Deal sites offer steep discounts on retail, restaurants, travel, home services and more. Deals are usually only available for a limited amount of time, so consumers searching for a deal on a particular item will want to act fast when that item does get discounted.

The key to working with deal sites is to only pay for the goods and services you really want and need. Learn how to spot the best sites among the thousands that exist, and you'll be rewarded with some pretty major savings on your favorite products and businesses.

Top 10 Most Reviewed Deal Websites

Unbeatablesales.com is for those looking for one-stop shopping. This daily deal site is like an online swap meet, with hidden gems among the toothpaste, razors and other small items for sale at discount prices.
uBid was launched in 1997 as an auction website. Consumers can buy and sell items of all types on the website by bidding on auction items or buying select items immediately with the “uBuy now” feature.
BuyDig.com offers deals, including blowout deals, clearance and coupons, on a wide variety of products. They sell to both individuals and corporate customers and can fill orders quickly. Most ship within 48 hours.
Amazon.com offers several deals for consumers, including lightning deals, daily deals, coupon deals and a featured deal of the day. Discounts can range from four to over 70 percent off. Prime members receive early access to deals.
1Sale features daily flash sales where buyers can score up to 75% off major-name jewelry, electronics and home goods. Best for shoppers who can jump on the deals when they are announced, as supplies are limited.
Groupon is a well-known deal site where you can buy just about anything though Groupon Local, Groupon Getaways and Groupon Goods. They offer discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies.
Newegg.com is an online retailer that offers more than 18 million products in categories ranging from computer hardware to home appliances. The company's website also provides a Daily Deals section for consumers.
Overstock.com offers consumers brand new merchandise at closeout prices, and their flash deals start daily at 12 pm EST. Consumers enjoy free shipping on orders $45 and more and a flat rate of $2.95 shipping for smaller orders.
LivingSocial, based in Washington D.C., is a local marketplace to find great deals on activities and stores in your area.
HauteLook is a deal website for those looking to find this season's designer clothes for their family without the premium price tags. The searchable site is limited to members only, so competition for deals is minimal.

Erin Huffstetler is the Frugal Living Guide at About.com, and the founder of MyFrugalHome.com. If there’s a way to get something for less, Erin will find it, and tell you about it.

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What features matter most?

Products offered

If you need it or want it, there's probably a deal site that sells it. Here's an overview of the types of products that you can expect to find.

  • Goods: Clothes, shoes, home décor, electronics, toys, cosmetics, sporting goods – deal sites have it all.
  • Restaurant vouchers: Snag a half-price restaurant voucher to your favorite restaurant or try some place new.
  • Travel vouchers: Save money on lodging, transportation, event tickets and admissions for your next trip.
  • Retail vouchers: Stretch your budget by buying discounted vouchers to national retail chains, as well as local mom-and-pop shops.
  • Experiences: Go rock climbing, take a river cruise, or sign up for a cooking class – deal sites offer bargain prices on all sorts of fun outings and experiences.
  • Discounted services: Cut the cost of dental cleanings, salon treatments, lawn care and all of those other services that you need, but hate to pay for.

Website features

A good company knows the importance of a good website. Make sure any deal site that you're considering includes all of the following features.

  • Interface: The website should be well-organized, easy to navigate and free of major problems.
  • Check out: The check-out process needs to be handled in a secure environment – if you don’t see an SSL certificate -- an “https” -- in the web address and a lock in the bottom right corner of your browser window as soon as you hit “check out”, walk away from the purchase.
  • Payment and shipping account set-up: The best deal sites allow you to set up an account for speedier check out, and offer to store your shipping and payment information for you, but do not require these actions.
  • Account requirements: On some deal sites, membership is required to view and purchase the deals. This is fine, as long as the membership is free.

Customer support

You deserve to be treated right and to be helped quickly. When evaluating a deal site, make sure they have all of the following customer support tools in place.

  • FAQs: A section of the site should be dedicated to answering common customer questions, and provide a way to contact the company, if your question isn’t addressed.
  • Email, phone and web support: The company should offer both e-mail and phone support, and make their contact information easy for you to find. The best companies also offer live-chat and may also have a support forum.
  • User reviews: It’s always nice to see user reviews on a site, but keep in mind that these can be edited or removed, if the company doesn’t find them favorable. Check outside reviews, if you want to see what people really think about a product or business.

Shipping options

Some deal purchases will land in your inbox, while others will land in your postal mailbox. Make sure you understand how and when your purchase will be delivered.

  • Vouchers: If you’re purchasing a voucher that you’ll have to print or upload yourself, it should be available shortly after purchase, and remain in your account until you use it.
  • Shipping time: Some deal sites are notorious for slow shipments. Before you buy, check the FAQ section on the site to see how soon you can expect to receive your purchase.
  • Expedited shipping: Few deal sites allow you to expedite shipping. If you need something right away, you may want to shop somewhere else.
  • Ship to APO/FPO/International addresses/P.O. Boxes: Some deal sites will ship anywhere; others will only ship to a physical address in the U.S. Check the company’s policy before you place your order.

Return options

Sometimes purchases just don't live up to our expectations. Before you buy a deal, make sure you understand what you'll be getting, and what options will be available to you if you aren't happy with your purchase.

  • Defective products: Many deal sites sell closeout merchandise and refurbished items – make sure you’ll be able to return any product that doesn’t work, look or fit the way it should. In some cases, items may be sold “as-is,” so read the fine print carefully before making a purchase.
  • Expired vouchers: Forget about a deal voucher until after it’s expired, and you’ve probably wasted your money; however, the best deal sites will still allow you to redeem your expired voucher for what you paid for it (meaning you just lose out on the promotional value). Also, many states require issuers to honor the cash value of the vouchers. You should insist on this regardless -- it’s just good business.
  • Any reason: If you change your mind about a purchase, you should be able to return it with no questions asked; a reputable deal site will give you a window of time to do that – even if it’s a small window.
  • Return policies: The company’s return policy should be clearly outlined for you on the site. If it isn’t, move on.

Alerts

Deals often sell out quickly. Stay in the loop by taking advantage of all of the alert options that a company offers you.

  • Email: The best deal sites allow you to tailor your email subscriptions to your locale and interests and to set your own delivery frequency.
  • Social media: Follow your favorite deal sites on Facebook and Twitter to stay on top of deals, and to score special promo codes that can be used to sweeten the deal.
  • Mobile apps: Most deal sites offer a free mobile app that you can use to buy deals and redeem vouchers.

Types of Deal Websites

Product specific

Love shoes, sports, travel? You’ll find deal sites that cater to each of these niches, plus many more.

Items-per-day deals

Some sites offer just one deal a day or a small number of deals each day. These offers typically go live the same time each day, and there’s a lot of hype around them, so they tend to sell out quickly.

Local deals

Want to explore your community and support local businesses? Plenty of deal sites offer city-specific deals, and will e-mail you daily with a list of what’s available in your city.

Limited-time deals

Sites that offer deals in limited quantities or for a limited time are another industry staple. You’ve got to be quick to get in on these deals, but the savings can be huge for those who do.

Who's it for?

Bargain shoppers

These are the people who don’t like to pay full price for anything. They subscribe to the e-mail alerts for all of their favorite deal sites to make sure they don’t miss a thing.

Occasional users

These are the folks who buy when they happen to hear about a good deal or think to check the deal sites. They do not actively look for deals, but are happy when they get them.

One-time users

These are the customers who buy once just to see how the process works, or who buy when they’re looking for a way to save on a particular purchase.

Businesses

National retailers and local businesses come to deal sites looking to attract new customers and to increase sales. Companies are willing to offer a deep discount on their products or services because they’re hoping it will lead to repeat business.

What do the experts have to say?

  • BuyDig

    BuyDig.com was established during the 1990s and is headquartered in Edison, N.J. The company is associated with BeachCamera.com, and both sites sell a variety of products, but they focus on electronics.

    • Payment options: In addition to standard debit and credit card payments, BuyDig lets customers checkout with their Amazon account, PayPal account, Visa Checkout or PayPal Credit.
    • Blog: BuyDig’s blog has useful articles on simplifying your life, news on new electronics and gadgets, photography tips and more. Consumers can follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
    • Blowout Deals: Consumers who are unsure about which product is best for their situation or the specifications of different products can call the company or use the live chat feature on the website. The customer service number is clearly displayed on the homepage.
    • Customer support: Consumers who are unsure about which product is best for their situation or the specifications of different products can call the company or use the live chat feature on the website. The customer service number is clearly displayed on the homepage.
    • Free shipping: All items shipping to physical addresses in the 48 contiguous states qualify for free shipping. Some items or orders also qualify for expedited or overnight shipping.
    • Best for BuyDig.com is best for those looking for special deals and free shipping on electronics.
  • 1Sale (formerly 1SaleADay)

    This popular site offers -- as its name implies -- one deal a day across seven categories. Deals go live at midnight EST, and are only available for 24 hours, or while supplies last.

    What consumers say

    Overall, the site gets a “B” from consumers who had posted reviews on ConsumerAffairs as of this writing. Complaints center mostly around shipping delays like the one cited by Jorelle of Waipahu, HI: “Site says shipping in 1-2 weeks. It’s now week 4.” Ira of Pleasanton, CA, advises: “SaleADay always ships product late. Many times items reach almost 3-4 weeks from the day you order. You never get an order shipped in a week.” Read more consumer reviews here.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers
  • Groupon

    As one of the first deal sites on the scene, Groupon has been offering discounted vouchers and merchandise since 2008.

    What consumers say

    We don’t hear a lot about Groupon at ConsumerAffairs. This generally is a sign that, while there may be occasional problems, there is no single issue, or group of issues, that irk consumers.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers, occasional users, businesses
  • LivingSocial

    Based in Washington D.C, LivingSocial specializes in local deals. You’ll find vouchers for food, family outings, special events and travel. The site also includes a small shop with limited-time offers for merchandise and online stores.

    What consumers say

    Like Groupon, LivingSocial may have its problems but we don’t hear about them. Is this a good sign? Probably so, but as with anything new, you should proceed cautiously until you understand how the system works.

    • Best for Bargain Shoppers, one-time users, occasional users, businesses
  • One Kings Lane

    Since 2009 One Kings Lane has been offering curated collections of home furnishing, gifts and vintage finds – all at a deep discount.

     

    What consumers say

    In a word -- nothing. In all the time since 2009, ConsumerAffairs has heard no complaints about One Kings Lane, which would seem to be a good omen.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers, one-time users, occasional users

  • HauteLook

    This Nordstrom-owned company specializes in flash sales on clothing, shoes, handbags and home décor and getaways. Sales typically last 48 hours or until sell-out.

     

    What consumers say

    Scattered around the Web are complaints about discrepancies between what was offered and what was delivered  but the volume isn’t sufficient to draw conclusions.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers
  • Woot

    This quirky site started out offering one deal a day, but has since grown to offer one deal a day across a variety of categories.

    What consumers say

    Not much. Perhaps the site has not grown enough to attract a steady stream of reviews.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers
  • SweetJack

    Owned by Cumulus Media, SweetJack’s specialty is local deals, and their offers are featured on over 1,400 radio stations around the country.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers, occasional users, businesses
  • Amazon Local

    Local.amazon.com is the place to head for Amazon’s deal site. It has been serving up local and national deals since 2011, so it’s a relative newcomer to the market.

    • Best for Bargain shoppers, one-time users, occasional users, businesses

11 – 16 Most Reviewed Deal Websites

Amazon Local is a place to find local deals in the many major metro areas presently covered. The site secures offers in a variety of categories, as well as exclusive discounts and extras not offered anywhere else.
SweetJack is a deal website with deals and discounts on local activities, events, restaurants and services. It also has an affiliate program for bloggers to can earn money by sharing deals on their sites.
Deals.Woot was established in 2004 and is part of Amazon. This is a website for retailers to offer local great deals, and also for members to share information about the best deals through the "Ask the Community" forum.
RetailMeNot is a website that curates deals and discounts from around the web. Consumers can browse the website by store, type of discount or product category. Customers receive suggested deal emails when they create an account.
Coupons.com lets consumers download and/or print coupons for products that they plan to buy and/or want to try. The site also has a section that lists companies’ current cash back offers and store specific coupons.