With so many great options for phones out there, it can be tricky to find a device that suits your needs — and budget. Luckily, with Apple and Android phones, you can find solid selections at both ends of the price scale, with high-end offerings like the iPhone 15 and the Z Fold 5 and budget-friendly choices like the Apple SE 2 and the Samsung A54. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there’s almost certainly a good deal going for it, which is why we’ve rounded up the best bargains we could find.
If you aren’t sure which plan or carrier you should go with, you may want to snag an unlocked model — which you can pick up on sale at retailers like Amazon or Best Buy — and then sign up later. Or, if you already know which network works best for you, you can take advantage of serious savings with a trade-in or new line through major carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Below, we’ve gathered up some of the best offers in both categories so you can find the bargain that works best for you.
Best unlocked phone deals right now
Shopping for a new phone from a carrier comes with all kinds of red tape and fine print that can be a headache to figure out. If you’re looking for an easier alternative, you can pick up an unlocked model instead. Opting for an unlocked phone means you won’t be immediately locked into a multiyear contract or service plan, and you can always activate it with your preferred carrier after the fact. Plus, there are plenty of no-strings-attached deals that you can take advantage to bring down the starting price. These deals won’t save you as much as the carrier deals below, but also don’t require a trade-in or a new line of service. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best discounts on unlocked phones that you can shop right now.
Best phone deals from carriers
You can also save by trading in your old device or activating a new line of service at major carriers, meaning you have plenty of places to look for phone deals. That’s why CNET is working with Navi to help cut through the confusion. Navi is an independent marketplace that aggregates information on service plans and phone deals to help consumers find the best choices and prices on the market. Below you’ll find some of the best deals out there for both new and existing carrier customers who are adding lines, trading in phones and more.
Read more: Best Phone Plan Deals
Carrier contracts as we knew them may not be around anymore, but these newer phone deals from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and more are similar in many ways. Through monthly bill credits, you can get a phone for next to nothing in many cases. The stipulation is that you must remain a customer for a set length of time while you’re receiving the credits. Otherwise you’re responsible for the remaining costs and potentially more, depending on the carrier.
In addition, some carriers will only allow you to take advantage of these deals on specific plans, which are usually some of their more expensive 5G plans, so be sure to understand the monthly costs associated with switching before taking advantage of that “free phone” deal you see advertised.
Read more: Cheap Phone Plans, Compared
Do you get the best phone deals when you switch carriers?
In order to attract new customers, carriers often reserve their steepest discounts for switchers. That means you may find a more appealing phone deal if you consider moving carriers. It’s a straightforward process for individuals, but can be a little complicated for those with multiple lines. Ultimately, it’s worth shopping around when it comes time to upgrade your phone in case another offers some kind of switcher bonus or switcher-exclusive phone deal.
Unlocked vs. carrier: Which phone deals are the best for most people?
Whether you want to get your new phone on a carrier deal or unlocked will depend on your preferences and circumstances. For a lot of folks, being able to spread the cost of the phone over two or three years makes it much easier to upgrade to one of the best phones on the market. For others, being locked into a long-term plan is less ideal. While carriers often compete with each other for and offer some steep discounts or added freebies, manufacturers now tend to offer their own trade-in and financing programs to make it more affordable to upgrade without involving a carrier in the process.