These 10 under-$50 gadgets have improved my tech life, and they're all on sale for Memorial Day

Lenovo Qi mouse, PowerOwl charger and batteries, recessed power strip, and Hoto screwdriver
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

As much as I love high-priced tech like my 4K projector or my new AMD-powered Asus Zenbook 14 laptop, most of us can't regularly spend several hundred dollars on a tech gift or purchase. But that doesn't mean you can't substantially improve your tech life (or the lives of your tech-focused friends and family) while spending a comparatively small amount of money.

I own all of the affordable tech gifts in this list below, and all are on sale for under $50. In fact, some are under $20! Each of these products has made my nerdy world a little nicer in its own way. If you're looking for a small tech splurge for yourself, or an affordable gift for that techie friend or family member, one of these  50-or-under options might be just what you're after.

My favorite sub-$50 deals:
HOTO Wireless Screwdriver: now $42, was $60
Lenovo Go Qi Charging Mouse: now $48, was $70
Anker PowerConf C200 2K Webcam: $48, was $60  

I've used the HOTO NEX O1 PRO 3.6V Screwdriver Set to build dozens of PCs

HOTO NEX O1 PRO 3.6V Screwdriver Set

(Image credit: Hoto)

I build a lot of PCs, and I also do a fair bit of home improvement work around my apartment. So a cordless screwdriver is a nice thing to have. I also own a much slimmer Wowstick, but have found HOTO's NEX O1 Pro to be handier thanks to its extra (and variable) torque. It's great for loosening those factory-installed screws on PC cases that just don't want to let go, and also good for assembling small pieces of furniture.

The HOTO won't replace my DeWalt impact driver or drill for bigger, tougher jobs. But for everyday tasks, it's powerful enough, easy to charge over USB-C, and even looks good on my workbench. I just wish it came with and stored more than 12 bits.

HOTO NEX O1 PRO 3.6V Screwdriver Set: now $43 at Amazon

HOTO NEX O1 PRO 3.6V Screwdriver Set: now $43 at Amazon (was $60)
HOTO's wireless screwdriver has three torque settings, charges over USB-C, and looks surprisingly good. I just wish it came with more bits. Don't forget to clip the coupon for an extra 10% off.

Lenovo's Go Qi Charging Wireless Mouse never needs to be plugged in

Lenovo Go wireless mouse

(Image credit: Lenovo)

I have wireless charging pads at my desk and three other places around my apartment, as well as my desk at the office, for keeping my phone and watch juiced up, and I take one with me when I travel. So when I saw Lenovo had a Go Wireless Multi-Device Mouse that charges wirelessly using the Qi standard, I was intrigued. And now that I've owned one for more than a year, it's my go-to travel rodent. In fact, I just retrieved this mouse from my suitcase after a trip to Scotland.

There's not much remarkable about this compact mouse in terms of its design. It houses a USB-C dongle under its magnetic top, and it also works over Bluetooth for pairing it with up to three devices. Lenovo claims 2-3 months of use if you use it a couple of hours a day, which is probably fairly accurate. 

I've never been able to tell because whenever I'm done using it, I just drop it on the Qi charging stand on my desk and it's fully charged whenever I pick it up again. Plugging things in is so 2019. However, it does have a USB-C port in the front if you want to pry off the rubber door and charge it the old-school way.

Lenovo Go Wireless Mouse: now $48 at Lenovo

Lenovo Go Wireless Mouse: now $48 at Lenovo (was $60)
This unassuming compact mouse hides Qi wireless charging abilities in its base. Just drop it on a charging pad when you're doing and never worry about running out of pointer power again. 

Anker's PowerConf C200 2K Webcam delivers good performance and good-enough resolution for under $50  

Anker PowerConf C200

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

 I experimented with a 4K webcam during the worst of the Covid pandemic. But the truth is, almost no one needs that level of image quality for office and family chats. And many chat programs will just down-res you to 1080p (or less), anyway. So unless you're a serious streamer or have some other niche case, I recommend something more affordable.

I've been using Anker's PowerConf C200 2K Webcam for the past two years and I couldn't be happier with it. Its somewhat nebulous "2K" resolution looks sharper than 1080p webcams I've used in the past, and its low-light performance is great. It has an easy-to-see red privacy shutter for when you're not using it, and it's compact enough to easily clip onto a laptop screen and toss into a bag if you want to travel with it. It also has a screw mount on the bottom for mounting to an arm or stand, which is how I use it with the 55-inch OLED TV I use as a monitor. My old 4K webcam is in a corner gathering dust. But I use Anker's PowerConf C200 2K almost every day.  

Anker PowerConf C200 2K Webcam:

Anker PowerConf C200 2K Webcam: now $48 at Amazon (was $60)
With its "2K" sensor that works well in bright or low light, compact frame, and easy-to-see privacy shutter, Anker's PowerConf C200 2K is all the webcam most of us will ever need.

Add recessed power and USB ports to your desk for just $24  

Jgstkcity recessed power strip

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

OK, this one's only for the DIY-inclined, because it involves cutting a hole in your desk (or anywhere else you might want some flush-mount power ports, like a nightstand). Jgstkcity's recessed power strip lets you drop a couple of AC outlets and two USB charging ports (one 30W USB-C) anywhere you need them – again, once you've cut a hole for it.

While it's always smart to be wary of no-name power strips, I've owned the older non-PD version of this strip for over two years and it's been functioning just fine. I  have it installed in the narrow stand I built right behind my couch. It's a super-convenient place for power outlets, especially when friends or family stop by. I just warn people not to put drinks there. Thankfully, the coffee table is even more convenient for that and it's right in front of the couch.  

Jgstkcity Recessed Power Strip: now $24 at Amazon

 Jgstkcity Recessed Power Strip: now $24 at Amazon
You'll likely need a drill and a saw to install it, but having a couple of power plugs and USB-C PD power right on the surface of your desk or nightstand is super convenient.  

Powerowl's rechargeable batteries are good and surprisingly cheap 

PowerOwl batteries and charger

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

When I first started using rechargeable batteries with my Walkman in the early 90s, they were kind of awful (but still better than spending all my money feeding my music addiction). They couldn't hold a charge and didn't last nearly as long as name-brand disposable batteries. But here in the mid-2020s, rechargeables are surprisingly good.

Panasonic's Eneloops arguably ushered in the rechargeable AA and AAA renaissance, but PowerOwl's batteries are a lot more affordable and I haven't had a single one fail in over three years of using them in my various remotes, smart door locks, and other devices.

PowerOwl 8 AA Rechargeable Batteries With Charger: now $23 at Amazon

PowerOwl 8 AA Rechargeable Batteries With Charger: now $23 at Amazon, was $29
These  PowerOwl Pro AA batteries are rated to 2800mAh (though I wouldn't put stock in that spec) and are rated to keep 60% of their power for two years. The included USB-powered charger isn't the fastest (10 hours rated), but it gets the job done. 

Spend $5 to save your GPU and X16 slot from extra stress

Joyjom GPU support screw

(Image credit: Joyjom)

There are lots of ways of dealing with a sagging GPU. You could just ignore it (so long as you aren't transporting your PC somewhere), get an expensive RGB and glass model like Cooler Master's Atlas (which is currently on sale for a pretty reasonably $21), or you could spend just $5 on this magnetic adjustable screw-type GPU brace

With a magnetic base and a twist-to-extend screw top that adjusts its length between 72 and $117 mm, it gets the job done while costing less than most cups of coffee those days.

Joyjom Graphics Card GPU Support Bracket: now $5 at Amazon

Joyjom Graphics Card GPU Support Bracket: now $5 at Amazon (was $6)
You could pay so much more for something made with RGB and glass. But this $5 gadget is easy to install thanks to its magnetic base, gets the job done, and won't distract from your other components. 

TP-Link AX1800 WiFi 6 USB Adapter

(Image credit: TP-Link)

Have you upgraded your router to Wi-Fi 6 or later, but your desktop or laptop doesn't have the requisite hardware to take advantage of your recent network tech? TP-Link's AX1800 WiFi 6 USB Adapter is here to solve that problem for you. It's quite large by USB Wi-Fi dongle standards, but I've found it works quite well with the Wi-Fi 6 router I bought in 2020.

I have the router running downstairs from my office. And it instantly fixed an issue I was having with very poor reception from the SFF PC I built in the Fractal Terra case.

TP-Link AX1800 WiFi 6 USB Adapter: now $35 at Amazon

TP-Link AX1800 WiFi 6 USB Adapter: now $35 at Amazon (was $49)
Sure, it's big and bulky with two antennas, but this Wi-Fi 6 USB adapter can deliver some serious speed to your desktop or laptop when paired with a Wi-Fi 6 or later router.

Replace your old power strips with Anker's Power Strip Surge Protector (2100J)

Anker Power Strip Surge Protector (2100J)

(Image credit: Anker)

What's exciting to say about a surge protector? If it's old and defective, it could help burn your house down. And even if it isn't, it's recommended that you replace surge protectors every 5 or so years because the parts that actually do the protecting can become less effective over the years. So there's a good chance you're due for a new one. I own three of these Anker Power Strip Surge Protectors (2100J) and they all have worked flawlessly. 

Aside from the usual things, like 10 three-prong outlets and a handy switch, Anker also includes USB-A and USB-C power outlets, each rated to 12W. I wish these came with more than an 18-month warranty, but I've always had good luck with Anker's customer service, which makes me feel a little better on that front.

Anker Power Strip Surge Protector (2100J): now $22at Amazon

Anker Power Strip Surge Protector (2100J): now $22at Amazon (was $36)
With 10 outlets and a switch, this is mostly a pretty standard surge protector. But Anker tosses in a couple of 12W USB power ports as well.

Orico USB 3.0 Clamp Hub is easy to mount on many desks

Orico USB 3.0 Clamp Hub

(Image credit: Orico)

This is a four-port USB hub that's designed to clamp onto your desk and give you extra convenient connectivity. Orico's device delivers USB 3.0 speeds, which is good enough for most modern devices. 

It comes in black or silver and has a nice sturdy metal frame. Just note that its clamp section is pretty shallow and its adjustable screw can only open between 10 and 32 mm, so it won't fit on all desks.

Orico USB 3.0 Clamp Hub: now $20.99 at Amazon

Orico USB 3.0 Clamp Hub: now $20.99 at Amazon
An otherwise standard four-port USB 3.0 hub, this Orico model stands out for its metal frame and clamp design.

Clean up the cables under your desk with a tray

Delamu cable management tray

(Image credit: Delamu)

If you to get a handle on the PC cables in your home or office, some cheap cable management trays will do the job. This two-pack comes with tape, though heavier loads will ultimately require some screws.

Besides the trays, this kit also comes with cable ties and a few cable clips you can place along the bottom or sides of your desk. One of these has been holding up the PC cable clutter in my living room for the past year. But I had to screw it into my desk because it's holding one of the above Anker power strips, plus the large external power brick from my LG OLED TV/Monitor.

Delamu 2-Pack Under Desk Cable Management Tray,: now $24 at Amazon

Delamu 2-Pack Under Desk Cable Management Tray,: now $24 at Amazon (was $30)
If there's a rats nest of cables under your desk, attaching some trays can help you clean it up. This set has tape for light loads, but for longer-term cleanliness, you probably want to consider screws.

Matt Safford

After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.

  • punkncat
    Fairly neat assortment of goodies.

    Is the NEX 01 screwdriver an item that the author (and/or others if you can comment) have actually used?

    On the advice of some YT tech personalities some years back now, they did a piece on the Wowstick 1F Pro, showed themselves working with it and it had a lot of desirable features. I picked one up for myself and a friend of mine. The one I got was very disappointing in terms of strength, battery life, and the bits broke if you looked at them too hard with no duplication of common size.
    I noted that I haven't EVER seen those same personalities using this gadget they recommended again in lieu of another brand that is common and I won't mention.

    The biggest issue that I think I see with the one mentioned in this article has to do with how "fat" it is around, and stubby on the bit side. Does it have an included extension so you can reach down to that upper right side of the mobo inside a case?