Photo: josemiguels (Pixabay)

Amazon Prime Day is here. If you’re not boycotting the site, and are instead planning a big shopping frenzy, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find some kind of discount for lots of items on your must-have list.

You’ll note I said “some kind of discount” rather than “a great deal.” You should already be familiar with how this goes from all your Black Friday shopping. There are plenty of Prime Day listings that are going to appear like they’re great deals, but they really aren’t. Discounts tend to fall into one of four categories:

  • A “cheaper” price that’s actually a discount on a marked-up item
  • A real discount on a crappy product
  • A honest-to-god discount on an item, but one that’s matched (or beaten) by another retailer looking to steal Amazon’s thunder
  • A great discount on a great product that’s worth considering

How do you tell which Prime Day deals are actually deals? In a perfect world, you do your research—you know what you want to buy before you buy it, you have an idea of what others are selling it for, and you read reviews to know that it’s a legitimate product that works pretty well.

That’s not to say you should be stuck doing all the legwork by yourself. Were I shopping on Prime Day—I’m not, because there’s nothing I need—I’d turn to five browser extensions (and Amazon’s) to enhance my shopping experience and save me some cash.

PriceBlink (Chrome, Firefox)

Screenshot: David Murphy

This one’s easy. Load a product on Amazon, and a yellow PriceBlink bar will appear at the top of the product page to help you comparison-shop that item against a number of other retailers (including eBay sellers). While I’d still do a quick manual search if obvious stores aren’t on the list (Best Buy, Target, etc.), PriceBlink is at least an easy way to spot-check an item’s price (and alleged savings).

Wikibuy (Chrome, Firefox)

Screenshot: David Murphy

Wikibuy, like PriceBlink, helps you comparison shop. Instead of a toolbar, you get a little green button near a product’s price. If Wikibuy has found the item for cheaper elsewhere, you can go check out the results and see if Amazon’s offering is actually a steal. Spoiler: It might not be a steal.

The Camelizer (Chrome, Firefox)

Screenshot: The Camelizer

If you ever shop on Amazon—not just Prime Day—this extension should be at the top of your list. It allows you to quickly take a peek at an item’s historical pricing, so you can see whether the “deal” you’re getting is actually the lowest it’s ever going to go. More importantly, you’ll be able to determine if a sale isn’t actually much of a sale at all because a seller bumped up the price seven days ago.

FakeSpot (Chrome, Firefox)

This one won’t save you money per se, but it’ll help you shop smarter. The ever-useful extension FakeSpot reviews Amazon reviews, which can help you decide whether someone paid to gussy up the product listing you’re viewing by goosing it with bogus reviews. It’s a extension worth exploring when you’ve think you have a steal on your hands, because it never hurts to get a second opinion about a product’s authenticity.

Smile Always (Chrome) / Amazon Smiley (Firefox)

Screenshot: David Murphy

These extensions won’t save you money, but they’ll make you feel a lot better about your Amazon shopping because you’re helping to run a local merchant out of business (or because you’re crossing the digital picket line).

Amazon’s AmazonSmile program allows you to pick a charity, which then receives 0.5% of the price of eligible products you purchase off Amazon. That’s not a lot of money, I confess, but if we all used AmazonSmile to donate whenever we purchased something, that could be a pretty incredible amount of money.

Install these extensions, and you’ll always be redirected to a URL—the only way to trigger the charity donation—whenever you visit any Amazon page. Every little bit helps!