There are many ways to appear to have hero-level skills. While lots of fictional supers experience some sort of origin event — a scientific experiment gone wrong (or right), parents who were gods, a freak accident, or some mix of the above — that imbues them with supernatural skills, many of us are using gear to attain extra abilities. And this latter form of prowess is attainable to everyone who takes the trouble to acquire the gear. In the future, you will probably be able to go out and get fitted with some fiction-worthy skills. But right now, you can pick up items — on Amazon! — that will give you skills enough to make you feel as if you have powers that exceed your human ones — even if you don't have the super-human body parts to go with. Many of these tools aren't expensive. They are clever, though. And that's the trick. I put on my cape and went shopping. And you know what I found? 44 products so genius, you'll feel like you have super powers.
When someone can't light their grill or cigarette, do you shrug helplessly or whip out your plasma arc lighter? And imagine you are driving and come upon an accident. Do you cower in your car and take notes like Clark Kent or do you leap to the scene armed with a hammer designed to free people trapped in cars? See? It's all in the gear.
1. This package of 50 magic sponge erasers that almost clean anything
How do you clean crayon marks off the wall, remove crud from the shower, or get that water stain off the paint? A melamine sponge gets almost everything off with minimal effort. But those are often so expensive, ordinary people save them for only the worst messes. These Magic Sponge erasers are so affordable, though, I plan to make this super effective method part of my everyday routine. Why not? There are 50 of them in this package.
2. An easy-to-inflate couch you can take camping or into the water
Take this inflatable couch with you to the pool, the beach, camping, or to a music festival. While everyone else crouches in the dust, you'll be lounging in a comfy couch. Inflate it by holding it in a breeze. You can stake it down, put it in the water, use it like a hammock, or set it wherever you want. Uninflated, it's satchel sized and weighs less than two pounds.
3. This switch you turn on and off by clapping
There is someone in your life — you? — who hates to get up to turn the lights off and on. Or maybe the Christmas tree or a lamp has a switch in an awkward place? That sort of manual effort is so last century. Plug it into one of these outlets and clap your hands instead — from the bed, the couch, or as you walk out the door — to turn things on or off. There are two plugs. One responds to two claps, the other to three.
4. These shoe laces you never have to tie
I like shoes I can step into and go. But so many of my best shoes have laces. Fortunately, it's easy to replace those with these Lock Laces to make every lace-up shoe — dress, athletic, whatever — not only easy to get on and off but more comfortable. There's no need to tie the shoes. Just cinch them tight. And since the laces are elastic, the shoe conforms to your foot making for a perfect fit.
5. This egg cooker so you can have eggs wherever there's a microwave
Make a two-egg breakfast in two minutes — and with minimal cleanup — wherever you have a microwave. Just put them in this bowl, close the lid, and cook. Keep one at work and you'll never be without lunch. Or get fancy and create single-order frittatas and omelets. It requires no oil or butter either.
6. These blue-light-blocking glasses to help improve sleep
Having trouble sleeping? It might be because you spend your days and evenings looking at a computer screen. Your brain responds to the blue light emitted by screens as it does to bright daylight: as a stimulant that's telling your brain its daytime. These blue-light filtering glasses filter out most of those blue rays, though, so you can look at a screen without harm. They are also cute and super affordable.
7. A key holder that looks like a cloud
This cute little cloud is a powerful magnet that's a great place to keep keys or tools because the magnets hold them, as if by magic. Mount it to the wall using the adhesive backing and give yourself a whimsical piece that'll also help you keep track of your keys. Or, use it for small kitchen tools, paper clips, and other metal items that get lost easily.
8. This key finder that locates everything you lose
Always losing your keys? Put one of these colored tags on your key ring. When you lose them, hit the color-coded button on the remote and your keys will sound an alarm. It works for everything you might lose: pets, wallet, bag, shoes, or phone. Just put a tag on whatever it is and use the included sticker to label the corresponding button on the remote.
9. The hammer that keeps you from getting trapped in your car
This is a tool designed so that first responders have a fast and reliable way to get someone out of a car in an emergency. But it is affordable enough that you can keep one in our own car in case you or others you want to rescue are trapped. There are two hard tungsten strikers — one flat, one spiked — on each end of the hammer side and a seat belt cutter in the handle. This is a two pack so you can give one to a friend. Plus, they glow in the dark.
10. A pen that records every word while you write
Don't trust yourself to take accurate notes? This pen has your back. Just click the button in the cap and it starts recording. Hit it again to stop. It saves 200 hours of audio on a MicroSD card, which means you won't miss a word. There is a voice-activated recording mode so you don't capture dead air and a light that indicates it's recording. Also? It looks like a pen because it is a pen.
11. This bedside lamp that glows in millions of colors
It's 2020. You can have a bedside lamp that does much more than turn on and off. This smart lamp lets you choose the color and brightness it emits from 16 million color options. You can use the phone app to choose the color you want or connect the lamp to your Amazon Echo or Google Home and ask for the color or brightness you prefer.
12. These rapid-charge plugs so you don't have to wait
Charging your phone is a necessary act you might even repeat several times daily. Why not make it easier by having plenty of rapid-charge plugs available? One near the desk, bedside table, and couch? This is a set of two adaptive fast-charging plugs like the one that came with your high-end smart phone. There's no need to wait hours for a full charge. It charges 75% faster than a standard plug.
13. A high-speed, high-capacity battery charger that fits in a pocket
If you plan to be out and about for any length of time, you probably don't want your devices to putter out. This 10,000mAh battery charger from Anker is a slick, modern backup battery that delivers a fast charge using PowerIQ and VoltageBoost. And it stores enough power to do it over and over again. It will charge an iPhone three times. Yet it's smaller than a deck of cards.
14. This plasma arc lighter that never needs butane
Here's a lighter that will never run out of fuel. It uses an electric charge — a plasma arc — to light candles, the grill, the fireplace, or whatever else it is you need to light. It won't blow out in a high wind so it's great for camping. It charges via USB and there's an indicator light that says when it needs a charge. Plasma arc? Gooseneck? All those color choices? Coolest lighter ever.
15. An insect-repelling wristband that lasts for two weeks
There's no need to keep applying insect repellent if you are headed out into the wilds. Just install a 15-day pellet into this wrist (or arm) band and wear it when you go out. It's packed with natural essential oils and other non-DEET repellents to create a bug-unfriendly atmosphere around you. The wristband comes with two pellets.
16. This pest repeller that uses sound to chase bugs and rodents away
Cockroaches, ants, mosquitoes, even mice hate the ultrasonic sound emitted by these plug-in pest repellers. And they are so easy to use — just plug them in all over the house. (There are four.) You won't be able to hear them — and neither will your pets but the vermin will pack up and leave. There are no poisons, toxic chemicals, or hassles.
17. These straps that support an injured knee
These bands operate on a simple but effective concept: support the patella tendon, which connects your kneecap to your shin bone. This is often what's injured when runners, cyclists, soccer players, and tennis players experience knee pain. This is a two pack, and it comes in four color options.
18. A packable towel that cools you down
Whether overheating is caused by exercise, hot weather, or a fever, the act of pressing a cool towel to a hot brow (or a sore shoulder) has been giving soothing relief to humans for centuries. This bamboo fiber towel takes that idea to new levels of efficiency and portability. Get the cloth wet, wring it out, and snap it. Then the temperature drops and it stays chilled for hours, offering relief the whole time.
19. These color-changing bulbs that connect to your smart home
Once you screw these lightbulbs into your fixtures, your lighting can be controlled by your smart home or a phone app. And that control goes well beyond simply turning them on and off. You can choose the color, brightness, or mood of the light as well. Go from warm, intimate lighting to disco dance party to hospital-bright, just by asking your Amazon Echo, Google Home, or the app. You get four in each pack.
20. An LED light strip you can stick anywhere
Adding cabinet lighting, under-desk lights, porch lighting, a halo around your headboard, or other decorative elements is so easy with this peel-and-stick light strip. Just stick the strip where you want light, connect it to the 24-button remote, and enjoy. You control the colors to get exactly the look you want. There is even a setting that will pulse the lights to your music.
21. This electric food chopper with a powerful engine
A powerful engine, a stainless steel bowl, and titanium-coated blades make for a slick food chopper that is punching way above it's price tag. It can handle meat, vegetables, and fruit in short order to create everything from salsas to burgers from the ingredients you choose. Storage is simple, too. The cord wraps right around the head.
22. A smart power strip that connects to Wi-Fi
Whatever you plug into this smart power strip can be controlled by its own app or by your smart home (Alexa, Google Voice). You could use it to run your entire AV system, the appliances in your kitchen, or the lighting in the bedroom. Each outlet is controlled separately so you're limited only by your own imagination and willingness to create schedules, routines, and scenes.
23. The night light that goes in the toilet
When you get up in the night, where are you usually going? To the toilet, right? So why not put the night light right in there and give yourself something to light the way? This simple, inexpensive, battery-operated toilet light clip right on to the bowl. And you can have fun with the color options — or cycle through all the colors. Who ever said going to toilet at night can't be fun?
24. A shower head that changes color based on water temperature
Once you install this slick, stainless steel, lighted shower head, you can turn the water on and wait for the color you like before you get in since it changes color based on the temperature of the water. You will never scald yourself or step into icy waters again. It's also a terrific shower experience with plenty of water pressure.
25. These garden gloves that have claws
Your cat has claws because claws are good tools. When you have them attached to your hands in the form of these claw gloves, you will tear through garden work like a powerful animal, digging holes for plants, clawing up weeds, and scratching channels for seeds. If you indulge in a bit of animal imaginative play while you have them on, who's to know?
26. These smart plugs that automate anything that plugs in
Whether it's the coffee machine, a floor lamp, or your heater, automating it and voice controlling it starts with these plugs. Plug them in, connect them to your phone, and then to your Echo or Google Home. Then tell them what schedule to put that device on or what routine it's part of. Have all the lights turn off when you say, "I'm going to bed." Make coffee, turn on music, and turn on a heater when you say, "I'm getting up." This set comes with four plugs.
27. These sensors that alert you if a door or window opens
Stick these sensors to a door or window frame, connect them to your Ring alarm system or the Ring app, and get alerts anytime someone opens a door or window. This is terrific security, but it can also help you keep an eye on a child or pet and know when people get home from school or work.
28. These camera lenses that upgrade your phone
There's a beautiful camera in your phone. This set of specialty lenses lets you fully tap its potential by getting up ultra close for macro shots, zooming in on far away objects, and capturing wide-angle landscapes or arty fish eyes. There are four lenses included in this kit, an adapter for attaching them to your phone, and a tripod for getting a shake-free shot. It all packs into a slick carrying case.
29. A handheld vac that specializes in pet hair
You can use this handheld vacuum for anything, of course, but it's especially good on tough pet hair. The rubber nozzle gets ground-in fur right off of fabrics and furniture with plenty of suction. Plus, it's easy to empty and to see when it's full. It's light and portable but plugs in to give it sufficient power and stamina to de-fur all your furniture and bedding.
30. This polish that transforms wood floors and furniture
Wood craves this stuff. When your wooden cabinets appear worn and furniture has water marks and dry areas, feed it the beeswax, carnauba wax, and orange oil that's in this wood polish and conditioner. Wipe it on. Leave it there for a bit. Then wipe it off. It's like a long drink for thirsty wood.
31. These amber night lights you can stick anywhere
Night lights aren't just for kids. They are nice to have in a dark hallway, by the stairs, in the bathroom, or anywhere you go in the dark. If you install enough of these motion-sensitive, stick-on lights in your house, you can walk through it in the dead of night and have your path illuminated without ever turning on harsh lighting. They stay on for only a few seconds so as not to use much battery. Get three in each pack
32. This cream that repairs damaged nails
When your nails split and tear, it can make you feel like your hands are too fragile to use. But the solution is simple. Rub some of this Hard as Hoof cream on them, and they will toughen right up. They'll survive keyboarding, guitar strumming, yard work, and other heroics. This stuff is a mixture of jojoba oil and vitamins that has been popular for decades because it works.
33. A pen brush that cleans diamonds
Are you wearing a diamond ring, earring, or other jewelry? When was the last time you cleaned it? This pen-like brush cleaner delivers a gel solution via a precise brush into the tiny crannies around and behind mounted diamonds and other stones to clean away the debris and body oils that accumulate. It's easy to use. Just wet the brush, twist to load it with gel, brush it liberally on the stone and mount, and rinse.
34. This UV sterilizer wand you can carry anywhere
UVC light is a very effective way to kill viruses and bacteria. It's also dangerous to human eyes and skin, though. So you have to be careful when purchasing a UV light wand. This one has an automatic shut-off trigger that turns it off if it flips over, which makes it harder to zap your eyes, and it has a child lock.
35. A headlight cleaning kit that makes your lights brighter
Dim headlights impede the visibility of your car. You might not notice till your car fails an inspection, but the slow degradation of headlights happens to every car. The environment — light, dust, wind — clouds the plastic coverings on the lights. This kit has everything you need to fix that: A cleaning solution, gloves, microfiber cloth, sanders, and directions.
36. This scratch remover that makes your car look new
A scratch on a black car seriously mars its appearance. But you don't have to spend thousands to a body shop to get rid of that. Apply some of this scratch remover, rub it in, wipe it off, and it will take the scratches — and many other marks and imperfections — with it. This is formulated specially for black and dark-colored cars.
37. A dry shampoo with a refreshing scent
Washing your hair every day isn't a hard and fast rule. For some, washing less frequently is better. But there are times when you want to look — and smell — like you just washed your hair. That's when having dry shampoo on hand comes in handy. This dry shampoo smells like Old Spice and helps with excess oil, bed head, and other hair issues so you don't have to go all-in and shampoo to look and feel clean.
38. This handy cloth that deep cleans your face
Save a fortune on facial products by using this specialized face cloth with fine microfiber fingers that get skin super clean, even without using cleansers. This is a great solution if you are experiencing allergic reactions to cleansing products or just want to add another layer of clean to your routine. One side cleans and the other exfoliates.
39. This stick that controls all the stray hairs
Whip all those stray pieces of hair into line by waving this finishing wand over them. The formula is packed with natural ingredients that are nourishing for your hair and that make short, wild pieces stay put. Those flyways? That piece that always stick up? Just brush them down and get on with your life.
40. A shoe cleaning kit that's much cheaper than new shoes
If your sneakers went with you on too many gnarly experiences, you might think it's time to replace them. But this shoe cleaner will have them looking new again in minutes. You get enough shoe cleaning solution in the bottle to restore your shoes dozens of times — and a scrub brush to really make it shine. Just apply a few drops to the brush, wet it, and scrub. When they dry, it'll be like your shoes are brand new.
41. These scrapers that get all the crud off your pans
These pan scrapers make fast work of cleaning up. Instead of soaking or scrubbing pans, just scrape off the cooked-on bits. There are four here, each with a variety of shapes to get into the corners of your pans. They are plastic so they won't hurt the finish, and they are sized right to fit in your hand.
42. A reusable razor that prevents bumps and ingrown hairs
If using a disposable or multi-blade razor leaves you with bumps and ingrown hairs, this heavy-duty safety razor might very well be the solution. It's solid and heavy with a carefully engineered blade mount that gives you a clean, close shave without nicking you. It takes some getting used to but people who took the trouble love the results, and have given it a 4.5-star rating.
43. This goo that gets the nooks, crannies, and details clean
Instead of moving dust and small debris around with a rag or duster, this cleaning gel grabs it and removes it. It's soft enough to squish right into small crevices — like between the keys on your keyboard — and tacky enough to grab and hold the dirt it finds there. But it won't stick to your hands or leave residue, and it smells like lemons. You even get multiple uses out of each one.
44. These tools that get hairbrushes clean in seconds
If you have brushes — for your hair, the pets, or anything else — you need these tools to get them clean. These two differently shaped rakes are perfect for whatever brush you want to clean. The tines get in between the bristles and pull out all the hair, dust, and dirt that's lurking there. Reviewers are amazed by how much dirt was hiding in their hairbrushes. "These really work! Our brushes look like new. I was able to get all of the fuzz out of the brushes," one customer raved.