Amazon's store brand makes a lot of great tech, but these are the 10 gadgets actually worth buying


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Since 2009, Amazon has sold a variety of products through AmazonBasics.

Its generic brand covers everything from tech and fitness to dining supplies. The goal is to give you the most bang for your buck, and while their products might not be as flashy as their competitors’, they get the job done.

They’re also significantly cheaper, and if you can get a solid product in a major category for less, it’s definitely worth it.

I’ve used some AmazonBasics products before, and in some cases, check if they have something before looking at the rest of the market.

So I’ve sorted through the handful of AmazonBasics gadgets you can feel comfortable buying for less. None of them will ever be flashy, but, like an imitative box of cereal, they will get the job done. You might save some cash along the way, too.

Bluetooth speakers


While it hasn't made our list of the best budget Bluetooth speakers, the AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker is a more exciting value than its bland name suggests. It's no UE Roll in the design department, but it's not ugly, and while it doesn't have the fullest sound around, its bright, mostly clean profile is decidedly solid for a $US40 speaker.

AmazonBasics Portable Bluetooth Speaker, $US30.00

Keyboards and mice


We'd still recommend the Logitech K380 or Anker Ultra Slim Bluetooth to most people looking for a new Bluetooth keyboard, but if you aren't going to use it a ton and just want to save a few bucks, the AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard is a decent, no-frills alternative.

It's sturdily built (if a bit drab), well-sized, and comfortable enough, and, as usual, inexpensive. It's entirely competent. It weirdly lacks a rechargeable battery, but it at least comes with a pair of pre-charged AAAs, and both user and professional reviews suggest it can get months out of them.

If you need just any mouse to pair with it, the AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse can work too. It's the epitome of basic, but it's functional, smooth, and not creaky. Ultimately, there aren't bad products in tech so much as there are bad prices and misplaced expectations; for $US12, this does what it has to.

AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for Android Devices, $US23.99

AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver, $US8.99

Laptop and monitor stands


My apartment (and life, for that matter) is full of little gadgets, but I'm actually kind of an organisation freak. One of the ways I keep my desk at home clean is by using a laptop stand. Mine holds my laptop vertically, but there are benefits to the horizontal-style stand here. The biggest is that you can keep your laptop's display open and have a dual-monitor setup, which, if you're a multitasker, is a game changer.

At work I use a stack of books to keep my monitor propped up, but I may end up investing in one of these monitor stands. Besides being way more stable than a handful of paperbacks, Amazon's stand is hollow, so I can store things underneath it.

AmazonBasics Laptop Stand, Black $US19.99

AmazonBasics Metal Monitor Stand, $US15.99



It's never a bad idea to stock up on spare cables -- they have a habit of being misplaced, you see -- and much of AmazonBasics' selection are among the best deals around.

Its sturdy HDMI cables are particularly affordable, as you can grab, among other things, a pair of 10-footers for $US8. You shouldn't pay more than a few bucks for these as a rule -- just be sure to check out similar offers from other trustworthy cheap cable sellers like Monoprice to ensure you get the best deal for you at a given time.

It's the same idea with microUSB and Lightning cables. We've extolled the virtues of having a lengthier charging cable before, and there's virtually no reason to splurge $US20 or $US30 on 'name brand' options from Apple and the like.

There are differences in speed and durability among cheap cables, but generally speaking, Amazon's USB 3.0 to microUSB Cable and (MFi-certified) Lightning to USB Cable are reliable. They might not be the fastest or tightest -- we like Anker's selection, too -- but they're backed by great user reviews, and again, they're super affordable. If you ever see them marked down, they're worth jumping on.

AmazonBasics HDMI Cable 2-Pack (9.8 Feet), $US8

AmazonBasics USB to USB-C Cable (3 Feet), $US6.99

AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable (6 Feet), $US7.99

Computer speakers


They're not going to be as powerful or clear as a high-end pair of computer speakers from AudioEngine, or even Logitech. But if you want better-than-laptop-speaker audio quality, either of these speakers will do that.

Amazon's speakers come in two flavours: powered or USB, and there are a couple of differences between the two to keep in mind. The powered speakers are a little more powerful at 5 watts versus 3 watts on the USB model. Another advantage of the powered speakers is that they have a built-in headphone jack, so you can plug your headphones into them instead of your computer. That's actually a pretty nice feature if you keep your computer docked all the time.

Again, these aren't for the audiophiles, but if you're in need of a cheap pair of computer speakers, either of these pairs will fit the bill.

AmazonBasics USB Powered Computer Speakers, $US13.99

AmazonBasics AC Powered Computer Speakers, $US19.99

On-ear headphones


There are a handful of nondescript headphones sold under the AmazonBasics brand, but the only pair you should consider picking up is its Lightweight On-Ear Headphone. Another boring name, yes, but it has a surprisingly competent, bass-heavy sound that really has no business being on a $US15 headphone.

Now, it certainly looks that cheap. With its dull, all-black, all-plastic frame, it's not the kind of thing you'd get as a gift. Still, it's not uncomfortable either. It's reminiscent of a similar on-ear pair from Monoprice, which sounds more accurate and spacious but is also out of stock as of this writing. For a beater pair you can bring on the run, or a backup you can hang on to when your main headphones go out of whack, this is a good choice.

AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones, $US14.99

Laptop cases and sleeves


If you carry around your laptop around and don't feel like sticking it in a backpack, Amazon's laptop bag is a pretty good option. It has multiple pockets, so it can hold your laptop, tablet, and all your accessories without getting too bloated. I'd never buy a bag like this that didn't have multiple pockets, it's too convenient once you've owned one.

If you'd like to keep your laptop protected, even while it's in the bag, Amazon also sells laptop sleeves. I've used them before; they fit around my laptop pretty well and have a surprisingly thick layer of protection without being overly bulky. They're not as slim as a hard case, but they're certainly better than leaving your laptop as is.

AmazonBasics 15-Inch to 15.6-Inch Laptop Sleeve, $US11.49

Rechargeable batteries


Not much explanation needed here. We've noted before how a robust pack of rechargeable batteries is one of the few pieces of tech that can pay for itself over time -- with its 4.5 rating after 2,500-plus user reviews, the AmazonBasics set qualifies as that, and it's a better value per battery than similar packs like the Panasonic Eneloop.

If you're not into rechargeable batteries, but still want a good deal, Amazon still has you covered. For a bargain-basement price, Amazon has standard AA and AAA batteries, which have also gotten thousands of positive reviews.

AmazonBasics AAA Rechargeable Batteries (8-Pack, Pre-Charged), $US9.99

AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48-Pack), $US11.87

AmazonBasics AAA Performance Alkaline Batteries (36-Pack), $US8.99

Paper shredders


We live in a very digital world, but important documents still get sent through the mail. Getting your sensitive information stolen can lead to years-long battles to erase, which is why everyone should have a paper shredder.
This AmazonBasics model will cut up your paper and old credit cards, so you'll never have to worry about someone else shopping on your dime.

AmazonBasics 6-Sheet Cross-Cut Paper and Credit Card Shredder, $US29.99

Car chargers


After going through a rough experience a few years ago I refuse to drive without a car charger for my phone.

Amazon has two models of their charger: one for Apple devices, and one for Android products. Both have a 5-foot cable attached to them, which should be long enough for anyone to charge their phone, regardless of where they're sitting.

If you regularly use both Android and Apple products, you'll probably want to invest in a multi-port car charger and the appropriate cables. If you only use devices from one of those platforms, then picking up one of these chargers is a good bet.

AmazonBasics Lightning Car Charger, $US13.99

AmazonBasics Micro USB Car Charger, $US6.99

This article was originally published on 8/31/2016.

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