Crowdfunding has totally revolutionized how great ideas become great products. Even with other platforms out there, Kickstarter is still kind of tops in raising money to make your idea a reality. In fact, the company changed up its policy a year ago to make it even more approachable for a wider audience. With the “launch now” option, projects don’t have to go through review before being launched for funding, which opened up the gates for a lot of great stuff and some not-so-great stuff.
From big budget flicks to potato salad (say what?), there’s really no limit on what you can fund, as long as people share your passion. This year has seen some mind-blowing products on Kickstarter, and we’re here with a recap of some of the best and some of the worst.
1. Seatylock: This is one of those face-palm worthy ideas that we can’t believe hasn’t been done before. If you’re a bike rider, you know how annoying it can be to carry around a lock. It’s also a little annoying to come out to your bike and find that someone has stolen your seat. This 2-in-1 invention takes care of both of those problems with a seat that works as a lock. You can pre-order one now for $99. It will retail for $129.
2. Qcut Jeans: Finding jeans that fit you like a glove are sadly not as easy as finding well-fitting gloves. To cut down the back and forth between shopping different sizes at different brands and forever searching for the right fit, Qcut brings it back to science, offering 400 different sizes that are all made-to-order. By entering various body measurements, Qcut will determine the ideal fit of your jeans and send them right to you. It’s a match made in denim heaven. Sign up for their newsletter to get in early on this awesome project.
3. Coolest Cooler: We called it the “Mary Poppins’ Carpet Bag of Coolers,” because this thing does it all. Coolers haven’t seen a decent redesign in generations, and this one makes up for all the neglect. It’s no wonder it was one of this year’s top earners. This cooler has a built-in blender on the lid, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, a USB charger, and a cutting board, and it’s a divider between wet and dry goodies. Basically, it’s the life of the party. Join the wish list now and save $50.
4. Reading Rainbow Redux: Girl, are we glad we grew up with Reading Rainbow. When it comes to educational television that’s actually entertaining, LeVar Burton was right up there with Bill Nye. This Kickstarter raised five times its million dollar budget to bring Reading Rainbow’s library of interactive books and video field trips to people through various platforms. This project will improve kids’ literacy across the country. Read more about the project here.
5. Carvey: Let’s break the ice by saying that this Kickstarter raised over $100 thousand in just two hours. Carvey is a tabletop 3D carving machine that works without you needing to know the ins and outs of a fancy design program. It’s quiet, easy to use and works with wood, circuit boards, metals, wax and more. Since it’s so easy for anyone to use, it’s really no surprise that everyone jumped on an opportunity to pitch in. Prices start at $2,000.
6. Earin: The best part about earbuds is that they’re portable. The worst part? Without a doubt it’s the cords. They can tangle and break easily, so Earin just decided to cut them out completely. These wireless earbuds fit snugly in your ear and live in a keychain-sized portable charger. Watch our Dr. Dre, because these may be the next big thing in headphones. You can expect to buy these early in 2015.
7. Impossible: You’re looking at the world’s smallest folding electric bike. It’s so small that when it’s folded down, it can fit into your backpack. Since it’s electric, you can ride with ease at up to 12 miles per hour without a bit of pedaling. Funding ends on Christmas day, and it’s already far surpassed its $55,000 goal with $286 thousand and counting. Read all of the specs right here.
8. Micro: This campaign raised over $50,000 in just over the amount of time it takes to watch the pitch video. After their 11-minute funding success, the money continued to roll in and the Micro totaled out at $3.5 million. That’s a lot of dough for a little 3D printer. But the size is precisely what makes this 3D printer so darn awesome. It’s only 7 inches square, 2.2 pounds, easy to use and cheap — only $350. It’s dubbed the “first truly consumer 3D printer” and you can pre-order it now.
9. Refold: When it comes to being healthy at work, the standing desk was much talked about this year. It keeps your body more active than sitting, and it’s taken the world by storm. Refold is a more portable version of the desk we all know and love, as it’s made completely of cardboard. From home office to board room, just fold it up, pick it up and go. And yes, it has a sitting desk option too. You can pre-order your own with prices starting at $140.
10. Bunch O Balloons: Until recently, the amount of time it took to fill enough water balloons for a fight was kind of not worth it. Luckily, one dad created a simple solution that will have you armed and ready with fast prep for your next water balloon fight. With Bunch O Balloons, 37 balloons are attached to one nozzle cover that fits right on your hose. After you’ve filled all of the balloons at once, you just shake them off, and they’re sealed and ready to go. It sounds like magic, and to be honest we’re not completely convinced that it’s not. You can pre-order 100-packs for $17.
11. Electric Objects: This gadget merges our love of digital art with analog in a way that’s totally sleek. It’s a framed screen that lets you display your favorite art from the web along with artist-curated collections on your own wall. You could even upload GIFs to be on display if you wanted to. You can reserve one for yourself right now for $399.
12. Ponoplayer: Say what? An MP3 player made the list? You got it. It’s just an MP3 player, not a picture-snapping, GPS-enabled something or other. And it doesn’t need to be, because the Ponoplayer is totally amping the quality of your tunes. Neil Young is the man behind the mission, which probably helped get this Kickstarter to raise over 6 million buckaroos, but this clever gadget is not all star power. Apparently with Ponoplayer, you can hear music with vinyl-equivalent quality the way the artists meant for you to hear it. You can pre-order the player now for $399.
13. Cat Capes: This is one guy’s attempt to help cats fly. Although he seems to understand that capes cannot defeat gravity, he attempted to raise $250 for the sewing machine and fabric to make capes for his three cats. We wonder if he knows that those already exist?
14. PetPhone: Let’s keep the bizarre pet stuff coming, shall we? Now, we’re all for spoiling our pets, but giving them their own headphones seems to be taking things a step too far. The idea for these headphones is not only to bring music to your pet, but to block out the noise of, say, a storm, or a vacuum, and that can come in handy… but (and that’s a big but) our pets would hate to wear this thing almost as much as they hated wearing the Santa hat for the Christmas card. Apparently seven people with $10,000 disagreed with us. There’s a nonmusical alternative if you’re interested.
15. How Many Licks?: “The question that has haunted mankind since 1931 will finally be answered in this hard hitting documentary.” This project only needed $25 to be shot, so it’s no The Square. They actually got $60 to shoot this documentary, but we haven’t seen signs of it yet, which leaves us with even more Tootsie Pop anticipation.
16. Drink a Red Bull in Every State: This sounds like a pitch for a Red Bull campaign, but it’s actually just a guy who (presumably) really likes Red Bull and wants to get paid to go around the country drinking it. He only made $1 of his $2,500 goal, but if he would have raised the funds, he would have mentioned supporters’ names in every video.
17. Twerk Island: Though this was not funded, Twerk Island was an idea for a movie “about a famous rich girl organizing a world championship twerk/dance contest with 20 top dance groups and DJs.” Hey, it actually sounds like an MTV summer flick to us. But with a goal of over $1 million, Twerk Island was not to be.
18. Sexy Smartphone Charger: This project actually got 25% of the way to its $8,000 goal. The creator thinks of smartphones as representations of our sexuality, so he made chargers to match. To be fair though, we could totally see eccentric movie stars and artists rocking a crotch charger.
19. Potato Salad: One summer side dish was perhaps the most talked about Kickstarter of the year. Out of pure Internet luck, this Kickstarter, asking for $10 to learn how to make potato salad, ended up raising $55,000. Seeing as 55 grand buys way more potato salad than any one human could eat in a lifetime, creator Zach Brown took all of the money and used it to throw a potato bash called PotatoStock 2014. It was held in Columbus, Ohio in late September with local charities getting most of the funding.
What was you favorite Kickstarter of the year? Let us know in the comments!