Skip To Content

    26 Incredibly Useful Products For Anyone Who Can't Afford An Assistant

    These'll tide you over 'til you can pay to have an extra set of hands.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A wearable nail-polish holder to serve as an extra hand during at-home manis.


    I have one of these and they're quite handy! (Sorry.)

    Promising review: "Really helpful product. I used to hold the polish bottle and frequently spilled some. Now I just put the bottle in this great little holder and slip it on my fingers. Can't believe someone didn't think of this earlier!" —E. Trout

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (15 colors).

    2. A grabber tool with a rotating grip to give you the *safe* height you need when a tall person isn't handy to grab that stuff off the top shelf.


    My Grandma had one of these and it was indispensable. It's originally designed for someone with limited mobility, but isn't a bad thing for *anyone* to have around.

    Promising review: "I just had major back surgery but I bought this before I went to the hospital because I still had trouble picking things up from the floor. This grabber is awesome. I really can't say enough good things about the strength yet delicate handling of this tool. I can pick up an 8 oz. water bottle or a tiny piece of plastic trash the dog chewed off a toy. It is 10 times better than the one the hospital sold me and half the price! The only thing it doesn't have is a hook to help remove my socks, but I can still grab my socks with the thick rubber claws. It is a durable, useful device I will always have near me. They could charge double and I would still recommend it." —G. Michael

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    3. A low-key pet feeder that won't make your cat think you've also adopted a robot.


    The digital timer programs up to 12 meals a day with flexible meal portions from 1/8 cup up to 4 cups. Hopper holds 24 cups of dry food and bowl holds 5 cups of food. Has both slow and immediate feed modes. It disassembles for easy cleaning with some dishwasher-safe parts.

    Promising review: "This thing is a freaking life changer! Hands down the best purchase I've made for my cat. I fit a whole bag of food in there and it lasts longer because I'm not overfeeding her. It's actually helped a lot with weight control and I'm not being woken up by her if I forgot to feed her. It's very easy to set up and change the settings, all you have to do is follow the instructions in the manual. I have already recommended this to all my friends with pets. This thing pays for itself by how much you save from not overfeeding, not to mention the completely hassle-free feeding now. I don't even have to think about feeding her besides dumping a new bag of cat food into the reservoir every few weeks. I can't praise this thing enough." —Rose

    Get it from Amazon for $134.95.

    4. Or maybe an interactive treat dispenser to reward very good puppers, even when you're miles away! P.S. The camera (that lets you see) and the speaker (you both can hear) will make you feel like you're happily together.

    Bed Bath & Beyond

    Promising review: "I bought this for my two dogs who both have severe separation anxiety. It was super easy to set up. Just one tip, don't dump the treats out with all the contents in, the crumbs at the bottom of the bag will get tossed out with the treats. It works great, I'm really happy I get notifications if there is excessive movement or if one of them barks. I get really paranoid that when I leave home that they bark and bug the neighbors, but now I can toss them a treat to distract them if they start barking up a storm. I love the two-way audio function because they actually can recognize my voice when I talk on it, which also calms them down. It's so nice to go out to dinner and not stress about what they are doing. Having dogs with separation anxiety is really really really stressful, but having this has really helped me have a normal life again and gives my dogs some reassurance while I'm out." —Gretamom

    Get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $249.99 (three finishes).

    5. A back shaver for lending some serious reach when a loved one can't.


    Promising review: "Not one for leaving reviews, but this item is completely awesome. I no longer have to wait for assistance to complete the task of shaving my back. Would recommend to anyone who is tired of asking for a hand." —Rolando Martinez

    Get it from Amazon for $19.95.

    6. A nine-pack of remote-controlled flameless candles for ~setting the mood~ with the push of a button.


    These convincing flickering candles are powered by batteries, (not included). The remote control has an automatic on/off timer function, to 2 hours/4 hours/6 hours/8 hours.

    Promising review: "They are made from real wax and look nice. The remote and timer functions are great. Candles turn on at the same time every day (after the initial setup). Battery life depends on the quality of the battery. I bought cheap batteries and they lasted about 1 month or so (set on the 2 hour timer) I am very satisfied with my purchase." —Jaime

    Get them from Amazon for $20.99.

    7. A fingernail-polish remover you'll only have to dip your fingers into to remove your mangled mani. Even glitter polish!


    Promising review: "I've always loved nail polish but HATED removing it. Normal remover and cotton balls would take half an hour and I would still be left with discolored nails, or patches of polish that I just gave up on. This jar removes every trace of nail polish within minutes: glitter, dark, top-coat sealed, high-end, low-end. No nail polish stands a chance against this. Amazing!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $5.92.

    8. A windshield protector to peel off 15 minutes from your morning routine on gross slushy days.


    Promising review: "This is the best windshield cover I ever bought, it stays put, non-sticky to the windshield, cover from snow, and easy to remove, love to use it before a snow storm. I am thinking of buying another one for my back windshield." —Catzzzz

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99.

    9. And de-icing cables to do even MORE work for you when it comes to keeping the roof free of damaging snow that can turn into nightmarish ice dams.

    Screw in the mounting clips to wind the wire on your roof, (like so), to make a better path for snow to melt on the roof and funnel into the gutters. No more frozen ice dams or blocked gutters!

    Promising review: "I've been using Easy Heat roof de-icing cables for 20+ years. These cables work perfectly to prevent ice dams. The first set I installed lasted over 18 years (!'m told by an electrician who professionally installs Easy Heat cables that they usually last about 10 years depending upon how much summer sunlight they're directly exposed to). I've just installed new sets after having my roof re-shingled. Due to the rough winter last year, I've also added cables over areas of the roof not previously covered with the cables in order to prevent any ice dam formation in those locations in the future. The installation instructions are extensive and very clear (you can download them from the web and review them beforehand). The instructions provide guidance on how to measure areas of your roof where you want to install Easy Heat cables so you can order cable sets of the correct length. Installation is straightforward. Easy Heat uses a clip that slips onto the edge of shingles in order to hold the cable in place. Other cable systems sometimes use clips that are nailed to the roof which was certainly nothing I wanted to do. Easy Heat clips are easy to slip onto the edge of the shingle without damaging it. I recommend Easy Heat cables for home use." —Robert C.

    Get 100 feet from Amazon for $56.63.

    10. A minimalist headphone stand that'll take those noise-cancelling headphones off your ears and hands when you deign to answer an IRL question.


    My precious brother Walt bought me this exact headstand and I use it every day at work!

    Get it from Amazon for $8.99 (two colors).

    11. A bluetooth-enabled sous vide cooker for bringing a restaurant-quality meal to your table without your having to mind the pot.


    This gadget makes the sous vide cooking technique easy at home with Bluetooth connectivity to keep a watch on whatever you're cooking. You simply place it in a pot and it heats and circulates the water, evenly cooking food to a precise temperature to guarantee perfect results every time. Cook everything from meats, fish and vegetables to soups, and desserts.

    Promising review: "This is the second Anova I've purchased. The first one was for myself, the second as a gift. This device is amazing. I've long envied the pro-kitchen's arsenal of spectacular gadgets, as I've got a passion for cooking and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. This gadget lets you experiment like the pros, at home. The Anova Culinary Precision Immersion Circulator allows the home chef to cook foods to the exact temperature for a set amount of time and it yields extraordinary results! There is a wealth of information online pertaining to the time and temperature of cooking specific proteins to perfection, but the Sous Vide technique also can help create some sublime vegetables, as well. With this awesome gadget, I've been able to prepare sublime short ribs, succulent chateaubriand, perfect poached salmon, and custardy-rich soft-cooked eggs. Do you NEED this gadget? No. But if you love to cook and experiment in the kitchen and consider yourself to be a bit of a culinary mad scientist, you will WANT it!" —Karen Evans-Popsack

    Get it from Amazon for $119.

    12. A flexible task light to hang in there when you're decrypting the fuse box, popping the hood of your car, or doing any other task that needs a bright spot of light.

    The Grommet

    Promising review: "I loved the idea, and gave one to a Ducati mechanic friend as a birthday present. Then I got one for myself. And another for my younger son. And then two for the electricians who redid our wiring because they were so cool and love tools. People who love tools adore these. (And they do work as promised.)" —Sherry

    Get it from The Grommet for $19.99.

    13. An Echo Dot — basically the next best thing to having a walking, talking human outsource essential but time-consuming tasks like placing a pizza order, queuing up a Spotify playlist, or calling an Uber, among other things.


    Promising review: "I absolutely love it! Bought to use as a radio/ambient noise device as I fall asleep, but now realize the capabilities FAR exceeded what I initially purchased it for, so I also use it as an alarm clock, Bluetooth speaker for my iPad, personal assistant ('Alexa, add milk to my shopping list'), Amazon Music speaker (which I never used until buying the Dot). The sound quality is really good, especially considering it’s small size and relatively budget-friendly price. I definitely recommend to anyone, and if you’re a Prime member...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. Don’t even 'add to cart' just click 'buy now' and watch your life get simpler." —Dave S

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99 (four colors).

    14. An Instant Pot for making eating at home on a budget a total snap with its ability to tackle nearly any recipe.


    This appliance is about to change your dang life. It does the job of a rice cooker, pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté, yogurt maker, and warmer.

    Promising review: "I am in love with all the things this pot does for me!!! I bought the extra inner pot so I never have a reason to eat out. Cooking with this pressure cooker is so EASY!!! Love it love it love it!! I steam an egg for one minute in the morning. No mess. Drink the yolk and scoop out the cooked white. I let the pressure release by itself if I want the egg yolk to solidify. Steam yams for 10 minutes and just leave them on warm. Softest, yummiest natural dessert ever! Gizzards ready in 10 minutes. Frozen chicken gets tossed on the steamer and ready in 12 minutes!! It's so easy to eat healthy again!! Thank you Instant Pot for this product. Two friends already bought this Pot after hearing all the fun I have been having with it! ZERO buyers remorse. I can't see why anyone would regret buying this little kitchen assistant!" —OK Forever In LA

    Get it from Amazon for $79.95+ (three sizes).

    15. A no-frills weighted tape dispenser you can use with one hand while your other hand holds wrapping paper taut.


    My parents have this and I've used it one-handed to wrap a bajillion Christmas gifts this year.

    Promising review: "This tape dispenser is indispensable. I've never had such an amazing tape dispenser, except for that shirtless guy I once hired to hold my roll of tape in his hand and cut to the desired length with his teeth. This is the next best thing." —Katherine J Reilly

    Get it from Amazon for $3.98.

    16. A motion-sensor trash can so you won't have to actually touch any part of the can like someone who does their own chores.


    13-gallon stainless-steel construction. 6" above the infrared panel, the lid will open automatically Press the manual button OPEN on the control panel, the lid will open all the time, press CLOSE, then it will close. Powered by 4 D size batteries.

    Promising review: "I did not know how much I would like a battery-operated trash can. It sounds like the height of laziness. I have become so accustomed to the can opening its own lid that I have found myself standing in front of another trash can waiting for it to open the lid (it was not touch-free). It is very nice when you have two hands full of food scraps and it opens lid for you. Keeps from getting messy handprints on lid." —Bootsie

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99.

    17. A weighted drink holder that'll grip onto your bev while you're doing very important things, like watching a pupper YouTube video while petting your v good doggo.

    The Grommet

    Promising review: "I have been using my drink holder for a few weeks and I can't say enough about this item. It's so convenient whether I have a hot coffee cup or a cold drink. I feel confident that my drink stays put and won't spill on my leather couch." —Susan

    Get it from The Grommet for $19.95 (four colors) or Amazon for $22.87+ (five colors).

    18. A bedding set that snaps together so you can make your bed in one fell swoop. Even people with *actual* assistants do that. Sometimes.

    Primary Goods

    Each set includes 1 colored duvet cover, 1 white top sheet, 1 white fitted sheet, and 2 white pillow cases. And if you find this bedding a total drag, there's a 100-day money-back guarantee!

    Get it from Primary Goods for $349+ (four colors, sizes full–California king).

    Or retrofit your bedding with some magnetic duvet clips from Amazon for $17.95.

    19. A Wi-Fi doorbell to feel like you have a butler at the door receiving visitors, even if you're just sitting in sweatpants on the couch.


    Let's you see, hear, and speak to anyone at your door from your smartphone, tablet or PC in crystal-clear HD video. Get instant alerts when visitors press the doorbell or trigger the built-in motion sensors. Has two-way audio with noise cancellation and infrared night vision.

    Promising review: "Having outfitted our home with many lighting and indoor camera automations, I wanted to add an outdoor camera near the front door. Also, when in the workshop, I often miss visitors coming to the front door. The Ring Video Doorbell is a great solution. Combined with ringer that's more audible throughout the house and the smartphone notification, I can now hear, see, and communicate with visitors from anywhere. The configurable motion detection feature allows us to sense when anyone approaches just within the porch area to avoid notices from passing vehicles. The Cloud recording of motion and doorbell events provides a measure of security previously missing. A tilting mount from a third party allows angle adjustment side to side and the wide-angle lens allows the camera to capture the whole person." —Harry Lynn

    Get it from Amazon for $99.99 (two finishes).

    20. A tablet holder that'll free up your hands for important stuff in bed, like eating nachos while you watch The Tudors for the 50th time.


    Eating nachos in bed when you know you shouldn't is one of life's true luxuries.

    Promising review: "Bought it for the wife. All I can say is that she uses it everywhere around the house. This product is great for lazy bones." —Larry Chen

    Get it from Amazon for $39.95.

    21. A robotic vacuum to tend to the yard while you're busy sipping mimosas on the patio.


    Fully programmed out of the box. AIA technology allows it to make intricate cuts and navigate narrow passages, evenly mow inclines and declines up to 20-degrees, and mow around obstacles. Automatically returns to base in case of rain or for recharging battery, Cutting Height:1.6"" - 4"", Cutting Height Positions: 5, Max Cutting Surface:1/4 Acre.

    Promising review: "I could not recommend this product more highly, it is fantastic and it performs exactly as promised. It is practically silent. Yesterday I watched it mow from my office window as my neighbor across the street was using his riding mower, making unbelievable noise, breathing dangerous fumes, and polluting the environment as sweat was pouring off his brow. At the same time, the other neighbor had his $50 per week lawn service making even more noise and more pollution. I sat comfortably indoors doing far more productive work with no pollution and no noise. This product is a no brainer, it will pay for itself in one summer. Laying down the perimeter wire took more time and effort than I expected." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $999.99.

    22. A bagel guillotine for helping delish bread quickly and swiftly meet its untimely demise.


    I'm not the only one who learned about these from Sandy Cohen.

    Promising review: "I love this product. I originally bought it because I wanted to feel more like a Cohen (bagels and schmears were a staple in the Cohen family kitchen on the television show The O.C.). Pretty sure this is the exact model they used on the show. Anyway, it cuts my bagels very satisfactorily. Schmear on, my friends." —Christina

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (three colors).

    23. A robotic vacuum that'll also mop your hard floors.


    Promising review: "This is great treat to myself. It is so quiet. Especially with my two young kids. I have to clean up all the time. I have hard floors all over my first floor. My floor is always dirty because the kids always make a mess. This robot vacuum is so awesome. It picks up dirt and mops the wet floor. I love that I can time it so that I don't have to clean up the floor after our meal." —C.M

    Get it from Amazon for $179.99+ (two models).

    24. An adorable pot clip to hold up your tools while you're busy doing other things, like tweeting.


    It's made of silicone and stainless steel, and heat-resistant to 482°F-250°C.

    Promising review: "Simple yet brilliant is how to describe this little tool. Clips to any pot easily and securely and allows you to rest just about any kitchen utensil securely over the pot/dish. Drips simply end up back in the food and not on your counters. Silicone buttons protect against any scratching so this can be used safely be used on even the most expensive pots worry free." —KB

    Get it from Amazon for $8.84.

    25. An umbrella hat for keeping dry while you do the things that still make you feel like a normal human who doesn't have staff, like walking your pack of dogs.


    Promising review: "This worked great for a photographer who does not have an assistant and needs to shoot in the rain. Very easy to use. It is full-sized and stays in place on the head. I would recommend this product to anyone who needs their hands free but need to stay dry. Why is anyone carrying an umbrella anymore??" —Sam

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (three colors).

    26. A pair of mopping slippers so when you actually have to get up and do something, you'll leave behind a clean wake.


    Promising review: "I have three pairs of these, and I love them. I swap them out as they get dirty, throw a pair in the wash, and pull out another. We have two dogs, one that tends to splatter water in the kitchen when he drinks, and I have to say, these are lifesavers. They do not replace mopping your floor, obviously, but they do help, and they are super comfortable, unlike some of the other similar cleaning slippers." —AZDogMama

    Get them from Amazon for $8 (four colors, three sizes).

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Make your life even tidier. Check out some of the best home organization products on Amazon, the best all-natural cleaning products for your home, the best bathroom cleaning products, organization products perfect for neat freaks, and, of course, our ultimate guide to cleaning every single room in your house.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

    Need A Shopping Buddy?

    Get great products - from pros in the fine art of buying stuff online - delivered to your inbox!
    Newsletter signup form