Good Valentine’s Day gifts can be hard to come by, and if you’ve yet to find one that fits the bill, we’re here to help. Whether it’s for an S.O., a parent, a friend, or even yourself (yes, you count), a thoughtful treat will be much appreciated.
To ensure you’re buying a present that will please, we rounded up the items that tested well in our labs and impressed our editors in at-home evaluations.
For more ideas, check out great Valentine’s Day gifts under $50.
Mouth Wellness in a Box Gift Set
A curated gift box loaded with the essentials for a night in can be hard to pass up. This option features an assortment of wellness-themed items, such as granola, tea, turmeric concentrate, a sweet fig candle, and more. We’re feeling relaxed already.
Mouth was the top-scoring company in a study conducted by CR wherein staffers evaluated the ordering experience and gift selection from five prominent vendors. It was the only one where all of CR’s gift set senders were satisfied with the gift they selected and most felt they got good value for the money.
For more options: Best Gift Baskets
Slip Sleep Mask
Is there anything more luxurious than snoozing with a soft, silk mask? Crafted from delicate silk, it comes in a variety of colors, including a bold navy, a graceful ballet pink, and an opulent gold. (There are also prints on the company’s Amazon page featuring lipstick smooches, paisley, and an embroidered “rosé all day.”) It has a scrunchy backstrap that stretches rather than adjusts, which allows for a more seamless look (but perhaps an imperfect fit).
For more options: Best Sleep Masks
ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
Sometimes something as simple as a little boost to the olfactory system can help you relax before bed. In fact, a 2015 study conducted on college students with self-reported sleep issues found that inhaled lavender essential oils combined with sleep hygiene improved their quality of sleep. Cue scented pillow sprays.
“While it’s a combination of lavender, vetivert, and wild chamomile, the lavender is the strongest scent—though not cloyingly so; just one whiff, and I feel like I can breathe easier and deeper,” says Mary Beth Quirk, CR’s shopping editor. Spray it lightly on pillows and sheets before jumping into bed for a soothing snooze.
For more options: Best Products for a Good Night’s Sleep
UGG Fluff Yeah Slides
It’s hard to go wrong with a pair of cozy slippers, especially one as soft as these. The Ugg Fluff Yeah Slides were a hit in our at-home evaluations of seven popular slippers. CR editors dubbed these the “indisputably coolest slippers of the bunch,” noting that the real sheepskin composition made them almost comically fluffy and as if they felt “like wearing clouds on my feet.”
Baloo Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets seem to be all the rage lately, and this version from Baloo is one to know. It has a cotton cover and glass beads, and comes in white and a graylike “silver sage.” Linen covers, in a choice of six colors, are sold separately. Baloo says the blanket is machine-washable and dryer-safe.
For more options: Best Weighted Blankets
Farmgirl Flowers Blush Up Bouquet
Fresh flowers can brighten anyone’s day (yours included), and this saturated bunch is up for the task. While the arrangement is made up of 12 roselilies, each stem comes with three to five blooms, meaning your giftee will be in for quite a treat. Our at-home evaluators were wowed by Farmgirl Flowers—its bouquets arrived in great condition, thanks to prime packaging, and lasted for well over a week because they arrived in bud form.
The Sill Monstera Deliciosa
The tropical Monstera deliciosa, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is great for beginners and those who prefer a low-maintenance option. Monsteras can be happy with indirect light and can even survive through short periods of drought. Better yet, The Sill allows you to customize this plant with various types of pots that come in seven colorways to boot.
Forest Origins Pink Oyster Mushroom Grow Kit
For fans of fantastic fungi, a mushroom-growing kit is a great gift idea. This Pink Oyster mushroom kit from Forest Origins has an easy setup and is low-maintenance. In a series of at-home evaluations, we found that this kit produced mushrooms in just four days and bore medium-sized fungi in vibrant variations of pinks and creams. The first batch was ready to harvest quicker than some other options we checked out.
For more options: Best Mushroom-Growing Kits
Bouqs Down to Earth Bouquet
When you can’t be there to hand out a bouquet in person, ordering an arrangement from an online delivery service will certainly do. This vibrant bunch from Bouqs features a mix of daisies, roses, and mini carnations, and can be customized with a variety of vases as well as by bouquet size.
For more options: What $50 (or So) Gets You From Six Popular Flower Delivery Services
New York Puzzle Company Store New Yorker Winter Garden, 500-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
This 500-piece jigsaw puzzle is of a 2019 cover of The New Yorker that’s fit for the botanically inclined and a surefire way to wind down. It’s a perfect plant-loving family activity, says Adam Besheer and Rebecca Bullene, co-founders of Greenery Unlimited, a biophilic design store and plant nursery.
Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera
For the creative in your life who’s always capturing life’s moments, an instant camera can bring a lot of joy. The Kodak Printomatic is the fastest model of those we reviewed, producing a fully printed photo just 38 seconds after the shutter was pressed. Once printed, the photos have a sticky backing, which means you can easily tack them onto most surfaces. The model also stores photos on the SD card at a higher resolution than the other zero-ink cameras we tried, which is nice if you want to order a larger print down the road.
For more options: Best Instant Cameras: How Six Would-Be Polaroid Replacements Stack Up
Meta Quest 2 VR Headset
The Meta Quest 2 headset might just be the best way to experience virtual reality. The stand-alone model is completely wireless, and its image quality is sharp. Its library features an array of games, like Resident Evil 4, Little Cities, and Beat Saber—which CR tech reporter Nicholas De Leon describes as a cross between Guitar Hero or Rock Band and the popular mobile game Fruit Ninja. And then there’s the opportunity to hop into Horizon Worlds, Meta’s version of the metaverse, which is a term that refers to the virtual world. Last but not least, the controllers are shaped to all but melt into your hands while you’re using them, De Leon says.
Niupipo Explorer Pickleball Paddle
For the pickleball aficionado who’s always looking for new ways to up their game, a better paddle is the way to do it. This paddle has a wide body shape, which is also ideal for beginners because there is more surface area to hit the ball with. In our evaluations, the Niupipo Explorer edged out the others we evaluated because of its slightly more comfortable grip and its much more comfortable price tag. It also comes with a zippered neoprene paddle cover.
For more options: Best Pickleball Paddles
Hawkins New York Simple Cocktail Shaker
It’s five o’clock somewhere, and whether they’re team cocktails or mocktails, a solid shaker (that’s aesthetically pleasing, too) can be a great idea. In an evaluation of the best cocktail shakers, a CR editor designated this model as the best-looking—its Art Deco-inspired design and a luxe brass finish certainly give it flair. Made from coated stainless steel, this shiny shaker can dress up just about any bar cart.
For more options: Best Cocktail Makers
Brightland The Pair Vinegars
Vinegar so tasty you can drink it? According to Eunice Byun, co-founder of Material Kitchen, a direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand, this set from Brightland fits the bill. Sourced from California grapes and fruit, these double-fermented vinegars are prime for dressing salads and even cocktails. “These beauties would be ideal for my foodie friends, as well as neighbors that have been extra helpful this year,” says Byun, adding that the reusable bottles also make for perfect bud vases.
Compartés Signature Truffle Gift Box
Valentine’s Day and a box of chocolates may go hand in hand, but this year it’s time for an upgrade. This truffle set from the Los Angeles–based Compartés is poised to please—in fact, we were blown away by the flavors in a recent evaluation of the best boxed chocolates. As CR reporter Angela Lashbrook put it: “For a chef or a cook, a true sign of success is taking a flavor your audience is known not to love and convincing them that they’ve been missing out this whole time. That’s the case with this beautiful, elegant little box of chocolates.”
For more options: Best Boxed Chocolates
With its pink blush exterior, white ceramic interior, and gold handles, the GreenPan Padova Reserve certainly makes a style statement. But how is it on substance? Not too shabby. In fact, its scores on all our major cooking tasks were top-notch, including a top rating for speed of heating. Its handles are sturdy and stay fairly cool to the touch. The nonstick coating is durable, although some of the nonstick pans we tested did even better on that test. The 10 pieces include two frying pans, two saucepans, a sauté pan, a stockpot, and four lids.
For more options: Best Nonstick Frying Pans
Red Clay Hot Sauce The Whole Shebang Gift Box
Pass the hot sauce! “Everyone knows someone that considers themselves a hot sauce aficionado—and this set is perfect for them,” says Byun. This curated collection of Red Clay’s best-selling sauces and honey includes flavors like spicy peach honey and a verde hot sauce. “I love the vinegary flavor of the Original Sauce, and the hot honey drizzled on pizza is out of this world,” says Byun.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat
A home chef’s bookshelf isn’t complete without beautifully written cookbooks that teach theory in addition to recipes, says Carmel Hagen, founder of Supernatural, a brand focused on providing healthier baking ingredients, like natural sprinkles and plant-based food colors. One such book is “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” by Samin Nosrat, which precedes the eponymous Netflix series and comes packed with cooking tips and secrets.