50 hidden gems on Amazon that seem expensive but are actually cheap as hell

Because half the fun of shopping is finding a bargain.

by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 
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I love it when someone walks into my home for the first time and admires one of my many bargain finds, clearly thinking that I spent a fortune on it. I shouldn’t tell them, of course, that I didn’t. The smart play is to let them think I dropped big bucks while keeping my discoveries to myself. But I can’t help it. I always spill. Half the fun of shopping, I think, is finding a bargain. And half the fun of finding a bargain is sharing it with someone who will also enjoy owning it.

I am not talking about the kind of bargain that’s a cheap knock-off or counterfeit. I like things that are authentically awesome. These are products that were designed to be effective at what they do, and high-quality, but also completely affordable for those of us who don’t own three sports cars and a summer home. There are more of them out there than you would imagine, too. In fact, here are 50 hidden gems on Amazon that seem expensive but are actually cheap as hell. I’m sure you will find something that will make your visitors think you spent a fortune. Tell them you found a bargain... or let them believe what they like. That’s up to you.


This collection of charming ceramic pots for your succulents

Create a striking display of succulents on a window sill with this collection of six small ceramic pots, each in a different unique design. They are sized for small cuttings or tiny succulents, and each comes with a bamboo tray to catch water as it drains through the bottom.

“These are just about the cutest collection of unique little pots I've ever seen,” said one reviewer. “They are excellent for starting seeds, especially slow-growing ones.”


This workhorse chef’s knife that cuts like it’s super expensive

A fine kitchen knife can be a major investment. Or, in the case of this 8-inch chef knife, it can look and feel like you spent a tidy sum but cost less than a couple of cocktails. The blade is created from one solid piece of high-carbon steel, balanced, and razor sharp. It comes with a knife sharpener and blade cover to keep the edge honed and protected.


A quiet cool-mist humidifier for small spaces

This small, easy-to-operate humidifier delivers instant cool-mist humidity to your airspace at the turn of a dial. It holds 1.7 liters of water so it will run for up to nine hours, moistening the air so that it’s easy on your sinuses and lungs all night or day. Over 8,000 people give it five stars and use it for themselves, babies, or even orchids and other plant friends.


These LED lights that make your car’s interior so flash

Trick out the interior of your ride with these LED car lights that plug into the lighter and let you control the scene with an app on your phone. You can pick from 16 million colors (yes) and 30 modes, and even set it to sync with your music. They peel and stick under the dash, along the console, or wherever you like and turn any drive into a party.

“I love setting the mood in my car as well as being able to see items that have fallen on my floor mats without getting a flashlight,” said one practical reviewer.


A set of packing cubes for a suitcase you can live out of

Organize your clothes into these sleek and affordable packing cubes as you pack and your entire trip will go more smoothly. Dressing from these cubes is so easy you won’t need to unpack, and if your suitcase ever spills open you won’t have to repack everything piecemeal. There are four cubes in graduating sizes to fit everything from underwear to sweaters and a dirty laundry bag. Choose from nine colors.


A luxuriously soft set of sheets that looks so expensive

Dress your bed in this silky, colorful sheet set and it will feel like a luxury upgrade. But it’s so affordable! The soft, microfiber fabric is breathable, cooling in summer and warm in the winter, and goes into the washer and dryer without a problem. There are beautiful colors to choose from and over 59,000 people gave them a perfect five stars.


A set of elegant stemless wine glasses for $15

Stemless wine glasses are so much easier to live with than stemmed ones. They don’t knock over as easily and can go right in the dishwasher for cleanup. This set of four holds 15 ounces each, has a flat bottom, and is a versatile shape that brings out the best in many wines.

“As someone whose hand gestures become proportionately exuberant to the number of glasses of Pinot Noir, these stemless classic beauties are the perfect solution for eliminating the tabletop bowling ball down the alley kind of skids and crashes that stemmed glasses present for me,” said one eloquent reviewer.


The diffuser that’s also an alarm clock & speaker

This little essential oil diffuser is here to command your bedside table. It will fill the air you breathe, as you sleep, with a cool mist that’s soothing to your throat and sinuses and emit a calming scent if you add essential oils to the water. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker so it will play white noise, calming music, or read a book to you as you drift off. And the built-in alarm clock will wake you in the morning.


A big canvas toiletry bag so your personal care items are packed & ready

Instead of running around before a trip trying to remember everything from shampoo to medications, keep this smart canvas toiletry bag packed with travel-sized essentials. It’s compact yet roomy and drops easily into your suitcase. When you arrive at your destination, everything you need to stay groomed and healthy will be easy to find. There are six colors to choose from, the big vegan leather handle hangs your gear from a bathroom hook, and an internal pocket is a great place to stash small items.


This bifold wallet that’s slim, super functional, & totally affordable

With seven card pockets and a metal clip for cash, this slim bifold money clip wallet handles all your essentials easily, but also fits in a breast pocket and won’t bulge out your slim jeans. It comes in eight colors.

“Not only is it an attractive, well-designed wallet, it really is amazing how functional it is. There are enough slots to hold all of the essential needs you want, a great built-in money clip, and an outside clear covered pocket for my [ID],” said one reviewer.


This sleek charging station for tidy & fast power-ups

If you live amidst cable chaos, plug in this USB charging station and end that. End, too, the constant plugging and unplugging of devices sharing one outlet. This kit charges four gadgets at once from one plug and comes with five short cords so it won’t make a snarled mess doing it. It’s compatible with almost all charging devices and the whole thing fits in a small footprint on your desk.


A handheld frother for yummy lattes & foamy matchas at home

Love your café for the foamy lattes, matcha, and cappuccinos? You can do that at home, without getting dressed or forking over too much cash, with this electric milk frother. It runs on batteries, spins fast enough to turn warm or cold milk of all kinds into a delicious foam, and stands up on its own on the counter.

“The froth has a light, creamy, and airy texture and there's just something a little extra special about my first cup of coffee each day being topped with it,” said one fan.


A set of plush cotton bath towels that’s soft & affordable

Refresh your bathroom with brand new towels without going broke in the process. This set of eight 100% cotton bath towels — two bath towels, two hand towels, and four washcloths — is lush and soft, comes in 11 colors for the fresh new look of your choice, and will get softer and more absorbent the more you use and wash them.


A white noise machine that helps you sleep & focus

When distractions — in the form of sounds you can’t control or your own thoughts — keep you from sleeping or focusing, turn on your favorite sound from the six options in this portable white noise machine. It will drown out noisy neighbors, traffic, the snoring of your bedmate, or whatever is bothering you with calming sounds like a babbling brook, rain, or the ocean.

“This little machine is a ticket to a better night's sleep,” said one reviewer. “Helps to drown out my husband's snoring. [I] love the RAIN sound.”


A pet brush that catches shedding fur before it blankets your home

Brush your shedding pet with this de-shedding tool and get that fur captured before it blankets the couch. The 4-inch stainless steel blade reaches into the undercoat to remove loose hair. Pets love this like humans love a spa treatment and the ergonomic handle is easy on your hands, too. Plus, it’s cheaper than more expensive brands.

“Both our labs ... loved it!” said one reviewer. “[It] brushed out huge wads of fur with no fuss, no pain, no vacuum! [The dogs] act like it feels like a good scratching!”


A 3-pack of woven nylon iPhone chargers that doesn’t cost a fortune

These three iPhone chargers are high quality — made from braided nylon that is flexible and resists splitting and abrasion, and with fast charging capability — yet completely affordable. The cords are 6 feet long so you can reach the plug behind the bed and reviewers gave them over 18,000 five-star ratings.


This waterproof Bluetooth speaker that plays all day on a charge

This Bluetooth speaker might be small, but it is powerful and feature-rich. It’s waterproof enough to take to the beach or play in the shower and will run for 1,500 minutes on a single charge. You can pair two of them together for stereo sound or grab one and take it to the pool. Almost 19,000 people gave it five stars.


These LED lights that give a leveled-up TV experience for $13

Peel and stick these color lights to the back of your TV and transform your viewing experience from flat and poorly lit to theater-worthy. The backlighting provides a bit of ambient light around the TV, which helps reduce contrast and eye strain to bring out deep blacks and brighter colors on the screen. It’s easy to install, too. And you can choose the color and brightness that suits your scene best with the included remote.


A quality, affordable cast-iron skillet you can cook on every day

You will get so much use out of this pre-seasoned cast-iron skillet that you will wonder how you ever survived without it. The cast iron has amazing heat retention and it gets better and more nonstick the more you use it. This 12.5-inch skillet is such a versatile size that you can cook eggs on it in the morning, fry chicken in it for dinner, and use it to bake everything from brownies to cornbread.


A ground coffee that boosts focus & immunity with mushrooms

Add focus, clarity, and immune support to your morning brew by putting this mushroom coffee in the brewer. The ground coffee has Lion’s Mane and Chaga mushrooms added for a healthy boost from these natural nootropics that are said to support focus and concentration and are loaded with antioxidants.

“I am a working mom and I used to drink 4-5 STRONG BIG cups of coffee a day. It wasn't doing the trick anymore,” said one reviewer. “The first day I tried this ... I felt more energized and alert than I had felt in a really long time. I never did have a second cup of coffee that day. Fast forward a week and this has continued and even increased.”


A weighted heating pad for your sore neck & shoulders

Put this heating pad in the microwave and lay it across your shoulders for a relaxing treatment that helps you let go of tension and relax tight muscles. Or, put it in the freezer for a cooling shoulder and neck treatment. It is heavy, soothing, unscented, and covered in a removable and washable fleece cover with a natural flaxseed filling.


A desk lamp with 5 color temperatures & a wireless charger

This elegant desk lamp solves so many problems on your desk or bedside table. It has five color temperatures so you can tap the base to dial in exactly the illumination that’s most comfortable and appropriate to the task you are doing. You can set it to turn off automatically so you can fall asleep reading and it will remember your settings when you turn it on again. It also has a wireless charger built into the base so you can just drop your phone on it to pick up a charge.


A small projector so you can take movie night with you

Watch a movie on the tent wall or the side of your house. Or turn the bedroom into a movie night location. This refurbished and fully functional mini projector is small enough to take camping and plugs into just about any media source with two HDMI connections. It can throw an HD image up to 130 inches long on any flat surface. “All in all I love it,” one reviewer wrote. “I have it out back in my canopy and it’s a vibe.”


The pour-over coffee maker that brews amazing coffee

If you want an excellent cup of coffee and don’t want to spend a lot of money on equipment to get it, this $13 pour-over coffee maker is the ticket. Preparing pour-over coffee is a bit of an art, but the results are so worth it. And this brewer makes it easy with a stainless steel mesh filter that fits the borosilicate glass carafe perfectly, a silicone sleeve on the neck so you can pour without burning your hands, and clear measures on the flask so you can be as precise as you like.


A set of cool floating shelves that turns objects into art

Mount these intersecting cubes to the wall and use them to turn ordinary objects into artful displays. In the bathroom, colognes and hair oils become a functional display. In the kitchen, interesting kitchen tools create a homey ambiance. And in the living room, a few plants, miniatures, or collectibles placed on the square floating shelves give the room a personalized mood. Choose from six colors and have fun.


This faux fur rug that is so soft & fluffy

Create a fur-lined, “Winter is coming,” GoT vibe in your home by setting this faux fur rug over a chair, where your feet land when you get out of bed, as a throw on the bed, or even in the bathroom. They create a luxurious, cave-in-winter vibe, are super soft to the touch, and come in so many colors and sizes that you can have fun building a look. Reviewers gave them nearly 30,000 five-star reviews.


This portable heater that makes a space warm & cozy

Instead of heating the whole house when you are working at your desk or reading in a chair for hours, turn on this electric space heater and warm only the place you are occupying. It throws a cozy heat right where you want it, turns off if someone knocks it over, has three heat settings, and has a built-in handle so you can cart it with you when you move.

“This little heater is quiet and efficient,” said one reviewer. “Does a nice job.”


A lightweight vacuum that switches from stick vac to handheld

Keep this light and easy-to-maneuver stick vacuum within easy reach so that cleaning up spilled kibble or dropped cereal is easy to do. That way, cleaning day will become a nonevent. This bagless vacuum converts easily from a hand vac to a long-handled stick vac so you can use it for stairs, the couch, or a quick pass over the kitchen floor.

“Where has this been my whole life?! It’s like a powerful Dustbuster with a long handle so perfect for little crumbs,” said one reviewer.


These roomy shelves that hang right in the closet

It’s easy to bring order to your closet without spending a lot of money or time simply by hanging this five-shelf hanging closet organizer from the closet rod. The five cubbies hang amid your clothes so you can keep folded sweaters, bags, and accessories within getting-dressed reach. It also has six mesh pockets on the side where you can tuck wallets, belts, and other accessories.


A shower head with five high-powered settings for amazing bathing

Start your day with a warm rain shower. After a workout, turn the water to a pulsing massage. Set it at a power mist when you shave. This ultra-affordable shower head has five settings, boosts water pressure so all of them feel amazing, and has 19 nozzles spread across a large surface area to deliver plenty of water for whatever shower you are taking. Installing it is a matter of screwing it in and nearly 11,000 people said “five stars!”


This set of airtight storage containers that beautifies the pantry

Rid your cupboards of chaos and stale foods by using these airtight food storage containers for all your pantry staples. Crackers will be fresh even if it takes you a long time to finish them, and you can put an end to rifling through half-full boxes to find the one ingredient you want. These seven containers are clear so you can see what’s in them, seal tightly, stack to conserve space, and come with rewritable labels.


A handy phone mount for your bike

Bike accessories can cost a lot of money but, fortunately, this bike phone mount is not expensive and it will let you stay connected and help you navigate as you ride. A powerful clamp grabs the handlebars while a combo clamp and silicone safety net hold onto your phone so it stays put yet keeps the screen visible. It rotates 360 degrees so you can view the screen the way you want.


A complete set of mirror-finish flatware for $20

There is a reason people register a flatware pattern when they get married. It can cost a fortune! Not so with this elegant and perfectly serviceable 20-piece stainless steel silverware set. These four place settings will get you through every meal for years, are ergonomic in the hand, and have a clean simplicity to them.


These Turkish hand towels that work in the kitchen or bathroom

These Turkish hand towels are so versatile that you can use them as hand towels in the bathroom or as kitchen towels — and they look great in either case. They are super absorbent yet they dry quickly, so not only do they make amazing hand towels and dry dishes quickly, but they don’t take forever in the dryer. There are four colors to choose from and this is a four-pack so they are super affordable.


A mirror for your shower that won’t fog up

Suction this fogless mirror to the wall of your shower, hang your razor on the built-in hook, and solve the problem of shaving in the shower quickly and cheaply. It’s just the right size to shave by, a no-fog coating prevents it from steaming up, it comes in four colors, and over 17,000 people gave it five stars.


This phone mount that works in even the most challenging car

Challenged to find a place in your car for a phone mount? This universal car mount is the one. The base adheres to a small bit of your dash and a decorative metal disk sticks to your phone. Now you can stick your phone to the dash with one hand, in any direction. The kit comes with three disks so you can use the mount with up to three devices.

“This mount is the perfect size, the magnet is strong and sturdy. It fits PERFECTLY, and it's not a huge garish piece of plastic hanging off my dash,” said one reviewer.


An electric toothbrush that’s portable & affordable

Want to upgrade to a sonic, electric toothbrush without paying the high price? This electric toothbrush from quip is not only affordable, it’s also portable and comes with a travel cover that mounts it to the mirror. It’s the quick, easy path to better dental hygiene. It has a two-minute brush timer, a tongue scraper, and it runs for three months on a AAA battery.


This giant desk mat that’s also a mouse pad

Give your workspace an upgrade by setting this desk mat under all your gear. It provides a pop of color, an executive appearance, and a texture that’s comfortable to write on with a pen or to move a mouse over. It will protect your desk from water and heat, and is reversible so you can change the look of your office area on a whim.


These big knot pillows that create playfully elegant decor

Decorate your couch, bed, or playroom with one — or more — of these unique soft knot pillows. They give the room a playful look, add color, and are deliciously soft to the touch. They come in three sizes and lots of colors so you can create exactly the look you want.


A whistling kettle that reminds you when the water is hot

Put the kettle on for a cup of tea or coffee and relax while it boils. If you have this sleek, whistling tea kettle you don’t have to worry that you will forget about it because it will remind you with a whistle when your water is hot. It comes in three colors, has a steel and iron base so it heats up quickly on all kinds of cooktops, and comes with a tea strainer.


This slim & durable protective case for your iPhone

This protective iPhone case is made for the iPhone 13 Pro, and is completely clear to let the beauty of that gorgeous piece of hardware show through. But it adds lots of protection to your expensive device with a shock-proof edge, military-grade drop protection, a built-in screen protector, and a raised bezel that helps protect the camera lens.


The dog bed that helps calm a worried canine

How could your pet fail to be calmed by a soft and fluffy, donut-shaped calming dog bed? Sinking into that circle of shag faux fur acts as a salve to any worried or fretting brain, whether canine or feline. Choose the size that fits your pet and the color that suits your space and watch your high-strung fur baby achieve bliss. You can put it in the washer and dryer for cleaning.


A weather station that delivers all the data on a colorful screen

This weather station keeps track of indoor and outdoor temperatures, dew point, and mold risks while displaying the weather forecast, moon phase, date, time, and more on the color LCD screen. It can read the measurement from up to three sensors (one is included) and has an alarm clock with a snooze button so it makes a great bedside data station.


This feature-rich smart watch that doesn’t want all your money

If you want to wear a smartwatch but are unwilling to drop your whole paycheck on one, keep reading. This smartwatch works with either Android or Apple phones and has a heart rate monitor, activity tracker, and sleep tracker, and tells you how many calories you have burned. It will also deliver phone notifications to your wrist. It will even let you control music. It comes in two colors and runs for 15 days on a charge.


This set of bath rugs that solves so many slippery problems

These two soft and absorbent chenille bathroom mats create a comfortable feel and coordinated look in your bathroom while solving your post-shower dripping people problems. They come in five suave colors and cover lots of floor space.

“Love this combo. We have a long walkway before you get to carpet from the shower and have had one too many falls from wet tile,” said one reviewer. “The long rug is perfect for the walkway and the small rug goes right in front of the shower.”


A sleeping bag that’s warm, comfy, & waterproof

Sure, you can drop hundreds of dollars on a sleeping bag. But if you aren’t camping in the arctic, you really don’t need to. This three-season sleeping bag will keep you comfy on a cool night and weighs only three pounds. It’s waterproof so that even if your tent leaks you won’t feel it, and the half-circle hood is a comfy and warm place to rest your head. It comes in several sizes and lots of colors, and over 13,000 people rated it five stars.


A memory foam neck pillow that’s packable & comfortable

Pack this memory foam neck pillow along next time you travel so you can catch some sleep whenever possible. It packs down small into the included stuff sack until you need it. Pull it out and the memory foam microbeads expand to give you excellent neck support. It even has a pocket where you can tuck your cell phone, and it comes with an eye mask and earplugs to complete your nap.


This wireless doorbell kit that takes only minutes to install

Upgrade your doorbell quickly, easily, and for the price of a sandwich with this wireless doorbell system that will even expand if you decide, down the road, you want more bells or receivers. Stick the button to your exterior door and plug the two receivers into indoor outlets where you will hear them, and installation is done. You can choose from six colors and 50 doorbell chimes.


A punching bag for your desk to help work out your frustrations

What do you do when a customer, client, coworker, or boss makes you so angry you could punch something? Punch this inflatable desktop punching bag. It won’t mind and you will feel better. It clamps onto the edge of your desk and can take a beating.

“[Sometimes] I need to get a little aggression out,” said one reviewer. “That's where this punching bag came into play. I put it on my desk and started punching away. I can't say ALL my stress is gone ... but I would rather punch this bad boy than something else.”


A pair of window frames for space-enhancing decor

Create the illusion of space and a view by hanging these two window frames on a wall. You can mount a photo behind them to simulate an outside vista or hang them alone for a bit of farmhouse decor. You can hang them horizontally or vertically.

“It’s a good price for the pair. Easy to decorate for any room or any holiday,” said one reviewer.

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