Amazon, Walmart and even your local drug stores are all awash with dirt-cheap tech accessories — but are they actually any good? Well, look no further: We’ve assembled a nice list of accessories — stuff like chargers, battery packs, cables and headphones — that get the job done. While these don’t all have full CNET reviews, they’re products we’ve used and like. And though nothing here may be particularly “sexy” or exciting, they’re all the sort of things that will be indispensable during the holidays in beyond. (Especially a week later, when you realize you threw out that box that had the charger and headphones that came with your phone.)
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So without further ado, here are some of our favorite cheap and useful tech gifts.
A great, cheap wireless speaker
The Sony XB01 is splashproof and available in multiple colors — and it sounds great for the price.
Add wireless audio to any old stereo
Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter
The Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter adds wireless audio — from phones, tablets or computers — to any old stereo, AV receiver or boombox with an auxiliary input. It’s cheaper than the Chromecast Audio, and doesn’t require a Wi-Fi network.
2-pack for the price of 1
Anker Dual USB Charger
This little guy isn’t much larger than default phone chargers, but its dual USB ports mean it can charge your phone and a second device — wireless headphones, maybe, or even another phone — simultaneously. The plug folds up for easy traveling, too. And you can snag a two-pack for under $20. (Note that it’s not just a rebadged version of the Aukey, and it doesn’t get as hot as that one does, either.)
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C
This handy SanDisk thumb drive has both USB-C and standard USB-A connectors, making it the perfect way to transfer files between any two computers, including newer MacBook and Windows laptops. It also works with many newer USB-C Android phones, too. The 64GB model can be found for under $20, and the 128GB one is under $35.
It’s a flashlight, too
Black & Decker Lightdriver Cordless Screwdriver
It’s a cordless screwdriver! It’s a flashlight! It’s a cordless screwdriver and a flashlight! This handy Black & Decker has an adjustable pistol grip and includes standard and Philips head bits (you can use third-party ones, too). It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and the LED light can be toggled on and off independently, so it works as a good ol’ flashlight in a pinch, too. All for about $25.
No more slipping cables
Silk Magnetic Cable Wrangler
Hate it when those charging cables slip behind the nightstand? The Cable Wrangler solves that problem: It’s literally just a big magnet, and it includes three tiny “collars” (as shown on the white cable here) if the cable head doesn’t have enough metal to stay put on its own. The entry-level model is $20, and you can pay extra to get a Lightning cable and wall charger thrown in the box.
Alexa, Siri and Google compatible
Belkin WeMo Mini
Want more flexibility in your smart home gifts? The Belkin WeMo Mini will work with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home or Apple’s Siri (HomeKit), so it can turn any lamp into a smart lamp — regardless of which voice assistant is in use.
One cord to do it all
Anker Power Strip 3
Anker calls it a “power strip” — and it is. But the unique shape of this baseball-sized electrical wonder makes it perfect to tuck under — or leave on top of — any desk. The perfect answer for our modern plugspreading world, it’ll fit three any-sized AC adapters, plus three USB cords.
Anker PowerCore II 6700
OK, this one is $1 over our $25 budget here, but I think it’s worth it: The Anker PowerCore II 6700 is pocketable and its 6700mAh rechargeable battery can juice up giant-screen phones and nearly any other portable device. (If you want a sub-$25 version, opt for the PowerCore 5000, which costs a bit less.)
Looking for more cheap picks? Check out our complete list below.
More holiday gift picks
The best tech gifts of the year: CNET’s top picks
CNET’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Gift recommendations at all price points.