The clock is ticking, folks: There are about seven shopping days left until Christmas, and fewer if you're relying on standard two-day delivery. There are plenty of, including a wealth of stuff at or near their Black Friday/Cyber Monday prices. But here, we're focusing on "cheap but good" tech gifts.
Call them stocking stuffers, call them accessories -- they're all things that will be indispensable during the holidays and beyond. (Especially a week later, when you realize you threw out that box that had the charger and headphones that came with your phone.)
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Update, Monday, Dec. 17: Added the Roku Express and Wyze Cam.
If you can, get the Streaming Stick (marked down to $34) or the 4K Streaming Stick Plus (marked down to $49), both of which add TV power and volume control to the remote. But otherwise, this streamer will get you the basic Roku streaming experience -- basically, every streaming channel except iTunes and Apple Music -- for just $25 (marked down from $30).
If you can't quite afford the step-up model (with motorized panning), the entry-level Wyze Cam is still an unbelievable deal for a Wi-Fi security camera: just $26.
The Sony XB01 is splashproof and available in multiple colors -- and it sounds great for the price.
Early this year, Amazon released the third generation of its entry-level Echo Dot smart speaker, which looks nicer and sounds better. That one is currently discounted to $30, which is a great deal. But if you want to save even more, the older second-gen model shown here is currently on sale for just $20 (down from $25). That's back at its Black Friday low.
The Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter adds wireless audio -- from phones, tablets or computers -- to any old stereo, AV receiver or boombox with an auxiliary input. It's cheaper than the Chromecast Audio, and doesn't require a Wi-Fi network.
This little guy isn't much larger than default phone chargers, but its dual USB ports mean it can charge your phone and a second device -- wireless headphones, maybe, or even another phone -- simultaneously. The plug folds up for easy traveling, too. And you can snag a two-pack for under $20. (Note that it's not just a rebadged version of the Aukey, and it doesn't get as hot as that one does, either.)
This handy SanDisk thumb drive has both USB-C and standard USB-A connectors, making it the perfect way to transfer files between any two computers, including newer MacBook and Windows laptops. It also works with many newer USB-C Android phones, too. The 64GB model can be found for under $20, and the 128GB one is under $35.
It's a cordless screwdriver! It's a flashlight! It's a cordless screwdriver and a flashlight! This handy Black & Decker has an adjustable pistol grip and includes standard and Philips head bits (you can use third-party ones, too). It's powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and the LED light can be toggled on and off independently, so it works as a good ol' flashlight in a pinch, too. All for about $25.
Hate it when those charging cables slip behind the nightstand? The Cable Wrangler solves that problem: It's literally just a big magnet, and it includes three tiny "collars" (as shown on the white cable here) if the cable head doesn't have enough metal to stay put on its own. The entry-level model is $20, and you can pay extra to get a Lightning cable and wall charger thrown in the box.
Want more flexibility in your smart home gifts? The Belkin WeMo Mini will work with Amazon's Alexa, Google Home or Apple's Siri (HomeKit), so it can turn any lamp into a smart lamp -- regardless of which voice assistant is in use.
Anker calls it a "power strip" -- and it is. But the unique shape of this baseball-size electrical wonder makes it perfect to tuck under -- or leave on top of -- any desk. The perfect answer for our modern plugspreading world, it'll accommodate three any-size AC adapters, plus three USB cords.
OK, this one is $1 over our $25 budget here, but I think it's worth it: The Anker PowerCore II 6700 is pocketable and its 6,700-mAh rechargeable battery can juice up giant-screen phones and nearly any other portable device. (If you want a sub-$25 version, opt for the PowerCore 5000, which costs a bit less.)
Looking for more cheap picks? Check out our complete list below.
More holiday gift picks
- Best gifts under $25
- Best gifts under $50
- Best gifts under $100
- Best gifts under $250
- Best gifts under $500
The best tech gifts of the year: CNET's top picks.
CNET's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Gift recommendations for every budget.