Memorial Day sales vs Amazon Prime Day: best deals to shop now and when to wait

woman holding two shopping bags with memorial day sales and prime day written on them
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Future)

Even though the holiday actually takes place at the end of May, this year's Memorial Day sales are now underway at various retailers. But there's another big sale expected in less than two months as well: Amazon Prime Day. Given the two events are so close to each other, it's got us thinking about how they compare in terms of the types of products reduced, the quality of deals on offer, and when the right time is to buy that big ticket item you've been saving up for.

We've got years of experience covering both Memorial Day sales and Amazon Prime Day, so we have a strong understanding of the best deals that are available during each event. This knowledge forms the foundation of our buying advice and the offers we highlight during these sales. 

Now, we've brought together all of that key information in one place so you can save the most money no matter what you're looking to buy. So which is the better sale: Memorial Day or Prime Day? Well, the simplest answer is this: it depends on what you want to buy.

What to buy on Memorial Day

There are a few key product categories that are a major focus for Memorial Day and are less represented in Prime Day. These are the ones to look out for and where you're guaranteed to find better savings this month compared to Amazon in July.

1. Appliances

A selection of major and small kitchen appliances including a fridge, washing machine, vacuum and mixer

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Traditionally, appliances are some of the most popular items in the sales period. Major retailers always have a vast array of discounts across large home appliances from big brands such as LG, Samsung, Whirlpool and Bosch. 

You can check out the Best Buy Memorial Day sale for this, in particular, as there are savings of up to 40% on major appliances, additional bundle discounts and a free $50 gift card when you spend over $1,499. Combine that with the latest Best Buy discount codes for even more ways to save cash on your next purchase.

If you don't need to refresh your white goods, you can instead pick up a number of more affordable home and kitchen gadgets such as blenders, coffee machines, air fryers and slow cookers. These cheaper items start at just $20 at some stores and could also help save money in the long run when it comes to cooking meals or swapping to make your favorite drinks at home.

Head on over to our full Memorial Day appliances sales roundup for a complete rundown of all the best deals in this category right now.

2. Mattresses

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress placed on a wooden bed frame in a white bedroom

(Image credit: DreamCloud)

Memorial Day is also a significant time for mattress sales. Previous trends make it clear that Memorial Day is a better time to buy than Prime Day if you've had an eye on a new mattress. Mattress prices tend to fall in May, jump back up throughout summer and then stay that way until late October/early November as we approach Black Friday.

That's a pretty large gap between now and the next big sales event, so you want to buy now or be prepared to hold off until the end of the year in order to get the best deals. We've rounded up all the best offers right now in our Memorial Day mattress sales article as the majority of retailers are already live.

3. Furniture

furniture in brightly lit living room

(Image credit: Getty)

Furniture is always a huge focus in Memorial Day sales – and it's already clear that this year is no different. We've been tracking all the Memorial Day furniture sales as they've developed over the last couple of weeks, and now there are around a dozen retailers live with a selection of early deals. 

These range from specialist stores, including Overstock, Ashley Homestore, and Big Lots, as well as major names like Walmart and Target. Whether you shop at one of these or anywhere else, you can find items for every room in the home – including sofas, tables, desks, lighting, beds, vanities, and more.

Now's definitely the time to take advantage of these, as there will be almost no similar deals during Prime Day. Furniture only plays a small part of Amazon's output during its mid-year sale, so you can't expect the level of choice and volume of discounts that we see during the Memorial Day period.

4. Patio and garden

Sofa and chairs on a patio

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

This is mostly an extension of the category above as a lot of patio furniture and outdoor decor goes on sale for Memorial Day. So, if you're looking to liven up your outside space with a new dining set, some comfy seating, or other decorative items such as outdoor rugs and lighting then now is a great time to buy.

Many of the same retailers mentioned above also feature here, but there are others that focus more exclusively on patio furniture with a wider selection of items and larger discounts. This includes Overstock where around half a million products are in the clearance sale with prices starting at $19. There's also Wayfair, Big Lots and Allform that all run outdoor sales with up to 50% off.

With summer on the horizon, too, there's also a strong emphasis on other outdoor goods such as grills, gardening and DIY tools. Leading the way here are all the familiar faces such as Home Depot, Lowe's and Target so these should be your first looks when it comes to those items.

Again, with this sheer volume of options available, Memorial Day is undoubtedly the best time to buy. Amazon may have a selection of outdoor items reduced for Prime Day, but it's unlikely that there will be as much choice or discounts as deep in July. Gardening equipment and DIY tools are the only areas it may be able to compete.

What to wait for on Prime Day

Amazon Echo dot on a shelf next to small green house plant

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

So, outside of those four categories, what should definitely wait to buy during Amazon Prime Day, then? 

Well, some of the best offers we're guaranteed to see in July are on Amazon devices. During Prime Day, these products always fall to their cheapest ever prices for the year - even lower than what we see over Black Friday. And that makes sense, given Amazon wants to boost its own products during its own sale.

Of course, if you'd rather not wait, there's a strong chance that some will also be reduced in the Amazon Memorial Day sales – just don't expect them to be as low as we'll see in July. That might not be a massive deal-breaker for some, given the difference may only be about $5 or so when it comes to items like the cheaper Echo Dot smart speakers and Fire tablets

If you're happy to be patient and hold off on that new Kindle or Fire TV purchase, though, you should make a bigger saving in July. Plus, there's a better chance the new Echo Pop and Echo Show will feature in Amazon's own sale with a debut discount.

But look out for these hidden gems

Man in checked shirt holding a chromebook under his arm

(Image credit: Konstantin Savusia / Shutterstock)

Now, while it's clear that there are some product categories that feature better deals when you directly compare the Memorial Day sales to Amazon Prime Day, there are still opportunities for some terrific bargains in the days ahead in other wider tech areas.

So, don't be too put off if you were planning to look for deals on TVs, laptops and tablets in the days ahead. That's because many new and older product lines will also get some fantastic discounts in the Memorial Day sales.

Let's pick out laptops as one example. Over Memorial Day, sales are held directly by manufacturers such as Lenovo, HP, and Dell. In these, you should look out for bargains and big price cuts on everything from everyday devices to high-end gaming machines. Keep a close eye on our Memorial Day laptop sales hub for all the latest offers and our best laptop deals for all the top reductions throughout the year.

Then, when it comes to TVs, you will find some solid choices whether you're shopping on Memorial Day or during Amazon Prime Day. There's a strong argument that searching in May gives you more variety as Best Buy and Samsung go big with offers during this time on everything from cheap 4K TVs to high-end OLED displays. And you could save even more money by using the latest Samsung promo codes.

When it comes to Prime Day, you're dealing with just a single retailer. That's fine, though, if you've got your eyes on a budget Fire TV, for example, as these also count as Amazon devices, so will be available for some of their lowest prices of the year. Either way, you can follow our wider Memorial Day TV sales hub for all the best offers.

That about covers the significant differences between Memorial Day sales and Amazon Prime Day. Ultimately, there are definitely some categories where the Memorial Day deals are traditionally stronger, so those should be prioritized if you're looking to spend this month. Equally, you shouldn't need to completely hold off if you want some tech savings, as many items are also well-represented in the sales.

James Pickard
Senior Deals Editor

James Pickard is a Deals Editor at TechRadar. After many years of scouring the net for the cheapest games and tech for his personal use, he decided to make it his job to share all the best bargains and coupon codes with you. James also has almost a decade of experience covering some of the biggest sales events of the year at Eurogamer and VG247, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day. When not deals hunting or stacking coupon codes to get the biggest savings, James can be found on the PS5, watching a classic film noir or cheering on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.