The 13 Best Gifts to Buy for Teenagers in 2018

These are the best presents of the year for teenagers

Snowman selfie.
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Teens have their own own unique sense of style with fickle tastes that can change as quickly as their mood. They know what’s trending and what’s definitely not, which, when you try to buy a gift for them, can make you feel a little well, not so hip. If you have a teenager on your gift buying list, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. We found some cool gifts that even the trendiest teen will dig. Things like a waterproof speaker for those one-hour-shower singalongs, a reimagined cult-favorite camera, something for the creative doodler, and some fast-paced high-action group games they can play with friends or — oh, the horrors — family.

Skip the gift card this year and give the teens in your life something that lets them express their creative side, explore a new hobby, or challenges their wits.

  • 01 of 13

    Best Retro: Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

    Yes, we know that Polaroid photos are so retro, but that’s exactly what makes them so darned chic! And now there’s a new take on the once-famous bulky Polaroid camera. Fujifilm has reinvented this iconic camera in their fun-sized Instax Mini camera. The Instax spits out mini

    2” x 3” instant photos and is available in a variety of bubble gum colors, making the Instax, well, quite frankly one of the cutest cameras we’ve ever seen. The new design combined with instant photo gratification makes this the perfect pick for selfie-loving, memory-capturing, hip teens.

    While this camera may be crazy cute, it does come with some legit features for improved photo quality. Budding memory makers can adjust the dial on the camera to compensate for different lighting conditions. With f-stop control that varies from 12.7 to 32, photographers can capture images indoors, outdoors, in the shade, in full sun, and even at night. A close-up attachment lets teens take artsy images as close as 35 cm away with perfect clarity. A small mirror on the front of the camera will help teens frame up the perfect selfie. There’s even a mode that will  soften images—perfect for portraits. The Instax camera is available in cobalt blue, flamingo pink, ice blue, smokey white, and lime green. Film is not included so make sure you pair this gift with a pack for a gift that’s point-and-shoot ready right out of the box.

  • 02 of 13

    Best Active: Spikeball 3 Ball Game Set

    This “as seen on Shark Tank” game is quickly sweeping the nation as the must-have game for outdoor fun. Teens love playing this athletic, fast-paced game that’s a cross between volleyball, tennis, and basketball. The Spikeball set is lightweight and portable, making it ideal for teens to take wherever they will gather with friends. This set comes with three soft balls, a net with collapsible legs, a drawstring bag for easy on-the-go storage and an instruction book. As an added bonus, teens can connect for free to the Spikeball community for tutorials or they can download the app so they can find pickup games for anytime fun. 

  • 03 of 13

    Best for Music Lovers: Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones

    Of course the teen in your life likes to zone out listening to their favorite tunes. Why not gift them a new pair of headphones that come in seven different colors to rock out to. These bestsellers have 15,000 reviews and reviewers all rave about the affordable price and great quality. While these might not be the top of the line headphones, they serve a purpose and look good while doing it.

    Parents can rest assured that these are not noise-canceling so you can still yell at them to do their chores. These can play music for up to 20 hours so they won't need to charge them all the time. They can also use these to make and answer calls, and since they have Bluetooth capability they are wireless. 

  • 04 of 13

    Best for the Outdoorsy: A2S Paracord Bracelet K2-Peak

    They can flex their outdoorsy nature with these hip paracord bracelets by A2S Protection. These bracelets began trending with teens a few years ago and have continued to grow in popularity. These have 12 feet of paracord that can hold up to 550 lbs of weight. It also has a high-quality compass, flint fire starter, fire scrapper, emergency knife and emergency whistle. It comes in a pack of two in a ton of colors so gift them one or split it up amongst siblings. They'll enjoy all the cool features while you feel like you provided them with some survival gear. 

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  • 05 of 13

    Best Tech: Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker

    While headphones are great because the whole family doesn't need to listen to their music of choice, smart speakers are another smart pick because they can do more than just listen to music. Perhaps they've lost phone privileges and they need an alarm to wake up for school, or maybe they want to ask Alexa what the weather will be, or who was the 32nd President. Whatever the need—these Sonos Speakers are really cool and will be sure to be a treasured gift. 

    They can also be paired with other speakers in the house so mom and dad can blast a tune to help them get up in the morning or they can run on their own playlist. The sound quality is superior on these small speakers and they will last through college and beyond. 

  • 06 of 13

    Best Action: flybold Slackline Kit

    If your teen is into outdoor activities (or you want them to be), slacklines are all the rage with the younger set. These kits can be set up in the backyard where your kid can master the art of balance as they try to walk across the slackline. Think of tight roping but with a wider base to walk on. 

    This kit will give your teen everything they need to get from Point A to Point B while also getting in some fitness and meditation. Reviewers remark this is a great gift for the whole family (even young kids) but many mention to read the instructions so you properly install it. 

  • 07 of 13

    Best Style: 'Kånken' Water Resistant Backpack


    Courtesy of Nordstrom

    Teens are wild for these Scandinavian backpacks that come in an array of colors and styles. If you are buying a gift for a teen you don't see often you should feel confident with this purchase. And parents, this backpack will be a welcome addition to their school time routine.

    The Kanken is water resistant so their homework will stay dry through rain and snow. It comes in 31 colors so there really is an option for everyone. Reviewers love the size of these bags saying they aren't too big or too small to carry everything they need. 

  • 08 of 13

    Best Practical: AgentWhiteUSA Cell Phone Wallet

    As your teen grows they need to be responsible for more and more stuff, like a license, student ID, debit cards, and more. A cell phone wallet is an easy way for them to keep their essentials close by because these days a wallet is just too cumbersome for the younger generation.

    These cell phone wallets make a great stocking stuffer and might be a smart buy for each family member. They hold up to five cards and are sold in a pack for three so you have a few to gift out or use yourself. 

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  • 09 of 13

    Best Splurge: CINEMOOD Portable Cinema Projector

    This is a gift the whole family will enjoy. This portable cinema projector will let your teen (and you!) enjoy Netflix and more content in its 3" size that can project a screen up to 12' in a 1080p resolution with no need to plug it in. This projector is great for traveling, camping, sleepover, or for really anywhere. 

    This comes with content already downloaded on it, but you can add your favorites so you are always able to watch what you need in a large format. The biggest con about this is you'll all be fighting over who gets to pick what to watch! 

  • 10 of 13

    Best Creative: 642 Things to Draw: Journal

     Teens draw and doodle on just about everything — their arms, their pants, their shoes, and anything else they can get their hands on. So why not give them a creative outlet for their self-expression? The 642 Things to Draw drawing journal is filled with 304 pages of ideas for your artistic teen. It’s got everything from the ridiculously simple — like a cupcake — to things that will take a bit more artistic know-how — like the northern lights. Packed with plenty of blank space for teens to stretch their artistic legs and 642 drawing prompts, this journal is the perfect home for anything and everything from doodles to masterpieces. 

  • 11 of 13

    Best for Gamers: X Rocker Video Gaming Chair

    Let’s be honest, their video gaming habit is real. So something to support their hobby will be especially appreciated. This top-ranked gaming chair allows them to immerse themselves in their console. With two forward-facing speakers, a powerful subwoofer, and an audio side control panel, they can actually feel the game as they play. Additionally, the chair design has a fully supportive back and foldable disposition to keep them comfy during all their hours of activity.

  • 12 of 13

    Best for Social Media Lovers: Gray Felt Letter Board

    These letter boards are all over social media these days, boasting inspirational phrases, funny quotes, or just random facts. The teen in your life will get pleasure out of expressing themselves (and not just via text) with these letter boards that come in 11 colors and have over 300 letters so they can get whatever they need out. 

    Older teens might enjoy taking these off to college, whereas younger ones can use it on their door to warn younger siblings from entering. Whatever their use, teens can get super creative with these. 

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  • 13 of 13

    Best Game: Pandemic Board Game

    Courtesy of Target

    In a world filled with apocalyptic video games, TV shows, books and movies, why not try a board game? Pandemic is a fast-paced, intense game that is built on the foundations of the hero's journey to save the world. In Pandemic, teens join together with their friends to role-play as doctors, scientists, dispatchers, researchers and operations experts to solve the pandemic that is threatening to wipe out the human race. Teams work together in a race against the game to stem the tide of infection and cure the plague. Pandemic is an excellent game to foster teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. Teens will love the fast-paced sense of urgency built into each of the game's many challenges and the strategic play required to overcome them and save the world.