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DIY-IT Gift Guide: Geeky gadgets and gizmos

Here are 30 geeky gadgets and gizmos for the techies you love.

Topic: Hardware
1 of 31 David Gewirtz/ZDNet

Geeky gadgets and gizmos

Do you have techies in your family who seem to have it all? If so, we have 30 geeky gadgets and gizmos sure to delight. Dig on in!

2 of 31 littleBits


LittleBits is kind of like an Erector Set for the 21s century. Blocks go together to create powerful and interesting digital creations.

3 of 31 Timberkits

Stephenson's Rocket Kit

Not everything geeky and cool needs to be electronic. This is a Timberkits wooden model of one of the first steam engines, known as Stephenson's Rocket.

4 of 31 Nintendo

NES Classic System

It's time to go 80s retro with the NES Classic system many of us grew up with. This is a modern take from Nintendo itself and it includes 30 classic games in the box.

5 of 31 Whistle

Whistle GPS Pet Tracker

We haven't tested this device, but anything that can help reunite a pet with his home is worth a look. This is the Whistle Pet Tracker, which interfaces with your smartphone.

6 of 31 Microbot

Microbot Push

This is a remote control robot that pushes buttons. That's it. If you love a geek, that person is bound to go "Oh, cool!" for reasons that muggles will never understand.

7 of 31 Lego

Lego Mindstorms EV3

Lego is back with its latest generations of the Mindstorms robotics kit. If you have a techie who loves Lego and you want to buy something special, this is the gift to buy.

8 of 31 Sphero

Star Wars Force Band

It's meant to control the Sphero BB8 robot, but with the addition of IFTTT, you can use this band to act as if you or your favorite techie has The Force. Like that won't get annoying, fast!

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
9 of 31 ZDNet

Raspberry Pi kit

The Raspberry Pi is a very inexpensive full computer in a basic package. If you get your loved one a Raspberry Pi kit, you'll spend about fifty bucks and give real power and geek joy.

10 of 31 Automatic

Automatic car monitor

This is the perfect gift for your car geek. It sends vehicle telemetry and tracking info to a smartphone. The base unit is $79 and the pro unit is $129, either way a great gift for motorheads.

11 of 31 David Gewirtz

Mychanic Pik Light

True story: this light, provided by Mychanic, helped us make it through Hurricane Matthew. It held its charge for a very long time and the magnets let us use it where we needed it.

12 of 31 David Gewirtz

Mychanic Sidekick Stool

Mychanic also sent us what we think is the ultimate rolling workshop stool. It's got drawers, side stands, and even a tool rack in the back. For $99, your geek will love this.

13 of 31 ThingM


This is going to be hard to explain. Blink is a USB colored light. That's it. The coolness is your geek can program it to light a color when something specific happens. Geeks love this stuff. Trust us.

14 of 31 iFixit

iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit

This helpful toolkit provided to us by iFixit has been used in DIY-IT projects. It's got just about everything you need for tinkering and repairing digital gadgets. The bit selection alone is almost priceless.

15 of 31 Ear Trumpet Labs

Edwina mic

Ear Trumpet Labs sent us this gorgeous hand-made Edwina mic and we can't be more impressed. It's ideal for acoustic vocalists and makes for an amazing look and sound for podcasting.

16 of 31 Dymo

Dymo XTL 300 Label Maker

Dymo sent us their labeling system and after some testing, it became apparent that if you run wiring, this can be a huge help. It connects to your computer and can make cable management a breeze.

17 of 31 Amazon

Amazon Alexa devices

Amazon's Echo has quickly become my family's favorite (and most relied upon device). It responds to voice commands, turns on and off lights, answers questions, and plays tunes. It's the gift for your loved ones.

18 of 31 David Gewirtz

Logitech Harmony Hub

Your geek friends, with all their entertainment center devices, need to switch between them. This hub makes that fast and easy. It pairs with a smartphone for remote remote control.

19 of 31 Logitech

Logitech Pop

Earlier we showed you a robot that pushes a button. This is a button that turns on your various IoT devices. Yes, it's actually helpful. Yes, your friend will like it. No, don't think about it too hard.

20 of 31 Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight Drill Press

At some point, your geek friend will want to play with power tools. A drill press is a very helpful tool in building electronic projects. This one is only $60, although it's often on sale for less.

21 of 31 CNET


One of the reasons I feel so confident recommending Roku is that they're available in models ranging from about $30 and up -- and they're all good.

22 of 31 David Gewirtz

Apple TV

The Apple TV has shown steady improvement and the app selection has grown nicely. It's still the best box to see the enormous selection of iTunes video content, and I like it for most streaming services.

23 of 31 Intel

Intel's NUC

Intel has a great line of mini-PCs that can be used as desktops or even media PCs. They're small, inexpensive, full of ports, and powerful. All you need to do is add RAM and an SSD.

24 of 31 Matricom

Matricom G-Box Q2

One of the very best stream apps out there is called Kodi (formerly XBMC). You can run Kodi on almost anything, but it runs natively on the G-Box. As long as you don't want 4K, this is a win.

25 of 31 Monoprice

Monoprice 4x4 HDMI switch

One of the challenges of all those gadgets on the entertainment center is switching HDMI inputs. I use this powered switch (which I control with the Harmony Hub and Alexa) to switch both inputs and outputs.

26 of 31 ProClip


ProClip makes a huge variety of mounting options for phones and other devices. We've bought a few ourselves for custom applications. The company is a bit prickly, but their products are worth it.

27 of 31 Surebonder

Surebonder DT-280F

I recently upgraded my hot glue gun to this inexpensive, but very solid device. If you're joining materials, it's a winner. If you want a budget gift for a geek, you can't go wrong with this purchase.

28 of 31 Philips

Philips Hue

My wife and I now have 24 Hue bulbs and we love them. They're controlled by Alexa and our phones, can change color and brightness. For a gift, buy the starter kit which comes with a Hub and two bulbs. It's a win.

29 of 31 Belkin

WeMo Light Switch

Home automation is all the rage, but if you've got already-installed lighting, a great way to go is replace your switch with a WeMo switch. These, too, can be managed by Alexa or IFTTT.

30 of 31 Hakko

Hakko Digital FX888D soldering iron

You can buy a soldering iron for under five bucks, but if you want precision temperature and materials control, this is the iron to get. I researched these with care. This is the one I asked Santa for.

31 of 31 Tuff

Tuff Magnets

Between this inexpensive set of 100 magnets and a glue gun, almost anything is possible. If you aren't sure what to get your geek, a big ol' pile of magnets is sure to make any techie smile.

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