Gadget

Gadgets that make great Mother’s Day gifts

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Whether your mom keeps on top of the latest tech trends or still calls you for help logging into her email account, a carefully considered gadget can be a practical way to tell her thanks for, y’know, putting up with you. Sure, the usual flowers, breakfast in bed or complementary spa day will always be worthwhile Mother’s Day gifts, but if you want to take a different (and much nerdier) approach, a good piece of tech can make her life easier even after the holiday has passed. If you need some help brainstorming some gift ideas, we’ve put together a list of gadgets, services and other gear that should bring any mom a little joy.

Ember

Take your mother’s morning coffee routine up a notch with the Ember Mug, a self-heating smart mug that keeps beverages at just the right temperature for up to 1.5 hours or all day if the mug is kept on its charging coaster. It has a temperature range between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which lets your mom dial in just how hot she wants her brew. There’s also a companion app which lets her save preset temps for her favorite drinks, track her caffeine intake, customize the color of the LED light on the front of the mug and more. The latest version comes in a pretty rose gold color as well as white, black, gold, silver and copper. — Nicole Lee, Commerce Writer

$114 at Amazon

LEVOIT

When I tested air purifiers for our guide, I found the best way to clear the air was by opening windows — but if the mom in your life deals with allergies or lives where the air quality can get bad, an air purifier can be the next best thing. The Levoit Core 400S Smart Air Purifier was one of the quietest models I tested and performed on a level with models three times as expensive. It has a three-stage filter (including an activated carbon layer and HEPA filter), and the internal particulate matter sensor can automatically adjust fan speed as air gets murkier. The companion app both shows historical air quality readouts and makes the unit itself easy to control and schedule. Plus, the replacement filters aren’t overly expensive like they are with other units. — Amy Skorheim, Reporter, Buying Advice

$220 at Amazon

Trade Coffee

If you think mom would enjoy upgrading her morning cup of java, a Trade Coffee subscription can help. It offers a curated selection of more than 450 coffees from across the US and smartly personalizes which ones it recommends to each subscriber. Upon redeeming her gift, she’ll be prompted to take a brief quiz that asks about her flavor and brew preferences, information Trade will use to suggest a specific bag catered to her taste. Mom can then give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to any coffee she receives, which the company will use to hone its future recommendations. Managing her coffee queue online is easy enough, too. You can gift anywhere from two to 24 bags, and Trade says any gift subscriptions will not automatically renew so neither you nor mom will have any surprise charges to deal with down the line. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Reporter, Buying Advice

$40 at Trade Coffee

Mpix

So many of us take hundreds of photos with our phones and then never do anything with them. They’re left to languish in our camera rolls, only to be uncovered when you have to scroll back months to find that one image you’re searching for. If you want to give mom a more polished way to look back at her favorite photos, an album from Mpix will do the trick. You can customize your photo book from the ground up, choosing the best images of her family and friends and laying them out on each page in a neat way. You can also pick from different types of cover options and paper weights, making the final product as premium as you want it to be. With options starting at $20 per book, it’s pretty easy to make mom a gift she’ll want to revisit long after Mother’s Day is over. – Valentina Palladino, Deputy Editor, Buying Advice

$20 at Mpix

Instant Pot

Some moms cook multi-course dinners every night. Others, like me, are proud when the evening’s meal is more elaborate than a PB&J. The microwave is a perfectly fine way to get food on the table but I’ve found an air fryer makes low-effort dinners feel fancy. Instant’s Vortex Plus crisps the exterior of the veggie corn dogs my kid loves and gives chicken nuggets a golden patina that looks nice next to my signature (microwaved) broccoli and cheese. There’s even a viewing window to peek at food’s progress and the replaceable filter does a good job tamping down odors and smokiness. I got my Vortex Plus because it tops our guide to air fryers and couldn’t agree more with my team’s assessment. — A.S.

$130 at Amazon

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

After the past few years, your mom is likely excited to get out of the house more often – especially as the weather improves – and maybe she wants to take more regular walks and runs in her neighborhood. The Fitbit Inspire 3 is a low-cost and easy-to-use way to track her steps and sleep, along with other stats that indicate our overall fitness level. New users can also snag six months of Fitbit Premium to add even more fitness guides and meditation features to the already-great app. — Kris Naudus, Commerce Writer

$70 at Macy’s

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Echo Show 15 is 2024’s answer to the tiny TV so many of us remember our parents having in the kitchen back in the day. It’s small enough to mount on the wall in even a tiny space, but the screen is big enough to do justice to a casual sitcom or silly reality show while you make pesto. In addition to smart TV duties, it can handle all the stuff Alexa can do: tell you the weather, set timers and remind you when it’s trash night. On top of that, it can control compatible smart home gadgets and check in on your connected cameras and video doorbells. When you’re not using it, the Photo Frame feature cycles through pics you upload to the Alexa Photo app. Since getting one as a gift from my own mother, washing dishes no longer feels like such a slog. — A.S.

$280 at Amazon

Breville

If your mom already knows her way around the kitchen, a new toy like the Breville Control Grip could inspire her to experiment and try out new recipes. Our favorite immersion blender has a powerful 280-watt motor and comes with a separate bowl for chopping and mincing, as well as a larger jug for preparing soups and smoothies. It supports 15 different speeds, making it versatile enough to craft all kinds of dishes, and the included whisk attachment turns it into a makeshift hand mixer, too. It’s one of those unicorn-like multipurpose kitchen gadgets — it does a lot of different things and does them well. And, unlike a high-powered blender or stand mixer, it won’t take up too much space in a cabinet. — V.P.

$130 at Amazon

OluKai

If your mom doesn’t like to walk around the house barefoot or literally gets cold feet with any regularity, a set of OluKai slippers should make her day-to-day more comfortable. The Ku’una pair slip over the whole foot easily and have a delightfully soft interior. The understated leather exterior is attractive, and the sturdy rubber outsole makes it so mom can walk the dog or mosey around the backyard with minimal discomfort. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer

$130 at Nordstrom

Photo by Valentina Palladino / Engadget

While a robot vacuum won’t eliminate all the cleaning your mom might already do around the house, it definitely makes one portion of it easier. The Roomba 694 is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums in part because it provides a ton of value for its $274 price. Most importantly, it does a great job cleaning both hard and carpeted floors and it runs long enough that it should get to most areas in your home before needing to recharge. It connects to WiFi so you can control it either with its companion mobile app, or using Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. Your mom can even use the mobile app to set a cleaning schedule, so she doesn’t even have to think about the machine — it’ll scurry around the house, sucking up dirt and debris, all on its own time. — V.P.

$180 at Wayfair

Apple

The Apple Watch Series 9 will be the ultimate iPhone accessory for mom, and one that may actually reduce the number of times she has to pick up her phone during the day. It’ll deliver all of your texts right to her wrist, along with any other notifications that ping her handset throughout the day. She may also appreciate that it passively tracks her activity all day, every day, and she can use it to record almost any workout from yoga to HIIT. And then there are the features that are nice to have, but hope she’ll never have to use, like fall and crash detection. If you’re looking to gift your mom the best smartwatch on the market right now, the Series 9 is the way to go. — V.P.

$299 at Walmart

Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Beats Fit Pro may be our favorite wireless earbuds for working out, but your mom doesn’t have to be a regular running or pilates enthusiast to get a lot of use out of them. These buds have a comfortable, secure fit thanks to their flexible wing tips, plus a great sound profile out of the box thanks in part to Adaptive EQ technology. Active noise cancellation is solid as well, which will come in handy when she wants to block out distractions at work or while running errands, and she’ll be able to quickly jump into any conversation she deems important by using Transparency Mode. If your mom has an iPhone, she’ll benefit from the H1 chip inside the Beats Fit Pro, which enables things like quick pairing and switching between Apple devices and hands-free Siri. But Android toting mothers won’t be left out either — the Fit Pros have their own Android app that supports many of the same features. — V.P.

$181 at Groupon

Anker

Nobody wants to be left with a dead smartphone, moms included, but having to carry a cable alongside a portable battery can be a hassle. This Anker Nano power bank fixes that with a built-in USB-C cord, giving your mom one less thing to take with her before leaving the house. She’ll need to own an iPhone 15 or Android handset to make use of that cable, and the battery itself isn’t the absolute fastest thing out there. But its 30W power output is enough to top up Apple’s latest phones at full speed, and its 10,000mAh capacity is enough to supply about two refills. There’s a little display that shows its current charging status as well, and at four inches tall and roughly half a pound, it’s easy to toss in a bag. A device like this isn’t the flashiest gift, but it should be practical. — J.D.

$40 at Amazon

Photo by Amy Skorheim / Engadget

What is it with moms telling everyone to eat their vegetables? In my experience, it’s an involuntary response to motherhood. The Breville Juice Fountain Plus is a way for moms to make drinks loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that actually taste good too. The Juice Fountain Plus’ titanium and steel extraction disc works with an 850 watt motor to squeeze a lot of juice from even tough root veggies. The three-inch chute accepts big chunks of produce, which cuts down on prep time, but even more importantly, the machine disassembles easily and isn’t a pain to clean. – A.S.

$140 at Amazon

Headspace

Nobody needs to pay for an app to practice better mindfulness and flush out bad vibes, but if your mom has expressed interest in guided meditation, Headspace is our favorite service of the bunch. It offers a buffet of exercises aimed at different life goals and situations, from boosting creativity to increasing relaxation to creating a soothing sleep environment. Most of the meditations let you choose between different instructors, and we’ve found the multi-step courses to gradually build on themselves well. All of it comes in an app that’s clean and easy to navigate. Headspace costs $70/year for an annual subscription, so it may not be something your mom wants to stick with forever. Still, it should be a welcome gift for those looking for a more structured way to get (and stay) in the mental self-care habit. — J.D.

$70/year at Headspace

JBL

Laundry, dishes, garden maintenance and garage tinkering all take place in different locations. JBL’s Flip 6 is about the size of a crowler and easily relocates with me so I can listen to music as I take care of what needs doing. The portable Bluetooth speaker made the list in our buyer’s guide because it puts out a good amount of volume for its size and delivers balanced sound with crisp highs and solid lows. I like how it fills a room but you can still pick out the layers in a Grouper track and enjoy the lows on a Low album without muddiness. The cylindrical design stands on its end or lays flat (without rolling around), so the mom in your life can plonk it down wherever she needs to be. — A.S.

$91 at Macy’s

Hatch

Assuming the mom in your life has moved beyond the mother-of-a-newborn phase, she might be looking for ways to get better rest each night. The Hatch Restore 2 covers three areas: wind down, sleep sounds and a gentle wake up. Each segment is programmable through the app and offers choices like chillout routines, meditations and stories to help her fall asleep; white noise and nature soundscapes help her stay asleep; and lights, tones and guided stretches to wake up to. The device itself is an attractive domed shape with a textured linen face and a few subtle, yet easy-to-find buttons. Accessing the full library of routines requires a $5 monthly subscription, but there’s enough free, included content to make the device effective without it. – A.S.

$200 at Hatch

Universal Yums

A Universal Yums subscription is a way to make mom’s snack time a little more exciting. Each month, this service ships out a bundle of goodies from a different country (April’s was / is Belgium) alongside a tour guide-style booklet with little games and information about the highlighted nation. Not every treat will be a home run, but if your mom has a more adventurous palate, getting a literal taste of somewhere new can be fun. Gift packages are available in several different sizes and lengths of time. — J.D.

$15 at Universal Yums

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