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The best holiday gifts you can get in 2021
The holidays are just around the corner, and your time to find the perfect gift is dwindling. Most Black Friday sales started early this year due to the supply chain issues, but all hope is not lost. There’s still time to make your list and check it twice. If you’re not sure what to buy the tech lover in your life, we’re here to help. These are our picks for the best holiday gifts you can get this year, including a few we’ve bought for ourselves.
Whether you’re looking for the home run gift or just a few stocking stuffers, this list should have you covered. We’ll start at the most affordable gifts and work our way up from there. And hey, if you’re already done shopping, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a little something?
The best holiday gifts in 2021
Editor’s note: These holiday gifts were all in stock at the time of writing, but we’ll be sure to update the list if products sell out.
The best holiday gifts under $25
Some people think stockings are the easiest to stuff, but it’s not always the case. Sure, you can go for socks and candy, but where’s the fun in that? These gifts are just right to round out your shopping budget, and they’re easy to use pretty much every day. Let’s keep it affordable with picks under $25.
Tile Mate 2022
Tile is no stranger to our holiday gift lists, and the Tile Mate is one of the best Bluetooth trackers on the market. Unlike Samsung’s and Apple’s options, it’s open to both Android and iOS, and the price hasn’t risen despite the recent upgrades. You get a durable IP68 rating and a three-year non-replaceable battery, and the Tile Mate comes in both black and white. If you’re willing to spend a bit more money, Tile also offers a few more premium options.
Anker PowerCore Slim 10,000mAh
There’s a good chance you’ll have to charge a gift or two this holiday season. If you’re heading over the river or through the woods to visit family, you may not have access to an outlet. That’s where a handy power bank comes in.
Anker’s PowerCore Slim PD is an excellent pick for its combination of size and price. It packs a 10,000mAh capacity and up to 18W USB-C charging with USB Power Delivery support. You might also want to check out some new USB-C cables while you’re at it.
A new phone case
The next holiday gift you might want to consider is a shiny new phone case. If you unwrapped a powerful new device this year, the last thing you want to do is drop it and break it on day one. There are more case makers than you can shake a stick at, but as always, we have our favorites. We could link to a few cases for each of the latest releases, but it might just be easier to check out our comprehensive case buying guide.
If you want to shop by brand, here are a few of our favorites:
Anker PowerPort III 25W
If you’re ready to charge up a new device and you have access to an outlet, the Anker PowerPort III 25W makes the perfect stocking stuffer. It packs enough punch to charge most current devices at top speed, yet it’s small enough to fit in a pocket. Anker’s PowerPort III is among our favorite wall chargers, and the price is tough to top. Just keep in mind there’s only one built-in USB-C port.
Amazon Basics 10-foot HDMI cable
Whether you got lucky with a new console or you want a way to plug your laptop into your TV and watch some holiday classics, an HDMI cable is a must-have. Many consoles come with them, but you might need some extra length or durability for peace of mind.
This 10-foot long option comes with a braided cable that should stand up to years of flexes and folds. If you don’t need all of the length, Amazon Basics has six-foot and three-foot options, too.
TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug
Alright, so not everything can be part of a smart home, but it’s pretty easy to make normal decorations a little more powerful. This Kasa Smart Plug from TP-Link plugs into your standard outlet and connects to your Wi-Fi to give you wireless control over your domain. It’s available on its own or as part of a multi-pack, and you can control each one from the TP-Link app in the palm of your hand.
The best holiday gifts under $50
Alright, now we’re past stocking stuffers, but we’re not quite onto the biggest, most exciting gifts, either. These gifts fall somewhere in the middle, offering a few more comforts and a little more power for not too much more money. It’s been a great year for new streaming devices, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are our picks under $50.
Amazon Echo Dot (4th-Generation)
Amazon’s Echo speakers are a good way to kick off your smart home setup, and the Echo Dot is the most affordable way to start. It’s been completely redesigned for the fourth generation and now sports a cloth-covered sphere design. You can check out a special version with a clock or a colorful version for kids, and all three pack the same set of internal speakers.
LIFX Color Smart Bulbs
A standard light bulb isn’t the most fun thing to unwrap on Christmas morning, but the LIFX bulbs are anything but. This holiday gift puts millions of colors in the palm of your hand, and you can even choose from pre-designed themes, including a holiday option. It sets half of your lights to red and the other half to green to put you in the festive spirit. Of course, some LIFX bulbs are more expensive than others, so it’s best to buy in multiples to save some money.
TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Extender
Even the best Wi-Fi setups can struggle throughout the holiday season — especially if you have guests over. The extra devices can cause your network to struggle, which is why a Wi-Fi extender makes life so much easier. It lets your family spread out with a broader blanket of coverage, and this TP-Link option plugs right into a standard outlet. The TP-Link N300 adds up to 800 square feet to your overall coverage, and it utilizes a single 2.4GHz band.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Roku is the king of affordable streaming devices, but the Streaming Stick 4K packs a punch at the higher end. As the name suggests, it offers crisp 4K streaming with compatible TVs in a tiny form factor. The Roku remote packs voice command capabilities and four quick-launch buttons for a few of the most popular streaming services — Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix, and Apple TV. Roku also offers the Streaming Stick 4K Plus if you want a little more punch.
Razer DeathAdder Essential
The DeathAdder Essential may not be Razer’s most premium gaming mouse, but it remains a great pick for holiday gifting. It’s nearly ambidextrous, with just the right mix of speed and cost, and it’s one of the best-selling mice of all time.
You can program all five buttons, and the mechanical switches are rated for 10 million clicks. If you’ve been searching for the right gift for a fledgling gamer, it’s tough to find a better place to start.
SteelSeries Arctis 1 Headset
Sticking with gaming accessories, SteelSeries is an ever-popular choice. The Arctis 1 is one of its most flexible models, with wired and wireless options to cover everything from consoles to your favorite gaming PCs.
If you choose a wireless option, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right one — the special Xbox edition doesn’t always play nicely with other devices. Best of all, the Arctis 1 offers the same premium drivers as the Arctis 7 in a budget-friendly package.
The best holiday gifts under $100
Now you have some room to flex your gift-giving muscle. Once you get close to $100, you can tap into gaming accessories, new speakers, and so much more. You can even check out some budget-friendly headphones in case you have to tune out the holiday noise. Here are our gifts for under $100.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max
We’ve touched on Roku’s latest streaming option, but you may want to give the gift of Fire TV instead. If you list Alexa as your voice assistant of choice, it’s tough to top the Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The name is a little long, but it offers excellent streaming quality and a clean, upgraded interface. Amazon packed extra RAM and a new voice remote in the box, complete with a few helpful quick-launch buttons.
Google Nest Hub (2nd-Generation)
Over on Google’s side of the smart home wars, the Nest Hub (2nd-generation) is a great way to build out your setup. It doesn’t pack the Nest Audio’s music streaming punch, but it gives you a way to check the weather, see calendar reminders, and enjoy some old favorite photos.
The new Nest Hub is among the most affordable smart displays, and the interface is straightforward to pick up, making it a great alternative to something like a digital picture frame.
A home security camera may not be the most exciting gift to unwrap, but it’s a great way to avoid a Home Alone situation. Unless you want to live like Kevin McAllister, the Blink Outdoor is a reliable way to catch would-be robbers in the act.
This version is weatherized to put up with harsh conditions like water and dust, and lasts up to two years with just a pair of AA batteries. You can sync the Blink Outdoor with your Echo Show devices to check on the feed any time of day or night.
Samsung Wireless Portable Battery
The more affordable Anker PowerCore Slim is a great option for most people with limited charging needs, but this Samsung option goes further. The Wireless Portable Battery offers up to 25W speeds with USB Power Delivery PPS support for the latest Galaxy and Pixel devices. You get a pair of USB-C ports to choose from, or you can stick with the rubberized wireless charging pad to cover accessories like Galaxy Buds or smartwatches.
Anker 637 MagGo Charging Station
We might be hitting the charging accessories hot and heavy on our holiday gift guide, but only because we know how the holidays go. As soon as you unwrap an expensive tech gift, the first thing you have to do is charge it. Well, Anker has a way to help out the entire family.
The 637 Magnetic Charging Station packs more outlets than you can shake a stick at. It has a MagSafe pad on the front, two USB-C options, two USB-A options, and three AC outlets for your laptops and larger devices.
Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet
Most tablets come in above $100, but Amazon continues to buck the trend. The Fire HD 8 tablet is one of the most affordable options around, and it’s an excellent pick for all Prime subscribers. You won’t find Google apps as the default, which can be an adjustment, but it’s a good way to catch up on your favorite books and Prime shows.
The best holiday gifts over $100
Finally, all limits are off. We’re talking big-ticket gifts to round out our best holiday gifts guide this year. No, they won’t exactly be kind to your wallet, but they can make the most impact on your home. The latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles are here once again because, well, most people haven’t been able to find them since last year. Check out our final picks for gifts beyond $100.
A new console
Last year, we listed this as one of our holiday gift picks, and it’s back for another round. Unfortunately, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 haven’t become too much easier to track down, but at least there are far more games available this year. You probably already have your preferred ecosystem, but we’d be remiss not to mention both of them. If you get lucky enough to pick one up, you can always add accessories to your gift list, and we picked a few favorites here:
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have come a long way since the first version launched alongside the Galaxy S10 series. They’ve changed inside and out, with new color options and a new design. That said, the Galaxy Buds 2 still pack premium AKG tuning and solid battery life.
You also get Bluetooth 5.2 support with AAC, SBC, and Samsung’s Scalable Codec. Unfortunately, there’s no iOS support, so iPhone users will have to stick with AirPods for now.
Fitbit Charge 5
Fitbit is as popular as ever, and the Charge 5 is a great way to get back into fitness for the new year. Whether you make a resolution or not, it can be helpful to keep up with your steps, heart rate, and more.
Of course, if you give the Charge 5 as a gift to a Charge 4 owner, you’ll want to grab some new Fitbit bands, too. The revamped design means that previous bands won’t work with the new body.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are a good bet if you want a small pair of earbuds, but this Sony setup takes things to another level. It’s one of our favorite pairs of Bluetooth headphones for a reason, and it offers just about everything you can ask for. From noise-cancelling to comfortable earcups, you can pretty much wear the Sony WH-1000XM4 for your entire day. If you want something slightly different, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 remain the closest rival.
Apple iPad Mini (6th-Generation)
There are more affordable iPads out there, but the travel-ready iPad Mini stole our gift-giving hearts this year. It comes in a rainbow of colors, and Apple tapped its flagship-grade A15 Bionic chipset to keep the lights on.
You won’t find a home button anymore, but the bezels are slimmer all the way around, and you can still tap into Touch ID through the power button. Apple’s latest tiny tablet packs a 5G option and up to 256GB of storage with Wi-Fi 6 speeds.
A new phone
Our final holiday gift suggestion has the potential to be our most expensive — a new phone. After all, we’re an Android site, so it only makes sense we would suggest you pick up a shiny new device. We’ve had our hands on plenty of them this year, and there are heaps of solid options out there.
You don’t have to go for a flagship device; the midrange market is looking better than ever. We even reviewed a good number of budget phones in case you want to keep your wallet in check. Here are a few of our favorites from 2021.