With the holidays fast approaching (seriously, it’s like two weeks away), you might have some close friends or family for which the usual token efforts just won’t do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, with a wide variety of gift ideas that’ll all cost you under $100.
All of the things on this list have been carefully curated by the KnowTechie staff, either from prior reviews or from extensive research into what people on sites like Reddit and Twitter have been raving about. Mainly, it’s a lot of stuff we wouldn’t mind being gifted ourselves. Some are useful, some not so much, but they’re all going to turn the holiday cheer up to 11.
Need gift ideas? Don’t want to spend more than a Benjamin? We’ve got you covered
Nobody wants to be the giver of bad gifts. Searching for that special gift is hard work though. Take all the leg work out of the task with our picks to gift under $100:
SEGA Genesis Mini ($80)
Give the gift of retro gaming this year, with the Sega Genesis Mini. It’s one of the best of the crop of miniaturized consoles, and the perfect gift to introduce the next generation of gamers to the games that we grew up playing. Heck, buy one for your adult friends so they can reminisce about their childhoods.
23andMe ($99 currently)
If you ever wanted to know where your great-great-great-grandparents were from, and don’t have centuries of family records, check out 23andMe. You can find out the geographical area your ancestry is from, plus find all those potential illnesses hiding your DNA. Maybe you’ve got a friend who’s trying for a baby and has no idea of illness in their family. Maybe, like me, they were adopted and always wondered about their biological parents. A kit from 23andMe can help, so give the gift of identity this holiday season. I’ve found cousins I didn’t know existed on all sides of my family.
Ekster Smart Wallets ($33 – $111)
We love Ekster’s modern classics of smarter wallets with optional solar-recharged tracking cards here at KnowTechie and are confident that anyone you gift one of their ranges will love it just as much as we do. Nifty tricks like eject buttons for your cards that fan them out for easy choosing, hard-wearing leathers that get softer over time, and RFID blocking, all add up to a great, slimline wallet. With 16 different leather choices over four ranges from standard to premium, you can be sure to find a fit for your loved ones.
Spärkel Beverage System ($99)
Everyone loves fizzy drinks, right? What if you could put fizz into any drink, even if you couldn’t buy it in the stores? Still with me? What about if you could control the sugar and other ingredients, so you knew exactly what you’re drinking? That’s what you can do with the Sparkel beverage system, which uses citric acid and sodium bicarb to create the CO2 that it infuses your drinks with. And yes, you can carbonate adult beverages…
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier ($99)
Do you like breathing? Sleeping well? Not having asthma? The LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier was literally life-changing for our reviewer, where it remains his only 10/10 tech review ever. This unit comes with all of the features you want in an air purifier, plus options for all sorts of specialty filters like those designed for mold or for pet allergies.
SteelSeries Arctis-series Headphones ($43-$149)
SteelSeries does not mess around with its audio hardware, with full-featured stereo headsets built to last. The Arctis series starts with a no-frills, corded Arctis 3 that you can find for under $50 up to the wireless Arctis 7 where there are frequent sales that put certain colors and styles below $100 from time to time. Compatible with every device from a PS4 to a desktop computer, they were one of our top-rated headsets of 2019.
Verilux HappyLight 10,000 Lux Light Therapy ($79)
Whether you have trouble waking up in the morning or have season depression or just plain miss daylight in the winter months, this is the full spectrum lamp that you want. The most important feature of the Verilux that makes it stand apart is that it has a hardware switch, not a software switch. This means it’s physically switched on, which is important when you plug it into a smart outlet so you can use it as an alarm clock.
Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini by TP-Link ($23 or less per plug)
If you like the above idea of using a full spectrum lamp with a smart outlet, this is the smart outlet you want. Plug it in, plug your phone in to set up, and then use the free Kasa app to control all of your outlets, set schedules, and set one-time alarms. Whether you want to turn on a space heater on your way home from work or turn lights on to wake you up in the morning, Kasa’s products are great and work exactly the way you hope they should.
JBL Live 400BT On-Ear Wireless Headphones ($99.95)
JBL usually makes quality products and Live 400BT continues the trend of great-sounding headphones. This pair of headphones is Google Assistant and Alexa enabled through some simple taps on the earcups. The Live 400BT’s cloth headband adds extra comfort too. Finally, it comes in five different colors.
PhoneSoap 3 ($79.95)
This is one of those products that make you go What? and it would probably be one that you end up using more than you’d think. The PhoneSoap 3 is a phone case that doubles as a charger and sanitizer. The company’s patented UV light disinfectant cleans your phone while giving it some extra juice. Super helpful and handy.
Aooshine Bedside Table Lamps [Pack of 2] ($59.99)
A desk lamp is always something you could need around the house. It’s extra convenient to have a light with USB ports to charge your devices. Aooshine lamps look nice with a gray fabric shade and the two separate USB ports on each of them are beneficial for those who have multiple devices. This package on Amazon comes with two lamps.
Shibari Mini Halo Compact Wand Massager ($27.95)
The holidays are a wonderful (gag) time of family (gag) and friends (meh) gathering to celebrate each other’s existence. So you are going to need something to carry with you when you travel to take you away from it all, in the form of the Shibari Mini Halo with 20 multi-speed vibrations that will release enough dopamine in your brain to make you forget, at least for a moment, how horrible all these people are.
iDogin Dog Training Shock Collar ($35.99)
The holidays are so rough at Josiah’s house that he’s taken to wearing this iDogin Dog Training shock collar so he can keep himself under control. Of course, the remote has been handed off to the neighbor kid, the one who likes to start fires. While Josiah isn’t a dog, you might want something to keep your dog trained and obedient over the holidays. Shock collars are cruel for animals though, but quite fine for Josiahs. Try talking to your pet first, use treats. If that doesn’t work, then a last resort can be something like this.
Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener ($30.90)
Nothing speaks to the thrill of the holidays like getting shit-faced on cheap wine and finally telling off your great aunt, whose homophobic and racist remarks have finally just gone too far. The more bottles of wine you go into the holiday season, the easier you want that bottle to open. Hence the Cuisinart Cordless Wine Opener. Pop corks, cut foil and vacuum seal with relative ease with this automatic wine opener. Then get blasted and take a leak into a plastic plant in the living room. Anything is possible if you get drunk enough.
MAX SMART Lapdesk ($54.99)
If you work remotely or feel sick, don’t you just want to work from bed? Or maybe you have a super comfy couch that you’d rather work at? The MAX SMART lap desk is a great product for these situations. Not only does it have soft cushions for your legs, but it comes with a mouse pad on the desk and a holster for your phone. The desk is also adjustable to be angled, which is helpful for ventilation. And it comes with a wrist rest. Which is nice.
Pelican Go G40 Case with 10000mAh Portable Charger ($99)
With smartphones all coming clad in glass, and the number of apps we use outpacing the battery life of even the largest phones, what if you could fix both issues with one device? Pelican’s new Go G40 case comes with a 10,000 mAh charger with Qi wireless charging, so you can charge even oversized devices like the iPhone Pro Max or Note 10 in Pelican’s signature protective casing. Nifty.
Canon IVY CLIQ Instant Camera Printer ($80)
Miss having actual physical prints? I know they’re harder to email or post on social, but there’s something about images on photo paper that just gets me. Maybe it’s my childhood, growing up in an artsy family, maybe it’s capturing of a moment of time on a static medium, or maybe it’s just plain fun. Whatever the reason, give the gift of memories with the IVY CLIQ this holiday.
SOUL ST-XS2 True Wireless Earbuds ($69)
There are plenty of “true wireless” earbuds out there. There aren’t many that we’ve used so heavily in the year that the rubber has yellowed and the ear-shield has become a little more stretched than it should be. If you are looking to give the gift of rugged, waterproof and surprisingly high-quality earbuds, these are the real deal. Sure, you could get some AirPods or something a little more bourgie, but hot damn the SOUL ST-XS2 have taken hours of use daily and still kick ass.
All-new Kindle ($89)
Everyone knows someone who’s always reading a book. While some weirdos like our founder still like stroking paperbacks, it’s far more modern to use an e-reader. Give the gift of near-unlimited entertainment with the new Kindle. The biggest change this year? A frontlight so you can still read in the dark. It’s still got a glare-free screen, access to millions of titles, and the ability to listen to Audible audiobooks. Oh, and you get three months of Kindle Unlimited included, so you can read all you want.
Star Wars: Fallen Order ($60)
We’ve had a string of terrible Star Wars games recently, but Fallen Order is different. Grab your lightsaber and travel the galaxy while trying to rebuild the Jedi Order. I mean, isn’t that what any Star Wars fan wants? There’s droids, weird creatures, weirder people, and starships. It’s the best Star Wars game since Jedi Knight, don’t @ me. Just… make sure your recipient isn’t a Star Trek fan instead…
SanDisk 256GB SD card for Nintendo Switch ($53)
If you know someone who’s getting a Nintendo Switch for the holidays, or if they already have one – they’ll always need additional storage. These officially licensed SDcards from SanDisk are Nintendo-themed and are a perfect gift for those Switch owners. That’s enough space for games, screenshots and save files, so they can get on with the business of saving the world from Ganondorf, probably.
Dwarf Factory Apollo artisan keycap ($45 + shipping)
If you’ve got a keyboard enthusiast on your list this year, get them an artisan keycap from one of the best in the business. Dwarf Factory hand-makes all their keycaps, with a complicated process that makes them second-to-none. Grab the $45 Apollo for anyone who loves space, with a tiny planetary lander encapsulated in a polished keycap. Anyone who loves mythology will cherish the $55 Lighthouse, with its whale floating around in the air next to a jaunty lighthouse. Or opt for the X, at a bargain $19 price. Just remember to choose the DHL shipping option if you want them to reach you before the holidays.
Galaxy Fit ($69)
Forward-thinking gift-givers might think about what happens after the holidays are over. New Year’s resolutions will come at us fast, and we’ll need some way to track our progress. The surprisingly affordable Galaxy Fit is an accurate, stylish fitness tracker with a great screen. What else do you need? Oh, that’s right… a gym buddy. Can’t get one of those on Amazon…
Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse ($99)
Everyone can benefit from a good mouse, and the MX Master 3 is one of the best on the market. That’s down to the stupidly-long battery life, solid wireless connection, and the scroll wheel, which uses electromagnets to flip between freewheeling or ratcheting at the press of a button. Oh, and it comes in black or a fetching gray color.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit ($75)
Know a foodie? Give them the gift of fresh herbs with this hassle-free indoor garden. Just drop the food canisters in, fill it up with water, and plug it in to the mains. They’ll be garnishing your plate in no time!
Schiit Fulla 2 D to A Converter and Headphone Amplifier – DAC/Amp ($74)
Schiit Audio has a funny-sounding name but the sound from the Fulla is anything but. Give the joy that quality sound brings this holiday period with this DAC/Amp. It’ll put a smile on the recipients face faster than you can say Oh Schiit…
Tello Quadcopter Drone ($99)
The Tello Drone packs some of the flight stabilization tech that you’d find inside the class-leading drones from DJI, so you know this isn’t just your usual sub-100 drone. It’s got AI smarts, a 720p camera for video, and app control so you’ll have the sound of rotorblades everywhere in the house this holiday season.
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