21 Cheap Tech Products That Make Life Easier
Yes, cutting-edge smartphones and 4K TVs are worth drooling over, but you might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of cheap gadgets that truly make your life easier and a little better without ever breaking the bank.
From a mini battery that keeps your phone running all day to a device that keeps tabs on your keys — and also some great travel tech — these products are well worth the small investment.
We didn't necessarily cap these products at a specific price. Instead, we sought out the best values in multiple categories that come with an affordable price tag compared to the competition.
Skooob Tangle-Free Earbud Covers
Skooob's $6 Tangle-Free Earbud Covers are the solution to one of life's greatest annoyances: tangled headphones. Simply wrap your Skooob around your headphone wire, and you can rest assured you'll never have to untangle it again. The covers come in a number of different colors to suit many different accessories. Credit: Skooob
Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger
Anker's 24W Dual USB Car Charger plugs into your car's lighter port and lets you charge up to two devices via USB. It supports popular handhelds such as the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy lines of phones.
Brainwavz Hengja Desk Headphone Hanger
Whether you're working or lounging at home, it's nice to have a place to hang your headphones. The Brainwavz Hengja headphone hanger can attach to desks, tables, shelves, or even your bed frame, and you can hang headphones of all shapes and sizes. It's easy to adjust and move around -- no time or tools required. It also comes with a small screwdriver to help you adjust the size.
Anker Soundcore 2
From road trips and hikes to barbecues and beach getaways, every outing is better with music. The $39 Anker Soundcore 2 can blast music wherever you are. Its battery will last up to 24 hours; it's water-resistant, and it brings well-balanced bass, treble and midtones. And at 6.5 x 2.1 x 1.77 inches, it's small and light enough that you can carry it in your pocket or purse.
Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb
Unlike many of its competitors, TP-Link's Kasa smart bulb is Wi-Fi-enabled, so it connects directly to your router and doesn't require a bridge or smart-home hub to set up. You can use TP-Link's Kasa app to dim the bulb and turn it on and off, and you can also set its temperature to change automatically with the time of day. The smart bulb also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control it hands-free.
Accell 3-Outlet Travel Surge Protector
The Accell Home or Away Power Station is a travel-ready surge protector. The cheap accessory plugs directly into a wall outlet to protect your precious gadgets from getting fried. It comes with three standard wall outlets and two USB charging outlets, allowing you to charge five gadgets at the same time without fear of them burning up in a power surge. And since it’s small, it can be brought with you in a travel bag or luggage and not take up too much space.
iOttie Easy One Touch 2 Car Mount
If you want to quickly glance at your phone while you're driving, consider the iOttie Easy One Touch 3 Car Mount. The accessory comes with gel pads that can stick to your dashboard or several other surfaces. Once it's set up, you can plug in your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or other handset and tap around the screen while you're sitting in the car. It also comes with a telescopic arm for closer viewing of your screen.
Xbox Wireless Adapter
Here’s a convenient way to play PC games with your Xbox Wireless Controller instead of the mouse and keyboard. The Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows is a small USB dongle that plugs into your PC. Once connected, it allows you to use your Xbox Wireless Controller on your Windows laptop or desktop. The dongle allows up to eight wireless controllers to be connected at the same time, plus four chat headsets or two stereo headsets.
If you run out of space in this notebook, you don't have to buy a new one. Instead, just wipe the pages with a damp cloth, and they'll be good as new. Rocketbook's Everlast notebook can be used and re-used an infinite number of times. It also has a companion app which you can use to save and scan your notes, or to export them to Dropbox or Google Drive. Credit: Tom's Guide
Amazon Echo Dot
The Echo Dot is your cheapest gateway to Alexa. The hockey puck-shaped device works best when paired with Bluetooth speakers or your existing home stereo speakers. Amazon's virtual assistant is built into the Echo Dot, so after connecting it to your Wi-Fi network you can use Alexa to report on the latest news and weather, tell you sports scores, set alarms, or dim any room's lights. Thanks to integration with Amazon Prime Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Audible, you can also use the Echo Dot to stream music throughout your home.
Dash Deluxe Rapid Egg Cooker
Too busy to sit and wait for eggs to cook? The Dash Deluxe rapid egg cooker solves that problem, by doing the cooking for you, in bulk. This device can hold up to 12 eggs and cook them any way you want — hard-boiled, poached or even in an omelet — in less than 10 minutes. You can also use it to steam vegetables, dumplings and other foods.
If you’re looking for a device that will keep your smartphone charged while you’re on the go, check out the Jackery Bolt. The device is a mobile charger with a 6,000 mAh battery inside. This portable charger can fully charge an iPhone up to three times before it needs more juice. The Jackery Bolt is also quite portable, allowing you to stick it in your bag and not even know it’s there.
Logitech Harmony 650
Logitech has long been one of the more popular universal remote makers, and the Logitech Harmony 650 is one of its cheapest. This clicker can replace up to eight remotes and comes with a color screen to give you additional controls in addition to the physical buttons. It's compatible with more than 225,000 devices.
Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini
Looking for an inexpensive way to turn your home into a smart home? The HS105 connects to any electrical outlet and gives any device you plug in to it smart capabilities. The user-friendly Kasa app allows you to schedule plugged-in lights, fans or other appliances to turn on and off at specific times. This plug also works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Roku Streaming Stick+
Of all the streaming sticks out there, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is the easiest to navigate and offers the largest variety of content, including 4K HDR streams. Just stick it into an HDMI port on your smart TV, and you'll have access to every channel you can think of. The sleek remote has dedicated buttons for quick access to Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and Playstation Vue. Best of all, it has power and volume controls that sync up automatically with your TV, meaning you'll no longer have to use a separate remote.
The North Face Unisex Etip Glove
It's impossible to control most smartphones with gloves. However, The North Force has a solution in the Etip glove. The fleece glove will keep you warm in the winter but has tips on the thumb and two fingers, allowing you to control your smartphone without ever taking off your gloves. They're even machine-washable.
Credit: North Face
Velomacchi Impact Laptop Sleeve
Traveling with a laptop, especially an expensive or fragile one, can be stressful. The Velomacchi Impact laptop sleeve, which doubles as a backpack, can protect your device from rain, spills, bumps, jostles and drops from up to 4 feet. At 9 x 13.5 x 0.75 inches, it's spacious enough to fit your phone, charger or notebook alongside your laptop. The sleeve is comfortable and light enough that it won't swing around while it's at your side.
Kasa Smart Power Strip
Smart plugs are useful, but they take up a lot of space. If you have a lot of lights and gadgets you'd like to automate, the Kasa Smart Power Strip can help you out. This surge protector packs in six smart outlets and three USB ports. You can control, individually, each device that's plugged in, using Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana or the Kasa app.
Olloclip Mobile Photography Box Set
If you want to take high-quality photos with your iPhone X, the Olloclip mobile photography box set can help. The set includes a 120-degree superwide lens for landscapes, a 180-degree fish-eye lens for group and artistic shots, and a 15x macro lens for close-ups. The lenses work with both rear cameras as well as the front camera, and unlike on most other lens kits, these lenses are easy to snap on and off. While $99 may seem expensive, you get three high-quality lenses that easily run $90 each from other companies.
Anova Precision Cooker Nano
With this tiny smart device, you'll never have to worry about over- or under-cooking your meat again. All you have to do is seal your uncooked meat in an airtight bag and submerge it in heated water, and Anova's Precision Cooker will do the rest. And the accompanying app offers tips, tricks and recipes for budding sous-vide chefs.