48 wildly useful gadgets under $30 you'll regret not buying sooner

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by Christina X. Wood
Originally Published: 

From the second you get up in the morning to the moment you slip into dreamland, you perform hundreds of tasks. From making coffee to preparing food (and everything in between), you use certain tools to get everything done — and to be honest, you probably don't think much about them. Still, most of those small tasks could be even easier if you use the right products for each job. That's where this list of wildly useful gadgets on Amazon comes into play.

I mean, life can be irritating enough without being frustrated by the avocado you're having trouble slicing or the reusable straw you're trying to thoroughly clean. But thanks to products like this avocado slicer and these silicone straws that split down the middle for easy washes in between uses, those tasks are so much smoother to navigate. There are more gadgets where those come from, too — like water bottle filters, magnetic grill lights, color-changing smart bulbs, and more.

You know what's cool about these kinds of things? They're usually cheap, and the products I've rounded up here are all under $30. Whether you buy one or a ton, I'm sure you'll get a lot of use out of them.

1. This tool that lets you see into your ears while cleaning them

Instead of jamming cotton swabs into your ears while trying to clean them, you can get this tool that lets you see exactly what you're doing. A tiny otoscope and six LED lights give you a high-definition view into your ear canal while you use one of the four soft silicone ear wax removal tools to help remove obstructions caused by wax buildup.

2. A camera that helps you see when reversing the car

With this rearview backup camera, you’ll have a better view of what’s behind you when reversing your car. The water-resistant camera installs above the license plate and connects to the monitor in your car (or you can buy one separately). The camera features an adjustable lens for the best viewing angle, and it even has LED lights for added safety when driving at night.

3. The laptop stand with built-in fans that help cool your machine

A laptop that gets hot while you work is uncomfortable to be near, but it's even more detrimental to your tech. Set it onto this cooling laptop pad and let its internal fans pull that heat through the mesh surface and away from your expensive processor. The angle is adjustable for your viewing comfort, and the pad is also light enough to carry with you.

4. A power strip cube with built-in USB ports for easy charging

With three USB ports and three standard outlets, this is such a versatile power strip that you can use as a charging station on your desk, on a bedside table, as an extension cord, or for travel. The cube shape is compact and cute, the cord is 5 feet long (there is also an 8-foot version). It even comes with an adhesive strip so you can secure it to a surface.

5. This no-contact thermometer with an easy-to-read screen

This touchless thermometer is an easy way to monitor your own temperature or the body temperature of others. Just aim it at a warm body — or an object, because there's an object mode — from a few inches away, and it'll give a near-instant, color-coded temperature reading on its digital screen.

6. A set of reusable straws that are really easy to wash

For everyone who fears what might be growing inside of that reusable straw, here is an eight-pack of silicone straws that snap apart so that you can see inside them to thoroughly clean them (or confirm that they are clean). They're soft on your teeth, too.

7. These rubber-covered twist ties that organize small items

These colorful, reusable twist ties are easy ways to keep headphones, charging cables, and other cords from tangling. They're rubber-covered, so they're easy to twist or wrap around cords. They're also durable enough to use outdoors — even in water. This is a four-pack of the 3-inch size, but they are also available in larger sizes.

8. This thumb knife that turns your hand into a sharp tool

If you're working in the kitchen or garden while cutting, harvesting, or pruning, these two thumb knives can turn your hand into the tools you need. To use them, simply wear one of the hard plastic knives over your thumb with the safety sleeve over your index finger.

9. An easy-to-install car cell phone holder

Installing this car cell phone holder couldn’t be easier — just place it on the dashboard and you’re good to go. The silicone base has five adhesive spots on the bottom to help it stay in place while you drive, and the holder is adjustable to fit various devices. Plus, this phone holder has earned high praise from reviewers, who write it stays put even on bumpy roads.

10. A plastic Brita bottle that filters every sip of water you take

Can your current water bottle filter whatever tap water you encounter into something tasty and clean? Well, this 26-ounce Brita bottle can. The filter sits inside the straw that's hiding under a spill-proof flip-top; that way, you can fill it from a water fountain or sink and keep sipping delicious water all day.

11. A beverage cooler that chills hot coffee in seconds

When you want to chill your coffee and other drinks in a hurry, this highly rated beverage cooler can help. Just add water to the cooler and keep it in the freezer — then, you can pour hot coffee directly into the cooler to get it cold in about 60 seconds.

12. A pair of backup batteries so you always have a charge

This pair of battery backups will keep your phone going through even your longest days since each one packs enough power to charge an iPhone almost four times (depending on the phone you have). These are sized to ride alongside your phone and have plugs — USB-C, USB, and micro USB — for your portable devices.

13. An electric grinder so your coffee is always fresh

If you ask me, coffee is so much better when you grind the beans immediately before brewing rather than buying the beans that were already ground. The same is true of many spices. All you need to enjoy this life upgrade is this simple, inexpensive grinder. Just put the beans or spices in and press the button in the handle to spin the sharp blades and unlock the fresh flavor and aromas.

14. These flexible cutting boards to simplify food prep

You’re about to wonder where these clever cutting boards have been all your life. Each cutting board has a food icon in the corner so that you can keep track of what it has been used for — which means you won’t end up prepping veggies on a board you used with raw meat. The five boards range in size to suit different food prep tasks, but they all fold so that you can easily funnel ingredients into pots and pans as you go.

15. These two magnetic grill lights for cooking after dark

These two grill lights are your night-grilling savior. The magnetic base clips to the grill lid (or any ferrous metal surface), the gooseneck lets you aim the light where you want it, and the bright LED bulbs throw a wide beam. Working on the car? Grab these off the grill so you can see what you're doing.

16. A glass desktop pad where you can jot notes near the computer

A desk accessory that organizes both your office supplies and your brain? Yes, please! This glass-topped organizer is designed to sit between your keyboard and monitor (aka prime desk real estate). It has a couple of drawers, a pen tray, and a bulletin board where you can jot reminders, phone numbers, and other notes by using the four included erasable markers.

17. These silicone pan holders and scrapers for your kitchen essentials

I'm sure your pans want these silicone accessories, and your hands probably do too. Instead of repeatedly searching for a hot mitt to pick up a warm pan, slide one of these covers over the handle for a smarter and less frustrating cooking experience. The four pan scrapers are gentle on the surface of your pans but super effective at getting cooked-on food off of them easily.

18. These drain accessories that can help fix up your bathroom

This pair of bathroom accessories are everything your tub and shower need to function flawlessly. The hair catcher goes into the drain to trap it before a clog occurs, and the stopper will fit just about every drain size so you can fill the tub or sink without leaks. Not to mention, they're both sleek and solidly built.

19. This tool that makes slicing your avocado so much easier

Maybe you think your avocado-slicing technique is beyond reproach. But hear me out: This tool is genius. Use the knife end to open the avocado skin, the pit grabber to pull out the seed, and the slicer to simultaneously remove and slice the fruit. Sure, you can do all that with a knife — but it won't be this easy and the results won't be as perfect.

20. A dish-draining rack that rolls up for easy storage

If you'd rather not give your counter space to a dish-drying rack, then this roll-up solution is the cure. Unroll it over half your sink and let the dishes drain back into the basin. It's also a brilliant place to wash vegetables, set a pan while you fill it, and — since it can withstand high temperatures — set a hot pan on.

21. These resistance bands that are like a home gym in a bag

No room for a home gym? This one fits in a drawer. The five color-coded, 48-inch stretchy bands offer a strength training workout with resistances from 2 to 30 pounds. The interchangeable handles also let you use them for a wide variety of exercises, and it all stashes away in the included bag.

22. The callus remover that vacuums residue at the same time

You can run this gentle, effective callus sander over your feet as it removes old, rough skin while vacuuming up the residue. There are two quartz scrub pads — one fine and one rough — so you can dial in the level of sanding that you want to use on your feet.

23. A fabric shaver that can save your old wardrobe & furniture

This little fabric shaver has tons of fans — over 2,000, to be exact. Not only does it hold a long charge while taking lint, fur, and pilling off of various types of fabrics, but it also helps you turn a piece of worn-out clothing into a new-looking outfit.

24. The sun shade that keeps your outdoor space comfortable

Keep your outdoor area comfortable with this sun shade canopy. It’s made from breathable, durable material that blocks 95% of UV rays, and it has sturdy D-rings that you can attach to your outdoor structure. The canopy comes in four colors — sand, cream, graphite, and terra — and 13 sizes.

25. These color-changing light bulbs that are smart enough to talk to

Light switches? You don't need 'em. Just screw one of these bulbs into the socket, connect it to your Amazon Echo or Google Home, and ask the smart system to turn the lights on and off. You can also use your voice or a phone app to change the color of each light, set up schedules for the lighting, and turn the bulbs on and off (even when you're on the other side of town). Can your light switches do that?

26. These silicone mats that help you hold onto hot plates

I bet these silicone mats will be in near-constant use in your kitchen. You can use each one as a hot mitt, a splatter guard, or even a trivet. They're microwave-safe and made of silicone that's resistant to heat. And you'll probably find more uses for these, according to the almost 2,000 people who gave them five stars.

27. A template for the back of your DIY haircut

If you've become a master of the DIY haircut, you may have decided to accept the fact that you can't get a straight line in the back. But this shaving device is here to show you how. Strap it on as it creates a tactile guide so you can feel your way to a straight, tidy line — even when you can't see back there.

28. A futuristic padlock you can open with your fingerprint

I am so tired of buying padlocks because I can't remember the combination of the ones I have. You don't have to remember the combination to this one, though, because it unlocks with your unique fingerprint. A low-draw power feature means the battery should last up to one year, and you can recharge it with any USB charger.

29. This kitchen knife sharpener that can renew your utensils

This clever three-step knife sharpener will help you quickly put a sharp edge on all your kitchen knives. It can straighten and repair damaged blades while bringing them back to like-new sharpness; all you have to do is simply slide them through the clearly labeled slots in order. The first straightens and repairs, the second restores the blade to a "V" shape, and the third hones that shape to a fine edge.

30. A massage ball to help relieve your foot pain

Muscle pain in the feet and hands can be hard to cure because it is so tough to rest those parts of your body. But a massage can help, and this trigger-point massage ball will let you deliver that massage to your hands or feet anytime you need relief. It's a squishy 2-inch ball that has raised bumps with square ends for comfort.

31. This wobble disk that helps builds core strength & balance

If you want, you can add some challenge to your planks by putting two of these inflatable wobble pads under your hands — or you can build core strength during exercise by sitting on one while working out. You can add it to your desk chair for more comfort.

32. A brush that quickly cleans both sides of knives & cutlery

Here's a quick way to clean knives and silverware, and it'll have you wondering why you ever relied on a sponge for the task. Just soap up this clever brush system and run utensils and knives between the inner-facing brushes. It quickly cleans both sides at once, scraping off stuck-on food quickly.

33. This silicone brush that can reach into bottles to clean them out

These silicone bristles don't flatten or collect dirt the way most brushes do, so they make an excellent tool for washing water bottles, stemware, and other hard-to-reach container interiors. The brush is small enough to fit into tiny bottle openings, and it comes with a stick-on hook so you can hang it within reach.

34. A powerful flosser that gets in between your teeth with water

If you clean the crevices between your teeth with this water flosser, you can probably set your string floss aside. The gadget is USB rechargeable and comes with four cleaning tips. Plus, the water chamber is in the handle, which has three modes to choose from: normal, soft, and pulse.

35. A manual food chopper you don't have to plug in

This manual chopper uses a pull-string system to blend food or ice into sauces and beverages (or even quickly chop an onion). Just fill the bowl, put on the lid with the three blades attached, and pull the round handle to spin the blades. Over 2,000 reviewers love it because it's quiet, fun, and effective.

36. These clever bag clips that can help keep your bread fresh

Those little plastic clips that come with bread bags are so frustrating to use that someone felt compelled to invent these cinch clips. Simply spin the bread bag, press the button on the end of the clip, slide the twisted part of the bag into the opening, and let go. Sealed. This is a three-pack that you can reuse eternally.

37. These garlic-peeling tubes that reviewers call a "game changer"

How do you peel garlic? It's probably not as easy as feeding the cloves into one end of this silicone tube, rolling it around on the counter, and spitting them out the other end, is it? Many reviewers — more than 2,500 of them — consider these tubes that miraculously peel garlic a kitchen must-have. One person wrote, "This is a game changer if you use a lot of garlic and hate peeling it."

38. A magnetic cable clip for your crowded desk

This clever cable clip will bring instant order to your daily struggle of locating the charging cable. Just peel and stick the base where you want the cable to stay put and snap the magnetic holder around the cable itself. Then, place it on the magnetic strip. After that, it probably won't slide behind your desk again.

39. These spiral cable protectors to help your chargers last longer

The point where the cable meets the plug on charging cables is under frequent stress, which is probably why that's the spot that starts to fray first. These cable protectors slide on and protect that stress point from all that bending and rubbing so that you don't have to constantly replace expensive charging cables.

40. A shelf & TP holder combo that makes space where there was none

If you always set your phone, tablet, or book down on a potentially wet sink when you are in the bathroom, you should get this shelf installed. It's large enough to hold a tablet, and it has a slightly sloped, anti-drop shape. Since it replaces your toilet roll holder, it doesn't take up any floor space.

41. This silicone toothbrush holder that sticks to your bathroom mirror

The problem of where to put your razor, toothbrush, or toothpaste in the shower is solved brilliantly by this silicone storage holder. It uses only the clinginess of silicone to grip the smooth surfaces in your bathroom, so you can hang it simply by pressing it onto the wall or mirror. You can reposition it as many times as you like, too.

42. The illuminated humidifier that cleans & scents the air around you

This little accessory pulls air in through the bottom, filters it through illuminated water, and releases steam. If you put essential oil in it, it'll also release a scent of your choice through the top. It's an air filter for your immediate breathing area — and since it glows a moody blue, it's also a night and mood light.

43. These exfoliating sisal pouches to hold your bars of soap

Put your soap in one of these four sisal bags to fix almost everything that's problematic about bar soaps. Once bagged, you can hang the soap to dry, and the exterior of the bar of soap will be transformed into an all-natural exfoliant. You can even add a new bar when you get down to the slivers without tossing those tiny bits of leftover soap.

44. These handles to help you easily carry more grocery bags

You can carry lots of grocery bags at once without hurting your hands with the help of this clever bag handle. A big cushy handle gives your hands something comfortable to hold onto while the bags ride along below. Like the hundreds of reviewers who love these, you'll probably wonder how you managed without them for so long.

45. The tech screen cleaner that's easier to use than cloths

These round, sponge-like screen cleaners are fast and fun ways to get your phone, computer, and tablet screens super clean. There's a microfiber surface on one side of each and terrycloth one on the other, along with a strip of plastic for you to grip in between. They can help remove stubborn gunk, fingerprints, and more — and they come with a keychain attachment so you can always have one with you.

46. An affordable 2-in-1 stylus pen

This affordable stylus pen allows for smooth writing and drawing on your tablet or smartphone. The lightweight universal stylus has a comfortable rubber grip and two ends — one with a fiber tip and another with a clear disc that lets you accurately point on the screen. Plus, there are eight colors to choose from, including black, rose gold, and space gray.

47. The mouse tray that clamps onto your desk

Need to save space on your desk? This slide-out tray clamps onto your desk in seconds and creates a convenient spot for your mouse and other work essentials. What’s more, the tray rotates 360 degrees, so it’s easy to adjust for comfort and stores out of the way when not in use.

48. These patches that can help reduce unwanted acne overnight

If you're dealing with unwanted acne, you can easily cover your blemishes with these hydrocolloid patches when you go to bed. The patches work while you sleep to moisten and heal your skin so that when you wake up, that blemishes are gone — or nearly gone.

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