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, especially now that it's $20 off its traditional price. 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. For a limited time, you can also get the Echo Dot and a TP-Link Smart Plug for $34.99. The smart plug turns ordinary appliances into smart devices that can be controlled via voice using Alexa.
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.
Nothing simplifies your life like getting rid of unnecessary wires. With the Anker Wireless Qi Charger you'll be able to do precisely that. Just place any Qi-compatible smartphone on top of the pad and it will charge wirelessly. The charger is smart enough to prevent overcharging and built-in LED lights let you know when your device is charging and when charging is complete. Compatible handhelds include the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, and more.
In a world where headphone jacks are being eliminated, you might want to get some wireless headphones. However, a reliable pair of wireless buds shouldn't cost you $159. The Syllable D900 Mini Bluetooth Earphones offer punchy bass and clean highs for well under $50. They're lightweight, comfortable, and deliver just the right amount of noise isolation. You can even recharge them from the include storage case.