30 Best Gift Ideas and Gadgets For Programmers

Are you looking for gifts for a programmer friend? Or maybe you just want to buy something for yourself? Well, apart from those *yawn* coffee mugs and keychains, there are actually a lot of interesting tech toys that programmers will love to get their hands on.

So let this programmer walk you through some gift ideas in this list – If great minds think alike, then other programmers are most likely going to love these as well. All of the items listed here are under $50, so you don’t have to break the piggy bank. Read on to find out!

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Tech Toys Useful Gadgets Not-so-plain Joe
Hands On The End

 

 

TECH TOYS FOR FUN

In this first section are some awesome tech toys that may not be very useful. But you can be sure that they will leave a lasting impression, and who knows… They may actually be useful in an interesting way.

 

1. OVERLY LARGE SIZED ENTER KEY

Price: About $8.00
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No enter key is too big for programmers… So says a programmer who often smashes the enter key out of frustration. This extra-large enter plushie actually works, serving both as an enter key and as a stress relief punching bag. When you are tired from all the stress, it is also good as a desktop pillow too.

 

2. DESKTOP PUNCHING BAG

Price: About $15.00
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If the giant enter key is not to your liking, here is a more “realistic” alternative. An actual desktop-sized punching bag. Even though it does not serve as an enter key or a sleeping bag, it sure does well to invite others to punch at it… Have some quality stress relief time with your friends.

 

3. SMARTPHONE NECK MOUNT

Price: About $7.00
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Some people may think this gadget as some kind of a lame joke. But hey, it is actually very useful if you use a little bit of creative juice and think past the neck part. This flexible phone holder can be folded into a desktop stand, be hung behind car seats, and you can use it straight as a selfie stick as well… So why not?

 

 

4. TINY GAME CONSOLES

Price: About $22.00
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This one is for those who are suffering from a constant nagging of “stop playing with your phone”. Here is an alternative that is “not your phone”, so you can keep on playing. A pretty cool little gadget for those who are into retro gaming.

 

5. RETRO TELEPHONE HANDSET

Price: About $5.00
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Speaking about retro, all those modern earphones, headsets, and Bluetooth ear toothbrushes are for noobs. This good old reliable technology will not fail even if you drop it, or bash it against the wall. Plus, when you walk around with one of these classic telephone handsets, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

 

6. OPTICAL FINGER MOUSE

Price: About $8.00
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This is a mouse that is attached to your finger, a mouse that is not your usual mouse… But just why would anyone want to do that? Maybe because it feels pretty cool to have a working mouse finger. Who needs a mouse when you can use your own finger?

 

7. EMOJI POWER BANK

Price: About $6.00
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Ah, emojis. They invade our daily lives and make a perfect gift for those who are not already sick of it. These tiny power banks do not provide a lot of power, but you know you want it… The poop emoji makes a great gift indeed.

 

8. PENTODE USB

Price: About $50.00
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What is a pentode? It is a classic vacuum tube used in the old radio transmission devices. They are rare today and make very good industrial steampunk looking gadgets. Yep, this is simply one of the most beautiful handcrafted USB devices that I know of. Even though it is a little bit on the expensive side, not just a programmer, but any good techie will love this one.

 

9. SMARTPHONE VR HEADSET

Price: About $20.00 to $50.00
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Programmers are not all work and no play. A little bit of VR fun does not hurt. No need to spend hundreds to get a VR headset, we can get phone VR headsets these days for cheap, and they work well enough to provide countless hours of VR entertainment.

 

10. SMARTPHONE HOLOGRAM

Price: About $2.00
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For just a measly $2, we can turn smartphones into micro-hologram devices… Yep, this is actually just a simple pyramid-shaped plexiglass gadget that we put on the smartphone screen. Some kind of reflection science happens, and it will produce the hologram illusion. Just do a search for 3D hologram on YouTube, and you will get plenty of videos to play with.

 

 

ACTUALLY USEFUL GADGETS

Now that we are done with the novelty gadgets, here is a list of the boring devices… But they are practically practical devices that you can give to a practical programmer.

 

11. KABLE CARD

Price: About $35.00
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The Kablecard is a compact pocket-sized gadget. What does it do? It’s a portable case with a micro USB charging cable, USB-C cable, Lightning cable, LED lights, Qi charger, SD card reader… Yep, it’s one of the best “USB multi-tool” in the market.

 

12. RED DRAGON MECHANICAL KEYBOARD

Price: About $35.00
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If you want to give a keyboard, never ever, give a small floppy rubbery one to a programmer. Especially those flexibly foldable kinds – They are pretty useless and extremely painful to use when it comes to touch typing. A good, comfortable, tactile keyboard is what programmers need.

 

13. PROGRAMMABLE MOUSE

Price: At least $15.00
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Personally, I am happy with just a simple mouse. But programmable mice have a lot of buttons that can be customized, and they can come in handy to a programmer in many ways… Not for gaming, but for some lazy convenient controls. One button to turn the lights on, another to control the fan speed maybe?

 

14. SINGLE MONITOR ARM

Price: About $48.00
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One does not sit hunched over looking at a low monitor, suffer back pains, and suffer from headaches. You will be surprised how a well-placed monitor arm works to force people to sit upright, enforce good posture, and no more daily pains… Plus it looks cool.

 

 

15. FOAM LUMBAR SUPPORT

Price: About $10.00
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While we are still on the topic of good posture and health, here is something that costs a little lesser and still gives some good support for the spine… No need to buy an entire expensive ergonomic chair.

 

16. WRIST REST PAD

Price: About $5.00 to 10.00
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While we are still on the topic of good posture yet again, here is another cheapie that will compliment the lumbar support very well – A desktop wrist rest pad that will prevent awkward ergonomics.

 

17. GOOGLE HOME MINI

Price: About $30.00
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The Google Home is not the best speaker in the market, nor is it a portable Bluetooth speaker. But it is capable of doing various automation tasks… Well, I leave it up to you to decide.

 

18. USB DESK FAN

Price: About $18.00
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Nope, not those weak useless little toys. These are actually good mini USB fans that move quite a lot of air. Suitable not just for humans, but also for cooling down the laptops and tablets.

 

19. FITNESS TRACKER BAND

Price: About $30.00
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Nope, this is not an actual smartwatch, but it does track the fitness activities and serves as a watch. Programming can hard work, so let us not forget about health as well – Health is wealth, as the wise old saying goes.

 

20. COMPUTER GLASSES

Price: Above $20.00
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These funky orange-tinted glasses have some science behind them, and they will filter out some of those excessive blue lights that most computer screens emit. While it is not a replacement for good rest, these glasses do make it more comfortable to look at screens for longer periods of time.

 

21. MAGNETIC USB CABLE

Price: About $5.00 and more
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Apple Magsafe is a good idea. Why do people not adopt the idea of magnetic USB heads? It’s just so much more convenient.

 

NOT-SO-PLAIN JOE STUFF

Don’t like all those stuff that is too flashy or practical? Here is a section on the “classic gifts” that you can’t go wrong with.

 

22. PROGRAMMING STICKER PACK

Price: About $5.00
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Awesome stickers that can go onto laptops, tablets, fridges, walls, or just about anything. These are cheap, and you can be sure that they help to spell out “programmer inside”.

 

23. HEAT SENSITIVE MUG

Price: About $15.00
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The stone age of mugs is long over, forget those boring old mugs that only have some random inspirational quotes. Get one of these cool heat sensitive mugs instead – The image changes as they are filled with hot coffee, tea, chocolate… or any just about any funky hot fluids that you put in.

 

 

24. USB MUG WARMER

Price: About $12.00
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If you have decided to get the heat-sensitive mug above, you can also consider getting one of these USB mug warmers to complete the set – It will keep the coffee, tea, chocolate, or funky liquid warm.

 

25. LED T-SHIRT

Price: About $17.00
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The stone age of plain t-shirt is long over as well, forget those boring old shirts that only have some random inspirational quotes. These LED t-shirts light up and will unmistakably make a programmer look even more genius.

 

26. SWISSGEAR USB BACKPACK

Price: About $35.00 to $50.00
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Looking for a better way to carry a laptop or tablet around? One of these SwissGear backpacks will do the magic – They are rugged, have multiple compartments, lockable, and even has a USB port for charging smartphones. A perfect fit for traveling programmers.

 

27. MULTIFUNCTIONAL STYLUS PEN

Price: About $1.00
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When you have to buy something for someone you don’t really like. These cheapies are ballpoint pens on one side, and a stylus on the other. There are a few variations with screwdrivers and LED light inside as well… An interesting door gift nonetheless.

 

HANDS-ON GADGETS

In this final section, we will be walking through some gadgets for programmers who like to hands-on and build stuff for themselves.

 

28. ARDUINO STARTER KIT

Price: About $15.00
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For you guys who have not heard of the Arduino, it is basically a very affordable microcontroller. What can we do with it? Almost everything possible under the sun – Wiring light, water, heat sensors into the Arduino. Automatically switching on/off lights, remote-controlled locks, random light displays. You name it, the possibilities are endless.

 

29. ARDUINO RFID KIT

Price: About $10.00
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One does not simply give a keychain to a programmer. We give them an Arduino, a reader, RFID keychains, and make them create amazing stuff with it.

 

30. RASPBERRY PI ZERO

Price: About $20.00
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The Arduino can be a little bit limited as a “complete desktop computer”. So if you are looking for something more powerful, a Raspberry Pi is the best choice – These are essentially tiny palm-sized computers.

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this list of recommended tech toys. I hope that it has given you some good gift ideas, and if you want to add anything to this list, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy shopping!

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