10 Horrible 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 electronics bonanza known as CES 2023 is in the books and in full swing strange gadget himself, from the pee-read toilet to the cutting board with a screen. But what if we turn back the clock to take in the CES show of yesteryear?

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Over the past 20 years, I’ve seen amazing gadgets that sometimes seem to exist purely because journalists like me would write about them. But it’s time to call out the really awful, the worst of the worst. Vacuum shoes, toilet paper robots, MP3 weapon holsters, it’s your time to shine!

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The most interesting part about this rogues gallery is that some of these products – the Pepe pet dryer, HapiFork and Hushme, to name a few – are still being sold today. That’s right: You explode, you maniacs!

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Dyson Zone Air Purifying Headphones

Men wear headphones and visors

There is nothing out of the ordinary here.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

It’s not technically a CES product, as it was announced in 2022, but Dyson showed off the Zona headphones in Las Vegas during CES 2023. Although the Zona is probably supposed to be a COVID mask, unfortunately that’s not what it does. According to Dyson’s site, development on the Zone began back in 2016 as a personal air filter – for pollution, primarily – and as such, it was never designed to protect against COVID. Furthermore, a critic has claimed fans of style-driven gadget’s can even help maximize your chances of catching the coronavirus. CNET’s Katie Collins, who tried it at Dyson’s UK headquarters, thought it was “too brilliant and strange to ignore.”

Read more: The Dyson Zone Air Filtering Headphones went on sale in January for $949

Charmin Rollbot

Charmin RollBot


Computer peripheral maker Razer is the king of creating “look at me” products specifically for CES, but toilet paper brand Charmin is making a name for itself for this 2020 entry. Yes, in the year that sees mass panic buy toilet paper come the robot that can take you even more! The truth? Yes… maybe. RollBot never became a real product, but we still have our likes/dislikes.

Read more: These Charmin Robots Make Us Wonder: Is Pooping The Next Tech Frontier?

Kolibree Smart toothbrush

The iPhone next to Kolibree's toothbrush

Kolibree’s connected toothbrush tracks the user’s activity, helping them brush in the most effective way.


Remember when we had to wash our hands for 20 seconds sing a song for ourselves? The same methodology is used to brush your teeth, but why should you use your brain and lips like a mama? There have been many smart toothbrushes over the years, but today I choose Kolibree. Everything was just appearance until the arrival of “the world’s first connected electric toothbrush.” Happy birthday, happy birthday…

Read more: Kolibree Connected Toothbrush Aims For Better Dental Health

Taser MP3 Holster

Taser MP3 holster

Great Defense

Back in the 2000s, it was The iPod became such a cultural phenomenon that each company rushed to create an MP3 player itself. This culminated what was one of the dumbest CES products in recent memory: the Tazer MP3 holster. Imagine trying to not only charge your holster but also connect it via USB to your computer to fill up 1GB of songs.

Read more: What Every Taser Needs: A Music-Playing Holster

Pepe Pet Dryer

Pepe pet dryer

Pepe is a dryer for your dog and cat.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Want to find new ways to make your little dog or cat hate you forever? Lock them in the cube prison for 25 minutes (!) and subject to gusts of hot air. This combination torture device/dryer will set you back $660, or you can just throw a towel over your wet dog like a normal human.

Read more: At CES 2019, a $660 sauna will improve your dog’s life


Hapifork on food plate and napkin


Throughout history, there have been many gadgets designed to limit normal human behavior, but this one takes the cake (pan). HapiFork is another vibrating gadget that tells you to eat more slowly (over 20 minutes), with the idea that you are less likely to overeat. Personally, I’m enjoying my own food like I’m in prison, and so is your worst, HapiFork. I’ll eat with my hands if I have to! You are not my boss!

Read more: Help Your Food? Install Brakes And HapiFork


A man with Hushme over his mouth

Hushme in masking mode.

David Carnoy/CNET

Hushme is literally a “dumb” product — it’s designed to make its users mute other people around them. It’s considered useful at work, but… if a co-worker gives me one of these, they’d better use a vacuum shoe, to clean up the gleefully stomped-on bit.

Read more: Hushme May Be The Weirdest, But Most Useful Wireless Headphone Ever Made


Belty belt is smart in terms of display

Make room for Belty, a smart pant holder that slims down or expands to accommodate granular changes to your waistline. This is not a joke.

Nick Statt/CNET

The original Belty is a smart belt prototype with a motor inside that adjusts itself whether you’ve just eaten or are sitting down. Impractical, but kinda cool? While there’s a newer model, also called the Belty, this one is even weirder — it doesn’t have an automatic gauge, but it does have a power bank charger on the buckle. OK, two things. It’s not just me not I want a potentially volatile compound near my Nethers, I don’t want to connect a series of devices there either.

Read more: Meet Belty, the Silly but Strangely Popular Show-Stealer of CES Unveiled

Xybernaut Poma

A man model wearable computer Xybernaut Poma

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

Captain Sean

First showcased at CES 1998, the Hitachi Xybernaut wearable computer was an early idea. Google Pages it’s even a gleam in Babak Parviz’s eyes. The Windows CE-based Xybernaut Poma offers a 128MHz RISC processor and 32MB of RAM for the low price of $1,499, plus it fits in your hand and your fingers and your belt!

Read more: Hitachi Fashioning Wearable PC

Denso vacuum boots

Underneath the Denso vacuum shoes

Sarah Tew/CNET

Shoes. You wear ’em. They wear out, you buy more. But that’s not exciting now, is it? They need it case among them — telephones, rockets, rollers and … vacuum? There are so many puns I can make about even just the name Denso Vacuum Shoes, but the fact that they exist at all is the biggest joke of all.

Read more: Shoe Vacuum Cleaner Showcased at CES Because Why Not


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