Although I would prefer to focus on the best products of the year (and I did, as you can read here), sometimes it’s fun and useful to take a look back at those products that weren’t so great. So today I’m offering you my picks for the worst products I reviewed in 2021.
The giveaway ended on December 31, 2021.
Below is a quick list of all the products included in my Best of 2021 countdown. Be sure to scroll down to read my summary of each product and see videos for every item on the list.
- Burrito Pop (Video)
- Cool Turtle (Video)
- Go Fan Cool Mist (Video)
- Heinz Packet Roller (Video)
- New Ice Genie (Video)
- ID Police (Video)
- Kitchen Cube (Video)
- Magic Broom (Video)
- Pilot Dash Cam (Video)
- Salad Sling (Video)
- Sleep Pod (Video)
- Sucker Stand (Video)
- Tasty Tabs (Video)
Worst Products of 2021
Here are my picks for the ten worst products I reviewed in 2021, along with three honorable mentions (or should I say dishonorable mentions?). I curated this list among nearly 200 products that I reviewed in 2021. The only criteria I used was that they had to be reviewed on my YouTube channel in 2021, which means not all of these products came out in 2021, but were new to me this calendar year.
10. New Ice Genie
The original Ice Genie appeared on my Worst of 2018 list, and I’m happy to report that the new version is indeed an improvement – so they’re going in the right direction with this invention. Unfortunately, it still isn’t better than (or even as good as) traditional ice cube trays. To use either incarnation of the Ice Genie, you fill an exterior sleeve with water, place it in the fridge, and squeeze the sides once frozen. It does work, but the process is difficult and it makes less ice than a regular tray.
I picked up the new Ice Genie on Amazon.
Watch the full review below.
9. Sleep Pod
Sleep Pod feels a bit like a thin, stretchy sleeping bag. The makers state that it swaddles and helps promote restful sleep, however I found it to be claustrophobic-inducing nightmare. You can pull it all the way up to your shoulders if desired, and there’s a place for feet to stick out to help regulate temperature. It sounds good on paper, but the reality was far less impressive. To me, it felt like being tangled up in a sheet all night. The $90 price tag didn’t help much.
I bought mine at the official website.
Be sure to check out my full review below.
8. Burrito Pop
The inclusion of a product on this list doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work. In the case of the Burrito Pop, it does work exactly as advertised. I just don’t know that it needed to be invented at all. With a jaw-dropping price tag of $40, Burrito Pop has has a single use: to store and dispense burritos. And, while it functions as promised, one must wonder how many burritos a consumer must eat to justify such a device. It’s big, expensive, and probably unnecessary to the vast majority of consumers.
I bought mine at burritopop.com.
My review of the Burrito Pop came in a collection of “Dumb” products that actually work.
7. Cool Turtle
This As Seen on TV mask insert that is said to improve the mask-wearing experience by creating a cushion of air which provides more space to talk and breathe. The problem was that it seemed to do the opposite of what was intended. The cushion of air was there, but it made the experience less pleasant. When wearing a mask without an insert, exhaled air is pushed out of the sides rather than lingering around your nose and mouth. Thus, the Cool Turtle felt like it forced me to breathe more of my own exhaled air. I just didn’t like the experience at all.
You can buy it from Amazon or direct from getcoolturtle.com.
Below is my full Cool Turtle review from February 2021.
6. Heinz Packet Roller
I was a bit torn about putting this product on my “Worst of 2021” list because in some ways I did like it. One of the ways I liked it, however, was not in the way it actually functioned. The Heinz Packet Roller is supposed to cut and dispense condiments from packets – which it does – but the process is difficult, messy, and slower than just tearing off a corner and squeezing with your fingers. It was a limited edition item and is no longer being sold, so I’ll hang onto it as a collectible. It was fun while it lasted, but it was not a useful item.
Below is my full Heinz Packet Roller review.
5. Pilot Dash Cam
Back in January, I compared four popular dash cams in four different price ranges. The Pilot Dash Cam was the cheapest of the bunch at only $24, purchased at Walmart. Even though I had low expectations, the quality was so bad that vital details such as license plate numbers were not discernible in the final product. Daytime video was bad, while nighttime video was even worse. If this is the best you can get for $24, I’d suggest looking toward the $50 range for some respectable options.
Check out my full dash cam comparison below.
4. Tasty Tabs
Tasty Tabs are scratch and sniff stickers that are to be placed on hard seltzer (and other cans) tabs to enhance the flavor. The scent supposedly tricks the brain into “tasting” this enhancement. This is not the first such item I’ve encountered. The Right Cup was another such product that supposedly tricks your brain into tasting a smell, and I don’t think my brain was tricked by either of these products. In fact, I’m starting to believe that these “brain tricking” products are more hype than substance. Even if their claims were true, this “trick” would only occur in that brief moment when the can is close enough to smell, which isn’t very long. Overall these were fun to try, but gave little to no meaningful results from what I could tell.
You can buy these at tastytabs.com.
Below is my full Tasty Tabs review.
3. The Kitchen Cube
The Kitchen Cube is touted as a space-saving, all-in-one measuring device. The design is certainly innovative, with 10 cutouts ranging from 1 cup down to a quarter teaspoon. The larger cutouts seem to work pretty well – provided you aren’t trying to scoop out something from a narrow enclosure. The smaller cutouts are more problematic, especially with dry ingredients. I also found that it didn’t really save any space at all over my regular measuring cups and spoons. I like the innovation, but the execution fell flat.
You can buy it on Amazon or at thekitchencube.com.
Be sure to check out my full Kitchen Cube review below.
2. ID Police
One would hope that a security device would work most of the time, but in the case of the As Seen on TV ID Police, I found that it worked maybe half the time. This is an ink roller that you can use to cover sensitive information on documents before discarding them. While on paper it seems like a good idea, the type of paper you use this on can significantly affect how well it works. In some cases, the ink faded the next day to the point where I could read the sensitive information. In other cases I could simply wipe the ink off with a damp paper towel. ID Police did work some of the time, but I wouldn’t risk my sensitive documents with the hope that it will work.
Watch my complete review below.
1. Magic Broom
This “broom” was being advertised on social media throughout 2021, hailed as a hybrid squeegee-broom that could clean up a variety of messes around the home. The reality was that it was a below average squeegee with a handle. When I put some of their marketing demonstrations to the test, it failed miserably. Even as a squeegee, it didn’t perform as well as a few I tested against it. In short, it’s not magic and it’s not a broom.
Below is my full review.
Here are a few products that I had considered for my Worst of 2021, but just missed the final cut. These are my Honorable (or shall I say dishonorable) Mentions.
When I tested a group of odd Aliexpress gadgets back in February 2021, this “sucker stand” stood out as the worst of the bunch. It includes small suction cups on either end, connected by a flexible stem. Although it seems like it should work, the reality is that it didn’t stick well and my phone kept sliding off. The stem was barely adjustable, and it wouldn’t stick to most phone cases. Overall, just a cheap, flimsy mess.
I bought mine at Aliexpress but it’s easier to find on Amazon.
Watch my full review below.
Go Fan Cool Mist
When the original Go Fan came out, it sported a number of useful features, like 360-degrees of rotation, a sturdy clip for mounting, and a rechargeable battery. So when the makers came out with a “Cool Mist” version, it looked like another useful feature was tacked onto the original. Wrong. The “cool mist” function was a dud and could really only be felt it you held the fan directly against your face. As a further slap in the face, it was originally priced higher than the regular Go Fan, even though the one new feature didn’t really work. I’ve seen this marked down recently, so apparently the buying public has caught on that it’s not worth the “upgrade.”
You can get it direct at gofancoolmist.com.
Check out the full review below.
Salad Sling was featured on Shark Tank, and is designed to be a sort of manual salad spinner – with your arms do the spinning. Sporting a three-layer design, it consists of two microfiber cloths with an inner liner to keep each side apart from the other. To use the Salad Sling, you place greens in the center, hold all four corners, and spin. I’d say it works – but so does using a regular microfiber towel. At $20, it just seems unnecessary.
You can find this at the official website saladsling.com or on Amazon here.
Watch the full video below.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me this far. I appreciate you more than you know. I look forward to what interesting products I run across in 2022.