Don’t Waste Your Money On These Consumer Products

Advertisements are designed to make people think that they need certain products. If you own an Apple device, you require an Apple charger. If you want a robot vacuum, you need the newest model. Are these claims valid or just a waste of money?

Many websites and experts have tested products and determined them to be too expensive. Even standard household products, like expensive watches, sunscreens, and e-readers, turn out to be a waste of money. Here’s why you shouldn’t throw away cash on these consumer products.

Replace Apple Chargers With Cheaper Options

Multiple people charge their iPhones with chargers.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Have you ever noticed that Apple chargers frequently break? Apple chargers can cost between $7 and $100, depending on the device. Powering expert Sarah Witman says that Apple’s cables are flimsy at best, and plenty of companies produce cheaper, stronger options.

An article in Know Your Mobile found that Apple does not produce the best chargers. AmazonBasic’s unofficial Apple Lightning Cable is half the cost of Apple’s official product and works twice as well. Companies such as Belkin, Vinsic, RAVPower, Powergen, and Anker sell less expensive options.

Why Washer-Dryer Combos Aren’t Worth It

An all-in-one washer dryer combo is on display at an expo.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Washer-dryer combos are designed to both clean and dry your clothes. They save a lot of space, so why don’t people see them in more apartments? It’s because they’re expensive and take far too long to work. The LG WM3997HWA costs $1,740, and the Kenmore Elite 41002 is $1,500.

The dryer takes hours longer than a separate dryer, and that’s at half capacity. Steve Sheinkopf, the CEO of Yale Appliance + Lighting, says that the repair rate is high. Seventy percent of washer-dryer combos need repairs within the first year. It’s not worth the price.

You Don’t Need To Spend So Much On E-Readers

A person reads a Kindle Paperwhite at a cafe.
Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images
Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images

Don’t get us wrong; e-readers are worthwhile purchases for people who like to read on the go. But as the e-reader market rises, companies release new and “improved” products that cost more for…well, hardly anything. Consider the Kindle Oasis, which costs $250 more than the standard Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

Critics have argued that there’s hardly anything different between a luxury e-reader and a regular one. “Unfortunately, Amazon still hasn’t made a strong argument for why anyone actually needs a high-end reading device,” wrote Devindra Hardawar of Engadget.

Some iRobot Roombas Are Too Expensive

A roomba picks up cereal off the carpet.
Douglas McFadd/Getty Images
Douglas McFadd/Getty Images

Robotic vacuum cleaners can save you plenty of time. However, iRobot (the pioneer of Roomba) has released increasingly expensive products. In 2019, the Roomba S9+ cost $1,299. But robotic vacuums are no longer luxury items; you can buy one for far cheaper.

When Reviewed tested 20 robotic vacuums in May 2020, they found that the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C was the most effective. It only costs $299 on Amazon. Plenty of companies like Samsung, Dyson, and Electrolux offer the same product for far less money. And it could work better, too.

Cut The Cord On Cable TV

A teenage girl watches the news on TV.
ERIC LALMAND/AFP via Getty Images
marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Many people are “cutting the cord” on cable TV, for a good reason. Streaming services now offer more shows than ever, and they do so at a fraction of the price. “Cable TV is the worst thing I’ve overpaid for,” personal finance editor Kali Geldis told Forbes.

According to the Leichtman Research Group, most households pay $107 a month for cable. With certain streaming services such as YouTube, you can cut that price in half. The downside? Depending on what you watch, you may need more than one streaming service, in which case you might as well buy a smart TV.

Rolex Watches Are No Longer Status Symbols

New Rolex watches are on display.
David Ramos/Getty Images
David Ramos/Getty Images

Once upon a time, people wore fancy Rolex watches to show off their status. But times are changing. “Smartwatches have changed the game,” says Jeremy Straub, the CEO of Coastal Wealth. “More and more wealthy people are choosing to wear an iWatch instead of the IWC.”

Rolex watches cost tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, smartwatches are only a hundred dollars. Smartwatches can also do much more; they can track your fitness, set timers, and give you text notifications. Can a Rolex do that? No, they only look nice.

Air Fryers? Just Use Your Oven

Two people present a Philips air fryer.
Mohd Zakir / Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Mohd Zakir / Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Air fryers are a countertop convection oven. They claim to fry foods at a rapid pace, and for that convenience, they may cost around $150. But Sharon Franke, who has spent 30 years testing kitchen appliances, insists that they aren’t worth the money.

You don’t need an air fryer to fry foods; you only need an oven or even a toaster oven. Samantha Cooper, the appliance expert at WIRED, says that air fryers are loud and take up a lot of kitchen space. Save your money; don’t buy an air fryer.

High SPF Sunscreens Are Ripping You Off

Shelves of sunscreen are seen at CVS Pharmacy.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It seems like common sense: the higher the SPF, the more protection your skin will get. But science doesn’t agree. According to the Environmental Working Group, SPF 50 sunscreen is hardly better than SPF 100. SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays; SPF 100 blocks 100%.

The problem here is that any sunscreen with an SPF over 50 charges significantly more. And they might not even be accurate. After conducting a study, Consumer Reports announced that 43% of sunscreens on the market do not have accurate SPF labels. Go for a cheap sunscreen with SPF 30 at a minimum.

Sorry, Keurig Machines Don’t Make Good Coffee

A Keurig machine brews coffee.
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images For SOBEWFF
Sergi Alexander/Getty Images For SOBEWFF

If you’re a big coffee fan, you don’t need a Keurig. These machines have become popular because of how quickly they brew one-cup drinks. But their convenience costs a pretty penny; most Keurigs cost between $60 and $200. And that’s just the machine.

The staff at Wirecutter tested 20 Keurig machines and didn’t recommend any of them. They claimed that the coffee tastes bad, and the K-cups don’t stay fresh. When you add up the price, one pound of K-cups is $30 on the low end. They are also incredibly wasteful. In 2015, over ten billion Keurig cups were produced in America alone.

Essential Oil Bug Repellants Are A Waste Of Money

Woman sprays her arm with mosquito repellent.
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Essential oil bug sprays have gone on the market as a “natural” option. Specifically, lemon eucalyptus oil has an ingredient called PMD that is supposed to work as a bug repellent. But these sprays aren’t guaranteed to have enough PMD to work.

For one thing, essential oils are not regulated by the EPA. Because of this, essential oil repellents aren’t guaranteed to work, according to biology professor Laurence Zwiebel. If there isn’t enough PMD, the smell may attract more insects. Don’t waste your money; buy regular bug repellents instead.

Don’t Waste Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles lie in a bucket with ice.
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Every year, the average American spends over $100 on water bottles alone. Three-fourths of those water bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills. You can save a ton of money by getting a filter and reusable water bottle. You’ll also help the environment.

If you’re worried about tap water quality, don’t be. The Environmental Protection Agency tests tap water between 20 and 100 times every month, depending on where you live. Plus, the FDA does not regulate bottled water, but it does control tap water.

Tower Fans Barely Make A Difference

A tower fan blows air onto a couch.
@jelly_deals/Twitter
@Lasko_Products/Twitter

Tower fans may look sleek, but they are less powerful than pedestal fans. Appliance Analysts compared pedestal and tower fans. They found that tower fans are louder, smaller, and not strong enough to blow air onto a bed or a couch.

A Goodly Home adds that tower fans only blow air at a 90-degree angle. A pedestal fan can rotate and cool down the entire room. Save your $50 or $80 on another fan. Even ceiling fans work better than a tower fan because of their range of motion.

The Downside Of Smart Pet Feeders

Two dogs wait for an automatic feeder to dispense a meal.
@getwagz/Twitter
@getwagz/Twitter

For a pet owner, smart feeders make sense; they dispense food for your pet without you interacting. But these $100-$200 devices have some shortcomings. Wirecutter pet expert Kaitlyn Well warns that smart feeders “suffer from the same accuracy errors as their dumb counterparts.”

On top of that, pet experts warn against replacing feeding with a machine. Researcher Kristyn Vitale says that mealtimes offer social interaction for your pets. If you take that away, they may develop separation anxiety. Plus, it’s far cheaper to feed your pets on your own.

Expensive Down Comforters Are Not The Best

A person fills a colored down comforter.
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The right comforter can help you get enough sleep. If you spend over $200 on a down comforter, though, you’re probably wasting money. According to Business Insider, some fo the best comforter options are the cheapest.

Out of several comforters tested, the best was the Topsleepy Luxurious All Size Goose Down Comforter that costs $83 on Amazon. The fourth best was LinenSpa All-Season Down Alternative comforter, costing $35 each. When in doubt, search for down alternative comforters. They offer similar materials for a fraction of the price.

Samsung’s Smart Refrigerator Isn’t That Smart

A woman opens a smart refrigerator.
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images
Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

It seems that every kitchen appliance has become “smart” nowadays, and the refrigerator is no exception. For instance, Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator costs $2,000–far lower than its starting price of $6,000. CNET reviewer Ry Crist argues that two grand is still too high.

Although the touch screen is advanced, it’s not as efficient as an iPad or tablet. It is slow and cannot sync with other devices such as Alexa. The only good points are its music streaming and Google Calendar, which other devices can do just as well. All you need is a regular, dumb refrigerator.

Air Fresheners Don’t Remove Odors

A person sprays an Airwick air freshener.
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Whether you buy an aerosol can, plug-in, or diffuser, air fresheners don’t work. They will make the room smell better, but they don’t eliminate odors. They simply mask the odors with a more pleasant scent. According to Direct 365, an odor remover requires the molecule cyclodextri, which most fresheners don’t have.

On top of that, the term “fragrance” hides several chemicals that make up the scent. A study by the University of Washington found that the average air freshener releases 18 chemicals into the air. You’re better off lighting a candle; it costs less, and it does the same thing.

Don’t Buy Tools That You Can Rent

Tools hang in a Home Depot.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Household tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers, are worth buying. But specialty tools–such as ones for your car–don’t need to be on hand all the time. Why purchase these tools when you can rent them or even borrow them for free?

Personal finance blogger Marc Andre explains that some auto shops, such as AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts, will loan people tools for free. You can also rent some tools from Home Depot for half the price, and you won’t be stuck with them after a single-use.

Molekule Air Purifiers Are Ineffective

A man carries a Molekule Air Purifier.
@moleculeair/Twitter
@moleculeair/Twitter

According to marketing, the Molecule Air Purifier can remove dust and pollution from the home. The Molekule costs $800, with an extra $130 every year for filter replacements. You’re better off saving your money because a test by Consumer Reports proved that it doesn’t work.

Out of the 48 air purifiers tested, Molekule was the third-worst. Although the purifier advertised that it could clean a 600 square foot room, it could only handle 100 square feet. According to Wirecutter senior writer Tim Heffernan, the Molekule had “the worst performance on particulates of any air purifier…that we have tested in seven years.”

Steam Mops Might Damage Your Floor

A person steam mops a hardwood floor.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Steam mops are advertised as more powerful mops; they disinfect floors and can even remove stains. They cost anywhere from $50 to $400, but all are not worth it. In 2019, Consumer Reports tested several brands and found that they only push aside dirt. They may even make floors look dull.

Also, you may not want to trust manufacturers about floor safety. Many companies claim that steam mops are safe for wood floors on low settings. But experts advise against using steam mops on wood, laminate, and vinyl flooring. They could warp and delaminate the floor.

Dryer Sheets Are Completely Useless

A person holds two dryer sheets.
Gail Rowe/Pinterest
Gail Rowe/Pinterest

Dryer sheets are supposed to generate electrostatic charges in the dryer to make clothes feel softer. Some claim to add a pleasant scent to your clothes. American Appliance Repair argues that dryer sheets don’t make your clothes smoother or better-smelling. In the worst-case scenario, they can even damage your dryer.

According to CNET, the stearic acid from dryer sheets leaks onto your clothes–and your dryer. Over time, the residue can clog the lint filter. If you remove clothes and see lint on them, that’s because the filter isn’t letting air in. Don’t waste $20 a month of dryer sheets.