We rounded up some of our favorite tech accessories -- including headphones, cables and other miscellaneous gadgets -- available for under $25. They're all perfect for gift swaps, too: everything from white elephant to yankee swap to Secret Santa.
The best tech stocking stuffers for $25 or less
Call them"stocking stuffers," or just call them "add-ons." These are those necessary accessories and accoutrements you need for those just-unwrapped tech gifts -- everything from batteries and chargers to cables, dongles and memory cards. But with a price ceiling of just $25, we were able to find a couple of bona fide cool gadgets, including a fitness tracker and a good wireless speaker.
Extra headphones are the ideal stocking stuffers. But when the price gets below $10, your expectation for sound quality falls exponentially. Despite the bargain-basement cost, these Panasonic in-ear headphones sound surprisingly good. Depending on which color you opt for (they come in a range of rainbow colors, as well as basic black), the price can be as low as $4 a pair. Buy them in bulk -- or spend around $12 to get the ErgoFit RP-TCM125, which adds an inline microphone for cellphones (but doesn't sound quite as good).
Everyone can use a spare USB flash drive, and the Kingston DataTraveler SE9 is rugged enough to live on your keychain while storing a whopping 16GB of data (almost two DVDs' worth). The 16GB model costs only about $6, the 32GB around $12, and a whopping 64GB will cost you only $21.
The SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB drive is almost too small -- basically a USB nub similar to the transmitter for a wireless keyboard or mouse. That said, if you're looking for a quick, easy, affordable, and low-profile way to add 16GB (under $8), 32GB(under $11) or 64GB (under $20) of storage to a laptop, we can't think of a better way.
You'll pay a bit extra for the LaCie Petite Key compared with other USB drives, but it's worth it for the metal design, which is said to be waterproof to 100 meters. The 16GB model will run you about $15, the 32GB about $10 more.
Home theater rule No. 1: Don't pay extra for name-brand HDMI cables. Rather than pay $50 or more at your local Best Buy for a so-called "premium" cable, get the AmazonBasics two-pack for just $10 -- they'll work just as well, and you'll have a spare, too.
Philips' nifty SPS2150WA charger folds up to protect the three-prong AC plug when traveling. But unfold it, and you can start juicing up three standard AC devices, plus two USB products as well. It's not a surge protector, and the USB plugs only supply 1 amp of power each (so tablets like the iPad will only trickle-charge). But at just $6, we're not complaining.
As the name suggests, the Belkin SurgePlus USB Swivel Charger is a bona fide surge protector with a swiveling AC plug, which allows for maximum placement flexibility. The unit boasts three standard three-prong ports plus two USB connectors, which -- unlike many smaller chargers -- have enough juice to power iPads and other 2.1-amp tablets (in addition to any of your other USB-powered gadgets). We wish the power prongs folded down for even easier traveling, but at just $20, it's still one of the best and most versatile travel chargers around.
You can find plenty of knockoff Lightning cables online, but if they're not certified by Apple, there's a good chance they won't work. That's where AmazonBasics comes in. The e-tailer's cables are officially certified, but they're less expensive than Apple's, and available in a variety of sizes (4 inches, 3 feet, and 6 feet) and colors (white or black). Just note that plastic housing around the Lightning plug may be too large for some iPhone cases.
You always need to top off your phone's battery, but you don't want to lug a cable around with you. That's where the Nomad ChargeKey comes in: the 2.5-inch flexible USB dongle fits on your keychain, and can be used to juice up smartphones and tablets, so long as you can scrounge up a free USB port. It's available in Lightning (for iPhone, iPad) and Micro-USB versions (for nearly everything else) for just $25.
If you're looking for a replacement PC keyboard, Logitech's Wireless Keyboard K360 is a good starting point. For under $25, you get a QWERTY powered by 2 AA batteries that uses Logitech's "Unifying" wireless USB dongle -- which also communicates with a Logitech mouse, such as the aforementioned M325. Yes, it's a laptop-style design without much "travel" in the keys, but it's a good deal and works equally well with Windows PCs or Macs.
Anyone with a smartphone will love this one. The Anker battery pack charges any USB-powered smartphone or gadget, and this Amazon bundle (under $22) includes Micro-USB and Lightning cables, so it can handle devices on either side of the aisle (Android or iPhone).
This wireless router isn't a new product, it won't set any records for data speeds and it's not great for large homes. That said, it gets the job done, and it costs...less than $20. If you know someone that has an old 802.11b or 802.11g router, this could well be a worthwhile upgrade.
When a speaker costs just $20, you need to lower your expectations. But if you don't go in expecting audiophile-level performance from the Logitech Z50, you'll find a monaural, AC-powered speaker that does a serviceable job of amplifying your phone, music player, or PC -- anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack. It's available in gray(shown), pink or blue.
There are lots of great-for-the-money Bluetooth wireless speakers for around $50, but sound quality and build quality plummet as you go cheaper. The Logitech X100 is one of our favorite models at $50, but we've been seeing certain colors sell for as little as $22. At that price, it's a steal -- buy two.