This story is part of, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.
If you’re looking for holiday gifts that are $25 and under, we’ve got some ideas that include old favorites as well as thoughtful new finds. Shopping online and choosing shipping direct to your recipient remains the most sensible choice, followed by online ordering at stores that offer curbside, contactless pickup.
The BruMate is a great stocking stuffer idea that promises to keep cans or bottles (depending on which style sleeve you choose) 20 times colder than a neoprene sleeve. It comes in a variety of colors, most of them priced at $20-$25.
And here’s the thing: It works really well. You can nurse a beer for half an hour, and your last sip will be nearly as cold as your first. If you know anyone who loves beer, this is a can’t-miss Christmas gift.
Anyone looking to make good on TikTok (or YouTube, or even Zoom, for that matter) needs good lighting. Amazon is home to countless ring-light kits like this one, many priced $25 or less. Ideally it should also come with an inline remote (for adjusting brightness and temperature), a tripod, a phone mount and a Bluetooth shutter-control button. This stocking stuffer has all that.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve found the Tribit brand to offer shockingly good sound quality at outrageously low prices. The company’s latest tiny speaker is no exception: For under $25, the XSound Surf delivers some impressive bass for its tiny size. This great stocking stuffer also offers IPX7 waterproofing (can be dunked to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes) and USB-C charging.
True wireless earbuds are all the rage these days but sometimes I prefer to keep the cord, especially while exercising. That way, my earbuds won’t go flying if I shake them loose, and they can just dangle if I want to take them out.
If you are looking for cheap stocking stuffer ideas, Mpow’s sport ‘buds are a great choice. They are IPX7-rated waterproof and able to pair with two different devices. I especially like their large, raised, separated volume buttons on top, as well as the big red multifunction button on the side — two usability wins.
At this writing, there are about eight different colors available, with prices ranging from $14 to $20. At this price, you’re not likely to find better sport earbuds for a stocking stuffer.
This unique stocking stuffer idea is one of my favorite new things of 2020. This gift idea is a retractable ping-pong net that can be set up just about anywhere — dining room table, picnic table, conference room table and so on. You also get a pair of paddles, some balls and a drawstring case to carry it all. Presto: table-tennis to go.
A personal aside: My dad is dealing with dementia, and I learned recently that ping-pong has the potential to slow cognitive decline. So I got one of these for him; we used to play all the time when I was a kid. Long story short: He loves it. Plays almost every day now. It’s been a huge win.
The button below will take you to a set from Amazon that currently has a 10% off coupon on a $22 set. If that’s no longer available, there are countless other versions of this in the same price range. At this writing, for example, here’s one for $20 and another for just $18.
The Wyze Band is by no means a perfect activity tracker, but it does a lot, especially considering its super-bargain price tag. It has a color AMOLED screen, a full-time heart-rate monitor, support for Alexa voice commands and a battery good for up to 14 days.
It’s also a watch, of course, and this affordable stuffer gift can sling notifications from your phone. Read our Wyze Band first take to learn more.
By the way, the Wyze price doesn’t include shipping, which adds about $5. You can also order the Band from Amazon for $30, shipping included.
This great stocking stuffer is one of the smallest 10,000-mAh battery packs we’ve seen to date, and it can juice up devices whether they use USB-A or USB-C connectors. We were able to charge a new iPhone 12 Pro to about 60% in just 30 minutes. (Just make sure the giftee has a USB-C charger — it doesn’t include one in the box.)
Read more about this Aukey power bank.
This is a perfect stocking stuffer if you’re gifting a new iPhone 12, since Apple no longer includes a charger in the box. This handy little dual-port plug delivers a full 30 watts of juice if the USB-C port is used alone, or 18 watts if used while charging a second device via the USB-A port, which delivers 12 watts. It’s available for under $20.
Nope, there’s still no Apple wireless tracker that you can actually buy. In the meantime — and for the millions who have Android phones, too — the Tile Mate tracker is a great gift that gets the job done nicely. For just $25, this little guy attaches to a keychain, purse, backpack or the like. Then just pair it with your phone.
Can’t find your phone? Double-press the Tile button to make it ring. Can’t find the Tile (and whatever it’s attached to)? Use your phone to locate it. You’ll soon see why this cheap stocking stuffer idea is such a useful stocking stuffer.
Maybe the game has Stranger Things to thank, but it feels like Dungeons & Dragons has had a small resurgence in recent years. If you need an inexpensive and fun stocking stuffer for a friend or family member who’s looking to expand their game horizons beyond the gamepad realm, the classic pencil-and-paper roleplaying game may be just the perfect gift. This starter set includes everything a newbie needs to get the game up and running — including all the requisite many-sided dice, natch — all for under $15. If you’re buying for someone who already has some ideas of how the game should be played, the new D&D Essentials Kit might be a better choice, though.
These handy straps loop through your phone case so it’s easy to keep a good grip on your phone. This great stocking stuffer idea will put you back just $8 each, with a choice of dozens of patterns and a variety of fun colors available. Buy three or more of these cheap stocking stuffers (pick your own colorful palette) for free shipping and you’ll have a trio of practical gifts that you can easily slip into a Christmas stocking. It’s just me talking here, but I consider the Ninja Loop the best stocking stuffer ever.
The Lenovo Smart Clock has long been among one of our favorite “cheap but good” smart home devices when it’s on sale (this season, the price seems to be hovering between $35 and $40). But if you want to save even more on a Christmas gift, the new Smart Clock Essential opts for something of a dumbed-down monochrome screen, but it still delivers the time, temperature and weather, along with full access to Google’s voice assistant. The USB-A port in the rear makes it easy to charge devices on your bedside table, too. It’s been selling for $24 to $29 this fall.
Read our Lenovo Smart Clock Essential review.
This guide was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with new information for 2020.