Clever things under $35 on Amazon that have near-perfect reviews

Winning items at winning prices.

by Christina X. Wood

It’s so easy to learn how to do anything, however small, these days. Just search the internet for “How to cold brew tea” or “the best way to keep your car clean” and you get instant, detailed directions on how to accomplish it. When I’m spending money to accomplish something, though, I don’t want the first thing that rises to the top of a search. I want the thing that real people have tried and liked so much that they were inspired to take the time to write a glowing review about it.

I know it’s human nature to complain. A product has to be amazing to get people to show up and pen praise about it when they don’t have to. So I always poke around in the Amazon reviews when I’m searching for a tool — even if it’s only a $10 meat thermometer — looking for the thing that elicits this sort of excitement from people who already own it. If I buy something, however small, I want to like it as well as people like these clever things under $35 on Amazon that have near-perfect reviews. I might be spending only $10 but it’s my $10, and there’s no point spending it on something I don’t really like.

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.


A simple & easy way to keep fresh cold brew tea on hand

Add the tea leaves, bags, fruits, or herbs you enjoy most to this cold brew tea maker, and then fill it with water and put it in the fridge. The built-in filter keeps the tea leaves from getting into your glass and the bottle shape makes taking a sip, grabbing a take-along brew, or pouring a cup of tea super easy. Reviewers love it, gave it almost 6,000 five-star reviews, and say things like, “Gorgeous!” and “I’m never buying bottled tea again!”


A savings bank that’s so hard to open you have no choice but to save money

Want to make your savings goals? Put your cash in this steel savings bank that you have to open with a hammer. There will be no midnight raids on your cash stash with this thing because it’s too much trouble. The steel cube is sealed on all sides except for the slot in the front that’s perfect for slipping coins or cash through.

“Thanks to this I managed to save more than 4,000 bucks in three months,” said one reviewer. “{Though] it was a pain in the a** to take it all out.”


The ideal container for pickles

If you don’t like getting your hands wet retrieving a pickle from the jar, put them in this storage container with a strainer insert. Just lift the basket out of the juice to grab one. It’s perfect for everything from olives to pickles to fruit canned in liquid.

“Really handy for extracting pickles and other immersed foods,” said one reviewer. “Reduces waste and eliminates damage from fishing for the product in its jar.”


A memory foam wrist rest for your overworked hands

Give your hard-working wrists a comfy place to rest while you type by setting this foam wrist rest in front of your mouse. The memory foam conforms to the shape of your wrist and palm for supreme comfort and feels pleasantly soft and squishy.

“This pad is EXCELLENT,” said one reviewer. “It is more soft than firm and it feels fantastic [compared to resting] my wrist at an acute angle on a cold hard desk for 12+ hours a day.”


The aerator that makes all the wine taste better

This inexpensive wine aerator pourer will turn all your wines tastier simply by pouring it through it instead of straight out of the bottle. It quickly adds the optimal amount of oxygen so you can better taste the wine’s subtle flavors.

“Sipped some wine out of the bottle left to ‘breathe’ for a couple of minutes, then some wine poured through the aerator and sipped immediately,” said one reviewer. “The difference is VERY NOTABLE, even to my untrained palate. The wine tasted fresher, smoother, less harsh, and more flavorful!”


The storage ottoman that cleans up clutter fast

When toys litter the living room, shoes clutter the entryway, and spare blankets make the bedroom feel untidy, set this faux leather storage ottoman down and fill it up with clutter. It gives you a place to sit or put your feet up, holds a surprising amount, and stores your gear right where you want to use it.

“If you are looking for some storage ideas for your vinyl LP collection, this is a very dependable, high quality, and inexpensive solution,” said one reviewer. “Plus it makes nice furniture.”


This meat thermometer so your food is cooked to perfection

The only way to be sure your steak — or any meat — is cooked the way you want it is to use a meat thermometer to measure its internal temperature. This digital one is the one you want. It’s easy to use, stores magnetically on the fridge, and has a hold button so you can see the temperature without sticking your face in the heat. It turns on and is ready to use when you flip open the probe. Over 51,000 people gave it five stars.


A pancake mixer & dispenser for quick & easy breakfasts

This pancake batter dispenser makes cooking pancakes something even the most morning-challenged human can reasonably accomplish. Add the ingredients to the wide-mouth bottle, drop in the blender ball, screw on the lid, and shake. Your batter will mix up just right. Then squirt the perfect dollops of batter onto a pan and cook them up.

“Breakfast has never been faster or easier!” said one reviewer. “And it doesn't make noise that will wake everyone up while I am mixing.”


This sturdy meat tenderizing hammer that’s so useful

When you want to make pork cutlets or tenderize a steak, you need something to hammer the meat with — and this meat tenderizer is precisely the right tool for the job. It has a flat side for smashing and a spiked side for tenderizing. The handle is easy to grip and the hefty weight makes the task quick and easy.

“Peeling garlic? Smash it and done. Chicken cutlets? Thin and crispy - done!” said one reviewer. “I could go on and on. Some things you can't appreciate till they're gone, but this is one you can't appreciate till you have one!”


A set of measuring cups that nest so you have all the sizes

When the recipe calls for 1/8 of a cup, you will not have to guess if you have this set of seven stainless steel measuring cups. You will have all the increments of a cup any recipe is likely to call for. They stack, won’t rust, and the measures are on the outside and are super easy to read.

“These are EXCELLENT, heavy-duty measuring cups,” said one of the almost 9,000 five-star reviewers. “The handles are strong, sturdy, wide, and provide a good, positive grip, regardless of size.”


This set of packing cubes for a super organized suitcase

There are a lot of packing tricks out there, but this is the one that lets you easily access everything you packed as you travel. Simply organize your clothing into these four packing cubes. Shirts and smaller garments go in the middle two, pants go into the large one, and underwear fits neatly in the little one. You will know where everything is and it will all be easy to access. Use the laundry bag as you go to keep dirty clothes separated from clean.


A set of unbreakable wine glasses for sipping in the wild

If you want to bring wine camping or to the beach or pool — or if you know someone who loves sipping vino al fresco — these stainless steel unbreakable wine glasses are the smart gift for both you and that friend. They let you taste your wine the way only a bulb-shaped glass can, but they won’t break in a pack or poolside. They come in many colors, and over 7,000 people gave them five stars.


This handy cook set with 2 mugs tucked into a portable pot

This is the cook set you want to add to your camping rig. The little portable stainless steel pan has a foldable handle that keeps two insulated mugs and the vented lid tucked safely inside when it is packed away. But they unpack easily when you want to stop for a hot beverage or snack.

“For the money, this is probably one of the best cook sets out there,” said one reviewer. “It is made of 18/8 stainless steel which won't rust on you and is easy to clean with a scrub pad or even sand from a creek or lake shore.”


This smart laptop bag in 5 colors that’s so affordable

This slim laptop bag is loaded with all the features you need to cart your machine anywhere. There’s an outside pocket for things you need to reach easily, a padded interior laptop compartment, handles, a removable shoulder strap, and a strap to hold it atop your rollaboard suitcase handle. It comes in several colors, too.

“I wanted a nice-looking bag that would carry my 15.6” laptop, the mouse, and the charger,” said one reviewer. “This one does it and more.”


This trash can that makes it easy to keep your car clean

The easiest way to clean your car is to prevent the mess. And this car trash can is an essential tool for that. It’s large enough to catch all your debris, waterproof so none of it leaks out, comes with 20 liners so emptying it is easy, and it straps down so it won’t fly around the car. It also doubles as a cooler and has mesh pockets on the sides to hold your sundries.


These shelves that drop easily into your closet & bring order

If your wardrobe includes garments you prefer to fold but your closet is all rod and no shelves, hook this hanging closet organizer to the rod and fold those sweaters and tees right into it, right next to your pants and jackets, so you can survey your options as you dress. The cubbies are roomy enough for bags and hats and there are six mesh side pockets for smaller items like wallets, pocket knives, and bandanas.


This water bottle with 3 lids so you can sip the way you want

Pick a color. Choose a size. And enjoy a water bottle that will handle whatever you are drinking today. It comes with three interchangeable lids. There is a pop-up silicone straw, a pour top that clips to a pack, and a flip-top for sipping hot beverages. It keeps your beverage cold or hot for hours. And there are so many colors and sizes you can make it your go-to gift for everyone.

“I love the straw top and the fact that it's a soft silicone instead of a hard plastic.” said one reviewer. “I can also throw it on the bed or on the couch and it doesn't leak. And the color is absolutely gorgeous!”


A low-key phone mount for your car that’s easy to install & use

Snap this magnetic phone mount to a vent on the dash and you are ready to go. The magnetic base grabs your phone — or one of the included metal plates that you stuck to your phone — and holds firm. You can turn the screen to any orientation, and getting it out of the car is fast and easy. Grab your phone and go.

“I can't believe how easy this is to use,” said one reviewer. “Also, you hardly see the little vent holder when the phone's not on it.”


The better way to store bacon grease

Bacon grease is handy in the kitchen. It’s great at seasoning cast iron, makes amazing popcorn, and is an old-school trick for frying eggs that turn out deliciously. This bacon grease container is a simple and easy way to capture and store it. There’s a filter for removing bits of bacon, a lid to keep the fat clean, and it holds five cups.

“This is the very best way to keep bacon grease!” said one reviewer. “I keep it on the counter right next to the stove, and I use the saved bacon grease to cook with. Delish!”


These light, packable towels that dry super fast

Toss one of these quick-dry towels into your gym bag. Take them with you camping. Keep one in the car or your backpack in case you get caught in a storm. They are small and packable, light, absorb tons of water fast, and dry quickly. This is a set of three towels in different sizes. They come in lots of colors and include a carry bag.

“I bought these for primitive camping,” said one reviewer. “[I] was thrilled by how perfect they were! They dried immediately after use, were big enough to use for a bath/shower, and were small enough to pack light!”


A set of reusable silicone baking cups for cupcakes anytime

Keep these reusable silicone baking cups on hand and you will never have to quit on your baking intentions because you don’t have any cupcake liners. They are colorful, washable, and stand up to high heat. They are also nonstick, so getting your creations free so you can eat them is super easy. Nearly 63,000 people gave them five stars.


A sturdy potato masher that makes fast work of spud prep

This hefty, nonstick nylon potato masher is the tool you need to create fluffy and delicious mashed potatoes with minimum effort. The big surface area and sturdy handle make short work of many spuds. It works well on avocados and other mashing projects, too. And it goes right into the dishwasher for cleanup.

“It completely elevated my mashed potato game!” said one reviewer. “This potato masher cut my potato mashing time down by at least 75%. Yes, I can mash my potatoes in 5 minutes now and the finished product is just so fluffy.”


This snack box that has insulating gel built into the lining

The freezable gel is built right into the lining of this freezable snack box so that packing your lunch is super easy and everything stays cold. Store it in the freezer overnight and fill it with snacks in the morning. They will stay cold for hours. It folds up small and clips to a pack to make carting it easy. And it comes in 12 patterns and colors so you can gift them to everyone.

“This little thing has totally changed my lunch game,” said one reviewer. “I can see this being a great accessory for hikes or camping too!”


The snap-on pot strainer that’s so much easier than a colander

Instead of clearing the sink for that bulky colander, snap this pot strainer to the side of your pot and pour off boiling water simply by tipping the pan. It’s so much easier, and the flexible, silicone strainer is easy to store in a drawer. It adjusts to fit most pots and comes in lots of fun colors. Nearly 21,000 people gave it five stars.


This sleek power strip that checks all the boxes

This handy power strip is everything you need to bring power where you need it. It has a flat plug so it will fit behind the furniture. The 5-foot braided cord is flexible and decorative. And the power strip has three widely-spaced standard plugs, three USB-A plugs, and one USB-C plug.

All the plugs are on the same side, too, so you can lie it flat on your desk. It gets nearly 18,000 five-star ratings from people who said things like “I love it!” and “So much yes!”


A set of laundry bags so your delicates survive the machine

If your “to be washed by hand” pile exceeds your patience for the task, secure your delicates, knits, and other fragile items in these mesh laundry bags to protect them from the rough and tumble ride through the washing machine. In three sizes to accommodate small garments, sweaters, or even shoes, these five bags let water and soap through while preventing snags, twisting, and lost socks. With over 38,000 five-star reviews, people love this solution.


This set of airtight containers that brings order to the pantry

Bring order and ease of use to your pantry by transferring dry goods from the random boxes and bags they came in to these stackable, tight-sealing food storage containers. The seven containers are in a range of sizes to hold everything from nuts to pasta, and are clear so you can see what’s in them. They stack so it’s easy to find everything and reviewers love them.

“The containers make my pantry look so organized,” said one reviewer. “Now, it's easy to quickly grab what I need from the shelf without having to hunt for items.”


The stylish silicone utensil rest that handles all your tools

If you are like most cooks, one spoon rest won’t handle your stir spoon, spatula, taster, and other tools you use to create — but this smartly-designed utensil rest is there for you. The four elevated rests keep your tools above the fray to prevent commingling of flavors while keeping your counters clean. It comes in great colors for a pop of fun on the counter and over 24,000 reviewers said, “Five stars!”

According to one, “I bought several of these as gifts for family members. They are super easy to clean and work perfectly ... I feel like these are a kitchen must-have!”


A clever angled measuring cup so you can see the quantity as you pour

This angled measuring cup solves one of the more annoying hassles of cooking. It lets you see how much of your ingredient you have poured into it without lifting it up or bending over to check. The angled measure markers are easily visible from above. It’s the small things, right?

“So easy to read!” said one reviewer. “Being able to look down and see the measurement lets you make more precise measurements without holding the thing up and risking spilling it on yourself.”


This cable management box that makes cord clutter disappear

If you have pets, kids, or a preference for uncluttered floors, this cable management box will protect it all from the snarl of cords that accumulates around a power strip. Drop the power strip into the box, run the wires out of the channels in the back, and pop the lid on. The dangerous and messy chaos is contained and out of sight.

“It fits nicely under the desk and hides the strip outlet and plugs,” said one reviewer. “[Great] ... for baby-proofing.”


These LED puck lights that improve the lighting all over your home

Stick these LED lights anywhere the lighting is inadequate. They are easy to install and require no wiring. They are ideal in the kitchen, in a dark closet, on the stairs, or to create display lighting in a cabinet and you can turn them on and off and adjust the brightness and auto-off timer with the included remote. Or just tap the lens to turn them on.

“These lights have changed the way I feel about my kitchen and life and bedroom closet on a fundamental level,” said one reviewer. “[They’re] an affordable, life-changing force to be reckoned with.”


The badge holder that doubles as a slim wallet

If you wear a badge or carry a keycard, this badge holder will transform that essential accessory into a minimalist wallet so you have all your cards with you. Made from sturdy polycarbonate with a metal clip mounted to the back so you can attach it to a pocket or belt, it securely holds up to four cards, comes in four colors and, according to one reviewer is “overengineered and beyond all expectations.”


This milk frother that you will use every day

Once you have this milk frother in the kitchen, you will wonder how you survived without it. Like the idea of turning soy or oat milk into a delicious foam to elevate your morning brew? Dip this spinning whisk into the milk — warm or cold — to transform it. It’s handy for whipping up a quick dipping sauce or salad dressing, too. And it makes a great inexpensive gift and comes in seven colors.

“I bought one of these for my use, and after seeing how well it works I've purchased two more as gifts,” said one reviewer.


An ice tray that makes slow-melting ice balls for better cocktails

You will make amazing cocktails with the big, shapely ice you get out of this ice ball tray. Each frozen ball is over 1.5 inches in diameter — big enough to make a statement in the glass. The flexible silicone tray makes four matching ice balls.

“I bought this as a gift for my husband,” said one reviewer. “The ice balls melt much slower than standard ice cubes. This is now the only form of ice we use for our beverages.”


A sturdy phone stand so your phone is easier to see

Set your phone in this aluminum alloy phone stand when you go to bed or sit down to work so you can ergonomically glance at the screen for the time or notifications. It holds the device at a viewable angle, has a space for your charging cable, and looks nice, even when it’s empty. It comes in six colors, works with any phone and many tablets, and gets 69,000 five-star reviews.

“I personally own ... four of these stands,” said one reviewer. “I’ve also given two more away because they make great gifts. They are manufactured of sturdy metal and are of the highest quality.”


This set of organizer bins that streamlines your fridge & pantry

Create order and make foods easier to find and access by using these eight pantry organizer bins in your pantry or fridge. They corral fruits, sodas, beer, and condiments together so you can grab a bin and find the item you want quickly and easily.

“Working ... well for the fridge, freezer, cabinets, closets, under the bed and even on the counter we use for K-Cups,” said one reviewer. “I’ve enjoyed them so much.”


The pastry scraper that makes a surprisingly useful kitchen tool

If you bake, this pastry scraper is must-have for splitting dough and cleaning flour off the pastry board. But you can also use it for moving cut ingredients from your cutting board to the frying pan, measuring random things in the kitchen, and much more.

“Look, if you bake, chop, mince, dice, slice, smash and perform food prep, you need this scraper to easily move your work from cutting board to pot or pan,” said one reviewer. “And it makes a great gift for any aspiring chef/baker/sous chef.”


A pizza paddle that folds up for storage

Use this big, flat pizza paddle to get your pie out of the oven or off the grill without getting burned. It works well for bread, pies, slabs of meat, and other awkward-to-lift foods, too. It slips easily under the dough and has a long handle that won’t get hot. When you aren’t using it, the handle folds out of the way to make it easy to store.

“This was a gift to my son, along with a pizza stone,” said one reviewer. “He loves them both. The [paddle] works like a charm getting the pizza in and out of the oven.”


This solar lantern that collapses to fit in your pack

This light, packable solar lantern is the perfect light to bring along on a camping trip, but it’s just as useful at home on the deck. When collapsed, it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The solar panel on the top soaks up the sun to power it or you can charge it via USB. When expanded to the lantern shape, it gives off a soft but you can also compress it and use it as a flashlight. It will even convert solar energy into a charge for your phone.


The portable charger with a pawprint power indicator

There’s many a portable charger out there, and everyone needs at least one. But this is the one that has the cute, lighted dog print power indicator — so it’s obviously the one to stock up on. It’s not just cute, though, it’s also super useful with two USB ports for charging two devices at once and a built-in flashlight. Nearly 37,000 people gave it five stars.

“I have purchased around 10+ of these batteries and ... given them away as gifts!” said one reviewer.


These meat claws that make shredding so easy

When you pull your pork butt off the grill and are ready to shred it to make pulled pork tacos, these are the meat claws you want to reach for. With big, effective claws and a handle that gives you maximum power, they will get the job done quickly and effortlessly.

“If you want to ... shred your meat like Wolverine, these meat claws are for you,” said one reviewer. “They are solid, well built, easy to clean, and give you the best claws for turning your bbq, smoked, or slow-cooked meats into beautifully shredded meats.”


A clever solution for closing the gap between your stove & counter

Once you spill on the stove and discover that you have to pull the slide-in range out to clean up everything that slid between the stove and counter, you know why you need these silicone gap covers. They slip easily into that gap and create an unpassable barrier so nothing else will slip down there. In white, clear, and black, these are easy to clean and are such an easy fix.

“No more food, recipe cards, or other items falling between the counter and the stove,” said one reviewer.


The dish soap dispenser that fills your sponge with suds

Skip pouring soap into the sponge and set the sponge on this combination dish soap dispenser and sponge holder instead. Just pump the sponge a couple of times to load it with soap. It looks good on the counter, reduces clutter, and lets the sponge air dry while it sits in the holder. Reviewers love it and gave it over 21,000 five-star ratings.

“I love this product so much that I bought a couple of them as gifts and the recipients feel the same way,” said one of them.


The slim can cozy that keeps your drink cold for hours

If you love your hard seltzer or beer in slim cans, you need to slip your next one into this slim can holder. It will keep that drink cold right up to the last sip. It’s like an industrial-strength beer koozie with a double-wall insulated steel body and a gasket at the top that holds the can firmly inside. Just push the can in and drink. It comes in so many colors you could gift them to everyone on your list without repeating.

“Every time we have this out, people ... ask us about it and where we got it. It’s a great gift,” said one reviewer.


A light & versatile laptop stand you can pack along

Set your laptop on this ventilated laptop stand to help keep it cool and adjust the screen to a better angle for your neck or a more flattering angle for video calls. It folds up so you can tuck it into your laptop bag for travel, fits lots of laptop sizes, adjusts to six different angles, and is super light.

“This is an amazing laptop stand ... I will likely purchase another for the office,” said one reviewer. “It folds neatly and fits in my laptop bag, and it stands high enough that I can easily use my Pixelbook for reading when it's folded into a tablet.”

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