Full disclosure: your correspondent has watched one, maybe two episodes of Shark Tank.
But even at a relative distance — as opposed to the rabid fanaticism with which seemingly everyone else watches the show, from coworkers to my ruthlessly opinionated grandmother — one aspect of the show is inescapable: the products.
The show, which was recently renewed for a 10th season, has actually lived up to its “reality” designation by launching small businesses offering everything from refined floral services to poop stools.
And while not all of the featured goods live up to their inspirational stories, plenty do. To help you separate the cream from the crud, we've compiled 10 Shark Tank wares that are actually worth your greenbacks below.
Squatty Potty Toilet Stool
The one product that single-handedly justifies e-commerce (your correspondent almost died from secondhand embarrassment when a man sheepishly asked a Target store employee if they had “a, um … Squatty … Potty?”). The rumors you’ve heard about these stools working miracles in facilitating bowel movements are true, so get over yourself and try it out.
Canvas Ratchet Mission Belt
Yes, simple accessories still have room for improvement. (No, that doesn’t include wooden bow ties.) Mission Belt offers a hole-less version with a sleek look that puts less strain on the strap. The canvas ones are a new essential.
Radiate Portable Campfire
A self-contained campfire enclosed in a tin can. Pop the top and you’ll find a mix of reusable and 100-percent recycled soy wax and paper pulp. They're non-toxic and waterproof, refillable, and each unit offers 3-5 hours of burn time.
Buck Mason Clothing
In 2015, Sasha Koehn and Erik Allen turned down an offer from the show that would've netted them $300K in exchange for a 25% stake in their company. In hindsight, that looks like a smart decision: the menswear brand has branched off from basics (their T-shirts are wardrobe bedrock) to a full line of impeccable duds we heartily recommend.
LuminAID PackLite Nova USB
The ultimate packable, inflatable, go-anywhere lantern. A must for camping, they can be charged via micro USB or the built-in solar panel. And with the company’s Give Light, Get Light program, you can buy one for yourself while sponsoring one to be distributed in a disaster- or hurricane-affected area.
ChordBuddy Guitar Learning System
Dust off that acoustic or electric guitar you’ve been meaning to learn, attach this color-coded finger trainer, and you’ll pick up right where Guitar Hero left off.
Ring Video Doorbell 2
CEO Jamie Siminoff turned down the one deal he was offered on the show, but the security device took off nonetheless, eventually acquiring funds from the likes of Richard Branson. Doorbell 2 allows homeowners to see, hear and speak to those at the door from a phone, tablet or PC, and also connects to Amazon Alexa.
Vibes Reusable Hi-Fidelity Ear Plugs
Cheap ear plugs are convenient, but the reusable Vibes reduce sound levels by up to 22 decibels without compromising sound quality — or style (neon isn’t a good look protruding from your ears, however).
Scrub Daddy Sponges
Scratch-free, "flex-texture" dish scrubbers that look like those smiley-face potatoes from elementary school. As our editor-in-chief says, "It's a f*ckin' miracle sponge. I have outright disdain for any other type of dish-cleaner now."
Lumio Book Lamp
The creation of designer and architect Max Gunawan, this mesmerizing lamp in the shape of a book has been ripped off by countless companies. But go for the original micro-USB version: it'll last longer and live up to the expectations of the much-Instagrammed photos.