Buying Guides

22 of the Best Budget Tech Gifts for Geeks

Mihir Patkar 21-11-2016

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to start buying gifts. But you’re not just buying for anyone — you’re looking for gifts for geeks! The tech world offers some tantalizing options.


As always, the cheapest and longest-lasting option is to gift a top online subscription Top 5 Online Subscriptions You Can Give As Gifts With the ever increasing digitization of society, online subscriptions have become a valid form of gift-giving and they're often more fulfilling than a physical gift of same worth. Read More . It might cost you more in the long-term, but you end up saving some cash during these tight months. But a subscription doesn’t have that wow factor. You won’t see the twinkle in their eyes as they unbox the cool gizmo you wrapped. Instead, here’s what you should gift your geek in 2016, depending on your budget.

Gifts for Geeks Under $20

1. Raspberry Pi Zero ($5)

A tiny system on a chip, the Raspberry Pi Zero is a favorite among hackers and geeks. We’ve already seen some amazing Pi Zero projects 10 of the Best Raspberry Pi Zero Projects So Far With a lack of full-size USB or Ethernet ports, Pi Zero projects are both attractive and challenging in equal measure. Here are ten great Raspberry Pi Zero projects to get you started. Read More , and at $5, it’s a no-brainer.

2. Bluetooth OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner

Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner Check Engine Light for Android - Compatible with Torque Pro Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner Check Engine Light for Android - Compatible with Torque Pro Buy Now On Amazon $12.99

Want to know what your car’s check engine light means? Maybe figure out your actual mileage? Most people don’t know that their car has an onboard computer, tracking all these important things. It’s called the On Board Diagnostics 2 (OBD2) system What Is the OBD-II Port and What Is It Used For? If you purchased a car after 1996, it probably has an OBD-II port. But what is it for, and how do you diagnose errors with it? Read More . All you need is a simple Bluetooth dongle that connects to the standardized port for all cars made after 1996. Buy this, your geek will love you for it.

3. Joby GripTight PRO GorillaPod

GripTight GorillaPod Stand PRO: Premium Clamping Mount and Tripod with Universal Smartphone Compatibility for iPhone SE to iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8 and More GripTight GorillaPod Stand PRO: Premium Clamping Mount and Tripod with Universal Smartphone Compatibility for iPhone SE to iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8 and More Buy Now On Amazon $32.00


Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get something awesome. The Joby GorillaPod is the best smartphone tripod today What's the Best Phone Tripod? For most people, smartphone cameras have become good enough to replace proper cameras. From shooting videos to taking that perfect landscape photo, your handset does a terrific job. Read More , and it costs just around $60. No geek can resist its charms.

Gifts for Geeks Under $30

4. TravelCard Slim Charger ($29)

At some point, everyone’s phone runs low on battery. If they have a TravelCard slim charger in their wallet, they’re going to think you are the best gift-giver in the world. This 1500 mAh battery backup is available for iPhones and microUSB Androids, but not for USB Type-C phones What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More .

5. Sandisk Extreme Go CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 Drive

SanDisk Extreme Go USB 3.1 Flash Drive 64GB (SDCZ800-064G-G46) SanDisk Extreme Go USB 3.1 Flash Drive 64GB (SDCZ800-064G-G46) Buy Now On Amazon $17.02

You can never have too many flash drives. And when you can gift one of the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives on the planet 5 of the Fastest and Best USB 3.0 Flash Drives Which are the fastest USB 3.0 flash drives you can buy? Here are five of the best, ranging from $20 to $200. Read More for less than $50, why would you even think twice? You might as well pick a few up, in case you need to give them as last-minute gifts.


6. TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender

TP-Link AC750 Wifi Range Extender | Up to 750Mbps | Dual Band WiFi Extender, Repeater, Wifi Signal Booster, Access Point| Easy Set-Up | Extends Wifi to Smart Home & Alexa Devices (RE200) TP-Link AC750 Wifi Range Extender | Up to 750Mbps | Dual Band WiFi Extender, Repeater, Wifi Signal Booster, Access Point| Easy Set-Up | Extends Wifi to Smart Home & Alexa Devices (RE200) Buy Now On Amazon $29.49

Geeks love Wi-Fi just as much as they hate low Wi-Fi signals. Help out your nerd with this affordable Wi-Fi range extender, a device they’re probably not going to buy for themselves. If you can up your budget, we have other options for the best Wi-Fi extenders of 2016 The Best Wi-Fi Extenders: Which One Is Right for You? What are the best Wi-Fi extenders out there? We've rounded up three of the best performing, cheapest, and best value wi-fi extenders for 2016. But which one is right for you? Read More .

Gifts for Geeks Under $40

7. Google Chromecast 2 or Chromecast Audio

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The Google Chromecast is awesome Google Chromecast Review and Giveaway We're giving away a Google Chromecast, so read through our review, then join the competition to win! Read More , and in case your favorite geek hasn’t bought one yet, this is the ideal gift. If they already have the smart TV dongle, then get a Chromecast Audio, which turns boring old speakers into Bluetooth speakers. It’s the less common of the two devices, but just as useful.

8. Raspberry Pi 3


This year saw the latest and greatest version of the geek-favorite mini computer. The Raspberry Pi 3 has Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and is better than ever before The Raspberry Pi 3: Faster, Better, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 3. It's the most significant update to the popular line of low-cost computers yet. Read More . The great part about the Raspberry Pi is that there are so many useful or weird Pi projects 10 Weirdest Raspberry Pi Projects There's a mad scientist within each of us, and the Raspberry Pi lets your inner loon come out and play. Sometimes, things get weird. Really weird. Read More , that you can never have too many of them. So even if the recipient already has one, they’ll be glad to have another.

9. Belkin WeMo Smart Switch

The Belkin WeMo Smart Switch is a must-have for any geek. It’s the first step in building a smart home, since it can digitize your regular old household lamps 3 Ways The Belkin WeMo Can "Smarten" Your Regular Household Lamps We took the time to look at the possibilities for turning your regular household lamps into smart lamps. Read More . You can also connect other devices to it to manage all your powered gizmos. If you’re gifting this, make sure you point your loved one to our guide to installing a WeMo switch Installing Your WeMo Switch: A Step-by-Step Guide A smart plug or lightbulb are one thing -- you only need to plug those in and they work. But in the case of a smart light switch, you have to deal with electrical wiring. Read More .

Gifts for Geeks Under $50

10. Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot is the best $50 gift you can give anyone. It’s a smaller version of the Amazon Echo. Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? One common complaint against Amazon Echo was that it had too many features and cost too much. Amazon's response to that? Releasing two variations with smaller price tags: the Tap and the Echo Dot. Read More This tiny little puck can plug into a set of standard speakers and become a smart voice-activated assistant in your home. Just by talking, you can order from Amazon, stream music, find out weather information, hear the news, or control other smart home products.

11. Anker PowerCore 20000 With Quick Charge 3

Anker PowerCore 20000 is the best power bank you can have today. Why? Ther’s the large 20,000 mAh battery, which can charge an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S7 more than six times. But that’s not all. It supports Quick Charge 3.0 for faster charging times What's a Quick Charger? Here's Why You Need One Now Smartphones take less time to charge up these days and it's all thanks to a new technology called Quick Charge. If you don't have it yet, you'll want it soon. Read More .


Gifts for Geeks Under $75

12. Nintendo NES Classic Mini

Probably the hottest geek item this year is the Nintendo NES Classic, a miniaturized version of the famous video game console. Pre-loaded with 30 classic titles and featuring the same remote control geeks  first fell in love with, this is a treasure. It’s selling out fast and you might need to hunt for it on non-Amazon sites. Sure, you can play classic NES games for free online 4 Websites To Play NES Games For Free & Through The Browser Just recently, I put out an article outlining some of my favorite RPGs for the SNES and showed MUO readers how they can experience those games through a web interface. Not everyone has the time... Read More , but that’s just not the same thing.

13. Tile Mate

Tile Mate (2016) - 4 Pack - Discontinued by Manufacturer Tile Mate (2016) - 4 Pack - Discontinued by Manufacturer Buy Now On Amazon $36.29

Tile is one of the best gadgets to tag and find items Find Your Keys! 6 Gadgets That Help Locate Your Missing Keys Can't find your keys? Forgot to take them with you? If only your keys could call out to you and fix this everyday mess. Read More like keys, phones, bags, or remote controls. A 4-pack of the Tile Mate costs just $70, and works with any smartphone. Just attach it to something you lose often, and you can follow it from your phone or make it ring.

14. Jabra Move

Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headphones - Red Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headphones - Red Buy Now On Amazon

Jabra’s Move Bluetooth headphones offer the perfect balance of good quality sound, long battery life, and decent price. They’re value for money, and your geek will love you for them. We have plenty of other Bluetooth headphones recommendations for 2016 The 7 Best Bluetooth Headphones You Can Buy Finding the right pair of Bluetooth headphones isn't easy, so we've compiled a list of the best Bluetooth headphones money can buy. Read More , but the Move would be our pick.

Gifts for Geeks Under $100

15. Spectacles by Snapchat ($100)

Who would have thought the coolest $100 item this year would be a pair of sunglasses? But that’s what Snap Inc. (the company behind Snapchat) has done. Called Spectacles, these smart glasses can shoot videos when you tap them, and transmit the video directly to your smartphone. The more you know about Spectacles Snapchat Spectacles: Everything You Need to Know in a Snap Over the past few days, Snapchat has rebranded to Snap Inc. and it launched a new hardware product called Spectacles. The app still remains "Snapchat" though. Here's the full rundown. Read More , the more you’ll want it for yourself instead of giving it away as a gift. You can’t get them online though, since Snap is selling them through “Snapbot” vending machines. Find a Snapbot with this map.

16. Roku Premier+

Roku Premiere - HD and 4K UHD Streaming Media Player with HDR Roku Premiere - HD and 4K UHD Streaming Media Player with HDR Buy Now On Amazon $89.00

There is zero doubt in our minds that Roku is the best media streaming player right now. But Roku itself has several options, so which Roku media streamer should you buy? Which Roku Media Streamer Should You Buy? The current offering is split into five products – the Roku Streaming Stick, and the Roku 1, 2, 3, and 4. This article looks at what each product can offer, and tries to ascertain which... Read More Of those, the $100 Roku Premier+ is a gorgeous gift. It has 4K video streaming support and Ultra HD, point-and-move remote control, and private listening through the remote’s headphone jack.

17. UE Roll 2 or JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth Speakers

Two of the best Bluetooth speakers The Best Bluetooth Speakers Under $25 and Up to $300 You can't beat the convenience of going wire-free. Great audio quality may always need wired speakers, but for music on your phone Bluetooth speakers are a must-have accessory nowadays. Read More in terms of value for money, both the Urban Ears Roll 2 and the JBL Flip 3 are strong contenders. The UE Roll 2 is waterproof, so it’ll be great to hang in showers. Plus it looks cute, so we think it makes for a better gift. But the JBL Flip 4 is a better set of speakers overall. So if your geek is particular about their audio quality, the JBL is the way to go.

18. SJCAM SJ400 Waterproof Action Camera

SJCAM Action Camera SJ4000 WiFi Wireless Chipset Novatek 96655 4x Digital Zoom Full HD 1080P Sport Waterproof 30m Extra 2 BatterieS SJCAM Action Camera SJ4000 WiFi Wireless Chipset Novatek 96655 4x Digital Zoom Full HD 1080P Sport Waterproof 30m Extra 2 BatterieS Buy Now On Amazon $57.99

It’s not a big brand like GoPro, but SJCAM’s SJ400 is one of the best action cameras around What's the Best Action Camera or GoPro? Ever since GoPro launched, the action camera market has heated up. GoPro still rules, but Sony, Polaroid, JVC, Xiaomi, and many others have their own models now. So, what's the best action cam around? Read More and has received good reviews from everyone who has tried it. It records video at Full HD resolution, comes with built-in Wi-Fi, and ships with two batteries, a waterproof case, a head mount, and a bicycle mount.

19. Kangaroo Mobile Desktop PC ($99)

Can you really get a full-fledged Windows PC for a Benjamin Franklin? Yup, the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop is the best media center PC for less than $100 The Best Media Center Mini PC for Under $100 Media center PCs used to be impractical -- you needed to hook an expensive, full-size desktop to your TV. The mini-PC smashes down all barriers to entry, with small size and low-cost. Read More . It’s difficult to find one online these days, but be on the lookout for it.

Gifts for Geeks Under $150

20. Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader (Previous Generation - 7th) - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Kindle Paperwhite E-reader (Previous Generation - 7th) - Black, 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers Buy Now On Amazon $63.92

The Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best e-readers around Kindle Paperwhite Review & Giveaway The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon's current flagship reader, and one that we've been wanting to review and give away for quite some time. If you already own a Kindle or a different eReader, you may... Read More . While the Kindle Oasis and Voyage Which Kindle Device Should You Buy? A Comparison Guide There are four different Kindle e-readers available to buy for various kinds of users. But which Kindle device is right for you? Read More are better, the Paperwhite does the basics just right, and then adds a simple light so you can read in the dark. It still doesn’t hurt your eyes, and features incredible battery life. What more can any geek ask for?

21. FitBit Charge 2

Your favorite geek needs to take care of his body, so give him a nudge. FitBit always scores high among fitness tracker wristbands The 7 Best Fitness Trackers If you’re an active person, activity trackers provide incredibly valuable data for logging, improving, and understanding your fitness. But among the devices out there, finding the right activity tracker can be difficult. Read More . The Charge 2 is packed to the brim with features like heart rate monitoring, smartphone notifications, all day movement and sleep monitors, and more.

22. Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid

Nothing says “Season’s Greetings” like a little robot toy shaped like a beloved movie character. We reviewed the Sphero BB-8 droid Feline the Force: Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Review and Giveaway Is this droid you’ve been looking for all along? Read More from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and absolutely loved it. Imagine having your own little robot that you can control with your phone! If the geek in your life is a Star Wars fan, this one is a must-have.

What Would You Like Under $150?

Assuming that MakeUseOf readers are a little geeky at least, let’s start talking about what gift you would like this season. We’re keeping the cut-off at $150 for this round-up, so make sure your item costs less than that. And an Amazon link would be helpful!

Image Credits: Lolostock/Shutterstock

Related topics: Gadgets, Gift Guide.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *