Believe it or not, great tech doesn’t have to cost you more than $50. There’s so much awesome tech out there that can make your daily life easier, more enjoyable, more modern, or all of the above.
Some picks on our list are more practical for your home, like a smart speaker or some smart plugs to sprinkle throughout your house. Others can still be useful, but serve more of a fun purpose like a smart notebook or a great pair of headphones. The best thing about all of these items is that they’re all budget-friendly but don’t skimp on quality.
Although these items may not be super practical, they are fun. And you need to relax to recharge and be productive the next day, right? Hmm, maybe these are practical items after all.
- 8bitdo Sn30+ Pro Bluetooth Controller: Equipped with rumble vibration, motion controls, and custom button mapping, this controller is an affordable beauty. You can even adjust the ranges of your triggers or the sensitivity of your joysticks to your liking. There’s a 1000mAh rechargeable battery and the controller is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, Steam, Raspberry Pi, and Nintendo Switch.
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: This three-month pass is the best possible deal in the gaming industry right now. You can also opt for the one-month pass if you’re not sure how you feel about it, and either choice gives you access to Xbox Live Gold and over 100 games to play. Like Netflix, Xbox Game Pass is constantly rotating games, but you’ll get a warning before things disappear. You’ll even get to play some games on the first day they release. Plus, you can take advantage of all the games the service has to offer on your Xbox, PC, smartphone, or tablet, and pick up where you left off with cloud saves.
- KODAK Printomatic: There’s nothing more fun than snapping shots and having the instant gratification of printing a physical picture. The KODAK Printomatic has a 5MP lens and an automatic flash that works when light levels are low. On a single charge, you can snap about 25 pictures. And you don’t have to worry about any ink cartridges or film; all you need is the KODAK Zink Photo Paper and you’re good to go. Once your pictures are printed, you’ll be happy to know they’re water-, tear-, and smudge-resistant.
- Rocketbook Smart Notebook: A lot of people might not even know that a smart notebook is a thing, but once you’ve learned it is, you’ll need one immediately. Basically, you use specialized Pilot Frixion pens, markers, or highlighters to write whatever you need, wait 15 seconds for it to dry, and then you’re good to wipe it away with a Microfiber cloth. If you want to save your notes, you can send them to most popular cloud services, including Google Drive, Evernote, or iCloud. The Executive notebook comes with 36 dotted grid pages that you can use over and over again; Rocketbook also has a Letter notebook with different page styles.
Most everyone has either a computer or a laptop (or both) that they use on a daily basis. If you’re spending a lot of time in front of a screen, having a great keyboard or an awesome speaker setup goes a long way towards making it a more enjoyable experience.
- Logitech K480: If you love to use your tablet or smartphone for work while you’re away from your office, pairing the Logitech K480 with a wireless keyboard makes working so much easier. Plus, it has a built-in cradle to hold your phone or tablet. It has a small, lightweight design, so it’s easy to cart around in a backpack. And even if you only work at your desk, this wireless keyboard is still a great fit for your desktop computer. When your keyboard is wireless, it’s easy to move around and you don’t have to worry about lugging a cable around as well. If you want a mechanical option with a more satisfying click and LED rainbow backlighting, check out the Redragon K552 keyboard.
- Razer Viper Ultralight: While this is a gaming mouse by name, you can certainly use it for work purposes as well. It has an ambidextrous design, so you can use it comfortably with either hand, along with an 8500 DPI optical sensor for a fast response. Six programmable buttons allow you to program your preferred macro functions through Razer Synapse 3. Plus, it’s colorful; there are 16.8 million Razer Chroma RGB color combinations you can choose from.
- Blue Snowball iCE Mic: If you don’t have the money to splurge on a Blue Yeti microphone, the Blue Snowball iCE mic is a fantastic alternative. There’s a custom condenser inside that makes you sound crystal clear for your zoom calls or gaming sessions with your friends. Plus, it’s compact and ready to go as soon as you plug it into your computer, laptop, or any other device with a USB 2.0 port.
- Wireless Charging Mouse Pad: If you need a mouse pad to help your mouse move more effectively, why not buy one that can also wirelessly charge your phone? This RGB mouse pad can charge any Qi-enabled device, which includes most modern smartphones. It’s an extended pad, so it’ll provide a cushy surface for your mouse, keyboard, and phone as well as your mouse. It also has 10 different lighting modes so you can switch things up if you get bored.
- Logitech Multimedia Speaker System: This affordable system comes with two speakers and a sub-woofer to boost deeper bass sounds. With the included control pod, you can control the volume and power. And all you have to do to set everything up is plug it into your computer.
A good pair of headphones or earbuds is essential for any smart device you’re using, whether it’s a phone, laptop, tablet, or something else. And if you’re on the go a lot, you’ve got to keep all your devices charged with a good portable battery.
- Anker Wireless Power Bank: Having a power bank on you at all times is essential if you’re frequently out of the house. There’s nothing worse than being away from home and realizing your phone is going to run out of battery soon. This portable battery has a 10,000mAh capacity and can provide up to 10W of wireless charging or up to 18W of wired charging via a USB-A port or USB-C port.
- Corsair HS60 Pro Gaming Headphones: Whether you’re working or gaming from a laptop or a desktop, a solid pair of headphones is essential. These over-ear wired headphones deliver 7.1 surround sound and with the memory foam ear cups, you can wear them comfortably for hours. They even come with a detachable noise-canceling microphone so you don’t have to spend extra money on a separate mic if you need one. These headphones also work with smartphones and modern gaming consoles too, including the PS5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch.
- Skullcandy Sesh Evo Earbuds: Bluetooth earbuds can often be super expensive, averaging over $100. But these in-ear buds from Skullcandy are affordable and even have built-in Tile technology so you can always find them. In between charges, these earbuds can last for up to 24 hours and they’re IP55 sweat-, water-, and dust-resistant.
Your home is easily one of the most important spaces that can benefit from upgraded tech. For example, a smart speaker can make monotonous tasks like starting your coffee maker or adjusting your thermostat easier and a little more fun. Many of the other items here can similarly boost boring daily routines.
- Anker Bluetooth Speaker: If you want a Bluetooth speaker that’s powerful enough to stand its ground in your home yet portable enough to take on outdoor excursions, this one from Anker is perfect. It’s IPX7 rated—so it’s well-protected against rain, dust, snow, and even water submersion—and the 5200mAh battery gives you up to 24 hours of nonstop play between charges. If you’re specifically wanting a Bluetooth speaker for blasting music in your shower, go for this one from iFox; it also has an IPX7 waterproof rating, but it can attach to your shower wall with a suction cup.
- Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen: If you have a smart home and Amazon’s Alexa is your virtual assistant of choice, the Echo Dot is a must. With the Echo Dot, you can play music, set timers, answer quick questions, check the weather, and more. You can use it to talk to other Amazon smart devices and control other compatible smart devices like a coffee maker, a smart scale, or smart plugs.
- Google Nest Mini: For Google homes, the Nest Mini is an excellent addition. It’s compact and easy to put in any rooms that don’t already have a Google smart device. You can use Google Assistant to check the weather or the news, carry out personalized routines, and set reminders, alarms, and timers. Plus, you can control any other smart device in your home that’s compatible with Google Assistant.
- Echo Wall Clock: For busy Amazon homes, this wall clock is super handy for staying organized and on time. The main display is an analog clock, but you can also show one or more timers set through an Amazon Echo device. This would be a great addition to a kitchen because you can have Alexa set a timer on the clock and look up to easily see how much time is left.
- Smart Plugs: Most brands are decent here, but our favorites are these smart plugs from Wyze. These are incredibly useful for enhancing smart home functionality and making your routines easier. Through the Wyze app (Android/iOS), you can control these smart plugs and set routines to start your day before you even get out of bed. They also work with Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, so you can use voice commands to control devices.
- Fire TV Stick 4K: If you don’t have a smart TV, the Fire TV stick is a huge game-changer. You can use Alexa voice commands to search for movies and launch apps. You’ll be able to download all your favorite streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and more; of course, you’ll have to purchase a separate subscription for those that require it. If you want a non-Amazon option, the Roku Stick is another fantastic option that’ll make your TV smarter.
- Wireless Charging Stand: Although it’s not a huge issue most of the time, it can be annoying to try to find your phone’s charging cable, especially if it’s dark at night. With a wireless charging stand, you never have to search for the end of a cable. Plus, if you have a smartwatch or a pair of Qi-enabled earbuds, you can charge them on this stand, too. This charging stand does work with the iPhone 12 series and AirPods, but if those are your devices of choice, the Magsafe wireless charger is a good option that’s also from Apple.
- Wyze Smart Scale: A smart scale is one of those things that you don’t know you need until you have one. In addition to measuring your weight, this scale from Wyze also tells you your body fat percentage, muscle mass, heart rate, BMI, and more. To track all your information, you can use the Wyze app (Android/iOS) or connect it with your favorite fitness apps like Apple Health or Google Fit. Being able to track all these different fitness metrics will inspire you to stay healthy and in tune with your body.
Between packages constantly being delivered while you’re not home and strange scams popping up almost every day, a home security system is well worth investing in. Wyze is an affordable, reputable brand that delivers some pretty dang good security tools, while Kangaroo offers an affordable doorbell cam option.
- Kangaroo Doorbell Cam: If you need something simple for a small apartment, this doorbell camera from Kangaroo is affordable and easy to set up. With the Kangaroo app (Android/iOS), you’ll see notifications on your smartphone when the sensor detects motion or a doorbell ring. Then, from the app, you can see who’s at the door whether it’s light or dark outside. If you have a house, you can add some extra motion sensors to your setup to cover the garage and back door.
- Wyze Cam v3: When it comes to budget security for your home, you can’t go wrong with anything from Wyze. This wired camera has an IP65 rating so it’s safe to be outside in the rain or you can use it inside your home, too. The camera automatically records video as soon as motion or sound is detected and sends a notification to your phone. There’s also two-way audio so you can talk to whoever’s at your door through the app (Android/iOS) even when you’re not home.
- Wyze Cam Pan: This inside-only camera can be used to keep an eye on your kids, pets, or just your home whether you’re away or in another room. It connects to your Wi-Fi and you can access full features via the Wyze app (Android/iOS). There’s two-way audio that you can use to speak with whoever’s on the other end wherever you are. Then, the camera even rotates horizontally and vertically so you can scan the room to look for your pet or kid if you can’t immediately see them.