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, 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.
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.
Despite being smaller than its predecessor, Amazon’s revamped Fire TV offers 4K Ultra HD and HDR support. The hands-free remote lets you control your Fire TV via Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa. What we especially like about the Fire TV is that you can spend a few bucks more and get it bundled with an AmazonBasics HD antenna for just $74.99. Alternatively, you can get the Amazon Fire TV Stick with an Echo Dot for $59.98.
Looking for an inexpensive way to turn your home into a smart one? The Wemo Mini Smart Plug connects to any electrical outlet and gives any device you plug into it smart capabilities. Via the free Wemo app, you can schedule plugged in lights to go on or off at specific intervals or have your morning coffee maker start brewing a cup of joe the minute you wake up. Alternatively, the smart plug is also compatible with Alexa, so you can send commands via voice using Amazon’s digital assistant.
An excellent light bulb for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of smart devices, the TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb can be controlled via the free Kasa app, which runs on Android or iOS. That means you can set schedules, timers, and more. The device is also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, for those times you feel like barking orders to your light bulb.
Foodies and street photographers, listen up. The Amir 3-in-1 Camera Lens Kit is a quick and inexpensive way to take better photos with your smartphone. The kit comes with two different lenses (one lens does double duty) that let you take macro, fisheye, and wide angle photos. Just clip the appropriate lens to your smartphone’s lens and watch your photos take off on The Gram.
Yootech's Wireless Charger lets you charge any Qi-ready device, including Apple's iPhone X and iPhone 8. It has LED indicator lights to tell you the status of your charge and its anti-slip rubber exterior keeps your handset secure. Best of all, it comes with an 18-month warranty. It's a must-have for anyone tired of wired chargers.
If you're in the market for wireless earbuds that won't break the bank, check out the SoundPEATS Magnetic Wireless Earbuds. They offer eight hours of play time before needing a recharge. Moreover, their sweat-proof design lets you wear them while you work out.