Holiday shopping is tough on your credit card -- which is why it never hurts to have a great selection of cheap but good gifts. That's exactly what we've assembled here: All of our choices below are under $25, and they range from helpful gadgets to handy essentials to toys and games for all ages.
All of these products (or previous versions thereof) have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. Note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.
Some Lego sets go for $100 or more, but few of them are as fun as the Technic Whack! and Bash! line. (There's a new Getaway Truck for 2019, too.) For under $16 each, these sets build good-sized cars that include pull-back motors. Get more than one and you can combine them into a bigger vehicle -- or just crash them into one another (the engine block pops out on impact). These are intended for ages 7 and up.
Apple is rumored to be developing its own wireless tracker. But in the meantime -- and for the millions with Android phones -- the Tile Mate tracker gets the job done nicely. For $25, just tuck this little guy in a wallet or attach it to a keychain, and never lose them again.
As we approach 2020, wireless speakers are the ultimate commodity gadget. But why get a no-name model at the drugstore when this great Sony SRS-XB01 can be had for $23 or less? It's rechargeable, delivers great sound for its size, comes in four fun colors and it's splashproof, too.
Maybe the game has Stranger Things to thank, but it feels like Dungeons & Dragons has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. But if you're gifting for someone who's looking to expand their gaming horizons beyond the gamepad realm, the classic pencil-and-paper roleplaying game may be just the ticket. This starter set includes everything a newbie needs to get up and running -- including all the requisite multisided dice, natch -- all for under $20. If you're buying for someone who already knows the basics, the new D&D Essentials Kit might be more appropriate.
Want a practical gift that will work with any computer -- Windows, Mac or Chromebook -- as long as it was made in this century? The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive splits the difference between older and newer PCs perfectly, because it sports both USB-C and USB-A plugs on one thumb drive. And now the 128GB model is priced below $25. It's also a great gift for anyone with a recent USB-C iPad Pro, since the autumn iPadOS upgrade added support for external storage.
These handy straps loop through your phone case so you can always keep a steady grip on your phone. They go for $6 each, with a choice of dozens of patterns and colors available. Buy three or more for free shipping. Resident CNET Cheapskate Rick Broida calls the Ninja Loop "the best stocking stuffer ever."
There are plenty of cheap smart plugs out there, but the Belkin WeMo Mini is one of the few at this price that deliver the hat trick: compatibility with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri (HomeKit). In other words, this plug convert any lamp in the home -- or dorm -- into one that's voice-controlled. If you're already gifting a smart speaker, this is an ideal add-on gift. Read our Belkin WeMo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug review.
Looking for additional cheap gift gear? Check out more choices below.