Picks

The 19 Absolute Best, Wirecutter-Approved Valentine’s Day Gifts Under $25

They say that money can’t buy love, which is good, because I don’t have any.

Valentine's Day gifts
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Dorie Chevlen
Wirecutter Staff

They say that money can’t buy love, which is good, because I don’t have any. Still, February 14 is not the day to show up empty-handed. Luckily, there are lots of ways to impress someone on the cheap. Here we list our staff’s favorite budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts for friends, lovers, and loved ones, at prices that you’ll love.

Heart-shaped breakfast

Norpro Nonstick Heart Pancake/Egg Rings

There is no greater show of affection than serving someone breakfast in bed—or so I thought, until I realized that you can also prepare breakfast in the shape of a heart! These cooking rings form pancakes and eggs into objects of love, and they’re a fun activity for cooking with kids, if you have some around. Although you can find a number of similar cooking rings online, this set from Norpro has one of the highest owner ratings we’ve found. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

Tea for two

Blue Willow Tea Black Honey Oolong

Despite its name, black honey oolong doesn’t actually have any honey in it. Instead, its sweet, delicate, honey-like flavor comes from insects biting the leaves while the leaves were still on the plant (this causes the leaves to ferment while they’re growing). The result is a tea unlike any other I’ve ever tasted—a beautiful golden oolong that develops its flavors with each steep. It’s perfect for sitting with your partner and savoring over multiple resteeps, as the drink evolves like your love for each other. —Tim Barribeau, editor

A terrific tea basket

Finum Brewing Basket

This is the best tea basket we’ve ever tried at Wirecutter. Its tall, cylindrical shape and fine mesh facilitate water flow for a stronger flavor but don’t allow tea particles and residue to escape. Throw in a bag of loose-leaf tea to create the perfect brew to share with a lover or friend. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

A journal for couples

Our Q&A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People

For our third dating anniversary, I gave my then boyfriend (and now husband) the book . He’s not very mushy, so I loved the idea of getting a gift we could both enjoy that wasn’t stereotypical for the Hallmark holiday. Basically, each day of the year, you’re given a question that both you and your partner answer. The questions repeat annually for the three years, and you can look back to see how your answers—and your relationship—have evolved over time. —Kaitlyn Wells, staff writer

A succulent heart

Hoya Heart Plant

A heart-shaped plant is the perfect way to communicate to your valentine that your love will grow. (Though it’s worth noting that this species, Hoya kerrii, grows pretty slowly.) Your person will probably not have a hard time taking care of this plant because it tolerates a range of light and needs to be watered only once every few weeks. —Ellen Airhart, fact checker

A sweet diffuser

Urpower 300ML Essential Oil Diffuser
Photo: Michael Hession

Urpower 300ML Essential Oil Diffuser

I’ve owned the for about two years, which (as with my current relationship) is long enough to know it’s a keeper. It’s sleek-looking, easy to use, and affordable—and it happens to be the top pick in our guide to the best essential oil diffusers. The button on the left lets you choose a colored light filter—I highly recommend red or white for Valentine’s Day—or you can choose to cycle through the rainbow on a loop. I like that this diffuser creates a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere with almost no effort. Once you’re done using the Urpower, don’t forget to wash it out with warm, soapy water so it’s ready to go for your next date night. —Sarah Witman, staff writer

Honey for your honey

Winter Park Honey - Raw Tupelo Honey

My dad has sent me this honey nearly every year since I left home—“to sweeten your life,” as he puts it. Tupelo honey is produced by bees that have feasted on the delicate white blooms of tupelo trees in the Florida Panhandle, and it has a delicate, lightly floral taste. In my family, we love to drizzle it over Greek yogurt for an easy dessert, but it is also marvelous stirred into tea, smeared onto peanut butter toast, or eaten right off a spoon. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

A personalized puzzle

Shutterfly Upload Your Own Design Puzzle

If you like to tuck away inside on Valentine’s Day with your loved one (or yourself), puzzles are a pleasant, screen-free way to pass the time. These customizable ones can include up to nine photos and come in four sizes, ranging from 60 pieces (10 by 14 inches) to 1,014 pieces (20 by 30 inches). Design yours with photos of your favorite shared memories, and treat your loved ones to a fun surprise. There are kid-friendly versions with 30 large, thick pieces, if you’re looking for a new way to lure your kiddos away from the inevitable haul of candy hearts and lollipops. —Alex Arpaia, staff writer

A throwback pack

JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack

Your loved one might chuckle at the idea of snapping a fanny pack around their waist, for fear of leaning too far in to the totally hip ’90s parent look. But they’ll thank you once they’ve spent a few days with the JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack. One of our favorite fanny packs, it’s spacious enough to fit small notebooks, sunscreen bottles, or snacks. And it comes in 12 colors, so you can find the perfect match to fit your valentine’s style. —Jordan McMahon, updates writer

Superior sheet masks

Dr. Jart Hydration Lover Rubber Mask

Perhaps the couple that sheet-masks together stays together, and these top-rated, cornflower-hued hydrating sheet masks ranked No. 1 in our recent panel testing. They’re also perfect for unique couple selfies! —Nancy Redd, staff writer

Rose-flavored candies

Marmara Authentic Rose Turkish Delight

Roses on Valentine’s Day? Expensive, cliché, not even edible. Rose-flavored Turkish delight? Original, affordable, sexy, delicious. I’ve been buying these chewy little delights for years, after first encountering them while traveling in Turkey. They’re the perfect treat after a heavy meal, and they come in a pretty box that’s great for gifting. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

Literary love letters

Letters to Véra by Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov and Véra Slonim’s marriage spanned 52 years, a period during which the renowned author and his wife fled Nazis in Berlin, raised a son, drove cross-country multiple times, weathered the disappointment of an affair (his), struggled with mental illness (hers), and chased butterflies. Throughout it all, they loved each other deeply. This book offers just one access point to their relationship (Véra burned all the letters she’d sent her husband), but any lover of letters, literature, or simply love itself will treasure the collection. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

Luxurious body care

Everyday Oil

This multipurpose (hair, body, face, wherever) oil moisturizes without feeling heavy or greasy, thanks to a well-balanced combination of coconut, argan, olive, jojoba, and other oils. Its warm, slightly sweet, beguiling scent lingers but doesn’t call too much attention to itself (an unscented version is also available, however). The simple, minimally adorned bottle is attractive enough to leave out next to the sink or tub. The 1- or 2-ounce sizes would be great for a frequent traveler or for someone who’d appreciate adding a little luxury to their self-care routine, and the 8-ounce bottle is for someone you really want to impress. —Winnie Yang, supervising editor

A sweet-tooth satisfier

Sour Patch Kids

Everyone has a favorite candy, and everyone secretly likes only two of the flavors that candy includes. One of the best Valentine’s Day gifts I ever received was a jar of just red and blue Sour Patch Kids that my boyfriend had painstakingly separated (even more painstakingly, he’d eaten all the rejected colors). Figure out your sweetheart’s sweet tooth, and win the holiday. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

A gift for their kisser

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen

For great smooches, you’ll want a great lip balm, and this one—free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates—fits the bill. On top of its great moisturizing powers, this lip balm tastes delicious and offers SPF 15. There’s an untinted version for those who don’t want lip color and several gorgeous pink and red tints for those who do. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

Classic boxed chocolates

See’s Candies Silver Assorted

A cut above drugstore brands (but less expensive than most gourmet purveyors, like the best box chocolates we recommend), the candies at San Francisco chocolatier See’s Candies are delicious and affordable, and they ship hassle-free across the continental US. Like Tony Bennett, I once also left my heart in San Francisco, but at least we need not leave the great candies there. —Dorie Chevlen, contributing writer

A DIY facial

Herbivore Rose Quartz Gua Sha

If your valentine is into facial massage, they may like the Herbivore Rose Quartz Gua Sha. The flat, carved stone is meant to be scraped slowly and firmly across the meridians of the face. New York City dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler told our colleagues at T The New York Times Style Magazine that in addition to healing puffiness and tenderness, the practice can encourage lymphatic drainage and decrease under-eye puffiness. Refrigerate the gua sha, then massage the skin on your cheeks outward from the center of your face, move it around the top of your eyes (below the eyebrow) and to the ends of your face, and then upward onto your forehead. Even if it doesn’t transform your face, it feels great. —Justin Krajeski, staff writer

An electric heart

Velleman MK101 Flashing Led Sweetheart

Maybe 10 years ago, my husband made me a Velleman MK101 Flashing LED Sweetheart. It was meant to be a small token, but now it’s the only thing I remember about that Valentine’s Day (and it’s a standout among the 16 we’ve had together). This has become one of my most treasured possessions. I don’t even know if it works anymore (I don’t keep a battery in it because it blinks without an on/off switch), but it sits on a shelf in my office where I can see it all the time. My husband’s a computer engineer, and he’s not too sentimental, so knowing that he assembled all the lights onto the little circuit board in this kit for me feels like his own kind of love letter. If you need a soldering iron to complete it, you could grab our Vaster budget pick and still stay under $25. —Jackie Reeve, staff writer

Customized photo magnets

Inkifi Square Magnets

When it comes to giving gifts, I’ve never gotten complaints when I’ve given cash or booze. But for something more personal, I’ve found that photographs are almost as universally well liked. For the past few years, I’ve been giving Inkifi’s Square Magnets to people I care about. You can upload pictures from your computer or log in to Instagram for super-easy arrangements. These magnets are reasonably priced and look great on the fridge. Best of all, they will undoubtedly outlast any chocolates, flowers, and (in some cases) the relationship, too. —Tony Kaye, senior associate, commerce operations