Product Reviews

The Best Black Friday Deals Under $50 – News Opener

let’s face it, buying presents for loved ones over the holiday season is expensive. But you don’t always have to reach for the most extravagant items to add to your cart. There are plenty of affordable options that’ll make for great gifts regardless of who you’re shopping for. To help make it easier, we’ve rounded up a plethora of deals on streaming sticks, smart displays, video games, and more, all priced at or below $50. Check out our 25 Gifts Under $25 guide for more budget-friendly holiday gift ideas.

WIRED’s Black Friday Coverage

We test products year-round and handpicked these deals. Products that are sold out or no longer discounted as of publishing will be crossed out. We’ll update this guide throughout the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.

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Streaming and Audio Deals

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Photograph: Roku

The Streaking Stick 4K is the best Roku you can get for this price. Though we prefer the 4K+, which is discounted to $60 ($10 off) right now, this one is similar for a lot less. The difference is that the 4K+ model has a rechargeable remote and offers hands-free voice control (there’s also a way to find the remote if it’s lost. If you don’t care for those features, this Streaming Stick 4K is a great bargain. Rokus are our top choice of streaming devices for most people, even though their interface is basic. They’re just easier to navigate and have nearly every service under the sun.

Rokus are the recommended choice for most people, but this Google Chromecast with Google TV (8/10, WIRED Recommends has the best interface of any streaming device we’ve tried. Browsing across platforms is easier than other devices, whether you’re looking for a specific title or are just in the mood for something scary. If you don’t need a 4K device, Google has a new, cheaper HD-only Chromecast with Google TV for $20 ($10 off).

If you primarily watch Prime Video content or just really like the Alexa voice assistant, go with Amazon’s streaming stick. It works with most apps, but it is obviously geared toward Prime shows and movies. The picture-in-picture feature lets you pull up your security camera feed without interrupting your current binge. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

Photograph: Amazon 

For $10 less, you can get a similarly capable version of the Fire TV Stick. It has 1.5 gigabytes of memory to the 4K Max’s 2 gigs, and its processor is slightly less advanced, but you probably won’t notice much difference. If you don’t plan to upgrade to a 4K TV anytime soon, the cheap Fire TV Stick Lite is also discounted to $15 ($15 off)

Blue microphones are known for their reliability and quality. This one is super affordable too. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a decent upgrade to your laptop’s built-in microphone for video calls. Simply plug it in and you’re good to go—no software required.

Google Nest Mini

Photograph: Google

The Google Nest Mini (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is your best option if you’re looking to accomplish the basics, like setting timers, asking questions, and controlling your smart home. The fabric cover is made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and comes in a variety of fun colors.

We love the cheap Nest Mini, but for a little bit more you can get significantly better sound with the Nest Audio (8/10, WIRED Recommends). Get this one if you like to blast music as you do your chores, cook, or host parties.

JLab Go Air Pop

Photograph: JLab

These are our favorite cheap earbuds for under $50. They have decent sound and will get you 8 hours of battery life (in addition to the included charging case). There’s also a built-in USB cable, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting or losing your charger. You can choose between several fun colors.

These ColorBuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are our runner-up pair of cheap wireless earbuds. They have six hours of battery life, support the AptX Bluetooth codec for better music quality, and have several ear tips in the box so you can get a good fit. There’s an IPX5 rating so they will be fine in the rain and during workouts, and they’re super comfy to wear. 

It’s not a huge discount on already-cheap earbuds, but the Tempo 30 (8/10, WIRED Recommends) surprised us. They’re lightweight, well-built, water resistant, and fit small ears really well. You get eight hours of battery life and even basic noise canceling. The bass is boomy, but the audio can lack clarity in the higher tones. Call quality is also not great, and the Bluetooth range isn’t amazing either. But if those quirks don’t bug you, they’re a great and cheap way to enter the wireless audio world (or a spare pair to keep around the home). 

Gaming Deals

Xbox Wireless Controller

Photograph: Microsoft

If you plan to play video games with friends or family over the holidays, you’ll want to purchase a few extras. The Xbox comes with only one controller. All four color options are discounted, including Carbon Black, Robot White, Shock Blue, Pulse Red, and Electric Volt.

This is our favorite gaming headset for under $100. For budget headphones, the Arctis Nova feels just as sturdy as more expensive options. And they offer detailed, clear, and rich sound. They dipped lower to $48 earlier this month, but this is still a good deal. 

Microsoft is offering deals on more than 900 titles. You’ll find a lot of these are included in its Game Pass subscription service, which you can get for $1 right now for the first month. Here are a few of our favorite Xbox Series X/S games currently on sale under $50:

Amazon Device Deals

Echo Dot Kids 

Photograph: Amazon

WIRED staffers’ kids love the Echo Dot, and this is the updated 2022 version with an improved speaker. It comes in two new cute designs, an owl and a dragon. Kids can listen to bedtime stories, set alarms, or even call parent-approved contacts. Speaking of parents, it has easy-to-use parental controls. You’ll get a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+ and a two-year warranty. 

If the adults in the house are the ones looking for an Echo device, this is the new version of the Dot we love. It’s the best smart speaker you can get for this price (unless you don’t like Alexa)—it’s also $50 less than the 4th-gen version. The 2022 updates include better audio and a temperature sensor so you can set a routine to turn the fan on or off depending on the temperature in a particular room.

The Echo (4th Gen) holds the spot of Best Overall in our roundup of best Echo and Alexa speakers. It packs decent sound and is compact enough that it’ll fit in any room—you can use it in the kitchen for recipes and timers or in the bathroom to play music while you shower. 

The Echo Show is for Alexa fans who prefer a screen over audio-only. It’s nice for watching YouTube while you cook or for video calling, but it can also just be helpful to see your schedule at a glance.

Fire HD 8 Tablet

Photograph: Amazon

OK, it’s technically over $50, but just barely! This is the brand-new Fire HD 8 tablet with a thinner design and a slightly faster processor. You get an HD display, speedy performance for everyday tasks, and plenty of battery life to last a full day. If you want to save some cash, the 2020 version is discounted to $45 ($45 off). But if you want to spend as little as possible, the processor in this 2020 model is still a good buy.  You’ll get an HD display, fast performance, and 12 hours of battery life. 

The Fire 7 tablet finally received a refresh. It has a more powerful processor, longer battery life (and charges via a USB-C port), and double the RAM. The SD card now supports up to 1 terabyte of storage. If it’s in your budget, we suggest opting for the Fire 8 instead, but the Fire 7 is good enough for basic web browsing and watching video.

The Halo View received an honorable mention in our Best Fitness Trackers buying guide. It’s also at the lowest price we’ve seen yet. The fitness tracker is comfortable, affordable, and has an easy-to-use connected app. But WIRED editor Adrienne So isn’t a fan of how it tells you to strip down in your underwear to measure body fat composition or how it pushes business partnerships. 

Mobile Accessory Deals

Totallee Thin iPhone Case

Photograph: Totallee

Totallee cases are for those of us who despise using a case but can’t be trusted without one. These aren’t going to stand up to serious abuse, but they’ll handle everyday scuffs and are some of the thinnest cases around.

Society6 makes cute, cheap iPhones cases so you can show off your personality, whether that’s through ghosties or cats. And designs come in cases compatible with the iPhone 6 all the way to the current 14.

The above cases won’t protect your phone from serious drops, but Otterbox will, and they’re not all as chunky as you might remember. You should be able to find something no matter which phone you have. Otterbox also has MagSafe chargers, power banks, and cables, most of which can be had for under $20.  

iOttie Velox

Photograph: iOttie

Is there anything more frustrating, and potentially dangerous, than your phone falling off its car charging mount at the slightest bump? You don’t have to worry about that if you get this iOttie Velox mount. It clips right into your car’s air vent, and in testing, it has never fallen off.

There are a lot of third-party MagSafe chargers, but Apple’s official charger will power up your iPhone the quickest (15 watts) since it aligns precisely with the spot that allows for the best power transfer. But with just a 3-foot cable, it’s annoyingly tough to use your phone while it’s charging unless you’re right next to where it’s plugged in.

Apple’s official MagSafe case has accurate cutouts for ports and clicky buttons, and the entire bottom edge of the phone is protected. The case comes in a bunch of colors, but only certain ones are on sale, depending on whether you’re shopping for iPhone 14, 14 Plus, or 14 Pro. It’s a nice case, but it easily attracts lint and dust.

Nimble PowerKnit Cable

Photograph: Nimble

These are one of our favorite USB-C cables because they’re attractive, are made from certified recycled plastic and aluminum, and are BPA and PVC-free. The braided design makes them quite durable and they can carry up to 60 watts of power to your laptop. You can choose between three sizes, all of which are on sale. Need a USB-C to Lightning cable? Nimble has a sale on those too.

The iXpand Luxe is our flash drive pick for backing up phone content. It has a Lightning plug for iPhones and iPads at one end, and a USB-C plug on the other, for transferring files to or from Android phones or laptops. iPhone users will need to install the iXpand app. It wasn’t the fastest drive we’ve ever used, but it’s slim and has a loop for a keychain.

Home and Self-Care Deals

Oral-B Pro 1000

Photograph: Amazon

The Oral-B Pro 1000 is one of the best electric toothbrushes. It’s also one of the most affordable. The round brush heads get between every tooth, and the vibrations are powerful (almost too much so). It doesn’t have smart features like app connectivity and tracking, but you really don’t need that—most people don’t want to open an app every time they brush, or spend over $100 on a toothbrush.

The Google Nest Hub (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is a great smart display with no camera (and therefore no risk of unwanted prying eyes). Some WIRED staffers use them in their kitchens to follow along with cooking videos, and you can call up Google Assistant to control smart home gadgets or ask questions. You can also have it rotate through your photo gallery while not in use.

This isn’t the greatest discount, but these sunset lamps make a great addition to any home. The small gadget projects halolike effects with pops of rainbow colors to make the space feel super cozy. All you have to do is place it on the floor, plug it in, and aim it toward a wall. It’s easy to understand why these sunset lamps have been trending all over TikTok

We’ve tried a ton of flat irons across the price spectrum, and this cheapie is one of the best. It straightened WIRED writer Medea Giordano’s curls quickly and easily, so she didn’t have to go over one section multiple times, frying it more in the process. She said it didn’t necessarily add shine, but it also didn’t make it look crispy, which is a common travesty.

Blissy Silk Sleep Mask

Photograph: Blissy

We like that sleep masks block out all the light, but they can sometimes be uncomfortable or annoyingly obvious against your eyes. This one isn’t. It’s cooling and comfortable and comes in a whopping 38 colors and patterns. 

The Curvy 3+ is one of the best sex toys we’ve tested and our favorite to use with a partner. The dual-use vibrator has an air-pulse stimulator on one end that provides slow but powerful suction, while the other end is where you’ll feel the vibrations most. It’s fairly low-intensity, even when it’s on the highest settings. 

Deals on Essential Gear

Lifestraw

Photograph: Amazon

WIRED readers and writers alike love the Lifestraw. It’s frequently discounted during deals holidays like this, and if there’s one emergency preparedness product to get, it’s the Lifestraw. It removes 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria, parasites, microplastics, and dirt, so you can stay hydrated while the world burns around you.

On/Go’s at-home test kit is one of the easier we’ve used. It comes with a test cassette, extraction vial, vial cap, and nasal swab. There’s also a guided app that will help you through the process. After collecting your sample, you’ll be prompted to upload a photo of your result, and the app will confirm whether it’s positive, negative, or invalid. 

iHealth’s Covid-19 kit comes with a test card, nasal swab, and solution. After collecting and soaking your sample in solution, add three drops to the test card and get results in 15 minutes. The FDA issued a warning for counterfeit versions of the iHealth Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test kits that haven’t been authorized for sale in the US, so we recommend using these links to make sure you’re purchasing the authentic version.


Black Friday Retailer Sales

Want to browse the sales yourself? Here are a few top retailers participating in Black Friday deals.

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