The 16 Best College Graduation Gifts of 2020

Say congratulations with a personal or useful present

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.

Our Top Picks

Best Splurge: Apple Watch Series 5 at Amazon

"The multitude of functions, fitness tracking data, and customized design make this Apple watch worth the price."

Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Plus at Amazon

"The versatility and ease of use for cooks of all levels makes the Instant Pot Duo a top-rated appliance."

Best Coffee Maker: Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine at Amazon

"The Nespresso isn’t the cheapest, but when you factor in the amount of use it will get and how much money you can save by brewing at home? It’s worth it."

Best for the Creative: Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera at Amazon

"Snapping pics and creating content is easy to do with this lightweight DSLR that was made for the person on the go."

Best Earbuds: Boltone Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds at Amazon

"The Boltone wireless earbuds prove you don’t have to spend a ton of money for quality sound with hours of playtime."

Best Wallet: Bosca ID Passcase Wallet at Nordstrom

"When it’s finally time to purchase a quality, adult wallet, try this option from Bosca."

Best for the Fashionista: Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Credit Card Case at Nordstrom

"Besides being a chic alternative to a larger wallet, this pebbled leather card case is built to last and a perfect companion for any handbag."

Best for Travel: Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag at Amazon

"The Herschel duffle bag is an ideal travel companion for any long weekend and the handy compartments keep clothes and shoes contained."

Best Book: Am I Overthinking This? at Amazon

"The hilarious book of illustrations is great for anyone, but especially young adults entering a world of uncertainty."

Best Gift Card: Task Rabbit at taskrabbit.com

"A TaskRabbit gift card doesn’t just show them you care, but also saves the recipient tons of time and stress."

Graduating from college is no small feat. There are the endless nights of studying, sacrificing a social life, and increasingly expensive tuition. Whether it's an electronic, useful gift card, or a book to help them navigate their new career, the graduate in your life is absolutely deserving of the best of the best.

If you want to show your college graduate you're proud of their achievement, start with these gifts.

Best Splurge: Apple Watch Series 5

At this point, their college laptop will likely still suit them for a few more years, but the Apple Watch Series 5 will help your grad take their organization and health to the next level. This smartwatch is a great way to help them schedule meetings, reply to emails and (most importantly) remember to call Mom. The Series 5 has an easier to read screen and an always-on display.

Parents, you’ll also appreciate that this model features a noise alert so the user knows when they’re in a surrounding that might be harmful to their hearing. While this watch might be at the higher end of your budget, the high-tech features and modern look make this gift a keeper.

Best Overall: Instant Pot Duo Plus

Excellent

By now, every household has an Instant Pot—or at least they should. This kitchen appliance gets a lot of hype, but it’s seriously worth the praise. Those new to cooking will appreciate how easy it is to use thanks to the self explanatory buttons and overheating protection. Even the pros in the kitchen can appreciate the versatility. The 6-quart design of the Instant Pot Duo Plus makes it great for a small family or a single person who wants to whip up a meal that will provide tons of leftovers.

Best Coffee Maker: Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine

It's a common financial warning, but a good one: Daily coffee purchases can add up. Help your college graduate curb some of those expenses with the gift that keeps on giving, the Nespresso Vertuo. Within 15 seconds, the coffee maker whips up a fresh cup of joe. But this isn’t just any coffee maker. Besides having a stylish finish, it also brews up espresso and comes with a milk frother to cap off a cup of cappuccino or a latte. This machine is from a quality brand, so you know your recipient will have it for years to come.

Best for the Creative: Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera

There's nothing more important to a recent grad than capturing those perfect moments with friends while traveling or creating content for a new business. The Nikon D3400 takes crisp, clean photos thanks to the EXPEED 4 image processing engine and an ISO range of 100-25,600. Portrait shots will appear lifelike with perfectly blurred backgrounds, and low-light shooting is impressive—to say the least. This camera is lightweight and compact (it weighs under a pound) so it will easily fit in a travel bag or backpack. Most importantly, the built-in SnapBridge Bluetooth Connectivity allows for easy sharing on social media platforms.

Best Earbuds: Boltone Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds

Depending on who you ask, they’ll tell you wireless earbuds are way overpriced. However, if you want to gift someone a pair of wireless earbuds that don’t cost a few hundred dollars and still provides quality sound, Boltone has an option. The Bluetooth-enabled earbuds connect to a device in seconds and have a range of up to 50 feet. They have up to 6 hours of playtime on a single charge, making these earbuds great for travel, working out, or the daily commute.

Best Wallet: Bosca ID Passcase Wallet

ID Passcase Wallet
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Now that your graduate is trading the classroom for the meeting room, it’s time to invest in an adult wallet. A beautiful leather wallet will last your friend or family member for years to come, and it’s always a great choice for a graduation gift.

The Bosca ID Passcase Wallet is a sleek, gorgeous accessory perfect for anyone preparing to navigate the real world. It comes in amber, black, cognac, or brown, and is made from real leather. It has eight credit card pockets and a removable ID case (so no more fumbling to get a driver’s license out).

Best for the Fashionista: Saint Laurent Quilted Leather Credit Card Case

Give your recent college graduate a chic, timeless gift that can update her style in a simple way. Not only will she love this Saint Laurent case, it will be in her accessories arsenal for years to come. The credit card case, made of pebbled leather, has four card slots and an interior pocket. This will come in handy for storing the go-to credit or debit cards and ID, especially on days when a smaller handbag can’t accommodate a large wallet.

Best for Travel: Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag

If your college grad is setting off on a new adventure, a travel bag is a practical gift that won’t go unused. Get them excited for upcoming adventures with a new Herschel Supply Co. Novel Duffle Bag. It’s available in endless colors and designs and it's the perfect accessory for a road trip or flight. It measures 15.5 inches high and 20.5 inches wide, and includes a shoulder strap as well as a handle. Plus, the shoe compartment that divides clean clothes from dirty shoes is a great functional element

Best Book: Am I Overthinking This?

The end of college can mean entering into a world of uncertainty and doubt. Help your grad answer a few questions and laugh a bit with Am I Overthinking This?: Over-answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts. The book features funny answers and illustrations to questions like, “do I have too many plants?” and “how do I achieve a work life balance?” Of course there’s no one size fits all answer, but the book is meant to be lighthearted and something any young adult can identify with.

Best Gift Card: Task Rabbit

Task Rabbit gift card

Task Rabbit 

Moving into a new home can come with a laundry list of tasks that need to be done. This is especially true if your graduate has moved to a city where he or she doesn’t know anyone. This is where a Task Rabbit gift card can save the day. Whether your grad needs help assembling furniture, creating a gallery wall, or mounting a television, there are Taskers who can help with that. Just be sure to double check that TaskRabbit is available in the recipient’s location.

Best Sentimental: HereToImpress Lucky Penny Keychain

Sometimes it’s the small gifts that count and hold long lasting memories. This keychain from HereToImpress offers a new way to gift a lucky penny. The coin features a graduation cap on Abe Lincoln and can be personalized with your graduate’s year of commencement and the initials of his or her school. This hand-stamped keychain is truly a one of a kind gift that works for any budget.

Best Luggage: Samsonite Voltage DLX Spinner

A sturdy suitcase needs to be in everyone’s closet, because sometimes a weekender just doesn’t provide enough space. There’s a chance your recent college graduate doesn’t have luggage that’s actually quality material. Give the gift of a 29-inch spinner from Samsonite. The brand has a decade long global warranty and this checked bag combines function, durability, and style. In addition to the interior which makes organizing a breeze, the 3-D design on the outside makes this bag stand out from every other suitcase on the carousel.

Best Unique Home Item: Sharper Image Light Up Electronic Word Clock

A clock isn’t necessarily at the top of every young person’s list of home items, but when it looks this cool, who can resist? Sharper Image’s Light Up clock doesn’t display numbers, but letters map out the time in five minute intervals. On first sight it probably looks like a puzzle, but when plugged in, the letters light up to show the time, like five minutes past four or fifteen minutes to six.

Best Desk: Novogratz Computer Desk with Storage

Buying a large couch or bed set might not be in your budget, but if you still want to gift a new apartment dweller with a home item, opt for this Novogratz desk. It’s a top-rated item and clocks in at a reasonable price. The faux marble top and gold hairpin legs have a luxe for less look that’s not just a statement piece but a functional item for the person who works from home or is building a business.

Best Candle: Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Deluxe Candle

Jo Malone pomegranate deluxe candle

Courtesy of Jo Malone

Before you scoff at a $200 candle, remind yourself college graduation is a major milestone and the beauty-loving grad in your life will salivate over anything Jo Malone. The brand is known for its scented bath, beauty, and home products. This deluxe candle has notes of pomegranate and casablanca lily. Unlike cheaper brands that burn out quickly, this one has a burn time of up to 90 hours, and it smells divine even when it’s not lit.

Best Eco-Friendly: Unpaper Towels

Zero Waste Store unpaper towels

Courtesy of Zero Waste Store 

Most people are on a quest to be a bit more sustainable and tons of waste comes from using and disposing of single use paper towels. However, these “unpaper” towels from Zero Waste Store are 100 percent cotton flannel and suitable for everyday uses like cleaning or drying hands. They’re available in a pack of six or 12 and the towels actually become even more absorbent with each wash.

Our Process

Our writers spent 15 hours researching and testing the most popular college graduation gifts on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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