Whether you’re a Gen Xer shopping for a niece, nephew, or grandchild or a teen scouting out a gift for your bestie, it can be hard to put your finger on just the right thing. But leaning into a particular interest — like travel or technology, for example — is always a good way to go. It not only shows thought — you know exactly what they gravitate towards — but it also ups the chances the gift will be a home run.
And good news: You can target tech without spending hundreds of dollars on the latest and greatest gadgets and electronic devices. Those items are always an option if budget allows, but there are also all kinds of wallet-friendly products to choose from, too — think cute laptop backpacks which make great gifts for teens, mini projectors, and heated slippers, for example.
From headphones and Polaroid cameras to beauty fridges and cool kitchen gadgets, these are the best tech gifts for teens.
Even non-gamers will appreciate the fun and relaxation Nintendo Switch has to offer. The compact game console, which accommodates one or two players, is entirely handheld — easy to tote in a backpack or purse! – but has endless play potential, from racing in Mario Kart to building interactive worlds on Animal Crossing.
Sony Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Massive headphones are back, and this pair by Sony won’t disappoint. The sleek over-ear tech comes in three shades — black, blue, and silver — all with gold detailing. The headphones also have lots of convenience features like dual noise canceling levels, speak-to-chat, touch sensor button controls, and up to 30 hours of battery life.
Polaroid Lab Everything Box Starter Kit
Because most of our phones are home to thousands upon thousands of images, it’s easy for favorites to get lost in the ether. But this at-home printing set by Polaroid makes it seamless to bring your favorites IRL. Simply place your phone on top of the device and the innovative lens system will convert the digital file into a physical, printed image in only a matter of seconds. There’s also a compatible smartphone app, so you can add flair like stickers and text.
Baggu Laptop Sleeve
Give them something to protect one of their most precious assets: their laptop. This pillowed case, available in 13- or 16-inch sizes, is printed in your choice of three vivid, graphic patterns (checkered, floral, and strawberry) that not only looks cool, but is also super easy to spot in a crowded bag or backpack. Also nice: It’s made with 100 percent post-consumer recycled goods.
Not everyone wants the big, bulky headphones. Apple’s airpods are smaller and sleeker than over-ear options — more comfortable for activities like exercise — but are just as noise canceling. They have plenty of techy features, too. Each pair is equipped with dynamic head tracking for improved sound, force sensor controls, access to Siri, and up to 30 hours of listening time.
Loftie Alarm Clock
Waking up doesn’t have to be so hard with this smart alarm clock. Much gentler than the chime on a phone, the gadget wakes in two phases to mimic your body’s natural waking up process. The first sound gently lulls, the second is meant to get you out of bed once you’ve roused. Of course, everything is customizable — the tone, the volume, and even the day of week.
It may be less than 7 inches on its longest side, but this compact gadget projects crisp video onto screens and blank walls. Simply connect it to the device of your choice — a fire-stick, Roku stick, laptop, TV, and more—and then adjust the picture from 30 to a truly impressive 180 inches.
Anker Soundcore Mini
Dorm dwellers short on space will love this tiny, but mighty bluetooth speaker. It’s just under three inches all around, but delivers powerful sound through an advanced 5W driver and passive subwoofer. Connect from up to 66 feet away, and enjoy 15 hours of continuous play on a single charge.
Fujifilm Instax Camera
Smartphones may take ultra-crisp pictures, but there’s something undeniably fun about the old fashioned way — nailing your one chance at the right shot. This point-and-shoot camera has a modern aesthetic and satisfies the desire for instant results — much like a Polaroid, it prints your picture immediately after you take it.
Cooluli Skincare Beauty Fridge
It may be one of the most affordable beauty fridges out there, but the skincare-obsessed will love everything it has to offer, including both warming and cooling technologies that can chill face masks or warm a period cramp compress. It also has a removable inner shelf and basket to customize storage space and a molded inset handle for portability.
Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
Level up their dorm room cooking with this beloved kitchen gadget. From big batch steel-cut oats in less than five minutes to a bubbling mac and cheese dinner and even the perfect creamy cheesecake, the Instant Pot does the hard work for you. Just set it and forget it — until it’s time to dig in, that is.
There’s hardly anyone who couldn’t benefit from having what may as well be a mini version of their phone on their wrist at all times. The techy watch allows you to play music, answer calls and messages, browse social media apps, track activity, and more. You can also customize it with different faces and bands for a more personalized or elevated look.
This ring light will help them bring their TikTok dreams to life with nothing more than their phone. The budget-friendly gift is highly functional — the tripod stand, which features a secure phone mount situated inside the ring, extends to more than 4 feet tall and comes with a remote for hands-free filming.
A nightstand catchall and charger all in one, this handsome linen tray will keep all of their most precious belongings — glasses or rings, for example — within reach, plus ensure their device is always powered up, no fumbling with cables necessary.
With the Kindle, they can purchase all of their favorite titles. But what’s even more alluring? Kindle connects to local libraries, giving voracious readers the option to borrow ebooks. The experience is more enjoyable than reading on a phone, too. The E-Ink display has a paper-like matte look and texture that doesn’t strain eyes the way blue light does.
Belkin Portable Charger
A full day of back-to-back classes is no match for this petite power bank. It gives smartphones up to 36 hours of additional battery life, even if there’s no outlet in sight. You know what that means: They’ll never have to stare at that dreaded red battery symbol and wonder how long until the whole thing shuts off again.
Lele Sadoughi Phone Chain
Help them add a little flair to the device they’re tethered to with this beaded and pearl phone charm by Lele Sadoughi. It contains nearly every color in the rainbow, so it’s sure to match their current case. And, as an added bonus, it doubles as a carry strap.
What can’t the Echo Dot do? The small but mighty speaker turns out tunes, delivers answers to important questions like what the weather is, plus can even connect it to smart home devices, like a doorbell, lights, and even the thermostat in their apartment.
Amazon Gift Card
So you really have no idea what your favorite teen might want? That’s cool — just get them an Amazon gift card. Since you can get just about anything on the site, it basically functions as cash —and who doesn’t love that?!
We all know someone who, try as they might, simply can’t keep track of their belongings. For the forgetful, let us present Tile. Attach the tiny device to anything that tends to go missing — wallet, keys, or any other important item — and then track it using the compatible app or a computer. It’ll tell you exactly where it is and even play a sound to help pinpoint it.
Frequent fliers — like those who go to school in another state — will appreciate the unique functionality of this little gadget. Plug it in to a headphone jack, and it turns any non-bluetooth device into one suitable for use with wireless tech, like headphones. It’s perfect for the seat-back TVs in airplanes.
Fire TV Stick
Put literally any streaming service at their fingertips with this tiny piece of tech. All they have to do is plug the USB port into their TV (even a hotel TV!) and they’ll be able to access all of their favorites, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and more — no smart TV required.
Wireless Facial Humidifier
Available in five soft, attractive colors, this portable USB humidifier runs for up to 8 hours per charge to continuously deliver gorgeous skin, even while they sleep — no wires required. It has an extra-wide spout for better mist precision and is whisper quiet, too.
Sketchboard for iPad Pro
This iPad stand — yes, the phone nestles right into it — converts any space, whether a coffee shop table or the couch, into their own personal art studio. And if you love the idea of a gift that gives back? The company plants a tree for every stand sold.
Wireless Karaoke Mic
Let’s just say there’s no better way to take a study break than with this wireless bluetooth karaoke microphone. Available in six colors, including this cute rose gold, this little gadget connects to their phone, tablet, or computer to blast their go-to jams, plus has a built-in professional audio processor and tuning system so they can belt it out right along with their favorite musician.
Smoko Lil B Dumpling Airpod Case
There’s something so irresistible about the little bb dumpling case. And who knows, it may even act as an anti-theft feature for their beloved Airpods, since it helps disguise the tech.
Smoko Tayto Potato Plush Slippers
Couch potatoes will love these aptly designed slippers, especially in the dead of winter. The cotton and polyester footwear is so soft and plush, it’s kind of like walking on a cloud. Of course, they’re ultra warm, too.
Sunset Lamp Projector
Help them turn their bedroom into golden hour at any hour with this TikTok famous lamp. It’s an instant mood-lifter, because — really — who doesn’t love to stare at a smattering of cool colors? Plus, the projection makes for a pretty cool picture, too.
Hidrate Spark Pro Smart Water Bottle
Any active or health-obsessed teen will love this smart water bottle. No matter how busy they are, they’ll never forget to hydrate, because it’ll constantly remind them to take a sip. The bottle syncs to an app that calculates a recommended hydration goal using an equation generated by doctors. Then, a sensor inside the bottle records how much they drink. If they’re behind, a light inside the bottle glows to remind them to keep sipping until they’ve reached their goal.
Help budding photographers level up with this small, easy-to-fly drone. It’s as light as a phone, but super powerful, spinning off into the sky in a matter of seconds to snap 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K HD videos.
Colorful iPhone Chargers
What’s with the charger that comes with smartphones? It’s so short, it hardly reaches most nightstands. That’s where this set comes in handy. It includes four extra-durable nylon cables ranging from 3 feet to a whopping 10 feet, so their device will always be handy, even when it’s tethered to an outlet. The cute colors are a nice bonus, too.
Razer Kishi Mobile Game Controller
Have a gamer on your list? This smartphone holder turns their device into a full-fledged gaming controller for more precision and flexibility while playing their favorites.