Some say the best things in life are free: happiness, family, friends, etc. But I say the best things in life actually cost less than $50. I mean, $50 is the perfect price point where you don’t feel like you're spending too much but still enough to get something quality. It’s just enough to treat yourself to something that will bring joy to your life—if only temporarily.
Here at Reviewed, we’ve tested hundreds of products and have pitted luxury items against some more bargain buys in our tests. And you know what? Sometimes the inexpensive products actually perform better than something costing hundreds of dollars. It’s pretty nuts and satisfying to know you don’t have to spend too much for quality, and these are the 20 best things you can get for less than $50.
1. An essential oil diffuser
Essential oil diffusers are pretty lit right now. Well, not actually because they don’t require a flame—but they are very popular. They're also safer than candles because you don't have to light them or worry about accidentally burning th house down. Some of the more expensive, fancy looking glass ones can cost upwards of $100, but you actually don’t have to splurge on a great diffuser.
The InnoGear Upgraded 150ml Diffuser is the best essential oil diffuser we’ve ever tested and a two-pack costs less than $30. This means you can have great smells in multiple rooms and have extra money for some essential oils. If you're not convinced you'll love diffusing oils, get this smaller, even more affordable one-pack.
2. A small, handheld spiralizer
Spiralizing may be an older food trend, but I still think it makes eating vegetable fun. Zucchini, sweet potatoes, and peppers just taste better in noodle form. To do so, you could get a big spiralizing machine or you can get a "handy" gadget called the Veggetti for just $10. In fact, it’s our favorite spiralizer because it’s handheld, making it easier to use and it's so inexpensive.
3. A cold brew maker for iced coffee any time
No matter what the temperature is outside, I still firmly believe that iced coffee tastes better than hot coffee. There’s something luxurious and elitist about drinking a cold brew and I’m here for it. To get it year 'round, you should invest in the best cold brew coffee maker. We love this model from Takeya because it's easy to use and brews a full quart of concentrated cold brew coffee that may or may not last you the week. Did I mention it’s only $20?
4. Our favorite liquid lipstick
Move over Kylie because the best liquid lipstick is actually from Wet n Wild. After some extensive testing, we found that this brand lasts basically all day, doesn’t feel sticky on your lips, and comes in 20 shades to match any look. The best part? It costs less than $5, so you can buy at least 10 shades before hitting $50.
5. Packing cubes to organize for every trip
Packing for any trip can be stressful. Not only do you need to figure out what to put into your suitcase, but you usually end up digging through your bag to find what you need. To make things easier, you're going to want to use packing cubes for some extra organization. These packing cubes from eBags are the best packing cubes and they’re just under $50. They are durable, come in a variety of sizes for all your packing needs, and will make your next trip so much easier.
6. A mandoline to chop faster
Chopping is a tedious, time-consuming process that will make some of us want to order take-out instead of cooking dinner. But a mandoline quickly produces perfect slices for your ratatouille and crudité, and you can get our favorite mandoline for just $20. We love this model from KitchenAid because its V-shaped blade sliced through whatever we threw at it and it has five different thickness options. Plus, it will keep your finger intact thanks to a large finger guard and rubber feet that keep it from sliding.
7. Pillows for the sweetest of dreams
A good pillow is life changing. You know the one that is just soft enough but still supportive? The one you tell your coworkers about and bring to hotels with you because it’s that amazing. That pillow is Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow and it’s the best pillow we’ve ever tested. It costs just under $50 and you can remove foam to preferred level of comfort, making for one of the best nights sleep.
8. A sleep mask for zzz’s anywhere
Whether you’re traveling late night on an airplane, are a light sleeper doesn't want to wake up at dawn, or just need a midday snooze, sleep masks are essential. You’re going to want one that blocks out light and actually stays on your face—like the Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask. It’s the best sleep mask we’ve ever tested because it has an adjustable Velcro strap and is made of comfortable formed foam that doesn’t put too much pressure on your eyes. At $13, it’s something I think every good napper should own.
9. A great hair dryer at a low price
When your hair dryer isn't very powerful, it can feel like it takes over an hour to actually get your hair dry. Some of the best models can cost well over $100, but if you don’t want to spend that much, then we suggest this one from Revlon. It’s only $20 and after testing all the leading hair dryers, it really wowed us. It had an impressive drying time compared to the other most expensive hair dryers we tried and it was one of the lightest too. This will seriously upgrade your beauty routine without gouging your wallet.
10. The water bottle everyone’s talking about
HydroFlasks water bottles have garnered some big recognition. They’re stylish, durable and actually keep your drinks cold throughout the day. Seriously, you can leave these bad boys in a hot car and your water will still be ice cold hours later. That’s why the HydroFlask is the best water botte we’ve ever tested. Some of the larger models are quite expensive, but you can get an 18-ounce one for $30.
11. Eyeliner that won’t smudge
Not only is liquid eyeliner tricky to apply, but it often smudges within an hour of putting it on. That’s why after testing some of the best liquid eyeliners we were so shocked by how well Stila Stay All Day worked. Its felt tip made it pretty dang easy to apply and it didn’t smudge on watery eyes or greasy lids. We would trust this eyeliner to hold up anywhere from your dry office to a tropical, humid vacation.
12. An incredibly bright flashlight
Everyone should have a super bright flashlight on hand. They're essential for any emergency like when the power goes out, you're digging through dark crevices, or you're just walking the dog late at night. For one you can keep on hand, we recommend the Olight S2 Baton, which is the best portable flashlight we’ve ever tested. It’s pretty small but packs a bright illumination from 21 feet away and it’s small enough to keep in a bag or drawer at home.
13. A stylish travel mug for coffee on-the-go
Whether you’re trying to be more eco-conscious or cut back on your Starbucks habit (or both!), a reusable mug is a great place to start. The best ones not only look good but also keep your drinks hot and are spill-proof—and this one from Zojirushi fits the bill. It’s our favorite travel mug because it was the best at retaining temperature in our tests. At $26, it’s a pricier travel mug compared to others, but it’s totally worth it. Trust me.
14. An ice cream maker to satisfy your sweet tooth
Eating ice cream is great, but making your own might be more fun. There’s something so satisfying about watching milk, cream, and sugar come together to create holy cream and while using less processed ingredients. Plus, you don’t even have to spend that much to make some at home. The best ice cream maker we’ve ever tested is from Cuisinart and only costs $40 and performed much better than models that cost hundreds of dollars. Honestly, you shouldn't spend more than $40 on something you're only going to use one on twice.
15. Reusable straws so you can “stop sucking”
Straws became quite controversial in Summer 2018, but reducing single-use plastic is still just as relevant. Although we can all agree that carrying around reusable straws is annoying and unsanitary, you can take a step in the right direction by keeping a few in your home or office. These glass straws from Hummingbird are the best reusable straws we’ve ever tested because they look sleek and don’t taste like the material they’re made of compared to other straws that are made of metal, bamboo, and silicone. You can get four for $25.
16. Sandwich bags for more sustainable lunches
Another single-use plastic that may be easier to eliminate is sandwich bags. Instead of tossing your lunches in plastic baggies, pack your sandwiches in these cute Lunchskins bags. They’re the best reusable sandwich bags we’ve ever tested and they cost $10 each. It may seem a lot for a sandwich bag, but you can save money in the long run by not buying as many plastic bags for sandwiches.
17. A foam roller for your aching muscles
Foam rolling is having a moment. At the gym, I’m seeing everyone rolling out their muscles after an intense workout. To be honest, I feel quite uncomfortable rolling my body out in front of other people, so I’d much rather do it at home. It’s also nice to have one lying around when you’re feeling sore from life in general. After testing a variety of foam rollers, we liked this one from LuxFit best because it was sturdy and got the job done without too much pain.
18. Dry shampoo when you’re too busy to shower
We all have those days when we don’t have enough time to actually wash our hair. Thankfully, dry shampoo exists to keep hair looking decent in between washes or after a sweaty session at the gym. The Dove Refresh + Care is our favorite dry shampoo because our hair actually feels clean after using it. Bonus: It’s a fraction of a price compared to luxury brands and it works better.
19. Bath towels to upgrade your bathrooms
A good bath towel can completely change your daily cleansing experience. Wrapping yourself in something cozy and absorbent is way better than that scratchy towel you have from college. The Fieldcrest Spa Solid Bath Towel is the best bath towel we’ve ever tested and exceeded our expectations. It’s large, made of soft cotton, and soaked up spills with no problem. Plus, it's less then $20.
20. A humidifier for the dry air
During the winter it seems like everyone is coughing and hacking up a storm thanks to the frigid, dry air we're breathing. To help soothe your throat, you should probably invest in a humidifier—and your don't even have to spend too much to do so. This one from Vicks is the best humidifier we’ve ever tested because you can run it for 10 hours and there’s a spot for a medicine cup, so you can fight sickness in your sleep. It’s also reasonably priced at $36.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.