10 cult-favorite products on Amazon that aren't worth your money
You've been warned.
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Everywhere (and I mean everywhere), lists are popping up featuring “the best cult products you can get on Amazon.” I’ll admit this stuff can sound great, but I’m usually skeptical of the things that end up on these lists. Just because something is popular on Amazon doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a great product.
I did some snooping and found 10 “cult favorite” products on Amazon that aren’t really worth buying. Some of these things are great products themselves but cost more on Amazon than elsewhere. Others are just straight-up junk.
Here are the seemingly popular products that you should definitely avoid.
1. One of those trackers for your keys
We’ll admit it: Even we loved the Tile Mate at first. But like the many other reviewers on Amazon, we learned you can’t replace the battery of this tracking device, making it utterly useless after a year. Your options are to replace your Tile annually, try to remember where you put them, or to get a key hook and actually use it.
Get this instead: Spectrum Diversified Four Hook Key Rack ($7.81)
2. A kitchen gadget that’s a one-trick pony
The air fryer is quickly becoming one of the more popular kitchen gadgets, but it sort of only does one thing: air fry. Our cooking expert was frustrated that it takes up too much space with only one function whereas a convection oven does the same thing as an air fryer, but also has other cooking functions. Plus, the best seller on Amazon isn’t even the best air fryer we tested.
Get this instead: Breville Smart Oven Pro ($268.95)
3. A salt lamp that claims to have healing powers
Himalayan salt lamps can look really pretty, but that’s really where their functionality ends. Although there are claims that they release negative ions that purify your lungs and your home, they’re simply not true. Honestly, if you really want to breathe in salt, you’re better off using nasal spray.
Get this instead: Simply Saline Adult Nasal Mist ($7.26)
4. Anything you see from Trader Joe’s
I love specialty products from Trader Joe’s, especially their Everything Bagel Seasoning. I was excited to see it on Amazon for those times I don’t have immediate access to the grocery chain, but it was super upcharged and costs $5 more than usual, which is not worth it to me. I can probably manage to wait until I go back to TJs, or I might try a knock-off version.
Get this instead: Wishful Everything Bagel Seasoning ($7.99)
5. Those collapsible phone stands
Collapsible stands like PopSockets have become quite popular recently. But many reviewers claimed that this popular affordable version on Amazon doesn’t have a good adhesive and would randomly collapse on them. Not good. Actual PopSocket-brand collapsible stands cost $10 if you want something that'll last, or you can invest in a case with a built-in stand.
Get this instead: ZVEdeng Case with Stand ($7.99)
6. Coffee pods for your Keurig
I love K-cups and I love my Keurig. But if I want to stock up on new pods I’m never going to buy them on Amazon. Since coffee pods are usually sold by third-party sellers, they’re way more expensive than at Walmart, Target, or your local grocery store.
Get this at Target instead: The Original Donut Shop Regular K-cups ($11.89)
7. The Instant Pot (because of its price)
We all love the Instant Pot, but at its full $100 price, you should really only buy this popular kitchen gadget when it’s on sale. If you don't want to wait for a discount, there are other, more affordable options out there. In fact, in our tests, we found that this Crock-Pot pressure cooker performed exactly the same as the Instant Pot, but it costs $30 less and also goes on sale often.
Get this instead: Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker ($69)
8. A hair dryer and brush in one
A hair dryer that's also a brush? If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Loads of reviewers agreed that this weird gadget worked at first but died out pretty quickly. Instead of wasting your money on a new hair dryer-brush, you should invest in a dryer that actually works and delivers salon-like results—like our favorite affordable hair dryer.
Get this instead: Revlon 1875W Infrared Hair Dryer ($16.69)
9. A magnet for “alkaline” water
You really never know what weird things people are going to go crazy for, and this one really takes the cake. This magnet claims to keep your water in an alkaline state just by placing a water cup on top of it, which is a loaded (and probably unsupported) health claim. If you really want clean water, get a water filter.
Get this instead: Brita Large 10 Cup Everyday Water Pitcher ($26.99)
10. Those super popular Kylie Lip Kits
Kylie Jenner is a genius when she comes to marketing herself. I mean, she is a “self-made billionaire.” But her lip kits aren’t the best. After testing them for ourselves, we found that they just didn’t hold up to the competition. Plus, Kylie sells these kits for $30 on her site but they can cost more than $40 on Amazon. For a long-lasting lipstick, stick with our favorite luxury option that’s $10 cheaper.
Get this instead: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick ($19)
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.