53 cheap products that work so well you'll regret not buying them sooner

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

Sometimes I try to reign in my online shopping because, you know, budget constraints. But there are some cheap products that work so well, that resistance is futile. In fact, resistance can often lead to regret because when I do finally break down and buy, it’s because I’ve already wasted time or money on other solutions. And while some expensive things really are worth their high cost because they save cash in the long run, make difficult tasks easier, or just streamline your daily routine, finding affordable products that do the same is a different story — but they do exist. Since most of us have budget constraints of some kind, I tracked down some of the best products you’ll regret not buying sooner.

Confession: One of my all-time biggest shopping regrets is that I didn’t buy this incredible showerhead long ago, especially when I think of all the ordinary showers I took for years. It offers a relaxing flow that makes me look forward to shampooing every day. I’ve also spent a lot of cash on high-priced cookware when I could have invested in this affordable cast iron pan that has legions of fans. Last but not least, how many beers have I had that were warm by the last sip when I could have kept them cold-to-the-last-drop with this beer can cooler? Don’t live with regrets, the way I do. Read. Buy. Live.

1. The grooming kit that has everything you need

This grooming kit has every clipper, scissor, plucker, nail pusher, or file you will ever need for your hands, feet, and even face. It’s all secured into an attractive faux leather case that snaps shut, and reviewers love how much you get for the price. This is a perfect item to give — or receive — as a gift.

2. A Wi-Fi extender that boosts your signal

If you have dead spots in your internet service because the router is too far from where you work, this plug-in extender is the easiest and cheapest solution ever. It grabs the signal and amplifies it farther, so you can get all-house and even yard coverage. Plug it in, connect it to your existing network, and surf.

3. This rubber-bristled push broom for wet & dry cleanup

The rubber bristles on this broom gather up everything in their path without flinging them into the air, even if the thing you want to clean is a carpet with pet fur on it. It works outside as well as indoors and even has a built-in squeegee for cleaning up wet spills. The handle telescopes from 31.5 to 54 inches, so you can even reach under furniture.

4. The battery-operated can opener that’s fast & easy

Set this clever little can opener on top of a can and watch it rotate as it cuts the lid and lifts it away. The built-in magnet keeps the opener in place, so you don’t have to tax your hands with any effort. It’s affordable, runs on two AA batteries, and fits in a drawer when you’re not using it.

5. A beard template for precise shaving

If you’re struggling to get a precise edge on your sideburns, fade, or beard, this cutting template will up your DIY barber game. The transparent template has several lines, curves, and angles that you can use to guide the clippers for a trim or shave that doesn’t wander.

6. This tool so you never have to touch a door or button

How many other people carrying how many millions of germs have touched that door handle you are about to put your hands on? How about the elevator button or the keypad on the soda machine or ATM? This no-touch tool — which can be secured to your keychain — will prevent you from getting all those germs on your hands. And since this is a two-pack, you’ll always have a spare.

7. A mosquito repellent that smells good to humans

Without DEET, stinging sprays, or bad smells, this mosquito-repellent balm keeps the bugs away. The pleasant formula smells like lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint, and feels good on your skin. The compact tin is easy to keep on hand, and most importantly, it does the job it’s intended for — which is to drive mosquitos away.

8. The chopper that cuts by just pressing down

You hardly have to go to any work to prep vegetable, thanks to this plunger-style chopper. When you press down, the ultra-sharp, zig-zag blade drops and chops onions, tomatoes, garlic, and anything else you throw at it. Use it for pico de gallo, omelet fillings, and salads.

9. This beard oil that smells so good

A good beard oil can tame your strands while nourishing the hair follicles for softness and growth. This beard oil is loaded with jojoba and argan oils that work wonders for facial hair at a very reasonable price. But it’s the scent — sandalwood— that reviewers are raving about.

10. A duster that reaches where you can’t

This long, flexible duster reaches under appliances, into lint traps, and behind things you can’t possible otherwise reach, and grabs the dust, fur, and detritus it finds there and drags it out. Extending up to 53 inches, you can use it wet or dry to get the job done.

11. These cut-resistant gloves for safer slicing & sawing

If you are working with a box cutter, shucking oysters, slicing vegetables, or wielding a sharp blade for any other reason, don these cut-resistant gloves first to protect your hands. The snug fit, stretchy material, and grippy palms give you excellent dexterity, and you can even use your phone while wearing them.

12. An inexpensive lantern with a hook for hanging

This lantern will become your trusted companion on camping trips and probably in the backyard, too. It runs on batteries, has four lighting modes — daylight white, warm white, full brightness, and flashing — and is waterproof for all-weather use. Plus, it has a hanging hook on the bottom and a handle on the top, so you can stand it up, suspend it, or carry it anywhere.

13. A laptop stand that fits inside your laptop sleeve

This laptop stand folds down so small that you can fit it in the already stuffed bag you use to haul your computer around. The stand elevates the screen, so you can stop hunching while you work, which will save you shoulders. It’s lightweight and compact, but through clever engineering, gives you six height setting options.

14. This big collection of charcoal air-purifying bags

These eight air-purifying bags are all filled with activated bamboo charcoal, which neutralizes odors and absorbs moisture from the air. The set comes with bags in two sizes, and you can stick them in your shoes, closets, car, gym bag, near the litter box, or wherever else the air could be a little bit fresher. They even come with four hooks for hanging.

15. A roll-up dish rack that takes up no counter space

Keep this roll-up dish rack in a drawer and pull it out when you wash dishes or rinse vegetables. Just place it over the sink and water will drip directly into the drain. It also works well as a trivet for hot pans or as a cooling rack for cookies. When it’s in use over the sink, it frees up counter space, so you can food prep without feeling crowded.

16. This cast iron skillet that will become your go-to pan

This is an excellent cast iron pan for an incredible price. Like all cast iron, it heats evenly across the surface of the pan, and gets quickly to high temperatures. It’s pre-seasoned, so your food will taste flavorful right away, and over time, it’ll develop a nonstick finish that is unbeatable. Want more reason to believe in this pan? It has a 4.7-star overall rating after nearly 90,000 reviews.

17. A personal blender for smoothies on the go

Throw your fruit, vegetables, protein powders, and juices into the 14-ounce jar of this little blender and press the button. After it blends, you can grab the jar and drink right from it, so it’s perfect for taking a smoothie with you on the go.

18. The Yeti can cooler that keeps your beer cold for forever

This is the Yeti you want when you are drinking cold beer on a hot day (or any day) because you can put the entire can inside, screw the lid down, and sip. And that last swig will be as cold as the first because this is a serious double-walled vacuum-sealed cooler that means business. It comes in 15 colors, so everyone can have their own without mixing up IPAs with wheat beers.

19. These blue light-blocking glasses that protect your eyes

If you get to the end of the day with tired, bleary eyes and can’t sleep at night, it may be time to try some blue light-blocking glasses to filter out the rays that emanate from your phone, computer, and TV screens. The filtering glasses can help keep eyestrain and headaches at bay, and may even help you get a better night’s sleep. This two-pack lets you keep a pair nearby at all times.

20. This little trimmer that cleans you up fast

This small trimmer gets rid of the unwanted hairs sticking out of your nose and ears, and is also a quick way to trim up your brows. Thanks to the dual-edged spinning blades, the trimmer is gentle and won’t tug while it does its job. It’s quiet, waterproof, cleans easily, and runs for months on a single AA battery.

21. These adhesive hooks that create storage anywhere

Peel and stick these four matte stainless hooks anywhere you need a place to hang bags, hats, towels, or clothes. They blend into your décor, stay put, and have ample space for whatever it is you need to hang. Plus, each hook can hold up to 15 pounds, yet you don’t have to drill into the wall to mount them.

22. A pair of pumice stones to get rid of rough skin

These natural lava pumice stones have a slightly abrasive surface that not only feels amazing on your feet but also does the necessary job of exfoliating the rough skin on your heels. Keep one in the shower and make it part of your weekly regimen to keep your feet soft. Over 7,500 reviewers have given these stones five stars.

23. The steamer basket with a heat-proof handle

The pop-up silicone handle and raised silicone feet are a new twist on this classic, in-pan steamer that folds up for compact storage. When you’re ready to use it, it, just place it in the pan, and it’ll unfold to to a perfect fit.

24. A simple veggie spiralizer for quick, healthy meals

If you want to replace traditional pasta with vegetable noodles, this simple spiralizer is a fast and easy way to do it — and it doesn’t need a permanent parking space on your counter. It has four interchangeable blades to make veggie noodles of different styles, and the whole thing fits neatly in a drawer.

25. These stick-on pads that protect walls from doorknobs

If you have a doorknob that hits a wall when you open it, you’re looking at some potential damage. Preventing that damage in the first place is much easier than fixing it, which is why reviewers love this six-pack of wall bumpers. Just peel away the backing and stick them to the places where the doorknobs hit, and they’ll gently bounce back instead of denting the wall surface.

26. This windshield kit that repairs chips

Those small windshield dings that result from small rocks hitting the glass are easy to fix with this repair kit. It has everything you need — including instructions — to quickly, easily, and safely reduce the size and appearance of dings and stop them from spreading.

27. A car shade to keep your interior cool

This big sunshade covers every inch of the underside of your windshield, and the reflective silver surface ensures that sun rays bounce right off, keeping the interior of your car cool. And it folds up small, so you can tuck it into a seat pocket. No more sun-faded dashboard or steering wheel that’s too hot-to-the-touch.

28. These stretchy lids for every container you own

There’s a stretchy silicone cover in this pack of 18 to fit over any and every container you have, whether you’re dealing with a serving platter, small jar, or even a halved watermelon. They’re an eco-friendly replacement for plastic wrap and dishwasher-safe for tons of convenience.

29. A rechargeable handheld vacuum for messes anywhere

This cordless handheld vacuum lets you grab spills off the couch, in the kitchen, or in the hard-to-reach crevices of your car. Lightweight and portable, the vacuum has a double filtration system with a HEPA filter and comes with a crevice nozzle and dusting brush. You’ll get about 15 minutes of cleaning time on each charge.

30. This set of 2 wireless phone chargers

This set of two wireless chargers means you’ll never have to fumble with, find, or wrangle charging cords again. Designed with an ultra-slim profile, the charging pads won’t take up much space on your desk or nightstand. You can use them to power up your Qi-enabled earbuds and phone and both chargers are case-compatible.

31. A bag sealer so your chips are always fresh

If you’re a snack food or cereal connoisseur, you need this little bag sealer so you don’t have to eat the whole bag or watch the contents go stale. Just reseal the bag by pressing and sliding the heating elements along the opening. It runs on batteries and stores easily.

32. The color-coded cutting mats that prevent food contamination

Anyone who’s had even the briefest brush with food poisoning will appreciate these color-coded cutting mats. Each mat is meant for a different food group — like fruit, beef, fish, or chicken — and with a corresponding colors and icons, there’s a lot less chance you’ll cross-contaminate while you chop.

33. These vacuum wine stoppers with date indicators

When you don’t want to drink the whole bottle of wine, you can save it for another day by pushing one of these vacuum stoppers into the opening and pumping it a few times to remove oxygen. When you’re done, you can set the dial on the top to the date, so you know exactly when the bottle was opened — and prioritize drinking it over newly opened bottles.

34. This cable management box that’s so sleek

This cable management box is a simple, effective, and attractive solution to the cable mess under your desk or TV. Just drop the power strip into the box, plug everything in, run the cords through the side slots and put the wooden lid on top. Voilà — no more tangles.

35. The motion-sensor lights you can stick anywhere

These motion-sensor lights don’t require a plug to work — you can just use the adhesive backing to stick them anywhere and everywhere. They’re battery-operated and have a built-in motion detector that triggers the lights to turn on any time they sense activity within 10 feet. The set comes with three lights in your choice of cool or warm white.

36. This toothpaste that whitens teeth with charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural whitener and this fresh mint-flavored toothpaste is loaded with the stuff, so if you are hoping to whiten without doctor’s visits, this is the easy way to do it. Just brush your teeth with the paste and, according to the almost 18,000 people who love it, you’ll soon have whiter teeth — even though it foams black when you brush (but that’s part of the fun).

37. These reusable straws that collapse to fit on a keychain

If you like to drink from a straw but are looking to cut down on plastic, this two-pack of reusable steel straws is a great buy. They extend when you’re ready to sip, then collapse again to fit in a case that you can fit on your keychain. Plus, the straws have silicone tips that feel so much better on your teeth than hard metal.

38. A laundry hamper that hangs on the door

This clever laundry bag requires no floor space at all because it hangs on the back of a closet door, from a bathroom wall, or anywhere else you have space. It comes with a pair of adjustable, metal door hooks for hanging, and when it’s time to do laundry, just remove the bag from the hooks and go.

39. These reusable bags that replace your plastic bags

This complete set of reusable food storage bags is here to stop your plastic bag-buying habit completely. There are 24 bags in a range of sizes — eight 1-gallon, eight sandwich, and eight snack bags —and they are leakproof, waterproof, and easy to clean. Plus, the pinch seals keep everything fresh inside.

40. A set of adjsutable bamboo drawer dividers

Organizing your drawers is easy and customizable with these four spring-loaded bamboo dividers that expand to fit the drawer. The dividers allow you to make storage spots as wide or narrow as you like, and you can even stack them on top of each other to create taller compartments in deep drawers.

41. This shower dispenser that clears up floor clutter

Those huge bottles of hair product and body wash are always the best deal, but where do you put them in the shower? Right here, in this three-chamber dispenser that mounts onto the wall of your shower. The waterproof silicone adhesive lets you attach it to either the corner or flat surface of the wall, so you can maximize space.

42. A garment steamer that gets rid of wrinkles fast

Just when you think you are ready to go out, you find a huge crease in your shirt. But not to fret — just pull out this handheld garment steamer, fill it up with water, and plug it in. When you run the steamer a few inches away from clothing, it’ll release wrinkles in just a few passes, with no need for an ironing board.

43. The solution for your fogged glasses

If your glasses fog every time you go from the air-conditioning to outdoors, you need to keep a bottle of this anti-fog spray on hand. Just spray your glasses, wipe them clean, and put them on — the lenses won’t fog for hours. This is also great for preventing fogging in snorkeling masks and swim goggles, too.

44. This ring holder & stand for your phone

Stick this durable phone ring to the back of your device and you won’t believe how much easier it is to handle your phone while you go about the world. Slip a finger through the ring to free up the rest of your hand for other tasks, or use it as a kickstand to prop the phone up for video calls. And if you have a magnetic mount in your car, the ring will attach to it, so you can easily navigate while you drive.

45. A magnetic knife rack that frees up counter space

A magnetic knife rack is a brilliant addition to a kitchen because it lets you keep knives and other cooking utensils within easy reach (and without taking up precious counter space, the way a traditional knife block does). This stainless steel rack does such a great job that more than 18,000 people have given it five stars.

46. A wearable blanket with sleeves

If you get cold while working at your desk or watching TV, pull on this wearable fleece blanket for warmth. It has sleeves so you can type, use the remote, or read, yet it covers you right up to the neck. It comes in 16 designs, and there’s a patch pocket on the front for your phone.

47. This leakproof travel mug that keeps coffee hot for hours

When you plan to bring coffee on the train or in your car, you want a travel mug that won’t leak. According to the thousands of reviewers who have given this one five stars — this mug is the one. It keeps beverages hot for up to five hours and cold for up to 12, and the auto-sealing lid lets you take sips with just one hand. It comes in lots of colors and all the parts are dishwasher-safe.

48. The showerhead that’s so decadent

Unscrew whatever you’ve got going in your shower now, and screw on this showerhead — you’ll never look back. It delivers a high-pressure, rainfall experience, but incredibly, it also conserves water, thanks to the micro-nozzle design. Choose from six finishes, like matte black, brushed nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze.

49. A screwdriver with 6 heads in one handle

This is the screwdriver you’ll want to keep on hand, because it’s all you’ll need for most small fixes. Inside the stainless steel shaft are two reversible screwdriver bits in common sizes — one flat and one Philips — and the shaft itself is a dual-size nut driver.

50. A colander for draining cans

Set this little colander right on top of any can of chicken, tuna, or beans to drain off the water, with no mess whatsoever. It’s handy, inexpensive, and dishwasher-safe, and you will wonder why you have been fumbling with this task for so long until now.

51. This small but mighty portable charger

This little charger is just over 4 inches tall but will charge your phone rapidly and repeatedly, so you won’t get stuck out and about without power. It comes with a micro-USB charging cable and travel pouch, and the whole setup takes up minimal space. More than 20,000 people have given it a five-star rating.

52. These flameless candles that look like the real deal

No one will know that these flameless candles are battery powered LEDs except you when you reach for the remote to turn them on instead of hunting all over the house for matches. Plus, with the remote, you can adjust brightness, set timers, and turn them on or off without getting out of bed.

53. A Fire TV Stick for upgraded streaming

This little Fire Stick is all you need to stream movies and shows from Amazon Unlimited, Netflix, YouTube, HBO Max, and more. (It even lets you listen to music from Pandora or Spotify through your TV’s speakers.) Just plug it into the HDMI port of your TV, and you are good to go. You can even use the built-in microphone to ask Alexa to find the movie or show you are looking for and she’ll hunt it down.

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