Reviewers are obsessing over these clever, cheap gadgets they use all the time

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by Christina X. Wood

I recently bought a little knife sharpener on Amazon that was just what I needed and had a high number of five-star reviews. But this thing was so cheap and so awesome that I’ve also bought one for everyone I know. I am, I think officially now, obsessed with it. If you and I are friends, you can fully expect it to end up gift-wrapped and in your hand sometime in the near future.

This little tool is just my current obsession, though. I’m sure there will be others. In fact, you may have some item of this nature yourself. Or, you may soon. Because there are literally thousands of Amazon reviewers obsessing over the following clever, cheap gadgets that they use all the time. If you, too, happen to be into clever and cheap products, I recommend scrolling on — you just may find your new favorite thing.


This in-car mount so your phone is safe & useful when you drive

When you are behind the wheel, your phone can be either a distraction or a helpful co-pilot. This car phone mount will move it quickly — and safely — to the latter. It snaps firmly onto your car’s air vents and holds even a large phone in a hefty case firmly in its grip.

Reviewers say: “This is one of the best cell phone holders I have had in a long time. It grips well to the vent in my car, and a ball and socket joint controls the clip's ability to stay put. I like that I don't have to stick it to any surface in my car.”


This portable charger with a fun paw-print power indicator

This slender portable phone charger is everything you want in your everyday carry backup battery. It’s slim enough to slip into a pocket, has two USB ports for charging two gadgets at once, comes in a variety of colors, and has a built-in flashlight. Best of all, the paw-print power level indicator will make you smile while letting you know when it’s time to plug in. It comes with a USB-C cord for charging it up.

Reviewers say: “The paw print makes it easy to see how much juice you have even during those sunny days. Battery is 10,000 mah and lasts during an all day fishing trip, even after charging a few devices throughout the day. It has a rubberized matte surface which is nice to the touch.”


An ergonomic monitor stand that looks great in your home office

This monitor stand will lift your viewing area up — and your gaze with it — so you don’t hurt your neck by working at a poorly designed home office. It also creates space on your desk, vents hot air away from your laptop, and is adjustable, with three height settings, so you can set it just right for you.

Reviewers say: “I bought two of these. They arrived quickly, they were easy to assemble, they're somewhat adjustable, they look nice, and they're very sturdy. Best of all, they created handy storage space which I quickly filled with indispensable things such as pens, tweezers, old birthday cards, mostly clean napkins, claw clippers, bottle caps, and probably a couple of unmatched socks.”


This handy milk frother you will use for everything

Buy this milk frother that comes with its own countertop stand because you hanker for a frothy milk beverage, but know this: You will use it for everything. Trying to mix a supplement powder into a beverage? Dip this small whisk into the liquid and hit the button on the top. Done. Same for salad dressings, quick marinades, and so many things you once struggled with. It comes in four colors and over 8,000 people give it five stars.

Reviewers say: “This is a nice frother! I wasn't expecting it to have the kind of power it does. I've had many of these little frothers over the years and they all typically do not have much power, but this one is great. I use it for frothing almond milk specifically almost every morning. I heat my almond milk up in the microwave for around 20 seconds or so and then froth. It only takes me 10 seconds to get the kind of froth I like!”


The instant-read thermometer that will change the way you cook

If you use a combination of guesswork and timers to roast meats, you need this instant-read thermometer. It immediately takes the guessing out of getting a steak or chicken perfectly cooked because you just stick the probe into the meat and look at the numbers on the big, clear LED screen. Press a button to hold that reading so you don’t have to stick your face into the heat. It hangs magnetically or from the hook, there is a meat chart printed right on it, and it’s waterproof so cleaning up is easy.

Reviewers say: “It does exactly as described. The response time is 2-3 seconds. Having used several of these types to check temperature, this outshines them all, even giving the correct air temp of the room upon opening.”


This knife sharpener that’s so easy to use

Keep your knives so sharp that you’ll need protective gloves to use them by keeping this three-stage knife sharpener in the kitchen. Run the knives through the three stages — starting with the first one that uses diamond rods to get dull knives ready to accept an edge. The second slot puts a rough edge on knives and the third one hones that edge to a fine, clean edge. It comes with a pair of cut-proof gloves so you can do this without injury.

Reviewers say: “My friend recommended this knife sharpener after she saw my frustration with dull knives. I'm so glad I bought it! And now - a month after the purchase - frustration no more: I've sharpened all of my favorite and most used knives and kitchen is a happy place again!”


This thermal travel mug you can make coffee right into

This travel coffee mug solves everything about coffee and traveling. Instead of trusting that your destination will have a good coffee source, pack this travel mug and some coffee grounds. Just fill the included stainless steel mesh filter that fits perfectly into the mug with coffee and slowly pour hot water over it to make an excellent pour-over coffee right into the mug, where it will stay hot for hours.

Reviewers say: “This travel, pour over coffee maker was exactly what I was looking for. I like the freshest coffee possible and this allows me to make a great cup at the office or when I'm away. It is solidly constructed and perfectly the logo is cool.”


This drying rack that rolls open onto the sink

This roll-up dish drying rack is so useful that you will wonder how you ever lived without it. Unroll it to dry a big item or some overflow dishes. Or get rid of your counter-hogging drying rack and convert entirely to this minimalist one. It doubles as a trivet for setting hot pans on or as a cooling rack for your cookies and is a great place to quickly wash vegetables.

Reviewers say: “This is a must for a small kitchen with little counter space. It rolls out to cover one side of the sink so you can place your silverware and dishes there for drying. Dishes are on the rack over the sink so no water drips onto your kitchen counter. This keeps things cleaner so you don’t have to wipe up a water mess on the kitchen counter. When you need that side of the sink just roll the rack up. It is so convenient and such a space saver!”


This clever pizza slicer that works better than most other methods

The reason it's easier to cut pizza with this cutter wheel is that the blade is in the palm of your hand so you can use all your arm strength to apply pressure to that crispy crust and get through all the toppings without a struggle. A sliding blade cover keeps your hands safe from that sharp blade when you are handling or storing it, and it pops apart for cleaning.

Reviewers say: “I used to work for Dominos and Pizza Hut in my college days and cut many many pizzas. So I feel that I know a bit more about pizza cutter [wheels] than lay people. First, it cut really well. Second, handling was easy. grabbing one half of the wheel seems to be stabler than holding onto a handle that protrudes out. Simple physics really. And third, this is the one I was worried about. How do you wash this thing? Turns out, the plastic handle splits in half. I put all the pieces in the dishwasher and voila!”


This outlet extender that brings your plugs into the digital age

Our homes have mostly not kept up with the explosion in devices we all need to plug in and charge, but this multi-plug outlet extender is here to bring your outlets into the modern world. Plug it into one of your standard outlets, fix it firmly with a center screw, and you now have six standard plugs with surge protection, two USB plugs, and a light that comes on automatically when it’s too dark to find it all.

Reviewers say: “PRACTICAL: This product is fantastic! It has good surge immunity specs and allowed [me] to plug in 4 large power bricks, 1 normal power cable, and still have 1 outlet free for further expansion. GOOD LOOKING: The coolest part is that I have it in my kitchen and it actually looks great on the wall. The additional 2 USB power ports are also super handy. QUALITY: The build quality exceeded my exceptions. Its build from a thick sturdy plastic material.”


The hot pot that makes whipping up a fast lunch so easy

If you want to eat a healthier lunch — or dinner — just drop some protein, vegetables, stock or water, and maybe some noodles into this mini hot pot, turn it on, and go back to work for a few more minutes. You can have a brothy, healthy meal in minutes without wondering how much salt or other bad things are in it. It works great for oatmeal, hot water, and lots of other purposes and many of the 5-star reviewers like it for travel.

Reviewers say: “This is an awesome little pot! I have been on a paleo diet for a few weeks now, and that consists of drinking a lot of bone broth. I take this pot to work with me and can easily dip in without leaving the office or getting tempted to order something else! It's bigger than I imagined it was too. Planning on getting another one so I can have one at home and one at work.”


This roller stamp that lets you throw out mail without worry

If you've tried shredding your mail to keep identity thieves from getting your particulars but discovered that’s too much work, keep this roller stamp protection set near your mail-reading station. Instead of shredding, just run the roller over anything personal and toss it away. The ink is designed to obscure all the information so your mail is safe to toss. Almost 16,000 people give it five stars.

Reviewers say: “[...] take my word, this thing obliterates everything underneath. I use it mostly to blot out my name and address on junk mail and catalogs and parcels from Amazon before I toss them into the recycle bin. Works perfectly.”


This slim & minimalist wallet made with RFID-blocking material

This slim, minimalist RFID-blocking wallet is perfect for carrying your cash and cards if you’re lacking pocket space. It comes in a wide selection of colors, fits several credit cards and some cash, and has a clear slot so you can flash your ID without getting it out.

Reviewers say: “I absolutely love this wallet. I initially bought it for the RFID-blocking capabilities (to protect my credit card information), but beyond this, the overall aesthetic of the wallet is [...] sleek, and minimalistic. I love the amount of storage for cash in the three various pouches, an ID card slot, and three card slots on the opposite side (which really adds to what I can fit in my wallet). The leather is premium feeling and the small attention to detail is amazing.”


This strainer that’s so much easier than a colander

Reviewers love the simplicity of this solution for getting water out of a pasta pan. Instead of storing a huge colander for moments like these, just snap this pot strainer onto your pan and pour the water off, leaving the pasta behind. It stores smaller, makes the task easier, and gets over 15,000 five-star reviews.

Reviewers say: “I cannot say enough good about this strainer. It fits all my pots from small to huge, even frying pans! I have strainers, [colanders], every kind of lid converter [...] This strainer is the best ever.”


This easy grill cleaner with disposable wipes

Get your grill clean super fast with this clever grill cleaner set that wraps a tough, grease-absorbing wipe around an easy-to-hold brush, making the job fast and easy. A built-in-scraper gets off cooked-on gunk while the wipe grabs and removes it all. It comes with 25 wipes.

Reviewers say: “I have been using these wipes on my grill cooking surface for about 20 cooks and my grids are still like new clean! I like that it is super convenient to pop a wipe out and put it on the holder [...] Better than any grill cleaning spray I have tried.”


This tool that takes an avocado from whole to sliced in seconds

This avocado slicer tool is an efficient way to take a whole ripe avocado out of its skin and onto your salad in seconds. The blade cuts through the skin, a quick twist removes the seed, and the slicer cuts the fruit into seven perfect pieces in one gesture. It’s fast, easy, and fun.

Reviewers say: “Avocado? Yes, Please! This tool is awesome. Easy to cut open the fruit. Pit remover works well, just push onto the pit and give it a twist, and the pit pops right out. The best part is the slicer. Makes beautiful slices for a great presentation [...] The tool can then be used to scrape any remaining fruit out of the skin.”


A motion-sensing night light that’s terrific for the bathroom

Plug this night light into an outlet in your bathroom, on the stairs, or in a dark hallway so you don’t have to turn a light on when you get up at night. It senses when the room is dark and when there is motion and turns on to help you find your way. It has four LED lights in it that can be adjusted to three different brightness levels and that draw very little power.

Reviewers say: “Just what I was looking for. This nightlight has motion sensor also integrated photo eye. What that means is when it’s daytime and there is enough light in the area where the nightlight is located it will not turn on. The 3 brightness settings are adequate for any situation.”


A pair of grill lights for better nighttime barbecuing

Tired of grilling in the dark? Stick these two magnetic grill lights to the grill and solve that situation fast. The long and flexible gooseneck points the bright LED beam right where you want it and the aluminum alloy body won’t wilt in the heat so you can see what you are doing. It’s a great work light, too, and runs on batteries so would be very handy to have on hand in a power outage.

Reviewers say: “Great lighting. Arrived quickly and was able to cook with ease as if in daylight. I’m pleased with this product.”


The comfy over-ear headphones at a bargain price

If you like to tune out the noise to work, clean, or study, this lightweight and comfy pair of over-ear headphones will help you do it. And at this price, you can afford to lose them, gift them to someone who is driving you mad with speaker noises, or just to be nice. They connect wirelessly, have a microphone for phone calls, and charge quickly.

Reviewers say: “I actually was very surprised by these. These are my first wireless headphones. I paired them with my iPhone 8 Plus no issues. For the price you can’t ask for more. They are quite bass-y but in a good way. Clear sound. They are also really lightweight and feel comfortable on the ears [...]”


This big pack of cable clips for all your wires

When your desk is riddled with wires, cables dominate the bedside table, and plugging in your phone is an irritating production, you need this big pack of 16 cable clips to rein that in. If you need a single clip for your phone charger or a bank of them for your geek-level computer rig, it’s here. Just peel and stick the clip you need to the desk, wall, or table and snap the cables in.

Reviewers say: “These are great! Exactly what I wanted for routing a couple of cords around. The single slot clips are big enough to fit a standard cord or a light duty indoor extension cord, but it's still small enough that I was able to put my USB-C cable for my phone in it without it just falling out.”


A shower mirror that won’t fog up

Stick this fogless shower mirror to the wall of your shower so you can see to shave and primp while you are showering. There is a hook to hold your razor, you can adjust the reflection in any direction, it won’t fog up, and it’s super easy to install. It even comes with a pair of high-quality tweezers.

Reviewers say: “Mounted this on a tiled shower wall. It has adhered well across several showers and angle adjustments. Even though the other bathroom [mirrors] fogged up, this remained clear. This is the first shower mirror I have used, and it is a winner.”


This clever charging stand for your Apple Watch

At the end of every long day, put your Apple Watch on this charging stand and let it recharge while you do the same. It turns your watch into a little alarm clock so you can forget about having to change the time on yet another clock. It uses your own charger cable and comes in lots of colors so you can create the bedside look you want.

Reviewers say: “I have nothing negative to say about this product. It holds my Apple watch extremely well, and connects to the charging magnet with ease. Great for minimalists who want something sleek and simple.”


A kitchen scale so you can stop measuring & start cooking

Cooking with a kitchen scale is so much faster and easier. Just add ingredients to the bowl, by weight, as you go without using any measuring tools. Just keep hitting that tare button to remove the weight of the bowl and the ingredients already in it. A scale is great for knowing exactly how much your portions are and many other purposes, too. And this one is excellent, lightweight, easy to store, comes in lots of colors and sizes, and measures in metric or Imperial. There is even a smart version that connects to an app on your phone and tracks meals.

Reviewers say: “If you need a long-lasting, reliable, spill-proof kitchen scale, this is the one to buy. It also looks good and costs little.”


These salt & pepper grinders that are gravity-powered

Just flip these elegant salt and pepper grinders over and an internal switch senses that the grinder is in serve mode — then it turns on to grind your rock salt or peppercorns. You can grind one-handed and you don’t even have to hit a switch. The spice container is clear so you can see what’s in it, it comes in several colors, and a blue light shows you where — and how much of — the salt and pepper is landing on your food.

Reviewers say: “These have a nice heft in your hand, and the adjustable coarseness for both S & P is great.”


This backlit keyboard for a better computing experience

When the lights are low, turn on the backlighting on this LED wired keyboard so you can see what you are doing. They look gorgeous, the keys are smooth to type on, and it will make your office or gaming setup way more fun. It also has the option for a “breathing” light mode.

Reviewers say: “I work from home and I'm on the computer all day. I've used this keyboard for two months and it's great! The backlit lighting is rainbow-colored. Pressing the keys is whisper-quiet with the right amount of bounce. I liked it so much, I bought one for my wife too and she loves it.”


The ear & nose hair trimmer with hordes of fans

The dual-edged spinning blades of this ear and nose hair trimmer can tackle those little hairs that are sprouting from anywhere you wish they weren't: eyebrows, nose, ears, or face. And it does it with a tight precision that has earned it a huge following and over 14,000 five-star reviews.

Reviewers say: “All I can say is WOW! This thing is really powerful. It trims my hair effortlessly and thoroughly. It is so good that I use it not only for my nose and ears but on my eyebrows, sideburns, neckline, and anywhere else I want to trim hair.”


The LED strip light that syncs with your music

Use this color-changing strip light to create decorative lighting anywhere in your home. Peel and stick it to the back of your TV, under a counter, inside your closets, or anywhere you like. Then use the phone app or remote to choose colors and modes that suit your application and mood. You can set colored mood lighting or choose to have it sync a pulse of light to your music.

Reviewers say: “I put these up in my living room and couldn’t be happier! One of the settings you can set them on is to make the colors change with the bass from the speaker, which is such a cool effect. You can set the brightness level, keep them on a steady color (including white) and pick different modes. My teen loves the mood it sets when she’s playing her video games.”


This splatter screen so you don’t have to clean grease off the stove

This splatter screen is such a simple way to prevent a massive cleanup project just because you decided to fry eggs or bacon. Set it on the pan when you are cooking — especially over foods that spit and spray grease — and all that mess will stay in the pan. It has clever metal feet so you can set it on the counter without leaving a mess, a plastic handle to protect your hands from heat, and can go right in the dishwasher.

Reviewers say: “I've had inexpensive screens in the past. This one is much sturdier and I love the ‘feet’ for keeping oil off the counter when I'm done cooking. Easy to clean with a soapy sponge.”


These 3 cutting boards for faster prep

When you have to wash a cutting board to move from chopping the meat to cutting the fruit, dinner isn’t happening as fast as it could. This set of three cutting boards will speed that up. When the meat is done, drop that board in the dishwasher and grab another board to cut the fruit and veggies. Each one has a handle, groove for catching juices, and a non-slip surface so your meal prep is fast and easy. They come in five colors.

Reviewers say: “It is so wonderful to cut up vegetables, meat, whatever and not have the juice go all over the counter or in the floor. They are easy to handle and come in perfect sizes. I would definitely re-purchase these.”


A big car trash can so keeping your ride clean is easy

When you are driving and snacking, you have little choice but to toss empty wrappers over your shoulder into the back seat unless you hang this roomy and efficient car trash can from the back of the passenger seat headrest. Then you can keep your car clean by dropping that trash into it. It comes with 20 liners that snap firmly into the side clips so you can easily empty the trash when you stop. And, since it’s insulated, you can convert it to an in-car cooler anytime the need arises.

Reviewers say: “I purchased the Drive Bin XL for our van because our kids were always trashing it, and just having a plastic bag hanging on the back of the seat wasn't cutting it. Since having this, my kids are actually throwing their stuff away, and it has been so convenient for keeping the van clean! I also love that it actually comes with the trash bags!! It's very stylish looking, sturdy, and I love that it can turn into a cooler when you need it to!”


A stainless steel canister for storing your coffee beans

Nothing screams, “This house has good coffee!” louder than a canister on the counter that’s dedicated to the preservation of the beans. This airtight coffee canister is perfect for this role. The easy-to-snap-closed lid seals the beans in so they don’t go stale but makes it easy to get them out to brew up some java. It says coffee on the side and the top is clear so you can easily see when you need to buy more.

Reviewers say: “I hunted for a while for a good coffee container and finally settled on this one. It's very well made and keeps the coffee fresh. It does hold a whole pound bag of coffee either ground or whole. It's good quality stainless steel and easy to clean. Happy with this purchase.”


This tote that gets your toiletries to the shower and back

Keep your soap, shampoo, and other toiletries organized — in your locker, room, or gym bag — in this shower tote that’s easy to carry, lets water drain away, and has just the right amount of space for everything you need for your daily ablutions. It stands up on its own and comes in white or black.

Reviewers say: “Purchased so I do not have to leave my items in the shower that I share when guests stay over. I just grab and go - holds everything I need - I hang it on the shower handle so everything is within easy reach. It also drains well so everything (from my razor, exfoliating scrub cloth, to body soap and hair products) stays dry.”


These 4 huge microfiber cleaning cloths for all your tech screens

Keep one of these oversize microfiber cleaning cloths near every screen — computer, TV, and phone — so you can quickly clean away the smudges and dust for a terrific view. They are big, have an ideal microfiber texture for cleaning screens, and are soft enough that they won’t damage even delicate camera lenses.

Reviewers say: “[I] Research everything obsessively before I buy, big or small purchases. These are the best on the market. Cloths are nice and large for two hands. Leave zero smudge, black stains or any dyes. Leaves no lint and your glasses or digital screen cleaner than ever before!”


A set of collapsible measuring cups that save drawer space

Save storage space in your drawers with these collapsible, silicone measuring cups and spoons. The cups are brightly color-coded for quick baking, and are stackable and connected by a ring. And the spoons are cute, stackable, collapsible, and accurate. They are all easy to wash and are ideal for camping and small kitchens.

Reviewers say: “So far these collapsible measuring cups and spoons are fantastic! The cups easily pop in and out and silicone is safe for anyone to use- nothing to break, cut or spill. The colors are bright and fun and the cups and spoons are easy to read.”


A laptop bag so you can pack up & work anywhere

This compact and affordable laptop bag is an ideal choice for carting your work rig along when you travel. It is spacious without being a full-on suitcase, has padding in all the right places, carries over your shoulder or by hand, has a strap that goes around the handle to your rolling suitcase, and gets over 6,000 five-star ratings.

Reviewers say: “Now that I work from home, I have been traveling more to visit my family. It holds my 15-inch laptop, USB monitor, all the cords, and the external monitor stand, plus pens and some note paper.”


A decorative container for your utensils that’s also super functional

Putting the cooking utensils you use most often in a container on the counter is a smart way to make cooking fast and easy. But sometimes, those containers are more form than function. This stainless steel utensil holder in seven color options is functional as well as good-looking. It spins 360 degrees so you can quickly grab what you want, while an optional divider keeps order to your tools. It’s fingerprint-proof and easy to clean.

Reviewers say: “This is the best cooking utensil holder ever!!!! Not only is it very solid, well constructed and swivels too, but what takes it over the top for me is the divider insert. Fantastic! This is a large capacity holder, and the insert makes it possible for my many utensils to stay as upright as possible, as opposed to holders without an insert where the utensils are sprawled all over the place. My organizational heart is just gushing with this thing...”


These whiskey glasses that will elevate cocktail hour

When it comes to sipping whiskey, the glass is an important element. And these twist whiskey glasses have everything this ritual requires from a glass. The heavy base gives them heft in your hand. The twisted glass shows off the color of the nectar within. And the 10-ounce size is perfect for showcasing your fine liquors.

Reviewers say: “Art and ergonomics are rarely integrated this well in glassware - my hat is off to the designer and the manufacturer.”


A pair of classic-looking blue light blocking glasses

Don these fetching, square, vintage-style blue-light blocking glasses when you work at your computer to create your daytime Clark Kent look while protecting yourself from digital kryptonite: Blue light. They come in lots of colors, have no magnification, look great on, and block 100% of UV rays, which can harm your eyes and interfere with sleep.

Reviewers say: “I plan on buying these again in a different color because I love them so much. I keep them at work and wear them to prevent headaches while staring at the computer all day. I have not gotten a single headache since starting to wear these. They also look great and I have gotten a bunch of compliments.”


These hot mitts with durable silicone grips

These silicone oven mitts are a beautiful example of modern materials doing a better job than their old-school counterpart. The silicone is heat resistant up to 450 degrees, grippy, offers good traction on your pots and pans, and cleans up by rinsing in the sink. You can even reach into a pan of hot potatoes in these and you will be protected from the heat and steam. They come in lots of colors and two arm lengths.

Reviewers say: “I bought these for my husband and he really likes them. We got rid of all of our dank pot holders and oven mitts. These high quality silicone oven mitts are all we need! It's nice to wear them because the interior of the gloves has soft material and not that scratchy material that most oven mitts have. They are super easy to clean.”


These wipes that help stop sweat before it happens

These clinical strength antiperspirant wipes are the life hack you need to help prevent sweating big, noticeable wet marks into the armpits of your shirts. Just dab yourself with them, let your pits air dry for a few minutes, and go to bed. The next day, you will be sweat-free — the company has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Reviewers say: “Trust me, you NEED these. I have a sweating problem with no known cause [...] I've tried every deodorant: stick, spray, men's heavy duty. Nothing worked. So I ordered these. My underarms haven't sweat all day. Mind you, it was a [hot] and humid day in Missouri. Not a drop. I'm blown away. Just one use and it's magic.”

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