8 Amazon Purchases That Are a Waste of Money

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Amazon sells everything from AirPods to zero-gravity chairs, and while there are some great buys on quality products, there are also plenty of items that should never find their way into your shopping cart. 

According to Statista, Amazon Prime shoppers spend an average of $1,400 per year while non-Prime members spend about $600. For most people, neither amount is a drop in the bucket, so to speak. So, to help you make sure your dollars are well-spent, here are eight Amazon purchases that are a waste of money

Steering Wheel Laptop Desk

“While this can be used for working or eating, neither one is going to be really comfortable in your car,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews. “It’s only $11, so it’s not a huge waste of money, but you’ll likely be far better off doing work in an office or even a coffee shop where you can get more comfortable and focus better than sitting in your car, even if you’re having a working lunch.”

If you’re tempted to purchase this item for meals, Ramhold said that the odds are good that you don’t really need it unless you are purchasing some seriously fancy takeout. She noted that most fast food options can be consumed without a makeshift table. Also, if you do get it, you should never actually use it while driving.

Avocado Slicer

Ramhold acknowledged that an avocado slicer can be a handy tool, but for most people it’s just unnecessary. 

“Whether there’s a lot of kitchen storage or not, having so-called unitasker tools isn’t ideal,” she said. “Even if you’re eating a ton of avocados, most people will be fine with a simple knife and using a spoon to scoop out the pit. That said, if you’re someone who suffers from arthritis or stiff joints, this tool might be useful, but you’ll still need to be consuming avocados on a pretty regular basis to make it worthwhile for both the cost — it’s roughly $11 — and the storage space it takes up.”

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Duster Mop Slippers

Ramhold said that these cleaning slippers, which cost about $11, are billed as an alternative to a traditional mop. However, she said that the truth is they’re not going to do much other than maybe drag dirt around. 

“And if you’re planning to use it as a wet mop, you’ll still have to spray cleaner on the floor before rubbing your feet over it and depending on the surface and what you’re using, this could actually present a fall hazard,” she said. “These might be good for some dry dusting, but overall you’re better off using traditional cleaning tools instead of relying on these.”

UV Smartphone Sanitizer

Lisa Shelby, senior marketing manager at ThePricer.org, said that UV smartphone sanitizers are a waste of money. “The product claims to sanitize and disinfect your phone using UV-C light,” she said. “However, according to many customers, it doesn’t work as advertised and doesn’t eliminate germs and bacteria effectively, giving you just a false sense of safety.”

Hair Straightening Brush

Although some well-known brands might have hair straightening brushes that work well, you likely want to pass on items of this type that are knock-offs. Shelby said that many customers have reported that this type of product doesn’t work well on thick, curly hair and doesn’t straighten hair effectively.

Copper Compression Socks

“Although these socks claim to improve circulation and reduce swelling, many customers have reported that they don’t fit well and don’t provide enough compression,” said Shelby. 

Additionally, there aren’t any scientific studies to support claims that a copper and compression combo has such effects.

Shake Weight

“This product claims to tone and strengthen your arms,” said Shelby, “but many customers have reported that it doesn’t provide any significant results and is a waste of money.”

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Furthermore, scientific studies are inconclusive about the benefits the Shake Weight can provide.

Electronic Ab Belt

Shelby said electronic ab belts claim to tone and strengthen your abs, but that many customers have reported that it doesn’t work as advertised and doesn’t provide any significant results.

Many studies on electronic muscle stimulators have been inconclusive or have proven that these devices don’t change abdominal muscles.

Bottom Line: It Pays To Be Discerning When Shopping on Amazon

Even though there are some Amazon purchases that can be considered a waste of money, the e-commerce giant has plenty of things that are worth your hard-earned dollars. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a product is worth buying. 

Shelby offered one final piece of advice, “These products may work differently for different people, and it’s always recommended to read reviews and do your research before making any purchases.”

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