You may not think 25 bucks sounds like a whole lot, but you’d be surprised what you can get for such a small sum of money. We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 — so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25. In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best gear and gadgetry you can get your paws on for $25 or less. Enjoy!
Tile (2nd Gen) Item Finder ($17)
Originally, Tile was a little device that you could clip to your keys or stick in your bag. During your morning misplaced-my-keys routine, you could use your smartphone to track it down, as long as you were in 50 to 100 feet of the lost item. The Tile would play a little song to help you find the object. The problem was that its 0.5-inch thickness still made it a bit too bulky to stick on your phone. Now, Tile has announced its app update allows users to find a missing phone, even when it’s on silent or vibrate.
Bondic Plastic Welder ($18)
Forget super glue. Instead of haphazardly squeezing some adhesive out of a tube, Bondic allows you to join two materials together with liquid plastic that hardens under UV light. You know those little UV glue guns that dentists use to fill minor cavities before they get too serious? It’s basically the exact same adhesive technology, just tweaked a little and redesigned for a different purpose. This is a must have if you’re prone to breaking sunglasses a lot.
OuterEQ Portable Parachute Camping Hammocks ($21)
You know those ultralight camping hammocks that ENO sells for like $60-$90 a pop? Don’t get one. As it turns out, they’re just made from standard ripstop nylon parachute fabric, and cost very little to produce. You can actually get an off-brand hammock made out of the exact same material (and of the exact same quality) for less than $20 on Amazon, and it’ll hold your weight without breaking your wallet in the process.
Sugru 8-pack ($20)
Sugru might be the greatest invention of the 21st century. When you take it out of the package, it’s soft and malleable like play-doh, allowing you to mold it into practically any shape you need. Over night, it solidifies into hard rubber — making it ideal for fixing broken things, sealing leaks, and building stuff. The potential applications are only limited by your imagination.
Joby GorillaPod ($17)
You know that old saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you?” Same thing applies to tripods. The best one is the one you have on hand, so instead of spending a small fortune on a 50-pound Manfrotto, you should drop some bucks on a Gorillapod. These things are brilliant. In addition to standing upright like a traditional tripod, their flexible legs allow them to grip onto tree branches, handrails, and just about anything else you’ll ever need to mount a camera on.
Anker PowerCore 5000 portable battery ($18)
Smartphones have come a long way in the past few years, but no matter how advanced they seem to get, they never seem to have enough battery power. Show me the most advanced smartphone we’ve got, and after 8-10 hours, i’ll show you a really expensive paperweight. But not to worry — that’s where Anker’s PowerCore 5000 comes in. Despite being small enough to fit in a pocket, purse, or backpack pouch; it can store enough juice to fully recharge most smartphones — twice.
Generic Wi-Fi OBD2 Dongle ($20)
These things are awesome. Basically, they plug into your car’s On Board Diagnostics 2 port and provide details about what’s going on with your car. There are more expensive models that have their own proprietary smartphone apps, but you can do the same thing if you buy one of these cheap ones and use the Dash app. It’s a smart investment, too. Oftentimes these dongles help you catch problems before they get serious and require the attention of a mechanic.
Arduino Uno ($18)
Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs (light on a sensors, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message) and turn them into outputs (activating a motor, turning on an LED, or publishing something online, for example). You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. You’ll need a bit of programming knowledge, but it’s fairly simple to learn, and there are a zillion tutorials online.
WhizTags NFC Tags ($10)
NFC (near field communication)-enabled phones allow users to do a variety of tasks with a simple scan of NFC tags. For instance, you can put one on your office desk and with a quick scan on the tag, your phone will set itself to vibrate, disable GPS, and enable only work-related notifications. Scan it again and you’ll return to your normal non-work settings. The package comes with 11 NFC tags with a 3M adhesive tape on the back that allows you to stick the tags to just about anything. Though, you’ll have to download a good NFC reading app and brush up on how to configure NFC related prompts on your phone.
PowerKey Lightning Keychain Charger Key ($16)
No longer are USB cables unruly in the pocket. The PowerKey Lightning Keychain Charger is designed to live on a keychain but made from a flexible material that will allow the charger to flex to accommodate awkward charging positions. It’s a great accessory for someone who’d rather not carry a charger around all the time.
ONCE USB LED Clock Fan ($14)
This desk fan is pretty cool, in more ways than one. It isn’t just a fan, and it’s not just a clock. It’s both. It has soft blades that display the time as they spin. The clock plugs into USB ports and is flexible so you can position it however you like on your desk.
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