42 cheap products on Amazon that work as well as expensive ones

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.

by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

Saving up for expensive, name-brand gear is so last century. Here in the information age, shoppers are no longer at the mercy of marketing schemes and name brands that took decades to get our attention. Instead, they can buy directly from the innovators, get inside knowledge with an easy search, and quickly find out when a cheap product works just as well as the expensive one. These kind of products are right on Amazon (as well as this list).

Sure, you can drop hundreds of dollars on an expensive smart watch — but you don’t have to. There is, after all, a $40 version that’s available. And, like everyone else, you want to connect all your appliances and lights to your smart home — but those $25 smart plugs are making you hesitate. Not to fret! There is an option that’s a quarter the price. And while everyone else is paying a pet sitter to go feed Kitty while you’re at work, you can opt for an affordable machine that’ll do it for you.

Get what you need — but don’t pay full price. These products will help.

1. These wireless earbuds in a wireless charging case

Hankering for a pair of those high-priced, super-trendy wireless earbuds everyone has but (don’t have $200 to drop on something you’ll probably lose)? These earbuds are completely wireless, come in a battery case that charges wirelessly, work with Android or iPhones, come in six colors, and have over 95,000 five-star reviews.

2. These 6-foot USB-C charging cables wrapped in fabric

Instead of grumbling about the high price of a replacement charging cable for your expensive smart phone, get this two-pack from Anker. The cord is wrapped fabric, which is believed to last longer than the standard plastic. They’re also 6 feet long and come in four colors.

3. This waterproof backpack for your laptop

If you were to believe advertisers, a waterproof backpack that can carry your every day gear and a laptop might require you to take out a second mortgage. Or you could listen, instead, to the hundreds of people who love this waterproof backpack with a sleeve for a 15-inch laptop and a secret pocket against your back for your phone and wallet. It comes in nine colors and has a huge capacity.

4. A 4-pack of smart plugs for your smart home

This four-pack of smart plugs from Kasa work just fine with Alexa or Google Home, connect to whatever smart home system you have, let you control appliances from your phone, and fit neatly into one plug on an outlet. And you’ll get four of them for $25, which is a total bargain.

5. These affordable socks with cushioned toes & heels

Throw out all those worn, hole-filled, tired socks and upgrade your entire sock drawer. This set of six low-cut, cotton-blend sports socks have cushioned toes and heels, tabs at the heels so they don’t slide down your shoes, and come in black, white, or gray.

6. This hair dryer & brush combo with a cult following

It’s possible to drop a small fortune on hair-care appliances and brushes, but you won’t need to if you own this one-step hair dryer and round brush. It dries hair gently as you add volume for a terrific style without the extra tools. Plus, could the 223,000 people who’ve given it five stars all be wrong?

7. The heavyweight hoodie you’ll want in every color

This heavy, reverse-weave hoodie is the perfect layer to pull on after a swim in summer or when it’s cold in winter, which may be why it has 7,700 five-star reviews. It comes in over 40 colors and is made with over 80% cotton. TBH, you’ll probably live in it.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large

8. This Carhartt beanie that comes in so many colors

In a world where beanies are necessary — and yet, often expensive — comes this high-quality cuffed beanie from workwear specialists Carhartt that’s everything you need and affordable enough that you’ll probably want several colors. In fact, there are 24 colors to choose from, and these hats have over 95,000 five-star ratings.

9. The reusable notebook with all the planner tools you need

This notebook is a brilliant fusion of digital and paper. Just jot your notes with pen on paper (which has been shown to improve memory and is pleasant to do), and then send those notes to the cloud where you can store, edit, and share them. This notebook has 42 pages of dot-grid, tasks lists, planners, and more — and they all wipe clean so you can use them over and over.

10. A remote control for finding all the lost things

Attach these colored fobs to items you tend to lose (your keys, your backpack, and more). When something goes missing, grab the remote and press the color that matches the missing item. The fob will beep so you can track it down. Maybe it’s not as high-tech as Bluetooth trackers, but it gets the job done and is super affordable.

11. This transmitter that connects your phone to your car

You don’t need a new car just to listen to streaming music through the car stereo — you just need this transmitter that connects your phone to your car’s stereo so you can take calls with the push of a button. It even has a last-number redial and connects the streaming service on your phone to your car, and it puts two USB charging cables right where you need them.

12. A wireless charging pad for your smart phone

Wireless charging has been around for years, so wireless chargers don’t have to be expensive — unless you are buying for fashion. This one from Anker works with any phone or accessory that supports Qi wireless charging. It comes with a 4-foot cable to plug it in and is available in black, blue, or white.

13. The security camera with night vision & 2-way audio

Want to look in on your home from your phone, pan around the room, listen and talk to your pet, see in the dark, and store recordings of what happened online? That sounds pretty expensive, but this high-definition Wyze indoor camera does all of that in 1080 pixels and works with Alexa and Google Assistant.

14. A smart watch that works with Androids or iPhones

Sure, a high-end smart watch is an expensive proposition — but this one isn’t. And it tracks your heart rate, steps, activities, and sleep while delivering phone notifications — and the time, of course — to your wrist. It also comes in four colors, has a long battery life, and can go swimming with you.

15. These slick, lighted gaming headphones for less than $20

A gaming headphone for less than $20? It seems unlikely — but with a comfortable ear cover and a nice noise-cancelling microphone, over 61,000 people have given this pair five stars. They have a 3.5-millimeter audio jack and a USB plug to work with whatever rig you game on — and when you plug in the USB plug, the headphone trim lights up.

16. A waterproof speaker that floats & plays in the water

Want to take your tunes into the pool? This waterproof Bluetooth speaker not only survives in water up to a meter deep, it floats and keeps right on playing. You can link two of them together to create stereo sound, the battery lasts for up to 24 hours, it comes in five colors, and it sounds great.

17. This tiny pebble of a mouse that fits in your pocket

That glide pad on your laptop is slowing you down. It’s also hard on the tiny muscles in your hand. This little mouse makes interacting with your computer or tablet easier and less frustrating, and it’ll easily fit in your pocket or laptop bag. It pairs to your device with the included USB dongle or via Bluetooth, is silent, and comes in four colors.

18. A wireless keyboard that connects to anything

Whether you’re looking for a keyboard that can turn your phone or tablet into a highly portable computer or want a packable external keyboard for your laptop to offset hand and neck soreness, this little wireless keyboard is awesome and connects wirelessly to pretty much anything. In fact, it connects to three devices and lets you switch among them with a button push.

19. The toiletries bag that keeps all your gear organized

If you are planning to travel, a good toiletry bag is so essential that you might be tempted to drop some coin on the purchase (but there’s no need). This bag is high quality, tough, padded, water-resistant, sized perfectly so you can put your full-sized products into a larger bag, and organized so you can grab it and head to the showers with everything you need.

20. This carry-on bag that sits neatly on a roller bag

The perfect carry-on bag is roomy enough to carry your essentials, and it fits under the seat on a plane. It’s also easy to access and has a strap that holds it to a roller bag so you can breeze easily through airports. This one, despite being super affordable, is all that and has a shoe compartment for switching up your footwear on arrival — and it comes in a choice of five fabrics.

21. A tiny notebook that’s gorgeous & fits in your pocket

Those expensive, trendy notebooks with the high-quality paper and pocket built into the inside back cover have nothing on this affordable version. This is a two-pack of hardcover notebooks with 160 pages of 100 acid-free paper and an expandable pocket, in a size that makes it the perfect companion to your phone. Choose from 11 colors.

22. The machine that feeds your pet on a schedule

Why rush home or pay a pet sitter to stop by to dish up dinner for your fur baby when this pet-feeding machine will deliver as many four meals a day — and you can choose how large the meals are — automatically. It runs on batteries and plugs in, so it’ll keep Kitty fed in a power outage. It also holds 7 liters of food and has a clear food tank so you can see when to fill it.

23. This power bank so your phone always has a charge

Even though it’s small, portable, and fits in your hand when charging, this power bank is powerful enough to rapidly charge your phone two or three times. It comes in four colors and includes a USB cord as well as a travel pouch. Plus, 48,000 people have given it five stars.

24. These blue-light blocking readers for happy eyes

Many of us are spending more time in front of computers these days, which emit a lot of blue light that’s believed to cause headaches and eye strain. These readers filter out the blue light while magnifying the screen — there’s also a no-magnification option — so your eyes can relax while you read, work, or scroll.

25. An electric lighter that you never have to refill

With a “flame” — it’s actually an arc of electricity — that won’t blow out and a rechargeable battery so you never need to refill it, this lighter is the one that’ll likely always be there when you need a light. You can even light your campfire when it’s raining, so it’s perfect for your emergency kit.

26. This leather accessory for keeping earbuds in order

Wrap your headphone wires around the base of this simple and elegant headphone cord organizer, then snap it closed. Then, those wires won’t tangle when you toss your earbuds into a bag or pocket. There are three color options, and it’ll look like you spent a lot more than you did.

27. A vacuum that converts from stick to handheld

When you get this vacuum out and start cleaning, you can move easily from sweeping floors to cleaning stairs and furniture just by pulling out the long handle and converting it from a stick to a handheld vac. It plugs in for plenty of power, has a crevice tools as well as a floor head, and comes in four bright colors. Over 34,000 people have given it five stars.

28. The tiny projector you can take anywhere

When you want to watch a movie in your hotel room, are working out from videos in a room with no TV, or the kids want to watch something when you’re camping, just pull out this projector, connect it to a laptop, phone, or tablet, and throw the image on a wall. It can create up to a 60-inch image, and the manual dial makes easy focusing. Plus, it has just about every connector port there is.

29. An insulated water bottle with 2 lids

This 24-ounce water bottle not only keeps your water cold all day — no matter what’s happening outside — it also has two lids so you can sip or gulp, depending on what you’re doing. The leak-proof chug lid pops open so you can pour water down your throat or use the straw lid, which snaps closed to avoid leaks. It fits your cup holder, comes in five colors, and gets 22,000 five-star reviews.

30. The enamel-covered cast-iron Dutch oven that’s sleek

Do you find yourself coveting those super expensive enamel-covered cast-iron pans and wondering why no one is gifting you one? This version — from the legendary makers of seasoned cast-iron pans — is here with this beauty at a totally affordable price. It’s available in 12 colors and six sizes.

31. This complete set of packing cubes for orderly travel

Packing cubes are awesome. They let you organize your gear as you pack it so your suitcase is super orderly. Then, when you arrive, you don’t have to unpack — though you can, and it’s fast — because you know everything in your bag is already in separate compartments. This complete set of six is every size you need with see-through mesh tops and slick two-way zippers.

32. A lightweight, high-cotton bathrobe in 4 colors

Bathrobes can be a serious investment, but this one is super affordable. It’s also light enough for summer, has two big pockets, is mostly cotton — so it absorbs water as you come out of the shower, and is long enough to cover you all the way through breakfast.

33. A Fire TV Stick so you can stream all the shows you want

All it takes to go from paying a fortune for cable service to streaming any show you want — on demand — is this inexpensive Fire TV Stick. Plug it into the HDMI port on any TV, connect it to the internet, and start watching Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO Max, and more. You can even ask Alexa to find the show you want.

34. This kitchen or bath backsplash for a quick remodel

It’s so fast, easy, and cheap to do a quick backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom with these peel-and-stick tiles. All you need is a pair of scissors and a little time, and you can turn that tired wall, fireplace, or bathroom into easy-to-clean and spiffy subway tile.

35. These polarized sunglasses in every lens color

Skip right past the high-priced designers and go directly to the polarized sunglasses in the lens color you prefer. Like your glasses dark? Prefer to see the world through rose-colored lenses? Love to put a happy-purple filter on life? It’s all just $13 away. You can choose the frame and trim color you like, too.

36. The comfy jersey joggers with pockets

When you are lounging about, working out, or going out in a casual mode, these are the joggers you will pull on. They are soft, lightweight, and a roomy fit. They also come in six colors and lots of sizes. These are a wardrobe staple, and 8,500 people have given them five stars.

  • Available sizes: Small — XX-Large

37. This lightweight comforter to put in your duvet cover

Switch out your winter comforter for this light and fluffy summer one and sleep soundly. It has loops at the corners to attach to the inside of your duvet cover so it doesn’t move around in the night, and it’s available in whatever bed size you need. TBH, it’s like sleeping under a cloud.

38. An all-cotton throw that’s decorative & comfortable

A good throw can make the difference between a sterile room and one that looks comfortable and homey. This all-cotton throw has a decorative fringe, a tidy pattern, and a soft touch to make your favorite chair look great while putting a light blanket to pull over you at movie time always within reach. It’s available in five colors.

39. The bamboo charcuterie board that’s the whole party

Cut some cheese and veggies, drop some crackers and nuts in the concave dish sections, and go from eating some cheese and crackers to having a fancy charcuterie board that transforms that snack into a party. It washes well, is sustainable, has handy cutouts on the side for easy carrying, and costs far less than it should.

40. A 3-ply stainless steel pan that’s gorgeous to cook on

If you hanker to upgrade your old nonstick pans but aren’t ready to drop a fortune, this affordable three-ply stainless pan cooks like a dream. The 10-inch fry pan heats slowly, holds heat evenly, and lets your food slide right out of the pan.

41. A milk frother for at-home lattes or mixing powders

Whether you’re frothing milk for a morning latte, indulging in matcha tea, or mixing protein or supplement powders, this frother gets it done fast. It stands on its own with the included setup, runs on batteries (so it’s always at the ready), spins super fast, and comes in 36 colors so you will be spoiled for choice.

42. The wine opener that gets the cork out in seconds

Not only will this slick, rechargeable wine opener look stunning on your bar, it will save you so much hassle and broken cork. It expertly removes the cork from the bottle in seconds with the precision of a machine and can open 30 bottles on a single charge, which is likely why over 19,000 people love it and have given it five stars.

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