Despite Black Friday's reputation as one of the best days of the year to get a bargain, this year many of the deals will be better on Thanksgiving. That's because most major retailers will be kicking off their big sales on Thursday, November 27, rather than Friday, November 28, 2014.(SEE ALSO: 14 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays)
But if you don't like the idea of scheduling your Thanksgiving meal around stores' hours, you'll still be able to find plenty of deeply discounted items at retailers that will wait until Black Friday to start their holiday sales and at those that will stagger their best deals over several days. To help you target the best sales, we asked Ben's Bargains Managing Editor Kristin Cook, BFAds.net founder Michael Brim and FatWallet online shopping expert Brent Shelton for their picks for big-ticket doorbusters, pricey items that are deeply discounted but in limited supply. These three spend their days combing through retailers' Thanksgiving and Black Friday sale ads, so they know which offers will be hard to beat.
All of their picks are slated to be offered in retailers' brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, but you should check their Web sites before you head out the door to see if the same discounts are available online.
LG 32-inch 720p LED HDTV -- $179.99 at Dell.com. Yes, Walmart will be discounting various off-brand 32-inch HDTVs to $98 on Thanksgiving, but you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to get this exclusive online deal on a name-brand set. It's one of Cook's top Black Friday picks and is guaranteed to be in stock from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on November 28. The high-quality HDTV will be marked down 40% from its original price of $299.99.
Samsung 40-inch LED 1080p HDTV -- $329.99 at Sears. Target will be selling an off-brand 40-inch HDTV for about half this price during its Thanksgiving Day sale. But this brand-name HDTV will be marked down $200 on November 28 at Sears, which opens at 6 a.m., and is the best Black Friday deal on a quality set this size, Cook says. Plus, Sears is giving loyalty members who buy this TV $30 in rewards points.
Vizio 50-inch 1080p LED HDTV -- $398 at Sam's Club. This deal doesn't come close to matching the $199.99 price on a 50-inch Panasonic HDTV during Best Buy's Thanksgiving Day sale. But there might be less competition for this quality set, which will be marked down $200 during the Sam's Club Black Friday sale, which starts at 7 a.m.
Samsung 55-inch Curved 4K Ultra HDTV -- $1,278 at Sam's Club. This TV is at least 10 times more expensive than the cheapest off-brand HDTVs that will be doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving. But it's still a deal considering it's a brand-name curved set with ultra-high-definition 4K technology that normally sells for $2,199.
Dell Inspiron 15 -- $189 at Dell.com. This is the best Black Friday deal on a basic laptop, Cook says. This laptop has 4GB of memory, Windows 8.1 and regularly sells for $299.99. The Dell.com Black Friday sale starts at midnight.
Video games and consoles
Xbox One with "Assassin's Creed: Unity" and "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag" -- $329 at Best Buy, Sam's Club. This price matches Target's Thanksgiving Day sale price on the same console and game bundle, but the Target offer also includes a $50 gift card. However, you don't have to leave your Thanksgiving dinner to get this deal recommended by Cook when doors open at Sam's Club at 7 a.m. on Black Friday or at Best Buy at 8 a.m.
Sony PlayStation 4 Console with "Grand Theft Auto V" and "The Last of Us" -- $399.99 at GameStop. The price on this console deal pick from Shelton matches the lowest price that will be available on Thanksgiving Day. GameStop stores open at either midnight or 5 a.m. on November 28, depending on location.
Nintendo 3DS XL Red Bundle with "Super Mario Bros. 2" -- $149 at Sam's Club. Kohl's also will be selling a Nintendo 3DS XL with a "Mario Party Island" game for $149, but that sale starts at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. The Sam's Club sale starts at 7 a.m. Friday.
Apple iPhone 6 16GB with 2-Year Service Contract -- $99 at Sam's Club. This deal recommended by Brim and Shelton is as good as the best iPhone 6 deal offered on Thanksgiving Day. Doors open at 7 a.m. on November 28 at Sam's Club. Note, also, that Walmart is offering the iPhone 6 for $0 down with an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge contract for "well-qualified buyers" and a $75 gift card as part of its pre-Black Friday sale going on now.
Select Barbie Dolls, Disney Dolls and 5-Pack Hotwheels Sets -- $2.99 at Kmart. Kmart's Black Friday price on Barbie dolls beats the Thanksgiving Day price at Target and Walmart by $2. Doors open at 6 a.m. November 28.
Disney "Frozen" Singing & Talking Elsa & Anna Two-Pack -- $29.99 at Toys "R" Us. Toys tied to the hit movie "Frozen" are among the most-popular items for kids this holiday season. This two-pack of dolls is regularly $49.99 and is available only at Toys "R" Us, which opens at 7 a.m. on Black Friday, Cook says.
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway Grow With Me Play Table -- $99.99 at Toys "R" Us. If you want to get your child a Thomas play table rather than a cheaper off-brand table, you can get it for half price at Toys "R" Us starting at 7 a.m. on Black Friday. Note, however, that Toys "R" Us will mark down the Imaginarium 55-piece train set with table to $39.99 from $79.99 during its 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day sale.
Sportspower Wood Playhouse -- $99.99 at Toys "R" Us. This easy-to-assemble outdoor playhouse regularly sells for $199.99.
KITCHEN AND HOME
Select Small Kitchen Appliances -- $7.99 to $9.99 at Macy's. A dozen items, including a blender, toaster and coffee maker, that regularly sell for $39.99 to $49.99 will be marked down. Shelton says this deal might also be available online because a similar one was last year. The Black Friday prices require a mail-in rebate, and the prices on these small appliances will rise to $29.99 after 1 p.m. November 28.
Essential Home 25-piece Nonstick Cookware Set -- $39.99 at Sears. Cook says this set regularly sells for $89.99 and will be more than half off at Sears' 8 a.m. Black Friday sale.
NutriBullet Blender -- $89.99 at Sears. This blender will be marked down from $119.99 starting at 8 a.m. November 28. Sears loyalty program members will earn $20 in rewards points with this purchase.
Keurig Elite Programmable Brewer -- $99.99 at Sears. Best Buy also is selling a Keurig brewing system for $99 along with a $20 gift card during its Thanksgiving Day sale. But Sears loyalty members will get $30 in rewards points if they buy this Keurig brewing system (regularly $139.99) at Sears on Black Friday, Cook says.