Technology

The 27 best tech gifts under $25 in 2024

Wanting to treat a friend or a loved one to some tech or a cool gadget while on a very lean budget can feel like an impossible task. Most of the everyday devices we use cost multiple hundreds of dollars, so what do you get when you just want a nice birthday or “just because” kind of gift but can’t break the bank? Sure, you could default to something basic like a pair of socks or a scarf, but that gets boring fast.

Here, we’ve assembled a bunch of cool tech ideas on a budget of just $25 that are worth your money, including a headphone stand ($19.99), a quality USB-C cable ($9.99), a unique Bluetooth speaker, and other essentials. Some of these items might not sound very fun or exciting at first, but they’re all helpful gifts that any tech-head can appreciate.

Anker MagGo Qi2 Wireless Charger

A charger that’s cheaper and longer than Apple’s charging puck

If you need a gift for someone in the tech bubble and want to cement your spot as the coolest person in their life, try getting them the Anker MagGo Wireless Charger, which is only $21.99 at Amazon. Qi2 chargers standardize the faster 15W wireless charging speeds that were once limited to MagSafe-certified products. Anker’s version has a five-foot cable for those who felt Apple’s official MagSafe charger was too short. As of writing, only the iPhone 13 and newer support Qi2, so you should confirm which phone they have before purchasing one. It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t ship with the 20W adapter required to unlock its full charging potential, so try to figure out whether your recipient already has one.

$22

Anker’s newest MagGo charger magnetically attaches to MagSafe-compatible iPhones, and thanks to Qi2, you can get full 15W charging speeds on the iPhone 13 and newer.

A great, lengthy USB-C cable is just too handy to be without. And once you have one you soon find a need for having more than one, like playing while charging your Nintendo Switch or PlayStation DualSense controller.
Image: Uni

Uni USB-C to USB-C cable (10 feet)

A much longer braided cable for laptop charging

Even when someone is working from home, it’s annoying to have a charging cable that’s too short. Most laptops and other devices come with cables that are barely long enough for many everyday situations. This lengthy USB-C cable from Uni gives much more flexibility for even larger laptops that require a lot of wattage. It supports 100W charging — which is enough to satisfy even the newest MacBook Pro models — and it only costs $19.99 at Amazon, with frequent discounts dropping it to as low as $7. A cable may not sound like an exciting gift, but I’m sure your loved one will appreciate not being tethered so close to a wall.

A lengthy USB-C cable that delivers 100 watts of power, which is enough to power a full-size laptop like the 16-inch MacBook Pro when plugged into an adequate power adapter.

Rocketbook Core

The perfect gift for the techie scribe in your life

Notebooks — the old-school kind, not laptops — have largely taken a back seat to typing, voice dictation, and virtual assistants, but some people still prefer putting pen to actual paper. The Rocketbook Core offers the best of both worlds, though. It’s a reusable notebook that lets you write naturally on any of its 36 pages with the included pen, and you can easily scan the resulting text or drawings into your preferred notes app before wiping the pages clean with a cloth. Rocketbook’s retail price for the 6 x 8.8-inch notebook is $29.99, but you can almost always find it on sale at Amazon for as low as $19.97.

The Rocketbook Core is an erasable, reusable notebook that you can use to quickly store your notes in the cloud. It comes with an erasable ink pen and everything else you need to get started.

Besign LS10 Aluminum Laptop Stand

Give the gift of neck relief and better posture

If a friend or loved one cranes their neck when working from home on a laptop, they deserve some relief. Elevating a laptop to eye level is not only healthier for your posture, but it makes you look better on video calls, too. The Besign LS10 laptop stand normally runs $24.99 on Amazon, but you can typically count on discounts bringing it down to around $20. It has an adjustable hinge design, so it sets up to the height you need and easily folds away when not in use. Plus, with a claimed weight capacity of 13 pounds, it’s strong enough to hold even some hefty full-size laptops.

An adjustable stand that elevates a laptop to eye level. It’s rated to support up to 13 pounds and is available in multiple colors.

Oontz Solo

A small, affordable speaker that anyone can appreciate

Almost everyone loves music, so a portable Bluetooth speaker can be a foolproof gift for someone in your life who is harder to shop for. The triangular Oontz Solo ($19.99 at Amazon) is the miniaturized sibling of the Angle, which has gained popularity as an inexpensive speaker that delivers solid tunes. The triangular design gives serious Sabre Pyramid vibes, but unlike that chunky monstrosity, the Solo is just 3.9 inches long and weighs just under eight ounces. It retains IPX5 water resistance despite its small stature, making it suitable for some poolside fun, and the battery is rated to last up to 10 hours. It’s also available in several bold shades, including black, red, and blue.

The Oontz Solo is a miniature Bluetooth speaker that’s water resistant, deceptively loud, and lasts up to 10 hours per charge. It’s also available in a variety of bold colors.

Apple EarPods

Classic wired earbuds that they won’t feel bad about losing

Believe it or not, some people aren’t caught up in the hullabaloo over wireless earbuds. Thankfully, Apple’s EarPods are a great wired alternative that do away with any concerns regarding battery life and connection quality. You can buy three different styles of EarPods corresponding to each major connector, including the traditional 3.5mm aux ($18.79), USB-C ($17.98), and Lightning ($15.99). Auxiliary is still the most common of these three across all manner of audio devices, but smartphone makers (Apple and Samsung, most notably) have been ditching 3.5mm ports, so it may be worth compensating by adding a cheap $7.99 dongle to the gift bag.

lightning earpodslightning earpods

$16

Apple’s wired earbuds are comfortable, provide fine audio, and include a built-in remote. You can buy them in three of the most commonly used connectors.

iFixit Moray Driver Kit

For the DIYers in your life

The iFixit Moray Driver Kit is a great gift for any handy person who likes to tinker. The little kit has a magnetized bit driver with a cleverly hidden SIM eject tool, and it connects to one of the included 32 screwdriver bits, which encompass everything from flathead and Phillips to torx, pentalobe, hex, and tri-point. There’s even an iPhone standoff bit for cleanly accessing internal logic boards. For $20 at Amazon or direct from iFixit, you can equip your giftee with just about everything they need to make small repairs or carry out weekend projects (like replacing an aging battery in their phone).

The iFixit Moray kitThe iFixit Moray kit

$20

A handy toolkit comprised of a bit driver and 32 screwdriver bits, which are stored in a magnetized case with a lid that doubles as a sorting tray.

Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp

Make sure your giftee doesn’t go bump in the night

The great age of engineering we’re enjoying lets us indulge our geeky side without sacrificing style, so the Black Diamond Astro 300 ($19.95 at Amazon, REI, and Black Diamond) might give your recipient pause at first blush. The water-resistant headlamp is a safer pick if you know they’re into activities like hiking, but there are several other scenarios in which it might come in handy, like during blackouts or unforeseen night maintenance. At maximum brightness, the 300-lumen lamp is strong enough to provide light for up to 55 meters, and it draws that power from just three AAA batteries. (You can also buy an optional $29.95 rechargeable battery for added convenience).

$20

The Black Diamond Astro 300 is a powerful, lightweight headlamp with three lighting modes, IPX4 water resistance, and an adjustable strap. It runs on three AAA batteries, though it’s also compatible with an optional battery pack.

Bluetooth Aux Receiver

Help someone with an older car feel a bit more modern

It’s well-established these days that cars are turning into tech appliances on wheels. To many folks, horsepower and drivetrain play second fiddle to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But for people still sticking to their older cars that lack all of these modern conveniences, a simple tool like a Bluetooth adapter can make all the difference in improving a commute or enjoying a lengthy road trip. This Bluetooth Aux Receiver that’s often on sale for just $16.99 at Amazon may look about as basic as they come, but it plugs into a 3.5mm aux jack and connects via Bluetooth 5.0 to up to two devices. It’s a simple, no-frills way to enjoy all your music and podcasts on the road as well as take hands-free phone calls for added safety.

Aux receiver that can plus into any 3.5mm audio port and connect to your phone or other device via Bluetooth.

Asicen’s 3-in-1 charging cable is one of the handiest cables around, uniting iPhone and Android users with one multi-prong connector.
Image: Asicen

Asicen 3-in-1 Retractable Charging Cable

You’ve never had a more convenient cable

This gift idea is off the charts when it comes to the “I didn’t know I needed this, but now I can’t live without it” factor. These retractable 3-in-1 charging cables have Lightning, USB-C, and Micro USB connectors, allowing you to connect to just about any device in any location. They’re perfect for the car, especially if two or more people have to share a lone USB port for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay duties. They also help keep your desk tidy if you only once in a while need to charge a wireless mouse or keyboard and want a cable at the ready. All that functionality starts at just $12.35 at Amazon for a pair with a five percent coupon. This gift idea is perfect for uniting any household divided between Apple fans and Android users.

A two-pack of retractable cables that each include Lightning / Micro USB / USB-C charging ports on a single 3.3-foot flat cable.

Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box

A great upgrade for someone who doesn’t have a smart TV

If there’s someone in your life who needs rescuing from the scarcity of channels available over the air — or they simply have an older TV with outdated apps — try gifting them the Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box ($19.88). It provides the full Google TV experience, and it comes with 8GB of storage so you can install any of the free and premium streaming apps available (of which there are thousands). The included remote has a dedicated button for calling up Google Assistant, too, which makes it easy to find shows and movies using your voice. It also has Chromecast built in, so if you somehow can’t find what you want natively, you can always cast it from your phone. They’ll miss out on Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, but there’s still basic HDR support.

A photo of Walmart’s Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box.A photo of Walmart’s Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box.

$20

Walmart’s Onn Google TV 4K Streaming Box offers incredible value for its price, offering recommendations, built-in Chromecast, and Google Assistant integration. It also includes a comfortable remote with four remappable buttons. Read our review.

Beam Electronics phone car mount

A phone is still better than most car head units out there

Look, even with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, most car head units still kinda suck. Having a phone mounted to the dashboard via an air vent is helpful for just about anyone. This basic car mount by Beam Electronics is easy to set up and simple to operate, and it costs just $19.99 at Amazon. Even if someone has a jumbo-sized phone, they can throw it on the cradle, clamp it in, and go. It won’t slide out of the holder even during some spirited driving, but it easily releases with the push of a button on the back.

$20

This car mount phone cradle attaches to an air vent and is large enough to accommodate even jumbo-size phones, including the iPhone Pro Max models of the world.

KZ ES4 wired earbuds

Yes, we live in the age of true wireless earbuds. But even an ultra-budget pair of OnePlus Nord Buds are still outside our range of $25. What is in our range is the KZ ES4, which are currently on sale for just $20.99 in blue, black, and green on Amazon. The 3.5mm wired earbuds have detachable cables and a see-through design that looks unique compared to just about any other earbuds out there. These are some excellent and interesting earbuds for the money and perfect for anyone who values spending quality time with their music without the bulk of big, expensive headphones. They make an appropriate gift for anyone who appreciates something with some quirky vibes, though be sure they have a phone that still has a headphone jack or that they’re still an iPod holdout.

$21

The wired KZ ES4 are a pair of inexpensive but high-quality over-the-ear earbuds with a funky design. They’re designed to hook around the back of your ear to keep the weight of the removable cable from yanking them out.

JLab Go Air Pop

Okay, maybe you can get some wireless earbuds for under $25 that don’t suck

The platform-agnostic JLab Go Air Pop may offer the bare minimum when it comes to wireless earbuds, but you’d also be surprised how decent a $20 pair of wireless earbuds can sound. They’re a lot better than the AirPods knockoffs at your local dollar store, and you can often get them on Amazon in various colors starting at just $19.99. Now, it may not be a great idea to gift these to someone who has their eyes set on a pair of AirPods or something with active noise cancellation, but their IPX4 water resistance and eight hours of battery life — or 32 hours with the included charging case — help make a compelling case. Even if they already own better earbuds, your recipient can tuck them away as an emergency backup pair.

JLab Go Air Pop are an affordable pair of wireless earbuds with eight hours of battery life (or 32 hours with the included charging case). The case also houses a built-in USB-A charging plug so you’re never without a charging cable.

Apple AirTags or Tile Mate location trackers

If someone you know is the type that might misplace their most valued everyday items, like their wallet or keys, a location tracker might just be a lifesaver for them. Now, there are some options to consider for this gift. Generally speaking, if they use an iPhone, then Apple’s AirTags are a great option, while the Tile Mate is a safe bet for both Android and iOS users. However, while the AirTags regularly dip under our budget price at $24, when on sale, they normally go for $29. The Tile Mate is the safer buy if you don’t know what phone your gift recipient uses, and it’s not uncommon to see them on sale for as low as $17.99 (normally $24.99) at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target.

An AirTag in an Apple keychain accessoryAn AirTag in an Apple keychain accessory

Apple’s AirTags can help you find your lost items with its UWB technology. You’ll get the best compatibility with an iPhone, though Apple released an Android app to detect an AirTag’s location if one seems to be following you.

The latest Tile Mate is a water-resistant tracker that can keep tabs on items up to 250 feet away. It works with both iPhone and Android devices.

A $25 digital gift card for Xbox, PlayStation, Steam, or My Nintendo Shop

Give the gift of some quality PC or console games

We know gift cards often seem like the ultimate cop-out, but gifting digital games or smaller indie titles is not always easy. Yes, most digital game stores allow you to gift specific games to those on your friends list, but that’s only useful if you have an account and know which games they want. Enter the gift card, which lets them purchase what they want themselves. They’ll surely remember who helped finance their hundreds of hours of enjoyment to come. Bonus points if you do know what game they want and you decorate a card or email message for them accordingly. Now that’s some expert-level gifting.

$20

With a My Nintendo Store gift card, you can purchase more than 1,000 new, classic, and indie games on the Nintendo Switch. You can buy a card for as low as $5.

$25

A Steam gift card can buy all kinds of PC indie or AAA-titles on the Steam digital storefront. They can even go toward the purchase of a Steam Deck, and purchased in $5, $10, $25, $50, or $100 increments.

The Xbox logoThe Xbox logo

$25

In addition to games on the Xbox storefront, an Xbox gift card can also be put toward a subscription to Xbox Live or Xbox / PC Game Pass. A digital gift card can be purchased for a value ranging from $1 to $100.

$25

A gift card for Sony’s PlayStation Store is good for all kinds of titles, add-ons, and downloadable content. They are normally sold in $10, $25, $50, and $100 values.

8BitDo Bluetooth Retro Receiver

For retro gamers who prefer the style and comfort of newer controllers

The 8BitDo Bluetooth Retro Receiver might be the perfect gift if you know someone still sticking it out with the PlayStation 1 or PlayStation 2. On sale for $23.75 at Amazon with a 5% coupon, the accessory connects to the controller port on either console and natively reads input from many compatible Bluetooth controllers, including most 8BitDo controllers, Sony’s DualShock and DualSense models, and newer Xbox wireless controllers. You can use it as a Bluetooth receiver for Windows PCs, too, thanks to a USB-C port. 8BitDo also offers similar products for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, but beware that those no longer support Xbox controllers.

You can use a modern wireless controller with your PS1 and PS2 thanks to the 8BitDo Retro Receiver. The handy accessory plugs directly into the controller slot on either console, and the button mapping translates perfectly when using supported controllers, including the official Xbox and PlayStation models.

Samsung microSD card

Perfect for expanding the storage of a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck

If someone you know plays a lot of games on a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, a microSD card is a tiny gift that can make a huge difference. Many Samsung microSD cards go on sale frequently, and you can easily catch them on sale for under $25. Right now, for instance, you can nab a 128GB card at Amazon for $12.99 or a 256GB card for $22.99, both of which can level up the amount of built-in storage found on Nintendo’s fancier Switch OLED and the base Steam Deck, allowing many more games to be installed at once — especially if you play lots of small indie titles. And don’t fret on the performance front; as our own Sean Hollister pointed out in his re-review of the Steam Deck, there’s barely a noticeable difference in performance between playing games off your console’s internal storage and playing them off an optional microSD card (save for some slightly slower install times).

Give your Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, laptop, or a compatible smartphone a storage boost with this Samsung microSD card, which comes with an included microSD to SD adapter.

Joby GripTight One GorillaPod Stand

A simple tripod for phone photography and videos

Sometimes planting your phone somewhere with a tripod is far superior for capturing a group selfie or a quality landscape photo. Fortunately, the Joby GripTight One is often on sale for around $20 and comes with an adjustable clamp mount. It can even be used as a short selfie stick or simple stabilizer when taking video. It’s a great gift for anyone curious about doing more with their phone when it comes to taking pictures or just making things easier for recording TikTok videos while they talk to the camera.

The Joby GripTight One GorillaPod is a flexible tripod for your phone, with an adjustable clamp that accommodates even larger models.

Elago Apple Watch stand

A charming little mount for your Apple Watch charger

While there are many Apple Watch charging solutions out there, they’re usually a bit pricey and not at all cute. This Elago stand is absolutely adorable, as once you thread your Apple Watch charging puck into it, your watch turns into a mini Macintosh computer, iMac, GameBoy, or iPod Classic (okay, not really, but it looks a bit like one while in nightstand mode). These little stands range from $12.99 to $15.99 on Elago’s site and Amazon, and they make a charming novelty of a gift for anyone who loves some vintage tech nostalgia.

$15

Elago’s charming Apple Watch stands are made of silicone and styled after vintage tech. Mount your Apple Watch charger in it, and it will resemble an old Macintosh Plus computer while charging.

Anker 511 Charger (30W)

Save someone from their old 5W wall warts

Know someone who is still using a 5W USB-A charger that’s nearly old enough to get a learner’s permit? Here’s how you can help and be a considerate friend or family member who saves them from it. Anker’s 511 Chargers are incredibly tiny but output up to 30 watts for enough headroom to fast charge most phones — including the latest iPhone models. They cost just $22.99 at Amazon (or less, given the frequent discounts they receive) and even come in some fun colors like green and lavender, in addition to white and black. Just be sure that any old chargers they replace get recycled properly.

Anker’s 30W 511 Charger juices phones quickly and is small enough to carry around in a purse.

Nanoleaf Essentials Matter smart bulbs

Smart light bulbs: how most of us get into smart homes and automation

Nanoleaf’s fun lighting panels are great for transforming a home office or chill space, but for more basic needs, the company’s Matter-over-Thread bulbs will do the job just fine. They’re $19.99 each at Amazon and Nanoleaf, and you can often find the A19 bulbs on sale for $14.99. They get nice and bright at 1,100 lumens, they allow for tons of scenes and settings, and you can easily choose from millions of vibrant colors. The Nanoleaf app required to manage them isn’t great, and the bulbs still suffer the same growing pains as other Matter-ready devices, but Nanoleaf offers an affordable, manageable smart lighting platform that works great if your needs are simpler.

Nanoleaf Matter bulb and light strip on a tableNanoleaf Matter bulb and light strip on a table

Nanoleaf’s Matter Essentials bulbs work with every smart home platform as long as you have a Matter controller and Thread border router. They’re bright, cheap, and have great colors, but they don’t support Apple’s Adaptive Lighting. Read our review.

Meross Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (MSS110)

Help someone dip their toes into smart home automation

The Meross Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini (MSS110) — which is only $19 at Amazon thanks to an on-page coupon — is our top budget recommendation when it comes to smart plugs. Just plug one in and set it up, and you’ll be able to remotely control whichever devices you plug into it. It’s compatible with Apple Home, Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, allowing you to schedule timers or control it with your voice using the smart platform you prefer. There’s no Matter support to help it communicate better with other smart home devices, but that’s a fair trade given its low price point.

Two white Meross smart wi-fi plugs stacked on top of each other on a blue background. Each has a three-prong outlet on the front face.Two white Meross smart wi-fi plugs stacked on top of each other on a blue background. Each has a three-prong outlet on the front face.

With solid performance and support for all of the major smart home platforms, this affordable Wi-Fi smart plug gives you the basics you need to control non-smart devices for less. It doesn’t have Matter or energy monitoring, but that’s alright at this price.

Ugreen USB-C 6-in-1 Hub

Got a friend who is having a tough time in dongle town? This inexpensive USB-C hub from Ugreen has most things covered, and it’s only $19.99 on sale at Amazon. No matter if they need a USB 3.0 port or HDMI-out, it’s all here. There are even SD and microSD card slots, which you don’t always get with USB hubs at this price. It’s a great option for someone who owns a MacBook Air or another laptop that’s light on connectivity options, though advanced users may prefer a hub that has a passthrough USB-C charging port as well, which will cost more.

Ugreen’s 6-in-1 USB-C hub supports three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, and a combo SD / microSD reader.

A desktop headphone stand or under-desk headphone mount

What’s the over-under on a headphone fan loving this gift?

We all love a great pair of noise-canceling headphones or a gaming headset, but even if they’re wireless, they certainly take up a lot of space. A headphone stand or mount is a great gift for anyone who spends a lot of time at their desk and wants to keep things tidy (or if you encourage them to keep things tidy and they really should be listening to you). Here are two appealing options for them to either show off their headphones when not using them or keep them tucked away and out of sight. The Neetto Dual Headphones Stand prominently displays two full-size headphones on a desk with a central tray for more organization, and it costs just $19.99 at Amazon. Another option is the Anchor Pro hanger ($15.95 at Amazon), which can hold two pairs of headphones and uses 3M adhesive to easily attach it to the underside of your desk. Take your pick and help someone keep their cool audio gear neat.

This dual headphones desk stand is made of aluminum and features a tray for resting a cable or keeping handy accessories nearby.

$16

An under-desk dual headphone hanger that uses 3M adhesive for mounting and an included Velcro strap to anchor a headphone cable.

Update February 23rd, 5:30PM ET: We’ve updated this gift guide with several new picks and updated pricing for some of our favorites that are still available.

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