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Best tech gifts under $20

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OK, you’ve already bought your big-ticket items for the holidays, but what about your coworkers, the mailman, and everyone else on your list who you care about enough to not just fall back on a gift card, but can’t afford to splurge on?

You need cheap gift ideas, and we’ve got ’em. There are a bunch of affordable tech products out there that everyone wants (or at least could use), and they’re not even aware of it. 

As such, these gems make the perfect gifts: You won’t break the bank buying them, and the recipients will give you those happy, “Oh, I actually needed that” looks. 

Let’s begin: Here are 7 great tech gifts that you’ll spend 20 bucks (or less) on. 

A great way to make your life a little less messy.

A great way to make your life a little less messy.

If you’re traveling with more than one gadget — and these days, you probably are — your bags and backpacks can quickly become an unsightly mess of cables and chargers. 

But this simple bag solves that problem in a matter of seconds. On one side, it’s a regular bag. On the other, it has a mesh of rubberized, interwoven elastic bands that let you securely tie a bunch of gadgets to it. 

Its design allows for larger gizmos like smartphones and chargers, but also smaller ones like cables. And with a size of 12.2 x 8.3 inches, it should fit most bags and backpacks while securing at least a dozen gadgets. 

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No one to hold your smartphone for you for that perfect fake selfie? This tripod will do the trick. Bonus: It won't judge you.

No one to hold your smartphone for you for that perfect fake selfie? This tripod will do the trick. Bonus: It won’t judge you.

We all know someone who snaps 10 times more photos with their phone than anyone else but stubbornly refuses to buy a standalone camera. 

Well, why not help them take their smartphone photography to a new level? This flexible tripod that works with most devices (except, perhaps, some phablet monsters) is practical both for taking long-exposure photos or for taking photos and/or videos of yourself from impossible angles when you’re on your own. 

The tripod also comes with a Bluetooth-based remote control — though I haven’t tested that and can’t speak for how well it works. 

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Chances are, you have a friend who needs this wireless charger.

Chances are, you have a friend who needs this wireless charger.

A lot of smartphones these days come with wireless charging capability. Unfortunately, nearly none of them actually come with a wireless charger in the box. As a result, many users rarely use this functionality or completely forget their phone has it. 

Well, if you know someone like that, you can change that by gifting them this cheap wireless charging pad. Hell, at the price of $10.99, you can almost fit two into your $20 budget. 

The charger is Qi-Certified, delivers 10W of output and will work with most smartphones, including Samsung and Apple devices that support wireless charging. 

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A headphone stand: That one gadget you didn't know you needed until you get one.

A headphone stand: That one gadget you didn’t know you needed until you get one.

Do you own a pair of full-size headphones? Do you keep them on a headphone stand, or are they just adding to the clutter on your desk?

If the answer is the latter, we’ve got good news: You can buy a decent headphone stand, like this Bluelounge Posto, for less than 20 bucks. It comes in two colors: Black or white, and its understated design will fit most interiors. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that the headrest is made of rubber and it’s flexible, meaning it won’t create a permanent dent in your headphones. 

That’s all there is to it. And yeah, you’ll find nicer, wooden stands out there, but in terms of bang for the buck, this one’s pretty sweet. 

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Anker's PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable has all the connectors you need.

Anker’s PowerLine II 3-in-1 Cable has all the connectors you need.

Regardless whether you’re faithful to Apple or Android phones, chances are you have a bunch of gadgets in your home that require different charging cables. And yeah, you have all those cables stashed… somewhere. 

But wouldn’t it be nice to have one master cable that you can use for pretty much anything? Anker’s 3-in-1 cable is a bit pricey — 15 bucks is a lot for a cable — but it’s incredibly practical, as it has a Lightning, USB-C and a Micro USB jack on one side, and a USB-A connector on the other. Perfect for every occasion. 

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This crocodile-style phone mount works both in your car and on your desk.

This crocodile-style phone mount works both in your car and on your desk.

After spending thousands of dollars (ok, dozens, but it feels like thousands) on various car phone holders that never worked very well, I saw one of these in an Uber and was immediately drawn to its simplicity. Stick it to the car’s dashboard (yes, it works with curved dashboards, but it won’t work with leather) and you get a simple and reliable horizontal phone holder, ideal for those longer drives when you need a good view of your navigation software. 

The mount fits most phones and it has two different viewing angles. And even if you’re not looking for a car mount, unlike most car mounts this one will also work perfectly on your desk. 

At the price of $10.99, this one is also well below our budget of 20 bucks, but if you’re the adventurous type you’ll find even cheaper, no-name variants in China. 

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It glows in the dark, has keys, and costs less than $20 bucks.

It glows in the dark, has keys, and costs less than $20 bucks.

Chalk this one under “I can’t believe this costs less than 20 bucks.” Yeah, a nice-looking, wireless Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard with colored backlit keys indeed costs just $19.99. 

The keyboard has a rechargeable battery with an advertised six-month battery life. It’s pretty thin and light and compatible with all major operating systems. 

So who needs this? Pretty much everyone. Do you have an iPad? A PC that you also use as a media box? A smart TV? At this price, you can probably get a few and place one in each room, and you’ll probably find a use for it, too. 

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