Top Gifts Under $50
These well-rated products from CR's tests will brighten anyone's holiday
At Consumer Reports, we take our stocking stuffers seriously—because we know that a well-priced, useful product can bring much joy. Browse our specially curated roundup of top-rated product picks, starting as low as $15.
Go to Consumer Reports' Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more.
Coffee & Tea
The feature-rich Bella Pro Series 90061 does very well across the board in our performance tests. It comes with an auto-shutoff, a permanent filter, a small-batch setting, and brew-strength control. Plus, you can program it to brew at a certain time, say, 15 minutes before you wake up. This model has a sleek, black stainless steel finish and is relatively inexpensive compared with the competition. Bella drip machines earn a Very Good rating for predicted reliability, according to our latest member survey.
For more options: Best Drip Coffee Makers
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. It’s the only model that calls for a full 24-hour brew time, but you might find the results to be worth the wait.
For more options: Best Cold-Brew Coffee Makers
This Cuisinart coffee grinder earns a Good rating in overall performance and is a breeze to clean. It also features dial, button, and slider controls, and can hold about 8 ounces of coffee. At this price—around $50—it's a solid pick for turning out a tasty cup of joe.
For more options: Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders
This AmazonBasics kettle is made of stainless steel, and it's 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 tested. 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. This kettle is a little harder to clean than some of the other models we tested. The warranty lasts one year.
For more options: Best Electric Kettles From Consumer Reports' Tests
The 10-inch Member’s Mark nonstick aluminum pan turns out evenly cooked food that easily slides out of the pan. The nonstick coating withstood all 2,000 steel-wool strokes in CR's durability test. The handle gets a little warm to the touch, though, and isn’t very sturdy, which is true for most nonstick frying pans in this price range. It’s dishwasher-safe and oven-safe up to 400° F.
For more options: Best Nonstick Frying Pans
Lodge has been making cast-iron frying pans in its Tennessee foundry since 1896. It's one of the few surviving iconic American brands. This 12-inch Lodge cast-iron pan is top-notch at browning scallops and earns an Excellent rating for searing a steak. Baking is only so-so, though. Heating evenness is also mediocre. It weighs 7.8 pounds, which is about average.
For more options: Best Cast-Iron Frying Pans
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). It has an indicator light 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. However, the handle and latch get uncomfortably warm during cooking, despite the “cool touch” claims, so you may want to use an oven mitt when opening and closing the lid.
For more options: Best Waffle Makers
Its relatively good price and performance make the Farberware HF-919B air fryer a CR Best Buy. It’s among the quietest of the models we’ve tested, earning an Excellent rating in our noise tests. The dials are fairly easy to read and use, but the nooks and crannies of the food basket make it tough to clean. The basket’s measured capacity is 3.2 quarts. The two-year warranty is longer than the warranties of most of the models we tested.
For more options: Best Air Fryers
The 500-watt Oster 800 Series BLSTKH-GMO-000 earns a Very Good rating in our puréeing tests, serving up fairly smooth smoothies and soups with tiny bits in the mix. Many of the blenders in our ratings have a plastic container, but the Oster has a 6-cup glass jar. That means it's heavier and more prone to breaking than plastic, but it doesn't absorb odors and stains the way plastic does. Oster is the only blender brand in our ratings to snag a Very Good rating for reliability (better than most).
For more options: Best Blenders for $100 or Less
In our lab tests, this nicely priced hand mixer outperformed models costing twice as much. It’ll turn whipping cream into fluffy peaks in seconds. Stiff cookie dough, which undoes many bargain mixers, proved no problem. You won’t get much in the way of add-ons, but its wire beaters do just fine.
For more options, check our buying guide and ratings for mixers.
The Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A is a 3-cup chopper that combines great value with solid performance. In our tests, it was particularly adept at chopping almonds and onions, and grating Parmesan cheese, though other choppers were better at puréeing. This model is ideal if you have limited counter space—it takes up as much counter space as a postcard.
For more options: Best Food Processors and Choppers
Bed & Bath
Give the gift of cool, sweet dreams: The Beckham Luxury Linens Hotel Collection pillow has a 100 percent cotton cover and a filling of 100 percent polyester gel-fiber. The manufacturer claims that the materials in the Beckham pillow keep it cool. To that end, it did ace our test for breathability, and also scored top marks when it comes to resiliency—which means it will hold its shape well over time. Plus, at around $35 for a two-pack, it's a good value.
For more options: Best Pillows
Luxe Bidet Neo 120
According to a recent user study CR conducted, having a bidet has been a huge relief for some people these days. For those looking for an inexpensive bidet solution, the Luxe Neo 120 bidet attachment is your best bet. It’s a bare-bones sprayer with two dials—one to turn on the water, the another to adjust water pressure.
For more options: Bidet Review: 'I Have Less Toilet Paper Anxiety'
Help your loved ones stay hydrated this winter: A top model for humidifying a small room (up to 100 square feet), the HoMedics cool-mist humidifier earns an Excellent rating in almost all of our tests, including those for output, noise, and efficiency. It also has an automatic shutoff feature.
For more options: Best Humidifiers
Kodak Printomatic Instant
If patience isn’t your loved one's strong suit, consider this: The Kodak Printomatic is the fastest instant camera among the six we reviewed, producing a fully printed photo just 38 seconds after the shutter is pressed. Once complete, the photos have sticky backing, allowing you to put them up anywhere you see fit. The model also stores photos on the SD card at a higher resolution than the other zero-ink cameras we tried, which is nice if you want to order a larger print down the road.
For more options: Best Instant Cameras: How Six Would-Be Polaroid Replacements Stack Up
This over-ear wireless model is usually available for around $50, a steal given the superb noise-canceling performance and above-average sound quality. The BT-300ANC features integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and transport. According to Monoprice, the battery will run for 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on. (CR doesn't test battery life in headphones.) You can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable, which is included.
For more options: Noise-Canceling Headphones on a Budget
For the price, these earphones deliver impressive sound quality, beating some competitors that cost more than three times as much. 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.)
For more options: Best True Wireless Earphones
JBL takes aim at runners with the Endurance Sprint. These wireless earphones deliver solid audio quality and have a claimed 8-hour battery life and integrated touch controls for volume, playback, and calling. According to JBL, they’re waterproof. That means they can take more than a splash or a dousing from the rain during your next run. You could even take them into a pool for a few laps.
For more options: Great Workout Headphones
The latest version of the Echo Dot features radically revamped styling—a spherical look that's a shrunken version of the larger and more expensive Echo, which is also all-new. In terms of smart speaker performance, the Dot hasn't changed much from its hockey-puck-like predecessor, and still works about as well as the company's more expensive models. That's because most of Alexa's heavy duty Artificial Intelligence work is done on Amazon's cloud servers. Which makes the Dot a good value in that regard. Our testers find the newest Dot to sound somewhat better than the last generation, with slightly clearer highs and a bit more bass. However, the Dot is still best for listening close-by to a podcast rather than filling a room with music. It's worth noting that if you've got young ones on your list, it comes in a $60 Kids Edition as well, which features Panda and Tiger graphics and a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+.
For more options: Best Smart Speakers
Known for its top-notch DVRs, TiVo is now taking aim at the Apple TV and Roku models with the TiVo Stream 4K. The small, rectangular dongle plugs into a TV’s HDMI port and runs on the Google Android platform, with a proprietary TiVo app for searches and content recommendations. The device supports 4K videos, the HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG HDR formats, and Dolby Atmos sound. It comes with a tiny peanut-shaped TiVo remote, but you can also use voice commands with the built-in Google Assistant.
For more options: Best 4K Streaming Media Devices
At $50, the Amazon Fire 7 tablet is a great gift option, especially for kids. The 7-inch tablet lets you create profiles for individual users, tailoring home screens and app selection to each member of the family. (By contrast, Apple's iPad supports only one user profile.) And the built-in microSD card reader is a handy, low-cost way to expand the device's storage capacity using memory cards. Just keep in mind that the display quality is not as crisp as what you find on an iPad. The processing power is more limited, too. The same goes for Amazon's app store offerings.
For more options: Best Cheap Laptops and Tablets
The Samsung 9W is relatively compact and has a built-in cooling fan for faster charging. The round status indicator light changes color when the device is fully charged but takes up to 30 seconds to alert you if the device is positioned incorrectly on the charging pad—which can be a nuisance if you’ve already walked away. The 4-foot-long standard microUSB power cable can be replaced without much hassle.
For more options: Best Wireless Chargers for Your Smartphone and Other Devices
Adesso iMouse E1
This mouse places the forearm, wrist, and hand in a handshake position, greatly reducing forearm pronation. When properly oriented, it also reduces wrist extension. Note, however, that the natural position with the front facing forward requires slight extension. The model features six programmable buttons, two dpi settings (1000/1600), and a glossy finish that picks up fingerprints easily and may make the palm and fingers feel sweaty. For a similarly priced left-handed option, check out the Adesso iMouse E9.
For more options: The Best Ergonomic Mouse for You