The best tech gifts for under $50

Twinkly Candies strung up behind a TV radiating colorful lights
Twinkly’s smart string lights can make any room look dreamy for less than $50. | Image: Twinkly

If “budget-friendly” and “high-quality” sound like oxymorons to you, you’re in for a surprise. As it turns out, you can buy many great gifts without completely draining your savings account, which makes it easy to pick up a present for your anniversary, a birthday party, or one of the many other gift-giving occasions strewn throughout the year.

Finding the right gift can still be tough, though, even when there is a sea of inexpensive items for under $50 to choose from. That’s why we’ve put together a selection of techy gift ideas, ranging from disposable cameras and wireless earbuds to home security gadgets. We’ve also highlighted an array of last-minute gifts that are more unique than your run-of-the-mill gift card — including game passes and audiobook subscriptions.

Take a look, and see how many fun gifts you can buy for very little.

Twinkly Candies

Twinkly’s magical string lights are perfect for any occasion

Twinkly’s USB-C string lights can add a touch of magic to any living space. The colorful smart lights feature LEDs you can control individually, allowing you to create some gorgeous, customizable visual effects. They also support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, sync with music, and offer all sorts of scenes, making them a fun present for kids or adults looking to set the mood on date night. They come in a variety of shapes as well — including stars, hearts, pearls, and candles — which makes them a great piece of decor for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Independence Day, and all kinds of special occasions.

Right now, you can buy Twinkly’s 100-LED string lights for $37.49 (about $13 off) directly from Twinkly. They’re also available at Amazon for $44.99 ($5 off) or at Best Buy for their full retail price.

Echo Dot (fifth-gen)

An all-in-one smart speaker and virtual assistant

In a way, gifting Amazon’s fifth-gen Echo Dot is like gifting multiple items at once. The spherical device makes for a great-sounding speaker, one that can fill a room surprisingly well despite its small footprint. At the same time, the latest model doubles as an Eero mesh Wi-Fi extender and a virtual assistant your loved ones can use to set alarms, check the weather, and control other smart home devices. Right now, you can pick up the fifth-gen smart speaker for $49.99 (its full retail price) at Amazon, Best Buy, and The Home Depot.

Read our Echo Dot (fifth-gen) review.

Amazfit Band 7

A feature-rich fitness tracker that offers a lot of bang for your buck

You don’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars on the latest Fitbit or Apple Watch just to get a good fitness tracker. Amazfit’s Band 7 is a good budget-friendly alternative, one that offers a lot of value for the price. Not only does it accurately track all your basic health metrics, but it also boasts abnormal heart rate notifications, stress tracking, and other features typically reserved for more expensive trackers. The comfy wearable also offers other perks that are rare at this price point, including support for Amazon Alexa, an OLED display, and a staggering 18 days of battery life. You can buy it for $44.99 ($5 off) at Amazon and Best Buy, or for $49.99 at Target.

Read our Amazfit Band 7 review.

Skullcandy Jib True 2

A pair of wireless earbuds that integrate with Tile

A great pair of wireless earbuds are the perfect gift for music lovers, and Skullcandy’s newer Jib True 2 boast a nice combination of features for the price. Both earbuds work independently and feature a surprising amount of passive noise cancellation along with an IPX4 water resistance rating that helps ensure they can withstand a jaunt at the gym or the occasional downpour. Each earbud also features integrated Tile tracking, which allows you to locate the earbuds via the Tile app on your phone if you happen to misplace them. Regularly $39.99, right now you can buy the Jib True 2 in several colors at Amazon starting at $28.17. You can also buy them for their full retail price from Skullcandy.

Side By Side Premium Pouch Organizer

A spacious organizer for all your gadget needs

A bag for keeping cords organized is a helpful gift for any gadget lover who is often on the go. Side By Side’s slim, padded offering is easy to stow in a larger bag or backpack, yet it’s spacious enough to fit everything from extension cords and power bricks to earbuds, microSD cards, and a range of assorted adapters. It’s currently available at Amazon for $35.95 ($5 off) when you clip the on-page coupon.

Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

A streaming device that’s loaded with Rotten Tomatoes ratings

A streaming device like Google’s excellent Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is a welcome present, no matter the occasion. That’s because it grants your giftee access to every major streaming service while offering support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, and a wide array of apps. Unlike its rivals, however, the gadget also curates recommendations from a variety of streaming services and provides Rotten Tomatoes scores, helping your loved one quickly find something worthwhile to binge-watch. You currently can buy Google’s 4K-ready Chromecast for $49.99 at Amazon, Best Buy, and Google’s online storefront.

Read our Chromecast with Google TV (4K) review.

Google Chromecast with remote
Photo: Chris Welch / The Verge
The Chromecast with Google TV (4K) is among our favorite streaming devices, one that comes bundled with a remote.

Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard

A keyboard they can use to type on their tablet or phone

Does your giftee often type on their tablet or (like me) send texts littered with typos because their smartphone screen is too small? Then Logitech’s K380 Bluetooth Keyboard is a useful gift they’ll forever be grateful for. The compact, wireless keyboard can switch between up to three devices at a time and offers a broad range of compatibility, allowing for a more comfortable typing experience whether you use an Apple operating system, Windows, Android, or ChromeOS. It’s currently available for $39.99 from Amazon and Logitech.

Kodak M35 35mm film camera

A “disposable” camera that’s reusable

There’s something charming about low-tech gadgets like disposable cameras. Kodak’s pocket-size M35 offers all of the charms single-use cameras do except for one thing: it can be reused again and again with 35mm rolls of film. The M35 serves as a nice introduction to analog photography and is a creative present your giftee will love, especially if they’re the nostalgic, sentimental sort. It typically retails for around $28, but you can currently buy it at B&H Photo for $22.49. You can also get it starting at around the same price at Amazon from a third-party seller, though it still ships via Amazon.

Original Tamagotchi

A tiny, virtual pet

Speaking of old-school gadgets, the Original Tamagotchi makes for another great gift. The popular ’90s toy has made a comeback in recent years, but this time around, it comes in more designs and an assortment of fun colors, ranging from blue to tie-dye. As a quick refresher, the Tamagotchi is a virtual pet you raise like a child in a tiny device, one you can attach to your bags or a keychain. It makes for a fun gift for kids but also one for older millennials who still yearn for the good ol’ days. Right now, you can buy a wide range of models for around $19 at Amazon and Best Buy.

An Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch gaming subscription

Because why gift one game when you can gift hundreds?

Sure, you could gift the gamer in your life a game for under $50, but a pass to one of the more prominent gaming subscriptions offers a lot more value for your money. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate grants you access to exclusive discounts, online multiplayer, and more than 100 games for PC and Xbox consoles, ranging from older titles like Doom to Starfield and Sea of Stars. A one-month digital subscription typically costs $15.99, though you can currently buy a three-month pass for $31.69 from CDKeys. You can also buy it for $44.99 ($5 off) at Amazon.

Alternatively, you could gift a subscription to PlayStation Plus Essential if their primary console is a PlayStation 4 or PS5. Every month, they’ll be able to download free PlayStation titles while enjoying access to online multiplayer, exclusive discounts, and 100GB of cloud storage for saved games. PlayStation Plus Essential costs $9.99 a month, though you can currently pick up a three-month subscription for $24.99 from PlayStation.

Finally, for gamers who prefer playing on the Nintendo Switch, there’s the Nintendo Switch Online membership. The digital subscription grants members access to over 70 titles from Nintendo’s catalog of classic NES and SNES games. That’s in addition to letting subscribers play online with friends and the ability to back up game data online. You can buy a one-year subscription for $19.99 from Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop.

If you don’t mind forking out extra, there’s also the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, which costs $49.99 per year. It offers the same benefits as the Nintendo Switch Online membership but also grants access to Game Boy Advance, Sega Genesis, and Nintendo 64 titles, not to mention DLC content for select games (including Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing: New Horizons). Right now, you can pick up a subscription from Nintendo, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Anker 313 Magnetic Wireless Charger

A MagSafe-ready charger that’s cheaper than Apple’s official puck

Anker’s 313 Magnetic Wireless Charger is one of our favorite magnetic chargers and a useful gift to buy if your loved one uses an iPhone. It’s tiny and lightweight, so they can easily throw it in their bag while on the go, and it comes bundled with a five-foot USB-C cable. It also charges up to 7.5 watts, which is enough to fully juice a phone overnight or give it a quick top-up while out and about. Normally $25.99, right now it’s available for $19.99 at Amazon and Newegg.

Alternatively, if your loved one owns an Android phone, there’s Belkin’s BoostCharge Wireless Charging Stand. It’s capable of providing Qi-enabled devices with up to 10 watts of power but also doubles as a stand, allowing your giftee to view notifications with ease. You can currently buy it for $34.99 at Best Buy or direct from Belkin.

Tecware Phantom L

A colorful mechanical keyboard that offers a lot of features for the price

If you want to level up your gaming setup or add some fun to your typing experience, the Tecware Phantom L can help you do just that. The budget-friendly, low-profile tenkeyless gaming keyboard features some nice perks for the price, including adjustable per-key RGB lighting. You can also buy it with linear, tactile, or clicky switches, and the keyboard even comes with a hot-swappable printed circuit board. Granted, it’s only compatible with Outemu low-profile switches and it’s not as easy to swap out as higher-end models, but that’s still a nice perk for the price.

Normally $49.99, right now you can buy the Tecware Phantom L for just $27 at Amazon when you clip the on-page coupon.

Chipofy USB-C Cable

A powerful charging cable with its own wattage display

Chipofy’s USB-C charging cable is a quirky charging accessory that gadget lovers will particularly appreciate. Unlike most cables, Chipofy’s 6.6-foot offering comes with a built-in LED display that allows you to keep tabs on just how quickly you’re charging your devices. What’s more, the 100W cable is powerful enough to juice laptops, as well as smartphones, gaming consoles like the Nintendo Switch, and even drones. Right now, you can buy the cable for $16.19 instead of $17.99 at Amazon thanks to an on-page coupon.

Read our hands-on impressions.

Case-Mate 30W Fuel USB-C Charger

A fun-yet-fast USB-C charger

Okay, one more charger, we swear. If you want to gift something that’s a little more playful, there’s Case-Mate’s Fuel USB-C Charger. With its translucent shell, it looks a little like an old-school iMac from the ’90s, especially since it comes in blue, orange, and a variety of vibrant colors. It’s more than just pretty, though. The portable, single-port charger is capable of delivering 30 watts of power, so your giftee will be able to quickly charge their smartphone, tablet, or a handheld console like the Nintendo Switch. At the moment, you can buy the charger for $30 from Case-Mate and Target.

JBL Go 3

A tiny waterproof speaker that’s perfect for blasting music at the beach (or in the shower)

If your giftee is an avid beachgoer or someone who is always on the move, the JBL Go 3 is worth considering. The waterproof Bluetooth speaker is tiny enough that you can easily slip it into your backpack or pocket before heading out the door, and it comes with a loop that allows you to quickly attach it to a bag. Plus, it offers up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge and comes in a vibrant red colorway, camo, and a variety of other fun hues that should stand out no matter where you set it. The JBL Go 3 is available for around $49.95 at Amazon and Best Buy.

Apple AirTag / Tile Pro

A location tracker so they can speed through baggage claim faster

Whether your loved one is a frequent traveler or just the forgetful sort, they’ll appreciate a Bluetooth tracker. It’ll help them keep tabs on everything from keys to suitcases, allowing them to spot luggage and leave baggage claim a lot faster. Both an AirTag and the Tile Pro are good options; however, Apple’s location tracker may be better for those deeply embedded in Apple’s ecosystem, given how well it pairs with the iPhone.

Right now, you can buy an AirTag for $27.99 ($2 off) at Amazon and Walmart, or for its full retail price at Best Buy. Keep in mind, however, that your giftee will need to spend extra on an AirTag loop if they want to attach it to their keys or bag.

Alternatively, if you have no idea what type of phone your giftee uses, it may be a better idea to pick up a Tile Pro. It performs many of the same functions and comes with user-replaceable batteries, but unlike AirTags, it works with both Android and iOS. Right now, you can buy the latest model for $30.99 ($4 off) at Amazon and Best Buy. It’s also available for its full retail price from Tile.

Read our AirTag review.

Photo: Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
AirTags can help your loved ones easily keep track of their belongings — no matter where they are.

8BitDo Pro 2

A terrific Nintendo Switch controller that works with other devices

8BitDo’s Pro 2 is an excellent Nintendo Switch controller, one your giftee can also connect to their PC or smartphone via Bluetooth. The Pro-like controller makes gaming just a little more fun and comfortable thanks to features like hand grips, which is something even Nintendo’s more expensive Pro Controller lacks. While it doesn’t offer support for Nintendo’s HD rumble or Amiibos, it does provide a handful of other useful features, including customizable back paddles and relatively fast charging thanks to USB-C. You can currently buy it for $49.99 at Amazon and Best Buy.

Read our 8BitDo Pro 2 review.

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter smart bulb

A smart bulb so they don’t have to pause their movie to turn off the light

When you’re curled up on the couch watching a movie, the last thing you want to do is get up and turn off the light. With a Nanoleaf Essentials Matter smart bulb, however, your loved ones won’t have to. The Bluetooth-enabled smart bulbs support Matter and Thread, rendering them compatible with a wide range of smart home platforms, so all they need to do is use their voice to turn the lights off. When they do want them on, the 1,100-lumen bulbs will brighten up their home with an array of colorful lighting. Right now, you can buy a single bulb for $14.99 ($5 off) from Amazon and Nanoleaf.

Read our Nanoleaf Essentials Matter smart bulb review.

Kasa smart plugs

A plug that can smarten up the devices in your home

Speaking of turning the lights on with just your voice, TP-Link’s Kasa smart plugs can transform traditional gadgets into smart ones. As a result, your giftee can use their voice to control a wide range of devices, including lamps, fans, and humidifiers. They don’t need to be home to do so, either, since you can set them on a schedule and control them using Kasa’s mobile app for Android and iOS. They’re also compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Right now, you can buy a four-pack of the hub-less smart plugs for $28.99 ($1 off) at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Blink Mini indoor security camera

A camera designed to keep an eye on your home when you’re away

Speaking of keeping your belongings safe, Blink’s indoor security camera is another gadget that can help put your giftee’s mind at ease. A Blink Mini allows your loved one to keep an eye on their home while they’re away and even receive alerts when activity is detected in preselected areas. The wired 1080p camera also allows for two-way audio chat, making it a good option for those who want to keep tabs on their dog or a kid from another room in their home. The Alexa-equipped camera is currently on sale for just $29.99 ($5 off) at Amazon, Best Buy, and The Home Depot.

Read our Blink Mini review.

An Audible Premium Plus or Kindle Unlimited subscription

A subscription fit for even the pickiest of bibliophiles

Gifting a bookworm something that grants them access to thousands of books is obviously a good idea. A Kindle Unlimited subscription costs $11.99 a month and provides access to more than 3 million digital titles, including bestsellers and classics. Alternatively, if your loved one is more into audiobooks than traditional reading, you can gift them a $14.95-a-month Audible Premium Plus subscription. That way, they’ll be able to enjoy thousands of audiobooks and podcasts as well as one premium audiobook every month.

Rocketbook Core

A reusable notebook to save them money on paper

If your giftee takes a lot of notes for school or work, Rocketbook’s smart notebooks will surely come in handy. The notebooks are erasable and, thus, reusable, so they don’t have to keep buying (and wasting) paper. Plus, they can use Rocketbook’s companion app to store their notes in all the major cloud-based services, including Google Drive, Slack, and iCloud.

Rocketbook notebooks come with your choice of lined or dot grid paper, or with calendars and other preexisting templates. Right now, for instance, you can buy the 8.5-by-11-inch Rocketbook Core with dot grid pages, a microfiber cloth, and a Pilot Frixion erasable pen for $22.97 ($10 off) at Walmart or for $23.99 at Amazon. You can also buy it directly from Rocketbook for $36.99.

Razer DeathAdder V2 Mini

A mouse that makes gaming (and working) more comfortable

If your giftee uses a PC, Razer’s DeathAdder V2 Mini can make gaming (and working) more enjoyable. The wired mouse is the smaller version of one of our favorite models, which we praised for being exceptionally comfortable and supportive. It shares a similar design with an 8,500 DPI sensor and a relatively straightforward button layout; however, the lightweight gaming mouse only features a single button for switching the DPI as opposed to two. The Mini is currently available for $49.99 from Razer.

A gift card for Netflix or Disney Plus

A gift card that opens the door to endless entertainment

You can’t go wrong with a gift card for one of the major streaming services, which can be used to binge countless hours of entertainment. The most notable is Netflix, which grants access to popular shows and movies like Squid Game: The Challenge, Fool Me Once, The Witcher, The Crown, and Stranger Things starting at $6.99 a month. Right now, you can buy a digital Netflix gift card at Best Buy, Amazon, and GameStop or order a physical gift card from Best Buy.

Alternatively, you can gift multiple streaming services in the form of a Disney Bundle subscription. The three-in-one package caters to a wide range of interests, from family-friendly content like The Mandalorian to sports, as it includes Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus. The ad-supported plan starts at $14.99 a month, and you can subscribe here.

ElevationLab’s under-desk headphone mount

A dual hanger that declutters your desk quickly and easily

Noise-canceling headphones can help you focus while working, but their sheer size can clutter your desk and make it harder to concentrate when you’re not using them. ElevationLab’s Anchor Pro takes care of that problem by acting as a headphone “hanger” that attaches underneath your desk and keeps cables out of the way. The handy contraption is sturdy enough that it can feasibly hold two gaming headsets or pairs of headphones, no matter their size or weight, with a hook that’s also suitable for hanging your keys. Right now, you can buy the Anchor Pro for $11.95 ($4 off) on Amazon or for its full retail price directly from ElevationLab.

Epicka Universal Travel Adapter

A speedy travel adapter you can use in more than 150 countries

Whether your giftee travels a lot for work or play, they’ll need some kind of adapter to juice up their phone, laptop, hair dryer, and other electronics. Epicka’s Universal Travel Adapter One is a terrific option, one they can use in the UK, China, and more than 150 other countries. It charges devices pretty quickly, too, and comes with a single USB-C port and four standard USB-A ports. Right now, you can grab the adapter for $22.99 ($2 off) from Amazon and Epicka.

Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Hand Vacuum

A tiny but mighty vacuum that sucks up hairballs in seconds

For all their charms, pets come with one fatal flaw: they shed a lot of hair. If your giftee has a dog or cat, the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Hand Vacuum is a gift that’ll make their lives a little less messy. The powerful vacuum sucks up hairballs quickly and efficiently, yet it’s light enough that you can easily carry it anywhere in your home. Right now, you can buy the handheld vac for $44.88 (about $15 off) at Walmart.


An adjustable soldering iron outfitted with USB-C

A Pinecil is a good gift for makers and DIYers, one that will help them repair and upgrade all kinds of electronics, from keyboards to speakers. The portable soldering iron heats up in seconds and comes with a few perks old-school soldering irons lack, including a built-in OLED display so you can see the temperature and software that allows you to fine-tune the temp to your exact specifications. It also features USB-C support for fast charging. Right now, you can buy it for $25.99 ($10 off) from Pine64 and for $39.99 on Amazon.