The 20 Products Mental Floss Readers Loved Most in 2018

iStock.com/LeszekCzerwonka
iStock.com/LeszekCzerwonka

Mental Floss loves to surface the coolest, weirdest, most delightful products available online. We put together reviews, lists, and gift guides full of the best stuff available on Amazon, Kickstarter, and elsewhere in the hopes that our readers—that's you!—will enjoy those products just as much as we do. In the past year, we've recommended items like sushi-shaped pushpins, a shockingly well-reviewed $95 mattress, smart planners, and more.

Some of these products proved especially popular with our audience. Below are the 20 products Mental Floss readers enjoyed (and purchased) the most in 2018.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts

A pop-up paper version of Hogwarts
Insight Editions, Amazon

While you're waiting on your acceptance letter from the greatest wizarding school in history and fantasizing about which house the Sorting Hat might choose for you, get familiar with the Hogwarts campus with this 3D pop-up guide to the castle and grounds, which we wrote about in August 2018. Once you finish flipping through this book, check out designer Matthew Reinhart's other 3D works, including pop-up guides to the worlds of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more.

Find it on Amazon for $35.

2. Harry Potter Funko Advent Calendar

A Harry Potter-themed advent calendar
Funko, Amazon

As you might be able to tell, there are few entertainment franchises Mental Floss readers love more than Harry Potter. Between late October and December, readers bought more than 150 of Funko's Harry Potter advent calendars, which capture the expansive wizarding world in an adorably bite-sized fashion. Instead of chocolates, behind each door is a miniature Funko Pop! figure inspired by JK Rowling's beloved characters. But remember, it does not do to dwell on dreams—so if you want to get your hands on this bestseller for 2019, you should grab it early before it sells out.

Find it on Amazon for $63.

3. Pimple Pete Game Presented by Dr. Pimple Popper

The cover of the Pimple Pete board game shows zits popping out of an illustrated face
Spin Master Games, Amazon

Depending on what kind of person you are, this new board game from Mental Floss's favorite dermatologist, Dr. Pimple Popper, is either the grossest thing imaginable or the most satisfying game ever. Pimple Pete revolves around players taking turns pulling "pus" out of the eponymous Pete's zits. Even for those that find the act unappealing, it's a uniquely goofy activity that will surely get some good laughs at family game night.

Find it on Amazon for $10 and at these other retailers:

4. Nerdwax

A tube of Nerdwax
Nerdwax, Amazon

There have been countless niche products pitched on Shark Tank, but Nerdwax—a sticky substance designed to keep your glasses from slipping down your nose—has been the biggest hit with our readers. As Mental Floss's Michele Debczak puts it, the Chapstick-like tube allows you to "stop worrying about pushing up your glasses and focus on looking fabulous."

Find it on Amazon for $10.99.

5. Tiny Titans Vol. 1: Welcome to the Treehouse

The cover of Tiny Titans Vol. 1
Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, Amazon

Tiny Titans Vol. 1: Welcome to the Treehouse is the first of eight books that follow the adventures of DC’s beloved adolescent heroes. But instead of intense crime fighting, it’s about an even more perilous endeavor: elementary school. Comics are actually a great starting point for getting kids into reading, and this is one of many fantastic ones out there for young readers. Fans of the early 2000s Teen Titans show on Cartoon Network will find it especially endearing.

Find it on Amazon for $10.

6. Cat-Opoly

A Cat-Opoly board
Late for the Sky, Amazon

Love Monopoly but tired of the same old aesthetic? Get this paw-some unofficial remix called Cat-Opoly. The game has the same premise and rules of regular Monopoly, but instead of buying property, you buy different cat breeds. Instead of houses and hotels, you collect litter boxes and fish bones, all while trying to avoid dogs and water. It's a purr-fect activity for any cat-loving household—just hope your game doesn't last fur-ever.

Find it on Amazon for $18 and at these other retailers:

7. Paladone Moon Light

A moon-shaped lamp on a desk
Paladone, Amazon

If you’re a space-obsessed night person (and not a werewolf), this popular moon-shaped lamp might be just the thing for you. It’s designed with accurate crater formations that make it look just like the real Moon. The portable lamp would be perfect either as a night light or decoration for a space-themed party.

Find it on Amazon for $11.

8. Zollipops The Clean Teeth Pops

A box of Zollipops
Zollipops, Amazon

Great for kids and adults alike, Zollipops are designed for you to pop post-meal. The gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free candies contain erythritol and xylitol, two sweeteners that have been found to reduce acidity in your mouth and protect against cavities. Readers went wild for them after we wrote about Zolli Candy founder Alina Morse, who came up with the idea when she was just 9 years old.

Find them on Amazon for $6 for 25 Zollipops.

9. First Aid Only 299-Piece All-purpose First Aid Kit

An open first aid kit
First Aid Only, Amazon

Mental Floss fans like to be prepared, apparently. Tons of our readers purchased this compact all-purpose first aid kit in 2018. And who could blame them? The handy case features an extensive number of first-aid necessities and is wildly affordable.

Find it on Amazon for $13.

10. My Pen15 Club Set of 4 Golden Girls Celebrity Prayer Candles

Four prayer candles with the cast of 'The Golden Girls' on them
My Pen15 Club, Amazon

A lot of Mental Floss readers are praying to the patron saints of sitcoms these days. With one for each Golden Girl, this stellar set of four candles—which we wrote about back in December—is the perfect addition to any fan's home.

Find it on Amazon for $60.

11. Funko Pop! Mister Rogers Collectible Figure

A Mister Rogers figurine
Funko, Amazon

This Funko Pop! version of Fred Rogers released last June (just in time for the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) is as delightful as its inspiration. Like the man himself, it's bound to make anyone feel a little more wholesome. And if you're as obsessed with Funko Pop! figures as we are, read all about how the company conquered the toy world here.

Find it on Amazon for $6.

12. T-fal E91898 12-Inch Nonstick Pan

A nonstick pan with a glass lid on it
T-fal, Amazon

Every kitchen could use an everything pan, and this 12-inch one from T-fal seems to have made it into many Mental Floss readers' homes in 2018. It's nonstick, comes with a lid, and is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Even better, it's massively on sale right now.

Find it on Amazon for $32.

13. Anker SoundBuds Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth headphones
Anker, Amazon

A stylish and affordable substitute for inconvenient and easy-to-lose AirPods, these Bluetooth earbuds are perfect for your workout, your commute, or your day in general. We suggest using them to watch a few of our videos.

Find them on Amazon for $26 and at these other retailers:

14. Extra Long Stainless Steel Metal Straws

Six straws and two cleaning wands
MalloMe, Amazon

Last year, many of us found out just how damaging disposable plastic straws can be to the environment. Several cities, companies, and tourist destinations began to phase them out, and as the trend spread, plenty of people decided to proactively cut back on their straw habit. Back in July, we recommended several different products that could help reduce the carbon footprint of that iced coffee addiction, but these stainless steel straws proved the most popular. (Readers also loved our video on the LOLISTRAW, a plastic-free straw that you can eat.)

Find them on Amazon for $12.

15. Sharpie 37001 Permanent Markers

A box of Sharpie pens
Sharpie, Amazon

Our readers sure do love Sharpies. Amazon regularly has great discounts on the beloved permanent markers, so we often feature them in our Smart Shopping section's daily deals posts. Last year, readers bought them in bulk. At $7 for a 12-pack, these ultra-fine-point versions are a permanent bargain.

Find it on Amazon for $7 and at these other retailers:

16. The Bob Ross Coloring Book

The cover of the Bob Ross coloring book
Bob Ross, Amazon

Coloring is already an incredibly relaxing activity, but coloring the paintings of legendarily chill TV art instructor Bob Ross is another level of tranquility. The official Bob Ross Coloring Book includes ready-to-color outlines of the beloved painter’s soothing nature scenes alongside some of his most famous signature quips, so you'll never forget the appreciate the happy little trees as you work. Almost a year and a half after we first wrote about it, this coloring book is still one of the most popular products we've featured on the site.

Find it on Amazon for $13.

17. 3D Crystal Puzzle, Saturn

A clear 3D puzzle in the shape of Saturn
Bepuzzled, Amazon

In 2018, Mental Floss readers added another dimension to their puzzle-solving skills with this 3D puzzle of Saturn by BePuzzled. When finished, the 39 translucent, interlocking pieces create a beautiful model of the ringed planet that's ready for display. (BePuzzled also makes versions in the shape of various fruits, animals, and other figures.)

Find it on Amazon for $13 and at these other retailers:

18. The Constellations Glow-In-The-Dark Star Map (Northern Hemisphere)

A star map of the Northern Hemisphere
Star Finders, Inc., Amazon

In the light of day, this sky map shows all the constellations visible in the Northern Hemisphere. At night, the stars glow in the dark and the lines fade away, creating a spellbinding night sky within your home. The poster was a particularly popular addition to our holiday gift guide for astronomy geeks.

Find it on Amazon for $25.

19. Go-Cat Da Bird Rod and Feather Toy

A feathered cat toy
Go Cat, Amazon

Cat-loving Mental Floss readers bought a whole bunch of these great, excellently priced Go-Cat feather toys after cat behavioral consultant Mikel Delgado recommended them in her July 2018 article “10 Science-Backed Tips for Getting a Cat to Like You.” Wand-style toys with feathers or other attachments that look like potential prey are some of the best ways to engage with a cat, leading to some excellent bonding time.

Find it on Amazon for $9.

20. Kikkerland Playing Cards

A spread of playing cards
Kikkerland, Amazon

Perfect your poker face with these stylish playing cards. Kikkerland offers glow-in-the-dark, translucent, and other unique card styles, but our readers particularly loved the pixel design, which gives the deck a retro video game vibe.

Find them on Amazon for $9.

11 Patriotic Products to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you’ll be lounging by the beach or grilling in your backyard this Independence Day, don’t forget to show off your all-American spirit with a little swag. Here are 11 products to help you celebrate Fourth of July—all of which would pair nicely with your collection of presidential bobbleheads.

1. Declaration Of Independence Signatures Mug; $15

Mug decorated with the signatures from the Declaration of Independence.
CafePress, Amazon

The names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence are on display on this ceramic coffee mug. Studying the signatures each morning might inspire you to perfect your own John Hancock.

Find it: Amazon

2. Stars And Stripes Cufflinks; $55

Cufflinks with images of stars and stripes on them

Cufflinks Inc., Nordstrom

Brighten up your wardrobe with a splash of American pride. One half of this cufflinks set is striped red and white and the other is blue and spangled with stars. Together they make a patriotic accent piece.

Find it: Nordstrom

3. Fireworks Light Show Projector; $41

Portable fireworks light projector.
Uncle Milton, Amazon

If you want a low-hazard Fourth of July that still delivers thrills, consider getting a light show projector. When it’s pointed at a wall, the device displays vibrant fireworks animations accompanied by realistic sound effects. And it works indoors, so you can count on your Independence Day party ending with a light show no matter the weather forecast. (There's also a Disney version available for just $20.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Inflatable Cooler; $14

Inflatable American flag cooler filled with ice and drinks.
Fun Express, Amazon

When preparing for a picnic or barbecue this Fourth of July, don’t bother breaking out your tiny roll-away cooler. This 54-by-28-inch inflatable trough holds enough bottles and cans to keep your party going well past sunset. Once the cooler has been drained and deflated, it folds neatly for easy storage.

Find it: Amazon

5. American Trivia Cards; $15

Even players who paid attention in American history class might find this game challenging. Each box comes with 150 cards of United States trivia. Some questions—like what was the first state to grant women the right to vote—highlight important moments in our nation’s history. Others—like how many columns the Lincoln Memorial features—are a little more random.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. U.S. Navy Blanket; $200

The U.S. military has been going to Faribault Woolen Mill Co. for its blankets for over 100 years. This one is crafted from 100 percent wool and weighs 3.5 pounds. The design is inspired by the blankets supplied on Navy ships—and if it’s tough enough for the Navy, you can bet it will withstand a Fourth of July picnic. We like the gray version, but it comes in several different styles and colors.

Find it: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

7. American Flag Cornhole; $90

Two American flag cornhole boards with bean bags.
GoSports, Amazon

Baseball faces some stiff competition from cornhole for the title of No. 1 American pastime. This lawn set includes four blue bean bags, four red bean bags, and two boards decorated to resemble the American flag.

Find it: Amazon

8. U.S. Map Cutting Board; $20

Wooden cutting board in the shape of the U.S. map.
Totally Bamboo, Amazon

This 100 percent bamboo board eschews the traditional rectangle shape in favor of the outline of the American mainland. You can either keep it in the kitchen and use it as a cutting board or bring it out to the party as a serving platter for fruits, cheeses, and other hors d'oeuvres.

Find it: Amazon

9. Boston Tea Party Tea Sampler; $15

Six piles of loose-leaf tea.
Solstice Tea Traders, Amazon

A sip of one of the teas in this sampler will put you in touch with your inner revolutionary. Each of the six loose-leaf varieties—bohea black tea, oolong, congou black tea, souchong, singlo, and hyson—was among those tossed over the sides of British ships during the Boston Party. Whether you drink the tea or chuck it into the nearest harbor is up to you. (If you're looking for something to put on display, UncommonGoods also sells a slightly pricier, more elegant option with five teas.)

Find it: Amazon

10. State Map Prints; $27 and Up

A poster featuring a colorful map of Wisconsin
Bri Buckley, Society6

These unique prints by Bri Buckley highlight the beauty of each U.S. state in vibrant color. Each state map is available in both a modern and a vintage style, and like most Society6 art, the design is also available on tapestries, shirts, pillows, tote bags, and more.

Find it: Society6

11. Bald Eagle Pool Float; $15

A man and a woman ride a bald eagle pool float
Swimline, Amazon

Cool down the patriotic way this Fourth of July. This massive 8-foot-by-6-foot bald eagle pool float can fit up to two people comfortably, and will look great floating around your pool during your backyard barbecue.

Find it: Amazon

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated for 2019.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Turn Your Phone Into an Instant Camera With KODAK's New Handheld Printer

KODAK
KODAK

Instant cameras are all the rage, but when you're already carrying a high-end camera everywhere you go in the form of your smartphone, the idea of carrying around an extra gadget might seem like more work than it's worth. You don't have to choose between the convenience of your phone's camera and the fun of having a tangible memento. KODAK's new SMILE digital printer combines all the fun of using filters and image editing on your phone with the delight of having a printed copy of your photo.

Blue, green, black, red, and white KODAK SMILE printers printing photos
The KODAK SMILE line of instant digital printers
KODAK

The handheld Bluetooth printer—which is roughly the same size as KODAK's SMILE instant digital camera—lets you edit photos on your phone, then print your image instantly on 2-inch-by-3-inch sticker paper. Using the KODAK SMILE app, you can add Instagram-esque filters; rotate images and change contrast, brightness, and other characteristics; and add stickers, text, doodles, and borders.

Most uniquely, you can add augmented reality elements to your photos, so that when you (or someone else with the KODAK SMILE app) point the app at the physical print, the image is replaced by a short video clip. The effect is something like the moving photographs in Harry Potter—you can surprise your friends by asking them to view a photo through the app's AR function, then watch their delight as the still image begins to move.

The KODAK SMILE app
KODAK

KODAK sent Mental Floss both the SMILE instant camera and the SMILE printer to test, and while there's a lot of fun in snapping photos on an instant camera and accepting whatever weird flaws that photo might have (though you can do some light editing on the SMILE camera before printing), in our opinion, the breadth of image-editing features and convenience of being able to print photos you've already taken on your smartphone makes the digital printer the better option if you're trying to choose between the two.

This is especially true if you're going on vacation or trying to capture a night out on camera; it's just easier to whip out your phone rather than break out another camera, and it's easier to edit photos on your phone than to manipulate photos on the SMILE instant camera's small screen.

Blue, black, green, white, and red KODAK SMILE instant-print cameras
The KODAK SMILE line of instant-print digital cameras
KODAK

The SMILE printer is available on Amazon and Walmart for $100 and comes in five different colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. The SMILE instant-print digital camera is also $100 on Amazon and Walmart and is available in the same colors.

While the camera and the printer both come with a starter pack of sticker-backed ZINK photo paper, you can get 50 refill sheets for $24 when you run out.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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