15 As-Seen-on-TV Products That Are Actually Worth Buying
Veg-o-Matics and Pocket Fishermen aren't the only offbeat, useful products we're glad we bought on late-night TV. These 21st-century cleaning, organizing and DIY-ing gems prove that some of the products sold on television are pure gold.
Have you ever been tempted to buy one of those products you see advertised on TV infomercials? Sure, the spokesperson swears it does everything (and more!), but does it really live up to the hype? While some as-seen-on-TV products are a bit of a bust, others have gone mainstream—really, who among us didn’t have a Snuggie or a George Foreman grill? Here are some of our favorite clever and unique products that are advertised on television and are genuinely useful.
1. Super Bright Switch
Not to say that it’s bleeding-edge technology, but something like the Super Bright Switch wouldn’t have been possible—or just wouldn’t have been any good—before the advent of LEDs. Thanks to the rise and commoditization of LEDs, the world now enjoys an entirely new lighting subcategory: stick-on lights.
The Super Bright Switch operates on a simple premise: It’s a light that sticks right to walls and metal surfaces, with no tools or wiring required. When you flip the switch, it emits crisp, 200-lumen illumination. Pop it inside a cabinet, in a closet, or anywhere you need a quick, cheap, and easy lighting solution.
2. Gorilla Ties
Like zip ties but better, Gorilla Ties are not only super-strong and durable, they’re also reusable. Each tie can hold up to 200 pounds (think hanging bikes in the garage, corralling heavy hoses and cords in the shed, hanging houseplants from the ceiling, and so on), and you can twist and untwist them time and time again. Gorilla Ties come in 8-inch or 18-inch lengths and feature rust-free covers, so they can be used indoors or outdoors.
You have to give it up for ShamWow: Very few as-seen-on-TV products—really, very few products of any sort—reach such lofty levels of fame, ever. And it’s not just celebrated for its commercials. There are plenty of people who swear that for big spills and splashes, the super-absorbent ShamWow works infinitely better than cotton rags or clumps of paper towels.
4. Beyond Bright Garage Light
Do you need more light in the garage, basement, or attic but don’t want to hardwire in an additional fixture? Replace any standard 60-watt garage bulb with Ontel’s Beyond Bright LED Garage Light, which has three adjustable LED panels so you can aim its 3,500 lumens of white light just where you need it. To see more options, check out our researched guide to the best garage lighting.
Unclogging the shower drain is one of the worst, most disgusting household chores. TubShroom, rated best overall in our researched guide to the best shower drain hair catchers, takes a preventive approach to clogs that can minimize your reliance on drain cleaners and plumbers. When positioned inside a bathtub drain, the TubShroom collects hair around its mushroom-shaped exterior. When the water backs up, simply remove the TubShroom and wipe away the collected hair. Then you can put it back in place and enjoy a steaming hot shower in peace!
RELATED: The Best Drain Cleaners for Hair
6. Fasta Pasta
While it’s not technically true that a watched pot never boils, it can certainly feel that way. While cooking pasta may not be difficult, it does take time. You can speed things along with the Fasta Pasta, which will have you and your family sitting down to a spaghetti dinner in mere minutes. This plastic wonder does it all: Use the lid to measure the right portions, fill the container with water, pop it in the microwave, and then drain. In only a few short minutes, your pasta is cooked to al dente perfection.
7. Shoe Slotz
If your current shoe organization system makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for—or worse, bends your footwear out of shape—it’s time to find another solution. In a perfect world, your closet would have enough floor and shelf space to store all your shoes within easy reach. If, however, you live like most, with space at a premium, you’ll probably see the space-saving benefit of the Shoe Slotz. Stack sneakers, ankle boots, or heels inside the plastic organizer, and watch your shoe collection go from out of control to orderly.
8. Hover Cover
Have you ever had to scrub the inside of a microwave? Even after you loosen grime from the interior walls of this go-to appliance by nuking lemon wedges and 2 to 3 cups of water, the cleaning process still requires a bit of elbow grease to remove the stuck-on splatter from soups and sauces. With the Hover Cover, you can stop those splashes before they start. This clear splatter guard sits on top of your plate, protecting the inside of the microwave from unsightly splatters. After use, hand-wash with soap or stick it in the top rack of the dishwasher. When it’s clean, its four microwave-safe magnets attach to the ceiling of the microwave so it’s there the next time you need it.
9. Turbo Scrub 360
When your arm gets tired from all of the elbow grease needed to clean grout, tubs, and floors, switch to this handy helper. The Turbo Scrub 360 comes with three replaceable scrubber heads: flat, round, and corner. The different brush shapes help you tackle buildup or grime on tubs, tiles, glass shower walls, tile floors, windows, and more.
The electric scrubbing action continues for up to 30 minutes after 3 to 4 hours of charging, and an extension handle means you can reach further with less bending. Switch out the brushes to get any job done in a jiffy.
Is your favorite white shirt covered in stubborn ink, wine, or blood stains? Did you accidentally trek dirt onto your brand-new carpet? Has your shower grout seen better days? All of these problems can be solved with one powerful product: OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover. This powdered cleanser relies on water and oxygen (not chlorine) bleach to break down stains on a variety of surfaces, from carpet to laundry to bathroom tile. It works, which is why it’s ranked best overall in our researched guide to the best stain removers.
11. J5 Tactical Flashlight
There are times when you really need a flashlight—in emergency situations on the road or at home, while camping or exploring, or when peering into the dark crevices inside your walls, under your floorboards, or wherever else your home improvement projects take you. A flashlight that can do all of this needs to be powerful, compact, versatile, rugged, and bright—in other words, something like the J5 tactical flashlight.
At less than 4 inches long, it’s small enough to fit in a tool box, glove compartment, or backpack, but its light can reach nearly 600 feet away on either a AA battery or a rechargeable one (batteries not included). Light this little guy up and choose high, low, or strobe settings. An adjustable focus feature lets you zoom in for an intense beam or out for wider illumination.
12. Socket Shelf
Both outlets and shelf space tend to be in limited supply in places where we need them most, especially in older homes. Enter the Socket Shelf: Just plug it into a standard outlet to transform it into a wall-mounted power strip with six outlets and a small shelf with a lip to hold phones, smart watches, and other devices. Two USB ports offer convenient charging in the kitchen or bathroom, or by the bed or couch. Built-in surge protection and GFCI compatibility add to its appeal. Best of all, you gain a small shelf and loads of outlets with no installation required!
13. Turbo Pump
Transfer gas and other liquids from one container to another safely and without spills with the Turbo Pump Automatic Liquid Transfer Pump from Ontel. The pump siphons fluids with the flick of a button and requires just three AAA batteries (not included). Just insert the pump into a filled container, clip the 3-foot hose to an empty container, and flip the switch. The pump then goes to work siphoning out gas, oil, or washer fluid with no mess, in practically no time. The company claims it can transfer a gallon of liquid in an impressive 20 seconds. The pump is cordless and lightweight too.
14. Better Life Natural Cleaners
Back in 2008, lifelong friends Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs were in search of safer, more natural cleaners to use around their growing toddlers. The result was their company, Better Life, and a line of plant-based, eco-friendly cleaning products, including the Better Life Natural All-Purpose Cleaner. After the duo appeared on the TV series Shark Tank, the natural cleaner took off, and the company now offers products designed for the nursery, bathroom, laundry room, and even your floors. Or you can just stick with the original all-purpose cleaner, which you can spray safely on almost any surface.
15. Flex Shot Rubber Sealant
Skip the caulking gun and just grab a tube of Flex Shot Thick Rubber Adhesive Sealant for quick home repairs. With a squeeze of the tube, you can repair cracks and holes or stop leaks in short order. The sealant is thick and mildew-resistant, and it won’t expand. Use it on nearly any surface, including in showers and around bathroom vanity countertops. Be sure to follow standard steps for caulking so your fixes will look as good as they hold. This two-pack in almond can do the job for most general home repairs, even for those who claim no DIY skills.
Prices quoted here are accurate as of April 13, 2023.