A quick look at the tech gifts and gadgets that will make life easier for Mom and just make her smile.
Most moms I know “live in service and sacrifice to their children” 24/7. (I didn’t come up with that, Oprah did, see No. 7 on this list.) So it never hurts to go the extra mile to make her feel loved and appreciated.
Of course, she’ll love your homemade card. And she’d cry a few happy tears if you clean the bathroom without being asked. But if you – like more than 8 out of every 10 Americans – plan to spend a record amount of money on Mom this Mother’s Day, starting with this list is a genius move.
Why? I’m a Mom who tests gadgets for a living. I also polled thousands of other Moms across social media, and then tried every single one of these top suggestions for myself. Read on for the results of this year’s best gadget gifts, with an emphasis on making moms lives a little better – one unique, futuristic, stress-busting, time-saving, feel-gooding gift at a time. Enjoy!
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1. To ease new-mom anxiety
My daughter had some breathing issues when she was a newbie, and although the Owlet Smart Sock 2 ($299) doesn’t get all five-star reviews, it worked well enough in my testing to alleviate a lot of new-parent panic. The sock slips over baby’s foot to track heart rate, oxygen levels, and sleep. Owlet also just launched a new smart Cam ($149) to keep a watchful eye from anywhere. Packed with features like night vision, two-way audio, and a room temperature sensor, the new Cam also syncs with the Smart Sock 2 and sends video and audio directly to your smartphone. Buy them together and save $100.
2. To help her keep the memories
Trying to manage, display, and save the most precious family photos and videos from infancy-on can be totally overwhelming. A brand new device called ibi ($179.99) is an easy fix. It’s a smart photo manager that lets you collect, organize, and privately share your photos and videos with your inner circle.
It’s incredibly simple and intuitive to set up and use. Plug it in, download an app, and let the backups begin. ibi is about the size of a soup can, but inside, there’s enough space to hold half a million photos and hundreds of hours of video. It also monitors Facebook, Instagram, and cloud accounts and pulls in pics you post or store online.
3. To help her get some sleep
Sleep apps, weighted blankets, and white noise machines are just a few of the handy go-to tools for modern-moms chronic sleep deprivation issues. But if a solid night’s sleep has now become her biggest fantasy, this spendy robot might be worth the splurge. The Somnox Sleep Robot ($599) matches its gentle rhythm with her breathing to lull her to sleep. With built-in speakers hidden inside its plush exterior mom can enjoy soothing sounds or even an audiobook as she drifts off to dreamland, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start her day.
As someone who wakes up at the slightest sound, the still pricey – but worth every penny – Bose noise-masking sleepbuds ($250) are another great choice. They fit well, mask snoring, and feel comfy to sleep with all night long. I’ve also been testing out the brand new Hush Ice ($149) cooling weighted blanket. It’s the first of these so-called gravity blankets that doesn’t feel suffocating, and actually does deliver a sense of calm relief.
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4. Home is where the Hub is
One of the biggest arguments against getting mom (or dad, for that matter) a new gadget is that they won’t know how to use it. So much tech these days seems overly complicated for no reason at all, but Google’s Home Hub ($149) is, like ibi, an exception.
The Home Hub is jam-packed with make-life-easier features, but unlike a new smartphone or even a smart TV, it’s only as complicated as you want it to be. At its most basic, it’s a gorgeous digital photo frame, clock, and weather monitor, but with Google Assistant built in it’s also the fastest way to find directions, set a timer, look up a recipe, and add an item to mom’s to-do list.
5. To help for the anti-cook
My family doesn’t let me go near the kitchen, for fear I’ll blow up the house or that they’ll actually have to eat something that I “cook”. Still, homemade meals are a must, and every once in a great while, I have to be the one to cook them. That’s where the Brava smart countertop oven ($995) comes in.
Brava is like an easy-bake oven for grown-ups. It cooks with light, or to be more precise, a highly controllable infrared heat. The oven is small, so it’s better for small families or empty nesters. You can sear a steak (but still have it medium rare inside) and cook veggies at the same time, or whip up an entire pizza in less than 10 minutes. If you get over that thousand-dollar price tag, it’s pretty darn amazing.
6. To help her work it out
I love my Peloton ($2,245) exercise bike so much, that I’ve recommended it to hundreds of other moms. But it too is really freaking expensive. For about $20 a month, you can get her a subscription to Peloton’s super inspirational streaming fitness classes instead. The all-access pass lets her join up to 20 live studio classes daily, and include a mix of bootcamp, yoga, strength, cycling, running, and outdoor workouts.
7. To feed her spirit
I listen to audiobooks when I run, travel, and nearly every night before I fall asleep. Right now, I’m listening to Oprah’s latest book, The Path Made Clear. This is what I’m giving just about every mom I know this year, including my own, along with a subscription to Audible ($45 for three months). Audible’s audiobook library has more than 425,000 titles from every era and genre, so it’s likely that many of her favorites, old and new, are there.
Gift memberships start at $15 for one month, $45 for three months, $90 for six months, and $150 for 12 months. They’ll also get a couple of additional Audible member benefits for the duration of their membership: a 30% discount on all audiobooks, and free audiobook exchanges.
8. Scents to match her mood
The Moodo scent diffuser ($99) lets mom build her own custom aromas. Thanks to its companion app, she can program the device to release its wonderful wafts on schedule. There’s also an interval mode so that the sweet smells only discharge when someone’s in the room.
9. To fix-it all
I know, I know, you’d tackle all of the things on mom’s massive to-do list yourself if you could, especially for Mother’s Day, but who has the time (or skills) for that? TaskRabbit is the closest most of us will ever come to being mom’s knight in home repair armor. It’s a network of tens of thousands of do-it-all “Taskers” that can knock out everything from mounting a flatscreen TV to assembling a couch. There’s a Tasker for just about everything, and there are options for just about any budget. Schedule one of TaskRabbit’s background-checked handymen to take some work off of mom’s hands so she can truly enjoy herself.
10. For the Grandmoms
Grandma already has a smartphone for shooting photos and capturing video now, but so many magical moments happened long before these modern phone-cameras were even invented. Turning printed photos and VHS tapes of decades-old family vacations is a chore at best and nearly impossible at worst, and that’s when I lean on Legacy Box (starting at $54). Pack the prepaid box with all your favorite old home movies and photos and Legacy Box digitizes them, turning even the oldest video and audio tapes and photos into high-quality files you can save and share forever.
Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY’s digital video show TECH NOW. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferJolly.
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