The best stuff we bought on Amazon this year

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As Amazon Prime Day nears, discount news has reached full tilt. You can’t fire up the internet without hearing about price cuts on big-ticket items like Amazon Echoes, smart TVs, and of course, the Instant Pot. The hunt for a sweet deal on the most expensive products you’re pining after is basically a sport, making Prime Day is its Olympics and consumers its dedicated athletes. 

While costlier items with household names tend to steal the Prime Day spotlight, there is a world beyond them. Oftentimes, the most random of Amazon purchases end up becoming the thing you realize you can’t live without. We’ve rounded up the best things we bought on Amazon this year—note, we said “best,” not “most exciting.”

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Prime Day: The best stuff we bought on Amazon this year

AmazonBasic Wired Keyboard ($13.99)
Our cat was recently diagnosed with diabetes. She was trying to tell me by gouging the keys on my laptop inward in what I’m fairly convinced was ketoacidosis-induced agony. Olive is fine now, but my laptop—a Dell from 2015—is less functional. To amend the issue, I bought a cheap, boxy, and black office keyboard—the kind that makes you nostalgic for recession-era downsizing, plastic plants, and Windows XP. And yet, it’s sharply responsive and it’s got me feeling like Stevie Wonder the way I glide on these keys. I even got one for the home office, too, because it’s so hulking that it doesn’t fit in my bag. When you catch me on press row, however, best believe I’ll be playing lead on the full rig—it’s the only way to type. Ramon Ramirez, News Director

WeMo Mini Smart Plug ($17.99)
I grew up in a home with a lot of lights on timers, and it’s hard to break yourself from that magic when you move into a place of your own. I enjoy not having to think about turning lights on and off when we go out of town, but I hate the little ticking noise the analog timers make. And I know it’d be no sweat at all for a smart home hub to manage, but I don’t like the idea of Alexa always listening in. Lowe’s Iris tech used to fit the bill… until they discontinued the line and stopped supporting its app. I happened upon these WeMo plugs as a substitute and haven’t looked back. They are cheap, unobtrusive, simple to set up, integrate seamlessly with an app, and ensure I always have the lamps I want on when I want them on.  —Monica Riese, Director of Production

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AV to HDMI Video Audio Converter Adapter ($14.99)
My wife keeps telling me that I should trash all my music CDs and most of our DVDs. And she has a pretty good point because the DVD player we have doesn’t even connect to our smart TV. That’s why it was imperative to purchase this item that will sync up the AV connection on our old-school DVD player to the HDMI port of our newly purchased TV. Now, I can finally re-watch my Clerks and Swingers DVDs. My daughter can watch the DVD recording of her recent dance recital. My wife can continue to look at me with derision and shake her head at my refusal to abandon my outdated media collection. And I can make use of all those Best Buy trips to purchase DVDs I almost never watch anyway. Josh Katzowitz, Senior Writer

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder, Medium ($49.95), Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder, 10-Ounce ($72.95)
A couple of months ago, between Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame, covering the Tribeca Film Festival, and a 10-mile race I was running, stress levels were high. The local yarn shop I frequented in New Jersey closed for good and I somehow amassed seven more skeins in the ensuing closing sale during a visit. (Don’t worry, I know how.) I had a bit of extra money, so I finally splurged and bought myself a yarn winder.

After putting it together, away I went. Once I finished with the yarn I had recently purchased, I went back into my yarn stash and rewound every single skein I had with me; other than the yarn occasionally falling out of the metal loop that actually rotated to make a yarn cake, it was pretty painless. About a week later, I needed to buy a few more skeins for a new project, and it was seamless to get those up and going. 

Sure, it didn’t alleviate all my stress, but for at least a few hours at a time, I was able to do something mindless and peaceful. I mean, look at how soothing that wrapping action is. Michelle Jaworski, Staff Writer

Home-X Mug Warmer ($9.75)
This is easily one of the most boring things I own and yet it brings me immeasurable happiness. I actually often forget it exists, just setting my coffee down in exactly the right spot out of habit. It’s not perfect: The switch is a little too clunky and I wish the cord were longer. But it’s a lightweight piece of plastic I spent less than $10 on and never think about, and it keeps my mug warm for hours while saving me from the horror of lukewarm (or worse, cold) coffee. Sometimes being totally forgettable is a feature, not a bug. Molly McHugh, Tech Editor 

Animal Onesie ($12.33+)
Called a kigirumi or a “kig” in Japan, the animal onesie not only keeps me in line with my forever-cute aesthetic but is actually ridiculously cozy and functional during winter. I work at home, so this is 100% acceptable as “office casual,” and it even keeps my head warm on those horrid days where temps dip below 30. Best of all, wearing a kig makes me feel that innocent happiness of being a kid again—and that makes it worth keeping one in my wardrobe at all times! Collette Bennett, E-commerce Editor 

Set of six mixing bowls ($24.99)
As someone who cooks all the time, I truly have no idea how I did it before purchasing a set of six nesting mixing bowls. I use the biggest to hold all my kale as I de-stem it, the smallest for a quick ginger scallion sauce, and then the medium ones of various sizes for quick pickling, brining, and filling with veggies as I prep. They are the most essential thing in my kitchen, and they cost practically nothing. David Covucci, Politics Editor

MTSLYH Water Bottle for Dog ($13.67)
Texas is friggin’ hot. My little Shih-Tzu wants to walk far longer than his little body can handle. My wife and I decided to get this portable dog water bottle so he can properly exhaust himself without dehydrating himself. Logan Youree, Operations Manager 

Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers ($23.99)
I really wanted to start replacing my plastic Tupperware collection, and this glass set from Prep Naturals is a great starter kit. The glass can handle the oven, fridge, or freezer, and the steam release is a great feature. The lids aren’t the sturdiest, but they’ve held up through several (hand) washes already. For less than $5 a pop, I’m not complaining. —Kris Seavers, IRL Editor 

Brightdeal Replacement Brush Heads ($16.95)
I’ve gone 24-and-a-half years on this earth without a cavity, and I attribute that almost solely to my Sonicare electric toothbrush. (And flossing. Always floss.) But those brush heads don’t last forever, and they’re a wallet killer because I inevitably forget to factor them into my grocery budget. Thankfully, these Brightdeal replacement heads are Sonicare-compatible, and this $17 six-pack covers me for at least 18 months. For less than $1 a month, I can flash these pearly off-whites for every conference badge headshot and photo booth staff pic with pride. (Nothing I can do about the coffee stains, though.) Bryan Rolli, Streaming Editor 

ECOWISH Women’s Fleece Coat ($29.59)
This oversized, fleece jacket kept me comfy on many insufferable, chilly days in the wintertime. The armpit area became inflicted with a gaping hole after my overwearing it and the many washes I subjected it to. But the armpit hole couldn’t hold me back, which just goes to show how much I love it. It comes in a few styles and plethora of colors, ranging from your basic neutrals to more venturesome hues like pink and blue. I personally bought a camel one and receive compliments each and every time I have it on. I even ended up buying one to gift to someone else. I’m looking forward to the winter just so I can pop this bad boy out again. Eilish O’Sullivan, Weekend Editor 

 

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