Need gifts for the IT professionals in your life? (Hey, ideas on what to get yourself count, too.) You’ve come to the right place.
There’s nothing like putting out a holiday gift guide to make you realize 2023 is almost over. Time isn’t real, am I right?
Our team has diligently searched the web and our company Slack to compile a range of gifts for techies. From home networking to gaming to SaaS-Mas, we’ve got you covered.
To streamline your search, we’ve organized our recommendations into five categories. Feel free to jump directly to any section:
✍️ Editor’s note: All products recommended by Auvik in this gift guide for IT pros are selected by our editorial team, and not influenced by any promotional considerations. Links to purchases are suggestions only. Buyer beware, do your own due diligence, prices are not guaranteed!
Everybody has an opinion on what makes the best home networking setup. Maybe you’re a homeowner who can open walls and run cables. Maybe you’re a renter, and everything needs to be packable when you move on.
Either way, our editorial team didn’t have much of an argument: Ubiquiti continues to be the reigning champ for the home. Stock, however, continues to be hit-and-miss.
If current availability or future-proofing is a concern, the AmpliFi Alien is a great option too. Ready to go in less than a minute, this mesh-enabled router boasts 7685 Mbps total capacity and 2x coverage over other retail routers. As one of our experts said, “AmpliFi Alien is a beast and best for most out of the box.”
Also known as the AX5700, this router consistently tops the charts for Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. With a measured peak throughput of 929.7 Mbps, lag is not an issue, and multiple streaming and gaming options are at your fingertips.
Ubiquiti U6 Enterprise
Introducing a cutting-edge, ceiling-mounted WiFi 6E access point, tailor-made for IT professionals. This high-performance device ensures flawless, multi-band coverage in dense environments, spanning up to 1,500 ft². It supports over 600 devices simultaneously with WiFi-6 capabilities. Equipped with an additional 6 GHz radio and a 2.5GbE uplink, the U6 Enterprise is PoE+ powered for efficient deployment and robust connectivity.
Ubiquiti Switch Flex Mini
A switch in the space where you need it is a simple and effective way to reduce cable runs through walls. For that reason, we recommend the compact Switch Flex Mini—a simple (and cheap!) 5-port Layer 2 PoE switch that can be powered with PoE or a 5V USB-C adapter. Drop one of these in your room, and you’ll only need one LAN from your main switch or router to get up and running.
Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine Pro
If you’re really looking to step up to a prosumer option, the Dream Machine Pro is your all-in-one networking console. Integrated security gateway, 8-port switch, and enterprise-level threat detection—all in one rack space. It’s a best-seller for a reason.
Tech & Tools
From keeping things working to keeping things charged, everyone needs tools and technology to keep their work-from-home (and play-from-home) set up and running smoothly.
Meet the Flipper Zero: the ultimate portable gadget for tech enthusiasts and pentesters. Designed with a playful, toy-like appearance, this multi-tool is a powerhouse for exploring a variety of digital realms, including radio protocols, access control systems, and hardware. As a fully open-source and customizable device, it offers endless possibilities for personalization and expansion, catering to your unique tech interests and needs.
Aqara Presence Sensor FP2
Introducing the Aqara Presence Sensor FP2: a revolutionary radar sensor for smart homes. It offers precise multi-person and fall detection within a 40 m² area, seamlessly integrating with HomeKit, Alexa, Google Home, and Home Assistant—no hub required. With its advanced millimeter-wave technology, the FP2 ensures accurate motion detection while maintaining privacy, and its built-in light sensor enhances lighting automations. This wired, IPX5-rated sensor is perfect for any room, ensuring functionality even without an internet connection.
New Raspberry Pi 5
This latest generation of Raspberry Pi features a 64-bit quad-core Arm Cortex-A76 processor running at 2.4GHz and delivers a 2–3× increase in CPU performance relative to Raspberry Pi 4. Get a smooth desktop experience with its new features, including 800MHz VideoCore VII GPU, dual 4Kp60 display output over HDMI, and a re-architected Raspberry Pi Image Signal Processor.
UGREEN Nexode 200W USB C Charger
Time to build the ultimate charging station. The Nexode can easily handle up to 6 devices simultaneously. Powerful enough to charge a Macbook Pro, and smart enough not to overload your phone.
Caldigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock
For the ultimate professional dock, we’re going with the 15-port, 87W-charging capable behemoth that is the TS3 Plus. Simultaneously power two external monitors (up to 4K60), route audio in and out, drop tonnes of different SD cards in, and still have USB ports to spare.
Xiaomi Mi Computer Monitor Light Bar
Saving your eyes without flooding your space with harsh light or glaring up your monitor screen is the aim of a monitor light bar. The Mi light bar connects directly to your monitor’s USB inputs, saving plugs and wires on the ground, and providing even color-accurate light. “Bought one for my setup recently and LOVE it!”
Elgato Stream Deck MK.2
Everyone is a streamer. Be it at work or at play. Take control of your streams (and a whole lot more) with the Elgato Stream deck. 15 full-customizable hotkeys to create shortcuts for your most common processes. Automatically maps macros from apps like Twitch, OBS, Hue, and Adobe. And with a bustling Stream Deck Store, you’ll always have new ideas to try out.
Elgato also released the Stream Deck Plus, which is basically the same thing, but with fewer buttons and a row of assignable knobs, if that’s what you’re into.
Timeskey NFC Stickers (10 Pack)
About the size of a quarter, but infinitely more useful, these NFC stickers can be programmed to do a whole host of things: share contacts and social info, connect to Wi-Fi and trigger smart home routines. Each sticker can be re-encoded 100,000 times and lasts up to 10 years.
Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop
As one Auvik staffer said, “this is a BEAST.” A vacuum that empties itself. A mop that cleans and dries itself, and refills its water reservoir. A functioning security drone. A dedicated voice assistant. It’s packed with intelligent obstacle avoidance, powerful suction, and a 4-hour battery. Just be ready to pony up for the luxury.
Google Nest Thermostat
The cost of heating is going up. That’s it. That’s the whole argument. But really, the Nest Thermostat, and its bigger brother the Learning Thermostat, have a lot of neat functionality built in to help you save money on heating and cooling without really having to think about it. From learning your normal patterns to downloading schedules from your local utilities to save more, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Plus, many states offer cash-back incentives to move to a smart thermostat.
Ultraloq Smart Lock U-Bolt Pro
Smart locks don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be effective. Take the U-Bolt Pro from Ultraloq. An ANSI Grade-1 lock, fingerprint ID scanner, Bluetooth, and optional Wi-Fi control. You can even issue one-time codes for friends and family, and set up auto-lock and unlock features.
A network pro likes to tinker. If it’s in the house, they’ve probably taken it apart and put it back together. And there isn’t a better name we can think of when it comes to tools for this job than Leatherman. In particular, the “Surge” has just about everything you’d need in one handy multitool, and a 25-year warranty.
Micro-Mini II Precision Screwdriver set
And for finer work, you need to have a precision screwdriver set handy. For Torx, Philips, or flat, you’ll find this inexpensive set from Platinum Tools can get you into just about any modern electronic device with screws. I own this one, and it’s worked on my Macbook, my Canon DSLR, and my Peavy 5150 guitar amp.
Gaming & Entertainment
Whether it’s the weather, the WFH, or the general chaos in everyday life, gaming scored the absolute tops across our team’s recommendations. But it’s not just consoles and PC rigs. Our team wants to build the ultimate gaming environment—with customization at its heart.
Game Boy inspired Raspberry Pi case
Introducing the GPi CASE 2W, a Raspberry Pi case that revives the charm of the classic Game Boy. This case is not just about its nostalgic aesthetics; it’s engineered for modern functionality. It’s compatible with Raspberry Pi ZERO, ZERO W, and ZERO 2W, and features a safe shutdown system, a 3.5mm audio port, an LED power indicator, and a vivid 3.0 IPS screen. Enhancing the retro experience, this case includes additional X/Y buttons, hidden L/R shoulder buttons, and a POWER feature, marrying the iconic 8-bit era design with contemporary gaming needs.
PS5 Covers and Accessories
We know there are some other people making covers for the PS5 (ahem), but for our sake, we’ll stick with first-party here. Sony has finally rolled out a suite of exclusive covers and dual sense controllers in six different colors perfect for any gamers’ enclave—Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Nova Pink, Galactic Purple, Starlight Blue, and Gray Camouflage.
Nanoleaf: Shapes & Lines
Nanoleaf lighting kits offer you a real opportunity to make your gaming experience as cool, hot, or whatever feeling you want it to be. Whether you want to start with Shapes – mini or regular-sized triangles, hexagons (or a pre-made bundle of both), or the newer Lines segments, you can customize the layout to whatever you can afford. Replete with 16 million color options, dynamic animations, and music visualizers. We recommend starting off with a “starter kit” and building from there.
Autonomous SmartDesk Core
This could honestly fall under Gaming or Tech & Tools. A solid best-seller, the SmartDesk Core comes in up to nine different top colorways, and three leg options. It also includes 4 programmable height settings and a cable pass-through slot. A lot of thoughtful finishes for this price point.
Samsung Odyssey G5 34” Curved Gaming Monitor
If you’re setting up a PC battle station, or a private console gamespot away from your TV room, go with a monitor that’ll flex your specs. The big vote-getter this year has to be the Odyssey G5. With a 1000R curve and a manageable 34” size, this speedy 165hz panel boasts 1440p resolution, HDR, AMD FreeSync, and 1ms response time. Perfect for any gaming scenario.
Arcade1Up – Pac-Man Collection Gaming Table
I have so many memories of these tabletop games. Sitting at my local pizza restaurant, waiting for food, begging my mom for a quarter to play Pac-Man at the table I could reach. For “folks of a certain age”, who wouldn’t want to adorn their basement/playroom with one of these throwback cabinets? And the best part about a retro-mod? It has 12 games to choose from, including Galaga, Dig Dug, and Galaxian. I might just have to buy this for myself…
It’s not the true classic we tricked out into a switch configuration device, or the Lego Atari we tricked out to play like the real thing, but it might be just what you’re looking for to satisfy your retro gaming needs. With a wireless set of controls and 4K output, the All-In VCS included over 100 retro games and apps for you to enjoy.
We’d probably be in trouble if we left off the Steam Deck. A capable gaming PC in a handheld form factor? The concept isn’t new, but there really hasn’t been a decent product yet. Until now. Steam partnered with AMD to create this console capable of handling some of the most demanding games on the PC market today. Available in 64/256/512GB configurations, shipping is now up to speed in time for the holiday season.
The list would be incomplete without including applications in their own category.
Please note this has nothing to do with Auvik’s launch of Auvik SaaS Management, which helps you discover, manage and secure SaaS to eliminate shadow IT.
Cozi – Family Calendar
“Cozi is the must-have organizer for families. It helps coordinate and communicate everyone’s schedules and activities, track grocery lists, manage to do lists, plan ahead for dinner, and keep the whole family on the same page.”
Strava – Exercise Tracker
“Strava turns every iPhone and Android into a sophisticated running and cycling computer (and we work with your GPS watches and head units, too). Start Strava before an activity and you can track your favorite performance stats, and afterward, dive deep into your data.”
www.strava.com/features (Free or $6.50 per month)
Notion – Idea/Team Management
Available for mobile and desktop, “Notion is more than a doc. Or a table. Customize Notion to work the way you do. As a first step, we are blending much of your workflow into an all-in-one workspace. Want a task list? A product roadmap? A design repository? They are now all in one place. You can even customize your own workspace from dozens of LEGO-style building blocks.”
www.notion.so/ (Free or $8/user per month)
Masterclass – Online Learning
Billed as “Video lessons that inspire,” Masterclass now has over 2500 lessons you can work through in bite-sized chunks. “Cook like a chef, write a novel, sell a TV pilot or learn how to run a company with online classes taught by the best to ever do it.” Watch on your computer, TV, phone or tablet.
www.masterclass.com/ ($20 to $30 per month)
Duolingo – Language Education
“The loch ness monster is drinking whiskey.” “Without a doubt, I want to eat ham.” “When I was young, I was not allowed to wear pants.” These are just a few of the amazing things Duolingo will actually teach you to say in a foreign tongue. “With quick, bite-sized lessons, you’ll earn points and unlock new levels while gaining real-world communication skills.”
Cool & Unclassified
Finally, let’s finish off with a few things we just loved but don’t need a category all on their own.
Die Hard Advent Calendar
Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Celebrate the truth by watching Hans Gruber plummet from the Nakatomi Plaza for 25 glorious days.
Shokz OpenRun Pro Headphones
Considered some of the best headphones for runners, this bone-conduction set boasts impressive bass, all-day comfort, water resistance, and noise cancellation. Bone conduction allows you to hear your surroundings: other pedestrians, passing cars, and any other potential hazards.
Speaking of, the Spibelt was crafted specifically with runners in mind. “Perfect for walking, working out, travel, medical needs, and so much more. Keep all your exercise accessories, headphones, keys, ID, and credit cards safe, secure, and close at hand.”
Build-on Brick Coffee Mug
Available in eight colors, this working coffee mug allows you to build off its body with “blocks” to really make it your own. BPA-free and safe for hot beverages. Just don’t step on the pieces.
I personally wouldn’t leave my house with this on, but you do you. These folks look like they’re having fun. The integrated speakers boast 8 to 10 hours of play time, and it’s washable. There’s not much else to say, so here’s a fun fact: in Canada, we call these toques.
That, friends, is our Holiday Gift Guide for 2023. And should any of these gifts for IT pros just happen to make it into your own stocking, well… you probably deserve it, too.
Good luck and let us know if we helped you in the comments!
No fighting or you’re getting coal.