May 31, 2024

Of All The Weird, Wildly Popular Stuff on Amazon, These 50 Things Actually Deserve the Hype

A hidden spice rack and a book safe? Yes, please.

A lot of things on Amazon go viral. If you have ever looked at a dress that everyone says is a “must-have” item and wondered how anyone could fall for that hype, you know that the reasons are not always compelling. Some things become popular only because someone popular got paid to wear them. But that’s not the case with any of these things. Of all the weird, wildly popular stuff on Amazon, these 50 things actually deserve the hype.

If you always sleep through your alarm, it will affect everything from your grades to your career and relationships. But you can rely on CLOCKY to get you up. Clocky makes the kind of ruckus even you can’t sleep through. It leaps off the bedside table and tears around the room, making you get up and chase him to stop the alarm. This little guy saved me,” said one reviewer. “As soon as he hits the floor I'm up.”

These flashlight gloves are the perfect accessory for walking the dog after dark, working on cars or in other hard-to-see areas, or any sport you attack in the wee hours. Press a button on the back of your hand and your thumb and index finger shoot beams of light wherever you point, turning you into a superhero. The glove is adjustable for a perfect fit.

Mount this jar opener under a cabinet and the next time you are faced with a jar that won’t open or that’s too unwieldy to get purchase on, slide the lid into its jaws and turn. You can use both hands to turn the jar while the secured opener holds the lid. You will never be defeated by a jar again.

When the weather turns cold, cuddle into this wearable blanket and you will be warm. The big, oversized hoodie is made from a lightweight micro-fleece. When the lights are out, a luminous constellation of stars — or one of several other patterns — lights up. And the huge front pocket will hold everything you want with you. “It is so soft and cozy that I never want to take this off!!” said more than one reviewer.

No one will suspect that your secret stash is hiding in the The New English Dictionary. Even if pilferers scan your bookshelf, they will skip right over that essential tome. But this is not a dictionary (or a bible or pretty blank book), it’s a safe with combination lock. So, even if someone is lucky enough to find your hiding place, they won’t be able to get it open.

When gnats, mosquitoes, or fruit flies invade your interior, fight back by plugging in this Katchy Duo. This latest version of the popular bug trap is smaller than the original but has a larger UV light and an additional scented trap that bugs can’t resist. Almost 61,000 people give it five stars.

Keep your pup safe, adorable, and easy to find after dark by dressing them in this light-up dog collar. It has three modes: solid, fast blink, and slow blink. Just turn it on when the sun goes down and your pup will be easy for drivers — and you — to see. And it’s rechargeable so you don’t have to stock batteries. There are 10 colors and four sizes.

Be the magician at your next outdoor gathering by tossing a few packs of these magical flames into the firepit. The flames will turn colors, proving that you have all the magic. “Sorcery in a bag,” said one reviewer. “[I] felt like Harry Potter conjuring up some colorful flames.”

When your pet is tired, tuck them into this reversible pet papoose so you can carry them hands-free. There is a security clasp to keep them from jumping out and a pocket so you can also carry your phone, wallet, and keys. Each of the five colors reverses so you can change up the look and it’s roomy enough to carry a pet up to 12 pounds.

Spread your peanut butter and jelly with a platypus or, rather, the Splatypus, and enjoy a bit of whimsy with your snack. The flexible beak reaches all the way into the jar to get every last morsel and then spreads it easily and smoothly on your bread. With no sharp edges, you can trust a child to use it to master the art of the sandwich. “Platypus beak is the BEST jar scraper,” said one reviewer. [And] he is CUTE AS A BUTTON!”

When a gathering needs something capable of entertaining everyone from a child to a beer-swilling adult, this ring toss game is it. It’s simple to learn and requires little explanation but is hard enough to play that people will become obsessed. Adults have no advantage over children. Even the scorekeeping is easy, tactile, and built-in.

Get revenge on whoever told you to stop playing with your food by sipping soup from this mug with a net. Toss the goldfish into your tomato soup from across the room. Lob blueberries into your cereal. Fling marshmallows into your hot chocolate. The net stops you from overshooting and the design encourages play.

Jotting notes with a pen and paper is a pleasant tactile experience and the act of writing can help you remember. This reusable notepad lets you enjoy the feel of pen on paper while taking advantage of the convenience of digitized, searchable notes. Write, snap a photo, and store your thoughts in your favorite cloud destination. The results will be searchable and easy to organize. When you fill the pad, wipe it clean and start over.

Your laptop will last longer and glitch less if it doesn’t overheat. But the more powerful it is, the more heat it emits. This chill mat helps your machine dissipate that heat with two powered fans that pull it away from the sensitive electronics — and your lap. Plug the USB plug into your laptop to keep the fans running. It comes in eight configurations.

When your beard is too wild and wooly for polite company, pull out this beard straightener and show everyone how nicely you clean up. It heats up fast, uses ionic technology and three heat levels to subdue even the most untamable whiskers, and shuts off automatically so you don’t burn the house down.

Get all your tea bags out of those annoying cardboard boxes that fill up the cupboard and into this tea organizer so you can choose a flavor like a civilized adult. The clear lid turns your tea into a decorative element and makes it easy to see your options. And the hinged lid and neat compartments make storing and choosing orderly.

If you are tired of constantly having to make another hot beverage because the one you were sipping went cold while you were busy, set your brew on this electric mug warmer. It keeps your drink at the perfect temperature — there are two options — without burning it. And it shuts itself off so you won’t find dehydrated sludge in your mug after a long weekend.

Turn an annoying fly chase into a fun racket sport by wielding this zapper racket when you go into battle. The net is charged with a 4,000-volt grid so the bugs don’t stand a chance against you. It has a built-in LED light so you can see where you are going. And it comes in three sizes and three colors. “It's kind of fun slaying all those irritating critters that love to fly into your nostrils and dance in front of your face,” said one reviewer.

This clever low-tech screen magnifier amplifies the size of your phone up to 12 inches, making it a great tool for watching movies on your phone or reading tiny fonts. It not only amplifies the size of the screen but also adds blue light protection for your eyes so you can watch videos at night without damaging your circadian rhythms. “This turns my phone into a giant tablet to watch movies on,” said one reviewer.

Make meatballs fast without sticking your hands into the raw ground beef to do it with this clever meatball tool. Just spoon your meat mixture into the bottom tray. Then press the top tray onto the bottom one. When you open it up, you will find 32 meatballs, ready to cook.

Yes, you can wash your ball caps. But, if you want them to come out of the wash looking like the hat you love, put it in this hat washer first. Once secured in this plastic frame, your cap can go safely into the washing machine or dishwasher without losing its shape. “I have now done six of my favorite hats and they [...] maintained their shapes [and came] out of the dishwasher [...] so wonderfully clean it far exceeds my expectations,” said one reviewer.

Sure, you could get a normal spoon rest to set your utensil on when you are cooking. But this ravioli-shaped spoon rest is so much more fun. It’s big and tasty looking but is also easy to wash — because it’s made of silicone — and hangs from a hook when you aren’t using it.

This four-pack of light bulbs might look just like other bulbs. And they screw into your fixtures just like any bulb. But while this bulb is working like normal, it is also charging itself up in case the power goes out or you need a flashlight for any reason. If the power goes out, your lights still work. And you can unscrew a bulb, attach the power cap — or touch the threads and the bottom at the same time — and use it as a flashlight.

Eating in your car does not have to be awkward and messy. Clip this steering wheel desk onto wheel and you have a table — complete with a recessed place for your drink — right in front of you. It makes a great place to set up a laptop, too, if you work on the road. “Turns my Tesla into a portable office,” said one reviewer. “Quite handy while charging away from home or if I just need to pull over to get work done.”

Stretching your ankle is the way to relieve so many kinds of foot pain — plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, ankle strain, and more — but it’s hard to do on a flat surface. This foot rocker makes that stretch accessible anytime. Fit your fit into it and rock back and forth. “I was [...] riding around in an electric scooter at the store because of the foot pain,” said one reviewer. “My wife ordered this [and] within a week my Plantar Fasciitis [...] did not interfere with my life.”

Don’t risk getting sick from dips, sauces, and salads that get warm at a picnic or buffet. Serve them in this iced serving bowl so they stay cold. They will look stylish, too. The 22-ounce steel bowl sits in a larger, ice-filled bowl, keeping it safe for hours. The bowl comes with a snap-on lid so you can store your salad in the fridge in it.

When bright lights, noise, or other distractions threaten your beauty rest, don these sleep headphones and banish them from your awareness. The 3D mask is soft on your eyes and blacks out the light while the headphones — connected via Bluetooth to your phone or another music source — play soft tunes, a book, or whatever helps you sleep into your ears.

Make a stack of cool and refreshing popsicles from your own ingredients with this frozen ice pop maker. Just fill them with juice, yogurt, or whatever frozen confection you enjoy, add a popsicle stick, and freeze them up. When the heat is overwhelming or you need a sweet treat, retrieve one and enjoy.

Is there a meal that’s not improved by the addition of chopped garlic? Why then is chopping it such a chore? This garlic chopper fixes that. Open it up and fill it with whole garlic cloves, then roll it around the counter like you are playing with Hot Wheels cars. (Go ahead and make car sounds with your mouth.) When you open it up, your garlic is nicely minced.

Watermelon is delicious and refreshing but cutting up a big melon is a bit of a chore. Or it is if you don’t have this watermelon slicer. With this, just cut the melon in half and slide the chopper into the fruit. The rotating slicer blade cuts perfect squares of watermelon and lines them up on the rack so you can drop them into a bowl. It comes with a melon baller.

You don’t have to line up at the local cafe to get an espresso. You can have one in your car, campsite, or home with this portable espresso machine. And it doesn’t use pods. Just add hot water and ground coffee to it and pump to extract espresso into the cup that’s part of the machine. “I've made espresso on the beach, by the river, and in a cabin,” says one reviewer. “It blows people's minds to have a hot americano or nice iced latte come from this little guy.”

Bring order to your bed rot with this bedside caddy that keeps your reading material, phone, remotes, crafting tools, and other sundries handy. No more losing the remote in the covers or wasting your relaxation time searching for your glasses. A flat board tucks under the mattress to hold the three mesh pockets stable. It comes in two colors.

This lovely wireless, bedside lamp is a beautiful integration of your phone with a tabletop appliance. Connect your phone to it via Bluetooth and it will play music on its 360-degree speakers. Lie your phone down on the base to charge it. Stand your phone and lean it against the handle to watch a movie or join a video call. “It looks so sleek and cute and takes any bedside table to the next level,” said one reviewer.

Stick this cute and colorful silicone phone mount to the back of your phone — or phone case — and you can attach your phone to the mirror, fridge, or any flat surface just by pressing it there. The rows of small suction cups grip firmly and there are 23 colors to choose from. “I stick it to the backsplash in the kitchen while I am cooking, to the mirror while getting ready, or to the dash in my car while driving,” said one reviewer.

This dog hair remover is the easiest way to get pet fur off your furniture, carpets, and self. Just roll it back and forth on the fur-laden fabric. The grippy brush grabs all of it and stashes it in a compartment in the handle. Empty that compartment into the trash and it's ready to go again.

Whether you are timing your Pomodoro work breaks, a steeping pot of tea, or a hard-boiled egg, this rotating timer has you covered. Just flip the hexagon-shaped gizmo so that the time duration — or the clock — you want is at the top and it takes it from there. It comes in five colors.

Create your own delicious beverages and serve them from this pretty, cold brew tea bottle. It’s easy to make the tea because the entire top of the bottle unscrews so you can add tea leaves, herbs, or fruit. Put the top back on and refrigerate. A strainer in the lid holds back the botanicals while you pour your unencumbered brew.

Pack your lunch and all the gear you need in this laptop backpack with a custom-fitted, insulated lunch box that has its own zippered entry system. The lunch box holds plenty of food and keeps your meal hot or cold for hours. When you are traveling, remove the lunch box and the backpack will carry whatever you need for your trip. It has a charger port, lots of pockets, and a laptop sleeve.

If your name is Bond, James Bond, Q might hand you this gadget pen to take with you on a field mission. It’s a pen, but it is also a stylus, two screwdrivers, a ruler, and a spirit level. It comes in seven colors and over 2,700 people give it five stars.

Don’t let laziness or a lack of adequate kitchen tools keep you from eating a delicious omelet. You can cook one up in the microwave omelet maker. Mix up your eggs, pour them into the base, add some tasty ingredients, close it, and microwave. You don’t need to flip it or learn any mad skills. Your omelet comes out perfect every time.

Turn any pair of shoes into slip-ons by installing these no-tie shoelaces into them. Your shoes look like you took the time to lace them, even when you stepped into them as you walked out the door. They don’t even require you to lace them up to install the laces since these snap into the lace holes on your shoes. More than 25,000 reviewers have given these five stars.

Tuck this clever multi-tool into your wallet. You will be glad you did when you want to open a beer or a box, fix your bike, or repair your glasses. It has a box opener, bottle opener, screwdriver, ruler, phone stand, can opener, and more, all MacGyvered into a credit card-sized piece of steel. It could save the day, every day, in so many ways.

If you have struggled to find a water bottle that’s big enough for your hydration needs yet still fits in your car’s cup holder, you can give up that quest. This car cup holder expander lets you carry any mug, bottle, or cup you like by making the cup holder bigger. It also has a slot to accommodate a mug handle. Drop it into your car’s standard-issue cup holder and bring your favorite coffee mug or biggest bottle on the road.

Expand the storage space in your spice cabinet and make it easy to find the spices you use most often by peeling and sticking this spice organizer to the underside of a shelf in there. It hides a drop-down shelf that’s big enough to hold seven spice jars. “A brilliant innovative design that impressed a hardened consumer,” said one reviewer.

This huge trackball mouse gives you extreme precision while working on a computer, has eight buttons you can program to do your bidding, and sports a scroll wheel to make getting around easy. But the best part is the huge size, which gives your hand a big space on which to rest so it doesn’t cramp or get injured.

Take an online class while you shower. Keep an eye on the kids or the baby via your connected cameras while soaking in the tub. Or just watch the news while you get ready for work. This touch-screen shower phone holder mounts to the wall and keeps your phone dry — while letting you access the screen — while you bathe, shave, or primp.

If you want to make sure no one is watching what you do online or stealing your ideas or financial data as you work, install this laptop privacy screen. It blocks the image from the sides so that you only have to worry if someone stands directly behind you. “Makes me feel much better about working from different locations,” said one reviewer.

Turn a standard outlet into a powerful power source by plugging this outlet extender into it. It increases that plug’s capacity from two plugs to five standard plugs and four USB plugs. (One of them USB-C.) A center screw secures it to the outlet so it won’t fall out if you use all the plugs.

Before you go camping, hiking, or into an apocalypse, make sure you have this solar power bank in your kit. It turns sunlight into enough power to charge three devices at the same time. It’s also a powerful flashlight and it has a carabiner to clip it to your pack and a compass to keep you on course.

The chaos in your cupboard is probably keeping you from cooking. The extra effort it takes to find the pan or lid you need makes prepping a meal feel harder than it is. This pan organizer reduces that friction by giving every pan an individual shelf. You don’t have to hunt through a pile or pull every pan out to get to the one on the bottom. The dividers are adjustable and it works horizontally or vertically. It comes in three finishes.

Christina Wood