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ZDNet Recommends: Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Here are gift ideas and resources to get you started.
Written by Elyse Betters Picaro, Managing Editor and  ZDNET Editors, Contributor
Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock

All year, our expert reviewers scour the internet to find the top technology products and services for our audience. Now that the holiday shopping season is here, we're recommending great gifts for everyone on your list.

Top tech gift ideas for the holidays

Here's a look at ZDNet's top choices for technology gifts, gadgets, and accessories:

The best tech gifts: Laptops, gadgets, and more

If you're looking for gift inspiration, ZDNet has you covered

The best tech gifts under $25

From stocking stuffers to Secret Santa goodies, these make for excellent gifts without breaking the budget.

The best tech gifts under $50

The holidays can be an expensive time of year, so here are some gadgets that make great gifts and cost less than $50.

The best tech gifts under $100

These gifts will be a hit with friends and family without breaking your budget.

The best STEM kits and tech gifts for kids of all ages

If you want to spark the imagination of your kids and help them hone tech skills they'll need as adults, check out this list of our favorite tech toys.

The best tech gifts for remote workers

Working from home doesn't have to be a series of compromises. Here are 13 gifts that will make your loved one's job easier.

The best cybersecurity gadgets for hackers

No matter their age, interests, or ability, these gifts will put a smile on any hacker's face this holiday season.

The best gifts for DIYers: IT pro tools

These are the perfect gifts for the DIYer and fixer in your life. 

The best tech gifts for non-techies

These tech gifts are sure to appeal to the non-techie friends and family in your life.

The best tech gifts for gamers

Get your game on with any of these consoles, AAA titles, and trinkets for guaranteed holiday satisfaction.

The best gifts for college students

You can't gift A's but these gifts will surely make any college student happy. 

The best gifts for dorm rooms

Bring renewed life to any dorm room with these goodies.

The best kitchen gadgets for home cooking

With these tools in your home kitchen, you can cook just like a pro.

David's wacky and wonderful holiday gift guide for 2021

This year, ZDNet's Wizard of Weird returns with another gift guide for the geek in all of us. David Gewirtz lists all manner of oddities and curiosities, surprises and marvels -- some excessive, some quite affordable, and most generally shippable in time for the holidays.

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Additional tech gifts to consider

Here are some of our "best of" roundups, which highlight all the top tech products you can buy right now:

Headphones and speakers

The best headphones of 2021

Check out our top picks for headphones for the techie on the go.

The best noise-canceling headphones

It's more important than ever for remote and hybrid workers to have a comfortable, noise-canceling headset. Here are our favorites.

The best cheap earbuds: Affordable alternatives to AirPods

You can upgrade your audio experience with these affordable Bluetooth earbuds.

The best smart speakers: Top voice assistant options

Shopping for a smart speaker can be a confusing experience, but it doesn't have to be. Here are our top recommendations from the likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Sonos.

The best Bluetooth speakers: Here comes the boom

Every one of these Bluetooth speakers delivers a music experience you won't want to pause.

Gaming equipment and accessories

The best gaming headsets: Upgrade your experience

Experience gaming in a whole new way with real-life, immersive sound.

The best gaming keyboards: Upgrade your clicks

Taking ergonomics, function, and design into consideration, these are the best gaming keyboards that will help you win in style.

The best affordable gaming mouse: Upgrade for under $50

Our picks include fan favorites that highlight the ways a gaming mouse is superior to a regular one.

The best gaming laptops: Upgrade your rig

These top gaming notebooks provide the power you need to get your game on anywhere.

The best gaming motherboards: Upgrade your dream PC

Building a gaming PC? Choosing the right motherboard can make all the difference.

The best gaming chairs: Upgrade your comfort

These gaming chairs will add support, comfort, and style to your gaming setup.


The 10 best smartphones of 2021

Whatever your priority -- from 5G to camera to display -- there's a phone here to meet your every need.

The best Android phones: Top picks compared

Smartphones running the Android operating system dominate the global market, and there are fantastic options available.

The best iPhones: How to choose the right phone for you

Apple released four new iPhone 13 models and continues to sell four older generation models. Whatever features you need or price point you want to match, there's an iPhone for you.

The best Samsung phones: Which one should you buy? 

Samsung has been launching flagships with a significant price cut from previous years, making even more models worthy of consideration.

The best 5G phones of 2021

Every new flagship includes 5G, and we are even seeing 5G present in phones under $400.

The best cheap 5G smartphones: Affordable phones from Apple, Samsung, and more

Google, Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, and even Apple are battling in the 5G mid-priced market for a spot in your pocket

The best cheap phones: Flagship features on a budget 

Balking at the prices of the latest Apple and Samsung phones? From $300 down to $160, these alternatives even include phones with a stylus and multiple rear cameras.

The best phones under $100

Any one of these great Android handsets -- many from familiar brands -- can be yours for under $100.

The best camera phones: Take amazing photos and videos 

Here are our top picks for phones that are optimized for photos, videos, telephoto subjects, ultra-wide landscapes, selfies, and more.


The best tablets of 2021

Whether you're looking for a tablet to stream Netflix or one to replace your laptop, here are some compelling options.

The best Android tablets: Ditch the iPad

There may not be a long list of Android tablets available, but you do have fantastic options.

The best cheap tablets: iPad, Galaxy, Fire, and more

You don't have to spend a lot to get a great tablet.

The best rugged tablets: Top picks for tough customers 

Need a heavy-duty tablet that won't break in the outdoors? These rugged tablets will get the job done.


The best laptops of 2021

These devices should be at the top of your shopping list.

The best 2-in-1 laptops: Top hybrid notebooks

Hybrid laptops/tablets, or 2-in-1s, offer maximum flexibility in a portable computing device. Here are our top picks for a variety of form factors, operating systems, and use cases.

The best Windows laptops

If you're in the market for a Windows laptop, which one should you buy? We've rounded up a variety of models at different price points.

Still looking?

Check out our ZDNet Recommends directory.

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