Whether there’s a birthday or a holiday coming up, it’s easy for time to sneak up on you — and even easier to be left scrambling for a last-minute gift that doesn’t feel like a last-minute gift.
And it’s even worse if you don’t have a big budget to work with.
Fortunately, there are plenty of cool gadgets and devices out there that are sure to surprise anyone and everyone. Not only will the recipient love the gift, they’ll love you for gifting them something as awesome as one of the following ideas.
USB car chargers are a must-have for two kinds of people: those who are always on the go and can’t risk having a dead device, and those who always forget to charge their devices overnight. By having a charger right in the car, life becomes so much easier.
What’s awesome about the iClever 3-Port USB Car Charger is that it can charge up to three devices at once, making it great whether you have a large family or just a lot of friends. It has built-in protection against overheating and overcharging.
For virtual reality enthusiasts, there’s no excuse to not own a Google Cardboard headset. It can turn almost any modern smartphone into a virtual reality device, and even though it has its limitations, it’s a whole lot of fun.
Is it as awesome as the Oculus Rift? Of course not. But is it still awesome? You bet. “Worth it” would be an understatement. Google Cardboard is the only device that’ll give you a satisfying virtual reality experience for under $20.
Note: Make sure to check if the recipient’s smartphone is compatible with Google Cardboard before gifting them. The newer the smartphone, the more likely it’ll be compatible.
With the AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank, you’ll never have to worry about running out of battery life again. It’s a backup battery that allows you to charge any USB-charged device even when there aren’t any outlets around. As a gift, it has universal appeal.
The power bank has two USB charging ports and built-in overload protection, and the 10,000 mAh model holds enough energy to charge an iPhone 6s up to six times before the bank itself needs to be recharged. USB charging cable and carrying pouch are included.
For those who struggle with fitness and wellness motivation, the Jawbone UP MOVE is one step in the right direction. It’s a portable clip-on device that fits anywhere — pocket, lapel, cuffs, and even on bag straps — and tracks your activity throughout the day.
What counts as “activity”? How many steps you take, how many calories you’ve burned, how many hours you sleep, what kinds of food and drink you’ve consumed, etc. Using it requires installation of the free Jawbone UP app for Android and iOS.
If you buy one for yourself as well, you can “compete” with your friends (e.g. see who takes the most steps in a day). It’s a fun way to encourage exercise and physical health.
Kitchen aficionados tend to rag on tools and appliances that specialize in one thing — such as waffle tongs, pancake pans, lettuce knives, etc. — but for someone who makes a lot of popcorn, the Cuisinart EasyPop Popcorn Maker is a godsend.
In just three minutes, this device uses hot air to pop up to ten cups of ready-to-eat popcorn. It disassembles for easy cleaning in the dishwasher and for easy long-term storage. Quite useful for hospitable folks who often entertain company.
If you’re looking to gift a wine lover, then look no further. The Pyora Electric Wine Opener is an easy way to uncork wine bottles — just place it over the neck of the bottle and press down. Much easier than manually turning a corkscrew.
But this bundle also comes with a foil cutter, an aerating pour spout, and a vacuum stop that keeps wine fresh whether stored in or out of the refrigerator. On one charge it can uncork up to 40 bottles, and it recharges within hours.
Neewer produces pro-quality equipment for aspiring amateur creatives at affordable prices, and the Neewer Studio Microphone Kit is representative of what they do. It includes a condenser microphone, a scissor arm stand, a microphone mount, a pop filter, and a microphone cable.
Basically, it’s everything one would need to record audio on a prosumer level, making it the perfect gift for friends who want to record YouTube covers, create a podcast series, commentate on video game matches, or just improve Skype voice quality.
Note: The scissor arm stand needs to be mounted on an actual microphone stand, which isn’t included in the bundle.
The Syma X5C Quadcopter is a consumer-grade drone that takes remote-controlled toys to the next level. It has a built-in stabilization system, works indoors and outdoors, and can fly for up to seven minutes at a time (the battery recharges in under two hours).
It also has a 720p HD camera with a slot for a 2 GB MicroSD card, making it great for friends who are into aerial photography and videography.
And just so you know, we reviewed the X5C quadcopter and absolutely loved it, so you can be positive that whoever you end up gifting this to will indeed love it too. You won’t find another quadcopter that offers this kind of value.
The Huion 580 Drawing Tablet is one of the best gifts for a budding digital artist because it allows an artist to draw on their computer with a stylus instead of a mouse. It’s even more important than these Lynda digital art courses.
Wacom is the industry standard for drawing tablets but they can be quite expensive. Huion’s reputation isn’t anywhere near as good as Wacom’s, but it’s still a solid choice — especially because you won’t find another drawing tablet at this price point with the same size and build quality.
If you have friends or family who struggle to make ends meet, consider buying them a Roku TV Media Streaming Stick. It’s a tiny device that plugs into any HDMI slot and allows immediate streaming from services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
Roku is so useful that it lets people slash household expenses by cutting the cable cord and relying on streamed entertainment instead. It’s one of those products where once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Got Any Other Gift Ideas?
I’d certainly be happy receiving any of these items as a gift. They’re all modern, trendy, and intensely practical — but best of all, they’re all light on the wallet. Who says you need to break the bank to find gifts worth giving?
If you can think of any other awesome gift ideas under $50, we’d love to hear them. Share with us by dropping a comment down below!