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The best gifts under $50 that make great stocking stuffers

When you don’t have a ton of space (or money) to spare, these gifts are clutch.

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

It’s easy to assume that the best tech gifts are the most expensive things. But there are plenty of options out there for the techie in your life that don’t require you to empty your wallet. If you’re struggling to come up with a gift for a coworker, family member or friend who's an early adopter or a tech obsessive, we’ve gathered some of our favorite things that are both small and affordable. The best part: All of these gift ideas come in at $50 or less.

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Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you’re at a loss when it comes to a good, cheap gift for the tech-loving friend or coworker in your life, you can’t go wrong with a Chromecast. Google has two models available now: the $50 4K Chromecast with Google TV and the new, $30 model that supports FHD streaming. Like previous Chromecasts, these let you stream movies and TV shows from major services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu andHBO Max, among many others.

The Google TV interface has always been pretty easy to navigate, but it’s simpler than ever thanks to the remote that comes included with both Chromecasts. It has an Assistant button, giving you quick access to voice commands, plus a circular D-pad, shortcut buttons for YouTube and Netflix, and support for HDMI-CEC and IR, allowing you to control your entire TV with it. And, unlike larger set-top boxes or smart TVs that your recipient may already have, the Google Chromecast is portable, so they can take it with them to make binge-watching their favorite shows easier when they’re not at home.

$49 at Amazon
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$50 at Verizon$50 at Kohl's
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If you have a gamer on your gift list — regardless of if they play casually or have a strict Twitch streaming schedule — they’ll be happy to receive the 8Bitdo Pro 2. It has the same general layout of a classic SNES controller and sports two back paddle buttons, plus a switch which lets them toggle among three unique, customizable profiles. It’s one of our favorite controllers for the Nintendo Switch, but it can be used with a bunch of other platforms as well: iOS, Android, Steam Deck and Raspberry Pi, to name a few. It connects to systems via Bluetooth or USB-C, and it’s compact enough that they could bring it with them when they want to have an on-the-go gaming session.

$50 at Amazon
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Every new phone claims to have better battery life than the one that came before it, and that may be true in some cases, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be enough juice for everyone every day. If you know someone who constantly uses their phone until it reaches one percent, Anker’s 511 Power Bank would make a great gift for them. It’s a 5,000 mAh portable battery and a power adapter in one, so they can use it in two ways: to fast-charge their phone when they’re near a wall outlet or recharge the device when they’re out and about. It has a built-in plug for wall usage, but it folds down into the device when you’re not using it, keeping the whole thing pretty compact. We like that this tech gift is basically a little bit bigger than a tube of lipstick, and all your giftee needs on hand to use it is a USB-C cable.

$22 at Amazon

Yes, you can get a decent pair of wireless earbuds for $50. Our current favorite pair are the EarFun Free 2S, which provide big bass and customizable EQ with presets in the EarFun mobile app. These earbuds have a pleasantly small design with an IPX7 rating, which should allow them to withstand sweaty workouts, plus solid touch controls and a long battery life. The charging case provides an additional 30 hours of life as well, so there’s a good chance your giftee will never run out when they need it most. They may lack some more advanced features like active noise cancelation and multipoint connectivity, but they pack a punch at only $50 (and you can often find them on sale for less).

$40 at Amazon
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There are plenty of Bluetooth trackers available now but arguably the most universal ones come from Tile. The Tile Mate is the company’s classic, keyring-friendly tracker that lets you keep track of your stuff from the Tile mobile app. It’s the most universal because it can work with both Android and iOS devices, so you don’t have to know what kind of phone your giftee has. Users can see the last known location of their keys, wallet, backpack or other belongings by going into the Tile mobile app, and they can force it to chime so they can find their stuff more easily if it’s earshot. They can even add their contact info digitally to the Mate, that way if someone stumbles across their stuff, they can reach out.

$25 at Amazon
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$25 at Walmart$25 at Target

PopSockets have been a convenient way to get a better grip on your phone for a long time, but the company’s latest MagSafe lineup makes it an even better option. The round grip is a classic PopSocket, but it has built in magnets so it can stick to the backs of the latest iPhones — and now, other devices as well. Each round grip comes with PopSocket’s MagSafe adapter ring, which basically brings MagSafe technology to other gadgets be they a Samsung phone, a Kindle ereader or anything else your giftee may want to hold more easily. The system doesn’t add a ton of weight or bulk e and it’s even more convenient than the previous adhesive grips because now you can easily take the PopSocket on and off as you please.

$30 at Amazon
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$30 at Walmart$30 at Verizon

It never hurts to have an extra bag with you whenever you go out. Whether you’re going to pick up groceries and know you’ll need one, or you’re heading out with friends and unexpectedly pick up a few things, a lightweight tote bag is crucial. There are thousands of options out there, but we included Peak Design’s Packable tote in our gift guide because it doesn’t have the typical reusable bag design and it remains fairly affordable at only $20.

The bag is made of 100-percent recycled ripstop nylon, which is resilient and as well as water resistant, and it has a zip closure, which is something most other reusable bags don’t have. It’ll keep your items more secure thanks to that, and it’s easier to carry in different ways thanks to its single shoulder/hand strap that sports microfiber padding for extra comfort. We also like that it has an interior pocket that can hold a phone, wallet or keys, and it takes up a surprisingly little amount of space when it’s packed into itself.

$20 at Peak Design
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There are dozens of mice out there, and if you’re buying gifts on a budget, it can be easy to get distracted by the ultra-cheap options from unfamiliar brands on sites like Amazon. But Logitech, a leader in this space, has some budget-friendly options as well and we like the Signature M650 mouse for most people. Not only is it lightweight and made of recycled materials, but you have a number of ergonomic options to choose from. It comes in regular and large sizes, plus you can pick from right- or left-hand orientation, which really just changes the placement of the device’s customizable side buttons. It has Logitech’s SmartWheel scrolling technology, which provides more precision when you need to scroll line by line, and it connects to computers via Bluetooth or a Logi Bolt receiver. But the best part might be its two-year battery life; your giftee will only have to replace the mouse’s two AA batteries once in a blue moon.

$32 at Amazon
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If someone you love just moved into their own place, a Blink Mini would make a thoughtful housewarming gift. The compact camera plugs into a regular wall outlet and monitors activity inside the home, detecting motion and sound and delivering alerts to their phones via the Blink mobile app. It records in 1080p and supports two-way talk as well, so they can soothe their overly-excited pets even when they’re not home. We also like that the Blink Mini works with Alexa devices, so if they have an Echo Show 5 or similar smart device at home, they can use it to see the Blink Mini’s video feed without even opening the mobile app.

$20 at Amazon
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$20 at Lowe's$20 at Target

Maybe you have a tech lover in your life or someone who just wishes their home could be a bit smarter – if so, TP-Link’s Kasa smart plugs are a great gift idea for them. Building up a smart home ecosystem from scratch can be intimidating, but starting off with smart plugs like these is a convenient and mostly stress-free way of doing it. These blocks plug into standard wall outlets and then turn whatever they plug into them into app-controllable gadgets. That means they can set a schedule for their coffee maker to turn on at the precise time each morning so it’s ready to go for them when they need to make a new pot. They could also use Away Mode to automatically turn on and off lights when they’re on vacation to make it seem like they’re actually home. Those are just a few things these smart plugs let you do with otherwise “dumb” items around your home, so your giftee can go as far as they want in creating a smart home.

$36 at Amazon