Win/Fail: Which “As Seen on TV” Products Are Worth It?

The best and worst "As Seen on TV" products, from dog-hair picker-uppers to hands-free wine drinking, as tested and rated by our editors.

By Perri O. Blumberg from Reader's Digest Magazine | December 2012
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    Sticky Buddy

    Price: $10 + $6.99 S&H

    What the company says: It’s the “super-sticky lint roller that has the power of glue without the goo!” Use it on clothing, carpet, or furniture to easily remove “hair, dog hair, crumbs, cat litter, and much more!”

    What we say: Let’s throw our hands in the dust-free air for the Sticky Buddy! “This was great. I picked up hair and dirt from my carpet. And it all came off the Sticky Buddy with a simple wash in the sink,” said one editor. “Perfect for small jobs,” crowed another, especially for “cat hair.” “There’s a thing called a vacuum cleaner …” was the sour chorus sung by others.

    Overall: 3.5 out of 4 stars

    Watch: Our editor tests it out!

    SlobStopper

    Price: $14.95 + $4.95 S&H

    What the company says: “Bibs aren’t just for babies!” “The stain-defending, commute-protecting, and stylish SlobStopper” is a “waterproof barrier.”

    What we say: “On my way to the train, my bagel landed on the bib and not on my pants—that’s a good thing,” said one oinker. But others deemed it meh: “I don’t have much use for a bib, as I am over the age of three.” In fact, it could cause more harm than good: “I spilled coffee, and it seeped under the SlobStopper’s neck and dripped down onto my feet.”

    Overall: 2 out of 4 stars

    Watch: Our editor tests it out!

    Style Snaps

    Price: $10 + $7.99 S&H

    What the company says: Forget tailoring your pants! Style Snaps uses snaps and adhesive to allow you to “change your hem as often as you change your shoes—without a stitch.” Shorten or lengthen your pants on a whim; “it just couldn’t be easier!”

    What we say: Actually, it could be easier. While our testers loved all the “options,” one fashionista noted that the instructions were “unclear and the photos unhelpful.” “If you’re the type of person who shudders when she reads the dreaded phrase some assembly required, these are not for you,” added another. A third tester found them a bit flimsy: “The directions say to use four sets” for each hem, “but I think six are necessary. How embarrassing would it be to have the snaps come unstuck and cause you to trip?” One of our editors asked, “Haven’t these people heard of double-sided fashion tape?”

    Overall: 1.5 out of 4 stars

    One Touch Jar Opener

    Price: $21.95 + $0.85 S&H

    What the company says: “Open the toughest jars with just one touch” while saving “time, frustration, and aggravation …” “Just place the opener on the jar, and press the button. That’s it. The opener loosens the lid,” solving all your jar-o-drama.

    What we say: “This is like the little engine that could,” said one happy tester. “It’s slow and robotic, but it works, making it great for older folks—or my youngish wife, who asked me, ‘Where’s that jar opener?’ when she couldn’t open the peanut butter.” Though the device is not the most intuitive (“Where were the instructions?”), “once I figured out how it worked—it was magical. Like watching a really good waiter get a wine cork out in one seamless pull.”

    Overall: 3.5 out of 4 stars

    InstaHang

    Price: $14.99 + $7.95 S&H

    What the company says: Kiss your hammer and nails goodbye because now you can “hang any object big or small in seconds.” “Just place flush against the wall, push” the top, and into the wall a peg goes. “No more large nail holes, no more hammer damage.” Pegs hold “up to ten pounds.”

    What we say: “It’s like a big stapler,” said one tester, but “kind of difficult to load. And the spring-load is chintzy.” Not only that, added Mr. Pessimist, but “it took me three tries to get one to stick in my plaster walls. The pegs were too easily pulled out.” But one editor was wearing rose-colored glasses after tacking up a frame. For “smaller, lighter pieces, the InstaHang is a win,” she said. But for anything heavier, count on it to be an #InstaFail. Update: That piece of artwork our editor hung so effortlessly? It crashed to the floor a week later.

    Overall: 2 out of 4 stars

    The Wine Yoke

    Price: $2.95 + $2.23 S&H

    What the company says: Never “fumble with your wineglass again.” This “hands-free experience” features a rubber harness that cradles your wineglass and hangs from a lanyard around your neck.

    What we say: “I felt a little like a wine ox with the glass on a leash,” said one embarrassed partygoer. “A pretty precarious way to drink wine,” said another, who spent her partying time worried that the wine would slop all over her shirt. But another oenophile allowed, “I suppose if I were in a situation where I had to do a two-handed activity like change a baby’s diaper or make lasagna, I’d use the Wine Yoke.” And no activity screams “Get me a drink!” more than changing a baby’s diaper.

    Overall: 2 out of 4 stars

    Mister Steamy

    Price: $19.99 + $6.99 S&H

    What the company says: “Mister Steamy is the fastest way to get wrinkles out without getting the iron out.” It fluffs, softens, and “reduces dryer sheet and fabric softener costs.” Just add water and toss into the dryer.

    What we say: “It actually worked,” insists our crinkle-combating owner of crumpled khakis. “The hard-core wrinkles didn’t come out, but an iron would be hard-pressed to get those out.” While another tester liked that his clothes “felt soft to the touch and had a nice, clean smell,” he added, “dryer sheets are easier to use and are just as economical.”

    Overall: 3 out of 4 stars

    TastiWave Oven

    Price: $39.95 + $10 S&H

    What the company says: “Change the way you cook forever!” This Dutch oven doppelgänger “absorbs microwave energy and converts it into cooking energy,” leaving you with “homemade meals right from your microwave that taste absolutely incredible.”

    What we say: You’ll need a PhD in kitchen engineering. “It took five adults—all cooks—half an hour just to figure out how to put it together. Steaming broccoli required three items in the microwave for nine minutes … too much muss and fuss—so after all that frustration, we never actually tried it,” said one tester. Back at RD, three editors marched into the office kitchen to cook up some lunch. The outcome? The TastiWave began sparking inside the microwave, forcing our hungry trio to beat a hasty and frightened retreat.

    Overall: 1 out of 4 stars

    Slice-o-Matic

    Price: $19.99 + $6.99 S&H

    What the company says: Slice and dice your way to gastronome heaven with this lean, mean slicing machine that “cuts prep time in half.” The “easy-glide handle” makes slicing fun, efficient, and cramp-free.

    What we say: “The cut is very efficient,” remarks one foodie. But because “the handle kept getting stuck,” it didn’t “operate as quickly as seen on TV. I started my prep work for soup 15 minutes before a basketball game. I was halfway through the celery when I gave up and sliced by hand. I didn’t want to miss the tip-off!” But “the slices were consistent,” so if you “want to impress friends” with a stellar presentation, it’s “worth a try.”

    Overall: 3 out of 4 stars

    The RoboStir

    Price: $10.99 + $6.95 S&H

    What the company says: This cordless, hands-free cooking gadget “automatically stirs … gravy, soups, stews, sauces, and more,” by employing “the power of physics to magically move the silicone feet around the bottom of your pot so nothing sticks and nothing burns.”

    What we say: “There are few foods that have to be stirred constantly, even when you’re instructed to do so,” says our food editor. “But more perplexing, the instructions say don’t leave the darn thing unattended, so what’s the point if you still have to stand there staring at it?” Our favorite caveat: “The battery unit might explode in hot liquid.” Um, that’s what we’re cooking on the stove.

    Overall: 1.5 out of 4 stars

    MORE: 10 Late-Night Products Reviewed »

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    Your Comments

    • JDinHuntsvilleAL

      The Wine Yoke – Someone took a gag from “The Bob Newhart Show” and tried to make it a real project.

    • fibble

      Click Next and get … nothing.  Fail.

    • Suzl51

      I tried 3 times to take the candy quiz, but the link just takes me to the Win/Fail page.

    • http://hizzandherzorganics.com/ nelson

      I need to try this product. MY DOG sheds like a cat. I have a small breed. WE NEED SOMETHING that works.

    • Jaxjanner

      tired of struggling with your site.
      takes forever to load.
      takes forever to go to next  page.

      please test and fix your site.
      thanks 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=755596316 Sandra Rocha Chandler

      The wine yoke: Quite possibly the silliest as seen on TV product I’ve ever seen. 

      • Sercouwis2004

        Amen

    • Gerrydave

      uhmmmm, metal parts in the microwave? seriously? 

    • 57ef61ab

      your page isn’t loading after i hit next. couldn’t move past stick buddy. i use chrome. maybe we shouldn’t discuss other people’s products before fixing our own, eh?

      • Sercouwis2004

        Chrome Sucks, not their fault.

    • Rose

      But what about the clogged drain you’ll get from washing all that pet hair down the sink??

      • Don Alonso

        An express drain cleaner is sold on TV as well. Invest in both but demand a discount.

      • Don Alonso

        An express drain cleaner is sold on TV as well. Invest in both but demand a discount.

      • Barb R

        Thats what I thought too–

      • http://profiles.google.com/leah49 Leah Colson

        I use it to clean up my hair.  I have long hair and it gets everywhere so that my dogs (poodles so they don’t shed) lick it up and it causes them problems (as well as being EVERYWHERE).  Anyway, I use the Sticky Buddy to clean it up instead of dragging out the vaccuum all the time.  I do use a sink to clean the Sticky Buddy, but I don’t wash the hair down the sink.  I put in the trash.  I don’t know how feasible that it is for pet hair, but for human hair it’s not hard to not let it go down the sink.