Full confession: I love generic products. It’s true. Whether I’m stocking up on Walmart’s flatter-than-Pepsi “Sam’s Cola”—or opting for a Walgreens-branded bottle of headache medicine instead of Aleve—I’m forever amazed by how much money one can sock away in the long run by simply eschewing a brand name. (Don’t believe me? Try it for a month and then check your bank account.)
So you’ll understand my outsize enthusiasm when I discovered that “AmazonBasics”—the tech giant’s wildly unsexy line of products for things like phone-charger cords and double-A batteries—actually includes a whole world of pretty cool and high quality stuff. I’m talking about items for the home, the kitchen, the backyard, the office, and even the gym.
Want a killer hoodie at, like, half the price of something you’d find at discount stores? Or how about a gorgeous, ceramic dutch oven that looks (and cooks!) like something out of a Le Creuset catalog—but for a fraction of the price? Well, prepare to be delighted by the quality and savings you’ll find at Amazon.
That said, what follows are the 27 absolute best Amazon basics you’ll find on AmazonBasics that I’ve been able to test myself. (Note: Amazon’s clothes are technically called “Amazon Essentials,” but I’ve included some of them in here, too. Basic? Essential? Whatever!) So read on, and feel free to load your cart with everything. But if you’re determined to do some brick-and-mortar shopping, we’ve got your back too: just don’t forget the 30 Genius Ways to Always Save Money on Clothes.
Cast Iron Kettlebells
From $17.99; buy now at amazon.com
Swing yourself ripped or tone your physique with these super-quality kettlebells, which are available in weights from 10-lbs to 60-lbs. Best of all, they’re about half the price of major brands.
The wide handle is textured for better grip for the sweatiest of hands and they feature a durable painted surface to ensure a long life.
From $11.99; buy now at amazon.com
If you haven’t dropped wasteful non-rechargable batteries from your shopping list yet, now’s the time to upgrade to long-lasting and environmentally superior rechargeables. These new babies are high-capacity batteries that will keep your devices working for years. And if you’re looking for some great stuff to power up, here are the 17 home appliances so advanced they make us feel dumb.
Nylon Braided Cables
From $8.99; buy now at amazon.com
The charging cables that come with most devices—from smartphones to hard drives—don’t stand up to much abuse and end up fraying and falling apart within a few months. These tough cables? They’ll last a whole lot longer, and they cost a fraction of the branded versions.
Velvet Suit Hangers
From $15.99; buy now at amazon.com
No, these aren’t for your many velvet suits, fellas—the name refers to the fact that these hangers are covered with a soft velveteen material that grips clothes so they won’t slip off. (You know, as your clothes do on those cheap wire hangers?) Plus, these are inexpensive enough to let you upgrade your entire closet into something that looks way classier. And for more ways to upgrade your life, check out the 40 Things Everyone Should Always Buy Online.
Hardside Spinner Luggage Set
$169.99; buy now at amazon.com
Quality luggage is expensive. Even at bargain brands, such as Away, a single carry-on will cost you upwards of $225. (And even when you buy the best stuff, you have to emotionally prepare yourself for the inevitable wear and tear after only a few airline trips.) Instead, go for this full set of handsome luggage for under $170. That’s right: All three. And once you’ve got your new bags, remember the 10 Essential Items for Traveling with Kids.
High-Density Round Foam Roller
From $9.99; buy now at amazon.com
Fitness fanatics know that a decent foam roller is essential for working out tight tendons and knotty muscles, but name-brand rollers can be pricey for what is essentially a piece of foam. Pick up a few from Amazon for under $10 and you’ll never be without muscle pain relief for long.
Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
From $39.99; buy now at amazon.com
An enameled cast iron pot is an essential for any serious cook, but the fancy French brands can be well over $200. Dying to make some great soups, stews, and chilis? Go for this solid cooker from Amazon that comes in four colors and three sizes for a fraction of the price of its competitors.
$14; buy now at amazon.com
Every girl needs a few quality tanks in her wardrobe, and Amazon Essentials offers these cotton blend babies for super cheap. They are soft, comfy, and flattering—and buyers are in love with them, with a four-and-a-half star average out of almost 250 reviews.
Quick-Dry Towel Set
From $12.99; buy now at amazon.com
No, these aren’t the super-luxurious, pima cotton towels like you’d find in high-end spas, but for less than $13 you can get three towels—wash cloth, hand towel, and bath towel—that are 100% cotton. Trust me: These things do the job.
3-Sided Grill Brush
From $5.99; buy now at amazon.com
Serious grillers will know how useful a sturdy and multi-sided grill brush can be for cleaning globs of grease off of a hot grate—keeping your grill clean is key for making great meats. They can be pricey at high-end kitchen stores, but here you get a stainless-steel brush for less than $6.
6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip
$9.86; buy now at amazon.com
With the proliferation of digital devices that constantly need to be charged up, you can never have enough handy power strips. These come in black or white and offer 790-joule, three-line protection from electrical surges so any plugged-in product won’t get fried.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
From $12; buy now at amazon.com
Sunglasses and smartphones have glossy surfaces that, if scratched, severely reduce our enjoyment of them. But buy a bunch of these cleaning cloths to keep all sorts of items clean and clear—from glasses and phones to windshields and laptop screens.
Hooded Fleece Sweatshirt
$17; buy now at amazon.com
A great hoodie is an essential part of anyone’s wardrobe. This cotton/polyester blend fleece hoodie is is surprisingly great fit (not quite slim, but definitely not baggy), with great softness, high-quality touches, and solid colors.
Mid-Back Mesh Office Chair
$64.99; buy now at amazon.com
Don’t drop over a thousand dollars on a super high-end designer chair for your home office when you can get a reasonable facsimile from Amazon for under $70. You’ll love the soft-but-firm seat cushion, the above-average quality (for a cheap chair!), and the comfy and cool mesh backing.
LED Light Bulbs
From $15.99; buy now at amazon.com
Alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs were really terrible for a long time, giving off ghastly hued light on top of a major price tag. Now, new LED bulbs give off a great color spectrum that’s comparable to incandescents, but are still pricey. Your solution? Amazon!
Microfiber Sheet Sets
From $13.99; buy now at amazon.com
A quality set of soft and durable sheets can be really expensive, but Amazon offers their own set that, though aren’t as nice as some high-thread count sheets that cost over $200, are a great option for the budget conscious, or those looking to have an emergency set stowed away. If you’re sending kids to college or need some spare sheets on hand for some AirBnB visitors, here’s your answer.
6-Pack V-Neck Undershirts
$16; buy now at amazon.com
Every guy needs a stack of decent T-shirts to use as undershirts, but some can cost over $20 just for one shirt! Amazon has you covered with these thin and soft shirts that offer just a bit of stretch so they always fit just right.
Commercial Patio Heater
$129.99; buy now at amazon.com
You’ve probably been warmed by a patio heater at your local brewery and been jealous and wanted one for your place, but, you know, figured they were way too expensive. Not on Amazon, where their house brand sells a durable version that puts out a scorching 46,000 BTUs for under $130!
Full Zip Polar Fleece Jacket
$20; buy now at amazon.com
Forget dropping up to $200 on a fleece jacket from one of the pricey outdoor brands when you get spend a 20-dollar bill and get a jacket that’s just as good. This Amazon Essentials fleece has zippered pockets, elastic cuffs, and a fitted silhouette that flatters your body.
From $6.49; buy now at amazon.com
Don’t just stock up on charging cables from AmazonBasics, dig into their collection of a/v cables too. They offer all of the most popular configurations—HDMI to HDMI, HDMI to DisplayPort, digital optical—at great prices so you’ll always have your stereo and TV setup sounding and looking just right.
Lightweight Water-Resistant Packable Down Coat
$69; buy now at amazon.com
Down coats give you the ultimate in warmth versus weight, which is why these expensive jackets are so popular. But no need to spend north of $300 when Amazon offers a stylish coat for under $70. Filled with 90% down and 10% feathers and covered in a water-resistant nylon shell, this coat will keep you toasty in the worst winter weather.
Folding Metal Dog Crate
From $23.49; buy now at amazon.com
When getting a new dog, or adopting an old one, it’s imperative to pick up a dog crate too. They help the dog feel secure and are a great tool for potty training, but they can cost a lot for a quality cage. This one from Amazon is sturdy and foldable and comes at a great price. Feel free to get two of them.
50-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
$14.99; buy now at amazon.com
Gathering up a bunch of pro camera equipment can get expensive fast, so save some money and get this sturdy and well-reviewed tripod for under $15. This tripod is made from aluminum and has three lever-lock legs that easily hold big DSLRs.
Shelving Units on Casters
From $32.29; buy now at amazon.com
Strong and tough shelving units can bring a premium at kitchen supply stores, but these indispensable storage options are a steal on Amazon. Their branded version has casters and are made from steel with a durable finish so they last long, even in humid environments like basements.
Pinch Pleat Comforter Set
From $42.99; buy now at amazon.com
Classy and comfortable bedding sets often command premium prices on catalog sites, but next time you need a new comforter, head for an AmazonBasics buy. This stylish set comes in five colors and has a soft and luxurious microfiber shell that’ll make your slumber a real snooze-fest.
Quick-Dry Golf Polo Shirt
$15; buy now at amazon.com
Golfers have to spend a ton of money on quality clubs, bags, and shoes—not to mention any country club fees—so saving a few bucks on clothing can help. And with these golf shirts from Amazon you won’t be losing out on quality since they are made from a lightweight performance fabric that dries fast, protects from UV rays, and feels great on the skin.
Foldable Laundry Hamper
$17.99; buy now at amazon.com
Admit it, your old laundry hamper is probably stained and falling apart—it’s not something most people think to replace often. But for less than $20 you can toss out that stinky old one and upgrade to a canvas-covered, foldable hamper from Amazon. The inside is lined with a ripstop polyester that’s durable and easy to wipe down.
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