Stopping short of its threatened ban on flavored e-cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that it would allow stores to continue selling the products, but only from closed-off areas that are inaccessible to minors.
At the same time, the agency moved to outlaw two traditional tobacco products that disproportionately harm African Americans: menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.
The proposed menthol ban would be the most aggressive action the F.D.A. has taken against the tobacco industry in nearly a decade, and it was notable given the Trump administration’s business-friendly approach to regulatory issues.
If it clears the usual federal regulatory hurdles, a process which could take at least two years, the menthol ban could make a significant dent in cigarette sales. Menthol cigarettes account for about 35 percent of cigarette sales in the United States.
The three measures have a common target: the myriad flavors used to entice young people to vape and smoke. In restricting flavored e-cigarettes, the F.D.A. is trying to curb the rapid escalation of youth vaping. Some 3.6 million people under 18 reported using e-cigarettes, the agency said.
“Almost all adult smokers started smoking when they were kids,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said in a statement. “Today, we significantly advance our efforts to combat youth access and appeal with proposals that firmly and directly address the core of the epidemic: flavors.”
Still, the plan to sequester flavored e-cigarettes in stores, rather than ban selling them, was surprising to many people since details of a stronger proposal leaked out widely from the agency over the past week. Members of Congress sent out news releases, praising the agency for a ban that did not materialize. Federal law already prohibits the sale of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.
But lawyers said the agency did not have the legal authority to impose such a ban without going through a long, complicated process that would have inevitably ended up in protracted court battles.
In trying to navigate between public health concerns and a reluctance to heavily restrict e-cigarettes at this time, Dr. Gottlieb urged manufacturers to police themselves. “We hope that in the next 90 days, manufacturers choose to remove flavored ENDS products”— referring to the devices— ”where kids can access them and from online sites that do not have sufficiently robust age-verification procedures,” he said in the statement.
The mere threat of a ban, which he suggested two months ago, led e-cigarette makers in recent days to anounced plans of their own that go beyond what the F.D.A. laid out on Thursday.
Juul Labs, which is by far the largest e-cigarette seller, announced on Tuesday it would suspend store sales of its flavored pods, except for mint, menthol and tobacco, and shut down its social media promotions. And it said it would toughen its online age-verification requirements. But it left the door open to resume orders for thousands of convenience stores, gas stations and other outlets across the country, if the retailers abided by age verification measures.
Still, public health advocates said they were disappointed with the F.D.A’s new vaping measures.
“Does this mean a simple curtain with a sign like we used to see at the entrance to the pornography section of video stores?” asked Matt Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
And convenience store representatives reacted with mild surprise.
“It is not as severe as the commissioner had originally called for,” said Lyle Beckwith, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, a trade group.
When asked whether a fair interpretation of the new rules might be that convenience stores could sell flavored e-cigarettes as long as the products are under the counter, out of sight and inaccessible to minors, Mr. Beckwith said that he had no comment on that possibility and added that legal counsel would review it.
He noted, as an aside, that his teenage son has said that his vaping peers all get their flavor pods from older kids, not from convenience stores.
Azim Chowdhury, a lawyer who represents vape manufacturers and vape shops, said that the simplest way for the shops to continue to sell all flavors without walling off displays was to restrict entire stores to consumers 18 and older, a policy that many of his clients were already following.
He noted that 18 is a floor, not a ceiling: In California, for example, consumers of tobacco and e-cigarettes must be 21.
“The F.D.A. seems to be recognizing the value that these products have for adults,” he said. “My clients don’t want kids to use them either. But adults enjoy flavors, too.”
Dr. Gottlieb insisted that the restrictions were akin to a ban. “This policy will make sure the fruity flavors are no longer accessible to kids in retail sites, plan and simple,” he said. “That’s where they’re getting access to the e-cigs and we intend to end those sales.”
The agency said it would provide more detail on how to restrict access at a later date. But the commissioner said putting the vaping products under counters would not be sufficient. “What we are envisioning is a separate room or a walled off area,” he said. “It needs to be a complete separate structure. A curtain won’t cut it.”
Critics said that exempting menthol and mint e-cigarettes from the restriction was misguided, because of the large number of youth vapers who buy them.
But Mr. Chowdhury considered Juul’s pre-emptive move to limit visible flavors to mint, menthol and tobacco shrewd. If indeed a ban on menthol cigarettes is enacted, he said, “Juul is in a good position to offer an alternative product for smokers who are used to their menthol flavor. Because Juul has market dominance, they stand to benefit from an ultimate ban.”
Altria, RJ Reynolds, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco, and the other major tobacco companies that sell in the United States were not immediately available for comment. But they have all made clear to the F.D.A. that they will fight any ban on menthol cigarettes — as they have for many years.
Dr. Gottlieb, who was appointed by President Trump, is in an unusual position for a Republican appointee. His confirmation in May 2017 drew dire warnings from some public health advocates, who protested in particular his investments in Kure, a chain of vaping lounges. These complaints grew louder in July 2017, when Dr. Gottlieb extended the deadline by five years for e-cigarette companies to meet new standards.
The industry contends that restricting sales of flavored e-cigarettes will make it harder for adults to reduce their health risks by substituting them for traditional, combustible cigarettes.
“Flavors are important for switching,” said Dr. Moira Gilchrist, a scientist with Philip Morris International, which wants to sell its IQOS heat-not-burn device in the United States in tobacco and menthol flavors, during a visit to Washington last month for an F.D.A. public meeting.
She added:“ The focus should be on what is the right thing to do for the 40 million men and women in the United States would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes.”
The tobacco industry has fought to protect menthol for many years, to the frustration of public health activists, especially in the African-American community. Menthol is particularly popular among black smokers and black leaders have accused the tobacco industry of targeting African-American communities in marketing campaigns.
In a statement circulated upon news of the ban, the NAACP, National Urban League, the National Medical Association, and the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council said a menthol ban is long overdue.
“While we’re saddened by the number of lives lost and new smokers addicted over the past decade, we’re pleased that the F.D.A. is moving in this direction,” said Delmonte Jefferson, executive director of the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network. The group also praised the agency for taking on flavored cigars.
“Little cigars like Black & Milds and Swisher Sweets are heavily marketed to African Americans and are often cheaper in our neighborhoods,” said LaTroya Hester, a spokesman for the network. “A lot of young, black kids don’t know that cigarillos are just as dangerous, so hopefully this will send that message. This is a huge step in protecting their health — It’s about time our young people are prioritized.”
Southern California gasoline prices have abruptly turned lower as the heavy Thanksgiving driving weekend approaches, and prices could fall further in response to a steep drop in crude oil prices in the last two weeks. Read More
is opening is latest retail experience, Nike NYC, on Thursday on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The shop offers benefits and features like the Speed Shop, which offers locals swift access to popular items and the ability to pick up items that NikePlus members reserve on the Nike app, personal service in the Nike Expert Studio, and a customized visit based on app in-store features. On Tuesday, Nike announced that Craig Williams has been named president of the Jordan brand. Williams joins from Coca-Cola Co.
There will be commercial airline flights at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, by mid-February.
Alaska Airlines announced that its flights there will begin on Feb. 11, when it launches a planned schedule of 18 daily round-trip flights between Everett and eight West Coast cities. Tickets are now on sale on the routes, with promotional fares as low as $39 one way.
Though Paine Field is home to Boeing’s widebody a ssembly line and has some general aviation flights, it has been decades since the airport last had regular commercial passenger service.
With that change of heart by Southwest, Alaska has increased its plans for Paine Field to 18 flights, up from the 13 it initially planned. Alaska’s Everett destinations will be Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Orange County, California; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, California.
“We’re tremendously honored to be a part of this historic moment with the opening of a brand new commercial airport,” Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “Providing all new service from Paine Field and further expanding where we fly our guests, including from our Global Partners’ major international hubs, highlights the strong growth in our region and a thriving West Coast.”
Brett Smith, CEO of Propeller Airports, the company that’s developing the new terminal there, also lauded Alaska Airlines’ schedule announcement.
“Alaska Airlines flew from Paine Field back in the 1940s and 50s. We’re excited to have the airline return to Everett,” Smith said in the airline’s statement. “We’re ready to join with Alaska to provide terrific service to our guests.”
United, which announced its Everett intentions last year, has not yet revealed a start date for its planned service. In that announcement, United said it hoped to begin flights in the fall of 2019 with a schedule of six daily flights that would split between its Denver and San Francisco hubs.
The move to bring regular airline service to Everett is part of an effort to turn it into a secondary airport for Seattle, where the region’s fast-growing Seattle-Tacoma International has set numerous passenger records in recent years.
Everett flights will likely have the greatest appeal to those living north of Seattle. The Sea-Tac airport sits about 15 miles south of downtown Seattle and those coming by car from north of the city must navigate the region’s frequently clogged north-south arteries.
Paine Field, however, sits about 25 miles north of Seattle. Traffic to the airport from areas north of Seattle historically has been less-prone to congestion.
Alaska Airlines is headquartered in Seattle and operates its busiest hub at Sea-Tac, where it is the busiest carrier.
But, in its Everett announcement, Alaska touted Paine Field as a new option for its already-large customer base in greater Seattle.
“More than one million travelers who live north of Seattle will enjoy shorter commutes to Paine Field instead of heading farther south to Sea-Tac Airport,” Alaska Airlines said.
PHOTOS: Alaska Airlines, Virgin America begin merger process
The dispute between the U.S. and China over trade deficits and surpluses is rather trivial compared to the broader philosophical differences between the world’s two biggest economic superpowers, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio told CNBC on Thursday.
“Squawk Box” interview on CNBC. But he argued the conflict goes “way beyond the trade war.”
Dalio, co-CIO and co-chairman at Bridgewater, said the two nations’ polar opposite methods of governing is the broader, more difficult issue to reconcile. “It goes back to Confucius in 500 B.C.,” he said.
“It’s basically a top-down versus a bottom-up type of approach,” said Dalio, whose China unit of Bridgewater last month launched its first onshore Chinese investment fund.
“When you look at the 2025 plan in China, the government believes that they should have a plan for making China great” and will coordinate all aspects of public and private enterprise to achieve their goals, he said. “That type of activity is objectionable to the United States” in its free market economy.
The China 2025 plan is a state-backed industrial policy that’s provoked alarm in the West, and is core to Washington’s complaints about Beijing’s technological ambitions.
Dalio appeared on CNBC from the Greenwich Economic Forum in Connecticut where he later spoke to the elite gathering of investment thought leaders.
On stage, he expanded on his thoughts on the U.S.-China rivalry.
“History has shown there’s a concept called the ‘Thucydides Trap,'” he said. “The idea is that, when you have an emerging country that’s a competitive country, competing with an existing power, there is a risk of conflict.”
“In the last 500 years, 16 times that’s happened. And in 12 of those times, there’s war,” said Dalio, in a cautionary tone, while reiterating his belief that the narrow trade dispute between the U.S. and China can be worked out.
Rates for home loans took a breather after churning to the highest in nearly eight years, mortgage liquidity provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.94% in the Nov.15 week, unchanged during the week. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.36%, up three basis points. The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 4.14%, also unchanged.
Those rates don’t include fees associated with obtaining mortgage loans.
Fixed-rate mortgages move in line with the U.S. 10-year Treasury
Investors have snatched up bonds as concerns about the Chinese economy and geopolitics have prompted a stock sell-off. Bond yields fall as prices rise, and vice versa.
Meanwhile, a sense of stagnation keeps creeping into the many corners of the housing market. Fewer people expect they’ll be able to become homeowners in the coming months, according to a National Association of Home Builders survey. Americans are staying in their homes for the longest stretches ever, an analysis out last month found.
And in a report out Wednesday, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University examined the financial state of older Americans. The share of households aged 50-64 with less than $20,000 in wealth stood at 22% in 2017, a big jump from 15% in 2001.
“Another potentially troubling trend is that more older homeowners carry mortgage debt,” the Harvard researchers noted. In 2016, 41% of owners 65 and older owed money for their homes, more than double the 20% share from 1989. It’s true that over the past decade, with interest rates at historic lows, it may have been a smart choice to finance housing costs, freeing up funds to invest or use for other purposes.
But that may not describe the situation for all owners. Some may have used their home equity to help children with education debt, or for their own living expenses. “For financially constrained owners, carrying debt into their later years may mean having fewer resources for necessities other than housing,” the Harvard researchers wrote.
What’s more, it’s not clear what can be done for those people. As rates rise, just 1.86 million people could refinance into a lower monthly payment, according to data from Black Knight.
The company’s software allows for an easy setup with its televisions, it says, providing listening for programs from any Roku streaming channel as well as TV either over the air or from a set-top box. The speakers also support Bluetooth streaming.
The bundle consists of two speakers and comes with two remotes, a Roku TV voice remote and a Roku Touch tabletop remote with a press-to-talk microphone button.
It’s offering the speakers at a holiday promo rate of $149.99 through Nov. 26; MSRP is $199.99.
Bernie Sanders clashed with Amazon over its minimum wage — and prevailed. The online retailer bumped its minimum wage up to $15 an hour.
But the senator from Vermont isn’t finished wrangling with major companies over wages. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Sanders and California representative Ro Khanna are introducing legislation — the “Stop Walmart Act” — to compel Walmart to boost its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Most Walmart retail workers are working for horrendously low wages with minimal benefits,” Sanders told the Washington Post. “The wealthiest family in America must pay its workers a living wage, and the Stop Walmart Act will do just that. Amazon did the right thing by raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Walmart can and must do the same.”
Specifically, the bill proposes banning corporations like Walmart from buying back stock unless they raise wages to a minimum of $15 an hour. Markets Insider reported that share buybacks compromised “a solid backbone of the stock market’s continued growth.”
The bill also demands that such companies provide benefits like a week of sick leave and take steps to tamp down on CEO compensation.
In a statement to the Washington Post, a Walmart representative said “the company has already raised starting wages by more than 50 percent in the last three years.”
The retailer’s minimum wage was raised to $11 an hour back in January. That’s still lower than the hourly wage offered by competitors like IKEA, Target, and Costco.
Business Insider previously reported that the median annual pay of Walmart workers — both full- and part-time — amounted to $19,177 in 2017.
Are you a Walmart employee with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An employee scans a customer’s purchases at a Walmart Inc. store in Secaucus, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
Bullishness following the forward progress in corporate earnings was offset, however, as brewing investor uncertainty around rising interest rates and an assertive Federal Reserve checked the major indexes.
“We’ve raised interest rates to a level that it’s hurting asset prices,” the founder of Bridgewater Associates said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box. ” “We’re in a situation right now that the Fed will have to look at asset prices before they look at economic activity. It’s a difficult position.”
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.081 percent Thursday. Bond yields rise as prices fall.
The U.S. central bank has hiked its overnight rate three times so far this year and is widely expected to do so again in December. Investors tend to see higher interest rates as a threat to profit growth and a hurdle for companies with large amounts of debt.
“I’m very happy about the state of the economy now,” he said in an interview with Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan. “Our policy is part of the reason why our economy is in such a good place right now.”
Concerns over an oversupply in oil markets continues to dominate the market. On Thursday, oil prices stabilized as front-month Brent crude oil futures were trading at $66.78 per barrel, up 63 cents, or 0.95 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $56.72 a barrel.
Sterling plunged by over 1.4 percent against the dollar Thursday morning after U.K. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned from his post. This piles yet more pressure on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May as she tries to get her draft Brexit agreement through Parliament.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended Nov. 10, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Retail sales rose 0.8 percent, higher than the 0.5 percent expected.
Other stores are sure to follow as Black Friday draws near, and we also expect to see plenty of online deals direct from the manufacturers themselves. As soon as we spot anything, we’ll update this page, so keep it bookmarked.
And remember the usual caveats: Most of the deals won’t actually be live until Black Friday, Nov. 23, and CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Oh, and click that gallery above if you just want to see our ten favorite smart home bargains of the season. I’ll keep that updated as new deals come in, too.
Got it? Good. Now let’s get to the deals.
Amazon Echo (second-gen) for $69 (save $30)
Amazon’s fleet of Alexa-enabled smart speakers goes on sale starting Thanksgiving Day, and that includes a $30 discount on Alexa’s flagship, the second-gen Amazon Echo. That discount brings the price down to $69, more than $100 less than the original Echo sold for. That price looks like it’ll be available elsewhere, too, including at Target and at Best Buy — and also Kohl’s, where you’ll get $15 of in-store credit for every $50 that you spend on Black Friday, meaning that you could buy the Echo for $69 and get an extra $15 to put towards something else. Hmm..
Two Amazon Echo smart speakers for $100 (save $100)
Today only (Nov. 14), QVC is offering two Amazon Echo speakers for just $100, which handily beats Amazon’s Black Friday pricing. It’s an especially interesting deal given that Amazon just introduced stereo pairing for Echo speakers, letting you sync two of them up and split the left and right audio channels between them. Add in the new Echo Sub, and you’re looking at a voice-activated 2.1 stereo setup for a total of $230.
I’ll keep an eye on the deal and yank this entry once its sold out, so if you’re reading this, chances are good you can still score this exceptional offer.
Amazon already cut the price of the last-gen Echo Dot down to $30 when the new one came out last month, but the company is marking it down by another $10 for Black Friday, bringing the price all the way down to $20. I don’t know why you wouldn’t just pay the extra $4 for this year’s model, which offers a noticeable uptick in sound quality, but hey, maybe you’re just going to connect the thing to an external audio setup anyway. In that case, this might be the deal for you.
Expect to see this deal elsewhere, as well. For instance, it’ll be available at Best Buy starting Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) at 5 p.m.
Another Alexa touchscreen option: the semispherical Amazon Echo Spot, which might rightly claim to be the smartest ever alarm clock. You can score it for $90 on Black Friday, a savings of $40. Best Buy and Kohl’s are offering the same deal starting Thanksgiving Day.
Also $40 off: the just-released, second-gen Amazon Echo Plus, which you’ll be able to get for $110 for Black Friday. It takes the Echo and adds a slight improvement in sound quality, plus a built-in temperature sensor and a Zigbee radio that can connect directly with things like smart lights and smart locks. Amazon will even throw in a free Philips Hue White LED with purchase. Starting Thanksgiving Day, look for the same deal –free bulb included — at Best Buy, as well.
Amazon Smart Plug for $5 with purchase of any Echo device (save $20)
Picking up a new Echo Dot, or any other Echo gadget on Black Friday? You can tack an Amazon Smart Plug onto your order for just $5. Plug it in and plug something like a lamp or a space heater into it, and you’ll be able to tell Alexa to turn it on and off via your new Echo gadget. And if you’d rather shop at Best Buy, it looks like it’ll be offering the same deal.
Anova Wi-Fi Sous-Vide Circulator for $100 (save $60)
It usually sells for $160, but starting Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will sell you Anova’s Wi-Fi-equipped sous vide circulator for $100. It’s a great way to cook meats to the exact temp of your choosing, and the Wi-Fi lets you monitor the cook remotely on your phone, even if you aren’t at home.
Blink XT 1-Camera Security System for $79 (save $51)
Heads up: Unlike the Echo gadgets, this deal on the Amazon-owned Blink XT security camera actually goes live the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a wireless, weatherproof smart home camera with night vision, motion detection, free cloud storage, Alexa compatibility (duh) and two-year battery life — you’ll be able to score one for $79, which is a savings of more than $50. And, if you’d rather get a couple of the things, Amazon is also offering a three-camera Blink XT system for $230, which is $90 less than you’d usually pay.
Chamberlain’s MyQ Garage controller lets you open or close your garage from your phone, and it works with a bunch of popular smart home platforms. On Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will offer it for $60, saving you $20.
It’s the smallest discount in this roundup, but hey, nothing wrong with saving a few bucks per bulb if you plan on filling your home with automatable Zigbee smart lights like these. And, despite the fact that they’ve been out for a few years now, Cree’s Connected LEDs, which work with Zigbee controllers like the Philips Hue Bridge and the Amazon Echo Plus, are still some of our favorite bargain bulbs.
Look for them on sale at Home Depot this Black Friday — both the soft white and daylight versions, I might add.
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat and an Amazon Echo Dot for $199 (save $100)
Ecobee is discounting a couple of its connected thermostats for Black Friday this year, including the current-gen Ecobee4. That model comes with a separate room sensor that lets you track the temperature away from the thermostat, which is really handy if your bedroom runs a little too warm or a little too cold at night. It also has Amazon’s Alexa built right in.
It usually sells for $249, but you’ll find it for $199 online at Amazon and on Ecobee’s website right now. That said, the best place to buy it is at Best Buy, where you’ll also get a brand new Amazon Echo Dot thrown into the deal for good measure. That’s a fantastic offer, and it’s live on Best Buy’s website right now.
If you don’t care about using your thermostat as an Alexa access point, you can save even more by going with the previous-gen Ecobee3 Lite, which Ecobee is currently offering for $139, or $30 off. Like the current-gen model, it works with remote sensors and with Google, Siri and Alexa for voice controls. The only real difference is that it doesn’t have Alexa built-in.
If Alexa in your thermostat sounds interesting, then how about Alexa in a light switch? Ecobee pulled it off with the Ecobee Switch Plus, a smart, in-wall light switch that works with all of the major voice platforms, and also includes built-in microphones and a speaker to let you talk with Alexa. It’ll be marked down by $20 wherever Ecobee thermostats are sold, and the deal appears to be live already on Ecobee’s website. Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s have deals of their own going as well, to varying degrees.
Another smart thermostat option getting a Black Friday price cut: the Emerson Sensi, one of our favorite budget picks. The Sensi isn’t anything fancy to look at, but it still does the job admirably well. It also works with both Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. Starting Nov. 22, you’ll be able to score one from Newegg for just $89, saving you $40.
It’s brand-spankin’ new, but the Facebook Portal video chatting hub is getting a Black Friday discount at Best Buy that starts at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be able to get the smaller, 10-inch version for $50 off.
Garadget Smart Garage Door Controller for $65 (save $34)
Chamberlain isn’t your only option for smart garage control — this little doodad called Garadget can get the job done, too, and it works with Alexa, IFTTT and Google Assistant. Newegg will have it marked down to just $65 on Black Friday, which is a steal.
Geeni Switch and Charge Wi-Fi Smart Plug for $15 (save $5)
We haven’t tested this specific smart plug, but my ol’ pal David Priest reviewed an earlier version of Geeni’s Wi-Fi smart plug and came away impressed, giving it a four-star review. This one adds in a pair of USB charging ports, and looks like it won’t block adjacent outlets. Plus, it works with Alexa and Google Assistant to let you turn anything plugged into it on and off using voice commands.
At $15, it might make a great stocking stuffer — and the deal is live right now on Home Depot’s website as an early, pre-Black Friday special.
For an extra $5, you could upgrade to Geeni’s weatherproofed outdoor smart plug, which would be a really thrifty way to help automate your holiday decorations.
Here’s what Dave Priest had to say when he reviewed Geeni early last year: “The Geeni Energi stands out as one of the best affordable smart plugs on the market. When further integrations are added, it’ll be a fantastic product.” Now, the things work with Alexa and Google Assistant, so it sounds like it might be a great time to give Geeni a shot.
At any rate, $20 for a well-connected outdoor smart plug is a heck of a deal — comparable models from names like iDevices typically sell for at least twice as much. And, like the other Geeni switch, this deal is available online right now as an early special.
It’s only been out for less than a month, but that didn’t stop Google from discounting its new voice-activated touchscreen by 50 bucks for Black Friday. Small but mighty, the Home Hub’s Google Assistant smarts are a great fit for your kitchen countertop, and you’ll be able to score one for just $99 at Target on Black Friday, or from Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s or Lowe’s starting Thanksgiving Day. Want to buy it even earlier? Jet will offer the same deal starting the day before Thanksgiving at 10 p.m. ET.
No matter where you get it, that’s $80 less than what you’ll pay on Black Friday for its rival, the Amazon Echo Show.
Google Home Mini and C by GE Bluetooth Smart Bulb for $25 (save $30)
The Google Home Mini smart speaker will be available for $25 on Black Friday at outlets like Target, but the best deal we’ve seen comes from Lowe’s, where the same $25 will get you the Home Mini packaged with a free C by GE Bluetooth smart bulb. This combo is designed to work right out of the box, so as soon as you screw the bulb in and turn it on, it’ll automatically pair with Google Assistant for voice controls.
Like most stores that carry it, Walmart is offering the Google Home Mini on its own for half off starting Thanksgiving Day. It doesn’t come with a free bulb so it’s not quite as good a deal as you’ll find at Lowe’s, but Walmart does have the new aqua-colored version as an exclusive, which is why I’m giving it a separate mention here.
Google Home Mini and Chromecast Bundle for $45 (save $29)
Walmart is also offering the Google Home Mini packaged with a Chromecast media streamer for $45 total, which is about 30 bucks off the combo’s usual price. These two are a good pair — plug the Chromecast into your TV and you’ll be able to tell the Home Mini things like, “OK, Google, play The Great British Baking Show on Netflix,” plus other nifty tricks.
Walmart calls this deal an exclusive, but Jet.com is offering this same bundle at the same price, and you’ll be able to get it starting the day before Thanksgiving at 10 p.m. ET. That’s a bit earlier than Walmart, for what it’s worth.
Google Home Mini and 30-piece Tasty Cookware Set for $99 (save $131)
Walmart calls this bundle an exclusive too. In it, you’ll find the Google Home Mini packaged with a 30-piece cookware set from Tasty that includes ceramic, nonstick pots, skillets and frying pans in red, copper or blue, all for just $99. The combo usually retails for $230, so this might be worth it for the cookware alone.
Prefer a smart speaker with a little more oomph? The full-size Google Home gets a Black Friday deal, too, with a $50 discount available basically everywhere it’s sold bringing the price down to $79. Look for it at Target, Best Buy, Dell and Kohl’s starting Thanksgiving Day.
Target has a bunch of vacuums and robot vacuums marked down for Black Friday, but the biggest discount we’re seeing is the $150 you can save on an app-enabled Roomba 890. That discount brings the price down to $350, which is about as low as we’ve ever seen a current-gen smart Roomba sell for.
You can get a smart Roomba for even less by going with an earlier-gen model. Best Buy will offer the app-enabled Roomba 675 for $200 starting on Thanksgiving, which saves you $100 off of the retail price.
JBL Link View Smart Display with Google Assistant for $200 (save $50)
Newegg is the only outlet I’ve seen so far that’s offering a Black Friday discount on the JBL Link View, a voice-activated, Google Assistant-equipped smart display that impressed us when we tested it out.
That said, the $199 sale price isn’t anything exceptional. I’m currently seeing the same price as a non-Black Friday deal from a number of other outlets — and if I was buying a Google Assistant touchscreen on Black Friday, I think I’d much rather snag the equally smart Lenovo Smart Display or the Google Home Hub, which will each be available for $99.
Still, a deal’s a deal, and this is one you can buy right now if you’re so inclined.
We’ve tested all of the impressive new Google Assistant smart displays this year — Lenovo’s was the first, and I think it’s still my favorite. Best Buy has the 8-inch version marked down by a hundred bucks for Black Friday, bringing the price down to $99. That’s the same price as the Black Friday deal on the smaller-sized Google Home Hub.
Best Buy made this deal live as an early online special for a few days, but that window is closed, so you’ll have to wait until Black Friday for another chance at it. Some might want to hold out to see if Lenovo’s larger, 10-inch version of the Smart Display gets marked down, as well. Best Buy has that model included in the “up to 35 percent off” section of its Black Friday ad, but no final discounts or sale prices have been announced for any of those yet. If it gets marked down by the full 35 percent, that’d bring the price down to $165. I think I’d still rather spend $99 on the 8-inch model, but it’s still something to keep an eye out for.
Leviton Decora Smart Dimmer Switch for $40 (save $10)
As connected dimmer switches go, this Leviton Decora model isn’t the fanciest-looking, but it is more affordable than competitors from iDevices, Lutron and WeMo, it needs no hub, and it works with Alexa, the Google Assistant and Nest. You can knock an extra $10 off of the price at Home Depot on Black Friday.
We haven’t tested this one, but we did test a separate, nearly identical Decora switch that’s designed for use with Apple HomeKit (and Apple HomeKit only). Doesn’t look like that one will be on sale for Black Friday, but between the two, I prefer this non-HomeKit version’s versatility. And if you don’t need the lights to dim, the cheaper, non-dimming version is See at Home Depot
Lifx Multicolor Wi-Fi Smart Bulb for $40 (save $20)
Starting Thanksgiving Day, Best Buy will offer both the standard-size and floodlight versions of the current-gen Lifx LED for $40 each, a savings of $20 per bulb. That’s a good price on good smart bulbs that are brighter than comparable bulbs from Philips Hue.
I’m not seeing it in Best Buy’s Black Friday ad, but the team at Nanoleaf tells me that the retailer will have the Nanoleaf Rhythm starter kit for $50 off. They tell me you’ll find the same deal at Home Depot (we’re still waiting for that retailer’s ad). No matter where you get it, that’s a good deal on this weirdly likable smart lighting kit, which includes nine triangular, color-changing LED panels that stick to your walls, plus a microphone-equipped Rhythm accessory that syncs lighting changes with whatever music you’re listening to.
Buy a Nanoleaf Rhythm Starter Kit, get a free Nanoleaf Remote
Starting Black Friday, Nanoleaf will toss in its unique, 12-sided Remote accessory when you purchase a nine-panel Nanoleaf Rhythm Starter Kit for $230 direct from the Nanoleaf website. The Remote is truly one-of-a-kind, letting you switch between color-changing scenes by rotating different sides to the top and it can trigger Apple HomeKit scenes, too. It usually costs $50 on its own, so this is a decent deal, and right on par with the Best Buy offer as far as value is concerned. Just decide whether you want the Remote or not, and go from there.
Nest’s lineup of smart security cameras are all pretty solid picks, but they don’t come cheap. Fortunately, you’ll be able to score a pretty sizable $70 discount on the original Nest Cam Indoor at Target this Black Friday, bringing the cost down to $129. It’s not the newest model, but it’s still a worthy pick, especially at this price. And by the way, if you don’t want to wait for Black Friday, you’ll find the same deal available at Lowe’s starting Nov. 22, and on Jet starting Nov. 21 at 10 p.m. ET.
One other note — Best Buy claims it’ll have Nest gear marked down by up to $70 starting on Thanksgiving Day. No specifics on any of those deals yet, but I’m guessing they’ll be the same ones that I’ve posted here. Keep an eye out, though.
Prefer Nest’s weatherproofed outdoor camera? The rugged, weather-proof Nest Cam Outdoor typically sells for a steep $199, but you’ll be able to pick it up for $50 off at Lowe’s and Kohl’s starting Nov. 22.
Nest Learning Thermostat (third-gen) for $179 (save $70)
Nest’s smart thermostat is basically an icon of the smart home at this point. If you’ve been holding out for the right price to make the upgrade in your own smart home, then perhaps this $70 Black Friday discount from Target will do the trick. And yep, Lowe’s will have the same deal starting on Nov. 22, as will Newegg and Kohl’s.
If you want the absolute best bang for your buck, then I’d actually suggest getting it at Kohl’s, since the store is offering $15 of in-store credit for each $50 you spend. As a result, the $170 Nest deal would yield you an extra $45 to shop with on top of the savings.
The plastic-bodied Nest Thermostat E costs less than the stainless steel Nest to begin with, and it’s just as smart. Target will offer it for $30 off on Black Friday, but the best deal we’ve seen comes from Dell, where you can score one for $70 off starting on Nov. 21. That’s the best price on this thermostat that I’ve ever seen.
Here’s a terrific deal on Nest’s excellent video doorbell, which our camera and doorbell pro Megan Wollerton called “the smartest video doorbell available today.” $70 off is about as much of a discount as we’ve ever seen on it — look for the deal in-store at Lowe’s and also Kohl’s starting on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22. Dell will also offer it online starting the day before Thanksgiving.
Kohl’s says that some Black Friday specials will be available online starting Nov. 19, so check back that Monday to see if you can score this doorbell deal early. And again, the in-store credit offer at Kohl’s will net you an extra $45 to shop with.
It’s not the biggest doorbuster I’ve ever seen (especially for a piece of tech that’s been out for a few years now), but hey, here’s Nest’s smart smoke detector marked down by $20. Dell will have the same deal online starting on Nov. 21.
Netgear Arlo 3-Camera Starter Kit for $189 (save $110)
Netgear’s battery-powered Arlo security cameras are a popular pick for home security, and Newegg’s offering a good Black Friday deal on a first-gen, three-camera starter kit that’ll save you over a hundred bucks. The deal starts on Nov. 21 — if you miss it, look for an almost-as-good deal at Walmart, where the three-camera Arlo kit will sell for $199.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 3-Bulb Starter Kit with Remote for $120 (save $70)
This Philips Hue starter kit includes three color-changing bulbs, a wireless remote that docks on the wall like a light switch when you aren’t using it, and the all-important Philips Hue Bridge that needs to stay plugged into your router in order to control the lights from your phone or sync them with Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. It usually costs $190, but on Black Friday, Best Buy will sell it for $120. That’s a terrific deal — $30 less than you’d typically pay for just the bulbs.
Philips Hue White LED four-pack for $40 (save $10)
If you don’t care about the colors and just want to fill out your home with automatable white light, this four-pack of plain, vanilla Philips Hue White bulbs will sell for $40 at Best Buy on Black Friday. This four-pack usually sells for $50, which is already a pretty good deal.
Buy a Philips Hue 4-Bulb White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit, get a free $50 Target gift card
It isn’t marked down, but if you buy a four-bulb Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit from Target this Black Friday, the retailer will throw in a free $50 gift card. If you were so inclined, you could turn around and use that card to pick up a bonus bulb for your new setup.
Looking for a smart security light to hang above your garage? You could do a lot worse than this floodlight from Ring, which packs a built-in night vision camera and motion sensor, plus the ability to customize those motion alerts using “activity zones” within the camera’s field of view. Look for a $50 discount on it at Lowe’s between Nov. 22 and Nov. 25.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Amazon Echo Dot (third-gen) for $140 (save $110)
Here’s one of the best smart home deals we’ve seen this year: The Ring Video Doorbell 2 with a new, third-gen Amazon Echo Dot for a total of $140. The Ring on its own usually sells for $200, so this is a particularly good value if you’ve been itching for an upgrade at your front door.
Like a few of the other deals listed here, Best Buy initially listed this online as an early special, but that offer is over now. You’ll get another chance at it on Black Friday.
Sengled Element 3-Bulb Starter Kit for $30 (save $20)
If you’re looking for a good deal on smart bulbs, you might consider jumping on this Sengled Element starter kit, which will be available at Best Buy starting Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, for just $30. With three bulbs and the Zigbee hub that controls them, that’s cheaper than the two-bulb starter kit usually sells for.
Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller for $89 (save $29)
If the turn towards colder weather already has you thinking ahead to next summer, then maybe the time is right to score a deal on a smart air conditioner controller. If so, you’re in luck because the Sensibo Sky, which smartens up dumb AC units to let you automate them as you come and go, will be available for about $30 less than usual this Black Friday. Along with app-enabled automation, Sensibo lets you control the cool with voice commands using Alexa or Google Assistant. And yes, you can use it to automate a heater, too.
Bonus — you can pay a slightly lower $83 each if you buy a Sensibo three-pack ($249 total), but you’ll have to buy direct from the Sensibo website.
SimpliSafe Home Security Systems with SimpliCam for $170 (save $200)
Best Buy’s also offering nice discounts on SimpliSafe home security packages, which usually start at $270 but will be available starting at $170 this Thanksgiving. On top of that, Best Buy will throw in a free standalone SimpliCam with your purchase. At the start of November, Best Buy was also offering a free video doorbell with these kits, but they seem to have yanked that deal away and replaced it with the SimpliCam for Black Friday. Damn.
Still, that’s a lot of value for a very strong security system that’s won multiple Editors’ Choice awards here on CNET. Typically, a baseline SimpliSafe kit and SimpliCam would cost you about $370.
With built-in Alexa controls and Google Assistant controls coming next year, the platform-agnostic, premium-sounding Sonos One hits the smart speaker sweet spot at its usual price of $200. Scoring one for $25 off at Best Buy sounds just fine to me.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug two-pack for $23 (save $17)
You’ve got plenty of good smart plug options, but at less than $12 each, these TP-Link plugs might be the cheapest ones I’ve seen that include real-time energy monitoring of whatever’s plugged into them. They work with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls, too.
We haven’t reviewed these exact models, but we tested the mini sized Kasa smart plugs and came away satisfied with the experience. These bigger versions use the same hardware and the same app, so they should work well as a cheap way to expand your smart home setup.
WeMo Dimmer, WeMo Mini and more up to 35 percent off
We don’t know how much each product will ultimately sell for, but Best Buy’s ad lists several smart home gadgets that’ll be discounted by “up to 35 percent” on Black Friday (here’s the list). Those devices include the WeMo Dimmer light switch and WeMo Mini smart plug, two popular Wi-Fi gadgets that let you automate your lights and appliances. Both work with Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT and Apple HomeKit, too.
The WeMo Dimmer usually sells for $80, while the WeMo Mini retails for $30, so if both got the full 35 percent off, then they’d sell for about $50 and $20, respectively. Again, we don’t know how much of a discount they’ll actually get just yet, so stay tuned.