46 obnoxiously clever things on Amazon that should have been invented sooner

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

When I discovered some of these obnoxiously clever things on Amazon, my first thought was that they should have been invented sooner. If they had been, it would have saved me so much time, money, and effort. My next thought was that I should share them with the masses. That way, other people can take advantage of them as well. It's not too late, though, so I've rounded up some cool things that should've been on the market years ago.

For example, you don't have to spend an hour making dinner that takes another hour to clean up after. Just get an air fryer and cook it within minutes (with almost no cleanup). You also don't have to spend a small fortune on wireless earbuds when you can get an amazing pair for so much less (under $30, to be exact). And instead of running to the store before you cook, keep fresh herbs on hand with a space-age tool that grows them in your fridge. These are the inventions you'll wish you had thought of yourself. They're also the tools you need in order to get things done while saving money.

Again, you're going to wonder why these items weren't available sooner (and why you haven't already added them to your cart).

1. A compact air fryer that's perfect for a small kitchen

If a kitchen gadget ever deserved the hype, it’s the air fryer. And this compact version from Dash is here to turn your small kitchen into a hyper-efficient producer of near-instant deliciousness. Not only will it deliver fries within minutes (without the use of oil), but it can also cook everything from chicken to sausages to eggs that exceed expectations.

2. This bottle that infuses your water with fresh fruit

Why drink plain water — or spend money on packaged drinks — when you can have pineapple and mint, strawberry and basil, or ginger and mango infused into your beverage? Load the herbs and fruit into the inner tube of this clever water bottle, add water, and put it in the fridge. Now you can grab a delicious snack and beverage on your way out the door.

3. These stick-on lights that are any color you want

Create exactly the lighting you want for your office, game room, deck, shower, or anywhere else with these stick-on strip lights that are waterproof and stick right wherever you put them. Use the four-key remote to dial in exactly the color your mood needs and live amidst the lighting you designed yourself.

4. A pair of kitchen claws that can shred meat in a snap

When you're shredding last night's chicken for salad, indulging in pulled pork, or turning a pot roast into delicious shredded beef, these claws will be your best friend. They're perfect for the job and can turn what was once an irritating, hand-pain-inducing task into a two seconds of satisfying success.

5. This tracker for keys (or whatever you don't want to lose)

That irritating hunt for your keys doesn't have to happen ever again. Just attach this Tile to them, connect it to your phone, and the app will show you on a map where they are. If they're nearby (but still hiding), it'll make them ring. It works in reverse, too — so you can find your phone with your keys.

6. A simple apple corer that works beautifully

Core an apple for your charcuterie plate, dehydrator, or snack in seconds with this simple, inexpensive tool. It goes through the apple with almost no effort and speedily pulls the core out. Over 5,000 reviewers love it because it's simple, fast, and makes their apple projects come together quickly.

7. This stainless steel bar that removes unwanted cooking odor from your hands

Some foods — such as garlic, onions, and fish — can leave a scent on your skin that lingers even after you've washed with soap. Strangely, this bar of stainless steel does a better job of removing that smell (without the soapy lather). The steel molecules bind with the unwanted sulfur molecules to remove them and their odor completely.

8. A press that makes no-crust sandwich pies

These fun molds turn any sandwich into a hand pie in an instant so you can eat a fun pastry-like lunch instead of a standard sandwich. The results are like Uncrustables, but you get to choose the filling. Bonus points for sandwiches that don't leak.

9. This electric can opener that does the work for you

The last thing your overworked hands need is to struggle with a can opener, especially when two AA batteries will do all the work for you. Set this electric can opener on your can, hit the start button, and watch it zip around and efficiently remove the lid while you keep cooking.

10. A 3-stage sharpener that fixes your oldest kitchen knives

No matter how dull your old kitchen knives are, this sharpener will easily put an edge on them so you can keep preparing your meals with ease. Just drag the blade through the three numbered slots (in order). The first slot restores a damaged blade, the second creates an edge, and the third hones that edge to razor sharpness.

11. This meat thermometer that's accurate & easy to use

Is your steak done? How will you know without an easy-to-use and accurate thermometer on hand? This one takes a quick reading and lets you lock the temperature so you can pull it away from the heat to read it — and it even folds away to fit in a drawer.

12. A touchless thermometer with a color-changing screen

Do you have a fever? Keep this touchless thermometer at the ready and you can get an instant read on your body temperature. Just position it accordingly and hit the temperature button. Then, you'll get a notification that tells you the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius on an easy-to-read, color-coded screen.

13. This bristle-free grill scraper that can also steam-clean

Dip this brush in water and clean the grill with it. It reaches all the crevices (without loose bristles), gets the baked-on food right off, and uses the combination of that water and heat to steam-clean the unit. It's fast and easy to use, and its coiled brushes shouldn't break off into your grill.

14. This clever rack that fits all your pans into one cupboard

Any reasonable pan collection will take up the better part of a small kitchen. This clever rack brings order by stacking them all into one small footprint — within a single cupboard — without making you unstack the entire pan to get to those on the bottom.

15. A penguin-shaped deodorizer that keeps the fridge fresh

You could put an open box of baking soda in the fridge — but when this penguin is available to do the job, why would you? This deodorizer will work the same way as that box; just open the bird up and fill it with baking soda. It'll help remove the unwanted odors in your fridge (and give you a mood boost every time you open the door).

16. This magnetic wristband that holds your screws

Where do you put all the screws and nails when you're assembling, repairing, or building? Right on your wristband, if you're sporting this magnetic option. It'll hold everything from nuts, bolts, and drill bits to small tools with strong magnets and tiny pockets. That way, they're right there when you need them.

17. This garlic press that's so easy to clean

This rocking garlic press is everything you need to get garlic cloves peeled, chopped, and into your pan. An included silicone sleeve rubs the skins right off with almost no effort, and the press quickly turns the peeled cloves into tiny pieces with a simple wrist movement. Then, a specially designed scraper removes all the garlic from the press (that's included, too).

18. This dish rack that rolls up, saving you so much counter space

This dish rack not only rolls up for storage when you aren't using it, but it also takes full advantage of the sink space to dry the dishes (instead of hogging half your counters with a big dish rack and draining pan). It's perfect for smaller kitchens, and it's a great place to wash vegetables or set down a hot pan.

19. This phone or tablet stand so you don't hunch

Put your phone or tablet on this high-quality stand so you can see your meetings, notes, or videos without giving yourself neck pain. The height and angle adjust and a solid base keeps everything stable so you can set your screen at precisely the height that's comfortable.

20. This brilliant way to keep fresh herbs in the fridge

You can keep fresh herbs alive for weeks in the fridge if you cut their ends and nestle them into this specially designed pod. All you have to do is add water through a port in the back every few days and they should stay fresh and alive — tricked into thinking they are in the garden — waiting out a cold snap.

21. This in-pan strainer, because colanders are too big

In a small kitchen, a colander takes up real estate that could be put to better use. This clip-on strainer is easier to use, more stable, and takes almost no room. Snap it into the pan or bowl — it's flexible, so it fits almost anything — and pour. It lets the water out while holding back the pasta or vegetables.

22. This batter mixer that's easy to dispense

Over 6,000 people have loved transforming their pancake preparation into a simple and efficient process by using this batter mixer for assembling and mixing the ingredients and dispensing them through the bottom by pulling the handle. It works for any kind of batter.

23. These roomy, color-coded cutting boards that are flexible

During your next meal prep, you can chop your food on these roomy cutting boards (which are color-coded, helping to prevent cross contamination). Since they're flexible, you can pick up the board, bend it, and pour the chopped food right into the pan. You can also put these right into the dishwasher, and they store easily.

24. These 5-bladed scissors that cut herbs fast

Instead of chasing herbs around a cutting board, you can cut them right into the pan in just a few snips with these five-bladed scissors. They cut a perfect strip of basil or green onions and clean quickly with the included scraper. They're also great to have on hand for cutting paper or shredding documents.

25. This rack that'll quickly tidy up your utility closet

If you're shoving brooms, dusters, rakes, and other handled tools into a closet, this wall rack will help organize all of that clutter into less space while making it easy to find and put away your tools. Just snap the handles into the spring-loaded slots and hang anything with a loop from the hooks.

26. These drawers that bring order to your cabinets

Putting these simple drawers inside your cabinets lets you organize the contents, find things more easily, and take better advantage of the space you have. They're simple to use, come in lots of sizes, and are decorative enough to use in open-storage areas or on counters.

27. This lavender-scented blob that cleans hard-to-reach crevices

Instead of using a tiny brush or cotton swab to get dust and crud out of tiny crevices, use this blob. It squishes into nooks and crannies easily and comes out with all the dirt stuck to it. It's also fast-working and won't stick to your hands — and it's even suitable for use on electronics. Oh, and it smells like lavender.

28. A wireless mouse with programmable buttons — & it's only $10

There's no need to spend a fortune for a mouse to stay productive. This wireless mouse is accurate and ergonomically sized — but it also has a scroll wheel, connects to your computer with a small USB receiver, requires no driver, and has six programmable buttons. I think that's everything you need in a mouse, isn't it? Did you see the price?

29. These covers that are like curtains for your webcam

When you're home, you close the curtains, right? Now, you can also close the one on your laptop so no one can look through that tiny digital window post-video call. If your laptop doesn't have a webcam cover, this pack makes it easy to correct that. Peel and stick one of them on (there are two in the package), and close that tiny curtain. They work on iPhones, too.

30. These wireless headphones with a magnetic charging case

You might think you need to drop some serious cash to get an awesome-sounding pair of wireless earbuds that come with their own magnetic charging case, right? Well , you don't. Almost 112,000 people are astonished enough at the quality and sound of these completely wireless $30 buds to give them five stars.

31. A phone charging pad that's wireless but also cheap

Set your phone down on this wireless charging pad while you work and your phone's battery will pick up a charge while it sits there. You only have to plug this charger in once. And forevermore, you can skip the irritating fumble with tiny USB plugs. It works with earbuds and other devices that are Qi compatible, too. This is so worth it.

32. A blanket that packs up small enough to carry anywhere

Do you ever know in advance when you will find a beautiful place to sit down and rest? If you keep this waterproof blanket in your backpack, you will always be ready. It's large enough for a couple of adults, protects you from damp ground or sand, and packs into its own tiny pouch.

33. This packable hammock so you can sleep anywhere

This packable hammock is a sleeping solution that fits into your backpack, bike's pannier, kayak, or whatever else you use to take you into the wilderness. Sleeping in a hammock is comfortable, too. All you need is a couple of trees and you can find rest anywhere.

34. These lights that turn your toilet into a lamp

Is your toilet as useful as it could be? Because, if you install these night lights into the bowl, you can transform it into beacon that glows when you enter the room (in the color of your choice, of course). Just pick a color, hook the light over the rim, and let the commode illuminate.

35. This comfortable beanie with built-in headphones

Having trouble getting a hat on over your headphones? This beanie has headphones built into it, which is both convenient and comfortable. No one will know that you're listening to music or a podcast in there. The controls are on the brim and in your connected phone, and they come with a pair of gloves.

36. This cooker that makes ramen fast in a microwave

Drop a square of ramen into this perfectly sized container, fill to the water line, and microwave for three minutes. Lunch! The ramen will come out perfectly every time — and because the shape and size of this container are ideal for ramen, there will be no excess water.

37. These headphones that block out sound & light

If you need to sleep in a house that's not quiet or dark enough, these headphones will make it possible. The super-soft padded eye section blocks out light, and the thin sides make it comfortable to sleep on your side. Plus, the long battery life will play all the way through your nap to replace the ambient noise with something you chose.

38. The gloves with built-in flashlights in the fingers

When all you have to do is point your finger to shine a light, you will wish you'd invented these flashlight gloves. The index finger and thumb have integrated LED lights and there's a switch on the back of your hand. They are great for working in low light or walking the dog at night.

39. This pocket tool that opens beer bottles & boxes

Whenever you need to open a bottle or a box, keep this multitool around. It'll do both of those things and fits in a pocket (inside its own leather-like case). This small gadget also has a screwdriver, ruler, wrench, and several other tools for when other jobs come up.

40. The desk for everyone who works in bed

When you're working from home, you're working from bed, right? This is the desk for anyone who rolls like that, even occasionally. The surface adjusts to five inclines to make viewing your screen comfortable, and there's a flat surface for your mouse. It also has a cup holder and folds away to fit under the bed when you're not using it.

41. This splatter screen so you don't have to clean the stove

Keep this splatter screen handy when you're cooking because it helps stop that frying oil or bubbling sauce splatter from exiting the pan and landing onto your stove. However, you can still see what's happening in the pan — and no steam is trapped in the pan to change the cooking process.

42. This screen magnifier so you can watch on your phone

Sometimes, the phone screen starts to look a bit small while you're watching videos, right? Set it into this low-tech screen magnifier and it will make the images on your phone's screen two to four times larger, and you can set it on a table and step away from it. It essentially turns your phone into something like a small TV.

43. A reusable notebook that saves your notes to the cloud

You don't have to give up writing with a pen and paper to use digital tools like OneNote, Google Drive, or Evernote if you write in this executive-sized notebook. You can scan a pic of your handwritten notes and doodles and store them in your favorite online tool. Better yet? You can wipe its pages clean and use them again.

44. A tiny vacuum cleaner for your desk

When you spill cookie crumbs in your keyboard, getting out the full-sized vacuum cleaner only distracts you further. But this little desktop vac is always at the ready, able to deal with that instantly so you can get right back to work. It's battery-powered, light, powerful, and has brushes to clean up the desk, car interior, or dining table whenever a mess happens.

45. The immersion blender with whisk & frother attachments

This handheld blender is so versatile that you'll probably use it for everything from making smoothies right in the glass to whipping cream, frothing a latte, and turning hot creations into blended soups while they're still in the pan. It even comes with both whisk and frother attachments.

46. A power bank that will also keep your hands warm

Not only will this clever device keep your hands warm when you're out in the cold, but it'll also charge your phone. It has three heat settings — but when your hands are fine, it can charge your phone with a USB port. It comes with a matching pouch, a charging cord, and a lanyard.

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