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Best Gifts Under $300 for 2024

Not on a strict budget? Here are some gift ideas for $300 or less that are sure to impress.

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
5 min read
$199 at Therabody
The Theragun Mini 2.0 is 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the original
Theragun Mini 2.0
Best travel massage gun
$240 at B&H Photo-Video
Image of Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
Best Apple noise-canceling wireless earbuds
$119 at Bose
Bose SoundLink Flex
Bose SoundLink Flex
Excellent-sounding mini Bluetooth speaker with speakerphone
$120 at Amazon
The JBL Horizon 2 is a clock radio and Bluetooth speaker
JBL Horizon 2
Bluetooth clock radio speaker
$299 at Plufl
plufl-gray
Plufl
Human dog bed
$250 at Solo Stove
solo-stove-2-0-fire
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
Best smokeless fire pit
See at Amazon
ecco-soft-7-gray-leather
Ecco Soft 7
Stylish footwear
$300 at Best Buy
Image of Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Best Sony earbuds
$150 at Amazon
reliefband-flex
Reliefband
Anti-nausea wearable
$124 at Bogs
arcata-urban-lace
Bogs boots
Excellent waterproof footwear
$199 at Amazon
sena-r2-evo-bike-helmet-cropped
Sena R2 Evo
Smart bike helmet
$225 at Smith
smith-momentum-sunglasses.png
Smith Momentum sunglasses
New Smith sport sunglasses
$145 at Amazon
anker-soundcore-motion-boom-plus-green-background.png
Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus
Best Bluetooth boom box for the money
$169 at Amazon
The Roll Recovery R8 Plus has a dial to adjust the clamp force intensity
Roll Recovery R8 Plus
Deep tissue massage roller
$308 at Amazon
A white Xbox Series S and wireless controller.
Xbox Series S
Next-gen gaming at a friendlier price
$249 at Apple
Apple Watch SE (2022) in starlight color
Apple Watch SE (2022)
Best value Apple smartwatch
$180 at Amazon
Image of Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
Best sports buds for everyday use
$144 at Amazon
jbl-charge-5-wi-fi
JBL Charge 5 Wi-Fi
Beefy portable speaker, now with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
$230 at Best Buy
The Amazon Fire Max 11 is available in a bundle with a keyboard and stylus
Amazon Fire 11 Max
Best Amazon tablet
$150 at Amazon
Image of Sony CH-720N
Sony CH-720N
Top midrange noise-canceling headphones
$150 at Amazon
braun-series-7-blue-background.png
Braun Series 7
Premium electric razor
$180 at Roku
10-roku-smart-soundbar
Roku Streambar Pro
Best soundbar with built-in streaming video
$128 at Amazon
ember-metallic-10-ounce.png
Ember temperature-controlled smart mug (14 ounces)
Temperature-controlled beverage

Many of us like to keep a budget in mind when we're shopping for gifts, which is why CNET has assembled gift guides with selections under $100 or even in the more affordable range of $50 or less. But some folks can afford to spend a little more, which is where this list of gifts under $300 comes in.

There's a surprisingly wide range of fantastic options in this price range, where you'll start to see more premium products. From higher-end headphones and speakers to smart mugs and massagers, here are the best gifts under $300 that are perfect for Mom, Dad and others for just about any occasion.

The Theragun Mini 2.0 is 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the original
David Carnoy/CNET

The original Theragun Mini was already a compact massage gun, and the second-gen version, released in 2022, is 20% smaller and 30% lighter, weighing only a pound. It easily fits in a backpack or purse and is great for travel. What's also new to this 2.0 model is USB-C charging, Bluetooth connectivity to the Therabody app on your iOS or Android device, and the inclusion of three foam attachments, instead of just one -- the Standard Ball, the Thumb and Dampener. While the three-speed Mini 2.0 doesn't have quite the power of one of Theragun's full-size devices, it's surprisingly powerful considering its size -- I've tried larger massage guns in this price range, and it's just as powerful. The rechargeable battery is rated to last two hours at the lowest speed setting, and a neoprene protective case is included. The Theragun Mini 2.0 comes in three colors: black, white and desert rose.

David Carnoy/CNET

Apple not only swapped in USB-C for Lightning charging in its new iPhone 15 models, but it made the switch with the new AirPods Pro 2. They're nearly identical to their Lightning predecessor, delivering the same excellent sound, noise canceling and voice-calling performance. That said, they offer some other small upgrades, including additional dust resistance and a new acoustic architecture that allows for Lossless Audio with the Vision Pro, Apple's new headset that's available for preorder and set to be released on Feb. 2 for $3,499. Is it possible that new acoustic architecture makes the buds sound subtly different with current devices like the iPhone? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C) are easy to recommend to Apple users despite their high price.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C) review.

Bose SoundLink Flex
David Carnoy/CNET

When it launched, Bose made some bold claims about its new SoundLink Flex Bluetooth speaker, particularly its bass performance. But it mostly lives up to the hype and arguably is the best-sounding wireless speaker for its compact size. Available in three colors -- black, white smoke and stone blue (pictured) -- it's equipped with Bose's PositionIQ technology to automatically detect the speaker's orientation and deliver optimized sound based on whether it's upright, hanging or flat on its back. Read our Bose SoundLink Flex review.

The JBL Horizon 2 is a clock radio and Bluetooth speaker
David Carnoy/CNET

The clock radio once held a prominent spot on bedside tables around the world. No longer -- but companies still make them, and they've evolved. Case in point: JBL's Horizon 2 Bluetooth clock radio speaker. Not only is it an FM radio with a digital clock (yes, there's an alarm and a snooze button), it's also a compact Bluetooth speaker that lets you stream tunes from your phone or tablet. Additionally, it has two USB ports for charging devices -- you provide the cables -- and there's an ambient light on the back.

The speaker uses a power cord, but a button-cell battery provides backup power for the clock in the event of a power outage. The Horizon 2 comes in black or gray (pictured).

plufl-gray
David Carnoy/CNET

Billed as the human dog bed, the Plufl has been getting a lot of play on TikTok and other social media channels, so we decided to try one. The "bed" actually comes in four pieces: the cover, two fairly long tube-like pillows and a slim, oval "mattress" made out of memory foam. You stuff everything inside the cover -- assembly takes about 15 minutes -- and lo and behold, you're looking at a giant dog bed (or a plush life raft that doesn't float) big enough for a human. Not only is it quite comfortable for homo sapiens, but our family canine immediately sought refuge in this much larger, roomier version of his bed. 

While the Plufl is slightly more suitable for small or average-size humans, as long as you aren't really tall, it should accommodate you. It comes in a few colors, and the cover is removable and washable.  

solo-stove-2-0-fire
David Carnoy/CNET

Solo Stove fire pits are among the best smokeless fire pits out there, and while they work great and look sleek, the original models had one flaw: They weren't so easy to clean up. That changed with the arrival of the new Solo Stove 2.0 fire pits, which are available in the same three sizes: Ranger 2.0 (small), Bonfire 2.0 (medium) and Yukon 2.0 (large). All have a removable ash pan, a feature missing from the first models.

Read our Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0 review.

ecco-soft-7-gray-leather
David Carnoy/CNET

The Ecco Soft 7 sneaker, available for both men and women, is one of those shoes that you can wear in more casual situations but also works with dressier attire. It comes in a multitude of styles and colors, including full-grain leather and suede, with prices ranging from $130 to $170.

These tend to run slightly large, so consider getting a size smaller than usual.

David Carnoy/CNET
Battery life Rated up to 8 hoursNoise Canceling YesMultipoint YesHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

When Sony's WF-1000XM4 earbuds came out in 2021, they netted a CNET Editors' Choice award. And while they're excellent, we had some quibbles -- they're on the large side and aren't a good match for certain ears. Clearly, Sony took those gripes to heart when it designed its next-generation WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Not only are the XM5s smaller, but they also offer improved performance pretty much across the board, with better noise canceling, sound and voice calling. Are the XM5s perfect? Not quite. And at $300 -- $20 more than their predecessor -- they're costly, too. But overall, they're really impressive, and easily among the top earbuds on the market.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM5 review.

reliefband-flex
David Carnoy/CNET

If you or someone you know suffers from motion sickness, a Reliefband is designed to help. Available in a few different versions, each model "gently stimulates" the underside of your wrist with an electrical pulse (the technology is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, according to Reliefband). You do have to apply conductive gel to your wrist before you put on the Reliefband (a small tube is included), and some models allow you to wear the Reliefband and an Apple Watch at the same time with an optional band. You can also adjust the intensity settings.

I've used Reliefband on a couple of fishing trips, and it did work for me (I don't get terrible motion sickness, but I do typically get some). The entry-level Reliefband ($100), Reliefband Classic ($150) and Reliefband Flex ($180) have non-rechargeable batteries, while the Sport ($250) and Premier ($280) feature rechargeable ones.

arcata-urban-lace
David Carnoy/CNET

Bogs makes waterproof boots for men and women that range in price from around $80 for slip-on low-tops to $165 for full-size, full-length boots. Some are premium rain boots while others, like the well-built, comfortable Arcata Urban Lace boots pictured here, are insulated and suited for use in both rain and snow. Bogs also makes a variety of work boots, including pairs with reinforced steel toes.  

sena-r2-evo-bike-helmet-cropped
Sena

Sena's smart bike helmets are a little heavier than your typical bike helmets, but they feature built-in speakers and a microphone, along with integrated Bluetooth communications. An intercom feature allows you to communicate with other riders in your group wearing compatible Sena helmets, as if you're using walkie-talkies. There's also an LED taillight, and you can listen to music, make calls and hear GPS directions when you pair the helmet with your smartphone. If you are buying multiple helmets for your family or riding group, note that the step-up R2 Evo uses mesh communication for its intercom protocol, while the standard R2 uses long-range Bluetooth. Check the intercom interoperability before getting two different models.

smith-momentum-sunglasses.png
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

Smith makes a wide range of lightweight, high-quality unisex sport sunglasses. One of the newest models is the Momentum, available in six colors with six different ChomaPop mirror lenses (the red mirror is pictured). Whichever kind you get, it also comes with a bonus clear lens. The Momentum is compatible with the company's optical docking system (ODS4) prescription lens insert, which can also be used with some Smith ski goggles.

anker-soundcore-motion-boom-plus-green-background.png
Amazon

Anker's original Soundcore Motion Boom speaker is still a decent value, and you can pick it up for less than $100 at times. But the Motion Boom Plus is significantly improved. 

Weighing 5.29 pounds (almost a pound more than the Motion Boom), the Motion Boom Plus uses Bluetooth 5.3 and is equipped with upgraded dual 3.5-inch woofers and newly added dual 1-inch tweeters, delivering up to 80 watts of audio output (60 watts for the woofers and 20 watts for the tweeters). Battery life is rated for 20 hours at moderate volume levels. It's also IP67 waterproof and dust-proof, and it floats if you happen to drop it in water.

I was impressed with the sound quality, which measures up well against a few more expensive -- and some larger -- speakers. For its size, it's able to put out a lot of sound and mostly manages to avoid distorting sound at higher volumes.

Read our Anker Soundcore Motion Boom Plus review.

The Roll Recovery R8 Plus has a dial to adjust the clamp force intensity
Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

Over the last few years, foam rollers and massage guns have become popular recovery products after workouts, as well as important tools for stretching and warming your muscles pre-workout. The original Roll Recovery R8 and newer R8 Plus are somewhat of a combo between a roller and an unpowered massager. 

The key addition to the R8 Plus is a dial that allows you to adjust the amount of tension to more or less intense levels. You clamp it onto various body parts, with instructional videos showing you how to hit areas such as your calves, hamstrings, IT bands and arms. The R8 Plus is available in white, red or black.

A white Xbox Series S and wireless controller.
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While it's no longer that difficult to get an Xbox Series X, the step-down Xbox Series S is still worth considering. Yes, there are caveats: There's no optical disc drive, the resolution is less than true 4K and it only has half the storage as its big brother. But it plays all of the same games, including Starfield. It's a great choice for a lot of gamers.

Read our Microsoft Xbox Series X|S review.

Apple Watch SE (2022) in starlight color
Apple

If you want the latest and greatest Apple Watch, you should get the Watch Series 9 or the top-end Watch Ultra 2, but the SE remains the best value. You can also get it with LTE cellular service.

While it doesn't have some of the extra features of the Apple Watch 9, the SE offers good performance for those who don't want to spend as much on an Apple Watch.

Read our Apple Watch SE (2022) review.

David Carnoy/CNET
Battery Life Rated up to 6 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Like

  • Lightweight design with integrated wingtip that fits securely
  • Very good sound and noise canceling
  • Powered by Apple's H1 chip

Don't like

  • No wireless charging
  • No enhanced My Find with proximity view (only standard Find My)

Technically, the Beats Fit Pro aren't AirPods, but they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro. Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple's H1 chip and have most of the original AirPods Pro features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted. And for some people, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro.

Read our Beats Fit Pro review.

jbl-charge-5-wi-fi
David Carnoy/CNET

You can still buy JBL's original Charge 5 Bluetooth speaker, which comes in multiple colors, but the portable speaker is now available in a new version that features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. It links up with JBL's other Wi-Fi speakers in your home and is both Chromecast- and Apple AirPlay-enabled. It comes only in black and is a little more expensive than the Bluetooth-only version. Still, the dual wireless connectivity offers a little more versatility, and streaming music over Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth can mean slightly better sound quality.

The Charge 5 Wi-Fi is bigger than your average portable Bluetooth speaker, but it's got some kick to it. Like previous Charge speakers, it has a USB port that allows you to charge a device like a smartphone. Battery life is rated at up to 20 hours at moderate volume levels. It's fully waterproof and dust-proof.

The Amazon Fire Max 11 is available in a bundle with a keyboard and stylus
David Carnoy/CNET

The Fire Max 11, which starts at $230 with 64GB of storage and lock-screen ads enabled, is another value tablet play for Amazon. But it's Amazon's first tablet with a more premium bent, featuring an aluminum chassis instead of plastic. There's also a stronger productivity angle that includes better front- and rear-facing cameras than previous models and a faster MediaTek processor. No, it doesn't quite measure up to the most affordable iPad, but it's a worthy alternative, especially if you opt for the Fire Max 11 productivity bundle with the bundled keyboard case and powered stylus for $330 -- the same MSRP of the entry-level (ninth-gen) iPad, sans accessories. Better yet, the price for this tablet drops below $200 during sales.

Read our Amazon Fire Max 11 review.

Sony/CNET
Battery life Rated up to 35 hoursNoise Cancelling YesMultipoint YesHeadphone Type Over-ear wireless headphonesWater-Resistant No IP rating

Sony's improved entry-level noise canceling headphones, the CH-720Ns, have a bit of a plasticky budget vibe, but they're lightweight and very comfortable. Part of me was expecting them to sound pretty mediocre, but I was pleasantly surprised. No, they don't sound as good as the WH-1000XM5s. But they sound more premium than they look and feel, and overall performance is a step up from their predecessor, the CH-710Ns. Are they worth $150? Maybe -- or maybe not. But the good news is that, like the CH-710N and WH-XB910, these should see significant discounts in the not-so-distant future, which is what you may want to wait for.

Read our Sony CH-720N review.

braun-series-7-blue-background.png
David Carnoy/CNET

Most guys secretly want an electric razor, even if they've never used one. While the Braun Series 7 isn't the top-of-the-line Braun -- the Series 9 is -- it's a good value at around $145 for the base kit. It can be used dry or wet -- it's fully waterproof -- and it comes with beard trimmers, a cleaning dock and a carrying case. Battery life is rated at up to 50 minutes on a full charge, and a quick five-minute charge will get you enough juice for a shave. 

10-roku-smart-soundbar
Sarah Tew/CNET

With a full-fledged 4K HDR Roku streamer built in and a single voice remote controlling everything, the Streambar Pro makes a thoughtful gift and offers a simple all-in-one audio-video system. Setup is a breeze: Plug it into a TV with a simple HDMI connection. Sound quality is very good for a single bar, and you can add Roku's optional wireless subwoofer for more punch. It also comes with the much-loved Roku remote control. (This model is basically the Smart Soundbar with an upgraded voice remote.)

ember-metallic-10-ounce.png
Sarah Tew/CNET

Ember's temperature-controlled smart mugs have been rising in price over the last couple of years, most likely due to supply chain issues, but they now come in more colors, including some eye-catching metallics that cost a little more than standard black, white or blue mugs.

Ember makes 6-ounce, 10-ounce, and 14-ounce smart mugs that keep your beverage of choice hot while you sip it. While it won't keep your coffee or tea warm for hours, the idea is that you can select your ideal temp via the companion Ember app for iOS or Android and keep your beverage at a high temp during the 30 minutes or so it takes to casually drink it.

I prefer the larger 14-ounce version, though it does cost more. A good insulated mug with a top will also keep your beverage hot (and would be cheaper), but the Ember allows you to drink a cup of joe like you normally would, not through a small hole in the top.