26 Amazon Gift Ideas (Hidden Inside My 14-Year Order History)

When I look back at my Amazon order history, I'm amazed at how few of the products I still own.

My RCA amplified TV-antenna stopped getting reception. My Sennheiser MX85 earbuds shorted-out after getting sweaty. My Fellowes W11-C paper shredder died (so did the replacement and the replacement's replacement).

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I can go on.

My alarm clock stopped projecting. My Perry Ellis wallet came unstitched. Adobe revoked the license to my $1,100 CS6 software bundle (this was an outrage, and so was Adobe's and Amazon's "blame the other" response). My phone case cracked. My beard brush grew mold. I have dozens of examples like these.

Perhaps the building resentment of these purchases drove me to create this site

Even now, I rarely find a great product that lasts for years. That's why I decided to review each of the items in my Amazon order history (dating back to 2005) and pick out the gems. These are the things that I would immediately replace if I lost or accidentally damaged one. 

To be clear, each of these products is the exact model that I purchased and still available for sale at the time of this writing.

These items might make a good gift for someone who likes photography, movies, music, food, wine, and travel (like I do). Many of these products are discounted on Prime Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so I've included a simple price guide to help you find the best deal.


Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds

Purchased in 2016

Good Price: $8 | Great Deal: $5

These cheap earbuds sell for less than $10, come in a variety of colors, sound great and don't tangle easily. I keep these headphones in my travel backpack to use during in-flight movies. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better stocking stuffer or "Secret Santa" gift under $10.

Good Price: $35 | Great Deal: $24

Anker's portable speaker is cheap and convenient. It's tiny, yet it sounds "big" (especially when you place it in a corner) and the Bluetooth range and battery life are both excellent. It’s durable, but I use mine indoors.

Good Price: $145 | Great Deal: $120

Yamaha's budget stereo receiver is the best bargain in home audio. I bought three of them (one for my bedroom, one for my kitchen and I gave one as a Christmas gift). It has the best Bluetooth radio (i.e. pairing) I've ever used and it sounds great. My only gripe is that the receiver has spring clips, not banana plugs.

Good Price: $195 | Great Deal: $160

Assembling this turntable is a pain in the butt: You have to string the drive belt and calibrate the counterbalance of the tone arm, then, let the motor run for 24 hours. But, it works like a charm after that initial setup and the Audio Technica cartridge is a nice touch for a cheap turntable.

Good Price: $11 | Great Deal: $4

I bought these earplugs because I was seated in the front row of a loud concert. It was a great buy. They don't make live music sound "underwater" like cheap earplugs do. Nope, everything is just a bit quieter.

Food and Wine

Teakhaus Teak Cutting Board

Purchased in 2012

Good Price: $29 | Great Deal: $22

This teak cutting board is perfectly-sized for homemade Sicilian pizza. Seven years and dozens of pizzas later, it looks brand new. The juice groove on the board is deep enough for slicing rare steaks.

Good Price: $13 | Great Deal: $7

Vacu Vin's pump system keeps wine fresh for several days (even weeks, depending on the wine). Our original stoppers still keep a tight seal after many years of use. 

Good Price: $15 | Great Deal: $12

Every stainless steel "Good Grips" product I've bought has rusted, from drain covers to soap dishes -- except for this ice cream scoop. It still looks new and it works like a charm. The handle is comfortable and the pointy design pierces well-packed (or super-frozen) ice cream.

Good Price: $30 | Great Deal: $18

These silicone spatulas are extremely resistant to heat, but even silicone has its limits. Our most-used spatula began to crack over time (we cook almost every day). Di Oro replaced it without question, years after our purchase. The forever warranty on this set is legit.

Good Price: $29 | Great Deal: $17

These Bloody Mary mixes make fine cocktails, but they're just as useful as a marinade. For example, we've used them to make spicy pulled pork in the slow cooker.

Good Price: $11 | Great Deal: $8

A lot of supermarket honey is sourced from China, but Nature Nate’s honey comes from bees in Canada and the USA. It's delicious. Also, the dispenser cap keeps the jar clean and prevents the honey from crystallizing. Why isn't all honey packaged this way!?


Venice Album 8x10 Silver-Edged Photo Album

Purchased in 2010

Good Price: $95 | Great Deal: $90

This handmade wedding album is designed for professional photographers (to use as part of a wedding photography package). The gilded pages give the book a sense of great importance. It's the finest, most durable photo album I've ever owned.

Good Price: $30 | Great Deal: $17

I paid $58.25 for this memory card, which seemed steep at the time, but it was worth it. My SD card has captured more than 100,000 photos, plus hours of HD video. It still functions like it was new, despite the drops and dings along the way.

Good Price: $17 | Great Deal: $13

This camera bag is as cheap as they come, yet it has plenty of storage, the zipper works perfectly and the material hasn't frayed after years of use. It's a great deal.

Good Price: $145 | Great Deal: $110

Vanguard's inexpensive ball-head tripod is sturdy, lightweight and easy to carry. The quick release works well and the legs are easy to extend. It's a great tripod for still photography.

Good Price: $850 | Great Deal: $699

Dollar for dollar, I believe this is the best lens that Canon makes. It's sharp from corner to corner (here is a sample photo), has built-in image stabilization, focuses quickly (and quietly) and isn't too heavy. I've shot with Canon SLRs for 15 years and this is my favorite lens by far.

Good Price: $200 | Great Deal: $148

"DefTech" makes some of the best small speakers on the market. This inexpensive center speaker is compact, handsome, and it projects clear dialogue. It sounds better than any soundbar that I've heard, despite being smaller than many of them.

Good Price: $20 | Great Deal: $10

I first bought this Monster Cable in the late 1990s when it was $1 per foot. That was a ripoff. Today, Monster XP speaker cable is a good value. The flat jacket and off-white color make it a great choice for running along a ceiling or baseboard. I use this cable to connect my surround speakers to my A/V receiver.

Good Price: $16 | Great Deal: $14

These gold-plated banana plugs are easy to install and remove, they're clearly marked and they hold speaker wire like a crocodile holding its prey. They're the best banana plugs that I've used and I've used many.

Good Price: $26 | Great Deal: $22

These woolen boot socks have outlived every other sock that I've bought, including socks from SmartWool and L.L. Bean. After five winters of heavy use, they still look (and feel) new.

Good Price: $16 | Great Deal: $14

Dr. Bronner's tea-tree oil soap is a great body wash and foot soap; I've even used a drop or two mixed in with my shampoo. A little goes a long way (one bottle seems to last forever).

Household and Home Office

Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman

Purchased in 2011

Good Price: $120 | Great Deal: $99

This cheap rocking chair was easy-to-assemble. After eight years of use, it still glides smoothly and the upholstery is in good shape. It's a good baby shower gift.

Good Price: $28 | Great Deal: $19

Belkin's heavy-duty surge protector has pivoting plugs that make life easier in a home office or home theater setup. I rarely think about this product because it works well.

Umbra Small Garbage Can

Purchased in 2014

Good Price: $8 | Great Deal: $5

This little garbage can is tough as nails and it fits in narrow spaces. It looks pretty stylish, too.

Good Price: $23 | Great Deal: $15

Blackwing's are the best pencils I've ever used: They sharpen perfectly and I've never had a point break on me. Walt Disney was a fan of Blackwing pencils and the original Blackwing 602 pencil was a favorite among animators. This is a great gift for artists, writers and nostalgists.

Good Price: $44 | Great Deal: $30

Maytag's M400 is a great steam iron for the money. It gets hot quickly, is comfortable to use, and manages to stay clean (i.e. no calcium build-ups in the steam wells). It's not a sexy gift, but it works great.

If you've made it this far without finding a good gift idea, here is larger gift guide that may help you find inexpensive, bestselling products. If you’re a Pinterest user, check out these boards that organize most of the products that you’ll find on this site: Gifts Under $25; Gifts Under $50; Gifts Under $100.

John DeFeo