The top energy-friendly gifts of 2020

December 17, 2020   By Jackie Whetzel

The top energy-friendly gifts of 2020

If you live in Texas and are dreaming of a white Christmas, you’re probably going to be disappointed. However, most Texans still joyfully celebrate the holiday season by exchanging gifts.

Many have already adorned their homes in colorful strings of lights and have placed a pine or fir tree indoors in preparation for the holidays. Most folks are also knee deep in their holiday shopping. But, if you aren’t one of them, and you are still debating what to buy your loved ones this year, you’ve come to the right place. We have several ideas to help ease your shopping woes.

How about an energy efficient gift that might also save your loved one money in the long run? We’ve compiled 2020’s best list of energy-friendly gifts that are sure to be a hit.

Google Nest Thermostat

One of the hottest energy-saving gifts of 2020 is the Google Nest smart thermostat. These high-tech gadgets have been all the rave since they launched in 2011 – and for good reason. One of the easiest ways to save energy when it comes to your heating and cooling bill is to have disciplined temperature control. These products make managing your home’s thermostat easy and could lead to lower electric expenses in the long run. The manufacturer estimates that this product can save a user 10 to 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills on the product’s website.

There are two Nest options currently on the market. The Nest Thermostat retails for $129.99 and it’s more expensive sister device, the Nest Learning Thermostat retails for $249.

In many ways, both Nest products are the same. The biggest difference is the cheaper version is not compatible with as many HVAC systems. If you opt to buy the less expensive version, just check the HVAC system of the person you’re buying it for to ensure it’s compatible (on the sly of course – so you don’t ruin the surprise!).

Both products allow you to schedule the temperatures you prefer around the clock to help save energy. It’s a great way to save energy when you’re sleeping or away from the home. You can control these devices from a phone or tablet from anywhere on the go. The Nest also allows a user to check their home’s energy usage and is fairly easy to install (installation should take less than 30 minutes). Either device would make a fantastic energy-saving gift.

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot has quickly become every cook’s must-have gadget in the kitchen – and we totally get why. When we say it can do just about anything, we mean it! You can cook a whole chicken in less than an hour. Even if you’re no Martha Stewart, it should come out delightfully juicy. Any person that enjoys cooking will enjoy gifts like this.

The Instant Pot cooks food at a high temperature in a very short time span. It’s not only a modernized high-pressure cooker, but it also serves as a slow cooker, sauté pot, rice cooker, warming pot, steamer, or yogurt maker. The biggest perk is that it’s much more energy-efficient than its stovetop or oven counterparts. It can also ease those mid-week cooking blues when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry because you’re running on empty.

Check out Good Housekeeping’s list of the Best Instant Pot Models of 2020 to help you shop for the perfect energy friendly gift.


If someone was extra nice this year, how about gifting them a laptop or tablet that will put a huge smile on their face (because who doesn’t love getting new technology), and will also help them save on energy bills?

If you didn’t already know, charging the average desktop computer costs much more than charging a laptop or tablet. An energy-friendly computer will be like the gift that keeps on giving for years to come.

Just make sure you do your research before you buy. There are tons of options on the market – regardless of whether the person you’re shopping for is a Mac or Windows enthusiast. You want to compare processing speed, operating system, space, and capabilities of each, before you buy, and always look for one with an Energy Star label.

The New York Times’ publication Wirecutter put out a great resource on December 1, 2020 comparing the best laptops in the market.

Makita Power Tools

Who doesn’t love new power tool gifts? You’re always going to need them, and they’re a must-have for any homeowner. But did you know that some power tools are better than others? Energy efficient tools can save a user approximately 30 percent more energy than their non-energy friendly counterpart.

Look for an Energy Star label when shopping for power tools. They can save electricity and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Department of Energy.

Power tool expert Makita is always a solid choice, as the company prides itself on going green and they have many Energy Star certified tools to choose from.

Makita says it’s established long-term goals for saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions, and preserving the environment. “Our products include power tools that use lightweight, long-life lithium-ion batteries, and we will continue to develop products that are friendly to both users and the environment,” the company said.

Solar Bags

Nobody likes a dead cell phone or laptop, and we can pretty much guarantee that gifts that help keep a device’s battery full are sure to be a hit.

There are all sorts of solar bags on the market. These modern gadgets can charge smart phones, laptops and cameras in a flash thanks to solar energy. Who doesn’t love free energy, and why not take advantage of it whenever you’re out and about?

One hour of sun can give a user three hours of talk time, and five hours of sun will give a full charge on the average cell phone with most of these bags.

Solar bags are not just practical for outdoor enthusiasts. They’re great gifts for anyone with a long work commute, a parent who’s constantly on the go with children and multiple devices to keep charged, or anyone who spends time outdoors.

Solar bags are super easy to use and can be affordable, depending on the model that you pick. The Jauch solar backpack is an affordable option at just $60. It can charge a variety of devices, and comes in a sleek, neutral color that will work for anyone on your holiday gift list.

Most of the solar panels in the bags are waterproof, light to carry and are built to withstand heavy outdoor use.


Jackie Whetzel is a freelance writer who has been featured in newspapers and publications across the country. She has written on the topics of energy, education, government, and business. You can find her on Instagram.