You’ve seen the infomercials: ShamWow, Magic Bullet Food Processor, Ginsu Knives…and the list goes on. The product demonstrators make the gadgets look really cool. But do they work? And more importantly, do they help you save money?

That’s what Ben wanted to know when he wrote me the following email.

Could you write a post about some of the gadgets you see on tv? Food
dehydrator, does it save money? Vacuum sealer, can that help stretch bulk
foods? etc.
Thanks, I enjoy reading your site.

I don’t have a ton of experience with products seen on TV, though I do own a few. Last Christmas I was given the Magic Bullet food processor. I will say it’s a handy gadget to have on hand. I use it frequently for scrambling eggs and making homemade mochas. I wouldn’t say it saves me money. But since I received it as a gift, I love it!

I recently purchased the Shark Steam Mop at Costco. I believe the Shark has also been seen on TV. I needed something to quickly clean my large laminate flooring. I considered the Swiffer, but I hate the disposable pads and chemicals. The Shark seemed like a good option.

I used it for the first time this week, and it left a bit of streaking on my floors. I’m hoping that gets better over time. I might also try to add some vinegar to the water chamber to prevent streaking. All in all, I’m also happy with this purchase, though I’d definitely put it in the saves time, rather than money, category.

I also recently bought a food dehydrator (I’m not sure if this particular model has ever been seen on TV). Now that is one purchase that will pay for itself, if you use it a lot! I love to make homemade beef jerky, which is not only cheaper than what you find in the store, but it tastes better, too!

I also love the food dehydrator, because you can dehydrate lots of produce, if you find a good sale. And if you have an overabundant garden? Dehydrate the extras and use them through the winter.

So my opinion is that some products that are seen on TV will save you money. Some will not save you money, but will save you time. And I’m sure some aren’t worth it at all. You need to be selective.

Do you have any experience with products that have been seen on TV? Any products to recommend? How about horror stories?

Photo by michale.