This year, Mother’s Day in the US is Sunday, May 10. But with the worldwideseparating families and making travel impossible for vast swaths of the population, this will be a Mother’s Day unlike any in our lifetime. Many of us are prioritizing frugality in these uncertain economic times, which is why CNET has a full list of gift options available . But if your budget allows a more liberal budget when shopping for mom this year, we’ve assembled some great gift ideas here in the in $51 to $100 range, nearly all of which have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by CNET editors.
Why buy AirPods or other name-brand truly wireless headphones, which can cost $160 and up? The Anker Soundcore Life P2 earbuds deliver solid sound quality for around $60 and are also decent for making calls.
Hyperice’s original Hypersphere massage ball ($150) is quite powerful but a bit on the large side and requires its own power adapter to charge it. Meanwhile, the new smaller Hypersphere Mini ($99) — about the size of a softball (3-inch diameter) — charges with a Micro-USB cable (a full charge offers more than two hours of battery life) and actually works better for rolling out your muscles, with three speeds to choose from. It also travels better.
For several years Gunnar Optiks has been making “computer glasses” designed to block blue light and help alleviate the eye strain that you get from staring at displays for long periods. The glasses come in a variety of styles and a few different tints, ranging in price from $50 to around $100. The core models have an amber lens, antireflective coatings and slight magnification. You can add a prescription lens through the Gunnar website, but those RX packages cost more.
If you watched the 10th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you may remember that Larry David’s spite coffee shop, Latte Larry’s, had battery-powered self-heating mugs that kept customers’ coffee warm. Well, the folks at Ember created that very product a couple of years ago. This smart mug keeps your coffee at whatever temperature (piping to not-so hot) you prefer for as long as you take to drink it with a built-in electric warmer. It can even be controlled from your phone via an app.
This original 10-ounce version costs $80. The new 14-ounce Ember Smart Mug 2 is superior but it’s a little pricey at $130.
Bose’s SoundLink Micro ($100) delivers impressive sound for its size and is fully waterproof. If Mom likes listening to music or podcasts in the tub or on the deck, this is a great option. I haven’t heard of anyone not liking this as a gift.
The Upright Go 2, a little device you stick onto your skin at the top of your back (between your shoulder blades), monitors your posture and vibrates when you’re slouching. Using the companion app for iOS and Android, you can set up training regimes and keep track of your progress. This new second-generation version is 50 percent smaller than the original. Additional adhesives cost $10 for a 10-pack but some people use double-sided tape to save money. There’s also a new Upright Go necklace accessory ($20) that allows you to not bother with adhesive strips.
The adhesives (10 are included) kept the Upright Go 2 on my back just fine — I barely noticed the device was there except for when it vibrated — and you can wear it for several days without replacing the adhesive. That said, the necklace is the way to go. It’d be nice if it was included as part of bundle.
Mom might not be using this as a travel speaker anytime soon, but the UE Wonderboom 2 is great for around the house, too. It’s pretty compact and offers better — and bigger — sound than some of its slimmer and smaller rivals. This wireless speaker is available in about a dozen fun colors, it really can float and has better battery life than the original Wonderboom. Its list price is $100, but right now it’s closer to $80.
Amazon’s smallest Echo Show lists for $90, but frequently sells for less than $70. If you’re looking for a video-enabled Echo device for mom’s nightstand or kitchen, this is the most affordable option. The new Echo Show 8 lists for $130. It may also be on sale for less than $100.
Sur La Table
There’s nothing like a good pour-over cup of coffee — but having the right kettle is key. With its built-in thermometer (full optimal temperature), this Fellow Stagg model is ideal for coffee-loving moms everywhere.
Mom’s probably watching more streaming TV than ever, just like the rest of us. And this add-on Roku model will turn even any old HDTV into a state-of-the-art streamer that gets every big channel, from Netflix to HBO to Hulu, and everything in between. It streams up to 4K resolution, and the included remote controls the TV’s power and volume, too.
The ultimate gift for a mom who’s always losing things, Tile Stickers are little round trackers that pair with your phone. To find one, you just tap the app to make it ring. But you can also use a smart speaker like the Nest Mini or Amazon Echo Dot. Now, instead of having to find your phone before you can find your other stuff, just tell Google or Alexa to help you locate the missing thing.
Amazon sells this same four-pack with an Echo dot for $90.
It’s time to upgrade Mom’s PC keyboard — and the MX Keys is arguably the smartest low-profile Logitech keyboard I’ve used. It has “spherically dished” keys that kind of cradle the tips of your fingers, and the keyboard is responsive and tactile. In that sense, it’s similar to Logitech’s Craft keyboard, which lists for twice the price.
The keys light up as your hands approach and there’s a sensor that adjusts the illumination according to the lighting conditions. You can also turn off the light if you want to save battery life. The dual layout is designed for both Mac and Windows users, and MX Keys is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android systems.
Using illumination, you can get 10 days of operation on a full charge or up to five months with backlighting turned off. When it’s time to recharge, the battery indicator LED glows red and you can continue using the keyboard while charging via USB-C.
No, it’s not Mom’s job to do all your cooking. But with restaurant visits off the menu for the foreseeable future, an Instant Pot is a great addition to increasingly busy home kitchens around the world. It’s a perfect gift both for people who love cooking and those who hate it. It can pressure-cook, slow-cook and just about everything in between. Right now, the best deal is at Amazon, where the 6-quart model is $79, but keep in mind this product has dipped as low as $60 throughout the year. Check out CNET’s list of the best Instant Pots of 2019 for more inspiration.
The Fitbit Versa Lite, Galaxy Watch Active and Apple Watch Series 3 cost $159 and up. But if you want to give a smartwatch within your sub-$100 budget, the Amazfit Bip is your best bet. Despite the low price, it’s got an always-on display, water resistance, heart-rate tracking and — most importantly — battery life that blows away the Apple Watch.
Fitbit has several fitness trackers under $200: the $200 Versa 2, the $150 Versa Lite and the new $150 Charge 4 (the Charge 3 is down to $120). But in this price category, the Inspire HR comes in under the $100 mark. The HR is so named because it has always-on heart rate monitoring, and its battery should last up to five days. If you want the name brand cachet and superior smartphone apps, the Fitbit is a good trade-up from the Amazfit mentioned above.
Yes, the Kindle app is available for free on phones and tablets. But if you’re buying a gift for a book-loving mom, the Kindle Paperwhite beats a phone app because it offers distraction-free reading. Other ways the Paperwhite beats a phone: It’s readable in full sunlight or in a darkened bedroom, it’s fully waterproof, and its battery lasts days or weeks, not just a few hours. While this great gift idea normally retails for $130, it’s often on sale for $90, which is why we’re including it here.
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