Disclaimer: Just so you know, if you order an item through one of our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.
Finding practical products on Amazon is sort of like finding a needle in a haystack, if the haystack was full of generic headphones and dog toys. Fortunately, we did the hard work for you; by digging through a vast number of well-reviewed Amazon products, we found a few items that are affordable, inventive, and in some cases, downright useful.
1. Keep hot drinks from cooling down.
If you’re the type of person who likes to savor your coffee—or tea, or hot cocoa, for that matter—you’ll appreciate this affordable mug warmer. Its warm silicone surface provides a gentle heat, and while it’s not going to keep your cup piping hot, it should provide the gentle heat you need to enjoy your favorite beverage.
It operates automatically, cooling when you lift your mug off of the pad. Ideal for desk use, it draws about 16 watts of power. It also has something called a “micro-gravity induction switch,” which, to us, seems like a completely random set of words.
2. Protect shoes, jackets, and other accessories from the rain.
Approved for use on all dry-clean-only materials, Kiwi Shoe Protectant guards against water damage and stains. It dries quickly, providing the protection you need to look your best without constantly watching the weather.
The product details note that it’s also useful for raincoats, but if your raincoat can’t repel the rain—get a different raincoat.
3. Hang posters and pictures without putting holes in your wall.
Put the magnet-receptive sticker on your wall, then use the tiny magnets to hang your pictures. The sticker adhesive is outstanding stuff; it doesn’t leave a residue, it’s reusable, and it won’t peel your paint or damage your art. Your landlord really wants you to buy these.
GoodHangups are a great alternative to poster putty or sticky tack, and they’re capable of securely holding flat paper posters up to 24″ by 36″.
4. Upgrade your outlets with this rotating power strip.
Granted, “rotating power strip” sounds pretty dangerous, but this well-made unit is UL certified and features a 5-year, $25,000 connected equipment warranty. The manufacturer notes that “your electronics won’t be ‘hertz,'” which is a pun so terrible that we had to double-check to make sure we didn’t write it.
Each of the outlets rotates 180 degrees, giving you complete freedom to use your electronics as you see fit. An LED confirms that the surge protection is active, and there are even two USB ports for charging phones and other small devices.
5. Get rid of minor wrinkles in seconds.
This stuff penetrates cloth fibers, freeing them up and removing wrinkles in the process. There are limits to its power, of course; this isn’t going to replace your iron anytime soon. Compare it to the effect you’d get from taking a hot shower while leaving your clothes hung up, and you’ve got a pretty decent idea of what you’re getting here.
With that said, it’s a great product to keep in the office, as you’ll never know when you’ll notice some unsightly wrinkle right before a big meeting.
6. Get a great set of kitchen utensils that doesn’t take up much space.
This set of toughened nylon kitchen tools includes a slotted spatula, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, solid spoon ladle, and storage stand. They attach with a series of small magnets in their handles—and no, those magnets won’t cause your utensils to stick to your pans—and take up a remarkably small amount of space.
All tools are heat resistant up to 392 degrees, and the colorful look fits in well with any home decor.
7. Give yourself a back rub (along with some much-needed exfoliation).
This back scrubber features a so-simple-it’s-brilliant design that lets you easily exfoliate your back. One side resembles a loofah, which provides gentle exfoliation, while the other side is soft enough for general cleaning (or just rubbing your back for a while).
It’s made with mildew-resistant materials, and the flexible back strap is great for hitting those hard-to-reach places.
8. Clean your counters (and any other surface) without harsh chemicals.
These towels are full of tiny nanobot soldiers that scutter across your countertops, eliminating microbes, replicating themselves, and eventually ending the world.
Okay, maybe not, but the Nanolon fibers clean many surfaces as well or better than chemical cleaners, according to laboratory tests (per the manufacturer). To use them, you simply spray a little water, wipe, and you’re done.
We wouldn’t use these on anything that absolutely requires sanitization, so you’ll still want to keep other eco-friendly cleaning tools on hand for, say, cutting boards and dishes. Still, for minor cleanups, these cloths provide a great alternative to paper towels, and they’re much more economical.
9. Organize your life before your next trip.
Ever open up your carry-on after a flight to see a mass of tangled wires that looks something like a bowl of not-too-tempting spaghetti? No? Just us?
Well, this travel organizer provides a tidy solution. Made with durable nylon, it has compartments for wires, chargers, and various other items. Zipper closures keep your stuff exactly where it’s supposed to be, and it even comes with a one-year warranty. For about $12, it’s one of the smartest travel accessories you can buy—especially if you don’t like spaghetti in your suitcase.
10. Keep your passport, credit cards, and plane tickets in one RFID-blocking wallet.
This attractive passport wallet is made from durable polyurethane, and it has slots for pretty much any document you’d want to take on a trip: ID cards, money, credit cards, SIM cards, and much more. There’s even a cell phone pouch.
The big draw, of course, is the RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification)-blocking technology. Stop high-tech pickpockets and identity thieves in their tracks by keeping your bank cards in one safe place. You can choose from a variety of colors, and there’s even a version with a neck/wrist strap, if you’re into that sort of thing.
11. Find a bra that fits…without the fitting room.
You’ve probably heard that most women wear the wrong bra size, and those women must not know about Warner’s Easy-Does-It bra. Made mostly with nylon, it’s a wire-free bra that adjusts to give you the perfect fit.
It’s sized from X-small to XX-large, and the sizing chart should help you find the right size, but we’d also recommend checking the Amazon reviews for sizing suggestions.
12. Get a better night’s sleep with this hypoallergenic pillow.
It’s filled with shredded memory foam, which probably annoys the astronauts who invented memory foam. “Guys,” they’re saying, “You’re not supposed to shred it. That’s technology run amok.”
Of course, we can’t really hear them. They’re in space.
Anyway, the shredded memory foam helps you find the perfect position for deep, uninterrupted sleep. A breathable bamboo cover keeps the pillow cool while repelling dust mites. You need a high-quality pillow to live your best life, and this is a remarkably affordable option with high-end features.
13. Upgrade your outlets with a handy shelf.
How often do you try to stack items on your outlet, only to see them fall to the floor? That’s because your outlets aren’t equipped with any sort of shelf.
Fix that problem with this space-saving solution. Ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, it replaces your existing outlet cover with a sturdy miniature shelf capable of holding up to 10 pounds. Load it up with smartphones, Bluetooth speakers, your favorite 10-pound dumbell, or just about anything else. There’s a built-in cable management channel, and the manufacturer notes that it holds “three times more than flimsy competitor shelves.”
We had no idea that the outlet shelf market was so cutthroat.
14. Spiralize your vegetables, because hey, why not?
If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your salads, well, we find it slightly odd that you read through this entire list instead of just searching for “how to upgrade my salads.”
Nonetheless, we have a solution. Paderno’s two-blade spiralizer lets you slice and spiralize your vegetables, and unlike similar products, it’s operated by hand. That makes for easy cleanup, since you can throw the BPA-free components into your dishwasher when you’re finished with your prep work. The design keeps your hands away from the sharp blades.
This is safe, useful, and compact, and at under $10, it’s a pretty spectacular kitchen accessory.
15. Throw out all of those mismatched oven gloves.
Campanelli’s Cooking Buddy is, according to the manufacturer, “a potholder, hand towel, tool caddy, trivet, and lid grip.”
Granted, a “lid grip” is pretty much the same thing as a “potholder,” and a “trivet” is pretty much just a potholder, too, so we’re just going to call this an advanced pot holder. That’s not taking anything away from it—it’s a pretty fantastic invention.
Capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s made from terry cloth with silicone inserts that protect your hands from the heat. A slit in the front holds recipe cards, spices, and other accessories for easy access. Sling it over your shoulder, and you’ll always be ready to grab pots, move casseroles, and wipe up spills. Machine washable.
16. Instantly relieve shoulder and neck pain.
Target sore muscles with this dual-purpose therapy pad. Put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to warm the clay beads, or, for cold therapy, put it in the freezer for an hour or two. It’s simple, requires no electricity, and the natural materials hold their temperature for a long time.
This pad is ideal for treating general muscle tightness, inflammation, or stiffness, along with chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
17. Get a better workout with this novel resistance band.
Resistance band workouts are ideal for low-impact strength training. This band has seven handles—and seven distinct resistance levels—so that you only need one piece of equipment for a great workout.
It’s also an effective tool for general stretching, so if you’re looking for something that can increase your flexibility without taking up too much floor space, this is right up your alley. Made from “virtually indestructible” rubber, it’s available in three colored resistance levels, which provide up to 15 to 18 pounds of resistance.
18. Moisturize your skin while protecting against harmful UV rays.
To keep your skin looking great, you need to moisturize. You also need something with SPF protection, particularly if you spend a lot of time outdoors; UV rays can quickly damage your complexion and increase your risk of skin cancer, even on a cloudy day.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is a tinted hydrating cream that leaves you with radiant, soft skin while providing broad-spectrum UV protection. It’s rated SPF 30, non-comedogenic, and free from fragrance and parabens.
19. Throw that hair-frying blowdryer away and still make it to work on time.
Heat treatments aren’t always great for hair, but who cares when you’ve only got 10 minutes to dry off and get out the door in the morning? What we need is a magical towel, one that slurps moisture out of our hair in a fraction of the time it takes to air-dry.
Well, we found the thing we need. It’s a DuraComfort microfiber hair towel, and boy, is it ever thirsty. The quick-drying action of this thing even helps to reduce frizz and static, and it won’t fry anything in the process. Get it.
20. Stay organized while packing for your next trip.
Cut down on the time you spend packing while reducing the amount of space you need. These organizers feature durable materials, webbed handles, breathable top-mesh panels, and compression zippers, which allow you to fit a tremendous amount of stuff into a fairly small area.
We’ve only got one problem: They’re sold as “compression packing cubes,” but they’re clearly not cubes. They’re cuboids, sure, but we’re incredibly serious about our geometric terminology.
21. Relieve foot pain with these supportive no-show socks.
Get a bit of extra support where you need it the most. These nylon-spandex socks fit the arch of your foot, providing a massaging sponge cushion to relieve flat feet and high arches. An invisible silicone patch at the heel prevents the socks from slipping, and the materials stay cool during extended wear, per the product reviews.
These socks work with all types of footwear, from loafers to ballet shoes, and they’re machine-washable. Makes a comfortable alternative to insoles.
22. Knock out your acne with these pimple covers.
We wish we’d known about these in high school. They cover your acne, providing an overnight treatment to reduce the appearance of pimples and gently cleanse your skin.
Here’s how it works: You cleanse the affected area, apply the patch, and go about your business. When the patch turns cloudy, peel it to remove it. An infusion of tea tree oil and calendula oil provide a mild cleansing, targeting the bacteria that cause most breakouts.
They’re not magical, of course, but they’re great for preventing scars, limiting inflammation, and reducing the length of breakouts. Check the glowing user reviews for real-life experiences.
23. Blend up delicious smoothies or make your own baby food on the go.
This personal blender has a rechargeable lithium battery, so you can use it pretty much anywhere. It recharges via USB, and the powerful motor blends up ice, veggies, and almost anything else in seconds. The BPA-free shaker bottle is dishwasher safe.
It even comes with a free funnel and ice cube tray. If you’re looking for an on-the-go blender—or if you didn’t realize that on-the-go blenders existed before you read this entry—this is a pretty spectacular find.
24. Grab hot stuff while pointing at something.
The problem with most oven mitts is that—well, they’re mitts. These gloves give you full use of your fingers, so you don’t have to take them off while grabbing your spatula, cutting a couple of veggies, or completing other tasks that require a bit of dexterity.
Made with Aramid fiber (the same technology used by some fire departments), these gloves are ideal for cooking, welding, or just thrusting your hand straight into a burning fire, although we certainly wouldn’t recommend that last one. Provides protection for temperatures of up to 932 degrees Fahrenheit.
25. Enjoy your favorite veggies with this all-in-one salad bowl.
Do you want to eat more salads, but you insist on eating all of your food from a single portable dish?
Well, probably not, but this salad bowl is still remarkably useful. It has a built-in condiment container and three segments to hold croutons, sliced veggies, and anything else that you don’t want sitting in lettuce all day. When you’re ready to eat, dump it all together, then use the attached fork/spoon (notably, it’s not just a spork) to blend it all together.
It collapses easily for easy storage, and the food-grade silicone doesn’t impart any unpleasant flavors.
26. Correct minor makeup mistakes with this ultra-portable makeup remover.
You’re out running errands when you realize that you’ve smudged your mascara, misapplied your lipstick, or botched your eyeshadow (heck, maybe you’ve done all three—nobody ever said that makeup was easy).
This makeup remover pen clears up those minor missteps while nourishing your skin with vitamin E, cucumber, and chamomile. Tuck it into your purse or gym bag and forget about it; the next time you notice a random smudge or smear, you’ll be glad you did.
27. Enjoy a better cup of coffee while you’re on the road.
This stainless-steel coffee press lets you brew your own cup of coffee or tea pretty much anywhere, provided that you have access to boiling water. Add ground coffee to the mug, add the water, and mix it up. After about four minutes, press down on the plunger, and you’ve got great, ground-free coffee.
The durable design features a spill-resistant lid and a silicone grip, which protects your hands from hot liquids. Best of all, it’s dishwasher safe. You’ll never have to settle for gas station coffee again.
28. Drain your pasta safely and efficiently with just one hand.
That old colander in the back of your cabinet needs to go—this clip-on strainer is better in every conceivable way. It fits onto any round pot, pan, or bowl, even if your cookware has a curved lip, and allows for safe one-handed straining.
It’s also a great option for smaller spaces, since the compact design takes up about a quarter of the space of a normal strainer. Plus, it’s made with BPA-free, dishwasher-safe materials.
29. Cut, slice, pit, and mash your avocados with this versatile kitchen tool.
If we could, we’d eat avocados at every meal. Hey, maybe we’ll start—this avocado tool makes the prep work much simpler.
A heavy-duty cutter lets you work through the fruit’s tough skin while the stainless steel pitter effortlessly removes the pit. From there, you can slice your avocado with the slicer, mash it, or just throw the entire avocado away and start over. Hey, we’re not going to tell you how to use it; the point is, if you’re prepping a bunch of avocados, you need one of these things.
30. Garden the way your grandma used to—with claws.
Why aren’t there more gloves with built-in claws?
The Garden Genie gloves feature a breathable, waterproof design with a puncture-resistant grip material to protect both of your hands. The right glove has four ABS plastic claws, which let you quickly dig, rake, plant, and grade with a few flicks of your fingers. It’ll change the way that you garden, and you’ll feel like a cat. That’s a win-win, in our book.
31. Hair in the shower drain? Never again.
Okay, so the TubShroom’s packaging includes this phrase: “TubShroom is Guaranteed to Catch Every Single Hair, Every Single Time You Take a Shower.”
That sold us. If you agree that pulling globs of wet hair out of the drain is an unacceptably gross act, you might want to check this out. The TubShroom slips into your drain and catches stray hairs in a long, perforated tube. You still have to clean it every so often, but rather than reaching down into the muck, you can just pull up the TubShroom and throw its contents away.
How did we ever live without it?
32. Escape from your car in an emergency.
This little gadget fits onto your keychain. If you’re ever in a situation where you can’t release your safety belt, grab the Resqme (it easily detaches from its harness, so you don’t need to turn off your car to access it). Use the cutting side to free yourself; the other end lets you break out your car’s side window to make a safe escape.
Originally developed for use by first responders, this tool won the 2014 Red Dot Award. It’s made in the USA, and it gives you peace of mind when you’re on the road.
33. Keep your sheets, tablecloths, and appliance covers firmly in place.
Nothing’s worse than settling down for a nice nap only to realize that one of your sheet corners is now around your shoulder. Prevent that problem with Bed Bands. They’re basically just little elastic bands with metal clamps that attach to your bedding at two points; draw the cords through the latching clasp on the center, and you’ll never have issues with slippage again.
These work with beds of all sizes, but why stop there? They’re great for tablecloths, grill covers, and any other fabric that keeps slipping out of place.
34. Protect shoes, clothes, and more with these waterproof bags.
Made with nylon and equipped with a strong custom-made zipper, these bags create a complete seal around shoes, towels, or anything else. They’re backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty, and there’s even a drawstring version available, just in case you’ve got something against zippers. The drawstring version isn’t waterproof, just in case that isn’t obvious.
Great for keeping on your boat (or, if you’re like us, your friend’s parents’ boat).
35. Upgrade your flossing game with this portable water flosser.
In our opinion, water flossing is better than normal flossing in just about every conceivable way. Why rub a tiny string on your teeth when you can use a high-pressure column of water?
This little unit features a rotating nozzle, six replacement tips, and a rechargeable base. Plug it into a USB port to charge on the go. Your teeth will feel incredibly clean—it’s like taking an inexpensive trip to the dentist’s office (but please, for the sake of your teeth, keep going to the dentist’s office).
36. Snake out your own drain and get rid of minor clogs.
The colorfully named Green Gobbler quickly clears out drains without using harsh chemicals. It’s safe for your plumbing, easy to use, and inexpensive, so if you feel like discarding it after a single use, you won’t feel too much guilt.
This is the type of product you’re better off ordering before you need it. It’s about 22 long, so it should reach most clogs easily, and the serrated end can either break up materials or pull them loose.
37. Clean dirty makeup brushes in seconds with this electric cleaner.
This kit comes with everything you need to restore old makeup brushes to like-new condition. Attach your brush to the Wloomm, dunk it in some water, and activate the motor. It spins your brush, freeing up dirt, oil, and other contaminants. Remove from the water and spin again to air-dry.
This is basically an electric screwdriver for your makeup brushes, but for less than $15, it’s worth the money if you’ve got a sizable collection. The included adapters allow it to work with most standard-sized brushes.
38. Handle basic tasks with this all-in-one key tool.
This well-designed multi-tool can easily fit into your pocket, but that doesn’t mean that it’s limited; it functions as a screwdriver, cord cutter, bottle and box opener, scoring tool, hex bit driver, or wrench. It’s airline safe, and the polished 420 stainless steel can handle tougher prying and driving tasks with ease.
While this might not replace everything in your toolbox, it’s still pretty handy. It fits onto a keychain or key ring, instantly upgrading your everyday carry.
39. Eliminate odors in your vehicle with this ionic air purifier.
Does the inside of your 2002 Dodge Neon smell like…well, a 2002 Dodge Neon?
This ionic air purifier can eliminate odors from smoke, pets, and other common sources, and it’s adept at removing pollens, mold, and other allergens. The manufacturer notes that it “infuses a full 5.6 million negative ions per cubic centimeter,” which sounds pretty good to us, although we have no idea what those numbers mean.
It also looks cool, as it emits a blue glow while operating. A built-in dual USB charger lets you use your devices while operating the purifier.