Best White Elephant Gifts for Under $35

Find the perfect present at the right price for your holiday gift exchange: a top-rated product from CR's tests

Hands unwrapping a gift for White Elephant.
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White Elephant. Secret Santa. Yankee Swap. Everyone has a different name for holiday gift exchange traditions and games, whether you're celebrating the season with coworkers or having fun with your family. Whatever you call it, make sure the present you throw in the ring is one that everyone has their eyes on. From a trusty coffee grinder to a standout pair of headphones, we're here to help with these great gifts for all your White Elephant shenanigans.

Need more holiday inspiration? Check out some of our other gift guides: Top Gifts Under $50, Top Home Gifts for Under $100Top Tech Gifts for Under $100, and 10 Great Gifts for Coffee Lovers.

Go to Consumer Reports' 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.

Drip Coffee Maker
Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable 49465R
Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable...

    Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable...

    CR's take: An extraordinary value, this inexpensive drip coffee maker beat out dozens of pricier models in CR’s battery of tests. Brew performance is rated Excellent, and it can be programmed to have piping fresh coffee waiting in the morning.

    For more options: Best Drip Coffee Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests

    Cold-Brew Coffee Maker
    Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101
    Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee...

      Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee...

      CR’s take: The Primula Burke Cold Brew Coffee Maker PBPBK-5101 is the most inexpensive cold-brew coffee maker in our ratings—and it’s one of the best. It receives an Excellent rating for convenience. This Primula comes with a glass carafe, and most of its parts are dishwasher-safe. Of all the cold-brew machines we've tested, it’s the only model that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results worth the wait. 

      For more options: Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers of the Year

      Electric Kettle
      AmazonBasics Stainless Steel Electric Kettle
      AmazonBasics Stainless Steel...

        AmazonBasics Stainless Steel...

        CR’s take: This AmazonBasics kettle is made of stainless steel and is one of the least expensive kettles in our tests. It’s small, though, holding just 4 cups of water, the least of the kettles we test. It's among the fastest to bring our testing standard of 4 cups of water to a boil, clocking in at just under 4 minutes and earning a Very Good rating in our time-to-boil tests.

        For more options: Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports' Tests

        Waffle Maker
        Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian Waffle Maker
        Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian...

          Chefman Anti-Overflow Belgian...

          CR’s take: The Chefman was the only waffle maker we tested to snag a CR Best Buy designation. For far less money than most of the competition, this machine churns out evenly browned round waffles. It garners a Very Good rating for its color-range settings, meaning there’s a remarkable difference between waffles made on the darkest setting (brown and crispy) and lightest setting (light and fluffy). Pros include an indicator to let you know when the waffles are ready, the option to store it vertically to save space, and a batter cup for precise portioning. Cons: The handle and latch get uncomfortably warm during cooking, so you may want to package this with an oven mitt when you wrap it up for gift giving.

           

          For more options: Best Waffle Makers From Consumer Reports' Tests

          Toaster
          Hamilton Beach 2-slice Modern Chrome 22791
          Hamilton Beach 2-slice Modern...

            Hamilton Beach 2-slice Modern...

            CR's take: Its performance and price make the Hamilton Beach 2-slice Modern Chrome 22791 a CR Best buy. And this toaster is sleek and attractive, unlike some models in this price range. It earns an Excellent rating in our toasting-time tests. Features include wide slots along with settings for bagels and defrosting.

             

            For more options: Best Toasters From Consumer Reports' Tests

            Nonstick Frying Pan
            Red Copper Nonstick
            Red Copper Nonstick

              Red Copper Nonstick

              CR's take: Another CR Best Buy combining performance and an appealing price, this 10-inch nonstick pan is made of aluminum, and the nonstick coating is copper-colored. The pan turns out evenly cooked food that easily slides out. The nonstick coating proved fairly durable in our tests. The handle, however, isn't very sturdy but does stay cool to the touch.

              For more options: Best Frying Pans for $40 or Less

              Cast Iron Frying Pan
              Artisanal Kitchen Supply Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet (Bed Bath Beyond)
              Artisanal Kitchen Supply...

                Artisanal Kitchen Supply...

                CR’s take: The Artisanal aces our browning tests, earning an Excellent rating and making perfect scallops. It was just as good at searing a steak, too. It baked cornbread that was moist and golden brown. The downsides: This pan wasn’t great at heating up evenly, and at 8.3 pounds, it’s the heaviest in our tests, which means that when someone picks it from a stack of wrapped gifts, it'll have major heft.

                 

                For more options: Best Cast Iron Frying Pans From Consumer Reports' Tests

                Personal Blender
                Black+Decker PowerCrush PB2000G
                Black+Decker PowerCrush PB2000G

                  Black+Decker PowerCrush PB2000G

                  CR's take: The sleek PowerCrush PB2000G can crank out smoothies every morning, no problem: It earns an Excellent rating in our tests for making icy drinks. Family members and roommates will appreciate it, too, because this blender earns a Very Good rating in our noise test, meaning it’s relatively quiet. (All the other blenders we've tested rate only a Good or Fair.) Black+Decker’s personal blenders earn a Very Good rating for predicted reliability, based on data from CR’s member survey.

                   

                  For more options: Best Personal Blenders for Smoothies To-Go 

                  Food Chopper
                  Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A
                  Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A

                    Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A

                    CR's take: A top chopper in our tests, Cuisinart’s 3-cup mini prep model combines great value with solid performance. It's particularly adept at chopping (we test with almonds and onions) and grating (hard Parmesan cheese), earning it Very Good ratings in both tests.

                     

                    For more options, check our food processors and choppers ratings and buying guide.

                    Humidifier
                    Honeywell HUL520
                    Honeywell HUL520

                      Honeywell HUL520

                      CR’s take: A CR Best Buy for humidifying a small room (about 150 square feet), the Honeywell HUL520 earns Excellent ratings in almost all our tests, including those for output, convenience, noise, and efficiency. While it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong for the price.

                      For more options: Best Humidifiers From CR's Tests

                      Water Filter Pitcher
                      Pur Basic PPT700W
                      Pur Basic PPT700W

                        Pur Basic PPT700W

                        CR’s take: This Pur water filter pitcher stood out in flavor and odor reduction, earning a Very Good for performance. Its flow rate (or time to filter) was a bit slower than others we tested.

                        For more options, check our water filter ratings and buying guide.

                        Handheld Vacuum
                        Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1
                        Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1

                          Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1

                          CR’s take: Although the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser doesn’t have as many tools as other handheld vacuums, it does have robust suction and receives an Excellent rating in our carpet cleaning test. The flip side of that strength? Because its motor is relatively powerful, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser has a strong exhaust, which can blow dust around before you even get to it. An important note: This is the only corded handheld vacuum among our recommended models, so you don’t have to worry about charging it before use. But you do have to be within 16 feet of an outlet for the cord to reach.

                           

                          For more options: Best Handheld Vacuums of 2019

                          Streaming Media Device
                          Google Chromecast (3rd generation)
                          Google Chromecast (3rd generation)

                            Google Chromecast (3rd generation)

                            CR's take: The latest version of Google's disc-shaped 1080p Chromecast isn't markedly different from its predecessor, though the updated hardware does make operations a bit speedier. And while the older version was offered in a choice of colors, this time you're limited to just black or white. The good news is that its $35 price remains intact. Like all Chromecast players, there's no remote; instead, you use your smartphone or tablet to select the programs you want to watch, and then send—or "cast," in Google's parlance—content to the TV. Note that this player is limited to 1080p video; for 4K support, you'll need the Chromecast Ultra, which is also in our ratings.

                            For more options, check our streaming media ratings and buying guide.

                            Headphones
                            Scosche SportFlex 3
                            Scosche SportFlex 3

                              Scosche SportFlex 3

                              CR's take: For the office marathoner or yoga enthusiast, the inexpensive SportFlex 3 can keep up during a workout. These earbuds have earclips designed to hold them in place while you exercise, and according to the manufacturer, they're water-resistant. (CR doesn’t test this feature.) You don’t need to be a gym rat to appreciate this headphone bargain, though. Our tests show that this $15 model has dependable sound quality, whether you're heading out for a run or settling into your commute.

                              For more options: Best Budget Headphones From Consumer Reports' Tests

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                              Drip coffee makers Rated
                              Access Ratings
                              Mary Beth Quirk

                              A native Wisconsinite and avid cheese enthusiast, I've written thousands of stories—on topics ranging from product safety to the best way to cook a burger—in my six-year career as a consumer-focused journalist. I live in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I have a very hard time passing up pizza. Follow me on Twitter (@marybethquirk).