Most useless gadgets people spent money on

Some gadgets may seem like they would make our lives more convenient, but on further inspection the truth is they complicate things for which we already have simple solutions.

While technology has come a long way to provide us with creature comforts, some gadget ideas should never be allowed to see the light of day in the first place.

According to Fortune Business Research and Precedence Research, the global consumer electronics market is expected to show compound annual growth of over 5% over the next 5–8 years.

Many companies are trying to capture a slice of that pie and develop the next must-buy gadget.

From making the most mundane household items “smart”, to inventions that simply turn out too expensive for what they do, companies can lose touch with reality in the relentless quest for innovation.

Here are some of the worst gadgets people have spent money on.

Denso vacuum cleaner shoes

Japanese auto company Denso came up with the idea to place mini vacuum cleaners inside a pair of shoes’ soles.

The shoes work via a pressure pedal within the heels, which activates the vacuums at the front of the shoe with every step.

Considering that the shoes only vacuum minimal amounts of debris at a time, it would take hours to get any noticeable result.

The idea came from a biannual competition that intends to foster innovation and creativity among Denso’s employees.


Japan’s Seven Dreamers Laboratories showcased Laundroid — an automated robot that folds clothes — at the CEATEC trade fair in 2015.

While this home appliance isn’t technically useless, it is highly unpractical — it takes the robot approximately five hours to fold a full load.

The automated laundry-folding robot is the size of a wardrobe and costs R256,618.56 ($16,000).

Artificial intelligence combined with visual analysis helps the appliance determine the type of clothing and how to fold it via two robotic arms.

Smalt salt dispenser

Smalt’s creators boasted that it was the world’s first smart salt dispenser.

The companion application would let users choose the amount of salt to dispense by either shaking/pinching their smartphones or manually turning the dial.

It lets users track their salt intake, stream music through a Bluetooth speaker, and acts as an “interactive centrepiece” with mood lighting.

Luckily, the 61 backers who contributed R149,850 to the project on Indiegogo got refunded after Smalt failed to reach its funding goal of R397,437 and was consequently cancelled.


Juicero was a juicer that did little more than squeeze prepackaged fruits and vegetables into a glass.

The product was widely criticised after it came to light that squeezing Juicero packets by hand was just as effective.

A Juicero machine set consumers back R6,415 ($400), excluding additional expenses from regularly buying juice packs.

The San-Franciscan tech startup responsible for Juicero went bust only 16 months after raising R1.9 billion ($120 million) from investors.

Eva Mini

If you thought the Juicero was dumb, Fresco’s Eva Mini is even worse.

The Eva Mini is a device with the sole purpose of heating olive oil pods to dispense them in a shot glass.

A promotional product page explains that the device “takes care of defrosting the blast-chilled drops of freshly squeezed [olive oil] without starting an oxidation process and with a large amount of polyphenols.”

A video from CES 2020 shows that the product is only sold in Italy, although there are ambitions to expand its availability to more countries.

Remote control cushion

The remote control cushion supposedly solves the all-too-common problem of misplacing your TV remote.

The cushion supports over 500 devices and switches off after 60 seconds of inactivity.

Consumers would be much better off simply using their smartphones as remotes than buying a cushion that offers inferior functionality and possibly doesn’t work with their TV.

Smart water bottles

If your body forgets how to be thirsty, a smart water bottle will light up to remind you to drink water.

If that’s not enough to entice you, the bottle also has a Bluetooth speaker that screws onto the bottom.

However, the quality of this Bluetooth speaker is questionable — which isn’t surprising when you consider the R320.58 ($19.99) price tag.

Customer reviews on the Icewater smart bottle’s Amazon product page confirm the device’s low quality.

At least the bottle features a modular design, so you can remove the speaker if necessary.

Now read: Awesome gadgets from CES 2022

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Most useless gadgets people spent money on