Our Top Picks
Best Splurge: Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector at Amazon
"Boasting an array of cutting-edge features and incredible clarity, this mini-projector is powerful enough to replace a home theater system."
Best for Music Lovers: Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon
"These headphones can play music for up to 20 hours so they won't need to charge them all the time."
Best Action: flybold Slackline Kit at Amazon
"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."
Best Backpack: Fjallraven Padded Laptop Backpack at Amazon
"The Kanken backpacks were ergonomically designed to help kids balance their loads of textbooks."
Best Skateboard: Retrospec Zed Bamboo Skateboard at Amazon
"There are more than 15 different colorful styles to choose from, and the 70 mm shock-absorbing wheels guarantee a smooth ride."
Best Room Decor: Sketched Medallion Tapestry at Urban Outfitters
"Opt to hang this elegant floral tapestry, which comes in two different folk-inspired patterns, on the wall, or use it as a bedcover."
Best Water Bottle: Hydro Flask 32 oz Bottle at Amazon
"Thanks to this BPA-free bottle's double insulation, hot drinks stay hot for 12 hours and cold for up to 24 hours."
Best Active: Spikeball 3 Ball Game Set at Amazon
"Teens love playing this athletic, fast-paced game that’s a cross between volleyball, tennis, and basketball."
Best Creative: 642 Things to Draw Journal at Amazon
"The 642 Things to Draw drawing journal is filled with 304 pages of ideas for your artistic teen."
Best Instrument: Ranch Professional Wooden Ukulele at Amazon
"This affordable wooden ukulele is praised by musicians as having the same rich tones as some of its pricier counterparts."
01 of 18
Best Splurge: Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector
For the serious cinema buff in your life, the Nebula Capsule Smart Mini-Projector is the perfect splurge-worthy gift. Boasting an array of cutting-edge features and incredible clarity, this smart cinema is powerful enough to replace any home theater system, and yet, it’s small enough to fit in your hand.
The Nebula Mini-Projector is able to play content from your preferred streaming app (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) or mirror whatever’s playing on your phone screen. And thanks to its omnidirectional speakers and advanced IntelliBright algorithms, the sound and picture quality rival that of a movie theater. Teens will love that they can take this mini-projector virtually anywhere—its sleek aluminum body makes it easy to carry and it only weighs one pound. It also displays pictures up to 100 inches big and is able to deliver up to four hours of video on a single charge. Everyone in the family will be fighting to use this handy little projector!
02 of 18
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.
Searching for a gift for your preteen, too? Here are the best gifts for preteens.
03 of 18
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.
04 of 18
Best Backpack: Fjallraven Kanken 15” Padded Laptop Backpack
The Swedish company Fjällräven is known for making rugged bags with a clean, minimalist design. The Kanken backpacks were ergonomically designed to help kids balance their loads of textbooks, and this one also has a padded sleeve that fits a 15-inch laptop. Other handy details include easily accessible pockets on both the front and sides, padded shoulder straps, and a top handle. Eco-minded families can also feel good knowing that the company supports conservation projects (including those that help endangered species) and uses sustainably produced fabrics.
Not sold on this style? Take a peek at some of the other best backpacks you can buy.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
05 of 18
Best Skateboard: Retrospec Zed Bamboo Longboard Skateboard Complete Cruiser
This good-looking skateboard, which is made in California, has a design that evokes the surf culture that gave birth to the sport. It's made from a mix of two types of wood: ethically sourced bamboo and Canadian maple. There are more than 15 different colorful styles to choose from, and the 70 mm shock-absorbing wheels guarantee a smooth ride.
06 of 18
Best Room Decor: Urban Outfitters Sketched Floral Medallion Tapestry
She might opt to hang this elegant cotton floral tapestry, which comes in two different folk-inspired patterns, on her wall, but it can also work as a pretty bedcover. The soft material is machine washable for easy cleaning. It might just end up in a future dorm room or apartment, too.
07 of 18
Best Water Bottle: Hydro Flask 32 oz Wide Mouth Bottle
Thanks to this BPA-free bottle's double insulation, hot drinks stay hot for 12 hours and cold ones keep cool (even ice remains solid!) for up to 24 hours. It also comes in a mix of jewel tones as well as basic black and gray, and has a handy loop to keep it securely attached to a backpack. Kids can choose between the included flip top or a wide-mouth straw lid, which is sold separately.
08 of 18
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 softballs, 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 any time fun.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
09 of 18
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.
10 of 18
Best Instrument: Ranch 23 inch Professional Wooden Concert Ukulele
This affordable wooden ukulele is praised by musicians as having the same rich tones as some of its pricier counterparts. The kit also comes with many extras, such as a neck strap, digital tuner, padded carrying bag, and microfiber polishing cloth. The company, Ranch, also offers free online video lessons, with the final one teaching "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," a song made popular by the late Hawaiian musical icon (and ukulele player) Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
11 of 18
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Need a great stocking stuffer for your outdoorsy kid? If they're planning any kind of camping adventure, this slim water filter weighs just two ounces and filters 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria—no more messing with cumbersome purifiers or iodine tablets. It can be placed directly into a water source and has a fast-flowing straw that's easy to drink from.
12 of 18
Patagonia Women's Lightweight Synchilla® Snap-T® Fleece Pullover
The holidays are a perfect time to gift your teen with a cozy new fleece, especially because they seem to disappear almost as quickly as socks or hair ties. This one is made from recycled fabric fabrics and comes in a variety of patterns and color-block styles. The high-tech material will keep them warm, but the pullover is also sleek enough to layer under a jacket.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
13 of 18
Frigidaire Portable Retro 6-can Mini Fridge
Who says you need to wait for college to get a fridge in your room? This pint-size, retro-style Frigidaire holds up to six cans of seltzer or four one-liter bottles—it's also a great place to stash small snacks or beauty products like gel eye masks. It comes in fun colors like robin's egg blue, red, and pink, and has a quiet motor that makes it ideal for a bedroom.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best mini fridges.
14 of 18
Pure Vida Sunset Ring
Pura Vida, the Costa Rican jewelry company behind this elegant ring, is dedicated to providing sustainable jobs to artisans around the world. The sunset motif ring comes in either sterling silver or gold-plated, and gets shipped in biodegradable packaging. It coordinates well with Pura Vida's other styles, such as half moons, waves, and mountains. Rings are sold in five different sizes, so you can guarantee a perfect fit.
15 of 18
Urban Outfitters Decorative Rose Vine Garland
Plants are fun. Remembering to take care of them when you're a teen is less fun. A low-maintenance faux garland like this one, which comes with either pink or white blooms, will give a bedroom some botanical cred. Whether you choose to hang it, wrap it or twist it into a wall wreath, one thing is certain: these are not your grandma's fake flowers.
For more fake plants and decorative garlands, read through our list of the best fake plants.
16 of 18
Uncommon Goods Tabletop Cornhole
This tabletop version of the popular lawn activity is a fun, uncomplicated choice for family game night, but it's also cool enough to lure teens from their devices. The colorful cornhole board is three feet long and comes with launchers and a wrench for adjusting them (to make it easier or harder), eight mini beanbags, four score pegs, and felt feet to prevent scratching.
Looking for a full-size version, too? Check out the best cornhole boards available online.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
17 of 18
Minted Heart Snapshot Mix® Photo Art
Imagine this: you or your teen have 30 digital photos languishing in the cloud or on your hard drive. In just 10 days—or less, if you rush shipping! Minted will transform them into a gorgeous piece of art complete with a frame of your choosing, although unframed is also an option. It comes in six different square sizes, and frame choices include brushed silver, distressed white, reclaimed barn-wood, and classic colors like black and walnut.
18 of 18
Speks Stress Relief Magnetic Balls
Originally designed for stressed-out executives, Speks are miniscule ball magnets that come in sets of 512. Note that because of their 2.5 millimeter size, they are only officially recommended for children older than 14. With inspiration from the manual or their imaginations, kids will love squishing, rolling, or piling their Speks into shapes like cubes, hexagons, cylinders, chains, and more. Pro tip: Speks are easy to lose, so buy an extra set to avoid the inevitable disappointment when the first few go astray under your teen's bed or the couch.
Products Tested by The Spruce
How We Tested
We bought four top-rated gifts for teenagers and our reviewers tested them for 21 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these gifts, from their entertainment value to their longevity. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Gift for a Teenager
Practicality Most teens will appreciate a gift that they can use in their daily routine. Products that let them enjoy music, movies, or quality time with their friends are always a big hit. Also think about items that’ll encourage them to get outside and be more active—a practical, fun way to break up their screen time and keep them moving.
Quality While you don’t have to break the bank when buying a gift for a teenager, they’re old enough to appreciate a well-made product. Unlike younger children who may be more likely to misplace or break things, teenagers have (hopefully) learned to show more care for items they value. Especially in the areas of technology and electronics—like cameras, speakers, and more—it might make sense to opt for a quality product they can use for years to come.
Connectivity Whether it’s a cell phone, video game system, or wireless speakers, teenagers are some of the biggest users of technology. So it’s no surprise that many popular gifts—like Bluetooth headphones, smart speakers, and gaming chairs—integrate with different devices. Think about which ones your teen already has and what might complement them best.
Test Results: Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector (Best Splurge)
What We Like
Easy to use
What We Don't Like
Our testers loved this mini projector for its durable, portable design, quality Bluetooth speaker, and intuitive interface. One of our reviewers said it has “one of the best speakers among any projectors on the market.” Another plus? “[The] Android Operating System makes it easy to browse installed apps like Netflix, along with an attractive menu screen,” noted one of our testers.
According to our reviewers, the downside is a “hefty” price tag. Plus, one of our testers noted that although the speaker is standout among other mini projectors, “compared to actual dedicated speakers, it leaves a lot to be desired.” The bottom line: “It's a bit pricey but comes loaded with modern features, such as a full Android OS, intuitive menu interface, durable design, four-hour battery life, and a decent Bluetooth-capable speaker,” one of our reviewers concluded.