5 Unique Car Gadgets for Under $50

4 minute read

Coffee Cup Power Inverter ($34.99)


This doohickey looks like a cup of coffee and fits in your — you guessed it — cup holder.

Do not fill it with coffee or you will surely die. I can’t say “surely” for sure but I need to cover my bases somehow, so if we assume that you pouring liquid into a power inverter will result in death, then maybe you’ll think twice about doing so.

Anyhoo. You plug this coffee cup into your car’s cigarette lighter, plop it into your cup holder and enjoy the benefits of two AC plugs and a USB port, perfect for that cross-country high-speed getaway from Johnny Law road trip to see your half-sister in Arkansas.


Blind Spot-Eliminating Rearview Mirror ($49.95)


Your driving instructor (should have) taught you to physically turn your head to check your blind spot before changing lanes.

But your driving instructor isn’t here, and the last time I looked out my window, this was America. Don’t tell me what to do, Derek. It’s been 20 years, and I still remember that my driving instructor’s name was Derek.

This monument to American laziness lets you survey both sides of your car without moving your head a single millimeter more than you have to. It clips to your existing mirror, overpowers it with its massive girth and immediately starts dictating how things are going to work around here.


Portable Breathalyzer ($49.99)


Getting busted for drinking and driving is the worst. Take it from me: a guy who’s seen several episodes of Cops but who’s never been pulled over for drunk driving.

I reviewed the smartphone-connected version of this gadget a while back, but this portable version is cheaper and simpler to use. You’ll get 150 tests out of it before you need to replace the batteries, too. That’s a lot of booze.

Keep it in your car and fire it up to make sure it’s safe to drive home after book club. We all know that none of you talked about the book, and the only reading going on was to figure out whether you were drinking Chillable Red or Sunset Blush.


Cup Holder Speakerphone ($44.95)

Hammacher Schlemmer

This is the second cup holder-based gadget on this list, and I won’t apologize for it. Know why? You have multiple cup holders.

This speakerphone will allow you to make hands-free calls from your 1990 Tercel just like all your fancy-pants friends with their pinkies in the air driving around in their modern-day superchariots with built-in Bluetooth systems.

The product description says that this product is “ideal for use in a car or beach chair,” but if you’re sitting on the beach yelling into a speakerphone tucked into your chair’s cupholder, it might be time to make a pros and cons list about how life’s been going lately.

[Hammacher Schlemmer]

Smartphone-Connected Radar Detector ($29.99)


You would never, ever, ever drive above the speed limit, but wouldn’t it be nice to know where members of the highway patrol are hiding so you can pull over and give them some fresh coffee and pie?

Pair this inexpensive Cobra radar detector to your iPhone or Android handset to be notified of nearby bogies — it detects 14 bands and six laser types — but don’t call them bogies in person, just to be on the safe side. I’m not sure if that’s an endearing term or not. Probably not? I don’t have a ton of experience with the law (see the above entry about me not getting pulled over for drunk driving).


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