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The 33 Coolest Gadget Gifts for the Holidays

Whether you’re looking for new tech, tools, or outdoor gear, we have you covered.

the best gadget and gear gifts

’Tis the season to blow your hard-earned savings on gifts for loved ones—and maybe a few things for yourself, too. This year, Popular Mechanics went deep, with 30 gadgets for outdoor lovers, DIYers, tech gurus, and all-around nerds. There’s something here for everyone: Rugged outdoor gear, fun games, high-tech coffee mugs, audio gadgets, musical instruments, and culinary tools for those difficult-to-shop-for family members—you know, the folks who say they don’t want anything this holiday season but secretly do.

And if you’re still not happy with what you find here, check out our specific gift guides for this year’s holiday season. Just be sure to keep those receipts!

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    For On-the-Go Screen Junkies
    Anker Nebula Capsule II Smart Mini Projector

    The Anker Nebula Capsule II is about the size of a soda can, but don’t let its size fool you. This little projector packs a ton of handy features for cinephiles, gamers, and casual viewers alike: Android TV, voice control, a built-in speaker, and a bunch of connection options.

    For Organization Gurus
    OrbitKey Nest

    Everyone could use a bit more tidiness in their lives. What better place to start than with one’s gadgets? The OrbitKey Nest is like a wallet for your charged devices. Pack everything into one neatly organized console—cables, earbuds, glasses, power banks. It even includes a built-in wireless charger for your phone.

    More: We've Got a Great Christmas Gifts for Men Guide, Too

    For Family Photo Fans
    AEEZO WiFi Digital Picture Frame

    Digital picture frames add a new dimension to family photos, drawing your attention to its programmable cycling of images like no static frame could. 

    Would you want every frame in your house to be digital? Of course not. But a well-placed, Wi-Fi-enabled digital frame like this one from AEEZO can awaken joy with spontaneous delight.

    For the Indoor Grower
    AeroGarden Harvest 360 Indoor Hydroponic Garden
    $102.30 (32% off)

    Grow stunning and delicious herbs inside without the mess of soil. This hydroponic grow kit includes a control panel that will tell you when you need to add water or plant food, and it automatically turns its lighting system on or off. The kit includes a seed pack with genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint. But owners can grow whatever they’d like!

    For the Novice Musician
    Korg Synthesizer (25-Key)

    You don’t have to be a musician to have fun with a synthesizer, especially not one as rudimentary as the Korg Monophonic. This entry-level, programmable synth includes two oscillators, a 16-step sequencer, analog circuitry, and plenty of filtering and sound-shaping tools to create a wealth of soundscapes for any style of music.

    For the Sleeping-Challenged
    Hatch Restore Sound Machine

    The idea of a “sleep assistant” may sound silly—until you try it out. This portable, tabletop device packs a lot of features into one elegantly designed package: a sound machine, sunrise alarm, smart light, meditation app, and alarm clock. It comes packed with soothing content, personalized alarm sequences, and a library of calming sounds and lights.

    For Charging Junkies
    Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

    A portable charger is always valuable on the road. Even if you’re at home and need to charge a device away from a socket, an external charger is the ultimate convenience. And the Anker PowerCore is among the most trusted of chargers. With a 10,000mAh battery, it can deliver almost three-and-a-half iPhone 8 charges.

    For Serious Board Gamers
    Scythe Board Game
    Stonemaier Games
    $19.96 (20% off)

    The Great War is over and the shadow of the mysterious city-state known as The Factory still looms over Europa. In Scythe, players embark on a challenge to accumulate money, land, and resources to build mechs and lead their factions to victory. With a keen eye for strategy, Scythe is an immersive board game that can be played by up to five players. It even includes a solo mode.

    For Knife Handlers
    CRKT M16-14ZSF EDC Folding Pocket Knife

    A good knife has more uses than you know. As one of our favorite folding pocket knives, the CRKT M16-14ZSF never seems to lose its handiness. It’s sharp, well designed, and extremely durable. It features a glass-reinforced nylon handle, Triple Point serrations, and a tough design. After many years of use, we’ve found it’s still going strong—and sharp.

    For Budget Audiophiles
    Tribit XSound Bluetooth Speaker
    $36.99 (20% off)

    “How can such ripping sound come from such a tiny speaker?” That’s what you’ll be asking yourself after playing tunes from this capable little Bluetooth can, which features a very impressive bass response, even midrange, and complex highs—especially for a speaker that costs less than $40. This is a must for any on-the-go music fan.

    For Purification Zealots
    LARQ Bottle PureVis

    Cleanliness is next to godliness, and the LARQ Bottle PureVis is probably the cleanest water bottle you’re likely to find. Why? Because it includes a UV sanitizing light that purifies any water you put in it. Add your water, touch the button, and wait 60 seconds for pristine hydration. Pretty cool!

    12 Courant Essentials Catch: 2

    Your friend’s phone went to voicemail again? This is the perfect tech gift for the person whose electronics are always low on battery. This space saving dual wireless charging station can charge multiple devices at once, all while looking sleek on the bedside table. Never let your friend’s phone die again and enhance their living space with this unique gift.

    For Streamers Young and Old
    Roku Ultra
    $69.00 (31% off)

    The world of streaming certainly brings a lot of choices to your entertainment setup—maybe even too many. But the beautiful thing about Roku streamers is they’re super simple to install and include as few or as many channels as you’d like. 

    It’s an ideal rig for anyone new to streaming or looking to cut the cord, or anyone who hasn’t updated their streaming device in a while.

    14 Beast Blender and Hydration System

    Do you have a busy friend that could use a hand staying hydrated? This blender lives up to its name as a true powerhouse for consistent blending to create all different types of smoothies and water infusions. The best part? It’s sleek design makes it easy to clean and it comes with a drinking lid and carry cap to take all infusions on the go!

    For Digital Denizens
    Anker USB C Hub, PowerExpand 8-in-1 USB C Adapter

    Tech junkies won’t go far without a USB hub. This 8-in-1 adaptor from Anker includes pretty much everything any gamer or digital creator will need: two USB-C, two USB-A, HDMI, Ethernet, SD, microSD. It also includes a travel pouch and an 18-month warranty. It’s rather large compared to competing models, making it well-suited for desktop environments.

    16 Aarke Carbonator III

    For the friends that like bubbles, this sparkling water maker is powered by a C02 cylinder leaving no cords and a controlled result. The quality-centric carbonator is eco-friendly but also sleek in design. Not only will your friend be thanking you, so will their countertop.

    For the Indoor Gardener
    Click and Grow Smart Garden
    Click and Grow

    Your plantlife need not sit in the sun to make your home cozy and natural-feeling. Whether you’re sustaining a tropical plant through winter or trying to bring more life to your indoor spaces, this smart LED light easily snaps onto any surface and looks stylish to boot.

    For the Outdoor Worker
    Give’r 4 Season Glove With Wax Coating

    Every outdoorsman, yardworker, or builder needs a rugged pair of gloves. Why not buy a pair that’s truly meant for all seasons? These waterproof leather gloves from Give’r can withstand frigid negative-degree temperatures all the way up to the heat of pulling a log out of a fire. Enough said.

    For Puzzle Gurus
    SnapX Giiker Electronic Speed Cube

    There’s a reason the Rubik’s cube remains such a captivating puzzle even in the age of online gaming. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t use an update. The SnapX Giiker Electronic Speed Cube brings the familiar puzzle cube into the 21st century with built-in tutorials, timers, tips, and global rankings—and accessible via a handy app.

    For the Stylish Environmentalist
    Allbirds Men's Wool Runner Mizzles

    Allbirds managed to do something pretty rare in the world of fashion: They made a pair of shoes that are exceedingly comfortable, invariably stylish, and eco-friendly. Those three attributes are at the heart of all Allbirds products. The company uses sustainable, all-natural materials like merino wool, recycled bottles, wood fabric, and sugarcane.

    For Adventurers
    Nocs Provisions Standard Issue 8x25 Waterproof Binoculars
    Nocs Provisions

    Birdwatchers, hunters, hikers, and outdoors people unite! These snazzy, waterproof binoculars from Nocs Provisions feature 8x magnification, a high-impact rubber grip, and a lifetime warranty. Designed for spontaneity, these binoculars will find a home among adventurous loved ones who may not even realize they’d wanted a pair all along.

    For Budget Timekeepers
    Timex Unisex Fairfield 41mm Watch

    You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for an elegant, stylish watch. The Fairfield watch from Timex is modestly designed with a rose gold-tone brass case, mineral glass crystal, and an Indiglo light-up watch dial. It’s also water-resistant down to 100 feet. And for less than $60, there’s little room for buyer’s remorse.

    For Android Audiophiles
    Google Pixel Buds

    A pair of wireless earbuds can transform exercise, commutes, or daily walks with the push of a button. Google’s Pixel Buds take headphones to the next level with superior sound quality and, if you’re using a Pixel or Android 6.0+ phone, a personal translator. The Pixels offer real-time translation for conversations, as well as compatibility with Google Assistant for hands-free operation.

    For the Music-Loving Runner
    Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
    $341.81 (19% off)

    Runners will find all the stats, metrics, and features they could hope for in this fitness tracker from Garmin. It includes a GPS tracker for accurate mileage, an optional heart rate monitor, and adaptive training plans to suit your training schedule. Best of all, with Spotify compatibility, runners can easily sync their music and podcasts for those long runs and rides.

    For New BBQ Chefs
    Original PK Grill & Smoker
    PK Grills

    Let’s face it: Barbecue is not a cheap hobby. Smokers tend to cost quite a lot, but PK Grills offers a more affordable, entry-level solution for aspiring meat chefs. The cast aluminum exterior prevents rust while conducting heat more efficiently than steel. It’s a primo little grill-smoker combo for any meat enthusiast.

    For the Fledgling Roboticist
    Makeblock mBot Coding Robot Kit

    For the child with an interest in coding and robots, the Makeblock mBot Coding Robot Kit is the ultimate toy. Kids can play while learning the fundamentals of electronics and mechanics. With four extension ports, more than 100 electronic modules, and hundreds of other parts, kids have endless ways to create, play, and learn.

    More: The Coolest Robot Toys for Kids

    For Camping Enthusiasts
    BioLite Alpenglow Lantern

    Outdoor lighting is something we take for granted until we visit the great outdoors. Whether you’re camping, spending a night outside, or just trying to illuminate your backyard, the BioLite Alpenglow Lantern provides 500 lumens of color-accurate lighting for any situation. Best of all? The 6400 mAh battery doubles as an external charger for your mobile devices.

    For Reluctant Cooks
    Instant Pot
    Instant Pot
    $99.95 (33% off)

    Instant Pots may look a little… involved. But when you get down to it they’re actually quite simple—and quite convenient. This 6-quart Instant Pot is an ideal size for any family or small household, and it even includes an air fryer. Just toss in a bunch of ingredients, set the timer, and you’ll have dinner in no time. You just need to find a few recipes first.

    For the Amateur Mixologist
    Mixology Bartender Kit
    Mixology & Craft
    $47.97 (40% off)

    Every house needs a proper bar, even if you’re only a mixological dabbler. This 10-piece bartender kit includes every tool you could possibly need. There’s a shaker, muddler, strainer, spoon, corkscrew, tongs, jigger, and two liquor pourers. And all of it fits into an elegant bamboo display.

    For Travelers
    Travelrest Ultimate Memory Foam Travel Pillow

    A great travel pillow can make a relaxing journey of a lengthy ordeal. Make those long hours spent in the car or airline seat that much more bearable with a memory foam travel pillow. This one from Travelrest even packs down into a bag that’s one-quarter its original size, making for super easy transport.

    For Anyone
    Bombas Women's Socks

    At the end of the day, you can’t compete with comfort, and Bombas socks are designed, first and foremost, with comfort in mind. Available in a wide variety of colors and styles, these socks are made from a blend of fabrics to produce a super soft carriage for your tired tootsies. Gift a pair to any loved one and they’ll be sure to answer in kind.

    For Coffee Lovers
    Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

    Isn’t it strange how coffee is only good at temperature extremes—either very hot or very cold? With this smart mug, at least you’ll never have to worry about your coffee getting cold. The stainless steel, battery-rechargeable mug can warm your coffee to a chosen temperature between 120 and 145°F. And yes, you can hand wash it!

    For Lighting Artists
    Nanoleaf Canvas Starter Kit
    $149.99 (25% off)

    These fun and decorative smart lighting panels will awaken anyone’s interior designer. Lights can be arranged in any pattern to add a dash of ambient lighting to any space. It’s even touch-activated, with programmable patterns and actions that respond to hand gestures.

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