Culture

37 Genius Things That Work So Well They Should Cost Twice As Much

I love it when someone asks me about the stuff I'm showing off, and I like to watch when they ask what it all costs. But most importantly, I love to surprise them when I name an astonishingly low price. Finding brilliant bargains on Amazon is an art form, and I can show you how to do it.

If I'm being honest, anyone can buy gear that's cool and expensive — but only those who possess top-notch search skills can buy genius products that cost less than they should. Amazon has become my go-to place for finding those clever innovations, along with useful products that aren't overpriced. Let other people pay too much while you shop on the cheap.

I'm here to share what I've found. I shopped. I bought. I tried. And now, I am gloating. Sure, some products on Amazon might be expensive — but the ones that I've included work so well they should cost twice as much as they do. I'm talking about things like the portable phone charger that's powered by the sun and the Bluetooth beanie that plays tunes while you stay warm. I also can't forget about the wireless phone charger, because that also exists. (You're welcome.)

Inverse may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Inverse editorial and sales departments.

1. This Light-Blocking Eye Mask That Plays Music

This cushiony, light-blocking eye mask is like a nap in a bag — and it's less than $25. It's so much more than a piece of fabric with a stretchy strap, too: It's a high-tech, futuristic way to create a nap zone on a plane. Not only does it create darkness, but it also plays tunes with the help of Bluetooth technology. In other words, you don't have to attempt sleep with earbuds digging into your cranium. The controls are right between your eyes, which is so Blade Runner I can't stand it.

2. The Key Organizer That Keeps Everything Compact

In my opinion, keys are considered an Every Day Carry (EDC) — and it's pretty important that they're kept organized. This key carrier wrangles your jingling chain into a slim, quiet, and organized tool that fits into a small pocket. (It basically turns your keys into a Swiss Army knife for door opening.) The key carrier also comes with a free multi-tool, which is always handy — and the entire set is just $15. How is that possible?

3. A Universal Kickstand That Holds Your Phone Up

Get this: You pull up to your desk in your rolling chair, set your phone down, and flick the kickstand so you can step away and keep watching that video or Twitter feed. It's all possible with this simple $10 tool that sticks to your case. When you're carrying your device, it folds inward to get out of your way. But when you want your phone to stand on its own, it pops out like that reliable kickstand you had on your bike.

4. A Vertical Mouse That Won't Hurt Your Hands

You can finally take precautions against computer-related hand strains without spending too much cash. This ergonomic mouse keeps your wrist in a comfortable vertical position that lessens pressure while making it easier to scroll and click around. Plus, it only costs $20. The mouse is also wireless and boasts five easy-to-reach buttons. And BTW, it has over 6,000 positive reviews.

5. This Adjustable Foot Rest That's Covered In Massage Beads

If you currently have a cardboard box under your desk as a homemade attempt to adjust your legs, I present to you this under-the-desk foot rest. Not only is it much better looking than an old box, but it also gives your feet little massages while you work (thanks to the machine-washable micro-bead cover). Its height can even be adjusted, thanks to the bottom cushion that's attached by Velcro. Plus, it's versatile. One customer wrote, "I had never put much thought into a footrest, but this was a pleasant surprise. It's quite versatile in that it can also be used as a sort of cushion, which I'm really enjoying for my back."

6. The Ab Workout Kit That You Can Use Right At Home

If paying for a gym membership is draining your bank account, then bring the equipment to your living room. This ab workout kit helps you fit a quick workout into your morning routine. Just squeeze ten minutes in between coffee and the shower, and you'll be all set. (It won't charge you a monthly fee, either.) The push-up bar is easy on your wrists, and the resistance bands will take it all to the next level when you want challenge. One customer wrote, "It came with everything for chest and abs exercise at home for a low price. Love this product."

7. A Pack Of Hand Grip Strengtheners Made Out Of Silicone

Want a firmer handshake or a stronger golf game? Well, you have to build up grip strength just like you'd build any other set of muscles. Before you start lifting weights, use one of these silicone hand grip strengtheners to work the fine muscles in your palms. This stretchy set works those muscles in every direction, and it costs less than a sandwich. There are plenty of strengtheners in the pack, so you can stash one in your car, another at your desk, and more throughout your home so you can work on your muscles whenever you want to. One reviewer wrote, "My therapist has been surprised at how fast my hand is improving!"

8. The Huge Water Bottle That Reminds You To Drink

How much water did you drink today? Oh, you don't know? Well, it seems like you need a better water bottle — one that tells you when you're falling behind in the hydration department.The BuildLife bottle keeps tabs on your water consumption so you don't have to. Just fill it in the morning and keep up with the schedule that's printed on the bottle. Each hour has an encouraging message, too.

9. The Workout T-Shirt That Reveals A Message When You Sweat

Do you work out for the pain or for the glory? If your answer is for the glory, then you need this T-shirt. It does the bragging for you — with a message that says "100% Complete" — and all you have to do is sweat. When the shirt gets wet, the graphic changes to give you credit for the burn. But you have to really sweat — and to do that, you have to work hard. Reviewers who've gotten their shirts call it "a workout motivator."

10: These Arch Supports Sleeves That Help Relieve Pain

Wearing shoes that support you arches is basically essential, because not supporting them can cause serious foot, hip, and back pain. This doesn't mean you have to dress a certain way, though. Just wear these arch support sleeves with your Vans, sandals, or bare feet — and then feel the relief. "I have plantar fasciitis," wrote one reviewer, "and this allows me to wear just about all the shoes that I have in my house." These are so cheap that it's worth given them a try, even if you don't know why your feet, hips, or back hurt.

11. The Foot Pads That Detox Your Body While You Sleep

Stress? Sleeplessness? Joint pain? Maybe it's time for a detox spa day. Except, who can afford that? You. Me. Anyone. That's who. That's because this box of bamboo vinegar foot pads is just $21. They help detox your body through your feet while improving blood circulation. The results? "I feel amazing," wrote one user. "I wake up feeling rested and refreshed," claimed another. "My feet were no longer swollen! The joint pain isn't as severe and I feel better." People love the minty smell, too, along with the complimentary foot mask.

12. This Inexpensive Spy Camera That Records Movement

If you thought installing security cameras would be an expensive undertaking, you have not met the Wyze Cam. This tiny camera does everything: It streams a live, high-definition image with two-way sound so you can talk to whoever is in your house. It also detects motion and records a snippet of the movement to an SD card. The device also works with Alexa and Google Home so you can control it with your voice, and it even has a magnetic base so you can stick it to any metal surface. One person wrote, "How can you beat a $20 camera that simply exceeds every expectation?"

13. A Rearview Mirror That Doubles As A Dash Cam

Here's the thing: Rear backup cameras can help improve car safety — but you don't need to upgrade you car to add this feature. This $37 backup camera works quite well, and it's easy to install (you don't even need an in-car display). It shows what's happening behind you on one half of your rearview mirror — which is where you were planning to look anyway — and it's also a dash cam. "It’s neat that the mirror fits on top of your factory mirror," wrote one user.

14. This Flexible Phone Stand That Sticks To Your Dashboard

Looking away from the road while driving is dangerous. Instead, put your phone where you can see the GPS without looking away. This little silicone mat dials down the dangers by putting your phone on the dashboard (aka right in your line of sight). It has five sticky points, so it stays put. It's also flexible, so it can even stick to a curved dash. This $13 gadget "turned my 2006 truck into a 2018 piece of technology," wrote one purchaser. "I now have satellite radio, hands free phone, navigation, and google voice commands."

15. The Sturdy Mug That Won't Tip Over And Spill

Set this mug on your desk and get to work, or put it in your car's cup holder and start driving. It promises not to spill on your laptop, papers, or phone. The cup has a grippy bottom that seals to the surface you put it on. That way — no matter how clumsy you are — you can't knock it over. The flip-lid keeps it from spilling in your bag, too. It's also thermal, so it will keep your beverage hot or cold. The mug comes in several sizes and colors, so choose your favorite. Maybe that clumsy coworker needs one, too.

16. A Back Razor With A Long Handle For Hard-To-Reach Spots

This baKbalde razor is attached to a long, ergonomic handle that helps you shave unwanted hair off hard-to-reach spots. The contraption boasts two blades that work with or without water, so you can basically shave anywhere, anytime. One customer wrote, "No more bugging my wife to shave my back. Works great, just do it slow and you don’t have to push hard." It's pretty easy to see why this was an Edison Award winner.

17. The Phone Case That Wraps Around Your Forearm

I'm pretty sure this is the phone case of the future. Why? Because I think it's what everyone was wearing in Lost in Space. It gets your phone out of your pocket and onto your arm so you can run and plan your route at the same time. It's especially great if you don't have pockets, because you can secure it with the adjustable band. Plus, the silicone holder can fit various phone types. Very slick. Very futuristic.

18. A Colorful Night Light That Shines Inside Your Toilet Bowl

The inevitable middle-of-the-night bathroom trip can be a destroyer of sleep — but it's not the pee that's the problem; it's the bright light that you have to turn on in order to get there (or the aftermath of attempting this adventure without turning on a light). This night light is here to save you from all of that. It goes in the toilet and turns out when it senses motion, which lights the way when you need to go. You can even change the color of the light to give your bathroom some unique vibes.

19. This Magnetic Wallet That Clips Your Cash In

This slim money clip wallet has seven different slots, so you can have those Costco and library cards ready when you need them. There's also an easy-access sleeve on the outside for the card you whip out the most, and it'll hold a decent amount of folded money. The wallet's available with different colored linings, all of which close with a magnet. Bonus points for looking much more expensive than it is.

20. The Durable Work Gloves With Waterproof Palms

For some jobs, you need your hands to be dexterous. You also need to feel what you're doing. But when that job is also dangerous or dirty enough to require gloves, you need a special pair of gloves. These grip work gloves have the protection, fit, and grip you need to do your job while still allowing flexibility. They also offer protection from sharp knives, and the palms are waterproof. "These gloves have helped me avoid several nicks and lacerations," wrote one reviewer.

21. The Hand Warmer That Also Charges Your Phone

It's cold out. I'll be out and about all day. My bag is already heavy. Should I bring a battery backup or a hand warmer? Wait! What if I bring this awesome hand warmer that doubles as a battery? It's plenty warm, according to reviewers who've written that "this thing dishes out some serious heat" and it "gets almost as hot as a heating pad." It also "charges your phone really fast" (thanks to a USB input), and it comes in pretty colors.

22. This Bag That Organizes Your Tangled Tech Accessories

Maybe, everything will be wireless one day. Until then, you need a plan for the dozens of wires and plugs it requires to live in the modern world — and this roll case is it. It has a place for phone chargers, battery backups, plugs, headphones, and everything else that's currently lost in your bag. Pack it all in, wrap it up, and you'll be able to find the thing you need when you need it. One happy owner wrote, "Nothing is tangled. Nothing gets lost. I have easy access to my cables whenever I need them. Perfect!"

23. The Phone Charger That's Literally Powered By The Sun

If you're out hiking, fishing, camping, or just in the wild, you should try this solar charger and flashlight. Just place it in the sun, and it'll convert the rays into a charge for your phone, headphones, or whatever else you have that run on batteries. It's also a flashlight and a compass — and that's a lot of survival gear for less than $25. Plus, it weighs only 9 ounces and comes with the carabiner so you can clip it onto your pack.

24. This Wireless Bluetooth Speaker That Works For 12 Hours Straight

You found a great spot to sit at the park. You've got your phone in your pocket and earbuds in your ears, all while Spotify is delivering an amazing playlist directly to your brain. Then a friend joins you. Earbuds out. Music gone. Drat.

That was before you got this adorable, packable Bluetooth speaker. Now, you can pull out your earbuds and turn this on. It's an "amazing Bluetooth speaker for the price," according to reviewers, with "amazing sound" that lets you wander around while listening to tunes. Plus, when the battery's fully charged, it works for 12 hours straight.

25. The Convenient Key With Over 15 Built-In Tools

This key-sized pocket tool resembles a key — but it boasts a wrench, bit driver, bottle opener, imperial and metric ruler, serrated edge, wire stripper, and much more. Since it's only a little bit bigger than a standard key, you can put it right on your keyring without a problem and use it whenever you need to. One customer wrote, "Perfect for any adventurer or explorer of any level."

26. The Beanie With Built-In Bluetooth Headphones

It's so frustrating to get halfway into your adventure and realize you can't listen to music because you forgot your headphones. But you wore a hat, right? If it's this beanie with headphones, just connect your phone to your head and listen. It has Bluetooth speakers built-in right over the ears — and you can even talk on the phone without touching it because there are controls right on the hat. "Great sound and it even looks good," wrote one reviewer.

27. The Wireless Doorbell You Can Install Within Seconds

Adding a doorbell anywhere is no longer a problem. You don't need wires, an electrician, or tons of money. Just stick this ring button wherever you want people to stop and hail you, and put the receiver where you can hear it. Done. It has a long range and even sends a signal through concrete. Plus, you can choose from 52 sounds and several volume levels. It's "super easy to set up and worked in minutes," wrote one reviewer. Pick from tons of color options, including black, white, baby blue, and even lime green.

28. A Magnetic Wristband That Holds Nails While You Work

Thanks to this magnetic wristband, you can stop putting screws in your mouth when you need a quick place to hold them. (And there's no need to find a friend to stand there and hold them while you run the drill.) This band keeps drill bits, screws, nails, and more around your wrist so you can have them accessible when you're using your hands. The accessory is genius and necessary for any DIY project. "A small yet very effective DIY companion item to keep in your tool kit," wrote one reviewer.

29. These Cool Chopsticks That Look Like Lightsabers

If your goal is to prevent food fights, these aren't the chopsticks for you. But if you want to offer your guests an opportunity to demonstrate how strong the force is with them while you eat takeout, these lightsaber chopsticks are must-haves. They would look pretty cool if you set a big dinner table with them, too — so don't hesitate to cook. You get two pairs and each has a fresh battery.

30. This Laptop Backpack That's Resistant To Water

If you need a durable backpack to carry your laptop, some books, and a water bottle, this bag is perfect for you. It's resistant to water, super organized, and has straps that are ultra-comfy. There are even water bottle pockets and a luggage strap to help it hold onto roller suitcases. "If I could give this backpack 10 stars I would," wrote one reviewer. "The fabric is great, the color is spot on and it was well worth the thirty bucks I dropped on it," claimed another.

31. A Waterproof Toiletry Case That Holds Your Shaving Essentials

If your grooming routine has outgrown your toiletry bag, the shavers of Amazon say this ultra-organized and roomy toiletry case is the upgrade you need. "It accommodates my elector razor, toothbrush, and chargers," wrote one reviewer. Thanks to the mesh pockets, elastic bands, and waterproof lining, it's both roomy and protective. It also comes in three colors: black, blue, and gray.

32. These Compression Socks That Reach Up To Your Knees

Wearing these compression socks can help improve your blood flow and lessen the pain or swelling in your legs. They can also increase your stamina in sports (or if you work on your feet). And thankfully, you don't have to give up all sense of fashion to wear them. These long socks have a band that keeps them from rolling down, and they boast bright color accents at the toes and heels. "Moments after putting them on the pain in my foot and legs instantly chilled out tremendously," wrote one reviewer.

33. This Workout Bar That Fits Right In Your Doorway

Not everyone has the space for a home gym. But, with this clever device, you barely need any space. Hang it in a doorway to do some pull ups. Drop it to the floor and knock out some push ups. It uses pressure to attach to the door so you don't have to install anything, and it includes three grips for different workout positions. "I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who wants to get ripped without leaving home," offers one reviewer.

34. This Hydration Pack That Holds Up To 2 Liters Of Water

Hydration packs — just like this one — are the way to go for long hikes or bike rides, because wearing the water on your back makes it much easier to access than lugging around bottles. This pack is not only affordable, but it's also nice and light. It holds 2 liters of water in a food-grade bladder that's attached to a nozzle. The extra pockets on the outside of the backpack also make it useful for carrying keys and other essentials.

35. This Wireless Phone Charger That Prevents Tangled Cords

In my opinion, finding that tiny USB insert in the dark and getting it plugged into your phone is a regular bedtime hassle that irritates me — and this $10 charger is the cure. If your phone is capable of wireless charging, get one of these for every place you set your phone down so it stays charged all day long. It works with all Qi-capable phone models, and it's priced so you can have a few.

36. This Natural Sleep Aid That's Made With Melatonin

Lying awake when you know you have to get up in the morning is the worst — and waking up after only three hours of sleep is almost as bad. Thankfully, this natural formula is here to help. It's not just melatonin, either; it's a combination of supplements that address all the causes of sleeplessness. Some of those ingredients include amino acids and berry extracts that help combat fatigue and withdraw caffeine. Ask your doctor before adding this supplement to your routine at night.

37. The LifeStraw Bottle With A Water Filter Inside

When you're traveling for a long time, you have to refill your water bottle. In some places, you can't drink the tap water. The LifeStraw water filter bottle fixes that because you can fill it up basically anywhere. It removes over 99% of waterborne bacteria and protozoan parasites, and it runs your water through a two-stage carbon filter that reduces both odor and chlorine.

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