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The best cell phone deals for May 2022

Whether you're looking for a price cut on a new iPhone or a trade-in promo on the new Galaxy S22, you'll find all of this week's best cell phone deals neatly lined up and compared right here on this page. We've picked out all of the best value options, regardless of carrier or device, to help our readers save some cash on their next purchase.

It's a great time to be checking in too. We're coming up to Memorial Day (one of the biggest sales of the year) and things are already starting to heat up at the major carriers. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone SE 2022 are available for free right now at Verizon without the need for a trade and the Galaxy S22 series are at their lowest ever price at Amazon - all excellent cell phone deals to consider.

Cell phone deals: quick links

best cell phone deals hero image

(Image credit: Future)

Jump to the section that's relevant for you:
1. Carrier phone deals
2. Unlocked phone deals
3. Prepaid phone deals
4. Specific pages for more phone deals
5. Phone deal tips

Generally speaking, you'll find cell phone deals coming in two forms - first as an outright sale on an unlocked device, and secondly as part of a carrier-plan tie-in. The latter can be a bit tricky, involving new cell phone plans and also trade-ins on old devices, but the savings can be absolutely huge if you're eligible. We've also included a third alternative option - cell phone deals from prepaid carriers. These smaller carriers don't tend to offer huge savings on a device, but you'll generally be scoring a much cheaper cell phone plan so it's worth considering the switch for sure.

Which type of cell phone deal should you go for? Well, that will depend on your personal needs. If you're looking for the latest flagship device and an unlimited plan to pair it up with then you'll be well served by Verizon or AT&T's latest promotions. If you're looking for maximum flexibility or long-term savings, then it's generally better to consider either buying a device unlocked and then going with a prepaid carrier, or buying a prepaid device directly from that carrier.

Note, all of the devices featured on our list have been personally reviewed by the staff here at TechRadar. They're all fantastic picks in their own right and you won't find any sub-par choices included. If you'd like to find out which is best for you we'd recommend checking our updated guide to the best phones for 2022.

Today's best cell phone deals at a glance

Carrier phone deals

Apple iPhone 12: free with an eligible unlimited data plan at Verizon
No trade-ins needed:
Arguably Verizon's best cell phone deal all year, you can pick up the humble iPhone 12 for completely free right now at the carrier granted you get it on a new unlimited data line. While it's an older phone now, the iPhone 12 still really holds up in 2022 thanks to its great design, powerful chip, and full 5G compatibility. Considering you nearly always need a trade in to get an iPhone for free at a big carrier, this is a great promotion.

Apple iPhone SE 2022: free with a new unlimited data line at Verizon
Verizon's latest iPhone SE 2022 deal is its best yet since you don't even need a trade in an old device to score this great new budget iPhone for free. Simply pick one up with a new line on an eligible 5G unlimited data plan and big red will let you have it on the house. Although rocking a design that's admittedly rather old-school, this excellent new budget device from Apple packs in a very impressive A14 Bionic chip into a reasonably priced package.

Apple iPhone 13 series: save up to $800 with a trade-in at Verizon
Verizon's switched up its deals on the iPhone 13 heavily this week (and on most other flagships) to re-focus on trade in rebates. While before you could get this device for $10 per month on a new unlimited line, now you'll have to trade-in for a discount. On the plus side, the maximum rebate of up to $800 is actually enough to get this device for free. See this same deal on the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 13 series: save up to $800 with an eligible trade-in and new unlimited plan at AT&T
AT&T's cell phone deals offer trade-in discounts of up to $800 on the iPhone 13 and $700 on the iPhone 13 mini - a sum that's actually enough to cover the entire cost of either device when bought in conjunction with a new unlimited plan. And, if you're looking for a premium device, you'll also be able to get up to $800 off the Pro models too. See this deal on the iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Google Pixel 6: save up to $700 with a trade-in at Verizon
The Google Pixel was free with a new line on an unlimited data plan just this past week at Verizon, although the carrier has now discontinued that promo in favor of a more generic trade-in rebate. That said, the $700 discount being offered here is still enough to cover an entire device if you don't want to wait for the 'free' promotion to crop up again. This deal is also available on the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which is available with up to $800 off under the same terms.

Google Pixel 6: free with a trade-in and eligible unlimited plan AT&T
AT&T was offering the Google Pixel 6 for just $15 per month without the need for a trade but it's now switched up to a more standard trade-in option. You can, however, get this device for free now with the combination of an eligible trade-in on an unlimited data plan.  Looking for the Google 6 Pro? You can trade-in for a rebate of up to $700 at this carrier.   

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: save up to $800 with a trade-in at Verizon
Verizon's cell phone deals this week includes some really decent trade-in rebates on the brand new Galaxy S22 series. Right now the maximum saving is $800, a decent amount, although we've seen discounts of up to $1,000 off before. Note, to be eligible here you will need a new line on an unlimited data plan, so bear that in mind. Note, this deal is also available on S22 the standard Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus.

Apple iPhone 13: save up to $800 with trade-in and eligible plan at T-Mobile
Get the best coverage with T-Mobile? No problem, there are also great cell phone deals at this carrier on the iPhone 13. Right now, its maximum saving of up to $800 with a trade-in matches Verizon and AT&T but note - this one's only eligible with the Magenta MAX plan. That's the priciest unlimited data plan at T-Mobile, so be aware of that before you jump in.  

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: save up to $700 with a trade-in at Verizon
While the latest Galaxy S22 might be catching all the Android flagship headlines recently, there's another great new Samsung phone that's worth checking out. The Galaxy S21 FE is a new refresh of last generation's flagship and comes with a great chipset, screen, and camera - all for quite a bit cheaper than the S22. Those same excellent trade-in cell phone deals are available on this device, which is generally easier to score for free since it's got a slightly lower base price.

  • Verizon - has a whole section of their site dedicated to phone deals
  • AT&T - also offers a huge range of phone deals
  • Sprint - currently offering free phones and other great phone deals

If you don't mind switching carriers, you can find many of the best smartphone deals from the big four. The major carriers will often let you split the cost of the phone into monthly payments anywhere from 18 to 30 months, and sometimes longer. The deals they offer frequently cut the price of the phone in half, sometimes even offering the phone for free. 

To get these deals, you'll generally need to be adding a new line and signing up for a specific mobile plan. But, as long as you're planning to get an unlimited data plan anyway, they can make it a lot more affordable to pick up a brand new phone.

If you'd like to deep dive into specific carriers, we've got some great content for you in the form of our Verizon deals and AT&T deals pages. There you'll find a full list of what's available, including discounts on plans and even free phones.

Unlocked cell phone deals

Samsung Galaxy S22: $799 $674 at Amazon
Save $100 -
Amazon's offering its lowest ever prices on unlocked Galaxy S22 devices this week - an absolute bargain cell phone deal if you're looking for a no-strings-attached discount on a new flagship. These prices were matched by identical figures on the official Samsung store just this past week but those have expired now. Subsequently, we'd snap these ones up before they expire at this retailer too.
Galaxy S22 Plus: $999 $749
Galaxy S22 Ultra
: $1,199 $999

Apple iPhone SE 2022: get up to $650 off with a trade-in at Apple
Ahh, the classic. Yes, the Apple trade-in program is, as you would expect, available on the latest budget device from the brand. At launch, you'll need an iPhone 8 or later to be eligible here but a maximum saving of up to $650 will be in effect. While enough to technically cover the entire cost of the device, it's likely you won't get the full amount if you're upgrading from a 2020 SE, so bear that in mind.

Sony Xperia 1 IV: free pair of Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds with pre-order at Amazon
Retailing for $1,599 makes the latest Sony Xperia 1 IV one of the most expensive smartphones ever but Amazon is throwing in a free pair of Sony WF-1000XM4 noise cancelling earbuds with pre-orders this week to sweeten the deal. Specifically targeted at mobile photographers and gamers, this incredibly powerful Android flagship looks to rank right up there with the best from Samsung and Apple.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3: $200 store credit, free charger, and up to $1,100 off with trade at Samsung Samsung's recently replaced its cell phone deals on the Fold 3 to offer less of a discount upfront but a beefier trade-in rebate overall. Right now, you can actually save up to $1,100 on this device with an eligible trade in - a saving that's available on both unlocked and carrier devices. To sweeten the deal further, Samsung is also offering $200 store credit (for accessories) and a free wireless charger on top.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3: $999 $849.99 at Amazon
Save $150 -
If you'd prefer a cheaper foldable, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a great choice - especially with this deal at Amazon. The retailer has knocked a full $150 off the retail price of the unlocked variant, which is a straight-up superb no-strings-attached deal. If you're looking to pick up a cheap foldable device to use with your carrier of choice, this is a good one. The current record-low is $799 on this device but we've only seen that price on one occasion before.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: $799 $624.99, plus up to $550 off with trade at Samsung
Samsung's recently switched up its unlocked cell phone deals on the new Galaxy S21 FE to include a brand new enhanced trade-in rebate of up to $550. If you're looking to hand over an old device then this is definitely one of the better choices out there. Not only is it still extremely capable, but it's potentially going for real, real cheap here. Note, Samsung is also offering the option to bundle in a cheap pair of ear buds here for as little as $25.

Apple iPhone 13: save up to $650 with an eligible trade-in at Apple
Going unlocked with your new device? Apple's not exactly been known for great value cell phone deals but its latest maximum trade-in rebate of up to $650 via its official program is the highest we've seen yet from the tech giant. Put simply, this is a great saving and could see you paying just $149 for a new iPhone 13 and a big fat zero dollars for an iPhone 13 Mini. This deal is also available on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Apple iPhone 12: $699.99 $50 with an eligible trade-in at Apple
Price drop -
It's not all about cell phone deals on the new iPhone 13 this week - Apple has also dropped the upfront price on unlocked iPhone 12 models by a whole $100. While it's not the latest device anymore, that's a great price to pay for a phone that looks pretty much identical to the 13 - plus it's still got 5G capabilities too.

OnePlus 9 (unlocked, 128GB): $729.99 $599.99 at OnePlus
Save $120 -
Another great choice for an up-to-date Android flagship is the OnePlus 9 - the latest device from the brand that's barely a few months old right now. With a powerful Snapdragon 888 chip, co-designed Hasselblad camera system, and 120 Hz display, this one's definitely up there with the best Android devices money can buy right now. Note, we've listed the official vendor here because it has some great trade-in options, but you can also get the OnePlus 9 at Amazon for the same price.

Apple refurb program: save up to $370 on a refurbished iPhone
Refurb tech has a bit of a bad rep but hear us out - picking up a refurbished iPhone directly from the Apple store itself has a number of benefits outside of simply being cheap. Being refurbed by Apple itself means you're getting fully official replacement parts, quality assurance testing, and a really generous warranty and return period too. Definitely consider it if you're looking to save some cash.

  • Apple - offers upfront discounts on unlocked phone deals with trade-ins
  • Samsung -  save up to $500 on select phone deals with trade-ins
  • Amazon - has a vast selection of unlocked phone deals on a range of brands
  • Best Buy - also an excellent place to find unlocked phone deals
  • OnePlus - has a great Black Friday cell phone sale going on right now

Deals on unlocked smartphones aren't always the most eye-popping, as they tend to offer only small cuts to the retail price. Occasionally you'll find a major deal on a new smartphone, usually late into the one-year refresh cycle for that brand. We've seen this kind of price drop commonly for Samsung flagships, but they aren't frequent and rarely match the up-front discounts carriers offer. 

However, the savings you get from unlocked cell phone deals can be hidden. That's because an unlocked phone will let you freely move between carriers, so you can always choose the mobile plan that suits you. This can make your savings add up over time, as you won't be stuck on an expensive data plan for 24 months as you pay off your phone on an installment plan. 

You can also sometimes get deals directly from the phone's manufacturer, as they can offer trade-in discounts that retail stores generally won't.

Prepaid phone deals

Apple iPhone SE 2022: $200 gift card and free AirPods 3 with switch at Visible Wireless
Visible Wireless is a fantastic prepaid carrier - firstly because it offers unlimited data plans for as little as $25 per month and secondly because it has great deals. Right now it's best promotion is on the new iPhone SE 2022 which is available with not just a $200 gift card for new customers but a free pair of new Apple AirPods 3.

Apple iPhone SE 2022: 6-months of free service with device at Mint Mobile
Going prepaid? Mint Mobile is a great choice and it's offering new users a chance to get a whole 6-months of service for free right now. To be eligible, you'll need to purchase a device outright with a 6-month plan. This can be quite pricey upfront but if you do that you'll be set for a full year of speedy 5G data. Going with Mint will mean big savings in the long run - especially if you were also considering going with one of the bigger carriers.

Apple iPhone SE 2022: $429 $379.99 at Boost Mobile
Sure, it's not the biggest price cut in the world, but this week's $50 discount at Boost Mobile is its best yet on the new Apple iPhone SE 2022. Valid with any data plan, you'll be saving a decent chunk here - not to mention the savings you'll be making on your monthly payments should you forgo the usual unlimited data plans at one of the bigger carriers. With some great pay-monthly and family options, Boost is one of the better prepaid carriers out there at the moment.

Apple iPhone 13: $150 gift card with switch at Visible
Visible Wireless is a great pairing with the iPhone 13 if you're looking to keep those monthly costs down long term. While you'll have to buy your device upfront with this deal, you'll get a nice little $150 gift card if you port your number over. Considering you're potentially looking at paying as little as $25 per month with this carrier it's a great choice, even if you're paying quite a bit upfront initially.

Apple iPhone 13: 6 months of free service /w device purchase at Mint Mobile
Another iPhone 13 deal that'll set you quite a bit upfront but save you a lot in the long run is this one over at Mint Mobile. This excellent prepaid carrier is currently bundling in free months for those who buy a device outright at its website. While a bit pricey upfront, if you're in it for the long haul this carrier is going to save you heaps of cash versus the big companies.

Apple iPhone SE 2020: $449.99 $49 with switch at Cricket Wireless
Price drop -
Get yourself a cheap plan and a cheap device with this Cricket Wireless promotion on the iPhone SE 2020. Even though this device is a bit older now it's still a great budget pick - especially when you're paying just $50. Note, to be eligible for this price you'll need to be porting your number over from another carrier, so bear that in mind.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: $500 off with activation at Google Fi
Google has carried on its excellent cell phone deals on the S21 Ultra over to the new Galaxy S22 Ultra - offering a really decent prepaid option if you're going with the Google Fi network. Note, as always, this promo is for new customers only who port their number over to Google Fi, so bear that in mind. Note, if you're interested, this deal is also available on the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, Google Pixel 5a, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3

Google Pixel 6: $200 off when you bring your number to Google Fi
It's a little pricier than some prepaid networks, but Google actually operates its own mobile carrier called Fi. Even better still, it's offering a nice $200 discount to those who bring their number over to its service. Google also offers a subscription service called 'Pixel Pass' that sees you paying a monthly fee of $45 per month for the device, YouTube premium, device protection, and a $5 monthly discount on the Fi network. Again, it's a bit of a pricey option versus Mint or Visible Wireless, but it's worth considering.

  • Mint Mobile - one of our favorite prepaid carriers offers excellent bundles
  • Visible - has a great unlimited plan plus great phone deals if you switch
  • Boost Mobile - offers upfront savings on a range of phone deals

Pre-paid carriers aren't locking you into a contract, so they don't have the same incentive to offer massive discounts and device installment plans. But even still, there are still some phone deals to be found, even if their sales don't quite match those found on the big carriers.

These deals will generally let you save a little bit of money upfront, while the low cost of prepaid plans can help you save even more money over time. If you want the freedom to switch carriers later on, you'll want to double check what big network these smaller carriers are with and their policy around unlocking phones. If you find them a little too restrictive, we'd recommend checking out the unlocked phone deals above.

If you'd like to see more prepaid phone deals, we recommend checking out our main page on this week's best Mint Mobile deals and Visible wireless deals.

iPhone and Android deals

Looking for something specific? We've got a whole host of dedicated phone deal pages that are super handy if you've got your eye on that new iPhone or Galaxy in particular.

Cell phone plans
Looking to simply save on that bill? Perhaps it's time to switch or upgrade that old plan you've been on for years. Our roundup of the best cell phone plans in the US is one of the best resources on the web for finding the right plan for you. No matter whether you're looking for a cheap plan, unlimited or a plan for your family, our guide will help you out.

iPhone deals
Not sure which Apple device is for you? If you need a guide to the best prices on the whole range, our iPhone deals roundup is the place to start. You'll find the best offers from all the big carriers right here, as well as the cheapest prepaid and unlocked iPhone deals currently available.

iPhone SE 2022 deals
Apple's latest budget-focused device is here and 2022's iteration of the iPhone SE brings a number of welcome updates. Above all else, the A15 Bionic chip in this device gives it superb power to cost and enough grunt to easily zip through nearly any task. It is, however, rocking an oldschool design - one that's essentially based on the iPhone 8 from way back in 2017. Is this the right device for you? Check out our standalone piece for a full breakdown of this budget pick. 

iPhone 13 deals / iPhone 13 mini deals
Here it is folks - the latest Apple flagship for 2021. With a powerful new processor, improved battery life, camera upgrades, and an expanded storage capacity, both the 13 and 13 Mini are great choices for the average user. See our bespoke guides to score yourself a nice little price cut today.

iPhone 13 Pro deals / iPhone 13 Pro Max deals
Feeling a bit flush? Why not check out our articles on how to save some cash on the latest premium flagships from Apple, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. These devices are the first to include a 120Hz refresh rate - a welcome improvement that, alongside an upgraded processor and camera system, means they're easily some of the most powerful devices you can get in 2021.

iPhone 12 deals / iPhone 12 Mini deals
Apple's 2020 flagship is a fantastic choice - especially since it's now at least $100 cheaper than release across the board. Check out our latest deals roundup for this week's news on this great new device, and, where to pick yourself one up for much less than you would think....

iPhone 12 Pro Max deals
The biggest, baddest, and of course, most expensive Apple device from 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, is still a great choice for 2021 - especially for avid phone photographers. Check out our bespoke deals page to see how you can potentially dodge that eye-wateringly high price tag.

iPhone 11 deals
The cheapest of Apple's latest flagship trio, the iPhone 11 is an excellent phone to go for. It sports a dual camera set-up, an ultra fast CPU, IP68 rating and a 3110mAh battery. This luxury phone has a lot to offer, and better still - it even comes at a lower introductory RRP than the also excellent iPhone XR.

iPhone XR deals
The iPhone XR was the budget flagship until the new iPhone SE superseded it earlier this year. That's not to say it's still not an excellent phone however with its powerful A12 bionic chip and massive battery life. Better still the prices just keep getting lower and lower, so you're really spoilt for choice when it comes to cheap iPhones right now.

Samsung Galaxy S22 deals / Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus deals / Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra deals
There are three new Android devices from Samsung to check out - each one an awesome choice in its own regard. If you're interested, head on over to our individual pages on the Galaxy S22 series to get a full low down on these excellent 2022 flagship phones.

Samsung Galaxy S21 deals / Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus deals
Early 2021 has brought a whole fresh range of excellent new flagships from Samsung in the form of the new Galaxy S21 range. Astonishingly, these handsets are coming in at a whole $200 cheaper than the launch prices of the prior generation. That doesn't mean Samsung has cheaped out though, these phones still carry a ton of great specs and a powerful new processor in particular.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra deals
We've also got a separate page for the current biggest and baddest phone from Samsung - the Galaxy S21 Ultra. With a quad-camera array, incredibly powerful processor, and stunning 1440p display capable of 144Hz (!), this is currently the phone to buy if you're really, really serious about your Android devices.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 deals / Galaxy Z Flip 3 deals
Want to try something new? Samsung's latest series of foldable phones have just been released with two excellent devices to choose from. While pricey, both the Flip 3 and Fold 3 are on the very bleeding edge of what's possible with smartphones. They're quite simply special devices with incredibly powerful components, stunning designs, and of course those beautiful foldable screens.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 deals / Galaxy Note 20 Ultra deals
Are you a fan of big phones? Your first destination should be our roundup page of the best offers on Samsung's latest phablets - the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Expanded battery's, updated designs and of course awesome S-Pen functionality are all hallmarks of these awesome new (and huge) phones.

Google Pixel 6 deals / Google Pixel 6 Pro deals
Google's latest range of 2021 flagships are really making waves right now. A completely redesigned aesthetic, powerful in-house Tensor chip, and above all else - a compelling price point has meant these new devices are very worthy choices indeed. Check out our bespoke pages on these two phones for more information.

Google Pixel 5 deals
It's not just new Apple phones releasing this quarter, the brand new Google Pixel 5 is also a relatively new addition. A top phone for Android users, the new Google Pixel 5 is actually much more economical than you would think, thanks to a range of excellent design choices.

Google Pixel 4 deals / Google Pixel 4a deals
After Google managed to win the public over with three generations of top camera phones, hopes were high for the Google Pixel 4. For those wanting a camera phone to compete with the best out there, this will be the way to go. It's no surprise to hear that this is Google's best phone yet.

OnePlus 9 deals
Check out this week's best cell phone deals on the latest devices from the well-known Chinese brand OnePlus - the 9 and the 9 Pro. With co-designed Hasselblad camera systems, powerful Snapdragon 888 processors, and gorgeous 120Hz displays, these are a great alternative to the likes of Google, Apple, and Samsung.

best phone deals sales cellphone smartphone unlocked prepaid

(Image credit: Future)

Phone deal tips

If you want to be sure you're getting a good deal on a phone, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. 

Compare your favorite retailers

For one thing, you should look around for different deals on the same phone. Carriers often offer heavy discounts, but occasionally they can be beat by deals on unlocked phones that will let you avoid getting stuck on an expensive mobile plan. So, if you see what seems like a good deal from a carrier, double check that you can't find a better deal elsewhere. And, be prepared to do some math to consider the price of the phone plus the price of the plan you'll be more or less locked into.

Shop at the right time of year

Shopping around big sales events is also a good time to find a phone deal. While major retailers cut prices on popular products, carriers can also take those opportunities to make their usual discounts even more enticing. Carriers also offer some of these major discounts around the launch of a new phone. Even if the price of the phone doesn't change, there may be some freebies that add extra value.

Switch to get the best phone deals

If you're after the steepest discounts, though, you'll likely need to be ready to switch carriers or at least add new lines to your account. Major carriers strongly incentivize this, and it's one of the few ways you'll get a new phone for more than 50% off. These deals can sometimes be easier if you have a second person you're shopping with, as buy-one-get-one deals are also incredibly common and often only entail one new line of service.

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.