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Best May sales 2021: Best deals of the month and what to buy

Experts recommend the best sales to shop this month, from Mother's Day to Memorial Day and across retailers like Amazon, Kohl's, Nordstrom and more.
Illustration of a cast iron pan ; Hurom H-AA Slow Juicer, AirSoap Air Purifier, JBL Charge 4 Speaker in blue, and TONYMOLY I'm Real Lemon Sheet Mask Set
May offers sales from William Sonoma, PhoneSoap, JBL, AeroGarden and more.Skinstore ; Hurom ; PhoneSoap ; Amazon ; Sur La Table

Select is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.

May, which includes Memorial Day, is full of sales from retailers like Amazon, Kohl’s and Macy’s. Experts told us to expect savings on items from clothing to kitchenware and mattresses. As we inch towards summer — and more people are getting vaccinated against Covid-19 — many are beginning to explore vacations. Experts recommend browsing discounted travel offerings sooner than later — the longer you wait, the less destination options will be available. To simplify your bargain hunting this month, we consulted retail experts about the best deals to shop in May. We also included tips about what to hold off on, and which sales offer the best deals for specific products.

What to buy in May

According to Sara Skirboll, retail expert at RetailMeNot, photo services like Walgreen’s Photo and Shutterfly will begin offering deals of upwards of 42 percent off in May due to Mother’s Day and the upcoming graduation season.

Small appliances like toasters and air fryers will also be on sale in May. Retailers like Lowe’s and JCPenny are expected to offer savings upwards of 24 percent. Skirboll recommended shoppers also look for savings on outdoor gear for hiking and camping. Deals are expected to be upwards of 22 percent off at retailers like Cabela’s and L.L. Bean as the weather warms up across the country, Skirboll said.

Vipin Porwal, founder and consumer expert at Smarty, said around mid-May, shoppers should look for weekend sales on summer clothing from retailers like Kohl’s, Macy’s and Old Navy. Nordstrom Rack, Nike, Up West and Bloomingdale’s also often offer savings from 10 to 30 percent, in addition to buy-one-get-one coupons on apparel. Skirboll also noted maternity clothing sales in May between 25 and 30 percent off from retailers like Buy Buy Baby and Motherhood.

As more Americans get vaccinated and we approach the vacation booking season, Porwal said to look for deals on hotels and vacation packages, and other travel related specials. Porwal said the travel industry is “in recovery” after the coronavirus prevented many people from vacationing over the past 12 months. Shoppers can expect to see savings ranging from 10 to 30 percent at Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline and Hotwire, but Porwal said to book early while vacancies are available at your preferred destinations.

Biggest sales happening in May

Deals to shop now

Staub Cast-Iron Everything Pan

Available in eight colors, ranging from Sapphire to Cherry, Staub's Everything Pan is made from cast-iron, which evenly transfers and retains heat. Its glass lid has a heat-resistant knob that allows you to see into the pan while you’re cooking. The interior of the pan features black matte interior enamel with traces of quartz, giving it additional heat resistance and a rougher surface to better brown ingredients. The pan is dishwasher-, grill- and freezer-safe, and oven and broiler safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be used with all stovetops.

AeroGarden Sprout

Grow flowers and herbs with AeroGarden’s Sprout in-home garden system. The three-pod indoor garden has a built-in LED grow light and a silent water pump. To start growing, add AeroGarden’s seed pods, plant food and water. The garden system reminds you when you need to add more plant food and it has a water level indicator window and a water-fill port. The Sprout comes with the lighting system and a power adapter, and you can choose from four 3-Pod Seed Pod Kits: Gourmet Herbs, Heirloom Salad Greens, Mighty Mini Cherry Tomatoes or Cascading Petunias.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro boast active noise cancellation and four Ambient Sound mode levels. These earbuds reduce background noise when you’re on a call, and active noise cancellation automatically turns off when you’re speaking. They’re water resistant and protected against water immersion as deep as 3 feet for a half-hour. Additionally, you can tap the earbuds to play music or answer a call. They come with a wireless charging case, or you can use your phone’s battery to charge the earbuds by placing them on the back of any compatible Galaxy device. The earbuds are available in three colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet.

Hurom H-AA Slow Juicer

Beyond fresh juice, Hurom’s juicer can also make smoothies, plant-based milk, sorbet and ice cream. It comes with a fine and coarse strainer, as well as an ice cream strainer. The juicer’s auger works at a slow speed to squeeze all the juice out of ingredients. To clean, run water through the juicer, disassemble it and use the included cleaning brushes. The juicer is also built with a spinning brush that rotates during juicing to clean the chamber and strainer simultaneously, ensuring that ingredients don’t get clogged. The juicer comes in three colors: Black, White and Rose Gold.

TONYMOLY I’m Real Lemon Sheet Mask Set

These single-use masks are made from three-layers of soaked pulp sheets. The masks contain amino acids that moisturize skin, are infused with lemon extract and include vitamin C to brighten and even out the appearance of skin. The sheet mask also helps improve dull or tired complexions. For an extra cooling and soothing effect, the brand advises storing your masks in the refrigerator. These sheet masks from TONYMOLY come in a pack of 10.

JBL Charge 4 Personalized Speaker

JBL’s Bluetooth speaker features a built-in power bank to charge your devices and it has a rechargeable battery, providing up to 20 hours of playtime. The speaker is water resistant, and it sports two of the brand’s bass radiators to intensify sound. It’s also equipped with JBL Connect+, so you can wirelessly connect to more than 100 speakers from the brand. The JBL Charge 4 is available in 12 colors, from Black Camo to Pink.

AirSoap Air Purifier

This air purifier utilizes PhoneSoap’s Electric Wind technology, which generates a high energy plasma field to help kill bacteria in the air. Then, it collects and removes particles from the air as small as 14 nanometers. Instead of HEPA filters, which experts recommend, the air purifier is built with washable, reusable graphene plates so you don’t have to purchase replacement filters in the future. In addition to removing some viruses from the air, the device can also reduce allergens like pet dander and purify smoke-filled air. It can purify areas as large as 400 square feet and has multiple speeds to choose from.

What not to buy in May

Porwal recommends waiting to purchase tablets, laptops and desktops until later in the year despite Memorial Day sales. Often, he said, we see more competitive pricing during summer Back-to-School sales on computing devices and tech. Skirboll also noted that Amazon Prime Day is set to return to its regular summer timing this year after being delayed in 2020 due to the coronavirus. She recommended waiting for Prime Day deals on Amazon branded electronics. But if you need to buy a new device in May, Porwal said Memorial Day sales at Best Buy and Microsoft offer decent savings.

Memorial Day sales

Memorial Day sales will pop up throughout the month, and Porwal said prices remain steady about one week ahead of the holiday weekend through the first week of June. However, he noted, items that are deeply discounted usually sell out first.

“Memorial Day sales pricing gets more competitive the closer we get to the holiday weekend when nearly every home improvement store and big box retailer will feature some of the best discounts of the year.”

As for Memorial Day weekend sales, Skirboll said they usually begin a few days prior or even the week before the long weekend. She mentioned that we should expect shopping holidays like Memorial Day to be bigger in 2021 since retailers aim to “make up for lost ground” due to the pandemic in 2020. Shoppers will likely see longer-lasting deals, deeper discounts and more product categories.

Skirboll said Memorial Day sales are known to offer some of the best deals of the year on mattresses from brands like Casper and Purple and retailers such as Mattress Firm. Large retailers like Home Depot, Walmart and Mattress Firm usually offer up to 60 percent off mattresses, 30 to 40 percent off large appliances and 25 to 50 percent off home furnishings.

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