10 terrible tech gadgets from the last 25 years that just suck

10 terrible tech gadgets from the last 25 years that just suck

10 terrible tech gadgets from the last 25 years that just suck

Not every gadget is a winner. And as it turns out, quite a few are complete losers. The massive electronic bonanza known as CES 2023 is in the books and has featured plenty strange gadgets their own, from toilets for reading pee to a cutting board with a screen. But what if we turn back the clock to watch past CES shows?

Over the past 20+ years, I’ve seen gadgets so mind-blowing that sometimes they seem to exist just because journalists like me are writing about them. But it’s time to bring up the truly awful, the worst of the worst. Vacuum cleaners, toilet paper robots, MP3 gun holsters, it’s time to shine!

The most interesting part about this rogue gallery is that some of these products – Pepe Pet Dryer, HapiFork, and Hushme, among them – are still for sale. That’s right: you blew it up, maniacs!

Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones

The man is wearing headphones and a visor

Nothing unusual here.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

It’s technically not a CES product as announced in 2022, but Dyson was demonstrating the Zone headphones in Las Vegas during CES 2023. While the Zone looks like a COVID mask, it’s sadly not. According to the Dyson website, development of the Zone began as far back as 2016 as a personal air filter – mostly for pollutants – and as such was never designed to protect against COVID. Moreover, one critic claimed that the gadget’s force-driven fans could even help maximize your chances of catching the coronavirus. CNET’s Katie Collins, who tried it out at Dyson’s UK headquarters, thought it was “too brilliant and quirky to ignore“.

read more: Dyson Zone Air Filtering headphones on sale in January for $949

Charmin Rollbot

Charmin RollBot


Computer peripherals maker Razer is the king of creating ‘look at me’ products specifically for CES, but toilet paper brand Charmin became known for this entry in 2020. True, in the year he saw mass buying of toilet paper in a panic came a robot that can bring you even more! Coincidence? Yes, probably. The RollBot was never meant to be a real product, but we loved/hated it anyway.

read more: These cute robots make us wonder: is pooping the next technological frontier?

Kolibree Smart Toothbrush

An iPhone next to a Kolibree toothbrush

The new Kolibree connected toothbrush tracks users’ activity, helping them brush their teeth in the most effective way.


Remember when we had to wash our hands for 20 seconds we sing songs? The same methodology applies to brushing your teeth as well, but why would you use your own brain and mouth like a sucker? There have been many smart toothbrushes over the years, but today I choose the Kolibree. Everything was just Thin until the advent of “the world’s first connected electric toothbrush”. Happy birthday, happy birthday…

read more: The Kolibree Connected Toothbrush is designed to improve dental health

Taser MP3 holster

Taser MP3 holster

Ultimate Defense

Back in the 2000s The iPod has become such a cultural phenomenon that every company was rushing to create its own MP3 player. It ended up being one of the dumbest CES products in recent memory: the Tazer MP3 Holster. Imagine trying not only to charge the holster, but also to connect it via USB to your computer to fill it with 1GB of songs.

read more: What every stun gun needs: a holster to play music

Pepe dryer

Pepe dryer

Pepe is a dryer for your dogs and cats.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Want to find a new way to make your little dog or cat hate you forever? Lock them in a cube prison for 25 minutes (!) and expose them to blasts of hot air. That combo of torture device and dryer would set you back $660, or you could just throw a towel over a wet dog like a normal human.

read more: At CES 2019, a $660 sauna will give your dog the ultimate experience


Hapifork on a plate with food and a napkin


Throughout history, there have been so many gadgets designed to curb normal human behavior, but this one (pancake) wins out. HapiFork is another vibrating gadget that tells you to eat your meals more slowly (over 20 minutes) with the aim of reducing the likelihood of overeating. Personally, I devour my own meals like I’m in prison, so do what you can, HapiFork. I’ll eat with my hands if I have to! You are not my boss!

read more: Do you season food? Put the brakes on with HapiFork


Man with Hushme on his lips

Hushme in stealth mode.

David Carnoy/CNET

Hushme is literally a “dumb” product – it has been designed so that its user calms down to other people in the immediate vicinity. It was said to be useful in workplaces, but… if a co-worker gave me one, he’d better be wearing vacuum boots to clean up the gleefully trampled bits.

read more: Hushme may be the strangest yet most useful wireless headset ever created


Belty smart belt in a display case

Make room for Belty, a smart pant support device that slims or expands to accommodate small changes to your waistline. This is not a joke.

Nick Stat/CNET

The original Belty was a prototype smart belt with a built-in motor that would adjust to whether you were just eating or sitting. Impractical as hell, but cool? While there is a newer model, also called the Belty, this one is even weirder – it doesn’t have auto-fitting, but it does have a power bank charger in the buckle. Okay, two things. Not only me no i want a potentially volatile compound near my nethers, i also don’t want to plug a bunch of devices in there.

read more: Meet Belty, the ridiculous but oddly popular show-stealer from CES Unveiled

Xybernaut Poma

A man models a Xybernaut Poma wearable computer

Sean Captain, formerly PC Advisor, models Xybernaut Poma. Via seancaptain.com.

Captain Sean

The Hitachi Xybernaut wearable computer, first shown at CES 1998, was a terrible idea long before Google Glass there was even a twinkle in Babak Parviz’s eye. The Windows CE-based Xybernaut Poma offered a 128MHz RISC processor and 32MB of RAM for the low price of $1499, plus it was tied to an arm, face, and belt!

read more: Hitachi Fashioning Wearable PC

Denso vacuum shoes

The bottom of the foot for the Denso vacuum cleaner

Sarah Tew/CNET

Footwear. you wear them. They wear out, you buy more. But that’s not exciting anymore, is it? They need things in them – telephones, rockets, roller skates and … vacuum cleaners? There are so many puns I could come up with even on the very name of the Denso vacuum shoes, but the fact that they even existed was the biggest joke of all.

read more: Vacuum cleaner shoes are popping up at CES, because why not

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