Gadgets that make great Mother's Day gifts

Engadget
·13-min read

Your mom might not be as up to date as you on the latest tech trends, but that doesn't mean a carefully chosen gadget wouldn't make her life easier. While flowers and breakfast in bed remain lovely Mother's Day gifts, you may want to try a different tack this year and get your mom something she'll use long after the holiday is over. To help, we've collected a list of some of our favorite gadgets and services that any mother, tech-savvy or not, will love.

Apple iPad Mini

The Apple iPad mini and stylus sit on an office window sill.
The Apple iPad mini and stylus sit on an office window sill.

We consider the iPad Mini to be the best small tablet for most people, and that includes parents who could use a slightly larger screen to watch videos, read text messages and check out photos of their children (or grandchildren) on Facebook. The latest model with the A12 Bionic chip runs smoothly even when using more than one app in Split View, so mom can stream her favorite show on Netflix while quickly replying to emails without any issues. Its compact size makes it easy to throw into a bag and take with you, and it’ll last that whole time, too, thanks to its 11-hour battery. Not to mention, its roomy 7.9-inch Retina display gives you more space for FaceTime video calls than those on smaller smartphones. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor

Buy iPad mini at Amazon - $399

Belkin UV Sanitizer + Wireless Charger

Belkin UV Sanitizer + Wireless Charger
Belkin UV Sanitizer + Wireless Charger

Your mom might have become a clean freak over the past year (who can blame her?) and Belkin’s UV sanitizer and wireless charger is a good device to give her to keep right near her doorway. It uses UV rays to get rid of 99 percent of bacteria on keys, cards, rings and other small items that your mom might bring with her wherever she goes. Yes, that also includes her smartphone and once it’s completely sanitized, your mom can set the handset on top of the lid to power up thanks to its built-in 10W wireless charging pad. The device is silent while sanitizing and as a bonus, it comes with its own cable and wall adapter so you can use it straight out of the box. — V.P.

Buy Belkin UV sanitizer + charger at Belkin - $80

Fitbit Inspire 2

Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker
Fitbit Inspire 2 fitness tracker

Your mom, like many of us stuck inside for the past year, is probably itching to get out of the house and enjoy the outside world again. Now that we’re all getting vaccinated she’ll probably want to go on some walks (or runs). The Fitbit Inspire 2 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 a free year of Fitbit Premium to add even more fitness guides and meditation features to the already-great app. — Kris Naudus, Buyer's Guide Editor

Buy Inspire 2 at Amazon - $70

Instant Pot Duo

Instant Pot Duo
Instant Pot Duo

For busy moms who love to cook but are short on time, an Instant Pot makes for a a thoughtful gift. While it can be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker or yogurt maker, it’s particularly useful as a pressure cooker. It can shave hours off the cooking time of a lot of dishes, particularly braises and stews. Also, unlike its stovetop equivalent, the Instant Pot can come to pressure and stay there without having to be babysat the whole time. A built-in timer means it turns off on its own, while a Keep Warm function does exactly what you'd expect. Thanks to the popularity of the Instant Pot line, there’s also a vast array of recipes online that your mom will be able to make with her new cooking gadget. For more on how to make the most of it, check out our Instant Pot guide. — Nicole Lee, Senior Editor

Buy Instant Pot Duo at Amazon - $89

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 on a person's wrist.
The Apple Watch Series 6 on a person's wrist.

A smartwatch like Apple’s Watch Series 6 is a beautiful gift your mom is likely to use every day. She can pick whatever watch face she likes, it comes in several different finishes and there’s a plethora of straps to choose from. It has an always-on Retina display that’s two and a half times brighter than its predecessor and boasts longer battery life than the previous-gen model.

The latest edition also has a couple of practical iOS features: handwashing detection (It automatically gives a 20-second countdown when you’re washing your hands) and the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask.

The Watch is particularly great if your mom is into fitness and health, with features such as automatic workout detection, a heart rate monitor, a built-in ECG measurement app, and a new blood oxygen sensor that measures how well her lungs are functioning. It’s good for assessing her ability to handle physical activities and it could even help detect breathing difficulties when asleep, which is sometimes an early sign of sleep apnea.

Another useful feature (that we hope no one ever needs) is fall detection, which Apple. has offered on its watches since the Series 4. If your mom takes a spill while wearing the Watch, it will tap her on the wrist, sound an alarm, display an alert and then let her choose to contact emergency services. — N.L.

Buy Apple Watch Series 6 at Amazon - $399

Customized photo book

An example of Artifact Uprising's customizable photo book.
An example of Artifact Uprising's customizable photo book.

Sure, you have plenty of pictures of your kids on your phone (and your Instagram and your Facebook and all the other digital networks). But because you have so much digital media, you may not have as much physical media. Artifact Uprising allows you to choose images from your phone to create a customized baby book, with options as low as $15 for a softcover book of 30 images. They also offer a photo journal with prompts to document your child’s development, or a board book with thick pages designed for small fingers. You can select the color of the fabric colors, and the color of the foil stamped titles, for the higher-end books.

Likewise, Chatbooks has a variety of book options including $5 Monthly Minis for kids, Hardcover Monthbooks or a Facebook or Instagram Series, which pulls directly from your social media account to create hard or soft cover tomes. Artifact Uprising also offers a variety of cards, calendars, framed prints and photo holders in elegant but minimal designs, while Chatbooks has wall tiles and more inexpensive, soft-cover options. — Amber Bouman, Associate Editor, Parenting

Shop Artifact UprisingShop Chatbooks

Anker PowerCore 26,800 portable charger

Anker PowerCore 26,800 power bank
Anker PowerCore 26,800 power bank

While it sounds like an impersonal gift, every mom could use at least a few high-capacity cell phone batteries. I keep one in my car's glove compartment, and I’ve been known to stash a smaller one in my diaper bag because — take it from me — finding out you have a flat tire and a low cell phone battery while you’re miles from home with two babies in the car does not make for a great afternoon. While it’s easy to grab a cheapo one from the drugstore, I'm glad I invested in the Anker PowerCore 26,800, which can charge a phone up to six times and a tablet at least twice. It can rejuice up to three devices at once too, and while it’s heftier than other battery packs, you’ll be grateful for its large capacity. — A.B.

Buy Anker PowerCore 26,800 at Amazon - $60

Jabra Elite 75t earbuds

Jabra Elite 75t earbuds
Jabra Elite 75t earbuds

My kids have a variety of toys that play drums, sing songs or make animal noises. Between those and their usual pterodactyl screeches of joy, it can be a complete cacophony during daytime hours. My wireless earbuds are indispensable in keeping my sanity during long conference calls or any length toddler meltdowns — and the active noise cancelling doesn’t hurt either. My colleague Billy Steele recommends the Jabra Elite 75t for their comfortable fit, long battery life and reliable touch controls. They also have solid audio quality for a variety of musical genres, and the app offers additional EQ options. Meanwhile, folks who prefer wireless charging should check out the newer Jabra 85t’s, which offer a wireless charging case and quick charging. — A.B.

Buy Jabra Elite 75t at Best Buy - $150

Shark Ion RV761 robot vacuum

Shark RV761 robot vacuum
Shark RV761 robot vacuum

While a robot vacuum won’t eliminate all the cleaning your mom might already do around the house, it’ll definitely make one portion of it easier. The Shark Ion RV761 is one of our favorite budget robot vacuums in part because it provides a ton of value for its $250 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.

Buy Shark Ion RV761 at Best Buy - $250

Breville Smart Oven Air

Breville Smart Oven Air
Breville Smart Oven Air

If your mom is a cook and has the counter space for it, we highly recommend getting her a toaster oven like the Breville Smart Oven Air. She can use it to toast bread, bake dishes or reheat food. Sure, a full-size oven can do the same thing, but firing it up can often warm up the whole house, which isn’t so great in the summer months. It’s also a lot more efficient. While a regular oven might need 20 or so minutes to preheat, a toaster oven can often get to temperature in just five or 10 minutes.

We also like the Breville Smart Oven Air due to its 1-cubic-foot capacity. (In lay terms, it can fit a 9- by 13-inch casserole or a 14-pound turkey.) It can handle air frying (thanks to a “super convection” mode) and it comes with an air fryer basket that’s large enough to fit a dozen chicken wings. The oven also has several preset modes designed for specific functions such as toasting bagels or baking pizzas. — N.L.

Buy Breville Smart Oven Air at Williams Sonoma - $400

Snack box subscription

Snackmagic
Snackmagic

After I had my twins, a friend mailed me a care package that included a snack box, which I promptly stashed in my car and forgot about... until I was starving and stuck at a stop light. That little box of granola bars, veggie straws and fruit snacks turned out to be one of the smartest and most thoughtful gifts I got as a new mom. Snackmagic lets you gift a customized box of snacks and beverages that your recipient can select themselves. Or you can opt for a themed box that can range from 10 to 50 items. While there’s a $35 minimum for each order, you won’t have a hard time reaching that with Snackmagic’s extensive menu of protein bars, baked goods, sweets, seltzers, sodas, jerkies and more. — A.B.

Shop Snackmagic

LEGO Bouquet

A women inspects a bouquet of LEGO flowers in glass vase.
A women inspects a bouquet of LEGO flowers in glass vase.

Flowers die. Sure, they’re pretty and they smell nice but in the end they wilt, which is always kind of a bummer. So why not get your mom something just as beautiful that will stay that way? This LEGO bouquet is lovely to behold but also a great way to spend an evening putting together. As a bonus, it’s cheaper than a lot of flower arrangements you’d buy around Mother’s Day, and if she ever tires of it she can take it apart and build something else with the 756 pieces. — K.N.

Buy LEGO Bouquet at LEGO - $50

Audible gift membership

Examples of Audio audio book covers laid out in a slanted grid.
Examples of Audio audio book covers laid out in a slanted grid.

If your mom loves reading but doesn’t have a ton of time to sit down and crack open a book, an Audible membership can give her a new way to enjoy reading anywhere. Gift memberships range from one month for $15 to one year for $150 and include a certain number of book credits that she can use on any title. Members also get access to exclusive sales and Audible has been experimenting with original content like podcasts recently, so there’s a ton of listening options to choose from. But the best part is being able to read anywhere at any time, be it in the car on the way to work, around the house while tidying up or at the beach on a lazy summer day. — V.P.

Buy Audible gift membership starting at $15

Ember Mug

Ember Mug
Ember Mug

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. — N.L.

Buy Ember mug at Amazon - $130

Nintendo Switch Lite

An over-the-shoulder view of someone playing a Nintendo Switch Lite portable gaming device.
An over-the-shoulder view of someone playing a Nintendo Switch Lite portable gaming device.

Women play games too, even if a lot of games marketing still says otherwise. In a house dominated by behemoths like the PlayStation 5 or a gigantic gaming PC, mom might appreciate having something that’s just for her, a handheld console she can sneak away with into the bedroom or yard whenever she needs some alone time. The Switch Lite is small enough to hide in a pocket or purse and, while there are plenty of great games she’d enjoy like Breath of the Wild, Untitled Goose Game and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we recommend snagging an eShop card so she can choose her own adventures. — K.N.

Buy Nintendo Switch Lite at Amazon - $200

Winc Wine Club membership

Front view of wine bottles and wine glasses ready for tasting with gourmet snacks, wine sale leaflet template
Front view of wine bottles and wine glasses ready for tasting with gourmet snacks, wine sale leaflet template

Forget giving your mother a bottle of wine she might not even like. Instead, give her a subscription to Winc, a monthly wine club that delivers four selections every month that are matched to her palate. All mom has to do is fill out a short six-question survey about her tastes and then Winc chooses the wines for her. She can then rate the wines she receives, so Winc will get a better idea of what she wants, offering up more personalized selections the next time around. And if your mom doesn’t like something, no worries; Winc guarantees that if you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay for it. — N.L.

Shop Winc Wine Club

Logitech C920s Pro

Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam clipped onto a computer monitor with cork boards hanging on the wall behind it.
Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam clipped onto a computer monitor with cork boards hanging on the wall behind it.

One thing the past year has driven in is that built-in webcams suck. Instead of having to stare at a poorly lit, fuzzy image of your mom the next time you hop on Zoom with her, why not upgrade her setup with an HD webcam from Logitech? The C920s Pro is under $100 and offers vivid picture quality, clear audio and a super easy setup that works across pretty much every program your mom might use for video chat. There’s even a flip-up cover for the lens, which is great for privacy or just those times when she can’t figure out how to turn the camera off. (We’ve all been there.) — K.N.

Buy Logitech C920s Pro at Logitech - $70