Dollar Store Haul: 6 Inexpensive Tech Toys for Families



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Whatever the reason that cash is tight—paying down credit card bills from holiday shopping, losing a job to the pandemic or a New Year’s Resolution to curb your spending—there may be less to go around in February.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself or the kids to a new tech toy, because, believe it or not, there are consumer electronics gems to be found at your local dollar stores. They may not be a dollar (those days seem to be long gone) but there are definitely bargains to be found.

So, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up a half-dozen recent picks seen at stores such as Dollarama, Dollar Tree, and 99¢ Depot. Be aware, though, that not all stores have the same products. But have a good look around, and you might find something very similar under a different brand name.

LED Clip-On Adjustable Book Light

If you’re looking for a way to read in bed without disturbing your partner (or for kids who share a room, without distributing their sibling), this is the inexpensive solution. Dollar Tree is selling this no-name LED clip-on adjustable book light that easily attaches to your paperback, hardcover or non-illuminated e-reader. It’s only $1.25.

Just position the arm to your liking and the (surprisingly) bright LED will illuminate the page.

Three small AG13 batteries are required but the first set is included.

Step Gear Pedometer

If you don’t want to break the bank on a Fitbit or Apple Watch, you can pick up the $3 Step Gear pedometer at Dollarama. It’s a small, wrist-mounted activity tracker that counts your steps, tracks your distance, estimates calories burned and displays it on a small LCD screen.

It also shows you the time, too, with its integrated digital clock. Available in multiple colours and with an adjustable strap, this pedometer includes an AG4 battery (already in the tracker).

E-Circuit Round Over-Ear Headphones

Parents of young kids are likely sick of hearing “Baby Shark” from an iPad in the backseat, but at the same time, you might not want the little ones wearing earbuds.

There are three benefits to a product like these headphones: They go over your ears instead of in them; they’re not capable of getting too loud (impedance of 32 Ohm); and if they are broken or lost, at $1.25 a pair at Dollar Tree and 99¢ Depot, you’re not likely to be too upset.

Available in four colours, the E-Circuit headphones are also adjustable to fit varying head sizes.

Tech-1 Optical Wireless Mouse

While you might know you can pick up a wired mouse at your local dollar store, you might not realize you can snag a wireless mouse, too.

At Dollarama, this $3 Tech-1-branded computer accessory includes a teeny transceiver that plugs into any available USB-A port on your Windows PC; it’s basically a wireless handshake with the device.

This black and ambidextrous mouse features three buttons, including a middle scroll wheel, and requires one double-A battery (not included).

Brilliant Ideas Colour-Changing LED Shower Head

Your kids will love this one. You’ll have no trouble convincing them to take a shower with this $5 high-tech solution from Brilliant Ideas, available at multiple store chains, as a draw.

The “hydro-powered” shower head fits onto any standard shower neck affixed to the wall (though not to shower hoses) and gives you a colourful light show as you bathe.

For full effect, turn off the bathroom lights and only use this plastic doohickey to colorfully illuminate your tub or stall.

Momentum Universal Remote

Found at 99¢ Depot and Dollar Tree, this $2 or $3 universal remote (depending on the location) can control up to eight devices, such as a television, cable box or DVD player (if you still own one!).

To program the remote, press and hold the button for the device you want to control (such as TV), then enter the television manufacturer’s code from manual, or press Channel Up to scan the possible codes until the device shuts itself off. Press the “Set” button to confirm it’s working.

The remote also include controls for volume, mute, play/pause/skip, menu and so on.

Two AA batteries are required and not included.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman on Twitter or @marcsaltzman on Instagram. Or subscribe to his weekly Tech It Out podcast at https://marcsaltzman.com/podcasts.

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