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The Verge’s 2021 home tech holiday gift guide

Spruce up your digs with some clever gadgets

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Illustration by Richard Parry

Home is what you make it, so why not make it as awesome as possible? Sometimes, that can be done by just hanging up a sentimental photo in a frame or spritzing things up occasionally with some flowers or a new piece of furniture. Every now and again, however, you just need to gift yourself some crafty home tech goodies or buy them for someone you care about. Not every item in the list below has a circuit board built into it — though many of them do; instead, what ties them all together is that, in small ways, they’ll make your home look better and operate more smoothly, and perhaps let you relax a little more.

We’ve consulted the minds at The Verge for their ideas, and what follows are a couple of dozen gift ideas for anyone who’s looking to liven up their abode with some clever home tech. From an affordable robot vacuum and smart lighting to a 4K TV that moonlights as a Monet when not in use, there’s something for everyone on our list. In fact, in an effort to appeal to even more people (and in time for the holidays), we’ve added a couple of more options, specifically the Abode Cam 2 and Amazon’s excellent Smart Thermostat.

price range:

Sideclick Universal Remote Attachment

It's tough to find a single remote that can control all of your various entertainment devices. Luckily, Sideclick comes to the aid with clever attachments that clip onto the side of popular remotes, giving them more functionality than before.
Price: $13 to $15

Amazon Echo Dot (fourth-gen)

Amazon's ball-shaped Echo Dot is a low-cost but good-sounding investment, whether you need a smart speaker for checking the weather, jamming out, or listening to podcasts. Buying two allows you to create an affordable stereo setup, but one should get the job done in most rooms.
Price: $30

Instant Pot Duo

If you've ever seen a recipe and thought, "How do I make this with relative ease and without dirtying a ton of cookware?" the Instant Pot is your answer. This six-quart model — which can function as a rice cooker, pressure cooker, and other tabletop appliances — is the gift that keeps on giving, and you and everyone you know should have one.
Price: $89 to $90

Nanoleaf Elements Wood Look Smarter Kit

The Nanoleaf Elements Wood Smarter Kit seems great if you want to add some unique lighting accents to your home. The wood-like design of the panels gives them a more sophisticated look than some other smart lights, yet they offer similar functionality and an easy setup process. This particular kit comes with seven panels, a controller, and everything you need to mount them in your home.
Price: $230

Samsung The Frame (55-inch)

The Frame is a sight to behold. Sure, its 120Hz refresh rate looks silky smooth at 4K resolution, but it's the clever design that truly helps it stand out. Samsung's TV can double as home decor, displaying gorgeous artwork when it's not in use.
Price: $1,198 to $1,200

Philips Hue Smart Bulb Starter Kit

Whether you're dipping a toe into the world of smart home tech or you're more experienced, Philips Hue's starter kit is a smart buy if you want to outfit your home with a reliable smart bulb system. The popular bundle includes four white and color A19 bulbs, as well as a Hue Bridge, which allows you to set routines and add up to 50 lights.
Price: $199 to $200

Stagg EKG Electric Kettle

You don't need to spend much to get a decent electric water kettle. But if you, or whoever you're buying for, has exquisite taste in both gadget design and in hot beverages, Stagg's luxe EKG Electric Kettle might be a solid match.
Price: $159+

Govee Immersion TV Backlights

Govee's Immersion Kit can make your movies, games, and TV shows more immersive with backlighting to match the colors of your content. The setup might take some dedication, but the results look like something out of an art installation, regardless of whether you mount the LED light strips to the top or bottom of your TV.
Price: $65 to $67

Sonos Beam (second-generation)

The latest Sonos Beam is an elegant, low-profile soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos for better positional audio. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant and can tie into your other Sonos speakers to make a bigger soundstage.
Price: $449 to $450

Ruggable rug

While it's not tech per se, a washable rug from Ruggable is a savvy purchase nevertheless if you want a rug that you can simply toss in the wash when it's in need of a cleaning. They're great if you own pets, and because they come in all shapes and sizes, it's easy to find one suitable for your space.
Price: $89+

OtterBox OtterSpot Wireless Charging System

Otterbox's clever OtterSpot charging system packs multiple battery-powered wireless chargers in one bundle. If you have multiple devices that support Qi charging at home, this might be a gadget that you wished you'd heard about earlier.
Price: $90 to $100

SodaStream Terra

The only cure for an addiction to La Croix is more sparkling water. Thankfully, if you can't get enough of the stuff, SodaStream's Terra is a kitchen gadget that will help you make some on the spot. Each Co2 cylinder can carbonate up to 60 liters of water, and the Terra comes with a reusable bottle that's easy to toss in the fridge for later.
Price: $76 to $80

Ooni Koda 16 Gas-Powered Pizza Oven

It can be tough to make a pizza at home that looks and tastes just like pizza shops. Ooni's Koda 16 gas-powered oven makes it easier to do that, though, reaching up to 950 degrees fahrenheit and allowing you to make 16-inch pizzas in just one minute.
Price: $599 to $600

Coway Airmega 200M

Coway's Airmega 200M is a slim, relatively compact HEPA air purifier. It's great for people who have seasonal allergies and for those who live in areas with high amounts of air pollution or seasonal wildfire activity. Its replaceable, four-stage filtration system is remarkably efficient, too, whether operating in your bedroom or living room.
Price: $149

LectroFan Evo

White noise machines aren't exactly the coolest kind of gadget, but they're essential if you're someone who struggles to fall (and stay) asleep. LectroFan's Evo is useful at lulling you to sleep at home and small enough to bring along while travelling.
Price: $45

Joyce Chen Carbon Steel Wok

As techies know, it's great to have the right cable when you need it. Likewise, it's just as ideal to have the right kind of pan for whatever you're cooking up. If you're making a stir fry or deep-frying some food, Joyce Chen's carbon steel wok is an affordable kitchen gadget worth getting.
Price: $55

Ikea Symfonisk picture frame

Ikea's Symfonisk frame has an awesome party trick: it has a Sonos speaker built into it. It's not the most powerful speaker, but at least you won't have to compromise when deciding whether to add a discrete piece of artwork or a little bass to your living room wall. Why not both?
Price: $199

Breville Immersion Blender

Breville's immersion blender is a kitchen essential — a gadget that's perfect for making one-off dressings and sauces or blending chunky stews into purees without changing pots.
Price: $120

Meross Smart Plug Mini (four-pack)

Meross' four-pack of smart Wi-Fi plugs are an excellent value if you're looking for a cost-effective way to control some "dumb" devices with smart assistants like Siri, Alexa, or Google Assitant.
Price: $35

Whiskey Peaks Mt. Fuji Set

Whiskey glasses are a gifting staple, and Whiskey Peaks makes some of the most unique. Each 11.5-ounce glass is handblown and features a raised topographic impression of Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest peak. It’s a subtle reminder to get outside for those who’ve spent the better part of the last two years indoors.
Price: $30

Amazon Fire TV Omni Series

These 4K Ultra HD Fire TVs are feature-rich and deliver world-class entertainment from the comfort of home. Hands-free voice controls with Alexa enhance the entertainment experience by using your voice to turn on the TV, find shows and control playback. It’s an all-in-one entertainment device for streaming, cable TV, music, cloud gaming, and more. Smart home features like Live View Picture-in-Picture let you check smart cameras without interrupting your TV show, including a feed from your Ring video doorbell when someone is at the door. The Fire TV Omni Series is available in 43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, and 75” model sizes, including Dolby Vision support on 65” and 75” model sizes.
Price: $299+

Lenovo Smart Clock 2

Lenovo's new Smart Clock 2 has more utility than some other smart displays. Its high-end kit includes a wireless charging pad, letting it serve as a smart alarm and gadget-refilling device all-in-one.
Price: $70

Facebook Portal Go

Facebook's Portal Go is a portable, battery-powered version of its video-chatting smart display that has AR effects and a camera that can follow you around the room. Even if you're constantly on the go, you can still join video calls via Wi-Fi, as well as enjoy audio and video content from popular apps.
Price: $149 to $150

Oxo Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher

Mashed potatoes are a timeless holiday tradition, like eggnog or your cousin Randall arguing with your mom over the election. Oxo’s stainless-steel masher is both sturdy and compact, giving you a way to break down not only potatoes, but avocados, nuts, and range of different food types with ease. Price: $15

Gaiatop Space Heater

At first glance, Gaiatop’s ceramic space heater doesn’t seem all that capable given its small stature. Nonetheless, if your giftee is someone who tends to throw on an oversized parka while working from home, this retro-looking device can kick out a surprising amount of heat or function as fan, if needed. It even automatically shuts off when tipped over — a common occurrence if you have pets.
Price: $34

Ember Mug 2

Ember's Mug 2 ensures that your cup o' joe, tea, or whatever else you might be drinking stays toasty for an extended period of time. Regardless of the size that you get, this device can keep your drink hot for over an hour, and the app lets you fine-tune the temperature to your liking.
Price: $100 to $130

Yeedi K650 robot vacuum

The Yeedi K650 might not offer lidar or smart pathing, but sometimes fancy is overrated. What the budget-friendly robovac does have are three suction levels, great battery life, and a sizable compartment that won’t require you to empty its bin every five minutes. You can even pick up a self-empty station to go with it for under $500 total, an undisputed bargain in the robovac world.
Price: $110

Traeger Ironwood 650 Wi-Fi smoker

Whether you primarily smoke meats, veggies, or a combination of the two, Traeger's Ironwood 650 Wi-Fi-enabled smoker is the ultimate cooking gadget. Unlike traditional smokers, this one has a companion app that lets you monitor and adjust the cooking temperature, check your timer, and see how many of the pellets are remaining, among other actions.
Price: $1,400

Orbit B-hyve XR sprinkler controller

One of the worst parts of being a homeowner is tending to your grass if you have a lawn. If you're looking for some help, however, Orbit's B-hyve sprinkler controller can water your property on a set schedule and can even auto-adjust its routine based on local weather patterns.
Price: $135

Abode Cam 2

The Abode Cam 2 is a low-cost, wired security camera that can be used indoors or outdoors thanks to design that's engineered to withstand the elements. If you're on a budget, you'll have a hard time besting this value, as it has two-way voice support, full-color night vision, and other convenient features your giftee will find useful.
Price: $28 to $35

Amazon Smart Thermostat

Just because something is affordable doesn't mean it's cheap. Amazon's Smart Thermostat is a great case in point. It's the cheapest smart thermostat you can buy, yet it still touts support for Alexa and a clean, modern aesthetic. It can even automatically adjust your home's temperature based on whether you're home, away, or sleeping, keeping you comfortable while saving you money in the process.
Price: $48