Uniquely Useful Gadget Gifts Under $100

These items are must-haves for the gadget buff in your life!

People exchanging gifts

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Looking for a perfect (and useful) gadget gift for the tech connoisseur in your life? Yes, we know, those techies can be hard to shop for, especially if you're not technically inclined yourself. Don't worry though, we've got you covered.

Whatever your needs, here’s what tops our list for the most useful tech under $100.

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All-New Amazon Echo (or Echo Dot)

Echo Plus on kitchen counter

What We Like

  • Excellent voice recognition with 10-15 feet.

  • Support for wired and Bluetooth speakers makes it easy to amplify Alexa's voice.

What We Don't Like

  • Default sound quality is a little weak.

  • Alexa can't answer complex questions like Google Home Assistant.

Just about everyone needs a voice-activated speaker/smart device, and the Amazon Echo is one of the best. There are competitors of course, including Google Home and Apple HomePod, but the Echo is the only one of these under $100. If there’s already an Echo in the house, the Echo Dot is a great substitution.

The Amazon Echo, like most smart devices, can play music, set alarms and timers, answer questions, and integrate with apps like Uber and Domino’s Pizza. Yes, you can use it to order a ride or a pizza with just your voice. It’s an incredibly useful gadget in the home because it can span a large area of it; Echo uses seven microphones and can hear you and respond with 360-degree precision.

Wondering if the Echo really all that? Check out a few of the things you can do with it:

  • Control smart home devices like lights and thermostats without even standing up
  • Call anyone hands-free if your phone is out of reach
  • Check tomorrow’s calendar before you have that third glass of wine
  • Add items to your shopping list from home and then use the Alexa app while you’re at the store to never forget milk again
  • Ask about the traffic before leaving for work to seek alternate routes if necessary
  • Order items you use often with only a few words. Just say, "Alexa, buy paper towels", and she’s on it. 
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Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Wireless Waterproof Speaker

Various Wonderboom models

What We Like

  • Crystal clear sound quality.

  • Virtually indestructible.

  • Works exceptionally well in the shower, bath or pool.

What We Don't Like

  • Difficult to tell exactly how much battery life is left.

  • No accompanying app for equalizer controls.

For friends up to their necks in water, pick up the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Wireless Waterproof Speaker ($99). This device offers 360-degree sound, has a 10-hour battery life, and connects via Bluetooth to any compatible device. And of course, it’s waterproof. The stats say you can leave it submerged for up to 30 minutes and to a depth of 1 meter.

Here are a few other features that make it useful. The Wonderboom is:

  • Small and portable
  • Drop-proof up to 1.7 meters
  • Hang loop straps the speaker to just about anything
  • 100 feet of Bluetooth range
  • Connects to up to two additional speakers for more sound
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Roku Ultra

A picture of the Roku Ultra.
Roku Ultra. Roku

What We Like

  • Excellent interface that makes it easy to find your favorite shows.

  • More TV shows and movies in 4K and HDR than the competitors.

  • Optical audio output allows compatibility with older receivers and sound bars

What We Don't Like

  • Not compatible with Dolby Vision HDR.

  • Not very different from the older Roku Premiere+ model.

If there’s anyone in your life that watches television, the Roku Ultra ($99) is the definitive gift. One of the great things about this choice is that even if the recipient already has a streaming TV stick (another Roku, Fire TV or Chromcast Ultra) it doesn’t matter! Your TV aficionado likely has another TV that isn’t as well equipped.

Here are just a few of the useful features this version of the Roku offers:

  • A Quad core processor to keep up with even the heaviest media streaming fanatics
  • Support for HD, 4K, and HDR for the best picture possible
  • An Ethernet port for potentially faster performance and less (or no) lag time or pixelization
  • Voice activated remote that controls the TV and volume and supports headphone and night listening modes
  • Lost remote finder for those times you can’t locate the remote control (just press the lost remote button on the player)
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Pure Clean Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

Pure Clean robotic vacuum

What We Like

  • Easy to clean and recharge.

  • Longer battery life than similar devices.

What We Don't Like

  • Occasionally gets stuck and needs to be reset.

  • Lacks the power of more expensive vacuums.

This robotic vacuum cleaner gets rave reviews! The Pyle Pure Clean Smart Robotic Vacuum Cleaner cleans your home automatically, and is the perfect for the over-worked and over-stressed people on your gift list. If you buy it from Amazon, you can get it for under $100.

Here are a few notable features:

  • 3 modes to match your specific floor type (it’s not designed for shag carpet though)
  • A timer to set how long the vacuum should run
  • Detachable brush for cleaning and bagless operation
  • Oh, and did we mention it’s less than $100?