BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from Things We Love links if you decide to shop from them. Some items were already owned by our staffers, and others were sent to us for review, but nothing made the cut unless it was actually loved. We hope you love them too. Also, all prices were accurate and items in stock at the time of publication.
Tech and gadgets tend to make for great gifts. They can be fun and exciting, often fall into the “want” rather than “need” category, and some are on the pricier side, so you may not necessarily buy them for yourself.
However, not all are extravagant. Maybe you just want to find a little something that’s affordable but helpful for the techie in your life, or an unexpectedly cool gadget for the hard-to-shop-for teenager on your list.
That’s where we come in. The BuzzFeed News team had lots of enthusiastic opinions when it came to tech and gadgets that we love, so we rounded up some of our favorite products and explained why we've recommend them. Hopefully this will help you check off some names on your gifting list.
I was first introduced to this percussive massager with a devoted cult following by a friend who’s really into marathon running, and when I fired hers up and aimed that pulsating hammer at my calf muscle, it was love at first, well, hammer. Now, I’m not a marathon runner by any means, but I do run on treadmills and lift weights regularly — although only after 20 minutes of vigorous stretching mandated by my long-suffering physical therapist. I’ve found the Theragun to be the perfect post-workout tool to relieve any soreness and to prevent future injury.
There are many massage guns on the market, and while the Theragun is probably the priciest, that’s also for a reason. You can really crank it up to an incredible degree of power and go to town on any knots or tightness. It also has different attachments that can help target specific muscles, and the handle is designed in such a way that you can easily get a lot of hard-to-reach areas on your back. There’s also a smaller, less powerful, and cheaper one that is still very decent and perfect for travel, whether you’re recovering from a run or just the joys of economy-class air travel. —David Mack, Senior Breaking News Reporter
You can buy a Theragun Elite from Amazon for around $378.
Beaming some salty drum and bass into your brainpan whilst at the gym is magnificent. But let’s be real. Those earbuds can fall out...or worse, they get right skanky. These noise-canceling earphones are specifically designed for exercise, so they fit snugly in the ear and can be easily cleaned. Better yet, they cost a lot less than Apple’s offerings. —Tom Warren, Investigative Reporter
You can buy Jabra Elite 7 ActiveTrue Wireless Earbuds from Amazon for around $180.
I know that I am not alone in having a hideous power strip cordbeast at home that looks like I was cursed by a RadioShack. It just so happens that mine was in a highly visible place right along the wall next to my desk in my work-from-home setup. I had ignored this for over a year, occasionally trying to gently straighten out the sprout of cords.
Eventually, I decided enough was enough and I had to do something. Moving the powerstrip or hiding it behind furniture wasn’t a good option based on the location of my outlet. I ordered one of these cord cover boxes, and voilá! The mess of cords is now just a white box. Does it blend into the wall perfectly? Does it look elegant and perfect? Well, no, but it’s a whole lot better than a power strip of tangled cords! It’s the perfect half-assed approach to dealing with this kind of problem. Sure, I could rearrange the location of my desk or maybe even figure out a new cord/outlet combo. But that’s hard and a hassle, and I’d rather just hide the problem than deal with it. Wouldn’t you? —Katie Notopoulos, Tech News Reporter
You can buy a ShellKingdom Cable Management Box from Amazon for around $16.
Halfway through the third year of working from home, I’d had enough of juggling Bluetooth connections between phones for the speaker in our living room that my wife and I used to listen to music. I finally decided to splash out on some Sonos speakers, and don’t regret it for a moment. First I bought a Five, which fills the room with sound and would be enough on its own — but I had to go deeper (and plan for an eventual home theater setup), so I bought the Sub. For the bedroom, I bought the smaller One, which despite its size packs a bit of oomph. The speakers all connect wirelessly to my home network, and the Sonos app lets me pick whose Spotify or Tidal account I want, so everyone gets their playlists and no one's Release Radar gets hijacked by Michael Bublé because SOMEONE won’t stop listening to Christmas music. The ability for each speaker to be playing a different thing is a bonus, and you can easily use it as a speaker for a Mac through AirPlay. The retail price is steep, so my advice is to check the Refurbished section of Sonos’ site (all of my purchases were refurbished and looked new) to save tens if not hundreds of dollars. A couple times a year, the refurb site gets an even steeper discount, so if you have more patience than immediate need, keep an eye on it. —Brandon Hardin, Audience Engagement Lead Editor
If you have an older or newish phone and are willing to trade it in for a good deal, this is a good year to upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro. I reviewed the Pro (both regular size and Max) and the regular 14 out this fall when they were released, and I was honestly surprised by how much I really liked the 14 Pro Max more than my current 12 Pro Max.
Lately, each iPhone tends to be just slightly better than the last version, but since I was comparing it to the 12, it was a huge difference. And my 12 is perfectly fine! Still works great! Newish! The camera was where I saw the biggest difference. Colors were brighter and richer and images sharper and crisper. Low light–setting photos were WAY better.
The hot new thing on the 14 Pro is the “dynamic island” at the top of your screen, which is a little pill-shaped control panel that will show you what music you're playing or a few other multitasking things. It’s nice, but not the game-changer I thought it might be in daily use.
Sadly, due to the way my previous trade-in deal works, I still have a few months left on my old 12 Pro Max before I can get a deal on the latest phone, so I don’t have it…yet. But if you are eligible for a trade-in and it’s in your budget to get a new phone, do it now. —K.N.
You can buy an iPhone 14 Pro from Best Buy for around $950.
My partner and I both tend to run hot, especially at night while sleeping. With the AC and fan running, I still spend a lot of time flipping the covers on and off. My partner’s solution was to try a ChiliSleep cube sleep system. It’s a mattress liner pad that contains a cooling system within it where cold water is funneled through little tubes all night long. It’s attached to a quiet little unit that sits under the bed and which turns the flow on and off and allows you to set a desired temperature. The pads come in different sizes for different mattresses. You can even just get a half-sized one if only one of you needs it. The result is like sleeping on the cool side of the pillow all night long. —D.M.
You can buy the ChiliSleep Cube Sleep System from Amazon for around $879.
Long gone are my days of being woken up by my cat at 5 a.m. yowling like she hasn’t seen a piece of food in days! The Faroro Automatic Feeder lets you set up to six meals and you can customize the time it dispenses and how many portions, and you can even add a recorded sound to play at mealtimes! It has given my cat and me so much peace of mind not only when I take trips, but in the day to day. When I adopted my cat, her food habits pointed to food insecurity in her past life — scarfing down her entire meal at once, constantly asking for more food, etc. The feeder has brought assurance that she will get food throughout the day, a little at a time and at the exact same time every day. She no longer sees me as a means to get a meal, so I receive a lot more love. —Maddie Abuyuan, Graphic Designer
You can buy the Faroro Automatic Dog and Cat Food Dispenser from Amazon for around $60.
Sure, having a regular printer is practical. So much of adult life in 2022 is somehow still tied to being able to print some random thing: a shipping label, a coupon that can’t be scanned from your phone for some reason, etc. But I want something frivolous! Something that gives me the same accomplishments of “having” a printer without any of the boring stuff. The PoooliPrinter was the answer. It’s a small printer that looks like a weird little bird and has limited but joyous functions: to print out helpful reminders and funny memes.
Outside of its looks, the PoooliPrinter is also quite convenient. It’s a thermal printer, so it doesn’t require any ink — eliminating the worst problem with any printer, buying expensive ink all of the time — so the only thing you have to worry about is restocking the paper. You can customize templates or start from scratch in the app to create any kind of message, but there’s also something satisfying about thinking of something silly to put on your wall (or to give to a friend) and have it magically come out from this machine in seconds. PoooliPrint also offers rolls of paper in different colors as well as sticky rolls to print out custom stickers. There are more expensive models that have higher DPIs for photos or a larger surface area, but if you’re just looking to print out a wallet-sized version of the Sickos meme to wistfully look at from time to time, the L1 is perfect. —Cody Corrall, Audience Engagement Editor
You can buy the PoooliPrinter from Amazon for around $80.
There is an inherent design flaw with most wall-mounted flatscreen TVs. The speakers are at the back, meaning all those delicious soundwaves are headed straight into your neighbor’s living room rather than toward you on the sofa. I’m often left watching telly and unable to understand a word the actors are saying. This small, great-value unit goes in front of the TV, improving the sound quality to no end. And the bass is not too bad, so if you ever want to pop some tunes on through the television, it does the job. —T.W.
You can buy the JVC Compact Sound Bar from Best Buy for around $130.
I’ve never been great at cable management, but I finally reached my breaking point earlier this year, with my toddler always trying to grab the five power cords dangling off my desk (connections for my computer, monitor, Ember mug (another cool gift for people who like their warm drink with a side of technology), desk lamp, and standing desk motor). After trying to find something more functional than a large power strip, I settled on the APC Desk Mount Power Station, and now there’s only one power cord dangling down for my toddler to lunge for. It’s unobtrusive, and the built-in USB-A and USB-C connections keep all my devices charged so I can keep posting as hard as possible. —B.H.
You can buy the APC Desk Mount Power Station from Amazon for around $53.
Nothing is worse than being stranded with a dead battery. These portable jump starters have enough charge to get your car going. And better yet, they also double as power banks so if you need to charge your phone or even a laptop, you can. They are small, simple to use, and can just be thrown in your boot (or trunk, if you’re in the US) for when you need it. —T.W.
You can buy a Noco Boost Starter from Amazon for around $80.
I never thought I’d have strong opinions about tea kettles, because they have just one function — boil water — and what could be less exciting? Boiling water is the culinary equivalent of watching paint dry, or so I thought. Then I got into making pour-over coffee and invested in a pricey gooseneck tea kettle designed to get the temperature and flow of hot water juuuuuust right. That it did, along with leaking hot water out of the bottom every time it reached the boiling point. Frustrated with this expensive mistake, I looked for a low-cost replacement. (Turns out, I really can’t tell the difference in coffee made with a slow or a fast pour.) I bought a Chefman Electric Kettle, and found myself getting an absurd amount of enjoyment from it. It’s made of clear glass, so you can watch the water boil, and it’s a like a little disco party, glowing with light as the water bubbles away. (The light clicks off when the water is ready.) My kettle has a blue light, but newer models that I’ve purchased as gifts for other people have more features like multiple-colored lights, a swivel base, a variety of temperature settings, and better designed buttons. Fun! If you like tea, it comes with an infuser that you can fill and insert after the water boils, to make an entire pot. (I’ve only done that once or twice so can’t speak to how well that works on the regular.) It’s nice that I don’t have to use my gas stove to heat water, but it does have some features that other reviewers don’t love. (Like the fact that you can’t remove the lid, so it’s kind of a pain to fill.) However, I find that to be a relatively minor problem and still would recommend for the sheer enjoyment I get from the design. Can you heat up water in a pan on the stove? Sure, but who wouldn’t want to have a lil’ disco party instead? —Theresa Tamkins, Health Editor
You can buy a Chefman Electric Kettle from Amazon for about $39.
You know the basic rubber strap that the least expensive Apple Watch comes with by default? I wore that sucker for years. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but the rubber made my wrists sweat, especially during workouts, and about once a week, I had to soap it down because it smelled gross. So when I got the new Apple Watch Series 8 this year, I decided to spring for a nicer brand.
The braided solo loop, which I chose, is a stretchy piece of yarn that fits around my wrist. Apple’s website says it’s made of “16,000 recycled polyester yarn filaments around ultrathin silicone threads using advanced, precision-braiding machinery, then laser cutting the band to an exact length for a custom fit.”
Unlike most other Apple Watch bands that have a clasp or a loop of some kind to keep them in place, the braided solo loop is a single piece. You’ll need to measure your wrist to make sure you choose the correct size. You can print out a wrist measurement tool from Apple’s website or walk into an Apple Store to try sizes on in person, which I recommend. I chose a fit that was slightly tighter on my wrist because Apple said that the band can stretch out a little over time.
This is the most comfortable Apple Watch band I’ve ever tried. It stays in place snugly during workouts and lets my wrist breathe overnight because I wear my Watch to bed to track my sleep.
The only bad thing I can say about it is the price — it costs $99 stand-alone, and $50 if you buy it along with an Apple Watch. —Pranav Dixit, Technology Reporter
You can buy the Apple Watch Braided Solo Loop from Apple for around $99.
Recently, I bought a Quest 2, Meta’s virtual reality headset, to check out Horizon Worlds aka the “metaverse.” Unfortunately, the metaverse turned out to be hot garbage, a buggy mess of an experience where you float around legless-ly with strangers in a world that looks worse than a 20-year-old video game.
Then I discovered Supernatural. It’s a virtual reality fitness experience that is so good that Meta bought Within, the company that makes Supernatural. The FTC recently sought to block that move because it thinks that Meta should compete on its own terms instead of trying to “buy its way to the top.”
As someone who did CrossFit for three years before the pandemic struck, I was skeptical about working out with a large white box jammed over my face. But Supernatural knocked the wind out of me. Within 10 minutes, I was on the floor in a pool of sweat, heart hammering madly — something I haven't experienced since my last CrossFit workout a year or so ago.
The classic Supernatural workout is called “Flow.” When you fire one up, you’re immediately immersed into a breathtaking locale — on top of the Great Wall of China, for instance, or the Galapagos islands, or the Temple of Horus in Egypt — in gorgeous, photorealistic VR. Then you get your entire body to work, smashing targets flying at you with virtual clubs, squatting to dodge virtual triangles, lunging, and doing knee lifts in time to the beat.
The beat, by the way, comes courtesy of tracks from popular artists — Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Katy Perry, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, The Jackson Five, and many more. There are even songs from Broadway musicals, oldies from the 80s and the 90s, and Disney classics. (Nothing beats swinging your batons through the air and smashing some stuff while belting out “Circle of Life” at the same time.)
Flow isn’t the only kind of workout with Supernatural. You can also box, stretch, and meditate. (No target smashing here, just sitting and breathing and taking in the beautiful landscape around you.)
Admittedly, you do look completely ridiculous to anyone looking at you while you’re working out in VR. —P.D.
You can get a subscription to Supernatural for around $15 per month.
You can buy the Quest 2 VR Headset on Amazon for about $400.
When Apple launched its latest iPad in October, reviewers said it was confusing. The device that Apple simply labels “iPad” (versus the iPad Air and the iPad Pro) is usually the baseline tablet in the iPad lineup, and hence the cheapest.
But the new iPad, which packs the same processor as the iPhone 12, a phone that came out more than two years ago, starts at $449, because Apple kept the older version (9th generation) around, with a lower price of $329.
What you get for the price bump is the same, sleek design as its more expensive siblings, the iPad Air ($599) and the iPad Pro ($1,099). The sides are flat, the Home button is gone, and TouchID is now in the power button on the top, just like it is in the more expensive iPads.
Crucially, Apple has moved the camera to the longer side now, which means when you do video calls in landscape mode, you’ll finally be looking at the camera and not off to the side.
Apple sent me a loaner iPad to try, so it’s hard to say if I would have bought this when the 9th generation iPad, which is still good enough for everything that most people who aren’t graphic designers or video editors can throw at it, is still around for a lot less. But if you have a little more cash to spare, the 10th generation iPad is the one to get, if nothing else, for the design alone. —P.D.
You can buy an iPad 10th Generation from Target for around $449.
I happen to love my little house, and feel lucky to have it — but you know what I don’t love? The fact that one of my favorite rooms, a sunroom with original windows, is drafty as hell. Since we happen to spend a lot of time in that room, we always have a blanket or two handy, which are lifesavers on particularly cold days. Last year, however, I finally purchased an electric lap blanket because, winter. This one had 4.4 out of 5 stars and more than 3,000 reviews. It’s cozy, has three settings, and is machine washable and dryer safe. It’s the perfect size for snuggling up on the couch. Since it’s held up so well, it will likely make my gift list this year too. —T.T.
You can buy this Homde Heated Blanket Electric Throw on Amazon for $38.