Pandemic Products That Definitely Belong In A Time Capsule For 2020

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These are the weird, but also kind of useful, pandemic products that you didn’t know you needed.

Mandatory face masks, quarantine birthday parties and social distancing at 6 feet apart — you probably couldn’t predict back in 2019 that these phrases would become part of daily vernacular.

It’s been a weird couple of months. There was that time early on when “Tiger King” brought us all together. There was a baking craze that led to a flour shortage. And remember when everyone got into gardening over the summer? The new work-from-home wardrobe includes sweatpants, T-shirts and, on a good day, a matching athleisure set. On top of all of this, it’s an election year, too.

It’s going to be difficult to describe 2020 to anyone too little to remember or someone who wasn’t alive to live experience it at all. It won’t be easy to describe how fast toilet paper or flour flew off the shelves.

What we’ve all been buying during the pandemic says a lot about this particular moment in time and how we’re living through it. From roller skates to RVs, there have been products that have risen above the rest during the pandemic.

These <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">no-touch tools from Food52</a> include a "Clean Key' and nano stylus for digital signing.

These no-touch tools from Food52 include a “Clean Key’ and nano stylus for digital signing.

Sure, there have been a few really out-of-the-box ones, like this “cake shield” to blow out birthday candles and uh, plague doctor masks have made a comeback from centuries ago.

But, there are a few weird pandemic products that are actually kind of practical. Take this clean key that can touch everything so your hands don’t have to, or a mask dispenser that can help you avoid forgetting to mask up before you go out.

We found the practical pandemic products that might make these strange times a little easier on you.

A face mask dispenser


Ever step out of the house only to realize that you forgot your mask? It’s probably one of the worst feelings in these weird times. Fortunately, there’s a face mask dispenser for that. Fill it up with either reusable or disposable face masks that’ll stay clean in there. Find it for $22 at Yamazaki.

A touch tool so you don’t have to touch anything


In the age of social distancing and staying 6 feet apart, touching things probably isn’t something you want to do much of. You don’t have to with this clean key for pressing buttons and pulling levers. It also comes with an optional nano stylus for touchscreens. Stay safe out there. Find it starting at $25 at Food52.

A sexy face shield


A bidet, because of that toilet paper shortage


A portable toilet for when you’re on the go and got to, uh, go


While we’re on the topic of toilets, we have to give an honorable mention to this portable toilet, which was recommended by Wirecutter back in July. Raise your hand if you had “portable toilet” on your 2020 bingo board? Oh, no? Well, here’s where we’re at. You can take the Tinkle Belle (yup) all around and won’t even need toilet paper. It basically allows women to go the bathroom standing up. It’ll also be useful when we eventually go back to festival season post-pandemic. Find it for $28 at Amazon.

Face mask chains


A banner to celebrate one more turn around the sun

ThePartyAvenue / Etsy

Yeah, you’ve probably been to a (virtual) birthday party or two in recent months. Another trip around the sun is always a reason to celebrate, and birthdays are a bright spot in this strange year. While no one can really claim this was a banner year, this banner is one to remember. Find it starting at $25 on Etsy.

Hand sanitizers that feel much fancier than they used to


A UV sanitizer for your smartphone


By now, you’ve probably gotten used to making sure things are clean before laying a finger on them. And it’ll come as no surprise that our devices can become pretty dirty. That’s why many of us have turned to UV sanitizers. The science is still out on how they fight against the coronavirus, though an expert we talked said they can help get rid of some germs. One of our own editors tried out this PhoneSoap sanitizer on her phone. It is rechargeable and comes with its own carrying case. Find it for $100 at PhoneSoap. There are wands and pouches that sanitize, too.

An elastic extension to keep your face mask in place

EYMbellishDesigns / Etsy

Sometimes your mask doesn’t fit just right. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and lots of folks have found ways to make masks more comfortable. These extensions can help if you always have red marks behind your ears after wearing a mask. Find it for $5 on Etsy.

A refreshing spray to freshen up your face mask

Uncommon Goods

An adult toy that can go the distance (literally)

Good Vibrations

The matching atheisure set that’s become a quarantine staple

Girlfriend Collective

The only essentials you’ll need for your bread baking


So many were baking bread at some point during quarantine that there was an actual yeast shortage. Of course, we couldn’t not think back to that time when writing this list, especially since cottagecore has risen as the top trend during all this. If you’re hoping to bake the perfect baguette, this kit comes with all the essentials you’ll need including a Danish dough whisk and proofing basket. Find it for $35 at Amazon.

A metal rack to keep essentials for socially distant outings

Uncommon Goods

You might be keeping your masks away from everything else around the house, and this metal rack is the perfect place to hold them. It even comes with storage slots for filters. Find it for $50 at Uncommon Goods.

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