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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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.

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Great Gifts for Teens

Fjallraven/Polaroid
Fjallraven/Polaroid

If it’s been a few years since you were a teenager, you might be feeling at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the teen in your life. But you don’t have to worry—we’ve culled the internet to figure out what’s cool these days, and we found 10 items to suit any teen (and any price point).

1. Fjällräven Kånken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday; $70

Fjällräven/Amazon

Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack was originally introduced in 1978 as an affordable and comfortable bag for Swedish schoolchildren, but it recently took off as a trend among American high schoolers and college students. With 43 different color options, chances are you’ll be able to find the perfect trendy backpack for the teen in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle; $30–$35

Hydro Flask/Amazon

Hydro Flasks aren’t only trendy, they’re sturdy and environmentally friendly. Plus, they keep hot drinks warm and icy drinks cool for an absurdly long amount of time. The standard-mouth water bottle is currently available on Amazon in 17 different colors, but the brand also offers tumbler cups and coffee mugs depending on your niece/nephew/cousin/friend/child’s preference.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Bluetooth-Connected Instant Film Camera; $140

Polaroid Originals/Amazon

Teens can kick it back old school with this Polaroid camera that hides some surprisingly contemporary features. Using a special app, users can fine-tune their camera settings to suit their personal tastes. Plus, this camera makes it possible to capture two scenes in a single frame, so it's that much easier to create uniquely artsy Polaroid pics.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 4th-Generation Echo Dot with Clock; $60

Amazon

Tech-wise, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is almost identical to its third-generation predecessor. But the updated spherical design seems poised to make the Echo Dot a worthy contender for traditional alarm clocks—the speaker face shows the time and it even includes a tap-to-snooze function for drowsy sleepers.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bubble Tea Kit; $38

Uncommon Goods

Part of the reason bubble tea is so popular is that it’s customizable—and what could be more customizable than making it yourself? This kit, made by an Atlanta-based couple, comes with two reusable straws and enough supplies to make up to eight servings.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

6. Mixtape Card Game; $20

Uncommon Goods

This party game challenges players to find the perfect songs to suit specific prompts. Some cards might prompt players to use Spotify or Youtube to search for the songs with the best guitar solos, while other cards call for participants to play their “favorite slow dance love jam from junior high.” This game is sure to be a hit at any high school sleepover or house party—or, in true 2020 style, at any digital hangout or Zoom meeting.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Giant Flour Tortilla Throw Blanket; $18-$35

Mermaker/Amazon

This goofy double-sided blanket turns any human into a giant-size burrito, and it comes in four different sizes to suit any height. One reviewer even went so far as to say that “once you wrap yourself in it, you will be convinced that you are a burrito.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Cup of Destiny; $22

Shelter Harbor Press/Amazon

Here’s a prediction: Your hunt for the perfect gift is almost over. This kit is ideal for the teenager who is fascinated by the supernatural and loves exploring new ideas. Included, you’ll find a 96-page illustrated instruction book along with a cup and a saucer marked with patterns and symbols.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color; $9

Penguin Books/Amazon

This journal is not intended to be pretty. It’s made for messiness and exploration and a little bit of chaos. Artistic-minded teens will love filling out pages that prompt them to catalog various stains or poke holes through the paper. Reviewers say it’s not only a source of creative inspiration, though—it’s also a stress reliever. And considering that the middle-school and high-school years aren’t exactly known for being relaxing, this journal could be a welcome reprieve from the daily pressure of managing homework and a social life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Therapy Dough; $15

Uncommon Goods

Some teens focus better and relax more easily when they have something to fidget with. If the teen in your life fits that description, this therapy dough may be the perfect gift for them. Each 4.5-ounce container is infused with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, orange, or pine, making relaxation smell delicious (and all natural!).

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.