Gift ideas for programmers aren’t the easiest to come up with when it comes to friends and family who are in the field. After all, general geeky and nerdy gifts don’t necessarily tap into the specialized nature of their work and coding interest.
Fortunately, we’ve lined up a list of great gifts for programmers, from products that will improve their coding experiences to nerdy gifts that offer fun ways to incorporate coding.
Here are 20 of the best gifts for coders and programmers.
1. Adjustable Standing Desk: Varidesk Adjustable Standing Desk
Sitting in front of a computer all day can have detrimental effects on your health, including back problems due to bad posture. However, standing all day isn’t the solution either—it’s best to alternate between both.
That’s why an adjustable standing desk is one of the best workstation upgrades for office workers. The Varidesk Adjustable Standing Desk is beloved by many, highly customizable, and extremely worthwhile. The wide workspace also means that you can lift multiple screens, which is essential for most programmers and coders.
2. LEGO Mindstorms Kit: EV3 Robot Kit
Though marketed to kids, LEGO Mindstorms can be just as much fun for adults. The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit comes with buttons, motor ports, internet connectivity, sensors, remote control functionality, and more. Using drag-and-drop scripting, you can make the robot perform a variety of actions.
The kit comes with instructions for multiple robot designs, but you can customize them and make your own robots once you get comfortable with how they work.
3. Certified Coffee Maker: Technivorm 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer
When buying a coffee maker, you should aim for one that’s SCAA certified. This certification shows that the model meets requirements for water temperature, brew time, and other factors that go into making an excellent cup of joe.
For the best of the best, get the Technivorm 79112 KBT Coffee Brewer, which comes with a five-year warranty. While it features advanced heating and a premium design, it is still relatively simple to operate and only takes a few minutes to brew a full carafe of coffee.
4. Virtual Reality Headset: Oculus Go
The Oculus Go is the perfect way to introduce someone to the world of virtual reality. This standalone headset provides an excellent VR experience, requires no other equipment, and is far more affordable than most other VR solutions. If you are curious about the device, be sure to check out our review of the Oculus Go.
5. Laptop Bag: Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag
If your techie friend does their coding on a laptop (which is more likely than not), then a high-quality laptop bag can be an amazing gift. You’ll want a bag made of high-quality and robust materials, large enough to fit a 15-inch laptop, with extra space and pockets for other items.
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag isn’t strictly a bag for laptops, but it checks every box and has a limited lifetime warranty. It even has a magnetic latch for that luxurious feel.
6. Robot Vacuum: iLife A9 Robot Vacuum Cleaner
Doing household chores often falls to the bottom of the list for programmers during crunch time. But a simple robot vacuum like the iLife A9 Robot Vacuum Cleaner is a great way to make someone’s life easier.
You may have heard of the iRobot Roomba, but there’s no need to drop that much cash when this iLife alternative works just as well.
7. Light Therapy Lamp: Sakobs LED Therapy Light
Working odd hours or spending long periods in the office are frequent occurrences for programmers. But the resulting lack of exposure to natural, outdoor light can affect your circadian rhythm and make you feel tired, sad, and burnt out. Light therapy lamps are one way to combat this problem, providing a thoughtful gift for coders.
The Sakobs LED Therapy Light is a highly rated lamp that provides bright light to help trigger your brain’s wakefulness phase and normalize your circadian rhythm. It also doesn’t include UV light—which protects your skin from UV radiation damage.
8. Noise-Isolating Headphones: Audio-Technica Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
There’s nothing worse than being unable to focus on work because of the noise around you. But rather than getting noise-cancelling headphones, you could opt for noise-isolating headphones instead. These headphones create a seal that blocks out external noise rather than relying on cancellation signals.
One of the most comfortable and effective options are the Audio-Technica Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. They include swiveling earcups, perfect for when you need to pause the noise isolation to quickly chat with coworkers.
9. Mechanical Keyboard: Das Keyboard 4 Professional Keyboard
Mechanical keyboards are excellent for anyone who spends all day typing—and that includes programmers. They’re often pricey but are totally worth it. They simply feel better to type with, and that kind of improvement can have huge effects on productivity.
The Das Keyboard 4 Professional Keyboard provides that great mechanical typing experience, along with laser inscriptions on each key—great for people who type while keeping their eyes on the screen—and a convenient volume knob.
10. Programmable Drone: Parrot Mambo Fly
Programmable drones are a fun way to combine an interest in quadcopters with an interest in coding. These drones allow you to code custom commands and features into the quadcopter’s software.
11. Smart Speaker: Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo makes for a great addition to any household, but especially for programmers. At the very least, it can be used for playing and controlling music. But more advanced features include the ability to design Alexa Skills that make the Echo follow custom commands and work with third-party apps.
12. Arduino Starter Kit: Elegoo Ultimate Arduino Starter Kit
An Arduino is like LEGO for adults. It comprises all kinds of circuitry and electronic components that can be put together and coded to do interesting things. Where a Raspberry Pi would be more suitable for software-based projects, Arduinos are best for hardware-based projects. It’s a tinkerer’s dream!
Getting started can be tough, so we recommend getting something like the Elegoo Mega 2560 Starter Kit as a gift. The kit includes over 200 components, but more importantly it features helpful tutorial materials and lessons.
13. Computer Glasses: Gunnar Anti-Glare Glasses
The blue light emitted by modern screens can cause all kinds of problems such as headaches and eye strain if you’re exposed for long periods. Considering programming work is only done on computers, these Gunnar Anti-Glare Glasses make a great gift.
They help block out blue light, make viewing computer text easier, and can be used for gaming too.
14. Raspberry Pi Mini-Computer: CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Kit
A Raspberry Pi is a handy mini-computer that you can use to control your 3D printer, fashion small devices like baby monitors, and make a wide range of other gadgets. The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Kit is an especially handy kit that you can use for a variety of applications.
The kit includes a Raspberry Pi 4, a micro-HDMI to HDMI Cable, a set of fans, and a clear case for the computer board.
15. Fitness Tracker: Xiaomi Mi Band 3
Office workers are prone to living sedentary lifestyles, and programmers are especially susceptible. A fitness tracker like the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 won’t just track your programmer friend’s daily activities, but encourage them to get up and move around more often.
A simple gift like this could really help motivate someone to increase their activity. Check out our Xiaomi Mi 3 Band review for more details.
16. Pomodoro Productivity Timer: OrgaNice Hourglass Timer Set
Staying productive as a programmer can be tough, which is why we often recommend the Pomodoro technique: a cycle that includes 30 minutes of work, followed by five minutes of break. With this stylish OrgaNice Hourglass Timer Set, the programmer in your life will not only get more done in less time, but they’ll be happier about it!
17. Coding Solution Book: Mazes for Programmers
Created by one of the Ruby on Rails core team members, Mazes for Programmers is a fun little book that teaches you how to create randomized mazes in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The code in this book is written in Ruby, but the algorithms and concepts can be applied to any programming language.
18. Geeky Merch: Eat Sleep Code Mug
For coworkers and acquaintances, you may not want a gift that’s too personal. So why not choose a mug?
All programmers drink coffee, tea, or water, so it’s an intensely practical gift. The Eat Sleep Code Mug provides just enough programmer flavor for the recipient to appreciate.
19. Unique Programming Gift Idea: Rubber Duck
No, this isn’t a joke! There’s a well-known phenomenon among programmers called rubber duck debugging. Simply put, when code isn’t working right, and the programmer can’t figure out why, they explain their code line-by-line to a rubber duck.
This proves really helpful in making things clear and working out where the problem lies. So, while this Rubber Duck may be the cheapest gift on this list, it could very well be the most helpful and practical of them all.
20. Portable Monitor: Asus Portable USB Monitor
A second screen can add a major boost to your work productivity in general, but for programmers, multiple screens are essential. A second screen lets coders easily monitor whether edits to their code are reflecting on their project without needing to switch windows.
The Asus Portable USB Monitor is a great choice for an additional screen for programmers. It’s portable, meaning you can use it with your laptop while doing remote work. Meanwhile, the USB connection means you don’t have to worry about display ports and HDMI cables.
More Gift Ideas for Nerds
These gift ideas provide a great variety of products that tap into the work and interests of programmers. But you may want to also look at some other gift ideas for those who work from home.
However, if you’re pressed for time, you should have a look at our guide on digital gifts that don’t need shipping for some last-minute gift ideas.