We’re now just a few days away from Christmas, but we’ve still got a few gift guides in us for all of you last-minute shoppers. Today’s roundup features 10 great gift ideas from a variety of categories—both tech and non-tech—and were selected based on personal experience, user reviews and of course sub-$100 price tags.
Amazon Tap Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa
Give the gift of a Bluetooth speaker AND a digital assistant. Amazon’s Tap speaker allows you to take the Alexa voice service with you wherever you go. Now it’s not hands-free like the Echo—you have to push a button to invoke Alexa—but it still responds to queries, voice commands, and can control playback for various streaming services. Plus it has 9 hours of battery life, and comes with its own charging cradle.
You can buy the Amazon Tap Bluetooth Speaker for $90 (sale price).
Alternative: for a better-sounding, non-smart Bluetooth speaker, we like the UE Roll 2.
Roku Premiere+ Streaming Media Player
There are a number of streaming media players on the market these days, but for folks not tied to an ecosystem from the likes of Amazon or Apple, the Roku is the best choice. It offers a ton of content, with more channels, apps and games than its competitors, and the Premiere+ model is powerful enough to properly support 4K Ultra HD (at 60fps) and HDR content. Other features include voice search and wireless audio.
BLACK+DECKER Drill and Project Kit
Give the gift of DIY. This Black+Decker Drill kit features a 20V Lithium battery-powered drill, 66 hand tools and accessories and a carrying bag. The drill is powerful enough and the mix of included tools is varied enough to cover a wide range of home improvement and DIY projects. In fact, one Amazon reviewer boasted that he used the kit to build a large green house in his backyard.
Blink Security Camera with Motion Detection
The Blink is a powerful security camera in a small, inexpensive package. It’s totally wireless, meaning setup takes just a few minutes, and it talks to your mobile device via Wi-Fi. So you can check a live stream of the camera’s field of vision anytime, or wait for it to detect motion and send you an alert + a brief recording of the event. Also supports audio and has illuminated low-light vision.
Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Give the gift of safety and security. The Nest Protect is a smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm with a number of handy features. the Protect will send you an alert if one of its alarms goes off, or if the battery is low, regardless of where you’re at. You can also turn off its alarms using your phone and the carbon monoxide sensor is good for 10 years. Note: this is the second-gen Protect, which has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.
Keurig K55 Programmable Coffee Maker
If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t already have one, a nice coffee maker makes for a great gift. I know Keurig has received its share of criticism for using expensive, proprietary pods and other gaffs, but I have to say I love mine. It makes great-tasting coffee (as well as tea and hot chocolate) super fast with very little effort. The K55 model has a 48oz water reservoir and auto-off.
Anki Overdrive Starter Kit
This AI/smartphone controlled racing set made a big splash during Apple’s 2013 WWDC keynote, and it makes for an awesome gift. It includes 10 track pieces, 2 risers and 2 cars, and of course you can buy more of these things to expand the fun. Race friends or family members using iPhones to control the cars, or race against an AI controlled vehicle.
You can buy the Anki Overdrive Starter Kit for $99 (sale price).
All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet 32 GB – Special Offers
What sub-$100 gift could provide as much entertainment value as a high-powered tablet? I can’t think of one. This is Amazon’s all-new Fire HD 8 tablet that comes with a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 32GB of storage (and microSD slot for even more storage), 50% more RAM than its predecessor, dolby audio and 12 hours of battery life. It also has the Alexa cloud-based voice service and access to millions of TV shows, movies, music, books, apps and games.
Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphones
Thanks to Apple’s headphone jack-less iPhone 7 and other developments, wireless headphones are more popular than ever. There are some really good sets out there, but for solid sub-$100, over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones we like the Sony Extra Bass 950. They sound great, support apt-x low latency tech, have a built-in mic for hands-free phone calls and a battery that lasts for up to 20 hours.
Chicago Cutlery 18-Piece Knife Block Set
I know a knife set sounds more like a wedding gift than a Christmas gift, but really they’re great gifts anytime for a person who likes to cook or entertain. For the money, I don’t know if you can do better than this 18-piece set from Chicago Cutlery. The blades are professional high-carbon stainless steel forged, with black comfort-grip poly handles, and they are covered by a lifetime warranty. And the set also includes a knife sharpener and stained pine wood block.
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