Buying gadget gifts for fellow techies isn’t too difficult: You’ll likely know the things they’ve had their eye on. But there are some gadgets that non-techies will love, too.
The secret with making your choices is to discount the Gadget Factor we all love, and to think about things which will either enhance the pleasure friends and family get from their existing interests and passions, or which make their life easier.
I’ve already covered a couple of areas that will work for many: music and photography.
Check out my audio gift guide for recommended headphones and speakers for the music lovers in your life.
Photography & videography
Similarly, you don’t need to be a gadget fan to appreciate camera accessories. If someone loves taking photos, check out my photography and videography gift guide.
Robot vacuum cleaners
There was a time when giving someone a vacuum cleaner as a gift would not have been appreciated! But these days, a robot vacuum cleaner is a great way to give someone the greatest gift of all: time. If a gadget can take care of the hoovering and mopping, that’s more time someone has to spend doing the things they enjoy.
Robot vacuum cleaners are available at all price levels, but when you’re buying a gift, it’s probably wise to avoid the $100-ish ones. Most tend to start at around $250. Some options worth considering here are:
iRobot Roomba 694 ($240)
The latest version of one of the most popular models, suitable for both hard floors and carpets, and particularly good for pet hair.
360 S7 Pro vacuum with mop ($440)
Stepping up a level, you can get models that combine vacuuming and mopping. Some of these are better than others, but the 360 S7 Pro works well.
Top of the robo-cleaner food chain these days are self-emptying models. Rather than have to empty an onboard bin every two to three days, the dock does that for you, so you only have to empty that bin about once a month. I recently tested, and was impressed by, the Neabot Q11.
If you have a tea or coffee lover in your life, then a way to keep their drink warm for longer can go down well. You can get both heated coasters and heated mugs – the former are the inexpensive option, while the latter are the best performing.
This heated coaster comes with a matching ceramic mug for a particularly neat appearance, though it can be used with any mug.
Ember Smart Mug (from $128)
Ember makes a range of well-regarded heated mugs, with this stainless steel one the starting point. Other models, like copper, get more expensive.
Ember Travel Mug ($240)
The ultimate version is a heated travel mug. Again, Ember is the best name for these, with the 12 ounce cup keeping coffee electrically heated at the desired temperature for up to three hours.
Smart pet food dispensers
If you have a dog owner or cat staff to buy for, a smart pet food dispenser is a useful gift, while a treat dispenser is a fun one.
An easy way to ensure a cat or small dog is kept fed while away, this model is on a par with more basic ones, but enables the schedule to be set in an app, making it easier to program.
WOpet Smart Pet Camera Treat Dispenser (from $110)
The top-rated treat dispenser on Amazon, this one combines 1080p camera and two-way audio, so someone can talk to their pet while at work or away, as well as see their reactions.
Smart sous vide
A sous vide is a really great way to easily get perfectly cooked food every time, and an app-controlled sous vide makes life even easier. Just select the food in the app and it then sends cooking instructions (temperature and time) to the sous vide device.
Anova Sous Vide Nano (around $110)
The Anova Nano is popular, highly rated, and an affordable price. Note that the recipient will need a large cooking pot, too – either a large saucepan or pressure cooker pot.
Anova Sous Vide Pro (around $200)
The Pro offers exactly the same capabilities, but boosts the heating element from 750W to 1200W for faster cooking. Again, a large cooking pot is needed.
Smart photo frames
Digital photo frames are a popular choice for grandparents, and although they may be happy with a basic one, they’ll quickly fall in love with a smart model for one simple reason: Other family members can upload photos to it remotely. This means they get a constantly updated stream of family photos.
Photoshare Friends and Family Smart Frame (from $100)
A popular budget model, with a range of sizes starting at 8 inches. Supports remote uploads via email and Facebook.
Nixplay 15-inch Smart Digital Photo Frame (around $200)
I reviewed this model last year, and it remains a good option. You’ll want to do the setup for a non-techy, but once you have they don’t need to do a thing – new photos will be displayed automatically as family members upload them. You don’t need to be a techie to send photos to it either – this can be done via an app, a website, or even by email.