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51 gifts for teens that they won't toss away in their closet, from a popular hair dryer to a tie-dye kit

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Two people on a beach, sitting on a rock, watching the sunset with the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Speaker behind them.jpg
One of the best gifts for teens is a portable, waterproof speaker they can bring with them on trips with friends.

Amazon


  • It's never easy to shop for a teenager, especially if their tastes change frequently.

  • We rounded up 51 gifts to make it easier to find the perfect gadget, game, or accessory. 

  • Browse all of Insider Reviews' gift guides for more great gift ideas.

Being a teenager is tough, but trying to buy a gift for one is even harder: They can be picky and fickle when it comes to what products they want. Sometimes, the best way to show a teen that you care is just to listen, and sometimes it's a thoughtful gift to show them you see them.

To make the gift search easier, we curated 51 gifts ranging from a card game to a smartwatch to a quick-drying hair towel at various price points to ensure as many options as possible.

If you are still unsure of what to get (and you can't ask them directly) try consulting their friends. Either way, a smart general rule of thumb is to make sure your gift is returnable. 

The 51 best gifts for teens: 

A tie dye kit they can use for a fun at-home activity
As tie dye kit that includes multiple colors of dye

Target

Tulip 37pc One Step Tie Dye Kit, available at Target, $9.99

They can revitalize white clothes and spend a few hours having fun doing something creative, whether solo or with family or friends.

This one-step hair dryer brush
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer best target cyber monday deals 2021

Elana Rubin/Insider

Revlon Salon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush, available at Target, $54.99

Who doesn't love a one-step tool that feels luxurious? This popular round brush acts as a hairdryer while they brush, giving their hair volume without much finesse or time. You can find a full review of the Revlon One-Step here

An Apple AirTag to keep track of their belongings
AirTags Back

Lisa Eadicicco/Insider

Apple AirTag, available at Target, $29.99

The teenager in your life can attach this tag to their backpack, wallet, keys, or any other easily lost item and find it easily with the Find My app whenever they've misplaced it. Using the app, they can opt for the tag to play a sound until they've found their keys sandwiched between couch cushions or their wallet in the pantry.

A board game that feels like a video game
A board game with cards and chips spread out on a table

Amazon

Cephalofair Games Gloomhaven Multi-Award-Winning Strategy Boxed Board Game, available at Amazon, $111.47

This collaborative board game (good for one to up to four players) is sort of like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and other cult-favorite fantasy adventure games that forces its players to contend with monsters and mercenaries, explore a new world, and discover treasure and fame. Players make tactical decisions, and the game unfolds in reaction to their choices. 

Disposable cameras to help them stay in the moment
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera on a table with a watch, candles, and other decorations

Amazon

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, available at Amazon, $69.04

Funsaver One Time Use Film Camera (2-pack), available at Amazon, $45.30

Disposable cameras are popular right now, partly because of the nostalgic aesthetic of a polaroid and partly because of their simplicity. Spending so much time immersed in technology — and combatting the temptation to retake and edit photos in real-time — keep us from staying present.

Disposable film cameras or polaroids help preserve memories without adding to their screen time. Plus, they give them cute photos to decorate their room with!

Glossier's fan-favorite products
Glossier's Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew on a Gray background

Glossier

Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew Pack, available at Glossier, $42

No-makeup makeup is in right now and, if your teen is into beauty products, they may appreciate a gift from Glossier, which is the "natural and glowy" brand Olivia Rodrigo says she wears in her Vogue beauty diary.

We'd recommend a gift card or a pack like the Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew pack, which covers three of its fan-favorite products.

A great book
5 YA books Ready Player One

Amazon

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11

Books are an incredible gift if your teen is a reader. It can translate into hours of enjoyment at a minimum and, at its best, a favorite story that follows them well into adulthood.

Plus, if you've read the book, it can also mean great conversations about it or movie adaptations to watch together. It's also a gift where money doesn't really matter; you can find a great read for $20 and spending more won't make much difference.

Some book suggestions:

An eco-conscious tie-dye beanie
Two people wearing the Feel the Earth Breathe Tie Dye Beanie

Free The Earth

Feel the Earth Breathe Tie Dye Beanie, available at Free People, from $40

These unisex tie-dye beanies come in cool colors and with a unique plant logo. (To date, the Parks Project has reportedly contributed over $2,000,000 to help fund vital projects in national parks around the US).

Ribbed beanies are big right now, à la the popular Carhartt beanie. If they've got that staple covered, the Parks Project also has tube socks

A splashproof, portable Bluetooth speaker perfect for outdoor trips
Two people on a beach, sitting on a rock, watching the sunset with the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Speaker behind them.jpg

Amazon

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, available at Amazon, $98

This rugged, compact speaker can go with them anywhere. It's waterproof, has an "outdoor boost" button specifically for listening outside, is "drop-proof," and boasts a 13-hour battery life.

A plush toy that they can heat up
Smoko Mini Toasty Heatable Plushie

Urban Outfitters

Smoko Mini Toasty Heatable Plushie, available at Urban Outfitters, $18

Whenever they need some cozy comfort, they can heat up this cute animal-shaped heating pad for a snuggle.

A portable phone charger
eleject portable charger plugged into laptop and phone

Amazon

Elecjet Powerpie Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $54.99

This handheld charger can charge up your teen's smartphone or various devices like an iPad or small laptop so they can stay in touch, turn their paper in on time, or just never have to stress about 5% battery life.

Sheet masks to go with a Netflix marathon
TONYMOLY I'm Real Sheet Mask

Amazon

TONYMOLY I'm Real Sheet Masks, available at Amazon, $26

There are few things my 15-year-old sister loves more than oversized hoodies, Boba, and an endless supply of sheet masks. Grab a pack, throw them on, and make a night out of it with your teen's favorite candy and TV show.

A pair of trendy, easy-to-use AirPods
Apple AirPods worlds most popular wireless headphones_woman wearing airpods_03202019

Apple

Apple AirPods Pro with Charging Case, available at Target, $199.99

If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. 

A Boba-shaped AirPods Pro case
Image of the Smoko Boba Tea AirPods Pro Case

Urban Outfitters

Smoko Boba Tea AirPods Pro Case, available at Urban Outfitters, $18

As I mentioned, part of my 15-year-old sister's ideal trifecta is Boba. You can pick up a cute, fun case no matter what their interest is — Baby Yoda, gaming, Boba, or whatever else. 

A Bluetooth water bottle speaker
Bluetooth water bottle speaker

Grommet

Bluetooth Water Bottle Speakers, available at Grommet, $39.95

This Bluetooth water bottle speaker offers a boost of hydration and fun for everyone. The water-resistant speaker resides at the top, ensuring greater sound quality that lasts 6-10 hours. It's the perfect accessory for them to bring to every hang-out session. 

A slim leather wallet
bellroy slim sleeve wallet

Amazon

Bellroy Slim Sleeve Leather Wallet, available at Amazon and Bellroy, $79

This thin wallet is a subtle nudge toward minimalism, something many teens appreciate. The Bellroy Slim Sleeve wallet offers room for up to eight cards and a pocket to stash cash. It comes in a variety of colors and features environmentally certified leather.

An eco-friendly phone case
Best gifts for teens that are unique and useful like an eco-friendly phone case

Pela

Pela Phone Case, available at Amazon and Pela, from $38.95

Pela offers a wide variety of biodegradable cases for iPhone and Android, all made from plant-based polymers. Pela cases are rugged enough to offer drop protection, and if a phone has both a Pela case and screen protector but still cracks, Pela will cover the bill to get it fixed.

A comfortable and sustainable Patagonia pullover they'll wear all the time
patagonia sweater

Patagonia

Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, Men, available at Patagonia, $119

Patagonia Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at Patagonia, $119

A Patagonia sweater is a particularly good gift for teens who are interested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993 and continues to do so today.

Its Snap-T pullover is the unofficial uniform of the cozy adventurer. It and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely on heavily during colder weather.

Not sold on the Patagonia option? They may also appreciate the Acadia Recycled Polar Trail Fleece from the environmentally-conscious Parks Project.

A gift card for stylish new glasses
Warby Parker

Warby Parker

Gift Card, available at Warby Parker, from $50

Teens are a notoriously picky bunch, so you can never go wrong with a gift card. If they're in the market for new glasses or sunglasses, we recommend Warby Parker because of its versatility, size flexibility, and free at-home try-on program. 

An Amazon Echo Dot for hands-free calls, alarms, music, updates on the weather, and more
Amazon Echo, Charcoal

Amazon

Echo Dot (4th gen), available at Best Buy, $34.99

The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason — it's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, news) without any of the bulk. 

A smartphone-sized travel photo printer
image   2019 12 12T143644.094

Target

HP Sprocket 200 Photo Printer, available at Amazon and B&H Photo, $79.99

This tiny, compact device prints photos with sticker backing on ZINK film with Zero Ink technology. It connects to devices via Bluetooth, and multiple devices can connect at once (personalized LED lights indicate who's currently printing). 

String lights with clips for photos
Gifts for teens string lights

Amazon/Business Insider

Photo Clip LED String Lights, available at Target, $10

Perfect for creating the archetypal teen room that's most often seen in Netflix movies and old Taylor Swift music videos, the photo clip string lights combine warm light and Polaroids (or other memorabilia). 

A trendy Champion sweatshirt
gfits for teens

Urban Outfitters

Champion Reverse Weave Fleece Crew Neck Sweatshirt, available at Urban Outfitters, $54

Like Fila, Champion is a brand that's had a resurgence as of late. If you want to get them something they'll end up wearing all the time, this is a good candidate. 

A great video game
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Sword

"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD" / Nintendo

"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD", available at Amazon, from $49.94

If they're really into video games, all other gifts may pale in comparison to a really good new one. Check out "Hades," "NBA 2K22," and "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD."

A vinyl record membership
music lover gifts update 4

Vinyl Me, Please

Gift Membership, 3 months, available at Vinyl Me, Please, $119

There's no greater joy than adding to a record collection or playing a new album for the first time. Your recipient gets to choose from three different types of tracks each month and will also receive extra goodies in each package. They'll also get one bonus record as part of the three-month gift membership. 

A gentle facial cleansing device that removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup
foreocleansersmenlifestyle

FOREO

Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Men, available at Foreo, $199

Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Women, available at Foreo, $199

FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 3 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch-points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge.

This newest generation also offers an array of massages to tighten the skin for a youthful look. Find a full review on the previous generation Luna 2 from a female reporter and a male reporter here.

Comfortable lounge pants that look put-together
meundies loungers

MeUndies

The Lounge Pant, Men, available at MeUndies, $68

The Lounge Pant, Women, available at MeUndies $68

MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings or heading to the dining hall when they get to college (yep, they'll last that long) while still looking sleek.

A subscription to a famous book club that sends them great hardcovers each month
book of the month, $44.99, 3 months

Book of the Month/Instagram

3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99

If your teen is a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially cool gift. It's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time (like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple).

If you gift them a subscription, they'll receive a hardcover book delivered once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.

If they're really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).

An Apple Watch that combines their smartphone with a fitness tracker
gifts for teens

Amazon

Apple Watch SE GPS, 40mm, available at Apple, from $279

If you have a little extra to spend on your teen, consider getting them a smartwatch. The Apple Watch SE is like a smartphone, fitness tracker, and music player all in one. Just like on their phone, they can customize the watch to show their favorite apps to pick, including social media.

A cute iPhone case
Coffee Reading iPhone Case Under $25

Society6

Coffee Reading iPhone Case, available at Society6, $22

This fun iPhone case is funny and unique, and most of their friends probably won't have the exact same one. 

Reusable straws
a hiware reusable straw in a travel mug

Amazon

Hiware Reusable Silicone Straws (10-pack), available at Amazon, $6.99

Help teens do their part to keep single-use plastics out of trash bins, landfills, and the ocean by giving them this pack of reusable silicone drinking straws. They come in various colors and include a few cleaning brushes as well.

A set of velvet retro-inspired scrunchies
Gifts for teen scrunchies

Amazon/Business Insider

Hair Scrunchie Variety Pack, available at Target, $6.99

Another trendy gift is as many scrunchies as you can carry. This pack comes with 12 options in enough colors to work with virtually any outfit or mood. 

A multicolor mini cinema light box
Multicolor Cinema Light Box Under $25

Urban Outfitters

Multicolor Cinema Light Box, available at Uncommon Goods, from $20

These trendy lightboxes are inspired by cinema marquees, and they come with 100 letters and symbols for personal messages. This one also has color-changing LED lights for further customization.

Fun and useful PopSockets for the back of their phone
Gifts for Dad Baby Yoda Popsocket

Amazon/Business Insider

PopGrips, available at PopSockets and Amazon, from $10

PopSockets have become their own cultural phenomenon in recent years, and they're surprisingly useful. Get your teen one for their own phone or tablet, and depending on their age, you may find it's the gift they're most excited about. It doesn't hurt that there's free domestic shipping on orders over $20, or that you can actually design your own.

A waterproof e-reader with a no-glare screen
5ba275d25c5e520b308b617d 960 720

Amazon

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99

Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest, lightest version. It also has double the storage, a built-in light that adjusts to accommodate reading indoors or outdoors, and is waterproof for reading anywhere, including the beach or bath. Plus, a single battery charge lasts weeks rather than hours.

Cool backpacks from a popular startup with a charitable mission
state bags Under $25

STATE Bags/Facebook

State bags and accessories, from $15

State bags are increasingly popular thanks to their versatile, laid-back aesthetic and characteristically bright nylon colorways. They're also known as #GiveBackPack(s), because for every State bag purchased, State hand-delivers a backpack — packed with essential tools for success — to a local child in need. The Lorimer and Bedford are two of the company's best sellers.

A three-month subscription of beauty products
BirchBox subscription

BirchBox

3-Month Subscription, available at BirchBox, $45

Teens are usually among the most interested in the latest and greatest beauty or grooming products — but may lack the funds to try all the full-sized versions. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. (It's also just fun to get an ongoing gift.)

Personalized Nikes
custom nike zoom pegasus turbo shield by you

Nike

Customizable Nikes, available at Nike, from $120

Nike makes great stuff, but it's nice to get the benefits of a great shoe without forsaking what makes something unique. You can customize a pair of Nikes for them, or give them a gift card so they can get creative making something one-of-a-kind on their own.

A great Alexa-enabled speaker they can control by voice
Sonos One

Sonos

Sonos One Smart Speaker, available at Sonos, from $219

The new Sonos One smart speaker fills any room with clear, rich sound, and they can use Alexa to play and control their music without ever lifting a finger. Find a full review here.

A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%
Gifts for teens Aquis

Aquis/Business Insider

Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Amazon and Sephora, from $20.99

Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. If they've ever complained about frizzy hair, this and a silk pillowcase are thoughtful gifts they'll actually use. 

A Disney+ subscription for access to classic movies and more
Disney Plus Streaming

Disney Plus

Disney+ Gift Subscription Service, available at Disney, $79.99/year

Disney Plus is the new Disney-centric streaming service. The platform includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. You can gift a whole year of access for $80, which is something their entire family can benefit from.

If you'd rather test Disney Plus out before buying, you can sign up for a free weeklong trial.

A suitcase with an ejectable battery that can charge their devices on the go
Away $225

Away

The Carry-On, available at Away, from $225

Travel startup Away makes a great carry-on thanks to an ejectable battery that can charge devices seamlessly on the go, 360-degree wheels, and a lightweight build that travels easily. In other words, it takes a lot of the angst out of travel and may make family trips far more enjoyable and stress-free.

Durable sunglasses that look good, too
smith optics lowdown 2 sunglasses

Amazon

Smith Optics Lowdown2, available at Backcountry, $129

Who better to make a pair of durable, performance-based sunglasses than the company known for innovating the ski goggle? The Lowdown2 features bio-based materials for the frame, ChromaPop lens technology which creates high contrast and vibrant colors, and an anti-reflective smudge-resistant coating.

Plus, the brand offers peace of mind with free shipping, 30-day returns, and a lifetime warranty.

Comfortable, high-quality sheets that come in lots of colors and patterns
Brooklinen

Brooklinen

Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen and Amazon, from $240

We think Brooklinen makes the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds. It's perfect for lazy Saturday mornings or the rare occasion sleeping in is encouraged.

The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 15 colors and patterns that range from classic to fun, and you can mix and match them to suit their preferences. Grab a gift card (delivered digitally) if you want to give them more freedom.

Fidget balls
speks magnetic balls moulded into flower and cylindrical shapes

Speks

Speks 2.5mm magnet balls, available at Speks, $34.95

Made from rare earth magnets, these tiny balls can be molded into an infinite number of shapes and designs. The size of Speks balls makes them ideal for teens to keep with them for those unpredictable moments of nervousness that fill those teenage years.

A pack of smart plugs so they can control devices from a distance
Gifts for teens TP Link

Amazon/Business Insider

TP-Link KIT WiFi Smart Plug, 2-Pack, available at Amazon, $35.99

Whether they're wondering if they turned off their hot iron or just don't want to get up to turn off the TV, a smart plug lets them control devices from a distance. You can connect to them using any smart device.

A Time-Turner clock that actually spins
time turner clock

Harry Potter

Harry Potter Time-Turner Clock, available at Pottery Barn, $79

It may not be a