Amazon Prime Day 2019 begins at midnight (PT) on Monday, July 15, and will run all the way through Tuesday, July 16. In other words, get ready for two full days of Prime madness.
Actually, get ready for about three weeks of it, because the deal parade has already begun. First up: Ending June 30, Amazon has the Toshiba 43-inch 1080p Fire TV Edition for $179.99, which ties with the lowest price it's ever been.
Next, Amazon is all about deliveries, so maybe you're ready for some smart-home enhancements? For a limited time, you can get the Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Door Opener and Amazon Cloud Cam for $99.98 — the lowest price to date for this bundle. (Read more about Key by Amazon if you're unfamiliar with the company's latest in-home delivery options.)
Prime Day 2019 may yield some especially good deals on music, movies and games, starting with this: Right now, you can rent Jordan Peele's Us for $2.99. Regular rental price: $5.99.
Finally, this isn't an "official" Prime Day item, but it's a great one nonetheless: For a limited time, the Amazfit Bip smartwatch is down to $63.99 — not quite the lowest price ever, but very close. It normally sells for $80, and I continue to be a big fan of the product.
As with all Prime Day deals, you must be an Amazon Prime subscriber to take advantage of these offers (see below).
Now that you know what's happening today, let's take a look at what to expect in the weeks to come — and how you can make sure you're getting the best deals.
Should I sign up for Amazon Prime now?
As noted, the big sale is exclusively for Amazon Prime subscribers, and an annual subscription costs $119 (or $13 per month if you don't want to pay all at once).
Worth it? If you're getting it just for Prime Day, then probably not. I'm here to tell you that Amazon products go on sale all the time. (Example: The Amazon Echo was recently discounted to $65, the lowest price to date — and that had nothing to do with Prime Day.)
But Prime affords a whole bunch of other benefits, including free overnight shipping on many products (and two-day on most others) and lots of movies and TV shows from Prime Video.
If you don't want to pay for Prime but do want access to the Prime Day deals, here's one strategy: Sign up for Amazon's free 30-day Prime trial. The only catch: That's for new subscribers only, so if you've done the trial or been a member before, you can't get another trial.
What other kinds of deals should I expect?
The biggest discounts are likely to apply to Amazon's own products and brands, including the full range of Echo speakers, Fire tablets and Fire TV streamers, Kindle readers, Blink cameras and so on. Amazon says to expect "the biggest Prime Day deals ever on Alexa-enabled devices."
But other sellers will take advantage of the event to offer sale prices as well, hence the "over 1 million deals" Amazon has promised for the event.
Will Prime Day 2019 result in lower prices on Amazon gear than did Prime Day 2018? Or any day in between? We'll have to wait and see. The Echo Dot, for example, routinely goes on sale for $29.99, so perhaps we'll see it dip to $24.99?
For now, and for sake of comparison, here are some current prices and their Prime Day 2018 counterparts:
*Items already on sale are shown in bold.
My guess is we'll see similar Prime Day 2019 prices on most of these items, but maybe a few deals that are even better. Indeed, the Fire TV Cube was recently priced $20 less than it was last year, and as noted above, the full-size Echo smart speaker was recently priced at $65 — $5 below Prime Day 2018.
Where and how to shop on Prime Day
You don't need to sit at your computer to shop Prime Day. For example, if you own any kind of Alexa-compatible device (Fire tablet, Echo smart speaker, etc.), you can ask Alexa for Prime Day deals — some of which might be exclusively available via voice purchase.
The Amazon mobile apps, meanwhile, will let you grab deals while you're on the go. And if you happen to be in the vicinity of a Whole Foods, you might be able to score an extra Prime Day discount. In 2018, Prime subscribers received a $10 Whole Foods credit. At the very least, you'll get "an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items," according to Amazon.
Finally, don't forget to get charitable: The Amazon Smile program is a free and easy way to donate a portion of your purchase to just about any charity. Just start your shopping experience at smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com. (While you're at it, read about other ways to give to charity without even trying.)
Where can I find more Prime Day advice?
It's never too early to start learning the tricks of the Prime Day trade. For now, you can check out my main stories from last year: