Best Deals Under $50
Great headphones, trusty coffee makers, and more
You don't need to look far to find deals priced at less than $50. But it's difficult to know whether those cheap headphones are a bona fide steal or a candidate for the Return Label Express.
That's why we went searching through low-cost options looking for the most promising deals on items, including headphones, smart speakers, and kitchen gadgets.
Keep in mind that these prices are accurate at the time of publication, but some deals may sell out and prices can change throughout.
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Streaming Devices and Speakers
Amazon Echo Show 5 Smart Speaker
The speaker isn't going to wow you with music playback, according to our testers. But if you just want a smart speaker with a screen that won’t break the bank, the Show 5 may be a great option. With a 5-inch screen, it’s also much smaller than its counterparts, the Echo Show 8 and Show 10.
CR’s test results: Amazon Echo Show 5 smart speaker
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
This 4K version of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick offers a nice array of content and features, including voice control and support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+. Bonuses include the ability to control it from Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo or Dot and the included remote, which can be used to control power and volume on many TVs and sound bar speakers.
CR's test results: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K streaming device
Roku Streaming Stick +
This streaming device usually costs $49, so the $10 discount is a great chance to make it easier to watch your favorite shows. The Roku platform gives you the ability to access all your streaming services in one place, offering a category-leading assortment of channels so that you don't have to switch between multiple devices.
CR's test results: Roku Streaming Stick+ streaming device
JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless Earphones
Even at full price, the JLab Audio JBuds Air earphones deliver impressive sound quality for the money, beating some competitors that cost more than three times as much and earning them a spot in CR’s picks for the best true wireless headphones of 2021. So when you can save 30 percent, it’s an even bigger bargain.
The JBuds Air have an advertised 3.5-hour battery life and come with a carrying case that will recharge the earphones for an additional two cycles. Other features include support for various digital assistants, three switchable EQ modes to change the tonal balance of the sound, and, according to JLab, water resistance. (We don’t test that feature.)
CR’s test results: JLab Audio JBuds Air headphones
Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse
This model has been on sale for a few weeks, and Amazon's price has fallen a few bucks in that time. It looks a bit more like a traditional mouse than some other ergonomic options. The shape and exaggerated thumb rest help to reduce forearm stress but do little to relieve wrist strain. The device has five programmable buttons and a dedicated Windows Start button, making it better for PC users than Mac users. The Microsoft Sculpt is designed specifically for right-handed users.
Samsung 9W Wireless Charging Pad
Samsung makes two of the best wireless chargers CR has tested, and they're both on sale right now. This charging pad, which is about $7 more than last week but still a good discount, is relatively compact and has a built-in cooling fan for faster charging. The round status indicator changes color when the device is fully charged. But it takes up to 30 seconds to alert you if the device is positioned incorrectly on the charging pad, and that can be a nuisance if you’ve already walked away and didn’t notice. The 4-foot-long standard microUSB power cable can be replaced without much hassle if you need more length.
Kitchen & Home
Chefman InstaCoffee Pod Coffee Maker
The Chefman InstaCoffee brewer outperforms $200 machines, with stellar ratings in all our tests, including first-cup speed. You won’t get many features at this price, though. This Chefman’s only features are an auto-shutoff and the ability to brew from K-Cups or loose grounds.
CR’s test results: Chefman InstaCoffee pod coffee maker
Zojirushi Conventional Rice Cooker
This budget rice cooker from Zojirushi has one of the best scores for cooking rice and is one of the fastest tested in CR’s labs. The reason it’s so low-priced compared with Zojirushi’s popular induction model? It’s bare-bones when it comes to controls and features. It has a single button to cook rice, and that’s it. No preset cooking options, no keep-warm feature, not even an audio indicator for when the rice is done. But it’s still a great option, thanks to its cooking capabilities, low price, and small size.
CR’s test results: Zojirushi NHS-06 3-cup rice cooker