There's something about outlandish "As Seen on TV" product claims that gets you wondering — do they really work as well as they say they do? Several weeks ago we looked at 10 products with a critical eye, and we’re back for a second round.
This time, we'll give a nod to a few classics, which have become better known through great marketing and a receptive audience — but are they actually worth the money? We also throw in a few newer products for good measure.
So, here’s our list of the products that work, and the ones that are victims of their own lofty claims.
Five "As Seen on TV" products we like:
1. Ped Egg: When it comes to classic "As Seen on TV" products, Ped Egg is the gold standard. Described as a cheese grater for dried skin on your feet (no, seriously), this little gizmo can be purchased most anywhere and those who have a need for that sort of thing say it really works. (Available at Amazon for $5.79 + free shipping via Prime, a low by $3.)
2. Perfect Brownie Pan: Talk about products that really work. When this pan (which features a metal grid that allows each brownie to cook individually) was put to the test, what was the biggest criticism? The brownies were too perfect. Not a bad problem to have. Whether anyone needs to have perfectly shaped brownies is another story. (Amazon has it for $9.58 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $5.)
3. Nuwave Oven Pro: This is pricey in the "As Seen on TV" universe, but devotees swear by this countertop oven that cooks with infrared heat. The magic? You use it to cook frozen meat (like a turkey), and usually in less time than it takes to cook thawed meat in a conventional oven. Some complain about a lack of durability. But, while it's not a necessary gadget, it is pretty cool. There are various models, and the larger ones typically retail for about $130. (However, we found the NuWave Mini Oven for $89.99 via "SMS8113" with free shipping via "FREE4U75", a low by $9.)
4. Bottle Tops: Don't like putting your lips to a soda can? Want to seal it up tight after you open it because you can't finish it? Then consider Bottle Tops. The plastic lids — which resemble, well, the tops of bottles — snap tightly onto cans and give you the upside of the bottle with the cheapness of the can. They come in a pack of a dozen assorted colors, so you can tell whose can is whose. (Available at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $2.99 with $6 s&h, a low by $3.)
Five "As Seen on TV" products we're not so keen on:
5. Snuggie: At first people mocked this blanket with sleeves. But then they realized how useful it is to have full mobility of their arms while being swathed in a very warm throw. So now, like the Ped Egg, Snuggies are everywhere. They almost parody themselves with versions for dogs and styles in an array of wild colors, patterns, and collages. (Prices vary widely depending on style, but we found men’s and women’s versions at Amazon from $6.60 with free shipping via Prime, a low by at least $4.)
Five "As Seen on TV" products we're not so keen on:
1. Sham Wow: This product gets a lot of points for having a memorable infomercial, but not so many for actually delivering. If you have to clean up a spill, feel free to keep using paper towels, sponges, and normal cotton towels. (Wanna try it anyway? It's available at Amazon for $13.99 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $1.)
2. Magic Bullet: For a little blender-ish, chopper gizmo, the Magic Bullet has done alright for itself. However, it overachieves with the boast, "Does any job in 10 seconds or less." Some love it despite this underachievement, but many also complain that it lacks durability. (Available at Walgreens for $49.99 with free shipping, a low by $5.)
3. Water Jet: Just stick an attachment on your hose and there's no need to buy a pressure washer! Not quite. Anyone who has ever had a hose nozzle knows you can change the pressure by how you adjust it. But anyone who has ever used a pressure washer knows why it makes that loud sound as it propels the water harder than any normal hose. Water Jet isn't a power washer. (Available at Amazon for $16.94 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $3.)
4. iRenew Balance Bracelet: This product is nutty. Tons of people swear by it, but even the manufacturer no longer claims it has the miraculous power to give its owner the super-strong balance that it once demonstrated in infomercials and online videos. If someone tells you this thing is science in action, take a pass. (Available in White or Black for $8 with free shipping, a low by $4.)
5. Swivel Sweeper: Here's another product that has gone seriously mainstream, but has so many worthy competitors that its boasts are a bit too hearty for its own good. It only really works on certain surfaces — hard ones, typically — and isn't a replacement for a vacuum. It can be a handy little picker-upper, but many consumers report durability issues. (Available at Amazon for $32.88 with free shipping, a low by $3.)
And before you go scouting out these and other "As Seen on TV" products, keep the following in mind:
Avoid buying directly from a company's website, where there is tremendous pressure to upsell you and get you to register for clubs or programs you don't need. They also typically offer you a "free" item, which will cost you far more in shipping and handling (where a lot of these companies make their profit).