Last-Minute Stocking Stuffers Under $20

Perfect picks for all your last-minute gifts!

Great gifts don’t have to cost a fortune; our team often finds top-notch kitchen tools that are also budget friendly. In this week’s guide, I’ve put together 20 of our favorite gadgets that are all available for less than $20, including our favorite paring knife, an eco-friendly reusable straw set, and a few of our winning spatulas. With low prices, big appeal, and the test kitchen seal of approval, these are perfect picks for all those last-minute gifts. I know that I would be happy to receive any of them (wink, wink).

—Carolyn Grillo, Associate Editor, ATK Reviews

These silicone bottle caps fit the tops of 12-ounce glass beer and soda bottles. Tough but slightly stretchy, they come in packs of six, 12, or 54. (If you lose the top of a plastic bottle of seltzer or soda, they’ll fit that, too.) Testing was fun: We downed half of a beer, capped the rest, and set it in the refrigerator. The beer was still effervescent the next evening. But don’t wait too long: After 48 hours, the cap blew off one bottle and another beer was left a bit flat.

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This frother consistently made satisfying foam at the push of a button. As with all the handheld models, we had to operate it for longer than the manufacturer instructions recommended when making cold foam, but once we did, it created the richest cold foam of the handheld bunch. Since it was our winner, we put it through additional testing, mixing up small batches of whipped cream, beating one or two eggs, and emulsifying vinaigrette. In addition to being a great milk frother, it’s a handy tool for small cooking tasks. We loved the comfortable grip, and we appreciated that it took little effort to rinse the wand clean.

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Seamless silicone surrounds a sturdy polymer core, making this spatula easy to clean and comfortable in hand. The flexible head handily maneuvers in tight corners and edges but is strong enough to scoop heavy food. It’s also available in a mini version, perfect for petite jars.

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Testers raved about this classic wooden spoon. Light, long, and maneuverable, it kept our hands far from the heat, and its rounded, tapered handle was comfortable and easy to grip in a variety of ways as we worked. It also suited both right- and left-handed testers. The slim tip of its nicely scooped-out oval bowl was easy to maneuver under food for turning and scooping, and when angled slightly, the head provided sufficient area for scraping fond. Made of teak, the wood resisted staining or drying out, retained its color, and never became rough to touch, even after 10 cycles through the dishwasher. 

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This wheel did it all—it was comfortable to hold and allowed for a powerful grip. Its streamlined design didn’t trap food, and it still looked brand new after 10 rounds in the dishwasher. Its blade was sharp and visible for precise, straight cuts. The blade was tall, too, at 4 inches, so it rolled right over stacked toppings and towering crusts with ease.

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This Microplane grabbed the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle that was slightly more comfortable and secure than that of our old winner. Otherwise, their grating surfaces are identical, so they both shredded cheese, zested lemons, and grated nutmeg, garlic, and ginger with ease. The Premium Classic came sharp, stayed sharp, and looked as good as new after testing. We do wish it had a wider surface so it didn’t form a trench in our cheese while grating, but it’s still the best option out there.

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The longest model in our lineup, this double-headed muddler stood tall in vessels of all sizes. With a moderate weight and a large, smooth head, this model quickly and efficiently muddled everything under it, making great drinks. Testers liked that it also had a second, smaller head, which was handy for maneuvering in narrow vessels or for making a second drink without having to wash the muddler. Made of unvarnished wood with indentations cut into it, this model was particularly easy to grip, even when wet. And although the wood stained slightly after its overnight cocktail bath, the muddler was otherwise quite durable.

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This spatula was great for flipping eggs and pancakes, and the flexible silicone head was especially good at gliding in the pan—even navigating rounded sides with ease. The silicone material kept cookies stable during transport, and we liked the generous handle. The spatula’s head was an ideal length, though we found it too wide to easily scoop up brownies. And while this spatula’s flexible head was ideal for skillet cooking, it was too pliable to scrape up leftover brownie bits.

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This basket-style tea strainer had the biggest capacity in our testing, equivalent to 13.5 tablespoons—more than enough for good water circulation. With a 2.5-inch opening, it was easy to fill and clean. And its tightly woven mesh basket kept even the finest leaves out of the finished tea. As a bonus, it has a top that can also be used as a saucer, holding the basket and catching any drips after or between infusions.

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After a 30-second stint in the microwave, this brightly colored fabric warmer kept tortillas hot for just shy of an hour and a half and fit even the largest wraps. It looks like a circular pocket and has triple layered sides with two layers of fabric sandwiching a sheet of insulating plastic; the fabric wicks moisture from the tortillas but holds it close, so they stay soft and pliable, not soggy.

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The blade on this paring knife is identical to that of our original winner; it’s just as sharp, thin, and nimble as ever, and it’s capable of making ultraprecise slices and incisions. Its plastic handle is easy to grip and accommodates large and small hands easily. In addition, the handle doesn’t add too much weight to the knife overall, allowing for agile, effortless use.

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The lightest of the stainless-steel models, this nearly perfect spoon had a long, hollow handle that felt like it was molded to fit our palms; its wide, shallow, thin bowl made it a breeze to scoop up food. Quibbles were minor: The bowl got a few scratches in the dishwasher, and a few testers thought the steep, ladle-like angle between the handle and the bowl upset the balance of the spoon.

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This server’s small perforations drained water without losing pasta; its long teeth grabbed and held long strands with ease (their slightly wide placement meant smaller pasta sometimes slipped out, but this was a minor issue). Its long handle with comfortable silicone grip kept hands a safe distance from hot water, and the gently angled head was just right for easy control.

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Our former winner continues its reign. It performed well, picking up plenty of liquid and providing good coverage. Its bristles had just the right level of flexibility, making for agile, precise, and controlled maneuvering. Testers loved its light weight and perfectly sized handle, which was made of grippy plastic. Just a few minor cosmetic issues: That comfy handle melted on contact with the hot pan, and the translucent bristles stained and retained odors after six washes (though they did not transfer smells or flavors to subsequent foods).

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With relatively long, narrow, sharp blades, these ambidextrous, take-apart shears were nimble and made nice smooth cuts on all foods. Lots of tiny microserrations on the anvil blade edge helped ensure a secure grip on slippery foods. And its plastic finger bows were comfortable for hands of all sizes. But because they were the lightest shears in our testing, with a fairly loose level of tension between the blades, some testers found them to be less powerful than our winner; a wider blade angle contributed to a slightly less keen-feeling edge.

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This straw set came with two 8-inch-long and two 10.5-inch-long straws. Both were very comfortable to drink from, thanks to their 3-inch-long silicone tips. Because the silicone tips were detachable, both the straws and the tips were easy to clean. The 8-inch straw fit comfortably in a glass, a to-go cup, and a travel mug and came with an effective cleaning brush that had plentiful bristles and a grippy handle. These sturdy straws did not dent when we placed a weight on them for an hour and ably punched through the lid of a plastic to-go cup. The 10.5-inch-long straw is ideal for to-go cups and tumblers larger than 16 ounces. The downside is that this set did not come with a carrying case (OXO said it plans to release a set with one later this year); however, we felt that its performance, easy cleanup, and durability outweighed this drawback.

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We loved using this diminutive whisk, which performed every task quickly and efficiently, thanks to the five sturdy wire loops in its relatively broad head. And with a thick, medium-length handle, it was easy to grip. The handle itself was made from smooth metal that was completely sealed off where the loops connected, so it was particularly easy to clean.

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This small, inexpensive plastic beaker has bold, clearly marked lines and numbers that can be read from above; a single wide mouth made it a breeze to fill, and a tiny spout ensured a clean pour every time. In addition to the ounce lines you'll need for making cocktails, the beaker also has volume lines for tablespoons, fractions of a cup, and milliliters, so you can use it to measure liquids in the kitchen as well. Better still, the lines are positioned in such a way that no one set of measurements obscures another, making each set equally easy to read and use.  More on this test