The best productivity presents for home and office
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If the 2020s have taught us anything, it’s that the line between your home and office is blurrier than ever. It has become increasingly thoughtful to get someone a gift that can help reduce their list of chores, improve their productivity, or kick back and relax after a long day at the office (in-home or on-site). Gifts in this category run the gamut from incredibly practical to downright extravagant, so there’s something for everybody. We’ve also been conscious of making sure our gift recommendations work whether you’re shopping for someone who rents or owns their place, be it an apartment or house. If you’re shopping for someone you live with, some of our best home and office presents below will also benefit you, so consider that a holiday bonus.
Best Wi-Fi routers: Amazon eero Pro 6E mesh Wi-Fi System
One of the keys to a happy home during the holidays (or any other time) is a fast, consistent connection to the Internet. Eero’s latest Wi-Fi routers support the latest wireless standard (Wi-Fi 6E), supporting speeds of up to 2.3 Gbps. For reference, Netflix recommends just 15Mbps to stream video in 4K, which is only .006% of the routers’ total potential bandwidth. If you’re shopping for someone who pays for a fast internet connection but finds their devices don’t get the speeds promised—or they have places in their home where their wireless connection is spotty—this is the optimal solution. Amazon says this two-pack of Eero routers can cover an area of up to 4,000 sq. ft., which should be enough for most homes, and it can be connected to over 100 devices without slowing down.
Best printer: Epson EcoTank ET-2400
Every home or office needs an all-in-one printer for when a document needs to be scanned, printed, or copied. This may only happen a handful of times a year (unless the printer is living in a house with school-age kids), but you’re guaranteed to get a “THANK YOU!” text each time it does. We like Epson’s ET-2400 because its ink tanks are more efficient and eco-friendly than disposable ink cartridges. We also enjoy this printer’s relatively small size and sleek look. The ET-2400 supports wireless printing, so whoever you gift it can keep it anywhere in their office, not necessarily right next to a computer.
Best docking station: UGREEN Triple Display Docking Station
The downside to laptops getting thinner and lighter is the loss of ports, which makes it annoying to connect accessories to them. If you know someone who’s always carrying around a bunch of adapters, you can simplify their life significantly by gifting them UGreen’s Triple Display Docking Station. This tool has three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, a microSD card slot, one SD card slot, a headphone jack, two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and an Ethernet jack. Your friend and family member can use UGREEN’s hub to connect their computer to three external displays and nearly a dozen other accessories with a single USB-C cable. The hub can even recharge their laptop while connected, which is an excellent bonus.
Just need a power present? UGREEN makes numerous recommendable solutions, including the 100W 7-in-1 DigiNest charging station, which uses GaN II technology to offer better conversion efficiency and heat dissipation in a compact form featuring 3 USB-C ports, 1 USB-A port, and 3 AC outlets.
Best office chair: Boulies Master Neo
Nobody thinks about ergonomics until their body starts hurting, so this gift serves two purposes. Yes, Boulies’ Master Neo was designed for gamers, but the chair is so comfortable that we can recommend it to anybody who works at home. The chair has ample padding on the back and bottom, height-adjustable arms, and a satisfying swivel. Most office chairs look boring, but the Master Neo is available in blue and pink colorways, which can add a nice pop of color to a plain-looking workspace.
Best mouse: Logitech MX Master 3S
Logitech’s MX Master 3S is the tech accessory office workers don’t know they needed. The Bluetooth mouse is shaped so an entire hand can fit on top of it, with a dedicated thumb resting on its left side. The MX Master 3S’ design makes it much more comfortable to use over long periods. Additional buttons on the side and top of the mouse give users quick access to different apps or system functions, which can save the person you gift it to several minutes every day. One of this mouse’s coolest features is the ability to pair it with up to three devices, so your friend or family member can use it with their work and personal computer. Nobody thinks about the computer mouse they use, but once you gift someone the Logitech MX Master 3S, they’ll never return to a generic wired one.
Best keyboard: Drop ENTR Mechanical Keyboard
If you’re already gifting someone an ergonomic mouse, pairing it with a mechanical keyboard makes sense. Drop’s ENTR is an old school-looking keyboard that’s easy on both the eyes and fingers. It has a Windows key, but the USB-C wired keyboard can also be connected to a Mac without any issues. The sensation of typing on a mechanical keyboard after years of using the slim ones built into laptops is revelatory. The office worker who keys the ENTR will probably feel the difference in the first day or two. They may need to adjust the way they type slightly, but the difference in comfort is completely worth it. Our favorite feature of the ENTR keyboard is its backlit keys, which make it easier to work in the dark.
Best work desk: Hoek Home Office Desk
If you want to gift surface area to someone with limited space, Brooklyn, NY-based Hoek designs, machines, and hand-finishes quick-assembly furnishings that can hang flat on a wall when not in use (mountable wall cleat included). Fabricated-to-order before being flat-packed, this quality carpentry is a modular, minimalist workstation that’s up and running within seconds of arrival. Ultra-slim but extremely sturdy, the 42-pound fabricated-to-order tabletop (sustainably sourced maple or natural birch plywood, with a black colorway option) sits atop modular 100% recycled HDPE plastic legs that click in or out in seconds (no tools required) and store on the chassis’ underbelly when not in use. Measuring L 47.5″ x W 23″ x H 30″, with an integrated handle, the Home Office Desk offers a stylish, easily moveable workstation. And suppose later you want it further kitted out. In that case, you can purchase a perfectly paired CNC-meets-carpentry creation, including a monitor shelf, keyboard under-shelf, and/or a headphones/bag hook (or buy it all upfront as a discounted bundle). At $495 ($795 for the bundle), the Hoek Home Office Desk isn’t cheap, but you’re buying creative craftsmanship to let someone efficiently take advantage of their space.
Best wireless earbuds: Apple AirPods Pro 2
Let’s not beat around the bush here: Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 are arguably the hottest holiday gift this season. Apple’s latest earbuds sound better, last longer, and cancel out more noise than the pair they replace while keeping the same iconic look, feel, and shape. Active noise cancellation is the biggest feature for office workers, as it’ll allow them to concentrate on work instead of being distracted by the sound of typing keys, swiveling chairs, or idle conversation. One of the most underrated features of the AirPods Pro 2 is the microphones, which are surprisingly good at picking up a speaker’s voice without much room noise. At their price, you won’t find a more well-rounded, fully featured pair of earbuds than the AirPods Pro 2.
Best headphones: beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO X
Need a gift for an audiophile who listens to music in their home office and continues their play session hours after logging off? Maybe someone you know is setting up a starter home studio but also games? Get them beyerdynamic’s DT 700 Pro X over-ear headphones, which come from the makers of our overall best mixing headphones. What separates the DT 700 Pro X apart from the pack is the extremely soft ear cushions, which make the headphones extremely comfortable to wear while simultaneously isolating a listener’s ears from unwanted outside sounds without any tonality-altering circuitry. Additionally, the headphones clamping force (how much pressure the headphones push against a listener’s head to keep them on) was also calibrated to optimize comfort without sacrificing performance. The headphones also sound excellent, with deep bass, wide midrange, and clear-but-not-crispy treble that lets you identify stray frequencies in the mix or threats in the game. And, as we said earlier, anyone who loves listening to music at home will really like these headphones.
Best smart speaker: Amazon Echo (4th Gen)
If you know someone who’s been thinking about making their home smarter, but doesn’t know where to start, get them the Amazon Echo (4th Gen). Amazon’s latest smart speaker looks modern, has a surprisingly good dual-driver audio system, and will immediately become the hub of their smart home. Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant, allows you to use the Echo hands-free, issuing voice commands to play music, get news updates, hear about the weather, play games, and even order products. Controlling smart-home accessories through the Echo is much easier using apps, which can be cumbersome and require your full attention. Saying, “Alexa, turn on the hallway light,” is a lot more intuitive. If you’re feeling extra generous, gift somebody two Echos so they can have this functionality in multiple parts of their home (plus an intercom system).
Best smart lights: Nanoleaf Lines
Smart lights are the first smart home accessory we recommend gifting people if they already have a smart speaker, and Nanoleaf’s Lines are a lot cooler than a typical smart light bulb. The “lines” can be attached to one another and arranged in dozens of different configurations, and each one can be assigned a different color via an app on your phone. The Lines allow for a level of self-expression that makes them an especially good gift for children just beginning to have input on arranging their room. Nanoleaf’s Lines may also become a part of your friend or family’s holiday decorations, accenting other pieces they typically put up.
Best monitor: Dell S2722QC
An external display will give your friend or family member a lot more digital space to work with, which can help improve their productivity or ability to multitask. There are a lot of monitors out there, but Dell’s S2722QC checks all the right boxes. The 27-inch 4K screen can display 1.07 billion colors and has HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C inputs so that you can connect it to any machine. The USB-C port should be of particular interest if you’re shopping for a MacBook owner since it’ll allow the display to charge their laptop while it’s connected. The S2722QC’s speakers aren’t anything to write home about, but they’re helpful in a pinch, especially if you’re gifting the monitor to someone who likes to keep their laptop lid closed while working. It’s a little more luxe than most monitors on the market, but the S2722QC is the one to get this holiday season.
Best monitor riser: Grovemade Desk Shelf
Simple problems don’t have to get spartan solutions. Portland, Ore.-based design and fabrication shop Grovemade initially broke into the e-commerce ecosystem with engraved bamboo iPhone 4 cases and has been crafting an expanded range of workspace products ever since. A decade-plus later and the Grovemade Desk Shelf system, available in three sizes and multiple woods/finishes, is yet another product that shows how efficiency and ergonomics can be elegant. It’s a sleek platform to help align your virtual world with your real one, and it comes with shelf space that can store cords and keyboards or additional Grovemade trays, desk pads, and accessories you can add to your cocoon of productivity. Got some flagship headphones that deserve to be showcased? The Grovemade headphone stand is another statement piece that is as appealing as it is functional.
Best webcam: OBSBOT Tiny PTZ 4K Webcam
Webcams have become an essential home office accessory, and OBSBOT’s Tiny PTZ 4K Webcam is among the best we’ve seen. The camera can stream or record incredibly crisp video, and will automatically compensate for poor lighting conditions to help the person you gift it to look their best. What makes the Tiny PTZ 4K Webcam particularly distinctive is its rotating base, which allows the lens to track a person as they move up, down, left, or right. Free software provided by OBSBOT allows you to position the webcam perfectly and lock it in place, too. If you’re shopping for someone on a video call more than three times a week, this is a slam-dunk gift.
Best digital picture frame: Aura Carver Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame
Sharing memories with less tech-savvy family members can be tough if you only see them a few times a year, which is why Aura’s Carver Wi-Fi Digital Picture Frame makes such a great gift. The 10.1-inch HD display can be loaded with photos remotely, so the person viewing them can keep up with your latest adventures. Multiple people can access the same frame so that siblings can share all of their family photos with parents or grandparents at once. Aura doesn’t charge for cloud storage either, so this picture frame will continue to show new pictures as long as it stays connected to the internet.
Best TV: Hisense U8H
We can’t think of a better holiday gift than a new TV, and Hisense’s U8H is the gold standard in its price range. The set is available in sizes ranging from 55 to 75 inches, but the 65-inch model will be the sweet spot for most people. The U8H has four HDMI ports, two of which support 4K gaming at 120Hz with high dynamic range enabled. This is a big deal if the gamer in your life has a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, as they’ll be able to play cutting-edge titles at their highest levels of fidelity. The U8H’s 336 local dimming zones allow the TV to offer incredible contrast, while support for Dolby Vision ensures colorful scenes look clear and natural rather than being blown out. If you’ve been saving up to set that special someone up with a really big gift, this should be your first (and arguably only) choice.
Best soundbar: Sonos Ray
Need a gift for the person who’s already satisfied with their TV (or monitor)? The best answer is a soundbar, specifically the Sonos Ray. The Ray’s short size (only 21-inches wide) allows it to fit on any entertainment center without poking off the sides. Sonos designed the Ray’s drivers to point forward so that sound won’t reverberate off the sides of a shelf or a wall. Despite its small size, we were happy with how the Ray sounded in our tests. It wouldn’t distort during loud movie sequences with explosions or other sudden sound pops. You won’t find a better-engineered soundbar at the Ray’s size price, and avid movie watchers will immediately pick up on the audio upgrade.
Best media streamer: Roku Stick 4K
If a less tech-savvy member of your friend or family group is trying to get into streaming the latest binge-worthy shows and blockbuster movies, there’s no better gift than a Roku Streaming Stick 4K. The ultra-slim media streamer is intuitive and has a simple remote plus dedicated buttons to take users directly to the most popular streaming services. The Streaming Stick 4K can playback video at its highest possible resolution, and supports every HDR (high dynamic range) standard to deliver vibrant colors. We can also recommend this accessory for people who often travel, as it’s easy to throw into a bag and hook up to a hotel or Airbnb TV, so you’re already logged into all of your streaming service accounts wherever you go.
Best wireless charger: Twelve South PowerPic
Twelve South’s PowerPic is the most inventive wireless charger we’ve seen yet, and its unique design makes it an especially cool gift. The 10W wireless charging stand is built into a picture frame, allowing you to slip any 5×7-inch photo behind your phone’s resting spot. The picture will be revealed when the phone is not charging, so the PowerPic serves a dual purpose. If you know the person you’re gifting this to well enough, you can stealthily open the package, put in a meaningful picture, reseal it, then watch their face light up when it’s revealed.
Best gadget charger: Satechi Dock5
Satechi Dock5 is a practical gift for anyone with several family members or roommates. The accessory has two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, with dividers between each port so several gadgets can charge without looking messy. A Qi wireless charging pad toward the front of the Dock5 can recharge a pair of wireless earbuds or another small tech accessory. We all have someone in our lives with a messy, cable-filled section of their kitchen or living room, and this gift can resolve that issue.
Best whiteboard: Quartet Glass Whiteboard
Quartet’s Glass Whiteboard is an unexpected gift that fully remote workers and students will immediately understand and appreciate. The large canvas is perfect for sketching ideas, collaborating on tough problems, or something as simple as a hand-drawn calendar. Most of us are used to having all this information on a screen. Still, something is satisfying about being able to directly write, slash, and erase your work immediately rather than fiddling with a mouse cursor or stylus. Plus, Quartet’s Glass Whiteboard looks so nice that it practically invites people to use it right out of the box.
Best smart board: Vestaboard
We’ve never seen anything quite like the Vestaboard, which perfectly typifies the concept of ambient computing. The internet-connected smart board contains 132 “bits,” which flip to reveal different characters or colors. You can send messages to the Vestaboard through the company’s app, which is intuitive to use and comes pre-loaded with a few quotes and color patterns to show you its potential. A paid service called Vestaboard+ allows you to use applications to automate the board in even more creative ways, like displaying the current song you’re listening to through a streaming service, current sports scores, or playing a word game.
This is the ideal indulgent gift for someone who spends a lot of time in their home office or wants a fancy family bulletin board in their living room. Vestaboard owners can grant other people access to their board, allowing friends and family to send messages. The Vestaboard is a unique canvas for people to display meaningful quotes, words of encouragement, or mini works of art. We guarantee the person you gift it to won’t have seen anything like it.
Best home gardening system: Gardyn 2.0 Hydroponics Growing System
In our tests, the Gardyn 2.0 has fulfilled the promise of being a (mostly) hands-free gardening tool for anyone who lacks a green thumb but wants to grow food. Once it’s set up, the Gardyn will automatically provide the correct amount of light (via LED light strips) and water (through a refillable tank), so there’s no room for error. It takes up to six weeks for plants to reach their full size, and it’s inspiring to see the plants sprout and grow over time. Two cameras on the LED light strips will automatically take pictures of your crops at regular intervals so that you can chart their progress at any time.
The Gardyn is a premium gift, but one that’ll quickly become the hit of your home. Children can learn about how food (and plant life in general) grows and the value of patience. After a few months, you can have a feast featuring fresh vegetables you’ve grown yourself—even if you live in a New York City apartment like I do.
Have a backyard or balcony and an interest in growing greens? Another option is the Lettuce Grow Farmstand starter set. This vertical hydroponic growing system starts with 12 pre-sprouted plants in a tower just under 4-feet tall, but can be customized to your space and budget. It only takes minutes each week to add the water and nutrients necessary and, within a month, you’re enjoying pesticide-free veggies, leafy greens, herbs, fruits, and lettuce.
Best trash can: Brabantia Bo Touch
Yes, we recommend you get someone in your life a trash can, but hear us out. Brabantia’s Bo Touch has a modern design that’s surprisingly eye-catching in person. Everybody needs a trash can, so why not gift them one they won’t mind looking at several times a day for decades? We also like the Bo Touch’s namesake feature: the ability to open and close its lid by lightly pressing it. Brabantia offers the Bo Touch in a handful of configurations, but the one we recommend has a single 9.5-gallon slot for trash. The person you gift this to may be confused initially, but they’ll quickly change their tune.
Most practical tech accessory: SnapPower GuideLight for Outlets
We’ve all used a phone flashlight to navigate around the house, which is why we’re certain about gifting SnapPower’s GuideLight to just about anybody in your life. The plate attaches to any duplex outlet and has a couple of small, downward-facing LEDs, which get triggered every time somebody walks by. All you need to install the GuideLight is a screwdriver; no previous electrical engineering experience is required. There’s not much to say about the GuideLight, but it’s an incredibly practical tool that’ll fit in anybody’s home.
Best desk lamp: Cricut Bright 360
With four points of articulation and 1,500 lux of adjustable brightness, the Bright 360 Table LED Lamp is a fabulous addition to your workstation whether you’re examining the accents of a project, taking pictures for an online shop, or trying to look less shadowy and/or sallow on a video call. It’s easy to maneuver, offers a range of color temperatures from warm to cool white, and is one of those quick and easy upgrades that make a world of difference. Whether you’re precision-cutting patches or copy-and-pasting paragraphs, you should be able to appreciate all the fine details of your work. And if you’re sitting through yet another online “face-to-face,” you should look your best. This light lets you do all of that and more. Speaking of more, there’s also a floor-lamp variant.
Best under-desk seated elliptical: Cubii MOVE
Ever feel like you’re just shuffling your feet, waiting for people to get back to you or for everyone to join a video conference? Feel like you’re just spinning your wheels, waiting for tech support to figure out what’s wrong with your laptop? Well, you—or your gift recipient—can turn purgatory (or any other time) into a type of productivity with one of the many compact Cubii under-desk elliptical systems. Aimed to help folks “get fit while you sit,” the low-impact apparatus turns fidgeting into function as you activate multiple muscle groups at the pedaling intensity you prefer, thanks to six selectable resistance levels. Whisper-quiet, the MOVE can live underneath your desk for daily use without distracting others but, at under 20 lbs, can also be easily moved if needed.
Best robot vacuum: ECOVACS DEEBOT X1 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop
ECOVACS’ DEEBOT X1 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop can do two annoying chores and does a surprisingly good job making your floors look neat. The vacuum’s sensors allow it to clean around obstacles like chairs, shoes, and walls without bumping into them and will prevent the DEEBOT X1 from falling down a flight of stairs. Additional sensors will know when the robot vacuum has hit a particularly dirty flooring patch and focus its energy there. Once done, the robot vacuum will return to its base to charge, emptying its dirt and dirty water into two chambers in its base. The DEEBOT X1 can be set on a schedule to clean when your friend or family member is out of the house, so they won’t have to hear the whirring sound of a vacuum ever again. Ultimately, this is one of the few smart home tools that will truly save your friend or family member time.
Best over-the-top gift: Kül Water Dispenser
If you’re shopping for someone who’s really into health and hydration, or really misses the office experience of gathering around the water cooler to talk about the latest must-see TV, throw caution to the wind and get them the Kül Spark. The $1,500 water purification system can be hooked up to their plumbing and create cold, hot, ambient (room temp), or sparkling water free of over 80 contaminants. Don’t worry, there’s also the option to use a refillable water tank. We’ve tried the Kül Spark for ourselves, and the difference in taste is real. The Kül Spark’s ability to dial in the perfect temperature is equally impressive. A touch-sensitive control panel on the right-hand side of the machine makes it easy to choose which type of beverage you’d like to make or change certain settings. You can even see stats like how long it’s been since you’ve changed your filter, or how full your CO2 cartridges are. Yes, it’s luxe, but the Kül Spark is an incredibly generous gift for anyone who’s overly confident that their kitchen or home office has “everything.”
Best for the bathroom: Kohler Moxie Bluetooth Showerhead
Do you know a bathroom karaoke superstar? Or someone who likes to start their day catching up on podcasts? No gift will make them happier than Kohler’s Moxie Bluetooth Showerhead. Installing it requires you just twist off your old showerhead and spin on the new one, a process that takes two minutes. A waterproof Bluetooth speaker sits in the center of the shower head, pumping out tunes or talk for several hours before needing to be recharged. The speaker was developed by Harman Kardon and sounds pretty good. Importantly, it’s easy to turn on and off with wet and soapy hands. This is one of those gifts they’ll never see coming, and will use every day.
Best note-taking tablet: BOOX Note Air2 Plus
BOOX’s Note Air2 Plus is a large e-ink tablet for reading and note-taking. It’s expensive but well worth the price if you need a big gift for someone whose work or school program requires them to take copious notes. The 10.3-inch e-ink tablet runs Android, so the person you gift it to will have access to download specific apps for reading, note-taking, or opening specific file types like PDFs. Much of this functionality is built into the Note Air2 Plus, but, if they’re already familiar with an app, or need a specific piece of software as part of their workflow, the Note Air2 Plus will accommodate their needs far more than a Kindle or other e-Ink tablet. The tablet comes bundled with a stylus, which was remarkably responsive in our tests, allowing us to confidently write on it without worrying about missing a line or digital pen stroke. This is a very specific gift, but if you know someone who has filled up their fair share of notebooks, and wishes they could take all that information with them, this will become their go-to gadget.
Best surge protector: Austere VII Series Power 8-Outlet
This gift may not immediately impress, but is incredibly important for the home office worker. Austere’s VII Series Power 8-Outlet will protect their equipment in case of a sudden power surge, which could fry their computer, monitor, and other expensive tech accessories. Gifting someone this surge protector could save them thousands of dollars in the long run. We like Austere’s VII Series Power 8-Outlet because of its sturdy construction, seven-year guarantee, and USB ports, which allow you to charge smaller devices without taking up one of the outlets with a power adapter. Is this gift practical? Extremely. But no home office is truly complete without one.
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