10 Gadgets You Need for Everyone on Your Shopping List
By Franki Hanke
Gift ideas for everyone from the too-cool teenager to your too-cold mother-in-law.
Gift-giving is hard. Especially with investment pieces like tech. The last thing you want is to disappoint your loved ones, that’s why we’re delivering the best recommendations on gadgets for gifting for everyone.
Gadgets for Gifting the Music Enthusiast
1. Apple Airpods – $159 to $249
Two years ago, every cool kid opened a pair of Apple Airpods for Christmas, at least if you believe the internet. However, this tech gift still delivers.
These wireless, Bluetooth earbuds have a small, sleek style that is iconic to the high-tech crowd and most teenagers. With a wireless charging case, battery life is extended up to a day. They are a great gift for almost anyone since we all enjoy some hands-free music in our day-to-day. For loyal Apple fans who already own iPhones and Macbooks, they are a perfect gift.
The Apple Airpods have two models with a price difference of ~$100.
Is the Pro price tag worth it?
|Airpods (Regular)||Airpods Pro|
|Without the sound upgrades, the listening time typically lasts half an hour longer. |
For the general consumer, this likely isn’t important.
Both models offer personalized engraving.
|Spatial Audio and Active Noise Cancelation improve the sound experience. For dedicated sound nerds, these sound upgrades might justify the price increase. Plus, for anyone with a public transit commute or frequent travel where the noise cancelation would be put to use, it justifies the cost increase. |
Sweat and water resistance adds extra durability to the Pro pair. For active outdoorsmen, runners, or gym rats, this might matter.
However, the Pro offers a customizable fit for the buds themselves. Frankly, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor if the previous two points didn’t matter to you.
Though designed by Apple, AirPods are compatible with Android smartphones and tablets.
However, those without that Apple brand loyalty might prefer Bose Bluetooth wireless earbuds or headsets, instead.
→ If your music enthusiast enjoys their tunes at the gym, combine the sound quality with sturdy, gym-specific features with the Bose Soundsport Earbuds instead. With the same sweat/water resistance as the Airpods Pros, the Soundsport buds stay under $200.
→ If they don’t need the added durability, opt for the Bose Quiet Comfort Noise-Cancelling earbuds for added noise-canceling. This model is still sweat and weather-resistant, so they don’t have to coddle them. The Sportbuds, by comparison, only have passive noise isolation (to limit background noise) but not active blocking.
The Cost Comparison Between Bose and Apple
The Bose Quiet Comfort wireless earbuds will run you $279 versus the Airpod Pro’s $250 price tag. Performance-wise, they nearly go head-to-head. At every comparison point, they match except noise cancelation and sound quality.
Bose is a titan of sound. Their earbuds reflect that. Especially for the sounds created by engines (like on a plane), the superior noise-cancellation of Bose is clear. However, Apple brand’s loyalty is intense, so for Apple fans, the Airpod Pro’s sleek look and iconic recognition will matter more.
Ultimately, noise-canceling headphones are the gift that keeps giving. Whether they are hiding from a plane’s crying baby or their own, they’ll thank you every time they use them.
2. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable – $500
For vinyl enthusiasts, a high-quality turntable is a game-changer. With a sleek, simplistic aesthetic and premium construction, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon prioritizes sound quality above all else. It features a Carbon Fiber arm with low-friction sapphire bearings.
This is the upgrade for anyone who’s collecting vinyl and using a cheaper, starter turntable. With a $500 price tag, it’s not for the casual record fan. For a beginner in vinyl or anyone interested in the vintage style, opt for the Victrola Vintage instead.
With a considerably lower price point ($50), the Victrola Vintage is a portable turntable with dozens of options for case color. The sound quality isn’t at the same tier, but it satisfies the style and function of a turntable.
Need stocking stuffers for a vinyl fiend? Add on to your turntable gift or augment their current set up with an upgraded record brush or this record display system. Designed by Danish minimalists, these discs use magnetism to mount records in a removable, floating display with no frames or visible supports.
Gadgets for Gifting the Apartment Hunter / New Home
3. Amazon Echo Plus – $150
Whether a first apartment or an upgrade to a bigger house, any home can be taught to be a smart home. By connecting to your router’s WiFi network, devices like the Amazon Echo Plus or Apple’s Home Pod can bring your favorite AI assistant to every room of the house. With an Echo Plus as a hub (and accessory Echo Dot’s around the house) Amazon Alexa’s voice commands are available from anywhere.
The Amazon Echo Plus is a gift that can start them towards setting up a full smart home or it can simply act as a smart speaker.
If they already have a smart home set-up, consider augmenting it with an additional accessory.
→ For giftees who recently expanded their space, consider adding to any existing Sonos sound system with a new Bluetooth speaker to add to their network or extra Philips Hue bulbs for new extra lighting.
→ For giftees moving from an apartment to a home, gift a security camera like Logitech’s Circle 2 to add the security they’ll need to their entryway.
→ For giftees moving into an apartment, gift the Belkin WeMo Mini smart plugs so they can customize their pesky plug-in lights.
Read our full smart-home starter list for more smart home ideas.
4. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Alarm Clock – $100 – $270
Few things lead to sleepless nights more than moving, give the gift of an easier time waking up with the Philips Smart Sleep LED Light. The light mimics sunrise, alongside other features, to improve sleep and mood leading into the day. The light begins to glow 30 minutes before your alarm for a natural, smooth wake-up as if you’re rising with the sun (even if you’ve got light-blocking shades).
The App-Enabled Version, on the higher end of the price spectrum, has a suite of extra features that the simplified model offers. Alongside the sunrise simulation, the light mimics sunset before bedtime with multicolored lights to match the colors better. In the middle of the night, tapping the light will trigger a soft Midnight light for easily navigating to the bathroom. Through their app, customize all the features including alarms, sounds, and light patterns.
Gadgets for Gifting the Gym Rat
5. Apple Smart Watch – $375
From a gym buffer to a step-counting enthusiast, the Apple Watch is more than a heart rate monitor. The watch acts as an extension of your iOS system with quick messaging, calls, and app-specific functions.
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However, it’s most exciting as a companion in the gym. With an intelligent heart rate monitor, the watch tracks daily activity, workouts, and can even guide you through Apple+’s new fitness classes.
Just like headphones, there’s a strong competitor for those without strong Apple loyalty. The Fitbit Charge 3 is a bit cheaper at $250 with equally smart fitness tracking. While Apple Watch will use Siri’s AI system, Fitbit uses either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. The Fitbit thrives solely as a fitness tracker without the same breadth as the Apple Watch, but it does its one job very well.
If they already own an Apple Watch, supplement with a Samsung Wireless Charger stand. The wireless charging pad charges any Qi-enabled phone (like the iPhone) and an Apple watch in one sleek stand.
6. Theragun Percussive Massage Gun – $400
Once that workout is done, the Theragun is the fast track to recovery. This sturdy, powerful massage gun uses a brushless motor to fuel deep muscle massage. This model has a beefed-up battery life with up to two hours of continuous use. Between uses, it’s rechargeable.
Alongside the product itself, the matching app introduces how to use it to massage tight, sore muscles so it’s beginner-friendly. Whether sore from the gym or sitting at a desk, the Theragun will relieve day-to-day discomfort.
For the cost of a few professional massages, the Theragun provides the same relief at home, every day. So, for anyone who experiences a massage maybe once a year for Valentine’s Day, this is a game-changer.
Shop the Theragun on Amazon.
Gadgets for Gifting the Artist
7. iPad Pro – $999
While techies get plenty excited over each generation of the iPad, the iPad Pro is a powerhouse for digital artists. There’s tech talk to explain why the iPad Pro is so good, but here’s the gist:
→ Liquid Retina Display: What’s on the screen looks good and the colors are incredibly accurate.
→ 264 Pixel Density: The display looks good and supports detailed artwork.
→ Ultra-Wide Camera: Camera and mic qualities are high enough for film work.
→ A12Z Bionic Chip: It’s fast. It runs better than some laptops (speed-wise) and looks better doing it.
Those big selling points pair with applications and accessories especially for artists (though lots of notetakers and other industry professionals love them too). Paired with the Apple Pencil, the iPad is an endless sketchbook that’s powerful and portable.
If your giftee already has the iPad, the Apple Pencil is a great accessory gift that will make their iPad easier to use. At $129, it’d be an expensive stocking stuffer, but well-received!
8. Tile Bluetooth Trackers – $25+
No judgment on my fellow creatives, but we lose things. Especially with a multitude of accessories for creation, it’s easy to misplace something. With Bluetooth connection and geographic locators, the Tile trackers are a small, but powerful gift.
By linking with a phone app, the small trackers allow you to find lost items with a sound tone or a map location. Depending on your needs, opt for the Tile Mate (for keychains), Slim (for wallets), or Stickers (for anything). Even dedicated Tile fans often only know of the original Mate and don’t know they could put a Tile Sticker on the headphones they always misplace.
We love these things so much, they’ve landed on our list of 10 Best Gadgets to Make Your Life Simpler, too.
Shop Tile’s starter pack on Amazon.
For the Workaholic
9. Ember Smart Mug – $100
The Ember Smart Mug brings the satisfaction of that one, perfectly timed sip of coffee or tea to every single sip. The Ember has a simple concept. It heats what’s inside to your perfect temperature.
However, unlike simpler (and cheaper options) the Ember is cordless. The mug can be heating a drink without sitting on the charging coaster so it can be used from work in the office to Netflix in the living room without moving anything other than the mug itself.
Shop the Ember Mug on Amazon.
Gadgets for Gifting the Gamer
10. Nintendo Switch Handheld Console – $299
After Animal Crossing New Horizons launched during quarantine last year, the Nintendo Switch sold out everywhere. Now, it’s much easier to get your hands on one; however, the appeal hasn’t died down.
This handheld console offers a suite of Nintendo games for single or multiplayer play. Its portable design is perfect for travel, but the dock links to your tv for traditional console play, too. For any gamer who hasn’t got one yet, the Nintendo Switch is a must-own device for iconic games like Animal Crossing and party play with friends.
Shop the Nintendo Switch on Amazon.
Now, pick out some wrapping paper and get excited for your loved one’s reaction. They won’t be disappointed!
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