The 10 Best Fidget Toys for 5 Dollars
Calm and distract your nerves, so you can be more productive at work
Fidgeting isn’t just the domain of kids. Plenty of adults have found themselves repeatedly clicking a pen in the middle of a business meeting or toe- or finger-tapping just enough to annoy everyone else at the table. Maybe you have excess energy thanks to those new vitamins you’ve been taking or maybe you’re stressed to the nth degree.
Whatever the reason, a fidget toy can channel your jitters. OK, so maybe you can’t take some of the more obvious toys into a business meeting, but others are much more subtle and they can still help you relax. And even those that scream, “I’m a toy!” can be great conversation-starters. Need some help picking one out? We've put together a lit of the best fidget toys you can buy today.
Most Popular: The Fidget Spinner
The Fidget Spinner probably first comes to mind when anyone mentions fidget toys. But here’s the thing: There’s not just one fidget spinner out there. A multitude of companies make and sell them under the same name and across a wide range of prices. Most of them will spin on a table or in your hand for up to six minutes, but many of them require breaking in before they’re really up to peak performance. They come equipped with little bearings — this is what keeps them moving, and the better fidget spinners have multiple bearings. This one produced by Vivahouse is particularly quiet and it comes in both matte and metallic finishes. Of course, your co-workers will still notice it spinning on the table. But you'll be too pre-occupied to care.
Best Multi-Purpose: Think Ink Fidget Pen
Fidgeting with a toy can make it seem like you have too much time on your hands — maybe not what you want to convey to coworkers or employees, right? So why not choose a fidget toy that actually helps you get work done? These pens by Think Ink are the product of an enthusiastically-backed Kickstarter project and contain tons of fidgeting functions in a single well-designed package. Made from titanium and steel, the Think Ink Fidget Pen has all kinds of detachable and reconfigurable parts. The pen barrel flexes like a spring, the magnetic clip can slide along the pen or detach altogether, and the top is a spinnable magnetic sphere. How you play with it is up to you: Wrap the clip around your finger, hang the pen by the magnet and spin it, detach the clip and ball and use it as a separate fidget toy — the options are endless. The best part is that it looks and works like a regular pen, so you can inconspicuously bring it to meetings or play with it at your desk to improve focus.
(Please note that this is definitely not a kid-friendly fidget toy, as it has many small and magnetic parts.)
Most Durable: The Flippy Chain Fidget Toy Stress Reducer
The Flippy Chain is definitely made for grownups. With stainless steel chain links and rings, it can take just about anything you dish out and it will keep doing it long after other fidget toys give up. It’s virtually unbreakable and it’s non-corrosive. A couple of little O-rings wrap around the gadget, and these are made of durable silicone so they offer a different texture. The pieces interlock, so you can move the flippy chain into countless shapes and positions for hours of fidgeting. It’s small, just a little over two inches long, so it will fit neatly in most pockets.
Best Compact: Fidget Ball
The Fidget Ball isn’t really a ball, but more like a series of rings linked together in the rough shape of a ball — and that makes it perfect for fidgeting. It’s really small, less than an inch in diameter, so this toy is pretty circumspect, too, although you won’t want to leave it lying around because it could be a choking hazard for small children or pets. The rings are made of aluminum, so they’re smooth and soothing. Use your fingers to rotate them around and around … and around. The design is said to promote dexterity, a helpful perk for those whose livelihoods depend on their fingers being limber, such as musicians, painters or even those who type a lot. Infinity also makes a Fidget Cube if you prefer more of a square shape.
Most Discreet: The Roller Chain Fidget Toy Stress Reducer
The Roller Chain is perfect for the workplace because it lets you fidget quietly and unobtrusively. You can fiddle away with your hands under the conference table and no one will ever know it’s there. Its small silicone rings don’t even make a whisper when you slip the chain over your finger and twist it around, and they’re reasonably soft. The Roller Chain is about an inch in size, so it can be difficult for anyone with very large hands or fingers to handle, but the sensation of those silicone rings against the skin is said to be like a tactile sedative.
Best Design: The Moon Drop Desk Fidget
Maybe you don’t need to give in to warp speed action when you’re stressed. You might be more the type to respond to slow, soothing movement. The Moon Drop Desk Fidget has you covered, particularly if your interests lie in things physics and the amazing force of gravity, which are what this fidget toy works on. The Moon Drop is a desk toy with two parts, the moon drop itself and a base stand to hold it. Baleauty sells them in packs of three — Earth, Mars and Lunar — with one stand. When you adjust the little anti-gravity slider, you can do amazing, smooth, relaxing things with it in your hand, from sliding to spinning. The slider moves across the magnets, interrupting their magnetic fields, creating a mild electrical current that in turn creates resistance. And because they’re magnetic on both ends, you can put them together for a little two-for-one fun and relaxation.
Best for Wellness: Tangle Relax Therapy
Think of this one as sort of a therapeutic snake or maybe a modern version of your grandmother’s worry beads. It’s a series of curvy pieces about the width of a straw, all connected into one long loop. They’re attached with joints so they all twist and move individually, and they’re encased in a rubberized exterior for easy movement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has certified Tangle Therapy with a Medical Device Establishment Registration for its physical healing properties, including strengthening, restoring and rehabilitating hand and finger joints. But this isn’t to say it’s not a great stress-buster, too. It’s billed as having been designed for “hand and mind wellness.”
Best Keychain: Squeeze-a-Bean Soy Bean Edamame Keychain Set
Stress balls can be a little unwieldy to carry with you throughout your workday. The Squeeze-a-Bean fidget toy solves that problem for those who prefer stress balls to toys. It shrinks all the benefits of a stress ball into a compact and totally portable fidget toy for the fingers. It works on the same theme as a stress ball: squeeze and feel better, but you use your fingers rather than your hand. The beans are attached to a keyring, and the keyring can attach to your purse, briefcase or belt, so the toy doesn’t get misplaced or lost when you’re not using it. Squeeze the pods and the beans pop out. Don’t worry, they’re attached, too, so they won’t go rolling across your desk. And they’re all painted with cute little faces to help improve your mood. Squeeze the beans again to push them back into their pods. Go ahead and focus your concentration while you work your fingers, but be prepared for a few questions and conversation when others notice what you’ve got there — a little pea smiling back at you to brighten your day.