The 8 Best Green Gadgets to Buy in 2021

These eco-friendly gadgets are efficient and good for the environment

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
With smart, sunrise emulation features and ultra-bright options for desktop organization, this might just be the Rolls Royce of desk lamps.
Anyone who’s ever had a musty water bottle knows the real value with LARQ: This thing cleans itself.
Why bring a battery pack with you when you can charge your device using solar power? Anker’s panel is portable, durable, and energy efficient.
If the name didn’t give it away, the Hyperboom pushes serious volume, making for a great party-on-the-go system.
The key with these Eneloop batteries is that they use a longer-lasting Ni-MH tech, making them better for everyday use and safer for the earth.
Provided you don’t want the classic mechanical Diver’s watch, the solar-powered SUP250 is an excellent entry point into the women’s watch world.
Best Phone Case:
Pela Case at Amazon
With dozens of designs and an earth-friendly manufacturing process, this case gives you the best of both worlds
With versatility to use as a stand or a flat pad and the use of eco-friendly materials, this is a versatile charger you can feel good about

In today’s world, it’s becoming more and more important to, well, care about the world. That doesn’t just extend to your personal actions, but it also extends to the ways tech brands are creating their innovations. So, when it comes time to selecting a phone charger, a wearable, or even a water bottle, there’s a lot to consider if you want to be eco-friendly. We aren’t ranking our favorite green tech products against each other, though. Instead, this article will aim to highlight a few categories in which you can find really solid, environmentally friendly purchases where you would otherwise get a product that isn’t particularly environmentally friendly. You’ll find products like the Dyson Lightcycle Desk Lamp at Best Buy or the LARQ water bottle at Amazon.

Best Lamp: Dyson Lightcycle Desk Lamp

Dyson Lightcycle Desk Lamp
What We Like
  • Beautiful Dyson design

  • Super-bright, user-friendly operation

  • Smart features

  • Efficient LED protection technology

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Thin, minimalist design

Much like the other products on Dyson’s list, the Lightcycle Desk Lamp is an extremely premium take on what might otherwise seem like a mundane category. As a task light, this product is seriously capable, providing more than 1,000 Lux of brightness to avoid eye strain and offering three axes of adjustment to give you virtually any angle or position for the work you’re doing. You’ll also get smart features like an app that helps the light adapt to you based on your age and needs. It will also aim to simulate the quality of natural light, even acting as a sunrise simulation lamp. And then there’s of course the well-known Dyson design, which is both modern and classic at the same time. 

This is all fine and good, but what makes it green? The environmental consideration comes in three key points. First, there’s a motion sensor to allow for auto on/off features. This means that you won’t accidentally leave your light on wasting energy. There’s also what Dyson is calling “Heat Pipe Technology,” which keeps the six super-bright LEDs safe for up to 60 years of use (eliminating waste in the amount of light bulbs you’ll need down the road). Finally, Dyson has also managed to get the Energy Star certification so you can be sure the light is an efficient use of energy. Of course, the thin, stick-like design isn’t for everyone and this is hardly an affordable lamp. But if the functionality, smart features, and attention to environmental impact are important to you, this lamp is a great bet.

Best Water Bottle: LARQ Insulated Self-Cleaning Stainless Steel Water Bottle

LARQ Self-Cleaning and Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
What We Like
  • Excellent design

  • Insulated to keep contents cold

  • UV self-cleaning functionality

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly pricey

  • Heavy and bulky for everyday use

  • Requires a recharge for UV functionality

To a certain extent, all reusable water bottles are technically “green” because they prevent you from dumping more single-use plastic into a landfill. The LARQ takes the all-around water bottle to new levels with a ton of features. First, there’s the BPA- and toxin-free design that means you can be confident that the materials used in the bottle are good for you and the environment. The 24-ounce bottle also features an insulated build, which keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours. This helps the environment because it’ll keep your water refreshing, for longer—no more throwing out lukewarm water or having to use ice cubes.

Then there’s the real trick up LARQ’s sleeve. The cap has a built-in UV light that is activated using a button on the outside. This allows the bottle to safely clean and sanitize its inner surfaces, making it ideal for long days or weekends on the trail. You can even set the bottle to automatically activate the cleaning mechanism every two hours, to ensure that you’ve always got fresh water that doesn’t smell musty. The UV function is also rechargeable via micro-USB and that charging function is resistant to moisture up to a degree of IPX7. However, due to all the components inside the bottle, it is a little heavy and bulky. You can pick up the LARQ in five colors that range from white to mint to black.

Best Charger: Anker 21W 2-Port USB Portable Solar Charger with Foldable Panel

What We Like
  • Clean, efficient solar charging

  • 3 amps of total power

  • Durable and portable

What We Don't Like
  • Not the fastest charging speeds

  • Not as affordable as other, traditional chargers

It wasn’t that long ago that solar panels were new, expensive, prohibitive tech. Now, many homes are opting to put panels on the roof, and you can even bring them in your backpack with you, as is the case with this 21W Solar Charger from Anker. Anker is a brand known for its battery tech, and it’s nice to see them going for a clean, energy-efficient method of charger. The high-durability PET plastic and the foldable polyester shell used in the construction make the device totally portable and plenty resilient to being knocked around a bit. The four solar panels provide a total of three amps of charge, provided you have access to direct sunlight, with PowerIQ technology that optimizes where those amps are being sent (depending on what you have plugged in).

This means you won’t need to use wall outlets to charge your phone, thus saving on the less clean, less efficient energy your home uses. While solar panels can sometimes be unsafe for electronics if not checked, Anker has put in some surge protection to ensure your devices are safe. It isn’t the fastest charging device, and you do need pretty strong sunlight for it to work properly, but that’s a small concession to make for clean, solar energy powering your devices.

Best Speaker: Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
What We Like
  • Super loud

  • Adaptive EQ for the best sound

  • IPX4 water resistance

  • Made with recycled plastics

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky, boxy shape

  • As expensive as a pro system

  • Too heavy for truly portable use

The Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is basically everything you could ask for in a portable, Bluetooth party speaker. UE has made a name for itself in recent years with impressive cylinder-style Bluetooth speakers, but while those are great for quick poolside jams in small gatherings, the Hyperboom aims to bring a party-caliber speaker system to the Bluetooth battery world. What UE is touting as their “loudest and bassiest” speaker yet, is actually just supported by a sizable and complex array of drivers (two main drivers, a tweeter, and some massive oval-shaped subs pointed in all directions) and an adaptive EQ function that tries to read the room or environment you’re in for maximum precision.

The device supports four inputs, with two being via Bluetooth version 5, one through an aux input, and one through an optical input. UE has even managed to build IPX4 water resistance into the device, which is impressive for the size of the speaker… though it isn’t the highest rating you can get, so being cautious with water is important. It all fits nicely into the UE ecosystem, pairing with other speakers as well. 

What makes the product green is the new approach that Logitech (UE’s parent company) is taking to manufacturing. Many of the tech company’s top products, including the Hyperboom, are made with recycled plastics moving forward—specifically plastics that get the Post-Consumer Resin designation. Overall, the Hyperboom is a great option for parties, but at 13 pounds with a very boxy shape the speaker isn’t the most portable—even when you factor in the carrying handle.

Best Batteries: Panasonic Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries and Charger

What We Like
  • High-quality, long-lasting Ni-MH batteries

  • Pretty affordable

  • Automatic shutoff when batteries are fully charged

What We Don't Like
  • Not as efficient as lithium ion

  • Only four slots for charging

  • Ni-MH isn’t ideal for low-powered devices

This Panasonic Eneloop Battery kit is a great option if you’re looking to get into rechargeable double-A batteries. To a certain degree, all rechargeable batteries are environmentally friendly because it prevents you from buying disposable batteries and contributing more single-use waste to the environment. What makes these batteries interesting is they use Ni-MH technology. This tech is safer than lithium ion because there’s much lower risk of combustion, which is in-turn safer for the environment as well.

The Eneloop batteries can be charged more than 2100 times and will retain about 70% of their capacity over time (which is better than lower-quality Ni-MH batteries). The batteries will even come pre-charged using solar energy, just to compound even more “green” value to the product. The wall charger allows you to charge four batteries at once and it has an automatic shutoff feature to prevent overcharging the batteries. The price point is also pretty solid for the functionality. The downside is that the batteries aren’t as reliable over time as lithium ion counterparts, but the Ni-MH is much better if you want to be environmentally conscious.

Best Watch: Seiko Solar Watch

What We Like
  • Classic Tanko-style design

  • Solar-powered with 12-month energy reserves

  • Waterproof up to 30m

What We Don't Like
  • Not as waterproof as Diver watches

  • Square design isn’t for everyone

  • Not a mechanical movement

By some measures, watches have always been ahead of the curve with mechanical technology. With the Seiko SUP250 and the men’s counterpart the SUP880, you get classic watch technology in an earth-friendly solar package. Because Quartz movement draws power from built-in solar cells, not kinetic movement or batteries, the whole thing is more sustainable, making it easier for you to use and easier on the planet. What’s more is that once the charge is fully topped off, the power lasts you about 12 months, so you won’t need to worry about the solar power failing on you very often.

But it isn’t just a novelty. Any watch aficionado will tell you that a Seiko mechanical watch is the beginner’s mechanical watch that will earn you cred with the six-figure watch lovers of the world. The SUP250 is the classic Tanko example that sports an 18mm gold-tone stainless steel case, a Cabochon crown, and a durable leather strap. It’s also water resistant up to 30m, which wouldn’t put it into a “Diver” category, but is certainly plenty for the average daily wearer. So, while this isn’t the marquis Seiko watch, it’s certainly a great entry point, and you won’t ever need to worry about replacing the battery.

What We Like
  • Made from biodegradable plant waste

  • 12-foot drop protection

  • Supports wireless charging

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive than standard phone cases

  • Soft texture is prone to scuffs and wear

With so many tech manufacturers looking to move to greener factory initiatives, especially in a complicated category like smartphones, it makes sense that brands would aim to bring you smartphone cases that minimize waste. While the category normally opts for plastics, TPU, or even kevlar, Pela is coming into the mix with phone cases made entirely of a material they’re calling “flaxstic’. The founder of Pela has made it a goal since he was young to use flax straw (and the waste byproduct from farming and burning it) to create useful products. That’s what Pela uses for their phone cases. This actually yields a flexible-but-durable case, too, meaning your phone will be safe from a tested 12-foot drop height. What’s more is that the cases actually feel really nice, featuring a soft texture that has a bit of give to it.

Once the case has lived out its life—either because it’s dirty or you got a new phone—the material won’t stay in a landfill for decades because it’s biodegradable. You can pick up the Pela case for most modern phones and it even supports wireless charging. There are also a variety of textures and designs to choose from (we’re loving the seafoam turtle look). As far as earth-friendly phone cases go, this is the real deal.

Best Wireless Charger: Nimble Wireless Convertible Stand

Nimble Wireless Convertible Stand
What We Like
  • Standup and lay-flat versatility

  • Plenty of charging wattage

  • Extra USB-A charging output

  • Recycled, eco-friendly materials

What We Don't Like
  • The woven material can get a little dusty and dirty

  • Kickstand and phone holder are hit-or-miss

As more and more green consciousness has permeated the tech space, more and more brands have entered the fray offering environmentally friendly versions of tech we already use. Nimble is a company that focuses on recycled plastic cases and chargers. The wireless charging stand is kind of a Swiss Army Knife for your bedside charging table. As a wireless charger, it puts out a max of 10W of power and is compatible with most modern wireless-enabled devices including iPhons, Androids, and even AirPods Pro.

What’s extra cool about this stand is that the ledge components fold into themselves, allowing the charger to lay flat as a wireless pad, as well. This hybrid functionality makes it great for a lot of applications, and thanks to the secondary USB-A output, you can charge an accompanying device as well. The device has a nice, woven covering that is actually made of recycled plastic and eco-friendly textiles. The downside here is that the fabric can get just a bit dingy with dust and day-to-day scuffs. The kickstand is also a little weak for really heavy phones, so bear that in mind if you want to primarily use the stand functionality. Finally, Nimble includes a tech recycling bag in all of their orders, allowing you to send back your unused devices to be properly recycled—further adding to the brand’s eco-friendly ethos.

Final Verdict

In the tech sphere, eco-friendly products haven’t been the norm, a fact that is changing more and more. But we think the most value can be gained by going with a product like the Dyson Task Light because it provides value for both workdays and bedtime. If you want a lower-priced product, going with either the Pela case or the Nimble wireless charger stand means that you can take a small step toward making your day-to-day lifestyle greener. Either way, there’s no wrong answer. There are tons of green versions of your favorite tech products, and choosing one from this list will help bring an eco-conscious mindset to your life.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jason Schneider is a writer, editor, copywriter, and musician with almost ten years' experience writing for tech and media companies. In addition to covering tech for Lifewire, Jason is a current and past contributor for Thrillist, Greatist, and more.

FAQ

What makes a tech product green? 

There are a few ways that tech brands try to make their products more eco-friendly. Many companies choose to manufacture devices with recycled materials, while others choose to focus on energy efficiency. It’s also important to keep in mind companies that are aiming to reduce the packaging in their products.


What kinds of recycled plastics are used in green gadgets?

The most common type of recycled plastic you’ll find in tech products is called Post Consumer Resin. Often abbreviated PCR, this type of material is a composite of a variety of recycled items and is easy to manufacture.


What does Energy Star Certification mean?

This certification is given to products, appliances, and even some buildings. This independent organization has rigorous requirements that are assessed based on EPA standards and the designation indicates that a product runs efficiently and within these guidelines.

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