The 10 Best Add-on Items
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Struggling to find one final item to put together a care package? Or perhaps you're trying to hit a minimum to get free shipping on your order. We've made it easy for you with our eclectic and inexpensive selection of add-ons, which includes options that will come in handy around the house, as well as last-minute gift ideas that are sure to prove useful for anyone on your shopping list. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 16, 2020:
Sometimes you just need to spend a small amount more to reach your minimum purchase threshold on Amazon. Often when this happens, you can find yourself drawing a blank regarding what to buy. Our list is here to help by providing plenty of low-priced options that are practical for use by most households. They’re all small in size, and each is designed to make your life easier or more comfortable, whether you’re cleaning your house, fixing your hair, or working on crafts.
In this update, we added on a pair of Scotch Precision Scissors, which conveniently are designed for either lefties or righties, and their handles are comfortable to use. The stainless steel blades will cut easily through things like fabrics, heavyweight paper, and photos. They’re rugged, yet lightweight, at just over three ounces. You can purchase them with confidence, thanks to their limited lifetime warranty. They replace AmazonBasics Alkaline Batteries on our list, which are known to leak on occasion.
Another handy household product is Gorilla Tape, which can stick to myriad things such as wood, stucco, plaster, metal, brick, and more. Its highly concentrated rubber-based adhesive is thicker than standard duct tape, and it conveniently can be used both indoors and out. You can never have enough washcloths around the house, and AmazonBasics Washcloths are great for either baths and showers or cleaning countertops and other surfaces. They’re highly absorbent and made of looped-terry cotton. A child’s gift always makes for a fun add-on, so consider the Lego Classic Rainbow Fun, which can provide for hours of creative play, with its 85 brightly colored pieces and its step-by-step instruction book.
October 15, 2018:
Highly individualized products like mascara and freeze-dried foods were removed, replaced with more versatile options to suit a wider range of needs, such as cleaning supplies, lip balm, and batteries.
What Is An Add-On Item?
By restricting items to Add-on status, they can circumvent that issue altogether.
If you're an avid Amazon shopper, you're most likely familiar with the little blue banner that can be found on many product pages that reads "Add-on Item." There is no limit to the types of products that are designated as such, but they do tend to have a few qualities in common.
Add-ons came into existence in 2012 as a means of efficiently distributing products that were up until that point not lucrative enough for Amazon to sell on their own. Before their introduction, rather than buying one single permanent marker, for example, online shoppers might have had to buy a box of 12 or 24, or a set with a rainbow of colors just to get the one they wanted. The Add-on program is Amazon's way of allowing you to purchase things in smaller quantities without having to ship out countless low-value packages. Instead, they save money and labor by encouraging you to bundle multiple items together.
The number one commonality between all Add-on Items is that they cost less than $25. That's the threshold your order needs to surpass in order to include Add-ons, so by design, they must cost less than that amount. You can assemble an order of all Add-ons as long as they add up to more than $25, or you can simply add one of these low-priced items to an order of any other product, so long as the total adds up to at least the $25 minimum.
Add-on items are typically relatively light and small. Often, their weight adds little or nothing to the cost of shipping a package with other things in it, which is how they can be made available at such competitive prices. To put it another way, it costs roughly the same amount to ship a piece of furniture by itself as it does to ship that piece of furniture with a box of snacks, a single bottle of face wash, or a stapler. Were those items shipped individually, the cost of the small items would go up considerably. Since Amazon offers free or subsidized shipping on so many orders, they would have to build those costs into the prices of the products, causing something like a simple toothbrush to cost far more than it would in a store. By restricting items to Add-on status, they can circumvent that issue altogether.
Like their Amazon Basics line of products, the online retail giant created Add-ons in order to fill a real consumer need – small quantities of low-cost products delivered to your door. While you might experience some frustration around not being able to purchase products with the Add-on designation on their own, it's surely preferable to Amazon exclusively carrying them in bulk, let alone not carrying them at all.
What Else Can You Add?
You might be surprised by the sheer variety among available Add-on items. While there's no database on Amazon that catalogues everything in the category, it's easy to find options if you're looking to meet a shipping minimum.
If you're a savvy parent, Add-ons can also be a great way to save some money come back-to-school season.
Many consumer-grade makeup and hygienic products are available as Add-ons. These can vary from staples like deodorant, lotion, and toothpaste to low-cost beauty products. Aside from saving yourself a trip to the convenience store, it's also a great way to try out new products without committing to buying them in large quantities, especially those that aren't readily available in your area.
If you're a savvy parent, Add-ons can also be a great way to save some money come back-to-school season. Many school supplies like notebooks, pens, binders, and more can be found for cheap with the Add-on tag attached, and you can probably pull together a full order and reach the minimum without having to get too creative. Craft supplies are also on offer for those with creatively minded children.
Finally, it may be a bit counterintuitive to have such basic and locally available items shipped to you, but plenty of household staples can be found among Amazon's Add-on offerings, as well. From toilet paper to cleaning products and even snacks, there's really no shortage of options if you'd rather not leave the house to stock up. Just make sure you're home when the package arrives, because a whole trip to the post office to pick up some paper towels or granola bars would probably defeat the purpose of ordering them online in the first place. That being said, it can be hard for retail stores to compete with Amazon's cutthroat prices, so if you're just in it for the savings, you might not mind waiting for redelivery.
Using Add-Ons To Your Advantage
At times, it can seem like there is no limit to the products Amazon could offer. With services as diverse as web hosting and flower delivery, they're enmeshed in countless parts of modern life. While the concept of the Add-on Item may be somewhat confusing, at the very least, they're expanding what's available to consumers online. And while some sellers might not love the Add-on system, there are certainly many consumer advantages to the program.
If you're a relatively frequent Amazon shopper, it's a good idea to keep a healthy supply of low-cost products on your Wish List or saved in your shopping cart. That way, whenever you need something, you have an easily accessible list of products you can bundle with your order. This is useful if you need to hit a shipping minimum, but it's also a great way to spread out the cost of non-essential items across several purchases.
Many Add-ons are also available as a part of Amazon's "Subscribe & Save" program, through which you can set up regular shipments of your favorite or most needed-products. Putting together a package of things you regularly need at home for delivery every 3 months, for example, can save you both time and money in the long run.