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Impulse Buys Under $25 That Actually Make Great Gifts

Even if you hadn't originally planned on buying these for yourself or as a gift, you'll be happy you did.

Desiree DeNunzio
Desiree DeNunzio is the gift guide editor for CNET's Commerce team. When she's not writing and editing, she's either hiking through the redwoods or curled up with a good book and a lazy dog.
Desiree DeNunzio
Shopping deals and great finds
1 of 21 James Martin/CNET

Impulse buying gets a bad rap -- and for good reason. We've all bought questionable items in the spur of the moment that we've regretted later. But sometimes a touch of spontaneity can be a good thing when you're shopping, especially if you're on the hunt for the perfect gift. Impulse buying can lead to rare finds that surprise and delight -- and leave your giftee wondering how they ever lived without that unique, inventive thing.

We rounded up our favorite impulse buys that ended up being surprising must-have items. All of these products make great gifts, particularly if you're shopping for the kind of person who says they already have everything they need. And who knows? Maybe you'll just have to pick up an item or two to enjoy yourself.

fluicer juicing lemon into bowl
2 of 21 Dreamfarm

Fluicer juicer

The best little juicer you never knew you needed. This genius contraption perfectly squeezes lemons and limes to get every last drop of juice out. It even catches the pulp and seeds with the built-in catcher. Bonus points: It's great for making margaritas.

countertop dispenser
3 of 21 Russell Holly/CNET

Countertop water dispenser

This little battery-powered water dispenser lets you easily (and elegantly) serve up water, beer, cocktails and more wherever and whenever you'd like. It's USB rechargeable so you can bring it with you to parties, camping or any outdoor gathering. CNET's James Bricknell says, "I have mine on my bedside table with a 5-gallon water tank hidden behind my bed. It looks great and saves me from 'bathroom water.'"  

Secura electric wine opener
4 of 21 Secura

Electric wine opener

The Rabbit is so last year. This handy electric wine bottle opener quickly and easily removes corks without all the fuss and having to strain your wrist. Keep it on the charging dock and it's always ready to open a bottle -- or two or three.

four round apple airtags with different engravings, including the initials AP and a happy face emoji
5 of 21 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple AirTag

You can never have too many AirTags. Throw one in your wallet, your handbag, your luggage. The options are endless. They also make great gifts, especially for a friend or loved one who's always misplacing things.

peeps glasses cleaner
6 of 21 CarbonKlean

Peeps glasses cleaner

If you wear glasses, you know how quickly they get filthy and smeared. "This Peeps cleaner works like a miracle," says CNET's Gael Cooper. "You gently slide it over your lenses and voila, they're cleaner than ever. I've given them to everyone I know."

7 of 21 Seki

A spatula for lefties

Like a lot of kitchen tools, spatulas are designed with right-handed folks in mind, which can make something that's usually simple -- like flipping eggs -- a major hassle. If you, or someone you know, is left-handed, this spatula is a game changer in the kitchen. 

8 of 21 Sinland

Microfiber face towels

We've found these towels to be considerably better at removing makeup and grime off your face compared with a standard washcloth. And they're more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than using disposable face wipes. CNET's Faith Chihill says, "I quit using face wipes and switched to using these with some micellar water and my skin is so thankful."

9 of 21 Chef'n

Strawberry huller

Why waste a perfectly edible portion of a strawberry? This handy tool lets you quickly remove the green leafy top and stem so you're not tossing away the good stuff. It's much easier to use than a paring knife, and works like a charm every time.

10 of 21 Veken

Packing cubes

When it comes to travel, packing cubes are totally life-changing. Not only do they keep you organized and make things easier to find, but they also save you tons of space. Put your shirts in one, your underwear and socks in another, your chargers and gadgets in yet another, and you'll never have to go digging through your bag again to find that one item you needed. 

11 of 21 MalloMe

S'mores roasting sticks

The days are getting longer and warmer, which means it's s'mores time, y'all. These roasting sticks not only make it easier to toast the perfect marshmallow, but they make it a lot safer for kids, too, since they extend up to 32 inches.

12 of 21 iOttie

Car phone mount

If you depend on your phone for navigating, streaming music or you just want to take calls hands-free while driving, it's a good idea to invest in a car phone mount. iOttie's Easy One Touch 5 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of more expensive car phone mounts (like wireless charging or arms that open automatically). But it's a solid model for the price, which is why it made our list of the best car phone mounts for 2024.

microplane zester
13 of 21 Microplane

Lemon zester

Zesting a lemon is tedious -- but not when you have this spiffy zester. It's super-fast and makes quick work of lemons, ginger, and even whole spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. You can also use it for parmesan or pecorino if you want to elegantly top a meal with finely grated cheese.

lulu candles
14 of 21 Lulu Candles

Lulu candles

Scented candles are a great gift for any occasion, and Lulu's scents are just as fresh and complex as brands that charge a premium. CNET's Jessica Dolcourt says, "I've bought four of them for myself, and as gifts, to add some aroma and elegance to spaces throughout my home."

2 gearlight flashlights
15 of 21 GearLight

GearLight LED flashlights, 2-pack

Our CNET readers are constantly on the lookout for great deals, and some of them have grabbed their attention more than others. This GearLight two-pack is one of those popular picks. While these flashlights normally cost $30, right now, you can grab them for just $19.

tplink kasa mini smart plug
16 of 21 Chris Monroe/CNET

TP-Link Kasa Wi-Fi Mini Smart Plug

You can never have too many smart plugs on hand, whether you want to use them for automating lights, turning gadgets on and off with voice commands, and so much more. This Kasa smart plug is a budget-friendly choice and makes a great gift, especially if you pair it with something like an Echo Dot or smart LED lights.

GoThink Kubb lawn game
17 of 21 GoThink

An addictive outdoor lawn game

If you've never played Mölkky, prepare to get hooked. It's a Finnish throwing game that combines both skill and luck. Think of it as a mixture of bowling and petanque. It's great for all ages and any number of players. While this isn't the official Scandinavian set, it's similar in build and costs a fraction of what you'd normally pay.

18 of 21 Conair

Conair fabric shaver

For people who like to keep things looking their best, using a fabric shaver can be satisfying -- therapeutic even. Like most fabric shavers, this Conair model isn't perfect. You'll still have to empty the lint catcher, but the thrill you'll get when you transform the look of your fuzzy sweaters is worth it. 

snackle box with fruit
19 of 21 Let Season

Snackle box

It's like a tackle box -- but for snacks. What could be better? Take it on picnics or keep it on your desk while you're working if need a little boost of energy throughout the day. "I like to keep an assortment of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and pretzels so I can have a little sweet or salty on hand," says CNET's Faith Chihil.

An orange strainer in a drawer of kitchen tools
20 of 21 Kitchen Gizmo

Snap N' Strain clip-on pasta strainer

This clip-on strainer is a clever kitchen hack. Clip it onto the side of your pot, and when your pasta is done boiling, just pour the water straight into the sink. Cuts down on the number of dishes used, and it's a total space saver.

21 of 21 Jiasheng

Nail polish organizer

Keep your nail polish collection easily accessible with this handy organizer case. It fits bottles from just about any nail polish brand, and you can store all your accessories like emery boards, nail glue, acrylic dip powder and more. 

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