The best Amazon products that’ll make your life easier


Sometimes Amazon can feel a little like the Wild West when it comes to shopping for new products — whether you’re looking to buy something to solve a problem around your home or an item that you’re hoping will make your life easier or better in some capacity. With a seemingly endless array of options and sometimes inconsistent reviews, it can often all be one big guessing game.

So that’s why we’ve pulled together some of our staff’s favorite useful things on Amazon, many of which are small but have provided us with big results in various ways. Bonus: They’re all under $50 (and start at just $5).

Amazon

TubShroom Ultra Edition

The rubbery version of the TubShroom is famous, but I actually recommend springing for the stainless steel TubShroom Ultra Edition. Like its more ubiquitous counterpart, this TubShroom works wonders at catching hair and preventing clogs, but in my opinion, it’s far superior when it comes to cleanup.

The regular TubShroom is a bit of a challenge to sanitize; lint, hair and sometimes mildew tend to get caught in the holes, so you really have to scrub. Not so with the Ultra Edition. I’ve found that debris really doesn’t stick to it, making it even easier (and less gross) to rinse off for a dollar or two more. — Chelsea Stone, commerce editor

Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel

Amazon

Goshi Exfoliating Shower Towel

The second I used this exfoliating shower towel, I knew I’d never go back to a loofah ever again. The specific material and thread pattern allows it to lather up soap like a loofah, but still give you a thorough, exfoliating clean. At first it feels a bit rough, but in the best way possible. The Goshi has really changed the way I’ve showered and I don’t plan on giving it up any time soon. — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Rapid Slicer

Amazon

Rapid Slicer

I love cherry tomatoes probably a weird amount — a salad just isn’t complete without them! But what I do not love is slicing them all individually so they’re easier to stab with your fork. Now, thanks to this handy kitchen gadget, I’m saving tons of time and energy previously spent slicing. Simply sandwich your tomatoes (or grapes, or olives, or other small round food) between the two pieces, and run your knife through the space to batch slice in a flash. — Chelsea Stone, commerce editor

Amazon

This stuff is, in a word, miraculous. Ever moved into a new place only to find that the previous residents loved placing stickers on various surfaces (like, for instance, on the mirror of a bathroom that was the designated toddlers’ bathroom, in my case)? Goo Gone to the rescue! This product is incredible at quickly removing all types of residue left behind by not only stickers and tape but also chewing gum, wax and more without damaging surfaces. You won’t regret having this on hand for various uses around the home. — Emmy Favilla, deputy editor

Amazon

Slice Ceramic Blade Safety Cutter

Since buying this simple, handy little tool, I haven’t opened a package with anything else. It has a tiny little blade that precisely and easily cuts through boxes and packaging tape but is safe to the touch, so no more scissor or knife accidents. It also has a built-in magnet, making it easy to find and grab from my fridge as I rush to open my latest 3 a.m. impulse buy, and it works great for crafting projects as a safer, budget X-Acto knife alternative. — Daniel Toy, copy editor

Blink Mini Security Camera

Michael Andronico/CNN

Blink Mini Security Camera

The Blink Mini camera was an impulse buy for me this past Prime Day, and I still use it constantly. This tiny security camera makes it really easy to keep tabs on my dog from afar, which is especially handy now that I’m out and about more. It’s pretty cheap to begin with at $34.99, and goes on sale often — definitely keep an eye out for a Black Friday deal. — Michael Andronico, senior tech writer

 Stojo Collapsible Bottle

Amazon

Stojo Collapsible Bottle

I love staying hydrated on-the-go, but my holy grail water bottle — the 40oz Hydro Flask — is just far too big and bulky to fit in any of my “errand” bags. Also, my 2021 resolution was (and is!) to stop buying single-use water bottles, so the Stojo water bottle, which is made from recyclable materials, is the perfect alternative. It’s a super sleek design and it’s leak-proof, so I never have to worry about accidental spills. The bottle is also collapsable, so when I’m done chugging my H20, I can easily collapse it and stow it away, or even attach the little handle to my bag strap to create more space. — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Amazon

PureAction Vitamin C Filter Showerhead

This showerhead has changed my life incredibly. To give some context: The bathroom is one of my sanctuaries, and it’s important for me to be able to enjoy my daily self-care rituals! I suffer from really bad eczema breakouts due to pollen and harsh city water that can leave my skin feeling really dry and itchy when my skin is vulnerable. I’ve tried using other filters, but they’ve never worked for long, and the water pressure would eventually be reduced to a trickle. That is, until I discovered this Vitamin C filter. OMG! I noticed an immediate difference in water quality; it was much softer, and the chemical/chlorine smell that I get from city water was no longer present. Most importantly, my irritated skin didn’t itch or feel dry after showering. The shower filter also comes with replacement filters and vitamin C blocks so you can rest assured that you have enough for a minimum of four months. (I, of course, bought extra because I don’t think I can live without this product anymore.) It has restored the joy in my daily self-care rituals! — Natasha Hatendi, photo editor

Hayley Saltzman/CNN

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

I’ve been using Weleda Skin Food ever since a coworker recommended it for dry winter skin about three years ago. I love pretty much everything about it — the scent is light and refreshing, and the cream itself feels luxurious and expensive without actually costing a ton of money. I use it as hand cream before bed each night, and I even use it on my face in the winter. — Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Amazon

Anker Powerline II 6-Foot Lightning Cable

Yes, I love that Apple still includes a Lightning cable in the box, but it’s kind of short. And for $12.99 you can score this super durable and long Lightning to USB-A cable from Anker. You get your pick of some fun colors, and it’s perfect for charging in bed, cable-managing a desk and countless other situations. — Jacob Krol, tech and electronics editor

Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 Power Bank

Amazon

Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 Power Bank

My phone is seemingly always at less than 20% and on low power mode, so having a portable charger from Anker is a blessing. I use it all the time whether I’m in the car, camping, or just too lazy to get up from the couch when there’s no convenient outlet. — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Smiley Spoon

Amazon

Smiley Spoon

Grossy Pelosi is one of my favorite food bloggers—his upbeat energy and beautiful food photos make him one of my favorite Instagram follows. I was heavily influenced to buy these smiley spoons after following him for a few months, and they’re one of the best purchases! They make me so happy, plus, they’re just really useful quality wooden cooking spoons. I love a practical item with a slightly fun/positive twist. Can’t go wrong. — Hayley Saltzman, head of social media

Katchy Indoor Insect Trap

Amazon

Katchy Indoor Insect Trap

This insect trap that I found on Amazon was a game changer over the summer, when my apartment was suddenly infested with fruit flies. (Gross, I know.) But I needed a way to safely yet efficiently get rid of them ASAP and this was my under-$50 solution! All I needed to do was plug it in and let the device go to work for me; the UV light attracts the bug to the trap, and the fan — which makes zero noise — sucks it in and traps it on the sticky pad…for good. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use my Katchy since, but I feel confident I’m armed and prepared for the next (and very unfortunate) time pesky fruit flies decide to attack. — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Amazon

Esarora Ice Roller

Perhaps you’ve heard all the buzz about this ice roller that Amazon customers can’t get enough of. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s worth every penny. I keep this little guy in my freezer and pop it out when I have a headache or when I’m feeling tired and need a quick energy boost. You can also use it for minor aches on your body or for applying a face mask. Bonus: It’s great to have on hand when you’re nursing a hangover and want some help depuffing your skin. — Emmy Favilla, deputy editor

Bedsure Satin Pillowcase for Hair and Skin, 2-Pack ($9.99; amazon.com)

Amazon

Bedsure Satin Pillowcase for Hair and Skin, 2-Pack

I’ve taken this time of chaos to make sure I spoil myself as much as humanly (and financially) possible. That has meant upgrading my bed, where I honestly spend more time than ever before, in a very serious way. I’ve wanted silk-like pillowcases for a while, and these extremely cheap ones are everything I’ve been looking for. They feel like pure luxury, and yet a set of two is less than $10. Can’t get much better than that. — Rachel Lubitz, lifestyle editor

Amazon

This backpack hamper is an absolute game changer for anyone who has to cart their dirty laundry up or down stairs or to a laundromat. Its built-in backpack straps free your hands so you can easily open doors, and its drawstring closure ensures that nothing will fall out while you walk with it. My favorite feature (aside from the fact that it makes lugging my clothes around so much easier) is the front pocket that’s perfect for holding detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, quarters or basically anything else you’ll need to do your laundry. This thing has definitely made my least favorite chore a little more bearable. — Daniel Toy, copy editor

St. Tropez Double-Sided Luxe Velvet Applicator Mitt

Amazon

St. Tropez Double-Sided Luxe Velvet Applicator Mitt

I legitimately cannot believe I ever used to use my bare hands to apply my self-tanner. (Big yikes!) But alas, I discovered this $7.50, Prime-eligible mitt when I bought my first bottle of St. Tropez Self-Tanning Mousse on Amazon. Not only does this super soft mitt — which comes in the brand’s signature shade of blue — help to blend the formula into my skin and ensure a flawless finish, but it prevents my hands from becoming super streaky and orange! (*Insert praise emoji*)  — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Tooletries The Henry Essentials Holder

Amazon

Tooletries The Henry Essentials Holder

If you’re running low on bathroom storage, slap this silicone accessories holder right onto your mirror or wall. I use mine in the shower to hold my razor and hair comb, but it also makes a great toothbrush holder that won’t take up precious counter space. — Chelsea Stone, commerce editor

Aerolatte Milk Frother ($19.99; amazon.com)

Amazon

Aerolatte Milk Frother

When trying to re-create your favorite frothy latte at home, you can certainly opt for an ultra expensive espresso machine. But for the budget-conscious, the Aerolatte Milk Frother creates creamy, dream-worthy lattes. No steam, no learning curve. Just heat up some milk, pop this bad boy in the cup for a few seconds, add a shot of espresso and you’ve got yourself a caffeine jolt you’d swear you overpaid for at your local coffee shop. — Scott Simone, deputy editor

The Battery Organizer

Amazon

The Battery Organizer

Do you find yourself scouring the bottom of your junk drawer for loose batteries when your electronics are running low on juice? Just me? Either way, you need a battery organizer. This one holds batteries of all different sizes and prevents them from rolling around and getting jumbled up. — Chelsea Stone, commerce editor

Wet Brush Custom Style Round Brush

Amazon

Wet Brush Custom Style Round Brush

Wet brushes are always my go-to after a shower for my long hair. But the round Wet brush has been a real game changer for me. This brush glides through wet hair, detangling like a pro while also helping you style your blow out. For under $12, you can pick up a round Wet brush that’ll give you a smooth, salon-quality blow out at home, seriously. — Rosanne Salvatore, deputy editor

Qimh Collapsible Colander ($12.99; amazon.com)

Qimh Collapsible Colander

Amazon

Qimh Collapsible Colander

When I read about this little kitchen gadget, I immediately snatched it up. Not only is it incredibly affordable, it makes draining pasta and washing vegetables a lot easier because the handles adjust to the size of your sink. No more having your colander touch the dirty bottom of your sink, and if you’re feeling lazy, you don’t have to wash the dishes in your sink to use it. Best part is that when you’re all done with it, it collapses, making it space-efficient. — Kristin Magaldi, associate editor

Amazon

Magnetic Dry Erase Whiteboard Sheet for Kitchen Fridge

Keeping my family’s grocery shopping and meal plan organized while working from home with two young boys has been one of my biggest challenges — until I got this magnetic whiteboard. Now I plan the week’s menu over the weekend and write it on the board, including snacks, so that everyone knows what we’re having which day (including myself!). I use the bottom to jot down things we need to buy with the next batch of groceries as well. This has saved my sanity more than anything else I’ve bought during the pandemic. — Dana Holmes, writer

Redecker Stiff Bristle Dish Brush

Amazon

Redecker Stiff Bristle Dish Brush

When I started trying to cut back on single-use plastic waste, one of the first things I bought was this wooden dish brush. Sponges release microplastics into the water, and I’ve always just thought they’re generally gross so this brush was a no-brainer. The firm bristles do a great job cleaning tough messes and the long handle allows you to keep at least one of your hands clean and out of the dirty sink. Plus, the brush heads are replaceable, and all of the components can be either recycled or composted at the end of its life.  — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Amazon

Acko Folding Step Stool

This step stool has been a lifesaver in my apartment. My roommate and I are both between 5’1” and 5’2”, so reaching higher shelves in our home can be a task. It’s foldable, easy to store and gives us the right amount of leverage to get to hard-to-reach places. — Sarai Thompson, editorial coordinator

Amazon

PetPawJoy Cat Bed

My recent “treat yourself” attitude has also extended to my cat, who I am with now more than anyone else. This window bed has become her favorite thing, and I feel like it brings joy to anyone who passes by my window too. — Rachel Lubitz, lifestyle editor

Amazon

As much as we make an effort to use reusable bags for everyday errands, most households still wind up with their fair share of plastic bags. If you’re looking to store your stash in a more organized and elegant way than simply placing them into another plastic bag under your kitchen sink — or stuffing a drawer with them — you need this dispenser. I hang it just above my cats’ litter boxes, so it’s easy to grab one when I need to clean them out. The design is minimalist and chic, and it fits up to 30 grocery-sized bags. — Emmy Favilla, deputy editor

Pilpoc theFube Fidget Cube

Amazon

Pilpoc theFube Fidget Cube

I personally love my fidget cube – I have a lot of fidgety energy and have found this to be my favorite way to get it out under my desk when I’m in meetings, especially since working remotely. — Simone Nili, product director of commerce

LiBa Back and Neck Massager ($21.99, originally $29.99; amazon.com)

LiBa Back and Neck Massager

Amazon

LiBa Back and Neck Massager

I truly don’t know how I endured my regular shoulder stress spasms before this magical, massaging miracle device entered my life. The results from a few minutes of use are far more impressive than its basic design may lead you to believe. While I primarily make use of it for ongoing discomfort in the back of my shoulder, its ergonomic shape and pressure-point design make it useful for any difficult-to-reach knot or area of discomfort around your body. I’ve already gifted five of these to family and friends, and I’m not about to stop anytime soon! — Hayley Kinne, associate manager of business development

Amazon

Vahdam Classic Tea Infuser

I love loose-leaf tea, and I have an extensive collection of cute tea infusers because of it — but this infuser is the only one that really, really works! It doesn’t let leaves fall out and into my tea. It isn’t so small that the water can’t circulate through the leaves naturally while steeping, and it’s easy to dump out into the garbage can and then toss into the dishwasher. — Dana Holmes, writer

West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy

Amazon

West Paw Zogoflex Qwizl Dog Puzzle Treat Toy

My partner and I both work from home, but we still feel bad for our dog who gets bored when we’re working for hours on end. That’s why we’ve been buying a lot of enrichment toys for her, and her favorite by far is this puzzle treat toy from West Paw. We stuff random treats or a bully stick inside and within minutes she’s throwing it around trying to get the snacks out. And the good thing is that it’s actually hard to get the treats out so she ends up entertaining herself for hours on end.  — Kai Burkhardt, associate editor

Amazon

I’ve always lived in small city apartments with very limited storage space, so finding a utensil holder that fit perfectly inside my narrow drawers was a struggle — until I found this product on Amazon. Not only does it fit plenty of silverware, it’s made with very durable, high-quality materials and is also super affordable. Plus, there are rubber stickers on the bottom to help it keep from sliding. — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Amazon

Joyora Scrunchie Holder

Ever since the ‘90s came back in style, scrunchies have littered nearly every surface in my home; loose scrunchies have been spotted floating in random drawers, among my cat’s toys and atop nightstands and bathroom counters. But now that I have this Joyora Scrunchie Holder, my collection is all in one place and on full display. The holder, which is skinny enough not to stretch out your scrunchies, is made from clear acrylic, so it looks subtle on my dresser when it’s not sporting a full scrunchie stack. Plus, its vertical design saves space. — Chelsea Stone, commerce editor

C by GE Full Color LED Strip Lights

Amazon

C by GE Full Color LED Strip Lights

My small kitchen only comes with one overhead light and isn’t near any of the natural light in my apartment so as you can probably imagine, it’s super dark during all hours of the day. But ever since I purchased these LED strip lights for $24.99 on Amazon, the space has completely transformed. My kitchen is so much brighter, and they even make cooking and cleaning up much easier since I can actually see what I’m doing and what spots I’ve missed. I can’t believe I ever lived without these! — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream ($6.78, originally $7.99; amazon.com)

Amazon

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream, 2-Pack

I’ve had extremely dry skin on my hands for pretty much my entire life. In the wintertime, against the harsh New York wind and cold weather, my hands often crack and get really painful. Even in the summertime I slather on hand lotion daily to keep them hydrated. So when I spotted the thousands of rave reviews for this lotion that has garnered a bit of a cult following, I was intrigued (I recommend looking at the customer before-and-after pictures — you will be too!).

It turns out the hype is real. This stuff WORKS, and you only need a small amount to moisturize sufficiently. I use it all year long, and I especially won’t leave home without it once the temperatures dip. It’s also available in a tube if that’s more your jam, plus I’ve heard great things about the foot cream as well. — Emmy Favilla, deputy editor

Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty with Real Grass

Amazon

Fresh Patch Disposable Dog Potty with Real Grass

I found Amazon’s Fresh Patch when I was looking for alternatives to the pee pad; I live in an apartment with access to a private patio, so going to the bathroom indoors was not an option for my puppy. Plus, I truthfully didn’t want to deal with lingering smells or ongoing accidents. This small patch of grass truly made training our three-month old dog a breeze. He now knows where to go to the bathroom and the sod pad soaks up liquids and odors so even our outdoor space stays clean and smelling nice. It’s easily disposable and my partner and I signed up for a subscription, so each month we receive a new, fresh patch, too. All pet parents NEED this!  — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Bencmate Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs and Cats ($14.98; amazon.com)

Bencmate Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs and Cats

Amazon

Bencmate Protective Inflatable Collar for Dogs and Cats

My 10 month-old dog Teddy got neutered a couple months ago, and I admittedly could not have survived the two week recovery process without this inflatable collar, which I purchased on Amazon for just under $15. The soft material was MUCH more comfortable than the sharp-edged cone given to us by his vet, and also allowed him to move much more freely while still not being able to reach his wound. The collar also came with small holes to make putting on Teddy’s collar easy and accessible. And in the case that I need to use this thing again in the future, I love that I can easily deflate it and store it flat for safekeeping without taking up too much space.  — Stephanie Griffin, social media strategist

Sumaju 2 in 1 Candle Dipper and Trimmer Set ($11.99; amazon.com)

Sumaju 2 in 1 Candle Dipper and Trimmer Set

Amazon

Sumaju 2 in 1 Candle Dipper and Trimmer Set

In order to take proper care of your candles (avoid tunneling, black smoke around the rim, etc.) you should be using both a wick dipper and a trimmer. This set will help you keep your candles in perfect shape, and you’ll never have to deal with that annoying black smoke ever again. — Hayley Saltzman, head of social media

Elago W3 Stand for Apple Watch (starting at $11.99; amazon.com)

Amazon

Elago W3 Stand for Apple Watch

I love nightstand mode on the Apple Watch, and even with sleep tracking coming this fall, I still love a good stand for it. This Elago W3 stand looks like the original Macintosh computer, and the Apple Watch makes for a perfect screen. It’s a durable rubber material and weighted quite nicely, and the Apple Watch fits in snugly. — Jacob Krol, tech and electronics editor

Amazon

Giotto Water Bottle

This 32-ounce leakproof water bottle has been a game changer in terms of keeping me hydrated throughout the workday. With this giant bottle on my desk, I drink significantly more water than when I was just filling a cup each morning and becoming too lazy halfway through the day to refill it. It also has a pop-up straw with a cover, which feels more hygienic than some of the other water bottles I’ve tried. — Hayley Saltzman, head of social

Cleancult Liquid Hand Soap Refill, 3-Pack ($21.95; amazon.com)

Amazon

Cleancult Liquid Hand Soap Refill, 3-Pack

We have been going through a lot of hand soap — like, a LOT. I didn’t want to be wasteful by buying a new pump every time one was empty, and when I spotted Cleancult, I loved its recyclable paper packaging and clean ingredient list. I have been using the lavender scent to refill my soap pumps (using a funnel) for the last couple of months and am very happy. — Dana Holmes, writer

Snark Instrument Tuner

Michael Andronico/CNN

Snark Instrument Tuner

As a guitarist, I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without one of these. Snark’s clip-on tuner snaps right to the head of your guitar, bass or violin and uses vibrations to help you tune up, which is a far quicker and simpler solution to the plug-in tuner I had been using for years. Now that I find myself performing and recording music more often, this little gadget has been absolutely crucial when it comes to keeping me in tune with minimal hassle. My specific model is unfortunately hard to find at the moment, but this popular SN-8 Super Tight variation is currently available for super cheap. — Michael Andronico, senior tech writer

Cocofloss Dental Floss, 3-Pack

Amazon

Cocofloss Dental Floss, 3-Pack

If you’ve never used this floss before, you should know that it’s just better than any other dental floss you’ve ever used. The fun colors and packaging make flossing less boring, and the exotic flavors make it feel even a little bit luxurious. I feel like this floss gets my teeth cleaner and I’ve noticed that it doesn’t seem to shred the way some other brands might. — Hayley Saltzman, head of social media

Upsimples 8.5 x 11 Picture Frame Set

Michael Andronico/CNN

Upsimples 8.5 x 11 Picture Frame Set

I’ve been collecting a lot of art over the past year or so, and have ordered a bunch of these cheap picture frame sets so that I can proudly display my geeky prints on my wall. They feel very sturdy for the price, and I especially love the rotating paddles in the back that make it easy to remove the back panel and swap new art in.  — Michael Andronico, senior tech writer





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