Illustration by Patrick Hruby / Los Angeles Times; animation by Li Anne Liew / For The Times
This is part of the L.A. Times 2022 Gift Guide. See the full guide here. If you make a purchase using some of our links, the L.A. Times may be compensated.
As digital technology embeds itself evermore deeply in our lives and components get smaller and cheaper, the range of products that appeal to tech lovers approaches the infinite. Want a smart coffee cup? A desk lamp that’s also a communication device? Jewelry that helps you relax? It’s all there for the buying. From the vital to the whimsical, these gifts will make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” (And not a single one was made by Apple.)
Therabody Theragun mini massager
The original Theragun massage gun has developed a cult following for its ability to soothe sore hamstrings, unwind tight shoulders and ease aching backs with forceful, rapid-fire percussive hits to your muscles. Equally handy after a workout session or a long day sitting at your desk, the mini version fits easily in your gym bag or backpack, allowing you to take it wherever you go. (Also seen in our gift guide for self-care items.)
$199 at Therabody
Larq PureVis bottle
It happens to the best of us: You forget your water bottle in your car for a few days, and a whiff of the musty odor makes you never want to use it again. Larq‘s self-cleaning water bottle tackles that problem by eliminating 99% of bio-contaminants like bacteria and mold in your water in 60 seconds using UV-C technology. While not in use, it runs a 10-second self-cleaning cycle every two hours to keep itself clean. For backwoods hikes and other sketchy refill situations, it has an adventure mode that lasts three minutes, which the company says is the equivalent of boiling water for 20 minutes.
$99 at Larq
Long Distance Friendship Lamp
This synchronized lamp gives you an easy way to tell your friends and family across the country that you’re thinking of them. Give yours a little tap, and their paired lamp also emits a glow. You can link up multiple lamps so each person in a friend group gets their own color to say hi with.
$99 for one lamp and $198 for two at Uncommon Goods
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Airmega 150 air purifier
At under $200 and available in various shades of pastel, Coway’s Airmega 150 air purifier is both design-savvy and effective. This Times reporter and new cat owner saw a significant improvement in her allergy symptoms and litter box odor when she tested it out for a few weeks.
$189 at Coway
The Apollo Neuro uses small vibrations delivered to your wrist, ankle or chest to ease stress, increase focus and improve your sleep. The company cites research that certain frequencies of vibration are found to be soothing and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This Times reporter tested out the various settings and found the “Sleep and Renew” mode did help her fall asleep more quickly.
$399 at Apollo
Anker 511 PowerHouse
These days, a power bank for your phone isn’t enough — your laptop needs one too. Instead of being chained to a power outlet, you can charge your laptop and other devices with the Anker 511 PowerHouse wherever you go. Turn work-from-home into work-from-the-poolside.
$209.99 at Anker
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Bonaok wireless Bluetooth karaoke microphone
If you have a friend who’s always dragging you out for a long night of karaoke, give them the gift of drunkenly belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” from the comfort of their own home. A combination microphone and handheld speaker, the Bonaok connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It also functions as a regular microphone if you prefer to play music from a separate speaker instead.
$30.99 at Amazon
There are tons of fitness trackers out there, but Oura has cultivated a particularly devoted following among the biohacking crowd. Its ring can track sleep, activity, heart rate variability and more; the company has published research showing its data can even flag early COVID infections. Oura sends you a sizing kit to make sure you receive a ring that fits snugly on your finger, and you can pick from gold, silver, black and stealth (matte).
$299-$449 at Oura
Bose SoundLink Flex
The Bose SoundLink Flex is a popular portable speaker for good reason: It’s light, waterproof and has a battery life of up to 12 hours, according to its manufacturer. Its rugged IP67 rating means it can survive a 30-minute dip in the pool or a few drops. Oh, and it sounds great.
$149 at Bose
Nanoleaf Hexagon Smarter Kit
Nanoleaf’s lighting kits aren’t cheap, but their sleek design and endless customization options make them an exciting addition to your home if you can afford the splurge. The hexagon lights are easy to assemble and attach to your wall in any configuration you want. Music-synced lighting modes allow you to enjoy the sight of colored panels flashing in time with the beat.
$199 at Amazon
Tile Starter Kit (Mate & Slim)
It always happens when you’re already running late — your keys and wallet conceal themselves in far corners of your apartment or in between the couch cushions. As long as they’re within the range of a Bluetooth signal, you can locate them with Tile beacons. The Starter Kit includes the original Tile Mate to attach to your keychain as well as the Tile Slim for your wallet. Bonus: If you’re outside Bluetooth range, you can view your Tiles’ last locations and use the network of anonymous Tile users to track down your lost items.
$54.99 at Tile
For something roughly the size of a soda can, the Nebula Capsule is a surprisingly powerful video projector with a built-in speaker. Enjoy movie streaming from a variety of apps wherever you go, whether it’s on a camping trip or a fun movie night in your backyard. You can connect with AirPlay, Bluetooth, HDMI and USB.
$299 at Nebula
Birdie Personal Safety Alarm
Give your loved ones the gift of safety with the She’s Birdie Birdie Personal Safety Alarm. The device fits on your keychain and can easily be activated with a tug, triggering a flashing strobe light and loud siren to deter attackers. Unlike pepper spray and tasers, this device won’t be confiscated from you the next time you go to a Lakers game.
$29.95 at She’s Birdie
When you work from home, that morning cup of coffee can really make or break your day. So why let it go cold? The Ember cup lets you set your preferred drinking temperature and keeps your coffee warm for up to 1.5 hours or all day with the included charging coaster. It might sound indulgent, but no one likes a room-temperature cup of coffee. (Also seen in our hygge-inspired gift guide.)
$99.95 at Ember
Bellroy Mod phone case + wallet
Bellroy’s slim leather case and magnetic wallet combo keeps your iPhone free from scratches and your credit cards always on hand without a bulky profile or tacky design. The wallet has a magnetic trapdoor that keeps your cards hidden and is removable for MagSafe charging.
$98.90 at Bellroy