By Cameron Huddleston, Columnist
Best Buy's slogan is: "Expert service. Unbeatable price." In fact, the electronics chain with more than 1,400 stores claims that it "offers expert service at an unbeatable price more than 1.5 billion times a year."
The retailer certainly offers great prices on a variety of products -- not just electronics -- and has sales and special offers that can help consumers score even deeper discounts. However, not everything at Best Buy is a best buy.
Consumer experts helped pinpoint the five best deals at Best Buy and the five worst. See which offers you should take advantage of and which you should avoid.
The Best Deals at Best Buy
When you're looking to get the best deal at Best Buy, electronics are usually a great bet, but they're not the only ones. Here are five of the best deals worth considering.
As an electronics retailer, it makes sense that Best Buy typically offers the best deals on televisions -- brand-name HDTVs, in particular. You often can find deals of more than 25 percent off, plus free shipping, said Brent Shelton, an online shopping expert with cash-back site FatWallet.com.
Best Buy also tends to have some of the best television deals during Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, said Regina Conway, a consumer expert at deal site Slickdeals. She pointed out that Best Buy also has a generous price-match guarantee -- matching the advertised price of both local and online competitors, such as Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect.
"If you find what you need at Best Buy, before you pull the trigger, do a quick search on your smartphone to make sure you're getting the best price," Conway said.
2. Major Appliances
It's known for its tech and electronics deals, but Best Buy should also be your go-to spot for major appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and more. The retailer generally boasts the lowest prices on appliances, beating out competitors such as Home Depot and Lowe's and rivaling the prices of retailers such as h.h. gregg and Sears, said Howard Schaffer, vice president of deal and coupon site Offers.com.
Plus, Best Buy offers 18-month no-interest financing on major appliance purchases of $599 or more with its My Best Buy credit card. The Best Buy Outlet at BestBuy.com also offers deeper discounts.
3. Apple Products
Don't head to the Apple store if you want to buy a new iPhone, iPad or Mac. Certified resellers such as Best Buy almost always offer deeper discounts, said Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews.
In fact, Best Buy usually has the best Black Friday doorbuster deals on Apple products, offering $100 or more off iPads and iPhones, rather than gift card incentives that other retailers offer as part of their promotions the day after Thanksgiving, Shelton said. Also, Best Buy offers exclusive deals for students to get discounts on MacBooks and iMacs, said Conway.
4. Video Games
Best Buy offers members of its Gamers Club some of the best pre-order deals for new video games, with discounts averaging $10 to $20, said Shelton. Plus, consumers can get special coupons, reward certificates, 20 percent off new game software and other exclusive offers through this membership program.
You can join for free to gain access to some of the deals, or pay $30 for a two-year membership that offers more discounts. "If you're a gamer, it pays for itself right away," said Shelton.
5. Four-Hour Flash Sale
At least once a month -- and as often as four times a month -- Best Buy will slash the prices on select items by 70 percent during a flash sale, Glaser said. This sale is available only online from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST, or until supplies run out.
The four-hour flash sales don't seem to be announced ahead of time, Glaser said. However, you might get early notice by following Best Buy on social media or joining its loyalty programs.
The Worst Deals at Best Buy
Unfortunately, not everything at Best Buy is the best deal. Here are five deals that you might want to shop elsewhere for.
1. Tech Accessories
Best Buy does carry quality and reliable accessories, but you can often find cables, chargers and cellphone cases of a similar caliber for lower prices at online retailers such as Amazon, said Schaffer. You often can find coupon codes or special discounts at sites such as Offers.com, or get cash back when you buy these items online by shopping at a site such as Ebates.
If you do buy tech accessories from Best Buy, head online rather than a store. Shelton said the retailer's online deals tend to be better.
2. Extended Warranties
You might feel pressured when you make a major purchase at Best Buy to buy an extended warranty to protect your purchase. "However, there are very few occasions where an extended warranty is worth the cost," said Conway.
The manufacturer's warranty will likely provide enough protection for the first year. Your credit card company might also offer an additional layer of protection when you use it to make your purchase, she said. Or you could pay half as much for an extended warranty from a third-party company such as SquareTrade, Shelton said.
3. Gift Cards
Instead of getting Best Buy gift cards in-store at full price, Schaffer recommended buying them at a discount at sites such as Cardpool or Raise. These sites sell gift cards for less than face value. You can often find Best Buy gift cards at a discount of 5 percent or more, he said.
4. Refurbished Apple Products
Although Best Buy offers some of the best deals on new Apple products, Glaser said you should avoid buying refurbished Apple products there.
"One of the only times we recommend buying directly from the Apple Store is when getting refurbished devices," he said. "Apple is meticulous in their refurbishment process, and then the device is still covered by a manufacturer warranty."
Resist the temptation to grab snacks or candy at the Best Buy checkout. "These treats are pricier than their grocery store counterparts, and you're probably not going to have any luck asking for a price match," Schaffer said.
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