Brittany Vincent/CNN
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If you’re reading this, chances are you haven’t gotten your hands on an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S yet. And you’re far from alone — just like with the PS5, finding Microsoft’s newest consoles has been a frustrating lottery of random restocks that sell out mere moments after they go live.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go about your quest for an Xbox Series X alone. We’ve compiled a handy list of the best retailers to check frequently, as well as various tips and tricks that will give you the best shot at adding that shiny new system to your cart.

Here’s everything you need to know about buying an Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S — and how to navigate the chaotic world of console shopping like a pro.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S restocks: Where to buy

The $499 Xbox Series X and $299 Xbox Series S are both sold at most major retailers (including Microsoft’s own online store), but tends to sell out very quickly after it comes back in stock. We’ve noticed that the cheaper Xbox Series S tends to be in stock more often, for those who don’t mind owning the smaller, less powerful console of the two. Here’s a list of the biggest stores that generally stock the latest Xbox machines — we recommend bookmarking each of these pages and checking them often.

Note: We’ll occasionally update this story with in-stock alerts, but consoles will go fast, and availability is subject to change.

Based on our own tracking over the past several weeks, we’ve found Walmart and Best Buy to be among the most consistent retailers in terms of how often they get the Xbox Series X back in stock. Walmart usually announces its restock times before they go live, which is helpful. We’ve also had success purchasing an Xbox Series S directly from the Microsoft Store.

GameStop typically sells the Xbox Series X as part of a bundle with various games and accessories, which are pricier but sell out less quickly. For example, the retailer recently offered a $744 Ultimate Assassin’s System Bundle, which included the Series X as well as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Hitman 3, three months of Xbox Game Pass, a $20 GameStop card and an extra controller. These bundles aren’t cheap, but if they include games and add-ons you planned on getting anyway, they might be your best bet.

Tips for securing your console

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The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S don’t stay in stock for very long, but having a bit of online shopping savvy can increase your chances of successfully checking out. Here are some tips for giving yourself the best shot at bringing a new console home.

Create accounts with every major retailer

Every second matters when you’re trying to secure an Xbox Series X, which is why you should create accounts and store your payment info at a few retailers ahead of time. YouTuber Jake Randall recommends storing a PayPal or Apple Pay account instead of a credit card if possible, as it will allow you to circumvent some of the heavy site traffic that occurs during a restock.

Once you’re logged in to stores such as Amazon and Best Buy and already have a payment option set up, you’ll have much less clicking and typing to do once it’s time to add that new Xbox to your cart.

Follow Xbox Series X restock trackers on Twitter

Twitter is often the fastest way to get alerted to major console restocks, thanks to a variety of accounts that are dedicated to keeping tabs on the latest Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PS5 availability. We recommend following accounts such as @mattswider, @wario64 and @videogamedeals and signing up for Tweet notifications so that you never miss an alert.

Avoid shady sellers

Due to the massive demand for the latest game consoles, there are plenty of non-legit retailers and unscrupulous scalpers looking to get your money. We recommend sticking to the stores we’ve listed above, and avoiding shady websites such as TechInn and CheapGameCenter as well as people claiming to be selling the console on Twitter. You should also avoid buying the console on resale websites such as eBay and StockX, where the Xbox Series X is being sold for upwards of $1,000 — that’s twice its retail price.

Keep trying

Don’t give up hope if the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S appears to be out of stock the moment a big restock happens. Online retailers are usually being slammed at these times, causing that “in stock” button to flicker in and out. As such, we recommend refreshing the page for around 5-10 minutes — you never know when you might get lucky.

Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S?

Before you buy the first Xbox that becomes available, you should know that Microsoft’s two new consoles have some significant differences. The $499 Xbox Series X is the flagship powerhouse of the family, designed to deliver immersive 4K gaming complete with a Blu-ray disc player and 1TB of internal storage for housing your digital downloads. If you have a 4K TV and want to experience the highest performance available on a console, you should spring for the Series X.

The $299 Xbox Series S is the streamlined, entry-level machine, able to play games at up to 1440p resolution and has roughly half the internal storage at 512GB. The Series S lacks a disc drive, so you’re limited to digital downloads only. It’s also significantly smaller than the chunky Xbox Series X, if space is a concern. If you’re still using a 1080p TV but want to enjoy many of the perks of next-gen gaming, this is the system for you.

Fortunately, these systems have a lot of key features in common. Both use a solid state drive (SSD), which allows games to load up within seconds. The Series X and Series S both feature Quick Resume, which lets you bounce between a handful of games at once without losing your progress in any of them. And they’re both capable of running games at up to 120 frames per second for super-smooth gameplay, complete with ray tracing technology that allows for ultra-realistic lighting and shadows.

What is Xbox All Access?

Microsoft

Once you do find a new Xbox in stock, you don’t necessarily have to pay for it all up front. Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are part of the Xbox All Access program, which allows you to lease a console — complete with Xbox Game Pass — by making small monthly payments.

Xbox All Access starts at $24.99 a month for 24 months for the Xbox Series S, and costs $34.99 a month for 24 months for the Xbox Series X. Both memberships include 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (normally $15 a month), which gets you access to hundreds of Xbox games including the Halo, Gears, Forza and Elder Scrolls franchises. When you factor in Game Pass, both of these monthly plans add up to roughly the same amount as buying everything up front, so All Access is worth considering if you don’t want to dish out a few hundred bucks all at once.

Xbox All Access memberships are available at various retailers, including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and GameStop. Just note that you’ll have to qualify for a line of credit via Citizens One.

Bottom line

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The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are still hot commodities, but you’ll get your hands on one eventually. The consoles have been returning to stores at a fairly frequent clip, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t land one during your first few attempts.

The good news is that all Xbox One games will work on the new consoles, so you can pick up titles such as Hitman 3, Star Wars Squadrons and Resident Evil Village for your current Xbox and know that they’ll run even better once you upgrade. And if you’re not attached to having an Xbox console, we’ve found Google Stadia to be a good alternative for playing many of these big games right from the cloud without having to buy any extra hardware.

So if you’re still on the hunt, bookmark your retailers of choice, follow our expert shopping advice and don’t give up hope — it’s only a matter of time before you’ll bring a new Xbox Series X or Series S home.