This story is part ofour year-round collection of the best gift ideas.
Gift-giving comes from the heart, but it’s important to consider your budget too. Between celebrations, birthdays, graduations and other big life events, there seems to always be an occasion to shop for something special. Buying gifts for family members, friends, or any other special person or loved one can be challenging and overwhelmingly expensive. But there are gift options out there worth the investment that costs less than you’d think. So ditch the boringand grab one of these great gifts under $50.
With autumn upon us and the holidays quickly approaching, finding just what everyone wants might seem impossible, but we’ve taken the guesswork out of what to look for — and the earlier you start thinking about holiday presents, the more time you have to cash in on great deals.
From an affordableto that will simplify your life, this year you can buy a perfect gift for the holidays for under $50. We’ve researched the best gifts for under $50 that will fill any wish list (along with a few splurge ideas). The trick is knowing what’s not only a good value but what can be useful too. Here is a handful of the best gifts under $50, so you can treat yourself or someone you love.
The JBL Bluetooth speaker that received the biggest improvements for 2021 is among the company’s smallest. The JBL Go 3 has a completely new look — it’s now covered in durable fabric instead of having the naked plastic design of its Go predecessors — and that new design, coupled with surprisingly decent sound for its small size, makes the Go 3 one of the top micro Bluetooth speakers out there.
Available in multiple color options, it has an IP67 water-resistance rating (it can be dunked in water and is dust-proof). Plus, the battery life is rated at up to five hours.
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What’s cool about Anker’s 622 magnetic battery is that it’s a wireless battery that has an integrated magnetic flap that converts into a stand. You won’t get fast wireless charging from this 5,000-mAh battery (it charges at up to 7.5 watts) but it’s slim and easy to carry around.
It charges via USB-C and if you use a USB-C to Lighting to charge your iPhone, it will charge at a faster rate of 12 watts. That’s not as fast as what a 20-watt USB-C power adapter can deliver, but it’s faster than 7.5 watts.
Weighted blankets have become a popular item that people use to sleep better. They hug your body and distribute weighted glass beads evenly in small pockets. This blanket is breathable and machine-washable in a cleaning bag on the gentle cycle. It’s already a great bargain at $30 on Amazon, and you can save an extra $3 with the instant coupons at checkout, dropping the price to just $27.
Electric scooters are all the rage, but if you’re just looking for a non-powered kick scooter, this Uenjoy is arguably one of the best values out there for around $43, or about half the price of the equivalent Razor kick scooter. (I won both so I was able to compare them.)
It’s important to note that we’re highlighting the blue model, which is the only one that has a bonus hand brake, a feature normally not found on a scooter that costs less than $50. I should also mention that the scooter requires a little assembling (the front wheel has to be attached) and may be a little trickier for some people than others. (Loosening a nut requires you to use two hex key Allen wrenches, both of which are included.) And I did have to make some adjustments to the hand brake.
Here’s a gift that anyone who’s susceptible to losing things will appreciate. Apple’s AirTags accessories work with any Apple device and use the company’s FindMy network — the same one used to locate lost iPhones. Attach them to keys, a backpack or just about anything else. It’s $29 for one and $99 for four, and if you buy them through Appleyou can get free customized engravings, too.
Read our Apple AirTags hands-on.
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If you’re looking for a compact external battery pack for your iPhone (or any smartphone), Mophie’s pocketable Power Station Mini (2022) features a 5,000-mAh internal battery and 20W USB-C PD fast charging. (You’ll need a USB-C to Lightning cable to take advantage of that fast charging if you’re an iPhone owner.) That battery will allow you to fully charge your iPhone.
For $20 more, you can pick up the 10,000-mAh version with dual USB-C ports — both come in black or blue colors. Also, note that Zagg, Mophie’s parent company, offers a 20% discount off your first purchase, so that model (it’s simply called the Power Station) is actually $50.
Created by former NFL fullback Chris Gronkowski (brother of Rob), the Ice Shaker not only keeps your beverages hot — or cool — for hours — but comes with a removable twist-in agitator to help mix your protein shakes (or anything else that needs mixing). Available in a few different sizes and many fun colors, they have a built-in handle for easy carrying and start at around $35. It’s one of the better insulated bottles I’ve used and a great way to make sure you stay hydrated.
Known for its value headphones and earbuds, JLab has released a pair of on-ear headphones with an integrated boom microphone — it can be rotated up when just listening to music — and multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect them to your phone and computers simultaneously. I’m more partial to the Jabra Elite 45h, which list for $100 but usually sell for around $75. But if you don’t want to spend quite that much, the Go Work is a solid pair of headphones, and headset, for its modest price. They’re also comfortable to wear, with a lightweight design. You won’t mistake these for premium headphones but the build quality seems fine.
Battery life is rated at up to 45 hours at moderate volume levels, and you can mute calls using the multifunction button (an LED lights up at the end of the boom mic when the call is muted). I wouldn’t call the sound quality for music listening and the headset performance stellar, but they’re good, particularly for the price. For music listening, there’s ample bass and clarity and a cable is included for wired use. The headphones charge via USB-C. Bottom line: This is a solid gift for anyone who spends some or all of their time working remotely.
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I was a fan of the original Earfun Free buds, and now there’s an upgraded version called the Earfun Free 2 (which has been subsequently upgraded to the 2S). They’re not a huge upgrade, but like the originals they fit my ears well and deliver decent bang for the buck with strong sound — it has just a touch of treble and bass boost (there’s plenty of bass) — and extra features such as wireless charging.
Battery life is rated at up to seven hours at moderate volume levels, and these buds are fully waterproof with an IPX7 rating. These are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and use Qualcomm’s QCC3040 chip that includes support for the aptX audio codec if you’re using a compatible device (certain Android smartphones support that protocol).
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 and simply don’t offer the faster performance of a dedicated video streaming box that plugs into an HDMI port. For under $50, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K (2021) boasts access to just about every online video service you can think of, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and hundreds more, at resolutions up to 4K. The Streaming Stick 4K Plus comes bundled with a step-up voice-enabled remote for $20 more.
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Infinity Lab is Samsung-owned Harman Kardon’s new accessories subsidiary and I like its InstantGo 5000 and InstantGo 10000 power banks, which come with an integrated Lightning cable for easy charging for iPhones. The larger 10000 mAh costs $20 more and is heavier and bulkier but it can charge most iPhones twice.
I was a fan of Creative’s original Sound Blaster Jam headphones that came out in 2015 and had a decidedly retro look and feel, as well as good sound for the money. Now these headphones are available in a 2.0 version with some key upgrades, including Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging, improved call quality and multipoint Bluetooth pairing that allows you to pair them to two devices simultaneously. Battery life is rated at up to 22 hours.
BioLite’s TraveLight 135 is a multifunction portable — and wearable — LED light that can be used as a flashlight (bright white light), bike light (with a flashing red light) and even a power bank for charging your phone. It fits easily into a pocket and is a good safety item for anyone who hikes, bikes or camps.
iOttie offers this MagSafe-compatible wireless car charger with a car vent mount. It has a strong magnet, so your iPhone stays on the mount, and it also has an integrated USB-C cable and cigarette-lighter power adapter so you’re ready to start charging out of the box. Note that iPhone “fast” charging caps out at 7.5 watts. It makes for a nice gift for anybody looking for a magnetic car mount for their MagSafe-enabled iPhone.
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This one isn’t a fun gift, but it’s the type of thing someone will use every day. This power adapter is one of the better values out there, with dual USB-C PD (power delivery) ports, a USB-A and a total of 65 watts of power. That will allow you to charge most devices, including some larger USB-C laptops. It uses GaN technology, which helps reduce the size of the charger, and the plug is foldable.
The Echo Show 5 is Amazon’s smallest smart display, and is great for nightstands or kitchen counters where you don’t want it to take up too much space. Get quick updates on the news, check the weather, update your daily schedule and much more — all with just the sound of your voice. With a 5.5-inch display, it’s also great for watching short videos like recipe instructions, and it’s equipped with a 2MP camera for voice calls and checking in on your home when you’re away.
Although the Echo 5 lists for $85, it is currently on sale for $35.
Some of our favorite gifts are just a little more than $50 — but often you will find these items discounted at close to or under $50. So keep your eye out for deals and decide if you’re willing to put a little bit of cash with that gift card to grab one of these indulgent finds, which could be a great option as a gift or for yourself.
Back in 2020, Tribit released the StormBox Micro, a budget version of Bose’s excellent SoundLink Micro speaker that delivered surprisingly good sound for its size and modest price. Now we get the StormBox Micro 2, which offers improved sound and battery life, along with a charge-out feature that turns the speaker into a power bank for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. An integrated strap allows you to clip it to your backpack or your bike’s handlebars.
Like the original, it’s an excellent value and easy to recommend if you’re looking for a super compact portable wireless speaker.
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