Picks

Want to Get the Most Out of Amazon Prime Day?

Treat it like a giant yard sale.

Amazon Prime Day classic items in collage.
Slate

America, take a seat, because the second biggest birthday bash of July has just arrived! Monday marks the start of Amazon Prime Day—purportedly a celebration of Amazon’s 24th birthday but really just an excuse to go wild and buy as many discounted Instant Pots as your heart desires.

Amazon is like a spoiled teen who every year demands a longer party (this year it runs a full 48 hours) and glitzier entertainment (Taylor Swift kicked things off Wednesday with a concert). But if you allow yourself to get sucked into the drama (Should I wait to buy this until Cyber Monday? Does Walmart actually sell that for cheaper?), you cannot properly appreciate the fun of this event.

The key to enjoyment is treating Prime Day like what it is: a giant yard sale. It’s true that you can be responsible and get a nice discount on a Dyson vacuum or a Toshiba television, but you can also get a hot dog toaster or a keyboard-shaped waffle iron! You’re missing out if you don’t freely revel in the bizarreness of this holiday and the … unexpected … consumer goods it can bring into your life. In that spirit, Slate is here not only to help you find the sensible, good deals, but also to sort out the weird and wonderful deals, and to laugh at the completely bizarre ones. We’ll be updating the post throughout the event, so keep checking in to see how things develop.

Things You Need but Never Bought

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap, Basil

Mrs. Meyer’s has become the indie favorite when it comes to household supplies. One reviewer writes, “It works ridiculously well—better than any of the big-name grocery-store varieties I’ve used over the years, including removing grease better than Dawn. And it smells like heaven with bubbles.”

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Dish Soap
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day

OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Wired says of the coffee brewed by the OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker, “It was downright perfect, with those floral and grassy overtones you’d expect, yet less acid.”

Buy: $32 (was $50, now 36 percent off)

Nintendo Switch

You don’t usually see discounts on the Nintendo Switch, so this slight reduction might make it time to buy if you were already contemplating the purchase.

Nintendo Switch
Nintendo

Nintendo Switch

Was $334, now 10 percent off.

eero Home WiFi System

The Verge recommends the eero system as a way to resolve problems with Wi-Fi coverage, their only reservation being its cost. They praise its “sleeker design and reliable performance” over other models. Now that the price is down 50 percent, the eero model is also cheaper than its competitors.

Buy: $200 (was $399, now 50 percent off)

Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)

Amazon makes a big push for Amazon-brand products every year, but the Echo also tops lists for voice-activated speakers. PC Mag says, “It’s small, useful, sounds good for its size, and is reasonably priced.” (And that’s before the 50 percent Prime discount.)

Buy: $50 (was $100, now 50 percent off)

iRobot Roomba 690

The 690 is an entry-level Roomba model, but PC Mag explains that it is still packed with functionality at half the price point: “Not only does it feature Wi-Fi connectivity and app control, it supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant as well.”

iRobot Roomba
iRobot

iRobot Roomba 690

Was $375, now 39 percent off.

Google Pixel 3 XL

TechRadar says, “Even into 2019, the Google Pixel 3 has the best smartphone camera you can buy.” Though Apple still controls the majority of the phone market, the cheaper price tag and difference in camera quality is giving Google a leg up.

Buy: $639 (was $899, now 29 percent off)

Things You Need if You’re Feeling Fancy

Foreo Luna Play

Slate writer Shannon Palus says that ultrasonic cleansing probably doesn’t actually work on skin, but that the Foreo Luna still offers a very pleasant little face massage. She writes, “with the Luna, I feel like I’m buffing a piece of precious machinery, or maybe a piece of artwork, which is a nice way to think about one’s body in this day and age!”

Buy: $31 (was $39, now 20 percent off)

Toto Washlet Electronic Bidet

Slate reviewed the Toto Washlet back in 2014. Writer Seth Stevenson questions why Americans, who have embraced so many other advanced technologies, insist on being stuck in the past when it comes to toilets? He notes, “No parent would use dry paper instead of a moist wipe. Yet most of us deny our adult selves this basic comfort.”

Toto Washlet Electronic Bidet
Toto

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Smart Electric Toothbrush

Women’s Health calls the Sonicare DiamondClean “the Maybach of electric toothbrushes” and notes that it comes with an app that gives you a variety of brushing tips based on your activity, including telling you whether you favor one side of your mouth.

Philips Sonicare
Philips

Braun Series 9 Men’s Electric Foil Shaver 

The Series 9, like the DiamondClean, is the deluxe option when it comes to hygiene. Men’s Health says, “Five shaving elements work together to cut through even the most difficult hairs with a 10-direction flexible head and special microvibration technology.”

Buy: $215 (was $310, 31 percent off)

The Things You Have Zero Need For, but Why the Heck Not?

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

The LifeStraw was the runaway success of Prime Day 2018: Evidently the reasonable pricing encouraged purchases from even those who weren’t planning a camping trip anytime soon. However, they also seem to live up to the hype. One reviewer recounts an impressive story from a backpacking trip, “On top of one of the lower peaks, I drank from the most disgusting looking crevice filled with brown scum. I thought, this is going to be safe, but taste horrid. WRONG. TASTED LIKE THE FRESHEST SPRING WATER. Better than any tap. I’m from Maine, and I’ve tasted plenty of water right from mountain springs, so take my word.”

LifeStraw
LifeStraw

Things You Don’t Need but Could Make for Unexpected Gifts

D’Addario EJ40 Silk & Steel Folk Guitar Strings

If you have a guitar player in your life, know that D’addario is one of the best brands for strings. One reviewer says, “These strings sound as advertised—warm and mellow—my preferred sound. They (light gauge) are easy on my old fingers that don’t play enough any more to remain calloused.”

Buy: $6 (was $8, now 24 percent off)

The Things You Had No Idea Amazon Even Sold 

Elmer’s Color Slime Kit

Those over the age of 10 may not totally understand the appeal here, but parents seem to appreciate the simpler approach: “Quick and easy, and relatively mess free! My daughter loved this! And I loved the activator that bypassed all the other weird ingredients usually found in slime!!!”

Elmer's Color Slime Kit
Elmer’s