The 22 Best Gifts for Teenagers in 2021

These are the best presents for the picky teen in your life

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Our Top Picks
There's no doubt teens and parents will enjoy this slackline that's easy to set up and provides hours of fun.
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This 10MP camera doesn't just share photos, but also prints them out and preserves those special memories.
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This unique book club combines YA novels and curated playlists.
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This affordable wooden ukulele has the same rich tones as some of its pricier counterparts.
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Gamers will enjoy hours of play with this chair that's pure function and comes in a variety of colors.
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The waterproof speaker produces great sound, is super portable, and even has a suction-cup backing.
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Protect those expensive AirPods with a durable case that comes in a range of fun colors.
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This virtual classroom is sure to give curious teens access to some of the top professionals in their fields.
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This slim portable charger is convenient to carry and quickly charges devices whenever you're on the go.
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Here's a fun way for teens to learn the fundamentals of coding and engineering with this hands-on robot.
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Teenagers can have taste that's ever changing and quite fickle. That can make it quite hard to find the perfect gift for their newly developed hobbies or the latest trends. But some presents can truly speak to their unique personalities, interests, and have a timeless feel.

If you're having trouble finding the perfect present, here are the best gifts for a teenager.

flybold Slackline Kit

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 it as tight roping, but with a wider base. This kit will give your teen everything they need to get from Point A to Point B while also getting in some fitness.

"My children had a blast with the Flybold Slackline Kit. It’s a deceptively simple solo activity that just about anyone can try, and every friend who came by wanted a turn."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Kodak Zink Smile Instant Print Digital Camera

Kodak Smile Instant Camera

This Kodak camera combines the gratification of instant pics but with a bit of a retro look. The camera features automatic focus, flash, and the viewfinder makes it easy to snap the best pic. Not only can photos be shared, but they can also be printed out. There's even the option to print two photos on a single sheet. Printed pics have a sticky back and there's even the option to add a border or filter.

Now in Books Book Club

Now in Book Monthly Book Club

A gift that keeps on giving month after month is sure to please anyone. Now in Books subscription gifts your favorite teen with newly released novels. The book titles will vary, but each box also includes activities, discussion topics, and even a curated playlist that corresponds to the theme of the book. Choose between monthly or quarterly deliveries.

Ranch 23 inch Professional Wooden Concert Ukulele

Ranch 23 inch Professional Wooden Concert Ukulele

This affordable wooden ukulele is actually quite comparable to pricier counterparts. The kit 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.

Homall Gaming Chair Office Chair

Homall Game Chair

The gamer in your life will absolutely appreciate Homall's gaming chair that's built for function. The foam fits the body comfortably and there's the ever important headrest and lumbar support. Also, the seat has a tilt back function that can be adjusted between 90 to 180 degrees. The casters move easily on hardwood floors or carpeting.

Kunodi Outdoor Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

 Kunodi Outdoor Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Kunodi's bluetooth speaker is tiny, but mighty and you'll love the wallet-friendly price. It easily fits into the palm of a hand and seamlessly connects to devices. Take it on the go and attach to a backpack or handlebars (thanks to the carabiner). You can even store it in your bathroom. There's a suction cup mount, as the waterproof design makes it perfect for listening to music in the shower.

GMYLE AirPod Case

GMYLE AirPod Case

AirPods are pretty expensive, so if your teen has a pair, consider gifting them this sturdy case. The silicone casing protects the actual cover, while still allowing access to the charging port. There's even a carabiner so it can be strapped to the inside of a backpack or pocket. With more than 30 colors to choose from, there's something for every style.

Masterclass Virtual Cooking Class

MasterClass

A Masterclass membership is a great option if you want to expose your teen to learning that's fun and appeals to a wide variety of interests. The online classroom provides access to pros and tastemakers like chefs, producers, writers, and more. There are writing classes, cooking demos, and pretty much everything. The virtual classes can be viewed at leisure and your teen is sure to learn a lot.

Miady 2-Pack Dual USB Portable Charger

Miady 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger

"I forgot to charge my phone." That's no longer an excuse if you gift your teen this portable charger. The slim device easily fits in any backpack, purse, or even some pockets. The USB charger juices some phones up to three times, so even when your kid isn't near an outlet, they can stay with a full battery. Even better, you don't just get one, but two chargers in the pack.

Snap Circuits Teach Tech Mech 5 Mechanical Coding Robot

Snap Circuits Teach Tech Mech 5 Mechanical Coding Robot

A great STEM toy combines the love of play with education. Teens will enjoy hours of fun with Snap Circuits' coding robot, which teaches basic coding skills and engineering. Once the robot is constructed, they can watch it throw, lift, kick, and even draw. Though it's geared toward kids ages 10 and up, older teens and even adults who are curious about coding will also enjoy this.

YNAB You Need a Budget App

YNAB You Need a Budget App

Finances aren't exactly the topic most teens think about, but they absolutely should learn and know the basics of money. A subscription to an app like You Need a Budget provides them access to financial pros and budgeting advice. This is really helpful for teens who have their first job or who may be heading off to college soon.

Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones

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? While these aren't the super expensive brand of headphones, they're still high on function. These can play music for up to 20 hours so they won't need to charge them all the time. The headphones can also be used to make and answer calls, and since they have Bluetooth capability they are wireless. 

Minted Heart Snapshot Mix Hues Photo Art

minted-frame

Imagine this: you or your teen have digital photos languishing in the cloud or on your hard drive. In just 10 days or less, Minted will transform your fave 30 pics 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.

642 Things to Draw: Inspirational Sketchbook to Entertain and Provoke the Imagination

642 Things to Draw: Inspirational Sketchbook to Entertain and Provoke the Imagination

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 self-expression? The 642 Things to Draw journal is filled with 304 pages of ideas. 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 creative legs and hundreds of drawing prompts, this journal is the perfect home for everything from doodles to masterpieces. 

Uncommon Goods Long Distance Friendship Lamp

Uncommon Goods Long Distance Friendship Lamp

For your teen who's missing a friend far away, there's no better present than this Long Distance Friendship Lamp. Buy a pair of lamps, one for your teen and one to send to their friend. When your teen touches the lamp, the corresponding lamp, whether it's a few blocks away or across the world, emits a glow. The light can stay illuminated from 30 minutes to up to 24 hours and is a great way to let someone know you're thinking about them. This is a sweet gift for friends or family members who want to stay connected in a sentimental way.

Uncommon Goods Magnetic Notebook

Uncommon Goods Magnetic Notebook

Sure, your teen probably has digital notes, but nothing beats a good 'ol notebook. However, this one from Uncommon Goods combines the convenience of being able to remove and rearrange the pages. The magnetic pages snap in and out of the spine. This is great for your young creative who wants to organize any notes, doodles, or ideas.

Frigidaire Portable Retro Mini Fridge

frigidaire mini retro fridge

No need to wait for college to gift your teen a fridge for their room. This pint-size, retro-style Frigidaire holds up to six cans 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. This can also be used on road trips as the mini fridge plugs into a 12V car adapter.

Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Water Bottle

Hydro Flask

Thanks to this BPA-free bottle's double insulation, hot drinks stay hot for up to six hours and cold ones keep cool (even ice remains solid!) for up to 24 hours. The Hydro Flask water bottle has a handy loop to keep it securely attached to a backpack. While the standard cap will work for most, if your teen is active, consider buying the sport cap that makes it easy to stay hydrated without missing a beat.

The Swedish company Fjällräven is known for making rugged bags with a clean, minimalist design. The Kanken backpacks are ergonomically designed to handle several textbooks and this one also has a padded sleeve for 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 the company supports conservation projects and uses sustainably produced fabrics.

Uncommon Goods Game of Phones

game-of-phones

As much as you may try to encourage screen-free time, teens will inevitably be glued to their phones. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Game of Phones is a game of who can use their mobile devices the best and be the fastest. Users have to draw one of 150 cards and then create an emoji or find the best Google image to match the prompt. This is a game best played with three or more people so it's perfect for game night with friends or family time.

HomeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

HomeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

There's a likelihood your teen uses their phone as an alarm, but this alarm clock will surely change that. It's cute, sleek, can fit on any night stand, and the functions are useful. The LED light gradually brightens over 30 minutes to arise any sleeper and the timer dims the room when it's time to get some Z's. The clock also plays soothing nature sounds.

Anker Nebula Capsule

Anker Nebula Capsule

For the serious cinema buff in your life, the Nebula Capsule Smart Mini-Projector is the perfect splurge-worthy gift to create a home theater. Thought it has an array of cutting-edge features, it’s small enough to fit in your hand. The Nebula Mini-Projector is able to play content from a streaming app (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) or mirror whatever’s playing on a phone screen. And thanks to its omnidirectional speakers and advanced IntelliBright algorithms, the sound and picture quality rival that of a movie theater.

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.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was written by Patrice J. Williams. She has contributed gift guides to The Spruce since 2020 and included a few of her personal favorites like the mini fridge and portable chargers on this well-researched list. In addition to her work for The Spruce, she writes commerce articles, including product suggestions and reviews, for other outlets as well as appearing on air for The Today Show, WEtv, and she was the Savvy Shopper reporter for WPIX in New York City.

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