The Best Deals Apps for Android – January 2018
In this modern, always-connect society, you probably spend a lot of your time shopping online as opposed to making the trek to giant shopping centers and malls. Nearly everything you need in your life, from electronics and furniture to the produce on your dining room table, can be delivered right to your door by any number of online services and stores. So whether you’re looking to stay inside during the harsh winter, or looking to get a little bit more of your time back during the summer when you could be outside enjoying the weather, ordering services, food, and more is easiest when it’s done from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.
That said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be looking to save a little bit more cash on your purchases throughout your daily life. Even if you plan on making a trip down to your local mall or plaza, your phone can be a big help in saving cash. More than ever, online outlets are more than willing to lower the price you pay for good in temporary and flash sales that are limited in quantity. From e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart to smaller, seller-driven services like Etsy and traditional brick and mortar stores like Walmart, you’ll find some incredible deals online if you’re willing to look for them. Video games, mattresses, electronics, appliances and more all regularly go on sale for up to half their traditional prices through online and physical locations, and keeping up with these deals is the best way to save a buck on the purchases you make everyday.
If you’re looking for the best value and deals you can find in shopping today, you came to the right place. There’s a ton of great deals apps for Android that make it easy to shop and save at the same time, typically all without leaving the house. Here’s our guide to the best deals apps you can download for your phone on Android.
What you’re looking for in a deals app really depends on your priorities for shopping. Are you someone who likes to browse deals in their spare time, or are you an avid deal hunter who wants to gain access to the hottest, most popular deals as they go live? Likewise, what kinds of deals are you looking for, and how much do you want to crowdsource your deals to the internet as opposed to having select deals chosen by the staff of a website or service? These are all important decisions to make when looking for a deals app to rely on for daily shopping options, and both our top pick and our runner-up take different roads towards the same goal on saving you cash on the things you need and the things you want. And while both Slickdeals and Rizknows Deals will go a long way in accomplishing the goal of saving you cash, Rizknows is the app we think you’ll want to keep around on your phone, either as a casual or a hardcore deal shopper. Let’s take a look.
Unlike most deals apps, the first thing you’ll notice with Rizknows is the lack of a signup process. Most of the popular deals apps on the Play Store will require you to sign up for their memberships or accounts, which can be a real drag if you’re just looking for something to quickly browse through deals in your spare time. What’s worse, however, is the notifications that often come with signing up for an account for some of these apps. Push notifications can bother you all day with some of these apps, sending you updates to purchase content you have no serious interest in. In addition, these apps also have a habit of taking the email required to sign up for an account and sending you loads of notifications you don’t want and didn’t ask for. Rizknows has an account option, but it isn’t required in order to sign up for an app, which makes it incredibly easy to start browsing for content without having to deal with persistent and constant notifications once you jump into the app.
With the app open, the first thing you’ll notice is the app’s general design. This isn’t the most attractive application we’ve ever seen, but it is a solid one. While it foregoes following the general Android design we’ve grown to know and love, it does have a certain sense of style to it, closely following the Rizknows website that millions of users visit on a daily basis. The app opens its All Deals tab, with the Top Deals tab to the left and more specific categories able to be browsed to the right. A search icon sits at the top of the app, next to a small notification button, where you can sign up for an account. If there’s one major issue that comes from when browsing through the application, it’s the lack of ability to swipe between tabs with just your thumb. While the top category list does move left to right as you slide your finger to reveal other categories outside of All and Top Deals, the lack of swiping between lists means its slower and more cumbersome to jump between different lists on your device.
We already mentioned the lack of notifications required within the app, but they are there if you choose to sign up for a Rizknows account. Signing up for an account is done by tapping on the notification bell icon in the upper-right hand corner of the display, which will then allow you to enter your email address and your phone number. Unfortunately, you can’t sign up for a Rizknows account with different social options you might already have, like Google or Facebook, though you will find links to their social accounts below the “Sign me up!” icon. Don’t mistake these for options to link your social accounts; you need to sign up with your email and phone number. Once you sign up, you’ll automatically receive alerts to your email or phone number. The app itself doesn’t deliver push notifications, so keep that in mind before you input your information.
Outside of the design and notifications of an app, it’s important that each deals app actually has updated, solid deals that users can take advantage of. Rizknows has nearly every deal a TechJunkie reader would be interested in, mostly focusing on technology, apparel, footwear, and more. Each category loads a fair amount of well-known products; for example, Health and Fitness displays a deal on Fitbit’s new Ionic smartwatch, as well as protein powder, Garmin smart scales, and so much more from recognizable brands that you probably know and love. Electronics, often a pitfall category for this type of deals application, gives you televisions from Insignia, wall chargers from Anker, monitors from Acer, and laptops from Dell, meaning that you’re always gaining access to a proper deal, not a cheap product that’ll break in two weeks. Deals that end soon are marked as such, and deals that are popular with Rizknows users have a small flame icon that lets you know it’s a popular option, allowing you to keep an eye on what’s hot and what’s not.
Really, there isn’t much more to Rizknows. It’s the type of app we love at TechJunkie: simple, easy to use, and to the point. The app doesn’t bother with extra content you don’t need; it simply breaks down an experience users have grown to love on their desktop computers into something a bit more manageable for smartphone-sized devices. Limitations placed on the amount of deals displayed means you never need to spend more than a few minutes browsing the app, and the lists aren’t populated with bad products you won’t want to purchase or pick up. It would be nice if the had some sort of settings menu to allow you to control your favorite categories, or use bookmarks to save products for later, but overall, Rizknows Deals is a perfect deals app to keep on your device.
Slickdeals is a well-known deals site that doesn’t specialize in any sort of deal genre, instead choosing to offer a wide variety of options for those looking for general deals on everything from home goods to computer software. Having been around since 1999, Slickdeals is one of the oldest daily deals sites still around, and they’re a great option if you’re looking for something completely different from Rizknows Deals. Unlike that company, which specializes in providing users with premium, curated deals, Slickdeals is home to new content updates throughout the day, which means more deals for users looking to buy as much as possible. However, quantity over quality isn’t always preferred, and Slickdeals has its own fair share of problems for a daily deals app. Let’s dive in.
First things first: upon booting the app, you’ll be asked to create a Slickdeals account if you haven’t already. Right off the bat, this is a major difference between Slickdeals and Rizknows, which leads you directly to the main page without asking to login with your account. The good news with Slickdeals, however, is that it’s pretty easy to automatically make a Slickdeals account with your Facebook or Google login, and since you’re already on Android, logging in with a Google account is quick and easy. This does lead to some unfortunate notification settings that are necessary to talk about, but first, it’s important to discuss the general look and feel of the basic application at its core.
Slickdeals uses several different layouts to allow users to view what’s on their site. Along the top of the page, you’ll find a search bar to look for deals and specific content; below this, a list of five different options. From left to right, Slickdeals offers Deals, Coupons, Forums, Deal Alerts, and access to your Profile. Each of these is equally important to the rest. Deals is the main tab your app will load into upon opening the screen, featuring content that lists from sources like Amazon, Monoprice, Nintendo, and more. These are your generic deals, the things you’ll want to view most of the time in the app. The Deals tab has three sub-tabs, allowing you to view Features, Frontpage, and Popular deals. Frontpage is likely what you’ll want to spend your time browsing, as Featured deals are often sponsored by the creator of the deal. Regardless of the difference between the two, you’ll still find a good amount of deals split between all three tabs, and it’s worth viewing all of them.
To the right of Deals is the Coupons tab, largely useless for the online focus of this article. You can browse through a long list of stores in alphabetical order to look for anything of your choosing. Coupons listed can be automatically clipped, and Slickdeals will advice you to mix and match certain deals if possible. The Forums tab, unlike Coupons, is absolutely worth a visit. In addition to the Hot Deals post, you can find users sharing free items, surveys that pay real cash, free magazines and digital good, and so much more. It’s a great feature over what we’ve come to expect from a deals app, and you should absolutely use it to your advantage if you’re looking to save some cash. Deal Alerts allows you to create alerts set to specific keywords, categories, brands, and more, and your profile has a full list of notifications, messages, and your user activity. In terms of plain visuals, the app is easy enough to navigate between these five tabs, with Deals and Forums likely being the most important of the bunch. That said, the app could use a bit of sprucing up in terms of color, style, and flair. It’s not bad-looking per se, but it is boring, and a bit more visual panache could go a long way.
Some may enjoy how Slickdeals handles their notifications, but in our eyes, it’s a major problem. When Slickdeals has you sign up for an account to begin using the service, it automatically enrolls you in both device and email notifications. Unlike Rizknows’ opt-in service, Slickdeals automatically turns notifications on for your account as soon as you sign up. Typically, this is to be expected when you log into an application; for example, you don’t sign into Facebook without expecting to get updates on comments on your statuses or the birthdays of your friends. But in our eyes, Slickdeals crosses a line here, instead choosing to send users far more than the expected amount of notifications that come with an app. Push notifications, by default, are enabled for both the frontpage deals and the forum notifications, along with your specific deal alerts you’ve set using terms and keywords. Frontpage notifications, by default, is set to send you 40 to 70 notifications per day, which means anywhere from 1.5 notifications to nearly 3 notifications per hour on average during a 24 hour cycle. You can use a slider to slow these down to a more manageable 4-10 or 2-3 deal notifications per day, but we simply turned off the notifications for frontpage deals altogether.
This is without mentioning the email notifications, which are hidden behind a separate notification setting and enabled to send you nearly a dozen types of notifications without your explicit permission. This includes deal alerts, price trackers, the Slickdeals newsletter, and Black Friday specials, in addition to loads of other content. Where it crosses from annoying into unacceptable comes with the inclusion of automatically enabled sponsored newsletters and editorial content, which allows Slickdeals to essentially make money by spamming your email with advertisements and unwanted articles. All of these can be turned off with a toggle in your settings menu within the app, but it’s still a hassle, and should be opt-in for new users signing up for Slickdeals.
Honestly, it’s a shame that Slickdeals forces you into these notifications, because the deals themselves are pretty great. Rizknows Deals has a better focus on offering their users a small but solid set of deals and content, but Slickdeals has everything from digital video game downloads to deals on gift cards, even offering subscription deals for certain companies. Each deal is listed with the origin of the deal, along with positive or negative ratings for each deal and a comments section that helps list whether or not it’s a solid listing. Another differentiating factor from Rizknows: the majority of these deals are listed by users, not Slickdeals themselves, which means you’ll often find a wider variety of interests when browsing through the app. That said, you’re also likely to find misleading or mismarked deals, like Amazon sales for add-on items that aren’t marked as such. It’s important to keep that in mind when reading through Slickdeals, but the comments section and a lively user base helps to keep things in check.
Overall, Slickdeals is a good, even great, deals application on its own, weighed down by some unfortunate decisions about notifications. While the app isn’t perfect, sporting a dated, uninteresting design and being a bit too visually busy for our tastes, it’s really the notification system that stops it from beating out Rizknows as our top deals application. The wider selection, the forums and dedicated user base, and even the deal alert system are all excellent, but it’s difficult to recommend an application that participates in user hostility like this one. We still think that Slickdeals is an app worth having on your phone—it wouldn’t be our runner-up if we thought otherwise—but it’s important to dive into your notifications to disable the email and push notifications you don’t want connected to your account.
While Rizknows Deals and Slickdeals are both focused primarily on online shopping and commerce, Groupon encourages you to get out in your community to do things. Whether it’s deals on local pizzerias and restaurants, savings on bowling, laser tag, or miniature golfing experiences, promotions for escape rooms in your local area, or deals on spa getaways for a relaxing weekend, Groupon likely has you covered. The app uses your location to look for deals automatically in your area, and features a clean and modern green and white interface that’s easy to browse, all without advertisements or in-app purchases. You can view locations on a map or by simply browsing through the application for standard deals, and a notifications tab lets your favorite areas around where you live populate the full list. Obviously, the quality of your deals is really going to depend on where you live. People in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or any other major metropolitan area are going to have far more to choose from than those in the midwest or deep, rural south. Overall, Groupon is a must-have app for adventurers, food lovers, and anyone looking to support the businesses that fill in their local city. Just don’t expect to find many deals for electronics, games, and home appliances.
This technically doesn’t count as a proper deals application, since Reddit basically covers the entirety of the internet for some people. To the right group, however, Reddit is the perfect way to get super-specific deals that correlate perfectly with your favorite types of deals. Sure, if you’re a fan of standard deals, you can browse through r/deals to get an idea of what’s on sale at any given time. If you’re interested in video games, PS4Deals, NintendoSwitchDeals, and GreatXboxDeals will keep you covered with deals for all of the content listed. BuildAPCSales helps users find new ways to purchase PC hardware in order to properly build a device to game, edit, and work on, while subreddits like FrugalMaleFashion and FrugalFemaleFashion help men and women find proper clothing and attire deals for the right style, and DealsReddit provides users with a good source of content for anyone looking to browse through some standard content. Overall, Reddit is a great way to aggregate a ton of deals together in order to create your own Slickdeals-style source of user-specific deals. You’ll have to put the work into subscribing to the sources of content you want specifically, but once you’ve built your account, you’ll be on your way to saving cash.
Brad’s Deals promises to be a customizable deals experience, similar to how you can use Reddit to get only the best deals for your lifestyle, albeit without having to create the experience by subscribing to subreddits. Instead, Brad’s Deals asks you some basic questions, based on what you shop for and what your general preferences are. Only interested in men’s fashion? No problem—just input men’s fashion into the algorithm. You can select as many or few categories and deals as you like, though it’s important to keep in mind that the more you select, the less-specific the app will be when you’re looking for deals. Brad’s Deals isn’t a perfect service; plenty of reviewers have mentioned that their account has had some items highlighted when they didn’t select the original category as an option to view, and we had a few women’s items leak into our app during our testing period as well. That said, Brad’s Deals is still a great option for anyone looking to customize their deals experience, and the inclusion of deal alerts and quick search options isn’t too shabby either.
RetailMeNot is less of a deals app and more of a couponing application, specializing in barcode coupons for your local stores and restaurants. Like Groupon, you can browse through the list of applicable stores based on your location, either through a full list method or by viewing locations on a map. When you’ve found a location or store that you like, you can click on the applicable brand to view their assorted coupons and deals. Some locations, like malls, allow you to view the entire layout of the mall, which makes it easy to pick a specific store while browsing through the app. Once you find a sale, each coupon can be added to your virtual wallet, allowing you to get alerts on expiring deals and easily access the coupons once you’re cashing out in the store. RetailMeNot really represents a great app for those who still like shopping in person and in a physical store. Though there are plenty of us that have moved on to the likes of Amazon and eBay, there’s no denying that the instant gratification of shopping at a mall can’t be beat, and apps like RetailMeNot can really help around big shopping times like holidays or summer sales. If you prefer shopping from the comfort of your own house, don’t fret: RetailMeNot also offers a wide variety of online coupons and codes, so there’s something here for you too.