The internet has provided us a seemingly never-ending supply of bizarre new inventions, from those must-have toys your kids will beg you for at the holidays to the oft-maligned Shake Weight. However, for every dud invention that hits the market, there’s one that actually ends up being more useful than you ever imagined.
While gimmicky advertising, terrible names, and cheap packaging may have made you pass by certain products without a second thought, in doing so, you could have missed out on some serious game-changers. We’ve rounded up 30 products that seem ridiculous at first glance but may also be totally brilliant. And for more tools to simplify your life, pick up these 20 Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.
$24.99; buy now at Amazon
The Tamagotchi—a digital pet from the ‘90s that’s recently had a resurgence in popularity—may seem like little more than another digital distraction for kids. However, for families with pet allergies or those without the room for a cat or dog, it’s a great way to give your kid the responsibility of a pet without the mess or expense of one. In fact, having to feed and clean up after a Tamagotchi can even help kids learn the responsibility needed to work their way up to a real pet.
HandsOn Grooming Gloves
$24.99; buy now at HandOn Gloves
Unless you want some serious grooming bills on your plate, occasionally brushing your pets at home is something of a necessity. However, many pets aren’t exactly thrilled at having a brush run over their body. Fortunately, most animals are pretty eager to get some affection from their owners, making grooming gloves an easy way to show them some love and brush out those tangles in one fell swoop. And when you want to learn more about your pet, check out these 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Cat.
The 3-in-1 Family Size Breakfast Station
$65.92; buy now at Amazon
Why on earth would a person need a single appliance that makes coffee, toasts a bagel, and can cook an egg? While it may seem silly, anyone who’s ever lived in a studio apartment can attest to how handy combined appliances like this gem can be.
The Beard Catcher
$10.99; buy now at Amazon
Beard catchers—bibs that attach to your neck and mirror—may seem like a silly little addition to your grooming routine. However, if you want to avoid having to snake a thousand tiny beard hairs out of your drain or vacuum them up from in between the tiles in your bathroom, this is actually a major game-changer. And when you want to get a close shave from a pro, head to one of The 12 Best Barbershops in America.
$8.99; buy now at Amazon
Let’s face it: pizza wheels are unwieldy, a little dangerous, and don’t exactly make it easy to get perfectly even slices. Fortunately, pizza scissors—despite how ridiculous they look—are a safe and easy-to-use alternative that guarantees you a perfect slice every time. And when you want to make that slice taste as good as it did the day before, This Is the Best Way to Reheat Pizza.
The Banana Slicer
$5.14; buy now at Amazon
Sure, slicing a banana is not exactly a difficult task. However, if you’re trying to get perfectly even slices for a special dessert, this little tool can certainly come in handy. While a mandoline will just mash your fruit and a knife will yield uneven slices, this device will help you create a picture-perfect dessert every single time. And for more delicious ways to improve your diet, add these 20 Amazing Healing Foods to your menu.
The Spinning Makeup Brush Cleaner
$17.99; buy now at Amazon
It may seem like a simple task, but ask anyone who wears makeup on a regular basis and they’ll tell you: cleaning makeup brushes is not only a time-consuming task, it’s also harder to accomplish successfully than it looks. The good news? Spinning makeup brush cleaners can do all the hard work in seconds, sparing you from the potential infections you’re susceptible to if you’re using a less-than-clean makeup brush.
Laser Pointer Chaser Toys
$24.99; buy now at Amazon
Directing a laser pointer around a room is certainly one of the easiest ways to entertain a cat or dog as it is, making devices that do this automatically seem pretty silly. However, for people whose pets have a lot of energy, this toy can keep animals entertained all day, even when mom or dad isn’t at home.
$12.99; buy now at Amazon
Flipping your pillow over to the cool side throughout the night isn’t difficult, per se, but it certainly takes just enough effort to make it harder to fall back asleep. Luckily, for those who find themselves overheating at night, the Chillow cooling pad maintains a perfectly chilly temperature all night long. And for more easy ways to get more rest, start with these 20 Nighttime Habits Guaranteed to Help You Sleep Better.
$9.99; buy now at Amazon
They may look stupid and are even being banned at museums and other tourist attractions around the world, but it’s hard to deny that the selfie stick does serve a real purpose. Instead of resigning ourselves to photos where the top of someone’s head is inevitably being cut off, selfie sticks make it possible to get the perfect picture every time without having to risk a stranger running off with your phone.
The Dog Umbrella
$14.99; buy now at Amazon
Does it seem a little indulgent to have an entire umbrella dedicated to your dog? Sure. However, ask any pet owner whose pooch refuses to go outside when it’s so much as drizzling out and they’ll assure you that a pet umbrella is a lifesaver.
$16.63; buy now at Amazon
Claw caps, which give your cat the appearance of having a fancy little manicure, seem pretty ridiculous at first glance. However, when you consider that these plastic caps keep your pet from clawing up every surface in your house, they seem a whole lot less ridiculous. Better yet, they’re a humane alternative to declawing, which surgically removes the top knuckle from a cat’s paw.
$17.15; buy now at Amazon
People without children: “I’d never put my kid on a leash! It’s inhumane!” Parents with kids who like to hide, have a habit of running away, or have a hard time following directions: “Child leashes are a miracle.”
The Perfect Brownie Pan
$29.04; buy now at Amazon
Having brownies that aren’t quite chewy enough isn’t such a difficult problem to have in the grand scheme of things. However, if you had the choice between a pan full of delicious edge brownies made with the Perfect Brownie Pan or a handful of soggy middle brownies, wouldn’t you choose the former every time?
The Gravity Blanket
$249.00; buy now at Gravity Blanket
Sleeping under a 25-pound blanket—especially one that costs upwards of $200—might seem a bit ridiculous, but don’t knock it until you try it. In fact, weighted blankets like the Gravity Blanket can help you fall asleep faster, reduce your chances of waking up, and can even make it easier to stop tossing and turning.
Blow Dryer Stands
$34.99; buy now at Amazon
It may seem like there are few things lazier than having a dryer stand because using both arms to style your hair feels like too much work. However, anyone with joint pain—or even anyone with less-than-stellar upper body strength—can tell you just how much of a difference a blow dryer stand can make. In addition to reducing your likelihood of over-extending your shoulder, they can also help shave precious time off your morning routine.
The Potty Patch
$37.49; buy now at Amazon
Anyone who’s ever attempted to housebreak a puppy knows that it’s no easy feat. And while, yes, it may seem pretty gross to have a canine urinal hanging out in your living room, this does keep your pet from treating every surface in your home like a bathroom. Better yet, it’s more durable—and more attractive—than your average housebreaking pad.
$9.96; buy now at Amazon
At first glance, skipping toys seem like one of the silliest products ever invented: it’s essentially an ankle-mounted jump rope with a counter on it, but without any of the collaborative fun that usually accompanies jump-roping. However, when you consider that it’s also an amazing way for kids to get in a workout while having fun, it’s actually pretty genius.
$12.99; buy now on Amazon
If you’re too lazy to stir your own coffee, it probably seems like you’re too lazy to do much. That said, self-stirring mugs are actually a pretty great way to reduce your environmental impact—instead of loading your dishwasher up with spoons you’ve only used to gently stir your drink, all you have to wash is your cup. Better yet, for those in offices where stirrers and spoons are at a premium, using a self-stirring mug means you’ll never have to suffer through a poorly-mixed cup of coffee again.
The Turbie Twist
$5.99; buy now at Walgreens
Ask anyone with long hair and they’ll tell you: the Turbie Twist is an amazing idea. While it may seem silly, this clever invention can help you dry your hair without the weight of a full-sized, sopping wet towel pressing on your neck. Even better, these are so small compared to a regular towel that you’ll be lightening your laundry load, too.
$14.99; buy now at Amazon
Washing kids’ hair—especially when they’re wriggly infants—is a surprisingly difficult task. Luckily, shampoo visors, as ridiculous as they may look, can help you keep soap out of your little one’s eyes, making bath time a whole lot easier on parents and kids alike.
The Wonder Hanger
$12.99; buy now at Amazon
If you have too many clothes to hang in your closet, the solution is just downsizing, right? Well, for people living in apartments, editing your wardrobe to fit your closet space often means you won’t even have enough clothes to make it through the week. Luckily, the Wonder Hanger, which allows you to hang five items in the space it would usually take to hang one, is a major space-saver that doesn’t require an entire wardrobe overhaul.
WiFi Light Bulbs
$59.99; buy now at Amazon
It’s understandable that you might be skeptical about why you—or anyone for that matter—would need a light bulb that hooks up to your wireless network. However, if you’re a person who travels frequently, WiFi-enabled bulbs can help you make your home appear occupied at the touch of a button by turning your devices on and off at specified times.
The Bacon Wave
$8.57; buy now at Amazon
There are few things more disappointing in this life than a soggy slice of bacon, and unfortunately, that’s just what you get most of the time when you cook bacon on the stove in its own grease. The Bacon Wave, a BPA-free, dishwasher-safe microwavable bacon rack, drains all the grease into the lower part of the contraption, meaning you get a perfectly-crisp piece of bacon every single time.
The Soda Pop Top
$9.95; buy now at Amazon
If you’re a soda or seltzer drinker but don’t always make it through a whole can, you’re usually faced with two options: pouring half of your drink out, or sticking it back in the fridge, only to have to suffer through a flat drink later. The Soda Pop Top is a great way to reduce waste, reduce your risk of spills, and keep every carbonated drink as delicious as it was when you first opened it.
The Robo Stir
$14.50; buy now on Amazon
While it may seem like the epitome of laziness to have a device stir your food for you, the Robo Stir can actually keep you out of harm’s way. Instead of keeping your hand over a hot dish to stir it as liquid spits up at you, the Robostir does all the work for you, leaving your skin unscathed and your food perfectly mixed.
$20.98; buy now at Amazon
It’s undeniably true that Dump Meals, a cookbook from TV personality Cathy Mitchell, has one of the least appetizing names of all time. However, the concept is actually a lot smarter than the name would let on. This guide is full of recipes that use no more than five ingredients—all you do is toss them into a slow cooker and you’ve got an inexpensive, easy-to-make meal at the ready.
Slipper Genie Microfiber Slippers
$9.94; buy now at Amazon
While it may seem silly to pay money for these microfiber slippers, in reality, they’re one of the easiest ways to multitask. If you’re going to be walking around your house anyway, you might as well be cleaning it as you do, right?
The Onion Holder
$8.86; buy now at Amazon
Between the tears and the endless process of removing their scent from your hands, cutting onions is a messy and often unpleasant business. Luckily, The Onion Holder helps you avoid some of the peskiest parts of this chore: it keeps your hands from smelling like onions, and, better yet, it keeps these notoriously hard to chop pieces of produce in place, sparing your fingers in the process.
The Sock Slider
$13.00; buy now at Amazon
Sure, for many people, pulling up a pair of socks is one of the easiest parts of their morning routine. However, ask anyone with a bad back, any pregnant woman, or anyone with arthritis and they’ll tell you that the Sock Slider, which helps pull your socks up for you, is a serious godsend. Of course, not every invention is as useful—just check out The 30 Worst Home Appliances Ever Created.
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