Eletiofe26 Gifts Teens May Actually Like

26 Gifts Teens May Actually Like

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For the Builders

Lego Icons Succulents Building Kit

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For the Skin-Care (or Beverage) Enthusiast

Cooluli Mini Fridge

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For the Friendly

Quefe Friendship Bracelet Making Kit

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For the Board Gamers

We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game

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Teenagers are intimidating. They speak their own language, blurt out confusing jokes, and somehow have always already seen the TikToks you send them. It can be hard to keep up with the absolute coolest kids around, and that’s especially true when it comes to holiday gift-giving. For the past few years, we’ve informally polled some of the terrifying supercool teens in our lives to find out what presents they really want. These ideas are not one-size-fits-all, but they might help you get inspired and reach the ultimate goal: giving a gift the teen in your life actually likes.

Be sure to check out our many other gift guides, including the Best Viral TikTok Gadgets, 25 Amazing Gifts Under $25, and Gifts for Coffee Lovers.

Updated November 2023: We added Lego kits, a skin-care fridge, friendship bracelets, the Apple Watch Series 9, the Google Pixel Watch 2, and the Asus Zenbook 14 and removed older picks. We also checked links and pricing.

  • Photograph: LEGO

    For the Builders

    Lego Icons Succulents Building Kit

    Completing Lego sets is therapeutic and fun! There are about a gazillion Lego kits available, so we’ve linked to a bestselling and popular kit that results in a planter full of succulents comprised of bricks. There are so many other sets available that we’re nearly certain you can find one for your teen. If you’re lucky, they might even ask you to help them complete it. Bonding time!

  • Photograph: Cooluli

    For the Skin-Care (or Beverage) Enthusiast

    Cooluli Mini Fridge

    We haven’t tested this mini fridge, but it has solid reviews on Amazon. Teens can use it for beverages—there’s enough room for six cans—but many users store their skin-care products inside. There isn’t really a benefit or a drawback to storing most skin-care products in the fridge, so it all comes down to personal preference. But if your teen is really into sheet masks or chugging seltzer water during gaming sessions, this mini fridge might be very much appreciated. It’s small enough to fit easily on a desk or a nightstand, and it’s available in a few colors.

  • Photograph: Quefe

    For the Friendly

    Quefe Friendship Bracelet Making Kit

    Swifties (aka Taylor Swift fans) started making friendship bracelets to trade during the Eras Tour this year, and they’ve exploded in popularity as a result, spanning fandoms far and wide. (As an EDM enthusiast, I’ve always called them “kandi,” but that’s a story for a different guide.) You can never have too many vowel beads, and the type of elastic you use can make a big difference in the longevity of your bracelets.

    Pro tip: Use Stretch Magic string! I’ve linked to the kit that I purchased most recently, but there are tons of other options on Amazon. If the teen in your life is into making bracelets, this is a gift that will keep on giving.

  • Photograph: We’re Not Really Strangers

    For the Board Gamers

    We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game

    This card game has remained popular for several years. It can be played with friends, family members, and significant others. It asks poignant questions that’ll let teens deepen their relationships with their loved ones—and possibly themselves. It’d make a good gift for any kid with a social circle, but it might be especially appreciated by young adults moving out for the first time. There’s no better way to break the ice with a new roommate than to play a round or two of We’re Not Really Strangers.

  • Photograph: Gravity

    For the Insomniacs

    Basics by Gravity Blanket

    Being a teenager is hard. Aside from being trendy, weighted blankets can feel like a big ol’ hug, helping to ease stressed-out feelings. Gravity makes the best upscale, budget, weighted blankets, though we have plenty of recommendations (and advice on which weight to buy) in our Best Weighted Blankets guide.

  • Photograph: Victrola

    For the Vinyl Collector

    Victrola Re-Spin Bluetooth Suitcase Record Player

    Vinyl records have been steadily skyrocketing in popularity, and for good reason. In the era of streaming, it’s easy to feel a disconnect with music, and it can be difficult to find new artists. Physical records let you play a whole album front to back, and there’s a tactility that makes you appreciate the art more.

    Victrola’s new Re-Spin is an affordable way to bring the teen in your life in on the vinyl fun. This suitcase record player is lightweight and easy to tote around from room to room (or to a friend’s house), and the removable cover can convert into a stand for record covers. It has a built-in speaker that sounds pretty decent and can fill up a room. If they’ve gone through all their records, there’s a switch to turn the whole thing into a Bluetooth speaker to keep the party going via a connected smartphone. It’s made of 25 percent recycled plastic.

  • Photograph: Govee

    For the Room Decorator

    Govee Glide Wall Lights

    These are some of our favorite smart ambient lights. From TikTok videos to gaming setups, they look good in any background. You can also place them on a bedroom wall or behind a TV for lighting that’s easier on the eyes. The colors are customizable via an app, so your teen can set the mood with a rainbow of hues, as well as multiple white shades. The app also includes preset scenes, scheduling options, and voice control.

    Added bonus: LED lights are cheaper to run than incandescent bulbs. Check out more recommendations in our Best Smart Lighting guide. We also have a dedicated guide to help you decide which Govee smart lights you should buy.

  • Photograph: Joseph Shin

    For the Music Addict

    1More ColorBuds

    1More has made some of our favorite affordable wireless earbuds for many years. The ColorBuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are bright, fun, water-resistant, and have a teen-friendly design, but more importantly, they sound fantastic. (Get some for yourself too!) They’re much more affordable than headphones from other brands that don’t sound as good or feel as comfy.

    If your teen just wants AirPods, and nothing else will do, go for the great but pricey second-generation AirPods Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends). For additional recommendations, read our Best Wireless Headphones guide.

  • Photograph: Apple

    A New Slate

    Apple iPad (2021, 9th Gen)

    An iPad is seemingly superfluous—until teens start using it to watch shows, do homework, or hop on Zoom meetings. They’re actually quite handy to have around. Apple’s 9th-generation model (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is older now, but we still think it’s the best choice for most people. It has a spate of useful features and specs, like compatibility with the best accessories and a solid (though awkwardly placed) front-facing camera. You could spring for the upgrade on the 10th-gen model, but you don’t need to.

    Check our Best iPad and Best Tablets guides for more options. Don’t forget to read our Best iPad Accessories guide to trick out their slate with keyboard covers and stands.

  • Photograph: Nintendo

    For the Gamer

    Nintendo Switch Lite

    The more portable and lightweight Switch Lite (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is a great gadget for teen gamers, especially if they’d rather not be tethered in front of a TV to play Stardew Valley.

    If they do want to play on a big screen, then you’ll want to get them a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch OLED. This comparison can help you decide between the three. We recommend you buy a game or two as well. Nintendo’s eShop has a ton of titles, but you can peruse our Best Switch Games guide for some ideas.

  • Photograph: Belkin

    For Apple Stans

    Belkin 3-in-1 Wireless Charger With MagSafe

    Does your teen already own an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods? If their nightstand is cluttered with various chargers for all three devices, get them this Belkin treelike 3-in-1 wireless charging station. It will only work with MagSafe iPhones—any iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, or iPhone 15—which will stick to the circular pad and recharge the device at the fastest speeds available (15 watts). The Apple Watch will attach magnetically to its puck, and they can plop the AirPods or AirPods Pro at the base to top ’em up. (Just make sure their AirPods have a wireless charging case.) Belkin also sells a pad version that doesn’t take up as much vertical room.

  • Photograph: Case-Mate

    For the Accident-Prone

    Case-Mate Blox MagSafe Case

    iPhones have a distinct shape—this case changes it. The Case-Mate Blox case squares up the iPhone and adds a flashy color to the mix. It’s well built and has clicky buttons and MagSafe support. It’s also available for a variety of iPhone models. If you’re on the hunt for more fun cases to get your favorite teen, Casetify and Sonix have a dizzying number of fun designs.

  • Photograph: Slimfold

    For the Almost-Adult

    SlimFold Micro Soft Shell Thin Wallet

    Like a good set of sheets or your first tools, a wallet is a gift that you only get excited about when you’re almost an adult. SlimFold makes great gear. My partner has used this wallet daily for over eight years, and it’s still going strong. It has just enough room for cash and cards, preventing it from becoming bulky or obtrusive (or leaving a wear mark on pants pockets). The material is durable, stretchy, and flexible, and even when stuffed full the wallet remains lightweight. If your teen is preparing to fly the coop, this is a gift they’ll use almost every day.

    Note that there’s an RFID-blocking option for an extra $5, which you should avoid for two reasons. The first is that I don’t love SlimFold’s RFID blockers, which are basically removable cards that cause a nuisance when you’re trying to store bills or credit cards. The second is that RFID-based crimes related to skimming credit cards are nearly nonexistent. Skip it and save your money.

  • Photograph: Bubble

    For Skin-Care Savants

    Bubble Full Skincare Set

    Maybe your teen is already into skin-care and stealing copious amounts of your expensive under-eye cream, despite the fact that they don’t even have dark circles yet. Bubble is a gender-neutral teen-friendly company that makes products specifically designed for adolescent skin concerns, like acne and sweating. The ingredients are simple, but there are Bubble products for every step of a skin-care routine (except for SPF). All of them are cruelty-free, vegan, fragrance-free, and gentle enough for sensitive skin.

    This set includes the full lineup, but there are other kits available in smaller sizes and combinations. Bubble also has a fantastic resource called Skin School that will teach teens about things like skin-care myths, skin types, and how to safely add products into a routine. Hopefully, it’ll help save your teen from the long-term consequences of using harsh cleansers or aggressively popping zits.

  • Photograph: Backbone

    For the Mobile Gamer

    Backbone One

    Phone games are getting bigger and better every year. This controller works with compatible apps to essentially morph a smartphone into a mini gaming console. We’ve tested the iPhone model with the Lightning connector (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but there’s also a version for USB-C iPhones and Android phones. Both include robust social features that make it easy to play with others, record clips, and play console games.

    If your teen giftee is always playing one mobile game or another, they’ll probably love this gizmo. We have other options in our Best Mobile Gaming Controllers guide.

  • Photograph: Apple

    For the Screen Scrollers

    Apple Watch Series 9

    A smartwatch can help your giftee leave their phone in their pocket more often and only take it out when they deem a notification to be important. These wearable gadgets can also track health and fitness features, control smart-home devices, and can even detect if they’ve taken a hard fall (and contact emergency services). Plus, smartwatches are just plain cool.

    If they have an iPhone, gift them the Apple Watch Series 9 (7/10, WIRED Recommends). It has tons of great features, like the aforementioned fall detection and mental health tracking, plus plenty more—read our Best Apple Watch guide for help deciding on a model.

    Alternative: Are they proud Android phone owner? Go with the Google Pixel Watch 2 for $300 (7/10, WIRED Recommends). It is supremely comfortable and has a similar suite of fitness features. Our guide to the Best Smartwatches has additional recommendations.

  • Photograph: Asus

    For the Aspiring Valedictorian

    Asus Zenbook 14 (2023)

    This is our favorite cheap laptop. The OLED dispay is great, the battery life is great, and the laptop’s overall performance is great—especially for the price. The battery life is solid too. If your teen is interested in gaming (and you want them to game on it), you’ll want to bump up the specs or go with another model, but when it comes to doing homework and falling down YouTube rabbit holes, this Zenbook is hard to beat.

    Looking for a MacBook, a Chromebook, or a different Windows machine? We’ve got more recommendations in our Laptops Buying Guide.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    For the Book Enthusiast

    Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021, 11th Generation)

    A Kindle might make a fab gift for bookish teens. This model is our favorite. If they’re always hauling around a dozen paperbacks, this Kindle Paperwhite will lighten the load—it can hold literally thousands of electronic books. The battery lasts for weeks, too. Consider gifting a Kindle Unlimited membership to ensure they can download their favorite titles without spending their hard-earned allowance.

  • Photograph: Teddy Fresh

    For the Stylish

    Teddy Fresh Color Block Hoodie 2.0

    Teddy Fresh is a trendy streetwear brand that makes some of our favorite hoodies, and the Color Block is especially great. It has two dedicated welt pockets at the front and is made of 100 percent cotton. It’s comfy, warm, and looks cute! The sizing is unisex. You can also take a look at other designs from the brand, all of which are delightfully colorful. 

  • Photograph: Ultimate Ears

    For the Songbird

    Ultimate Ears Boom 3

    The methods of delivery may have changed over the course of a few generations, but teens still need a way to blare music. Maybe it’s the perfect shower soundtrack, or maybe they just got into Pink Floyd and need everyone in the household to know. Whatever the case, a speaker will make a great gift (and save you from the pain of dealing with phone-speaker-quality angst).

    The Boom 3 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) has topped our Best Bluetooth Speakers guide for years. The cool factor is visible at first glance, thanks to the array of color options, but the impressive sound, waterproofing, and long battery life add intangible benefits you won’t find in other speakers. 

  • Photograph: Starface

    For Breakouts

    Starface Hydro-Stars

    Starface’s hydrocolloid blemish bandages are undeniably cute. The unisex star shapes help normalize acne—if you treat pimples as an excuse to decorate your face, they’re less likely to damage your self-esteem—and refills are inexpensive. The packaging is portable and adorable. It’s easy to stash the case inside a purse or backpack, and a built-in magnet keeps the compact closed.

    Hydrocolloid patches work to absorb fluid, which helps deflate zits and reduces both redness and irritation. They also act as a physical barrier to shield the skin from external bacteria (and picking). They’re compatible with all skin types. Just stick a star on top of a blemish, wear it for a few hours, and remove it to reveal flatter, calmer skin.

  • Photograph: Crocs

    For the Trendsetters

    Crocs Jibbitz Charms

    In case you haven’t heard, Crocs are (still) Gen-Z approved. These aren’t the shoes but rather Jibbitz charms—little doodads they can attach to the clogs for self-expression in the form of characters, memes, and symbols. Starting at $5, they’re pretty budget-friendly. There are hundreds of options available, so if you’re unsure, a multipack (or gift card) can help ensure the custom charms are aligned with whatever else is Gen-Z approved. If the teen in question doesn’t have a pair of Crocs, the Classic Clogs ($50) are a safe bet.

  • Photograph: Herschel 

    For the Hauling Hypebeast

    Herschel Supply Little America 17L Backpack

    Herschel backpacks meet at the sweet spot between what’s trendy and what’s good. Our reviewers really like this backpack, and so do teens. It’s lightweight, has a streetwear-friendly aesthetic, and has lots of room for books, snacks, shoes, gadgets, and whatever else your teen is schlepping around. Plenty of style options ensure you’ll be able to find the right look for your gift recipient, though the price might fluctuate based on what you choose. If this one isn’t the best fit, these backpacks might do the trick.

  • Photograph: Amazon

    For the Athlete

    Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Wide-Mouth Water Bottle

    Hydro Flasks combine a couple of the biggest trends in teendom: sustainability and sticker-driven customization. Hydro Flasks are to Gen Z what Nalgene bottles were to the teens of the early aughts. They come in a plethora of colors and capacities, and aside from being a status symbol, they’ll also encourage the lucky recipient to stay hydrated throughout the day. Disposable water bottles are not in style and haven’t been for some time.

    Half of the cool factor when it comes to Hydro Flasks is the stickers. Pick out a coordinating pack for your giftee and you’ll officially be their favorite relative. Probably. Other trendy water bottles that we love include the Owala FreeSip and the half-gallon Hydro Jug Pro.

  • Photograph: Nimble

    For the Forgetful

    Nimble Champ

    The last thing anyone wants is a teenager stranded with a flat tire and a dead phone—or conveniently MIA at a friend’s house because their “phone died.” We recommend this compact portable charger. Despite the small physical footprint, it has enough juice to keep phones, tablets, and other gadgets topped off. It’s also made with more environmentally friendly materials than others we’ve tried. Pair the charger with the company’s eco-friendly charging cables for a gift that’ll be used basically every day. 

  • Photograph: Amazon

    For the Teen Who Has Everything

    Amazon Gift Card

    Are gift cards tacky when shopping for your boss? Probably. When it comes to teens, though, an Amazon gift card offers immunity. You might be admitting that you’re not the most thoughtful gift-giver, but it’s better to give a gift card and cede the battle than give a cringeworthy T-shirt and lose the war.

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