Here’s what to buy on Labor Day 2021 (and what NOT to buy)

By on August 27, 2021


Going to be online shopping or heading out to the retail stores this Labor Day? Be aware that sales could start as early as a week before the holiday, likely August 29th). Here are our picks for what to buy this year (as well as what deals to avoid).

1. Buy Appliances. Sept / Oct is the time frame in which new appliances are moving into stores, thus old appliances need to be sold fast. While prices get better into October, Labor Day sales do start aggressively with sales up to 40% off. Looks to retailers like Home Depot and Best Buy for the best prices as well as the best bundling deals with buying multiple appliances at once.

What NOT to buy? Gas Grills. Labor Day marks the START of gas grill sales (usually 25% to 50% off) as we move into the off-season. However, if you can hold off a month or even two, prices will continue to drop into October and November as grills are moved out to make room for Christmas decorations.

Inventory will become more limited into November, but the potential savings by waiting could be an additional 25% – 35% off the Labor Day price. (Side Note: You will find solid deals on Grill accessories on Labor Day though.)

2. Buy Patio furniture / Outdoor Living Gear / LawnmowersLabor Day is generally the big push to get rid of outdoor furniture, above-ground pools, lawnmowers, swing sets, and any other large outdoor items. Big items like patio furniture take up more inventory space than gas grills, thus there’s greater urgency to use Labor Day as a sales push to make more space for Halloween & Christmas items. Look for discounts 60% to 75% off regular prices at places like Home Depot and Lowes.

What NOT to buy? Camping Equipment. Since half of the United States is still enjoying warm weather through September, camping equipment closeout sales are minimal until retailers start to clearance out tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear in late October. As we get closer to Halloween, sales will push into the 40% to 60% off range.


3. Buy Back-to-School Electronics. The back-to-school shopping push unofficially comes to a close around Labor Day. Retailers discount items marketed as a back-to-school product more aggressively. Outside of traditional school supplies (which are also marked down), that includes inexpensive laptops, graphing calculators, headphones, Bluetooth speakers and backpacks with laptop slots / USB charging.

What NOT to buy? Televisions. While Labor Day sales on HDTVs pop up as football season starts up again, the most significant discounts start in early November through Black Friday / Cyber Monday as well as sporadically during December. The same advice goes for home theater systems, DSLR cameras, video game consoles, tablets, and media players.

4. Buy Summer Fall apparel & footwear. Retailers will discount summer items as much as 80% off to make room for cool-weather clothing. Look for solid summer apparel sales (including swimwear) at REI, American Eagle, Nordstrom, Gap, Old Navy & Banana Republic. This is also a great holiday to purchase new shoes, typically with discounts as high as 50% off from retailers like & Finish Line.

What NOT to buy? Fall apparel / footwear. Labor Day weekend kickstarts cool-weather apparel sales. However, Fall apparel won’t hit the best sales until the Winter apparel lines start pushing into stores. Don’t be fooled by small discounts (10% to 30%) during Labor Day when you will start to see 50% discounts and higher as we move into November.


5. Buy Stuff for Grownups; Mattresses, Cars and Wine.

  • During 2020, Labor Day mattress sales were better than any other time of the year. Look to Sears for an aggressive sale, 40% to 60% off select models. Macy’s, US-Mattress and smaller retailers will also offer similar discounts.
  • Regarding cars, dealerships are making room for 2022 models and the 2021 models are being discounted. Look for discounts around 10% on Labor Day with the potential for increasing discounts (20% and up) as we move into late September / early October.
  • If you are a wine drinker, many wineries are starting to push out older stock in favor of new vintages that will come from the ongoing harvest season. This results in heavier discounts (which vary significantly by winery) on current year wine.

What NOT to buy? Toys. Similar to general electronics, toy sales are fairly dismal during Labor Day. Late October is usually the kickoff for toy sales. While Toys R Us is gone (until the upcoming revival in Macy’s), look to Amazon, Walmart and Target for the best sales leading into the holiday shopping season.

6. Buy Android phones / accessories. Labor Day sales will probably be the best time to find a deal on a Samsung phone until late November. Retailers like Best Buy also like to use this holiday for bundling deals, typically offering a 25% to 40% discount on accessory purchases when purchasing a new smartphone.

What NOT to buy? Apple’s iPhone 13 / 13 ProMost Apple owners are aware that new iPhones are typically announced after Labor Day during mid-September (although the COVID pandemic may push that back to late Sept / early October this year).  This triggers a price drop on the previous generation phones as well as preorder deals at various competing wireless carriers. You are better off waiting to see how prices shake out after Labor Day rather than buying on the holiday weekend.

About Mike Flacy

Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!

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