Features + Gift Guide

2019 Gift Guides: Tech Gifts for Everyone

In 2019, everything is high-tech — your hair dryer, your thermostat, even your cocktail shaker.  So gadgets and gizmos make popular gifts for nearly any recipient.  But how do you pick the right tech gifts for the people on your list?

Some people believe the the newest, flashiest thing makes the best tech gift.  And for some recipients, that’s true.  If your recipient reads Wired or waits in line for the new iPhone or can explain the Internet of Things in less than 20 words, then this might not be the gift guide for you.  This is a guide for nearly everyone in that it covers people who like cool tech but aren’t techies.

Great tech gifts for regular folks add something to a person’s life by maximizing what they already love to do.  Look for gifts that make every day tasks simpler and more enjoyable, or that do something in a new way.  Skip gifts that use tech as a gimmick — like a toothbrush that says ‘good morning’ or a device that automatically waters plants, but holds so little water it can only do its job twice before needing a refill.

Today’s tech gifts are the gifts that I would want to own and want to give.  The ones that people will ask you where you bought that.  The ones that won’t be in a closet, in a box, 11 months from now when the new version comes out.

For the Friend Who’s Obsessed with SolidCore // LARQ The Bottle ($95)

Imagine a water bottle that purifies the water inside at the touch of a button and cleans itself.  The LARQ’s  double-insulated walls also keep cold drinks cold  for 24-hours, and hot drinks hot for 12-hours. From the product description, the “proprietary UV-C LED component that has been proven effective in eradicating up to 99.9999% of odor-causing bacteria and viruses, and preventing mold growth–cleaning the hard-to-reach inner surfaces.”

Also, the design on this is very chic.  I love the two-tone styling.

For the Brother Who Travels for Work // Airfly Wireless Transmitter ($49)

I love my Apple AirPods, but I hate packing a second set of standard-jack headphones to use with the airplane video system.  Airfly eliminates this inconvenience by wirelessly transmitting sound to your headphones for up to 20-hours.  So whether you’re on a plane or at the gym, you won’t be stuck with no way to listen to movies again.

For the Boss Who Writes It All Down // M1 Smartpen and Notebook ($114)

The Neopen Smartpen has a built in camera that photographs the text you write, digitizes it, and stores it in the companion app (for both Android and iOS).  You can save quick lists, longer journal entries, and even doodles.  The only downside is that it only works with the companion notebooks.

For the Spouse Whose iPhone is Always at 17% // Apple 30W Charger ($35)

“Watts equal volts,” or so says the man explaining why a 30W Charger and USB-C charging cable can dramatically improve how fast your iPhone charges.  It’s a little bulkier than the charging brick that comes with the iPhone, but if it provides more power, I will take it.

This would be a great gift for anyone with an iPhone or iPad that they use a lot.  It would be a good gift for a teenager, a boss, a co-worker, your spouse who has appropriated every.single.charger and cable in the house to fuel his screen addiction.  Not that I’m naming any names.

For the Friend Who Travels with Kids // Anker Nebula Projector ($299)

The Nebula Capsule Projector came into my life as a business tool.  A friend, who pitches for a financial services firm, got tired of relying on other people’s antiquated, poorly maintained, and frizzy tech when making presentations.  With Nebula, she opens her laptop, points her soda-can-sized projector at any available flat surface and pitches away.  But nearly every parent who has ever watched one of her presentations has looked down at the Nebula and said, “I need one of these for my kids.”

A mini-projector is the ultimate way to show movies on a hotel room wall or on the side of a tent while camping.  Have a relative heading off to college?  With a mini-projector and a laptop, they’ll never need a television.  And if the price on this one is a bit rich for your blood, you can try out this Ematic Mini Portable Theater for under-$50.

For the Mom Who Needs Everything in Place // Courant Wireless Catch ($175)

Wireless charging is the hot thing right now, and as best as I can tell, these Courant chargers are considered the best.  The Catch 3 lets you charge your phone and store your end-of-the-day trinkets all in one place.

If you just need the charging, and not the additional tray, check out the Catch 2.  Both are compatible with many iOS and Android devices.  If someone has a more affordable suggestion, I would be grateful to have it added to the comments.

For the Friend Who Is NOT a Morning Person // Philips Wake-Up Light ($38)

With the change of seasons, getting up in the morning has become a real struggle in our house.  This Wake-Up Light Alarm promises to make your morning easier by rousing you with the power of light instead of the ear-piercing din of your smartphone alarm.  There are many wake-up lights on the market, but this one seemed like the best mix of price, features, and design.

For Your Niece Who Loves Doc McStuffins // JBL On-Ear Headphones ($49)

Most headphones aren’t made to fit on small children, and the ones that are often have terrible sound quality.  These JBL headphones fit snugly, have great audio, and also possess SafeSound technology to prevent loud noises from damaging tiny ears.

Looking for an adult version?  I’m told the Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones are life changing.   For something under-$100, I’m told these Sennheiser headphones are very nice.

{image by Heidi Kaden; this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}



  1. Jessica says:

    The wireless transmitter is something I’ve never heard of and I’m online shopping constantly–good job guys!!

    November 20, 2019/Reply
  2. Rachel says:

    I bought the AirFly wireless transmitter for a trip to Spain two months ago and it worked great! I had bought it primarily for the plane, but it also worked great with audio guides.

    November 20, 2019/Reply
  3. Whitley says:

    This is SUCH a perfect tech gift guide!

    November 21, 2019/Reply
  4. Jessica says:

    Really appreciate these unique suggestions! I’ve never heard of several of these items. I’m especially interested in the water bottle. My S’well is beautiful, but it seems to trap odors and is hard to clean.

    November 21, 2019/Reply
  5. Amelia Bedelia says:

    And this is why I love you, Belle! You do a REAL gift guide with EXCELLENT suggestions . . . not just sponsored and ridiculously expensive “unique” crap.

    November 21, 2019/Reply
  6. Sarah says:

    The projector. Amazing. Having just seen it, I’m already thinking of ways I can use it in my law practice…jury trials, etc. Amazing such a thing exists.

    November 21, 2019/Reply
  7. Meghan says:

    FWIW, we bought these at Costco and they work very well: https://www.costco.com/ubio-labs-10w-qi-wireless-charging-pad%2c-2-pack.product.100425275.html

    They’re not pretty like the others, but if you just need a utilitarian option, give them a go.

    November 21, 2019/Reply