good for cheapskates

The Toilet Nightlight That’s Swept the Nation

A Gift So Nice We’re Posting It Twice, one of the many holiday gifting series we’ll be running this month and next, is a look back at the gifts we wrote about last year that our readers actually bought.

We happened upon the Illumibowl two Augusts ago in a Gizmodo post: A Kickstarter-birthed motion-activated lamp that clips onto the edge of a toilet, and can be set to nine different neon hues. The idea was simple, while admittedly somewhat silly: the Illumibowl senses when you’ve walked into the pitch-black bathroom, and lights up; thus eliminating the need for fumbling for the lightswitch. It felt like the perfect goofy-yet-useful gift that our readers would find amusing. We watched the video, read the rave early reviews, and popped into our print gift guide. Of the 500-something odd items we featured, this was the most popular. We were a little perplexed… but then again, who doesn’t want the ability to turn their toilet into a disco ball?

So it was with some small sense of pride that we followed our little Illumibowl’s journey from gadget-website curiosity to national phenomenon throughout the past year: In March, its 25-year-old Provo, Utah–based founder Matt Alexander and his brother-in-law appeared on an episode of Shark Tank, and Kevin O’Leary agreed to back it for $100,000. (Illumibowls are now available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Ace Hardware, and True Value.) And in early November, the Today show ran a whole segment on it. They’ve since sold hundreds of thousands of Illumibowls. Meanwhile, last January, we did an extensive piece on mood-altering lightbulbs, and learned how important it is not to encounter bright “blue” lights in the middle of the night (they can mess up your sleep), and the soft glow of the Illumibowl might actually help you swiftly drift back to slumber post-bathroom journey.

We’ll leave you with a gifting suggestion: Pair it with another toilet-related gizmo we’ve raved about, the Squatty Potty, and you’ve got yourself a Bathroom of the Future Starter-Pack for under $50.

Illumibowl Toilet Night Light

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The Toilet Nightlight That’s Swept the Nation