What To Buy and What To Skip on Amazon, According to Reviews
Imagine the excitement of receiving your highly anticipated Amazon package, which arrived in just two days thanks to your Prime membership. You tear open the box, plug in your new electric milk frother and get ready to enjoy a perfect cup of coffee — only to find out that the milk frother doesn’t work. Of course, you immediately log in to your Amazon account to leave a scathing review, but other virtual customers on the product page tell you what you already should have known: The company that produces the milk frother is prone to shipping out defective units.
Savvy online shoppers almost always check the Amazon reviews before making the plunge. Learning what to buy and what to skip based on hundreds — if not thousands — of other customer experiences will help you determine the best products to buy on Amazon.
Buy: L8star Fitness Tracker Heart Rate Monitor
- Cost: $29.99
Averaging an excellent 4.8 out of five stars, the L8star Fitness Tracker comes with six different sport modes — badminton, cycling, pingpong, running, skipping and tennis — plus a variety of functions. For about $30, you can measure your heart rate, monitor your sleep quality, receive text message and call notifications, control your smartphone camera remotely and more. As a bonus, it’s also waterproof.
“The L8star is very affordable and can do everything the Fitbits can!” said Michael D. in a five-star review.
Skip: Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate & Fitness Tracker
- Cost: $93.98
As the No. 1 best-seller in heart rate monitors on Amazon, the Fitbit Inspire HR tracks all-day activity, sleep, calorie burn, resting heart rate and heart rate zones during workouts. However, despite costing more than three times as much as the L8star Fitness Tracker, the Fitbit Inspire HR averages only 3.3 out of five stars among customers — meaning it misses the mark in several areas.
“The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the box was how cheap it felt, which is not how most Fitbits feel,” said Carla Naumburg in a one-star review. “I decided to give it a try, and it way, way over-counted my active minutes, which is the metric I care most about. … I’m returning this one and going back to my [Fitbit] Charge 3, and now I’m actually thinking about switching over to Apple Watch.”
Buy: AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage
- Cost: $49.99
The 20-inch AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage is one of the top sellers in suitcases on the retailer’s website, and it’s highly suitable as an international carry-on or for weekend getaways. The luggage features a scratch-resistant protective hard shell, a fully lined interior with a divider between compartments, zippered pockets and more. You can expand the suitcase by up to 15% to stuff in extra clothes and roll smoothly in any direction thanks to its four double spinner wheels.
“I’m a flight attendant so obviously I travel a lot,” said Allison B. in a five-star review. “I’ve been searching for a chic, easy to roll hard suitcase that can handle an enormous amount of use. … My arms and back feel absolutely zero stress. It feels like it’s floating! My smaller bag is attached to the top and it still feels weightless.”
Skip: AmazonBasics Premium Hardside Spinner Luggage With Built-In TSA Lock
- Cost: $35.95
The 20-inch AmazonBasics Premium Hardside Spinner Luggage comes with a built-in Transportation Security Administration lock and costs less than its non-premium version — but for good reason. It’s made from a different material than the original. Dissatisfied customers have documented the suitcase’s poor quality and tendency to fall apart, giving it 3.7 out of five stars on average.
“I usually love AmazonBasics products, but this one was very cheaply made,” said Lauren in a one-star review. “I take really good care of my belongings, but the first time I used this, the inside strap broke and the outside cracked. … I immediately returned it.”
Buy: Brightech Litespan LED Bright Reading and Craft Floor Lamp
- Cost: $44.99
Averaging 4.7 out of five stars over approximately 8,100 reviews, the Brightech Litespan LED Bright Reading and Craft Floor Lamp is perfect for hobbyists, office workers and children. You can adjust the angle of the gooseneck depending on the illumination needed for your project, and the bulb will remain cool to the touch even after hours of usage. The lamp’s weighted base also prevents kids and pets from knocking it over accidentally.
“I would give this lamp 10 stars if I could,” said WyoSteve in a five-star review. “It is the best product I have purchased in years. It is well-made and easy to assemble. … The brightest setting will light up the whole room and the weakest down to a night light.”
Skip: Simple Designs Home Mother-Daughter Floor Lamp
- Cost: $25.33
It’s the No. 1 best-seller in floor lamps on Amazon, but the Simple Designs Home Mother-Daughter Floor Lamp averages only 3.4 out of five stars. Take heed of the critical reviews so that you don’t make the same mistake of purchasing, and use the money to invest in a higher-quality floor lamp.
“Very cheaply made. I know it is not expensive, but for the price I still expected it to be functional,” said Renee B. in a one-star review. “The parts that are supposed to screw together are not sized correctly so that the threads do not catch and the entire lamp will not stay together. I do not want to go through all the trouble of taking apart the sections that did work, repacking everything, and sending it back. I guess it is a $30 lesson.”
Buy: Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set
- Cost: $12.95
The three-piece Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set is safe to use in the oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher, and it’s made from nonporous glass that won’t absorb any odors or stains. Plus, the mixing bowls are extremely durable. Customers on Amazon adore these bowls so much that they’ve given them 4.8 out of five stars across approximately 1,400 reviews.
“So I wanted to leave a review because I dropped all three bowls today when pulling out of my cupboard,” said Bexyrae in a five-star review. “I had them at like 5 feet above the floor. None of them broke or cracked or anything. And they probably should’ve because it was a very loud crash. … I still have my favorite mixing bowls! Totally happy with these bowls!”
Skip: KitchenAid Prep Bowls With Lids
- Cost: $10.99
The KitchenAid Prep Bowls With Lids are made of plastic and come with clear lids to help you identify your ingredients or leftovers. However, despite being the No. 1 best-seller in bowl sets on Amazon, customers have awarded the KitchenAid prep bowls with only 3.3 out of five stars on average. Multiple people have questioned the worth — and authenticity — of the reputable KitchenAid logo on these bowls.
“What’s the point of putting, ‘KitchenAid’ and the measurement cup sizes on the bottom if it’s going to wash off after one wash?” asked Tobias Moore in a one-star review. “It’s just ordinary bowls with lids. Nothing special.”
“These aren’t actually KitchenAid,” said JONIECE in another one-star review. “After a few good washes in hot water, the logo washed right off. I have a set of mixing bowls I ordered on QVC back in 2015 and the logo is still there, barely scratched.”
Buy: Gerber Graduates Kiddy Forks
- Cost: $4.29
If you’re trying to find safe eating utensils for your child, look no further than the Gerber Graduates Kiddy Forks, with an average of 4.8 out of five stars across 1,000-plus reviews. The easy support feature in the Gerber Graduates Kiddy Forks elevates the stainless steel tip of each fork above the table to keep germs away. Plus, they’re bisphenol A-free and safe to throw in the dishwasher.
“Love these forks. They are the perfect size for my two-year-old,” said Midnight in a five-star review. “She is easily able to grip them and they are sharp enough to actually stab the food … However, they are also blunt enough that I’m not concerned about injury. They are easy to clean and durable as well. Definitely recommend these to parents with messy toddlers.”
Skip: Boon Modware Toddler Utensils
- Cost: $11.15
The Boon Modware Toddler Utensils feature soft handles and an ergonomic design with no sharp edges. Each set comes with three forks and three spoons in different colors. However, the Boon Modware Toddler Utensils have earned only 3.7 out of five stars on Amazon due to their functionality — or lack thereof.
“The forks are useless, impossible to stab anything with,” said NLopie in a one-star review. “The spoons are OK for very early self-feeding with thicker consistencies like yogurt, pouches, oatmeal, etc. But they’re very shallow, so once my toddler started eating larger portions and more variety (soup), they’re completely obsolete. I’ve much preferred the Gerber Graduates cutlery products. So does my two-year-old.”
Buy: Chuckit! Ultra Ball
- Cost: $4.95
A two-pack of the medium-size, 2 1/2-inch Chuckit! Ultra Ball costs less than $5 and allows for hours of exercise with your pup thanks to its buoyant, high-bounce and durable natural rubber. It’s the No. 1 best-seller in dog toy balls on Amazon, with 4.7 out of five stars over more than 5,600 reviews.
“Well, this is the ONLY toy that our dog LOVES,” said P. Hanson in a five-star review. “The Chuckit Ultra [Ball] is her obsession. She has them strategically hidden around the house for quick/easy access, she follows us around with one, she sometimes even brings one to bed with her. … nothing in her world compares with this ball.”
Skip: SPOT Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle
- Cost: $12.19
The 12-inch SPOT Ethical Pet Interactive Seek-A-Treat Shuffle Bone Toy Puzzle has generated less-than-positive reviews, averaging only 3.3 out of five stars across approximately 1,600 customers. This dog IQ puzzle claims to eliminate boredom and strengthen your pup’s cognitive abilities by making them work for training treats — that is, if the toy can even last that long.
“The concept of this interactive dog toy is good, but it started falling apart during the first time my dog played with it, right in front of my eyes,” said Cathyjane in a one-star review. “She started using her mouth and teeth to uncover the hidden treats, and the moisture of her mouth, as well as her sharp teeth, began dissolving and shredding the wood within five minutes. … I could have simply allowed her to use it until it fell completely apart and gotten my money’s worth but it was a danger to my pet.”
Buy: REEHUT Yoga Blocks
- Cost: $9.99
The REEHUT Yoga Blocks are the No. 1 best-seller in yoga blocks on Amazon, scoring an average of 4.7 out of five stars across approximately 1,300 reviews — and, you can buy two high-density foam blocks for less than $12. The beveled edges, moisture-proof material and slip-resistant surface help provide a safe and comfortable environment for your daily exercise.
“These are excellent yoga blocks,” said Chuck Crane in a five-star review. “I have practiced yoga for 10 years and these are as good as any I’ve seen.”
Other customers have commented on the yoga blocks’ pleasant lack of smell. “Usually when you get something foam/plastic at this price point the product reeks of chemicals. I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case with these,” said Just Some Person in another five-star review. “Even putting my very sensitive nose right next to it, it hardly had a smell at all.”
Skip: Gaiam Essentials Yoga Block 2-Pack & Yoga Strap Set
- Cost: $16.98
Customers excited to purchase the Gaiam Essentials Yoga Block 2-Pack & Yoga Strap Set might be expecting a lot from the No. 2 best-seller in yoga starter sets on Amazon. However, the reviews are telling — this set averages only 3.6 out of five stars, due in large part to customer dissatisfaction stemming from shipment errors.
“I received my package incomplete without the strap,” said diamondeyes in a one-star review. “I didn’t check the reviews before I bought this but this seems to happen to a lot of buyers. So please don’t buy them, you’ll either [receive your] blocks messed up or with a missing strap.”
Buy: COWIN E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
- Cost: $59.99
With big brands like Bose and Beats by Dre selling headphones for hundreds of dollars, it’s hard to beat the COWIN E7 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones in quality and price point — and online customers agree. They’re an Amazon’s Choice in Bluetooth over-ear headphones, averaging 4.3 out of five stars over approximately 9,800 reviews.
“I am still using these headphones and continue to be blown away by their deceptively good quality,” said Lucas Jon in a five-star review update. “I mean, these suckers refuse to die. … Cowin has still got my vote when it comes down to a reasonably priced headphone of extraordinary longevity.”
Skip: Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone
- Cost: $41.88
While you shouldn’t have to shell out big bucks for a decent pair of headphones, you also shouldn’t buy ones that might need to be replaced quickly. The Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone has earned the Amazon’s Choice distinction for the PC gaming headset category, but more than 5,000 customer reviews have given it only 3.7 out of five stars.
“Sound quality is really nice and the mic isn’t half bad considering it’s a headset but the fatal flaw of these headphones is material,” said Taz in a one-star review. “These things are cheap. I’m talking every time you take them off your head you’ll hear them break a little. I take care of my belongings because I respect my personal property but even with my ginger touch these things break. … I’m writing this review today because after taking the headphones off my head right now I heard a loud crack and the joint finally snapped.”
Buy: Dead Sea Mud Mask for Face & Body
- Cost: $14.95
The Dead Sea Mud Mask for Face & Body is suitable for all skin types and helps reduce pores, treat acne, remove excess oil and more. It received the Amazon’s Choice distinction for the face mask category and garnered a 4.5-star rating over approximately 1,400 reviews. Plus, the Dead Sea Mud Mask is cruelty-free and doesn’t contain any alcohol, parabens or sulfates.
“I thought this was just going to be a normal face mask but I was wrong,” said olesya gordeyeva in a five-star review. “The application was smooth and easy. After waiting 10 minutes, I took it off and … my face was smooth as a baby’s buttcheek, no lie. This made my face so soft and feeling refreshed and hydrated!!!”
Buy: Sour Patch Kids Candy, Individually Wrapped
- Cost: $9.98
These individually wrapped Sour Patch Kids Candy are perfect for controlling sugar intake and keeping the candy bowl fresh and free of pests. As the No. 1 best-seller in sour-flavored candies on Amazon, Sour Patch Kids are highly popular among children and adults alike, earning 4.5 out of five stars.
“I am known around my job as the staff person who keeps a large candy bowl, usually chocolate, on my desk year-round and have lots of frequent visitors as a result,” said book a day reader in a five-star review. “I bought these on a whim thinking it would be a nice change from chocolate bars. After one workweek my office visitors quadrupled and my first box is basically gone, so I purchased a second box, which arrived today. Everyone says they ‘taste better’ than the traditional size.”
Skip: Haribo Sugar-Free Classic Gummi Bears
- Cost: N/A
Although the Haribo Sugar-Free Classic Gummi Bears are currently unavailable, the bad reviews on Amazon of this notorious candy are worth including on GOBankingRates’ list. Many shocked customers have described at length the graphic aftermath of consuming these bear-shaped treats.
“I sit here writing this review at 4 a.m. from my porcelain throne, a fixture you will become all too familiar with if you chose to eat these cute little bears from the pits of hell,” said Joshua in a hilarious one-star review. “Eat these if you dare but be forewarned, they are not to be trifled with unless you want your toilet to be a staging ground for repeat fecal rehearsals of ‘The Red Wedding’ from ‘Game of Thrones.’”
Before you buy anything, it’s best to check the reviews — and the Amazon return policy — in case you end up like those poor customers.
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Product ratings and rankings are accurate as of May 6, 2019, and are subject to change.