It can be hard to shop for gamers if you aren’t one. Every gamer has their own particular tastes, libraries, and platforms. Get a game in the wrong genre, and you’ll disappoint them. Get the wrong version of a game, and you’ll inconvenience them. Get a game they already have, and, well, you get the idea.
Don’t despair, though. You can still get a gamer gift that’ll be appreciated, and one that’s more personal than cash or a generic gift certificate to a big-box retailer. You can also stay within your budget, which can be hard to do when most major game releases are $60. That’s where we come in.
If you’re shopping for a gamer, especially if you can pin down their preferred platform, these gifts are guaranteed winners. They’re broadly functional, or at least pleasantly unconventional. They’re all $50 or under, too, so they won’t break the bank.
Cougar Revenger S
If you’re a fan of PC shooters, you want an accurate mouse. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Cougar Revenger S is your best choice. It’s the only pick on our list of the top gaming mice to come in under the $50 mark, and it offers extensive customization options and excellent response for the price.
$44.20 at Amazon
Razer Cynosa Chroma
Let’s be real, mechanical keyswitches and bulletproof build quality are common in the realm of $150-and-up keyboards, but you won’t find those features in the $50 range. What you will find is the Razer Cynosa, an excellent budget gaming keyboard with an MSRP of $59.99, but can be found for closer to $40. It might not have mechanical switches, but it’s quiet, has programmable RGB lighting, and works with Razer’s Synapse software for customization.
$47.99 at Amazon
8Bitdo SN30 Pro+
8Bitdo keeps stepping up its game with wireless gamepads. The SN30 Pro+ takes the basic SNES-inspired design and dual analog layout of the excellent SN30 Pro and packs even more into it. It has big, comfortable grips, analog triggers, and plenty of software adjustments like remapping and tweaking stick sensitivity, all for under $50. And it works with both PCs and the Nintendo Switch.
$44.99 at Amazon
PowerA Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch
8Bitdo isn’t the only company to offer affordable, well-made gamepads for the Nintendo Switch. PowerA’s Nano Enhanced Wireless Controller is a compact dual-analog gamepad that works with the Nintendo Switch, and features programmable Advanced Gaming buttons on the back for extra functionality. PowerA offers Nano Enhanced (and full-size) Enhanced controllers for other systems, as well.
$84.91 at Amazon
Hori Fighting Stick 4
Proper fight sticks are an investment in space and money, but Hori has you covered if you’re low on either. The Hori Fighting Stick Mini 4 is the non-Street-Fighter-branded version of the Hori Fighting Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition we reviewed, and it’s every bit as good. This is a tiny arcade stick with responsive controls and solid build quality (even if it doesn’t use Sanwa Denshi parts like in much more expensive sticks), all for less than $50.
$45.89 at Amazon
Turtle Beach Atlas One
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a solid gaming headset. The Atlas One is Turtle Beach’s entry-level wired PC headset, and at $50 it’s a pretty strong budget contender. Its earpads are plush and have channels to reduce pressure on glasses, its microphone is clear, and it’s just comfortable to wear and use.
$49.95 at Amazon
Digital Game Store Cards
You don’t need to pick out a game to get a thoughtful gift for a gamer. If you know the recipient’s preferred platform, you can get a specific gift card that’s both personal and functional. Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Network, Steam, and Xbox Live gift cards translate directly into whatever games they want, without the need to go through their library to make sure you’re not doubling up.
24 Must-Have Tech Gifts Under $50
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a cool tech gift. For tech-savvy friends and family, there are a number of gifts in the $50 range; here are some of the best.