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22 Great Gifts for $50 or Less

Great deals on everything from speakers to headphones to our favorite streaming device -- all for $50 or less.

carnoy-headshot-2019-2
carnoy-headshot-2019-2
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
4 min read
$50 at Amazon
Small JBL Go 3 speaker resting on a table near a stack of books.
JBL Go 3
Top mini Bluetooth speaker
See at Knockaround
knockaround
Knockaround sunglasses
Budget sunglasses that look like they cost more
$24 at Amazon
Anker Nano Power Bank (USB-C)
Best compact power bank with foldable USB-C connector
$49 at Amazon
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Oral-B Pro 1000
Affordable rechargeable electric toothbrush
$25 at Amazon
lifestraw-peak-series
LifeStraw Peak Series personal water filter
Travel water purifier
$30 at Amazon
wbl
Waowoo weighted blanket
Queen size, 15 pounds
$42 at Chirp
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Chirp Wheel foam roller
The better foam roller
$37 at Amazon
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Gerber Gear Armbar Drive multitool
Compact multitool
$28 at B&H Photo-Video
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Apple AirTags
Tiny tracker to find lost keys and more
$20 at Dicks Sporting Goods
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GSI Outdoors Boulder hip flask
Lightweight travel flask
$35 at Amazon
Ice Shaker shaker bottle in blue
Ice Shaker
Insulated bottle with agitator
$27 at Amazon
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Clckr Stand and Grip for MagSafe (2nd gen)
Best magnetic stand and grip
$50 at Amazon
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Soundpeats RunFree
Best value open-ear neckband-style headphones
$50 at Amazon
Anker 622 MagGo magnetic battery
Wireless battery that doubles as a stand
$45 at Best Buy
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JLab Go Work
Affordable work-from-home headphones
$48 at Amazon
Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS
Best cheap open earbuds
$39 at Amazon
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Roku Express 4K Plus
Best streaming device overall
$42 at Amazon
iOttie Velox magnetic wireless charging car mount
MagSafe-compatible wireless charging car mount
$45 at Walmart
Sony CH-520
Best new cheap on-ear headphones
$60 at Amazon
Tribit StormBox Micro 2
Best value micro Bluetooth speaker
$60 at Amazon
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Baseus 65W 2-port flat wall charger
Slim charger that charges almost anything
$60 at Biolite
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BioLite Alpenglow 250
Compact portable lantern

Looking for a quality gift that won't break the bank? We hear you. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent gift options available for less than $50, and we've rounded up all our favorites below. All these gift ideas have been carefully vetted by our CNET editors and will be sure to please any recipient. And if you've got a little extra room in your budget to splurge, you can always check out our picks for the best gifts under $100.  

Small JBL Go 3 speaker resting on a table near a stack of books.
Amazon

The JBL Go 3's durable design, coupled with surprisingly decent sound for its tiny size, make it one of the top micro Bluetooth speakers out there. Available in multiple color options, it has an IP67 water-resistance rating (it can be dunked in water and is dust-proof). Plus, the battery life is rated at up to five hours. It's a great gift for the music lover in your life.

knockaround
David Carnoy/CNET

If you're on the hunt for a decent pair of budget sunglasses, Knockaround has various models, including those with polarized and mirrored coatings, for $25 and even slightly less. They're not premium glasses obviously, but the lenses are pretty decent and the glasses look more expensive than their low price would indicate. These designer sunglasses also seem pretty durable. Several different styles, colors and lens options are available. 

Anker/CNET

Like

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Integrated USB-C connector
  • Fast charging
  • USB-C out port allows for charging second device

Don't like

  • May not fully charge your iPhone

If you're looking for a new power bank for your new USB-C equipped iPhone 15, Anker's Nano Power Bank with an integrated foldable USB-C connector is an appealing choice -- and it also charges Android devices (or anything with a USB-C charging port). It's available in multiple color options.

This 5,000-mAh power bank weighs in at 3.5 ounces, or 100 grams. It features 22.5 watts of fast charging power with the option to charge two devices at the same time if you plug a cable into the power bank's USB-C in/out charging port. (Charging two devices simultaneously divides the charging power in half, delivering 11.25 watts to each device.) 

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Oral-B/CNET

The Oral-B Pro 1000 rechargeable electric toothbrush is ostensibly geared toward adults but it's also a good tool for parents to get their kids to brush better. I had my 14-year old test it (he's not a good brusher with a standard toothbrush) and it has a had a positive impact on his brushing habits. 

Available in multiple color options, it has three brushing modes (daily clean, whiten and sensitive) and a built-in two-minute timer to make sure you brush long enough, with the toothbrush pulsing every 30 seconds to remind you to switch brushing spots. It's compatible with various Oral-B replacement heads. Note that the step-up iO Series 300 (about $20 more) comes with an extra replacement head while the iO Series 400 adds Bluetooth so you can connect to a companion app. 

lifestraw-peak-series
David Carnoy/CNET

You can use the LifeStraw Peak Series in a couple of ways: Use it as an actual straw to drink water directly from a lake or stream, or attach it to a plastic soda bottle that you've filled with water (we're talking about a bottle that has a standard screw-off top). The truth is you can drink some pretty nasty-looking water using the LifeStraw, which filters out not only silt, sand and cloudiness but bacteria, parasites and microplastics.

It's obviously good for hiking trips and camping, but a lot of people keep them in their cars just in case they get stranded somewhere without easy access to drinking water. It's also good for trips to countries that don't have the cleanest drinking water. 

wbl
Waowoo

Weighted blankets have become a popular item that people use to sleep better. They hug your body and distribute weighted glass beads evenly in small pockets. This blanket is breathable and machine-washable in a cleaning bag on the gentle cycle. And you can't beat the price. Be sure to activate the instant coupon to save a few extra bucks, too. 

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Chirp

Chirp Wheel foam rollers come in a few different sizes and you can buy a four-pack of them if you're looking for a set. But if you want to start with just one, the $50 10-inch medium size is a good one. 

Chirp Wheels, particularly the larger ones, have a bigger circumference than your typical foam roller. They're designed to fit between your shoulder blades, and I did find them better than your standard foam roller for stretching and realigning my vertebrae, though they are pricier.

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Amazon/CNET

Gerber makes some nice multitools and its Armbar Drive is one of its most compact models, featuring eight tools: a fine edge blade, scissors, awl, two-sided 1/4-inch bit driver, pry bar, bottle opener and hammer, all made of stainless steel (the blade is held securely with a frame lock). I got the burnt orange model, but it also comes in blue and onyx.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Here's a gift that anyone who's susceptible to losing things will appreciate. Apple's AirTags accessories work with any Apple device and use the company's FindMy network -- the same one used to locate lost iPhones. Attach them to keys, a backpack or just about anything else. It's $29 for one and $99 for four, and if you buy them through Apple, you can get free customized engravings, too.

Read our Apple AirTags hands-on.

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GSI/CNET

GSI Outdoors makes a bunch of insulated mugs and water bottles along with a bunch of camping-related cooking gear, including stoves and chef's tools. But it's also known for its lightweight hip flasks that come in a few different sizes and colors. I've used the smaller 6-ounce version, which is truly pocketable, but the 10-ounce model is probably the right choice for most people. Made of plastic, it has a shatter-resistant body with rubberized bumpers. It doesn't cost a lot and it's a gift that tends to be appreciated. 

Ice Shaker shaker bottle in blue
Ice Shaker

Created by former NFL fullback Chris Gronkowski (brother of Rob), the Ice Shaker not only keeps your beverages hot or cool -- for hours -- but comes with a removable twist-in agitator to help mix your protein shakes (or anything else that needs mixing). Available in a few different sizes and many fun colors, it has a built-in handle for easy carrying and starts around $35. It's one of the better insulated bottles I've used and a great way to make sure you stay hydrated.

clckr-new-stand-and-grip-case-in-colors
David Carnoy/CNET

Clckr's new, trimmer Stand and Grip is one of my favorite MagSafe accessories. The accessory really sticks to the back of your MagSafe-enabled phone or MagSafe-enabled case and not only makes it easier to hold up your phone but when converted into a kickstand, it props up your device nicely in portrait or landscape mode for video calls or video watching.

This new version is lighter than the original and available in several colors. It's one of the best MagSafe stands out there.

soundpeats-runfree-red-background
David Carnoy/CNET

After releasing the RunFree Lite neckband-style open sports buds last year, Soundpeats has come up with a new, upgraded version with a more flexible and comfortable design and better sound. Like its predecessor, the buds sit just outside your ears and fire sound into them from small speakers with 16.2mm drivers. The sound quality still isn't the greatest, but this new model does offer better clarity with slightly better bass definition. They're just fine for casual listening.

They're nice and lightweight, and they fit my head securely -- the headphones' design definitely feels more premium (by that I mean less cheap). Equipped with Bluetooth 5.3, they're IPX4 splash-proof and are rated for up to 14 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels. Expect to get less than that, though, because you'll likely play these at high volume levels, especially outdoors where you'll encounter more ambient noise. They also work decently for making voice calls, but don't expect business-class performance. 

David Carnoy/CNET

What's cool about Anker's 622 magnetic battery is that it's a wireless battery that has an integrated magnetic flap that converts into a stand. You won't get fast wireless charging from this 5,000-mAh battery (it charges at up to 7.5 watts), but it's slim and easy to carry around. 

It charges via USB-C, and if you use a USB-C to Lightning cable to charge your iPhone, it will charge at a faster rate of 12 watts. That's not as fast as what a 20-watt USB-C power adapter can deliver, but it's faster than 7.5 watts.

jbl-go-work
David Carnoy/CNET
Battery Life Rated up to 45 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint YesHeadphone Type On-ear wireless headsetWater-Resistant No IP rating

Known for its value headphones and earbuds, JLab has released a pair of on-ear headphones with an integrated boom microphone -- it can be rotated up when just listening to music -- and multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect them to your phone and computer simultaneously. I'm more partial to the Jabra Elite 45h, which lists for $100 but usually sells for around $75. But if you don't want to spend quite that much, the Go Work is a solid pair of headphones, and headset, for its modest price. They're also comfortable to wear, with a lightweight design. You won't mistake these for premium headphones but the build quality seems fine. 

Battery life is rated at up to 45 hours at moderate volume levels, and you can mute calls using the multifunction button (an LED lights up at the end of the boom mic when the call is muted). I wouldn't call the sound quality for music listening and the headset performance stellar, but they're good, particularly for the price. For music listening, there's ample bass and clarity and a cable is included for wired use. The headphones charge via USB-C. Bottom line: This is a solid gift for anyone who spends some or all of their time working remotely.

Soundpeats/CNET
Battery life Rated up to 5 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint NoWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4-- splash-proof)

What makes these Soundpeats Air3 Deluxe HS buds special is that they sound surprisingly good for open earbuds -- they're pretty close to what you get from Apple's AirPods 3 for sound. On top of that, they support Sony's LDAC audio codec for devices that offer it. Not too many cheap open earbuds have good sound, but these Soundpeats have good bass response and clarity. They're also good for making calls and have a low-latency gaming mode. Be sure to activate the instant coupon on the product page to save 20%.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Making your TV smart for the price of a takeaway meal? The Roku Express 4K Plus offers hundreds of apps and is easy to install on a spare HDMI port on your television. Roku is our favorite smart TV interface, and it's easy to set up with your own apps. 

iOttie

iOttie offers this MagSafe-compatible wireless car charger with a car vent mount. It has a strong magnet, so your iPhone stays on the mount, and it also has an integrated USB-C cable and cigarette-lighter power adapter so you're ready to start charging out of the box. Note that iPhone "fast" charging caps out at 7.5 watts. It makes for a nice gift for anybody looking for a magnetic car mount for their MagSafe-enabled iPhone. 

David Carnoy/CNET

Sony's new entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones came out this year and they're quite good, but if you can't afford them (they list for $150), the company's new budget on-ear CH-520 headphones are an intriguing option for the price. They usually sell for around $60, but right now we're seeing them on sale for less than $40.

They lack noise canceling and are pretty no-frills, but they feature good sound for their price, are lightweight and pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life -- they're rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels. Additionally, they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously (such as a smartphone and computer) and switch audio. Voice-calling performance is decent, though not up to the level of what you get with the CH-720N. 

Note that there's no wired option -- these are wireless, Bluetooth-only headphones. The CH-520 offer overall balanced sound with decent clarity. The bass has some punch to it but doesn't pack a wallop, and you're not going to get quite as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony's more expensive over-ear headphones. But these definitely sound better than Sony's previous entry-level on-ear headphones and sound better than I thought they would. I tried the white color, but they also come in blue and black.

Some of our favorite gifts are just a little more than $50 -- but often you will find these items discounted close to or under $50. So keep your eye out for deals and decide if you're willing to put in a little more cash to grab one of these indulgent finds, which could be a great option as a gift or for yourself.

David Carnoy/CNET

Back in 2020, Tribit released the StormBox Micro, a budget version of Bose's excellent SoundLink Micro speaker that delivered surprisingly good sound for its size and modest price. The second-gen StormBox Micro 2 offers improved sound and battery life, along with a charge-out feature that turns the speaker into a power bank for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. An integrated strap allows you to clip it to your backpack or your bike's handlebars.

Read our Tribit StormBox Micro review.

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Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

This slim power adapter is one of the better values out there, with dual USB-C PD (power delivery) ports, a USB-A and a total of 65 watts of power. That'll allow you to charge most devices, including some larger USB-C laptops. It uses GaN technology, which helps reduce the size of the charger, and the plug is foldable. The nice thing about it is how lightweight and flat it is for a 65-watt charger. An instant coupon at checkout drops the price down to $36.

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Biolite

BioLite has several portable lighting options, and the Alpenglow 250 is one of the most affordable. It's a portable "lantern" that has multiple modes and color options. As its name implies, it delivers 250 lumens of light in a few color options.

The step-up Alpenglow 500 (pictured on right) offers 500 lumens for $15 more. Both are rated for 5 hours of battery life on their high setting and up to 200 hours on the low setting.