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- Many of the main perks to shopping on Amazon are the wide selections and low costs, but those things can also make it difficult to know what's really worth spending your money on.
- My favorite way to make sense of what's great on Amazon is by getting recommendations from friends and coworkers.
- I asked my Insider Inc. colleagues about the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25 and unearthed some interesting finds.
- Read more: 17 products and services we bought based on glowing reviews from our coworkers
Amazon, land of one million things you maybe need and another 5 million options for each of them, has become the one-stop-shop for an unbelievable amount of online purchases. The e-commerce kingpin has a huge selection where you'll find household names, low prices, and the two-day (or two-hour) Prime shipping that panders well to those among us who are gluttons for instant gratification.
But a huge selection can make it time-consuming and ultimately expensive to root out what's really worth spending your money on. The best loophole is to seek out recommendations from people you trust.
So, I decided to ask my colleagues at Insider about the best things they've bought on Amazon for under $25 — most of whom spend every day researching and testing thousands of products to find the few worth writing home about. Hopefully, they're as helpful to you as they were to me.
Below are the 44 best things we've bought on Amazon that cost us less than $25:
A decorative antique tray that shows off and stores your beauty products
It's an aesthetically pleasing stage that doubles as decor and a proud home for my cosmetics. I use it in my bathroom, storing the skincare products and perfume I reach for every day. I've seen people using it on TikTok as a jewelry vanity to display their favorite pieces. —Jacqueline Saguin
A liquid cleanser that works as a gentle hand soap for sensitive skin
I bought this as an alternative to my household's Bath & Body Works hand soap stock. Its fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and dermatologist-tested formula pleases my sensitive skin. This straightforward cleanser never causes redness or irritation for frequent hand washers like me. I pour the liquid into a decorative holder, so it matches my bathroom. — Jacqueline Saguin
A 10-foot phone charger that reaches across your room
Whenever I visited a friend or a family member's home, the outlets were always a far reach from the bed. I use my phone's alarm clock and am not particularly pleasant in the morning, so rushing to the other side of the room to turn the incessant chiming off was a startling awakening. It's less expensive than the Apple charging cord and longer. I hide the cord behind my nightstand and keep it next to my bed, so I have easy access to my phone. —Jacqueline Saguin
I got tired of my Apple iPhone cords fraying, so I picked this sturdy charging cable up on Amazon. Mine is pink and I love the color, but I love the extra length even more. Similar to Jacqueline, I had an issue with the outlet being across the room and would jump up in a panic every morning to turn off the alarm. Now I can keep my phone near my bed and press snooze over and over, which may or may not be a good thing. Either way, it was an excellent buy. —Ashley Phillips
Spiral hair ties that won't break your hair
After using elastic hair ties for so long, I got tired of pulling out my hair, getting headaches, and snapping scrunchies. I had seen spiral hair ties before, but assumed they wouldn't hold well. However, these ones from Kitsch really do the trick. They keep their shape, are comfortable, and avoid long-lasting ponytail bumps. I wear these with high ponytails, low ponytails, and even braids. —Katie Decker-Jacoby
Espresso capsules that satisfy your coffee fix
The majority of my Amazon order history is made up of these illy espresso capsules, and the orders have even been way more frequent since I started working from home. You'll need one of the illy pod machines to use them (I have the X7) but the investment is 110% worth it in my opinion.
I can whip up an Italian espresso in under a minute, and it tastes so much better than the coffee from the Nespresso and Keurig machines I previously owned. Being able to buy the pods off of Amazon means my caffeine supply is always well-stocked, and if I ever do run out, I know I can get more in just two days max. —Ashley Phillips
A hair mask that restores moisture to your scalp
I was looking for hair masks because my hair tends to get really dry in the wintertime. I bought this hair mask after doing some research on Asian hair products, and I'm so glad I did. My hair feels soft and moisturized after I use it, even if I just use it as a normal conditioner. It works even better as a leave-in deep conditioner, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to add moisture to their hair. Bonus: It also smells amazing. —Allison Jiang
A car mount that secures your phone
Although this is an older version of the Easy One Touch series of smartphone car mounts from iOttie, it will work with all types of phones and it costs less than $20. What I really like is the strong suction cup that adheres to almost any kind of surface, and the telescopic arm is handy if your car's dashboard is farther back from an arm's reach. —Les Shu
An iPad case that is multi-functional
I needed a simple case for my new iPad Air 4 but was shocked by how much Apple charges for one of its cases. This option from ESR is a fraction of Apple's Smart Cover, and while it doesn't have as nice of a build quality as the Smart Cover, the ESR case is well-made nonetheless. It has a magnetic closure to wake the iPad's screen or put it to sleep, the cover folds into a stand, and there's a convenient slot for an Apple Pencil. My only complaint is that the case makes it hard to use the Touch ID sensor, but I'm quite satisfied given the price and overall usability. —Les Shu
Fuzzy slippers to complete your work-from-home look
I've been hearing about these Amazon slippers for months — from TikTok, Instagram, podcasts I listen to — so I had to give them a try. These slippers are comfy, just warm enough, and perfect for working from home. The quality is also great for being under $20. An added bonus is that they come in almost any color you can imagine! —Victoria Gracie
A knit beanie that's stylish and comfortable
I've noticed Carhartt beanies have become increasingly popular and I finally jumped on the bandwagon. This beanie is cute, comfortable, and super warm. I got it in black so it would go with almost anything and I've been wearing it nonstop since I got it. —Victoria Gracie
Makeup storage that fits a snug countertop
I've always struggled with storing my makeup since I don't have a ton of storage space and I can never seem to find a way to keep it all organized. I found these clear drawers and figured I'd give them a try, not knowing this would be one of the best purchases I've made! Most of my makeup fits nicely into these drawers and everything is now easy to find and organized. The drawers fit a ton, but aren't too large, making them perfect for a bathroom countertop, dresser, or vanity. —Victoria Gracie
A big mattress bag to make moving a piece of cake
Anyone who's moving will need a mattress bag to keep it from getting dirty. I've moved three times and have used this each time. It's thick so you can drag it along smooth floors, smooth concrete, or up a few flights of stairs without ripping, though I wouldn't recommend dragging this over sidewalks. — Jada Wong
Pimple patches that suck the gunk right out of your pores
If you look at my Amazon history, these pimple patches are the only thing I consistently order. They're super effective at drawing out fluids from pimples and helping them deflate, and as small, virtually clear stickers, they're hardly noticeable by other people. Within a few hours, you can expect them to noticeably improve the look and swelling of your pimple — they're that reliable. — Connie Chen
A pair of $10 anti-glare, blue-light-blocking computer glasses
This is the best thing I've ever purchased on Amazon! They are blue-light-blocking, anti-glare glasses, which are super helpful for looking at a computer/phone screen all day long. I don't normally wear glasses, but I wanted to try them out before buying a pair from Felix Gray or Eyebuydirect.com. These are so cute and they actually work... plus they are $10! Can't beat it. — Madison Conley
An easy-to-use, versatile cast iron skillet
Can't say enough great things about this cast iron skillet. It heats evenly and consistently on the stove top, and has zero issues with tossing it directly in the oven or broiler. I use it for roasted chicken, bacon, roasted potatoes, frittatas, eggs, steak, and sauteing veggies. It's also super easy to clean, which is something that scares people away from cooking with cast iron. It's also on Prime. — Stephanie Asymkos
This product was originally under $25 when the article was first published. We've left it on the list since prices on Amazon tend to fluctuate often.
A natural clay mask that has a cult-following
This mask, as seen on INSIDER. It transformed my skin and is probably my most recommended product. The best part? It's $10! — Chelsey Hoffman
Ingredients for a favorite recipe
I buy a lot of recipe ingredients, spices, and hot sauces on Amazon that I'm less likely to find in stores near me, like these freeze-dried strawberries. They are the star ingredient in my Berry Crinkle Cookies recipe; I use one whole package per batch. — Ellen Hoffman
A salt lamp that gives off a nice, warm glow
My partner gave me this salt lamp for the holidays, and I love turning it on at the end of the day. It provides a nice, warm glow that's bright enough for some late-night reading or just creating a gentle ambiance, which is much appreciated when coping with the chaos of living in New York. — Sally Kaplan
A wash and stain bar that will keep your shirt collars looking nicer for longer
No $6 has had a more positive impact on my effort to preserve my clothing than the $6 I spent on this bar by The Laundress. I learned about this product from executive editor Ellen Hoffman and I can honestly say it's the best thing I've done for my dress shirts. One bar has lasted me well over a year, and I just need to wet my shirt collar and rub the bar back and forth a few times before washing. It gets rid of all of the grime and oil from my collars. I was able to rehab shirts that were ready to go to charity or become rags. — Breton Fischetti
A pack of inexpensive toy mice to keep your cat entertained
Engage your cat's instincts for play with the twelve fuzzy little mice included in the Hartz Just for Cats Kitty Frenzy Cat Toy.
This $6 pack of toy mice is cheap, but it manages to keep my cat entertained for days on end ... until she manages to trap all of the mice under the couch and I have to rescue them. — Ellen Hoffman
A mini waffle-maker that gets the job done and takes up minimal countertop space
This teeny tiny waffle maker is small but mighty. For those rare instances when I'm craving a waffle or two, this very small appliance easily gets the job done and stays out of the way when it's stored. It's very easy to use and clean; just plug in and wait for the light, add your batter and close the iron. To clean, wait for the iron to cool down, then wipe with a damp cloth and you're done. — Melanie Winer
Fun colorful handles for your cast iron cookware
I love my cast iron Lodge pans, but sometimes you need to grip the handle while it's hot, and you obviously can't when it's hundreds of degrees — so I bought a few bright silicone hot handle holders for all my cast iron cookware. Now my hands are safe, and my black skillets have fun colorful handles. — Malarie Gokey
A pair of $15 earbuds that sound like they'd cost way more
These Panasonic earbuds were easily the best $8.25 [price at the time] I ever spent on Amazon. The sound quality is fantastic and they're incredibly comfortable. I'm not someone who would ever spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of over-the-ear headphones, so these are exactly right for me. — Andrew Meola
A little 'Tub Shroom' that catches your hair before it clogs the drain
Between her curly red hair and my long brown hair, my roommate and I shed a lot. Our tub doesn't have a drain catch and after a particularly effortful session with a plastic drain cleaner, I decided it was finally time to try this viral hair catcher out. This small silicone tool fits into most standard tub drains and collects all the hair before it washes down and clogs your drain. Take it out, remove the hair with a piece of toilet paper, and it's ready for the next shower." — Connie Chen
A no-fuss traveling garment steamer
The first time I brought a steamer to Europe, it basically exploded 30 seconds after I turned it on. Lesson learned. I found this inexpensive travel steamer that's dual voltage, and while it's not the best I've ever owned, it gets the job done and I don't have to worry about electrical mishaps. — Ashley Phillips
A sound machine to replace the sounds of the city at night with nature or white noise
I use this white noise machine while sleeping at night to blur out the street sounds of this noisy city. It's also really easy to travel with. Whether you want to blur out the crickets, car horns, loud neighbors, or just need some white noise, it's a must-have for the bedside table. — Chris Roth
Comfortable, public-friendly sweatpants
As work from home continues, I've been looking for more sweatpants that I can comfortably work in that are also appropriate for walks and socially distant plans. These sweats are affordable, have sustained washes and all-day wear, and the rainbow stripe down the side adds a bit of fun." — Emily Hein
A hairbrush that won't break after a few months
My thick hair has a long history of eating brushes, but the Wet Brush finally put a stop to that! It painlessly smooths out tangles and the bristles are tough enough that I only have to buy a new one every year or so. Before, my brushes only ever made it a few months. — Ashley Phillips
An inexpensive, well-designed measuring cup
OXO is my go-to kitchen brand for cheap, well-designed tools. This measuring cup set has a geniously angled surface that allows you to see measurement markings from above as you're pouring, so you can better measure ingredients without bending or lifting the cup to eye level.
I also highly recommend OXO's silicone baking mat for creating a non-stick surface that makes for easier cleanups and this cookie scoop for scooping out balls of dough that are all the same size. — Ellen Hoffman
An inexpensive face mask pack that's more expensive at other retailers
I buy all my sheet masks as 5-packs on Amazon. This pack from Too Cool for School is $16 on Amazon (currently unavailable), while the sheet masks go for $6 apiece at Ulta (and a set for $24). You do the math. — Ellen Hoffman
Editor's note: Currently unavailable at Amazon, but available at Ulta
Affordable jewelry that lets you save up for an investment piece
I love chokers and layering different necklaces together, but I have a short attention span when it comes to jewelry. I tend to lean more towards affordable jewelry that I can experiment with on different looks before committing to staple pieces that I know I'll wear forever. This choker set was a great addition to my summer looks, and now I have more of an idea of what I'm looking for when I eventually take the plunge on long wear jewelry. — Emily Hein
A PopSocket to make gripping a large iPhone less strenuous on your fingers
When I got my iPhone X, I also picked up a PopSocket grip to make it easier to hold my phone without straining my fingers. I love it because it's practical, keeps my phone secure, and lets me express my crazy cat lady side. — Malarie Gokey
Editor's note: They come in a variety of colors and designs.
Reusable K-cups for your Keurig or to use as impromptu tea balls for loose-leaf tea
I recently got a Keurig for the sake of convenience, but I knew I didn't want to use wasteful plastic pods with it, so I got these reusable ones instead. They work great for their intended use, but I also figured out that they make excellent tea balls for brewing loose-leaf cups. — Sally Kaplan
A wallet phone case that lets you keep your bag at home
This wallet case holds enough that you never need to carry a bag. I always have at least 5 credit cards, my ID, my insurance card, a MetroCard, a few punch cards, and sometimes cash in mine. I bought my first ZVE Wallet Case in 2017, and between myself and my mom (who I've evangelized), we've ordered 7 of these cases through 4 generations of iPhone. It might be too chunky for some, but I highly recommend this if you hate needing to carry a bag. Plus, when things start happening again, you can skip the bag check lines at sporting events and concerts. — Elisabeth Chambry
A rapid egg cooking machine that's completely foolproof
After I read Jen Gushue's review of this under-$20 rapid egg cooking gadget, I was fully influenced to buy it. It makes hard-boiled eggs in half the time of traditional methods with absolutely no guesswork, saving me a good chunk of time during the week and ensuring I actually eat breakfast on busy mornings. — Ellen Hoffman
This handy water bottle that takes the guesswork out of hydration
This water bottle comes with me everywhere I go. The secure lid ensures no spillage in my bag and the removable strap adds versatility in transportation. The printed tracking is the main selling point as a quick glance can let me know how I am doing with my daily water intake and if needed motivate me to ensure I am drinking at least 64oz of water per day. In a sense, this water bottle has gamified drinking water and that's fun! — Frank Massaro
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.