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Maybe the best things in life are free — but a this thread on Reddit shows how some of the best, most life-altering holiday gifts can be less than $100.
“What’s something $100 or less but is a total game changer?” one user asked this week, with the holiday season now in full swing.
Users took the query and ran with it, offering more than 23,000 comments on household gadgets, accessories and devices to improve their battery life, their sleep, their diet and the other necessities of life.
One commenter loves portable power stations with a flashlight, an air compressor to inflate low tires, charging ports for electronic devices and the capacity to jump-start dead car batteries.
A multi-use charger may be a smart buy, but anyone with a power station has to be good at regularly maintaining their devices because the item typically needs to be recharged every six months.
“Never have that awkward experience with strangers and I can even jump someone else quickly and efficiently with no risk to my own,” said the user, going under the name ‘rustedlion.’
The device he uses is a “ Schumacher 1200 Peak Amp Multifunctional Portable Digital Power Station” which sells at Walmart /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT -0.01% for just under $100.
One commenter noted a multi-use charger was a smart buy, but anyone with a power station had to be good at regularly maintaining their devices because the item needed recharges every six months. Other Reddit users suggested lengthy USB cords . (On Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +2.55% , they cost approximately $14.)
Some portable batteries don’t have as many bells and whistles, but starting at $20 these devices can give a helpful smartphone charge on the go. These batteries can be handy for travelers who want to avoid public charging stations that could be compromised by hackers, experts say.
Another commenter say musician-grade ear plugs are the way to go. “Mine cut down the sound level by twot-thirds or so, and I use them at every concert, but also on the subway, at loud bars etc.,” said bjackilly, another Reddit aficionado. “They don’t make things sound muffled, just quieter. Your ears can’t regenerate, ever, and my work depends on my hearing so I gotta keep em safe.”
People can buy many ear plugs from $15 and up, according to a search on Amazon.
‘A sleeping mask was a game changer for me. You can get a decent and comfortable one for about 20 bucks. It can do wonders to improve sleep quality.’
Others note that silence can be golden, and noise-cancelling headphones can be a valuable gift for someone in a loud office. Two headphones from Sony /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE +0.03% and Bose can do the trick, but they cost more than $100.
Back on the Reddit thread, some users pointed to device that give the gift of sleep. “ Blackout curtains . Especially if you work second shift or graveyard. The quality of sleep goes up so much,” said Fourloken. Blackout curtains sell at Wayfair /zigman2/quotes/201071690/composite W +2.38% , starting at around $10.
Others said a weighted blanket helps them get their 40 winks and then some. “I have insomnia. I fully credit the weighted blanket with my ability to fall back to sleep after waking up to pee at night,” wrote a user named Thrombolytic.
“A sleeping mask was a game changer for me,” said a user named NewelSea. “You can get a decent and comfortable one for about 20 bucks. It can do wonders to improve sleep quality, particularly blocking out the light pollution can make a bigger difference than you think.”
Others said the masks don’t have to mash eyelashes. (“My sleep mask has little eye-turrets, that mean I can open my eyes, and it’s still 100% dark,” one person wrote.) At Bed Bath & Beyond /zigman2/quotes/209801102/composite BBBY +2.41% , sleep-mask prices start below $10.
Many users said pressure cookers and slow cookers were invaluable gifts. Both devices made cooking easier and less of a hassle.
Many users said pressure cookers and slow cookers were invaluable gifts. Both devices made cooking easier and less of a hassle. The speed of pressure cookers was also a major plus. Pressure cookers at Best Buy /zigman2/quotes/205918291/composite BBY +2.33% start at around $25.
One user’s family used a pressure cooker for beans and a slow cooker for rice.
“What takes my grandma hours to make the old-fashioned way can now be done in about an hour and five minutes (with five minutes of effort and an hour of waiting),” said another one of the 23,000 commenters, noting the entire rice and beans meal for five could cost roughly $1.50. “For anyone on a budget, or anyone who really likes rice and beans, I could not recommend this more.”
And, lastly, there’s the slow closing toilet seat for those who want to avoid an uncouth clank emanating from the bathroom. Some people can’t envision life without them. “Only downside is you forget other people don’t have them. I’ve slammed so many toilet seats in other people’s bathrooms,” another consumer wrote.
Some of these gently closing seats sell at Home Depot /zigman2/quotes/208081807/composite HD +1.41% between $25 and $35. One happy customers added, “I couldn’t imagine why they aren’t just the standard? I put them on all my toilets and I love them.”