8 Great Gift Ideas Under $50
Finding a gift for your favorite techie or gadget hound can be incredibly expensive. But it doesn’t have to be – you can find plenty of amazing tech gifts loaded with wow factor for $50 or less. Our favorite budget-friendly gift ideas are sure to make an impact well beyond their price tag.
Brookstone Perfect Drink
Is there an amateur mixologist on your gift list this year? Check out the Brookstone Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending scale. It connects to your iOS or Android phone or tablet to give you real-time pouring instructions for hundreds of different alcoholic and virgin cocktails based on what you have around the house. The smart scale weighs each ingredient as you add it, letting you know exactly when to stop pouring. If you accidentally add too much of one ingredient, the scale will help you scale up all the others to make sure your drinks taste consistent every time. You can even save your favorite recipes and drink modifications.
The Brookstone Perfect Drink App-Controlled Smart Bartending scale is currently available on Amazon.com for $49.98.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Smart TVs are expected to be a hot gift item this year. You surely won’t be able to purchase a new television for under $50, but you can give an older one new life as a smart TV for that price with an Amazon Fire TV Stick. The small gadget connects to any available HDMI port to give you access to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and allow you to mirror what’s on yoursmartphone screen. It comes with its own remote, but you’ll get better functionality using the free Fire TV Remote smartphone app (for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire), which lets you search for playable content by voice.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick is expected to be released on November 19. You can preorder the device on Amazon.com for $39.00. Be forewarned: This is a hot gift item, and online orders are likely to arrive after Christmas Day.
Have a smartphone owner on your list who likes staying active? Take a look at the Misfit Flash, a simple, waterproof fitness tracker. Clipped to your outfit, the Flash measures steps, distance traveled and calories burned. Or wear the Flash on your wrist using the included strap, allowing you to track your sleep quality. All this data is collected by your smartphone (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) via Bluetooth and analyzed by the included Misfit app to help you track progress toward your goals. Another great feature: Because the Flash is powered by a coin-type watch battery, you don’t need to worry about constant recharging. Just pop a new $1 battery inside the Flash every four months, and you’re good to go.
The Misfit Flash is currently available for pre-order; the device is expected to ship before the holidays. You can pre-order one in your choice of seven colors for $49 at misfitwearables.com. Alternatively, you can also take a look at these other fitness trackers for $50 or less, many of which are available to ship today.
Never be without a smartphone charger again! NomadKey is a small Lightning-to-USB charging cable for Apple mobile devices that doubles as a keychain. At a flexible 3 inches long, it won’t stand out as oversized when stowed in a pocket. And because the NomadKey is Apple MFi-certified, you can be confident the charger will work as advertised without those annoying warnings you sometimes get when connecting a third-party charger to your iPhone or iPad. It’s a great stocking stuffer or office gift for the true Apple fanatic.
The NomadKey Lightning-to-USB cable is currently available for purchase on Amazon.com for $29.00.
If you’re planning to give someone a new Apple iPhone this holiday – or if you’re simply looking for an inexpensive gift idea for someone who already has one – check out the Felix HoldTight for the iPhone 5, 5S and 6. The back of the HoldTight has interchangeable colored elastic bands designed to hold credit cards, IDs, cash and similar flat objects. Each case comes with seven bands, and you can add more (in a wide array of colors) by purchasing a $14.99 expansion pack.
The Felix HoldTight Case for the iPhone 5 and 5S is currently available for purchase at Felix.com for $29.99. A version for the iPhone 6 costs $34.99 and will ship at the end of the year.
Audio-Technica Noise-Canceling Headphones
If you don’t like the over-the-ear style of larger Beats by Dre-type headphones (or their massive price tag), we’re also fans of the Audio-Technica QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones. Each earbud contains a mic to pick up ambient noise. That noise is then sent to a small control box, where an out-of-phase noise-canceling wave is created to silence the outside world (90% noise reduction). These headphones make a good gift idea for anyone who likes to listen to music on a plane or as a passenger in a car.
The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint Active Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones are available on Amazon.com for $39.99.
Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Coffee Machine
Single-serve coffee makers like the Keurig are incredibly popular, but all those plastic K-cups are bad for the environment. Instead, check out the more economical Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Personal Cup Pod Coffeemaker. It makes a fresh cup of coffee on demand using Senseo pods, which are biodegradable and better for the planet. If you’d like to save even more money, make your own pods and use this coffeemaker with your favorite brew. The Stay and Go handles large travel mugs too, making it perfect for those long winter commutes.
You can find the Hamilton Beach Stay and Go Personal Cup Pod Coffeemaker for $33.64 on Amazon.com.
Macally Portable Battery Charger
Between tracking your fitness, making calls, surfing the web and playing games, it’s real easy to run out of smartphone juice before the end of the day. Fight back against smartphone drain with the Macally Portable Charger, our pick for the best battery charger under $50. It’s a small 3,000mAh battery that easily fits in a backpack, purse or coat pocket. Connect it to your computer or to an outlet to charge it at night. Then when you need extra power during the day, connect your phone or tablet to it using the built-in micro-USB and Lightning connector cables. You can keep coming back for even more power as you need it; the Macally can store enough to charge an iPhone approximately one and a half times.
The Macally Portable Charger is available on Amazon.com for $35.46.
[Gift box with red ribbon via Shutterstock]