale earlier than expected and run out of stock before you get a shot at it.

Note: These prices are the best we’ve seen in the information available in advance. Stores often start price-matching one another, so if a deal you like is at a store you can’t get to easily, it’s worth checking other stores to see if they have price-matched. (Or, actually do have a price-matching policy.) 

The best Black Friday 2018 tech deals

We’ve organized our list primarily by store, so that if you have a preferred place to shop, you can easily see what’s available to you. In each section, we’ve cherry-picked the best bargains for that retailer—so while the price will meet our criteria for a very good price, it may not be the absolute lowest price across the board.

The deals I’ve selected are near, at, or below the lowest known price. Still, that’s not saying a lot for some product categories (like graphics cards and RAM), where the lowest-known price didn’t dip too much below MSRP before everything went sky-high.

On the whole, 2018’s discounts are more conservative than those of previous years—I’m seeing Black Friday-style price drops only on products that a vendor really wants to move, like the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot. Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of bad prices in 2019.

Update (11/21/18): Added info for Costco, Office Depot/Office Max, Sam’s Club, and Staples, plus Canary, Cooler Master, and NZXT in the “Other deals” section.

Our top picks

If we called out every single great deal below, the list would be pretty unwieldy, so I’ve summarized the outlook for a handful of popular product categories. It’s not comprehensive, though. Take a look at the actual deals for the full story.

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