March 7, 2021
Best holiday gifts under $50 to buy for 2020

The best gifts under $50 for 2021


If your gift budget calls for finding the best gifts for $50 or less and you are trying to move beyond typical presents such as wine, slippers or a candle (not that there’s anything wrong with those), you’ve come to the right place. Note that pricing and availability for each item were accurate at the time of this story’s most recent update, but both are subject to change without notice.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Some of the best deals at Amazon’s October Prime Day sale were the older Echo Dot and Echo Show devices, which had their prices cut in half. Like some other Prime Day deals on Amazon devices, these Amazon Prime discounts have largely stuck around at Amazon, Best Buy and some other retailers, at least for now. Grabbing this Alexa-powered smart display for under $50 is definitely a great deal. (Go for the Echo Show 8 at $65 if you want a larger 8-inch screen.)

Read our Echo Show 5 review.

Chris Monroe/CNET

“Hey Google, what’s today’s weather?” That’s a handy way to start the morning, which is why the Lenovo Smart Clock is both a great gift for your loved ones and a great bedside companion. This little guy isn’t as full-featured as Google’s own Nest Hub, but it costs about a third as much. Save even more with the newer Smart Clock Essential, which has a monochrome screen for under $30. Both of them include a USB-A port to charge up your gadgets overnight, too.

Read our Lenovo Smart Clock review.

David Carnoy/CNET

Tranya makes some of the best generic true wireless earbuds you’ll find on Amazon (yes, there are a lot of them). I like its earlier Rimor earbuds, but this new T10 model has some improvements that make it an excellent deal at less than $40. It not only has better battery life (it’s rated for 8 hours) but better water resistance (IPX7 instead of IPX5), upgraded 12mm graphene drivers and the earbuds support AAC and AptX codecs. The case charges wirelessly and via USB-C.

Like most true-wireless earbuds from Chinese brands that sell through Amazon, these headphones have a generic look and feel, and they may not fit all ears equally well — they do stick out a little. But if you get a tight seal they sound quite good, with potent, well-defined bass and good detail (for true wireless). This great gift idea also works well as a headset for making calls, thanks to decent noise reduction that helps tamp down background noise so people can hear your voice better. 

Click the on-screen coupon at Amazon to save an additional 20%, which gets your pretax price to $32.

David Carnoy/CNET

Tribit’s StormBox Micro lists for slightly more than $50 but often dips below $50 (it’s currently $40 with an instant coupon on Amazon), so I’m including this thoughtful gift on this list. This great gift is one of the best sounding pocket-size Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested, with bigger bass and volume than most other tiny speakers. 

Aside from its great design, Bose’s SoundLink Micro stood out because it was able to deliver more bass than every Bluetooth speaker in its size class, and it also managed to have limited distortion at higher volumes. And it’s the Tribit’s bass and overall volume level for its tiny size that allows it to stand out. 

It’s IP67 dustproof and water-resistant (it can be fully submerged in shallow water for a short time) and has up to 8 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels with USB-C charging. Like the Bose, this Bluetooth speaker has an integrated strap so you can clip it to your backpack or bike’s handlebars. 

Click the on-screen coupon to get the final price down to $40 before tax.

Read our Tribit StormBox Micro review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

These days, it’s nearly impossible to get a TV without a bunch of “smart” streaming apps built in. But that’s not true of older TVs, and even newer ones don’t have all the top new services, like Disney Plus. Enter the Roku Streaming Stick Plus: For under 50 dollars, this plug-in streamer with voice control will deliver most online video services you can think of — Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and hundreds more — at resolutions up to 4K for under $50. (The only major holdout is currently Warner’s HBO Max.) Oh, and the remote will control your TV’s power and volume, too. If you’re looking to give that old TV a new lease on life, this is the gadget to get.

Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Sphero Mini, the app-enabled programmable robot ball, now comes in a version that looks like a soccer ball and even comes with mini cones. You can drive the Sphero yourself or program this unique gift to perform various maneuvers using easy coding commands in the app.

Read our Sphero Mini first take.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For several years, Gunnar Optiks has been making “computer glasses” designed to block blue light and help alleviate the eyestrain you get from staring at a display or a game for long periods. The glasses come in a variety of adult and kid styles and a few different tints. The core accessory models have an amber lens, anti-reflective coatings and slight magnification.

The Vertex (pictured here in both amber and clear tints) and Riot styles are priced at $50. You can add prescription lenses through the Gunnar website, but those RX packages cost more.

Read more: Do blue light blocking glasses actually work?

David Carnoy/CNET

Laptops? Check. Phones? Check. Tablets? Check. Nintendo Switch? Check. If you have a device that can charge via USB-C, this Aukey Omnia charger can juice it up. It can deliver a maximum of 100 watts of power, which means it’s a good choice even for a high-end laptop like the MacBook Pro or an iPhone. 

Click the on-screen coupon at Amazon to get the final pretax price down to $36.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Logitech’s K380 has been around for a while, but it’s still a great keyboard for the money — perfect for computers, tablets and phones. You can find it for less than $30 online.

Read our Logitech K380 keyboard review.

For just $50, you can lay claim to a smart scale that pairs with your phone and Fitbit and shows information like weight, BMI and body fat for up to four different family members.

Read our Fitbit Aria review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

There are a lot of flashlights you can buy for under $50, but the Coast HP7 is one of the better ones we’ve tried. Ideal for a camping gear kit or home emergency kit, this flashlight is relatively compact and rated at 530 lumens. It’s bright for its size and has an easy slide focus that lets you shape the beam from flood to spot, and then lock the beam into whatever shape you choose. The list price of the gadget was $60, but you can currently find special offer options between $31 and $40. It’s powered by four AAA batteries (included).

Amazon

Want something to really talk about at the coffee table? CNET editor Sharon Profis says this is “a go-to gift from me for coffee lovers.” She adds that it’s fun to give with half a pound of your favorite beans. This easy to clean item is a perfect gift idea for someone — including yourself — who likes a good cup of morning coffee.

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