What are the most genuinely useful, practical things you've bought on Amazon that you didn't even know Amazon sold?
April 16, 2011 11:47 AM   Subscribe

What are the most genuinely useful, practical things you've bought on Amazon that you were surprised they even sold? I'm trying to spend a gift certificate, but drawing a blank.

Basically I've got a few hundred dollars to blow, but I mainly do my reading on the iPad and don't have apartment space for any more books these days.

But Amazon has a ton of other stuff that is practical. Ex: I just bought 10 packs of gum because I chew it all the time. Also just bought a new set of bath towels. Anything other practical items that you're glad you bought through Amazon?
posted by critzer to Grab Bag (43 answers total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A Sonicare toothbrush. Posts here convinced me I needed one when previously it hadn't even crossed my mind. Now I find myself running my tongue over my teeth periodically because they're so clean and smooth. Seriously.
posted by valeries at 11:55 AM on April 16, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Travel accessories - single most used item probably my washbag, followed by an adapter plug followed by microfibre towels.

Consumer electronics - single most used item my ipod nano, previously single most used item - the old ipod nano.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:59 AM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: Toilet paper. It was cheaper than Walmart or Sam's a few months back, plus free shipping.
posted by plaintiff6r at 12:02 PM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: iPhone earbuds
Shoes in my odd size (9 narrow)
Tangram puzzle for a baby shower gift
posted by bilabial at 12:05 PM on April 16, 2011

Five pounds of 'coffee bean direct coffee roasters' whole bean coffee.
posted by buzzman at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by Jason and Laszlo at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2011

Response by poster: These are perfect so far, thanks folks!
posted by critzer at 12:06 PM on April 16, 2011

A 4 ft. x 5 ft. kid's playhouse, shipped direct to the kid for her birthday present
posted by easily confused at 12:10 PM on April 16, 2011

Snowshoes, shipped to family in a blizzard where all the local stores sold out. One day shipping even worked!
posted by procrastination at 12:12 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

You can also get bedding and Other hygiene products - toothpaste, brushes, makeups, as well as car seats, and strollers.
posted by bilabial at 12:34 PM on April 16, 2011

Mr.likeso got this.

But I hasten to add that it was a combo of many years' worth of gift certificates and making up the difference - when the dollar exchange rate was well in our favor!

We regularly get Sonicare brush heads. :)
posted by likeso at 12:37 PM on April 16, 2011

I bought my mother (and myself) sheepskin slippers from Amazon. They're great!
posted by CdnMathTeacher at 12:43 PM on April 16, 2011

I one-clicked a Powermatic 66.
posted by nicwolff at 12:47 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Silicone windshield wipers are so much better than the rubber ones. I don't understand why I can't buy them in auto parts stores around here, but the ones I got from Amazon are great.

If you drink a lot of fizzy water, a Sodastream is really useful. You probably should make sure you can get replacement carbonators locally though.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:52 PM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

Amazon has a Kindle app for iPad, so you could spend it on ebooks if that's what you want.
posted by Bokononist at 2:18 PM on April 16, 2011

Dog food and supplies. Vacuum cleaner bags.
posted by trip and a half at 2:19 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

The stores around here (rural Central Kansas) recently stopped selling cans of compressed air, but I found several brands in multi-packs on Amazon that were cheaper than what they were in the stores anyway.

I don't know if the huffing/inhalant scare is just now reaching our area or if this is some new thing, but I figured it didn't hurt to stock up while I could.
posted by amyms at 2:22 PM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: We buy from Amazon on a VERY regular basis (at a SIGNIFICANT discount from retail)
-Bags on Board for dog poop
-Derby Razor Blades
-SAF Yeast
-Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven (Don't forget the steel replacement knob)
-American Crew Forming Cream
-SD Cards
-Extra Camera Batteries
-Microplane Products
-You can get Magazine Subscriptions
-We love our Soundbar (small living room in a rental, so most surround sound systems were out)
-Not sure if you can use a gift card to buy it, but Amazon Prime is the best investment we've made in the past 5 years. EASILY.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 3:14 PM on April 16, 2011 [6 favorites]

I bought a humidifier, barefoot trail running shoes, antiperspirant, sunscreen, tea infuser, hemp protein, paint, electric kettle, herb seeds, tent, camping stove, bicycle saddle and chain, and yoga mat on Amazon this month. Will they sell me a sherpa to carry my loot?
posted by HotPatatta at 3:26 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Votive candles. We buy them by the truckload, they're our nightly dinner candles. Stools to surround the kitchen island. Handheld vacuum. Dish towels. Corkscrew, nice bottle opener....kitchen shears.

Actually the amount of stuff we buy through Amazon is a little disturbing. I feel like the UPS guy hates our guts.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:36 PM on April 16, 2011

Is a car practical? I bought a brand new Mazda minivan through their car buying service about 12 years ago. They got me a much better at the exact dealership that I had given up on because I couldn't get them to move on the price.
posted by COD at 3:45 PM on April 16, 2011

You can get practically anything on Amazon! Things I've bought that aren't books in the last few years: Food scale, Feliway for cats, a home theater projector, shoes, a printer/scanner/copier.
posted by platinum at 3:46 PM on April 16, 2011

+1000000 on toilet paper. Especially if you don't have a car. Only letdown is that it's a GIANT box and everyone in my apartment building wants to know what cool thing I got from amazon. They either don't believe me, think I'm a spoiled brat (bc they don't think about the economics and think getting things delivered is shi-shi-poo-poo?) or are just let down the practicality of it all when I tell them. Otherwise, it's awesome.
posted by atomicstone at 4:45 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

Razor blades, toothpaste, and tampons--all automatically delivered every x months. (Considering adding shampoo and tissues to that list.)

A wet bag. I swim a lot, and it also turns out to be the perfect cover/drip catcher for an ice pack.

Pocket knife (actually I have two, one for out doors/heavy duty stuff and a nonthreatening one for carrying around so I can slice up my apple for lunch).

Extra chargers (one for home, one to keep in the bag). Extra USB cables.
posted by anaelith at 4:45 PM on April 16, 2011

I was amazed at how cheap common over the counter medications are from Amazon. 1000 count of ibuprofen for $10, anyone?
posted by LastOfHisKind at 5:02 PM on April 16, 2011

Pet fountain. Costume things, if you have an early idea for Halloween (or any other costume opportunity like... Rocky Horror just for example.) Music - Amazon sells MP3s. Good quality tea.
posted by tomboko at 5:11 PM on April 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm about to get rid of my decades old thrift store pots and pans and buy a lovely new set. But really, Amazon has just about anything that's mass-produced that you could need or want.
posted by bendy at 5:16 PM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: I had this problem too for a while. Amazon isn't always cheaper but on some things it is or it's comparable if you can do free shipping. Anytime I need to buy something I don't buy that often, I check Amazon first.
If it's from a reseller, sometimes you have to pay shipping but it can still be cheaper. Especially if you can get someone to go in on a bulk order with you. For me, that's supplements. It's cut the price of a bottle $2 to $3 bucks cheaper without having to use the gas to go to the health food store.

My List

Sonicare tooth brush
vacuum bags
supplements like Quercitin for allergies
or L-tryptophan for insomnia
ink refill kit for printer
tape worm medicine for the cats
Also flea drops
Tom Lehrer CD for my mom
A whole case of Chi Chi's fajita seasoning (mmm!)
since I can't find it in stores here anymore.
So glad it's got a long shelf life!
posted by stray thoughts at 6:36 PM on April 16, 2011

Amazon sells practically everything. This week I bought a 4 pack of gray concrete and masonry caulk. Think up an item, check Amazon.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:54 PM on April 16, 2011

Warning! Amazon has some other company handle their magazine subscriptions. I ordered a foreign magazine (i.e., from England) and it never arrived. I never got a refund, and never got Amazon to even respond to my queries about this issue. Caveat Emptor.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:58 AM on April 17, 2011

cat food spork
posted by Jess the Mess at 8:12 AM on April 17, 2011

(omg Jess the Mess,between the username and the purchase, how are you not me?)

outfitted a computer-fixing kit with IDE/SATA to USB connector cables (for like 10bux)

multiple types of shelf-stable snacks that are still made but don't sell near me

a better sex toy for a good price (tip: order in with a box of other stuff if you have curious housemates/family. "hey what did you buy? oh, just some books...")

hmm. I didn't buy my newest smartphone through Amazon, but I did use them to find the best deal (oddly enough, from Best Buy Mobile for the model I wanted)

my boyfriend buys movie posters

my sister-in-law has been known to buy knitting yarn

really, anything you can imagine, Amazon probably either has one, or at least will help you figure out how to search for it elsewhere.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 9:01 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

HDMI cables
Protein powder
This awesome men's hair molding cream stuff
This door jam supported pull-up bar
Laundry detergent

I swear I am not a Jersey Shore cast member
posted by AceRock at 10:52 AM on April 17, 2011

These silicone cooking spoons are the most useful utensils in our kitchen.
posted by Joleta at 7:09 PM on April 17, 2011

Extension cards that are twelve inches long. They go between my power strip and all the odd-shaped power bricks under my desk, so now I can have two external drives *and* my laptop AC adapter plugged in at the same time. Heaven!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:59 AM on April 18, 2011

The best litter box ever.
posted by elisebeth at 1:10 PM on April 18, 2011

I'm pretty happy with this money clip.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:32 PM on April 18, 2011

My husband bought his wedding band from Amazon. Who knew!
posted by click at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2011

I did the math and figured it would save me around $50/year to get my cat food delivered via their Subscribe & Save program. Plus, now I don't have to carry cases of canned cat food six blocks from the grocery store to my house!
posted by kidsleepy at 7:04 AM on April 19, 2011

OH! And I just got two dozen vanilla beans for $15, including shipping.
posted by kidsleepy at 7:05 AM on April 19, 2011

I'm trying to figure out shipping now for some component and/or HDMI cables for my XBox.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:23 PM on April 19, 2011

Cables in general are best bought from monoprice.
posted by felix at 4:10 PM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

AV cables from third-party sellers. I recently paid $2.40 for an HDMI cable with free shipping (look for "fulfilled through Amazon.com"). Monoprice.com is great for this too, but just because it's Amazon doesn't mean it's going to be more expensive.

Small hardware items like specialty light bulbs, the foam gaskets that insulate switchplates and outlet covers, plumbing parts, drill bits.

CAT LITTER. I buy "Just the Crystals" litter, which is sold as refills for one particular automatic litter box, but I use them in a regular litter box and they work great. Half the price of the similar Fresh Step product in stores.

Moderately large quantities of small plastic zip bags, which I use for storing board game pieces (ah, Agricola).

Coffee and tea for my Keurig K-cup brewer. You can get these at a further discount with the Amazon "subscription" service, even if you only buy them one time and then cancel the subscription.
posted by kostia at 9:25 PM on April 21, 2011

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