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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Think of Tile Mate as a handy way to help you keep track of important stuff. The gadget is designed to loop onto your keychain or attach to, well, just about anything else you own. Once attached, the tracker sends location data to an app on your phone. If you don’t know where you put your keys, you can send the Tile Mate command to ring you so that you can find it under your clothes pile. Its battery lasts around a year, and you can swap in a new battery when it dies. You can currently get a single Tile Mate for $25.
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.