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Best gifts for Mom in 2021


This story is part of Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2021. CNET editors round up the hottest gadgets for Mom this year.

What can be said about mom that hasn’t already been said? We can all agree that moms keep the whole operation together, so it’s only right that we dedicate at least one full day to saying thank you. (Let’s be honest: Even “Mother’s Week” would be less than the recognition she deserves.) Most of the moms I know — and certainly my own — are more concerned with making sure everyone else has what they need, and rarely yawping about what they want. So narrowing in on the perfect Mother’s Day gift can be a tricky task. But no need to fret — help is here.  

We at CNET have put our collective mother-lovin’ heads together to bring you our top Mother’s Day gift ideas for 2021. For foodie moms, techie moms, moms prone to bouts of nostalgia and those prone to bottles of wine, we’ve assembled a bevy of nifty gifts that should please the mother or motherly figure in your life this year. And to be sure, these gifts also work for all those “special someones” — grandmothers, stepmoms, aunts and mentors who also deserve thanks and acknowledgment.

So be a good kid and read on, will ya? And don’t forget to call your mother.

Click & Grow

I’ve used this indoor pod garden and it’s perfectly sized for growing essential herbs like basil, mint and chives and salad greens. It couldn’t be simpler to operate, with self-contained seed pods, LED grow lights and a water tank that needs filling only every two or three weeks — a perfect starter herb garden for someone with a not-so-green thumb or a home chef looking for fresh herbs on the regular. Mom can even grow flowers for a little pop of spring in any season.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

If there’s one thing moms put up with way too much of, it’s noise. Help her drown out the clamor with a pair of noise-canceling headphones so she can listen to music, podcasts or the soothing sounds of waves crashing on a far-off shore. New moms with small children in sleep training will appreciate them doubly. Triply, even.

Because nothing’s too good for Mom, we’d go straight to our top recommendation, the Sony WH-1000XM4. CNET’s David Carnoy called it a “nearly flawless noise-canceling headphone.” Not only are they more comfortable than the previous iteration, Sony upgraded the voice calling capabilities, too.  

These often sell for as low as $278, but if that’s still too pricey, we have plenty of other recommended noise-canceling headphones, including earbud models, that start at $100 or less.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

 

Layla

Weighted blankets have become popular for helping troubled sleepers fall and stay asleep. One of our own editors snagged a weighted blanket for his mother this past Christmas and is happy to report that it has tamped down her restless leg syndrome symptoms, allowing her to sleep much more comfortably than before. In our list of the best weighted blankets for 2021, Layla’s came out on top and it clocks in at a reasonable $129.

MasterClass

With all the time mom spends keeping the ship from sinking, there’s not always time to spend on personal interests and endeavors. MasterClass makes it easy to learn about a plethora of subjects from the folks who know them best. There are cooking classes from icons like Thomas Keller and Alice Waters but also lessons on subjects you might not realize you need help with. Try Brandon McMillan’s 15-part MasterClass on dog training, for instance, or TED Talk phenom Ron Finley (pictured) and his MasterClass on gardening. 

A MasterClass subscription isn’t cheap — $180 for an annual membership with no monthly option — but with more than 100 classes taught by legitimate luminaries in fields from fiction writing to poker, there’s something here for everyone. With incontrovertibly credible teachers, solid production values and a vast catalog of subject matter, MasterClass is like Netflix for the overly ambitious. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

CNET editor and mom Bridget Carey says, “I never cared about an Apple Watch until I had to do everything at home. Now it’s the only way I stay sane.” With this multifaceted device, Mom can be with the kids and away from the laptop without worrying about missing a call or big email. 

Working from home while also running a home can lead to some serious scatterbrain and an Apple Watch will help Mom locate her phone if lost, schedule her day, make playlists for running and 1,000 other things.

Read our Apple Watch SE review.

 

Bridget Carey from the CNET team has been growing a tower of salad in her kitchen and is totally loving it. 

“No mess, no bugs, no soil — just tasty leafy greens and herbs and tomatoes and strawberries and peppers and, well, almost anything I want — in a tower that automates watering and light for me.” Gardyn also sends new seeds monthly, and cameras and an app lend guidance on how to care for it all. It even got Bridget’s kids into salad. 

The Gardyn is high-end (around $700), but there are several options now for hydroponics at home at different price ranges, some small for countertops such as the aforementioned Click and Grow Smart Garden or the Rise Garden that doubles as a chic end table.

See CNET’s list of the best indoor gardens and read much more about this hydroponic indoor grower in Bridget’s full review of the Gardyn here.

Nintendo

If mom doesn’t have the ability to leave home for a workout, Ring Fit Adventure ($80) means she can sneak one in the comfort of her living room and all while playing with the kids. One CNET editor who does just that calls it “endless fun with the family and also a sneaky way to stay fit (plus, it’s pretty fun).” 

Mom’ll need the Nintendo Switch ($300) too, but it’s portable, so if she needs to just hide with a quick break of Mario Kart or Animal Crossing, she can take it anywhere.

David Carnoy/CNET

While the Sony noise-canceling earphones are great, not everyone is into that over-the-ear style. Mom can keep one ear on a Zoom call and the other on the kids with these popular and versatile earbuds. Long battery life comes via a case that recharges them throughout the week. The handy ear hook means Mom can wear them anywhere and while doing pretty much anything. Plus, the Powerbeats come in a range of flashy and fun colors.

Read our Beats Powerbeats Pro review.

 

Universal Yums

Give mom a taste of international travel with a box of snacks from a new country every month. Getting these is fun for the whole family, and each box comes with fun facts about the country-of-the-month and an assortment of salty and sweet treats. You can gift a subscription or single box with deliveries starting at $15 for five to seven snacks. Plus, shipping is free. 

Yum.

BloomsyBox

Flowers for Mother’s Day may not be a new concept but with a subscription to BloomsyBox, the bouquets keep coming. You can choose weekly, bimonthly or monthly deliveries of fresh flowers to lift mom in the way only fresh flowers can. You can also choose the bouquet size, priced accordingly, from the Bloomsy Original (18 to 24 stems) all the way up to BloomsyBox’s Premium bouquet (27 to 32 stems). 

Insider tip: Use our exclusive discount code FLOWERPOWER12 at checkout for 12% off your order.

Kammock

Surely you remember the Snuggie. Well, definitely don’t get your mom a Snuggie for Mother’s Day. I repeat, don’t get your mom a Snuggie for Mother’s Day. The wearable blanket has grown up, however, in the form of this very stylish and giftable Kammok Bobcat 45. CNET editors like this cozy number so much we stuck it in the master list of best gifts under $250 in 2021

The 600-fill duck down insulated blanket is plenty warm and, weighing a mere 20 ounces, light enough for camping or wearing around the house (no judgment here). But it’s the quilt’s poncho mode that makes it the ideal accessory for hanging outside by the fire pit. If the mom you’re shopping for tends to run a little cold, this might be an ideal present as we roll through spring.

Fellow

The Ode is one of those luxury gifts that fits squarely in the splurge category, and it should probably be reserved for a true coffee nerd of a mom. I tested the Ode and it grinds faster, more consistently and more quietly than any other I’ve used. It also aims to please even the most finicky coffee drinkin’ mom with 31 (yes, 31) grind settings. 

Important to note that the Ode is engineered specifically for drip coffee and not espresso. The claim is that too many grinders attempt to do both and fail to do either well. It’s also not meant to grind large amounts of beans at once, making it ideal for Chemex and pour-over systems.

Scentbird

Perfumes are pricey and that often means you’ll be limited to one or two bottles of the good stuff, depending on your budget. Scentbird will allow mom to try a new premium scent every month without having to commit multiple Ben Franklins to just one. 

This great-smellin’ startup will send an 8-milliliter bottle — enough for about 140 sprays — filled with a designer perfume such as Versace, Prada, Clinique, Oscar de la Renta for $15 a month. Once it’s finished, mom sends the sleek refillable bottle back to Scentbird where they’ll juice it up with another scent.

Uncommon Goods

These stemless wine glasses are handmade by Mexican artists, blown from recycled glass to create six elegant vessels for wine, cocktails or water. Because each set is handmade they’ll look a little bit different but you can bet they’ll draw some attention and compliments every time they’re set out on the table.

Nixplay

If you’ve ever heard mom complain about all those photos sitting in her phone collecting proverbial dust, now is the time to do something about it and a digital photo frame is the thing to do. The Nixplay smart digital picture frame stores thousands of images and will help you display either one or a running slide show of your favorite people and moments so you can actually enjoy them for once. The frame is available in various sizes — up to 15 inches — and a motion sensor will turn the frame on and off automatically.

Everpresent

Speaking of memories of the photographic sort. If mom has a pile or piles of old-fashioned paper photos that are susceptible to damage, floods and fires, there’s an easy fix: professional photo scanning. Plus, you can use the files to make a sweet digital album or slideshow that mom can share on social media.  

Everpresent is a master of photo scanning and will digitally organize any images no matter where they are — scrapbooks, photo albums or just piled up in a shoebox. In fact, the company is especially well-suited to handle photos in all forms, shapes and sizes, turning them into a neatly organized, digitized collection that is completely safe from the elements.

Prefer to curate some photos and give Mom a photo book instead? We’ve pulled together the best photo book options

Bokksu

The Japanese have been hiding some seriously good snacks from the rest of us. Bokksu collects the best snacks and treats from the east and sends them west in a tasty, curated monthly snack subscription. A perfect gift for the mom who’s prone to a snack attack.

The best part about Bokksu is that almost none of these Japanese snacks are similar to snacks we already have here in the US, so she’ll likely come across some munchies she’s never tried before. Snacks run the gamut from sweet to savory with favorites such as seaweed tempura, puffed rice with ramen seasoning, green tea and lemon cakes, Japanese candy including yuzu gummies and creamy matcha Kit-Kats.

You can send as few as three months’ worth of snack boxes ($45 each) or as many as a full year ($40 each) and no two snack sends will ever be the same.

Read more: The best snack boxes to gift in 2021

Beast Health

This brand new blender from the guy who creates the NutriBullet is big on style and doesn’t short on substance either. I tested the Beast B10 earlier this year and found it to be a smooth and powerful blender that’s just the right size for daily shakes and smoothies but also good for bigger blends like soups and salsas. 

If Mom’s been clunkin’ around with a cheapo blender, she’ll appreciate this major ice-crusher that looks like something Apple might have made. The Beast blender alone costs $138 but you can add the infusion hydration bottle or a smaller blending cup for some extra dough. 

Yeti

Any one of the oh-so-cool cooler brand’s Rambler travel mugs with sliding lid would make a solid gift for Mom. These things keep the hots hot and the colds cold and we love them for coffee, wine, soup, wine, tea or even wine. They come in multiple sizes, a range of seven colors and are built to last. 

Bridget Carey/CNET

Another gift idea that’s personally endorsed by CNET’s own Bridget Carey. Give Mom some fancy tea time at the touch of a button. This machine grinds fresh, bright-green Japanese signature tea without the fuss. It’s pricey at around $370, but it’s beautiful and delivers one heck of a tasty cup of nutrient-packed tea. Matcha famously provides a focused boost that lasts longer than a normal cup of coffee which might be just the boost Mom is looking for.

Read our Cuzen Matcha Maker review.

 

Matador

When the opportunity to swim arises, you must always be prepared to take the plunge. This lightweight towel is small enough to throw into a bike bag, backpack or back pocket. According to Matador, it absorbs more than twice its weight (81 grams) in water. It’s machine washable and comes in a mesh bag with a sturdy handle and hang loop.

Goldbelly

While she may be confined to her immediate area, you can help your mom scratch her hunger and wanderlust in one fell swoop via some of America’s most iconic foods from around the country with the help of Goldbelly subscription. New Orleans’s muffuletta, San Francisco’s cioppino, Maine’s lobster rolls and Chicago’s deep dish are all just a few clicks away when you give mom the City Subscription. A subscription from Goldbelly ($79 a month) also helps to support restaurants in those cities affected by the pandemic. 

If the monthly thing sounds like too much, peruse Goldbelly’s endless inventory of delicious eats from cookies to cakes, barbecue, pizza, bagels and just about anything else you can think of. All of which can be delivered safely to mom, wherever she is.

Mario Badesco

Another small luxury for Mom. These bright and refreshing herbal spritzes transport her somewhere much more peaceful than the place she probably is with just a few pumps. The three-pack from Ulta includes an aloe, cucumber and green tea spritz, another with herbs and rosewater and a third with lavender and chamomile to calm and comfort her skin. 

TRUFF

If Mom likes her food spicy, Truff’s is nothing like the humdrum hot sauces she’s been using up until now. Snag a variety pack with Truff’s white truffle, black truffle and the extra hot version of the original for $70 — while it’s in stock.



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