The typical college experience these days may not quite resemble the shenanigans of Animal House, but any student on your gift-giving list is probably in need of the same campus essentials we all used to get us through - albeit with more WiFi. From high tech gadgets that’ll ease them into adulthood to useful dorm room must-haves, and, of course, some things to get the party started, we present 40 of the best gift options for college kids. Togas and kegs not included...
The 40 Best Gifts For College Students
1. Crosley Rondo Bluetooth Speaker
This high-tech Bluetooth speaker will add a little retro pizazz to any boring dorm room. In addition to playing all their favorite tunes, this super compact radio-style speaker allows them to wirelessly answer calls, skip tracks, and adjust the volume from the side panel. It also comes complete with USB, mini SD, and charging ports.
2. Bean & Bud Rise Coffee
College kids are both endlessly stressed and forever exhausted. The perfect cure? CBD-infused coffee! Bean & Bud’s quality-sourced coffee beans provide an invigorating wake up call that mixes energizing caffeine with anxiety-reducing CBD to ensure your favorite scholar is prepared to handle anything.
3. Ovalware RJ3 Cold Brew Maker
And what better way to enjoy those beans than by turning ‘em into cold brew? Iced coffee lovers will appreciate the money-saving ease of brewing their own with this fridge-friendly cold brew maker (which kind of looks like it belongs in a lab, so it’s definitely on theme). Its stainless steel filter and cap and BPA-free silicone airtight seal keep the brew fresh for up to two weeks!
4. Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Printer
Remember when we could actually hold pictures in our hands?! This easy-to-use Bluetooth printer connects to any smartphone in order to turn digital snaps into physical photos. Now all their college memories can live on Instagram and decorate their dorm room walls! (Besides, we all know they’re going to delete those drunk pics online as soon as they start looking for a job.)
5. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera
For the same old-school instant photo results along with the added kitsch of being an actual camera, the cult-favorite Instax Mini is always an excellent choice. The newest edition features a selfie mirror next to the front lens, as well as a new macro lens adapter for close-ups. An adjustable brightness dial also guarantees the perfect picture, every time. This funky camera is sure to make them the most popular person at every party.
6. Verilux HappyLight Lumi
Between the aforementioned stress of workloads and the darkening days of winter ahead, things can start feeling rough for any college student. Luckily, this light therapy lamp is an instant mood-booster. It boasts full-spectrum, UV-free light with clinically proven 10,000 lux intensity and three adjustable brightness levels to provide all the mental health benefits of natural sunlight. Its sleek and low-key design allows it to fit seamlessly on a nightstand.
7. Anker Nebula Capsule Pro Projector
TVs are overrated. Turn any dorm room into a movie theater with this smart mini projector which connects to WiFi to deliver bright and vivid video picture as large as 100 inches, as well as 360-degree sound. Coming in at only 15 ounces, it’s easily portable and can even be used outdoors!
8. TRUFF Hot Sauce Variety Pack
Because we all remember the struggle of college cafeteria food, provide the gift of flavor with the TRUFF variety pack. So long as they keep hot sauce in their bag (swag), your recipient can upgrade just about any meal with this truffle-infused selection of spicy condiments. Bonus: they come in a very fancy gift box!
9. Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker
Whether they need fuel for a final or are in dire need of a hangover cure, this dorm-friendly breakfast sandwich maker is the one tool everyone needs to craft the perfect breakfast of champions. Bacon, egg, and cheese? Easy-peasy (and cheesy). It even includes a built-in timer so that even the most novice chef can never mess up.
10. CraveBox Care Package
One word: snacks! A nostalgic taste of all the treats mom used to buy, the CraveBox Care Package, which is stuffed with 45 pantry favorites ranging from the sweet to the salty (and everything in between), will keep them satisfied between meals - and whenever they have the munchies.
11. Fitbit Charge 4
Then again, all that college junk food (and beer) can make it all too easy to gain the notorious Freshman Fifteen. Life is about balance, so encourage some healthy habits with the latest Fitbit model, the Charge 4. This updated version of the classic boasts all the same fitness features but with added swimproof capabilities, GPS, and new Active Zone Minutes which track how long someone is exercising in their desired heart rate range.
12. Swiss Champ Swiss Army Knife
The first rule of adulthood (and, we guess, the Boy Scouts)? Be prepared. That’ll be easy with this deluxe version of the classic Swiss Army Knife. The Swiss Champ packs a whopping 33 functions inside its pocket-sized body, featuring a corkscrew (important), a can opener (also important), a ruler, a magnifying glass, scissors, a nail file, pliers, tweezers, and multiple screwdrivers of different sizes - just to name a few.
13. Welly Adventure First Aid Kit
And since you never know what adventures await on campus, it’s always smart to have first aid supplies on hand. Obviously they’ll never buy this for themselves, but Welly’s fun and functional first aid kit, which includes Ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, butterfly strips, tape, and a whole lot of bandages, all in a convenient tin, will be much appreciated on any particularly wild night.
14. HOMEST Double Laundry Hamper
Doing their own laundry for the first time will be hard enough, so save them the extra confusion of that whole “separating the darks from lights” thing and make it extra easy with HOMEST’s modern, durable, transportable, and, most importantly, clearly labeled double laundry hamper. It’s also collapsible for easy storage!
15. Eterluck Wooden Docking Station
Chances are your college kid is dealing with a small room, which means they have to utilize all the space they’ve got. Help them stay organized with an all-in-one wooden docking station. This pick can top any dresser or nightstand and features room to dock and charge multiple devices from iPhones to Apple Watches, as well as designated space to store glasses, pens, and keys. Plus, it comes with a RFID blocking wallet made of vegan leather that will keep their cards and personal information protected.
16. Nearpow Adjustable Laptop Bed Stand
Working from bed is always ideal, but without the proper setup it can also be incredibly uncomfortable. An adjustable laptop bed desk, like this one by Nearpow, solves that problem. It’s multifunctional, portable, and can be adjusted to five different heights and three surface angles for ultimate usability. Gives new meaning to the term “protect ya neck.”
17. Homesick Scented Candle
For the more sentimental student (or gift-giver), you can’t go wrong with the scent of home. These expertly curated, hand-poured candles are practically made for the recently-relocated, full of all the unique fragrances of almost anyone’s native state, city, or even country! All the warmth, nostalgia, and comfort they’ll need if (or more likely, when), they start to feel homesick.
18. Adidas Adilette Shower Slides
The classic shoe of co-ed shower users everywhere. Available in three colors (white, black, and collegiate navy), the Adidas Adilette Shower Slides provide maximum slip-on comfort with the added bonus of soft cloudfoam for quick drying. Perfect for protecting their feet from the gross germs of locker rooms and beyond.
19. Life Hacks 2021 Day-to-Day Calendar
An amusing tear calendar that’ll upgrade any dorm desk. It features a year’s worth of clever life-improving tips and tricks, from food to exercise to technology, every would-be grownup needs to know. The back of each page also includes fun extras like jokes, puzzles, and inspiring quotes.
20. Mancro Laptop Backpack
It might not be the most entertaining gift to get, but it’s certainly useful. With a schedule that likely has them running between classes, the library, an internship, and a job (or two), your favorite student is going to need a backpack that’s professional, stylish, and safe for their treasured gadgets. This cool bag by Mancro has everything they need: a built-in USB charging port, a special pocket for their laptop, an anti-theft lock, and over 12 pockets for ultimate organization.
21. Anker PowerCore 20100 Portable Charger
Today, getting stuck with a dead phone is basically the equivalent of getting stranded on a desert island. Thus, a portable charger is as necessary to have on hand as an actual smartphone! This Anker PowerCore model is one of the most highly-rated for a reason: it weighs a little over 12 oz. and contains enough juice to charge an iPhone seven times before needing to be recharged itself. Small but mighty, indeed.
22. Drunk Stoned or Stupid [A Party Game]
Not everything has to be practical. When it comes to college, we all know there will be plenty of fun and games involved, so help make them the life of the party with this hilarious alternative to Cards Against Humanity. Cheeky cards prompt friends to call each other out by naming “Who’s more likely to…” Knowing college kids, they’ll probably find a way to turn it into a drinking game, which they’ll really appreciate you for.
23. 250 Best Meals in a Mug
There’s only so much microwaveable ramen one person can handle, but as it turns out, there’s a whole world of microwave meals you can make in a cup. This cookbook is the ultimate resource for the cooking (and time management) impaired, with 250 budget-friendly and individually-portioned recipes suitable for every craving.
24. Novelty Mug
And since they’ll need a mug to cook in (and drink copious amounts of coffee out of), going the novelty route is always a good idea. This ceramic mug which reads, “Oh Crap! I’m An ADULT Now!” is sure to get lots of laughs and plenty of use. Nothing like the taste of harsh reality to wake you up in the morning.
25. Jorbest Pizza Blanket
Now that we’re on the subject of hilarious homewares, can we all just take a second to appreciate this hyper-realistic pizza blanket?! Measuring 60-inches in diameter, and made from soft flannel, this deliciously cozy piece of bedding basically turns people into human Hot Pockets - in the best way possible. (Also available in tortilla and waffle prints. Yum.)
26. Gentleman Jon Complete Wet Shave Kit
For the dapper dude on your list, this fancy (yet affordable) kit ensures that he never misses a shave - even in his overcrowded shared bathroom. It comes with a sleek safety razor, badger hair shave brush, sandalwood shave soap, an alum block to prevent razor burn, and five extra blades. A forever-fresh face in a box!
27. Manscaped Performance Package
When it comes to grooming, um, elsewhere, nothing beats the products by Manscaped. Their famous must-haves come together in their Performance Package, a bundle of hygiene appliances and skincare (for sensitive areas) including the Weed Whacker ear and nose hair trimmer and the Lawn Mower 3.0 waterproof trimmer featuring Advanced SkinSafe™ Technology. They even throw in a pair of boxers!
28. Leatherology Double Zip Toiletry Bag
And to store all the above grooming essentials? A timeless leather toiletry bag fit for a gentleman. We love the selection at Leatherology. This double-zip pick comes with two waterproof-lined compartments while the outer full-grain leather can be customized in various colors. You can even opt for a monogram for just $10 extra!
29. Herschel Novel Duffle
Weekend trips, overnight stays, sports practice, gym sessions… oh my! The duffle bag that’ll remain their favorite companion throughout all of that and more? The signature Novel Duffle by Herschel. A hidden shoe compartment stores their favorite kicks while a removable shoulder strap makes it easy to schlep around. Available in 28 colors and prints, this high-quality grab-and-go bag will fit anyone’s tastes.
30. ANRRI Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Whether they’re typing out their thesis or, let’s be real, playing video games, most students these days spend a lot of time staring at a screen. Help them avoid the detrimental effects of blue light exposure, including eye fatigue, blurry vision, headaches, and trouble sleeping, with these blue light-blocking glasses. The frames are stylish while the non-prescription lenses use advanced technology to filter out all the harmful rays.
31. MyDeal Winter Unisex Bluetooth Beanie
A cozy-cool beanie with a built-in Bluetooth speaker?! OK, this is actually genius. Available in a range of 30 colors and styles, these knit smart beanies make for the ideal winter accessory, allowing wearers to play music and even answer phone calls without fidgeting with their phone or AirPods. It boasts 6 hours of continuous battery life, so they can quite literally wear their favorite tunes all day.
32. Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise-Cancelling Headphones II
When situations call for more serious concentration (like studying or going through a breakup), these wireless noise-cancelling headphones are here to block out the world. Bose’s renowned QuietComfort over-ear model connects to Bluetooth and also works with Amazon Alexa, so music, entertainment, news, and more are just a voice request away, no switching devices required.
33. Great Beards of Science Pint Glass
Eureka! The perfect present for bros who love beer, beards, and science. Uncommon Goods’ glass pint glass is covered in quirky illustrations of famous scientists and their occasionally more famous facial hair. Now that’s a pour worth geeking out about.
34. BottleLoft Magnets
Bottled beverage fans who may or may not be sneaking booze into their dorm room will also appreciate these clever strip magnets that allow them to make the most of their mini fridge space by suspending bottles from the ceiling inside. Each order comes with two strips and each strip features three super-strong neodymium magnets (i.e. enough to hold a floating six-pack).
35. Bombas Men's Solid Neon Tipping Calf Sock 6-Pack
The most underrated gift you only realize was underrated once you’re living on your own? Socks. Everyone always needs socks, so why not choose some of the best socks on the market? Bombas’ advanced comfort cotton blend socks come complete with a breathable and cushioned footbed, seamless toes, and stay-up technology. Even better, for every pair sold, they donate one to a homeless shelter.
36. Hydro Flask 40 oz Wide Mouth w/ Straw Lid
They’ve gotta stay hydrated beyond beer and coffee somehow, so remind them to sip throughout the day with this 40 oz. bottle from the cult-favorite Hydro Flask brand itself. Sustainable, BPA-free, and made of stainless steel with TempShield insulation to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Choose from seven colors!
37. YETI Roadie 24 Hard Cooler
Speaking of keeping drinks cold, they’re gonna need a slightly larger option for all those tailgates, road trips, and frat parties on their calendar. Treat them to one of the best coolers on the market: the YETI Roadie 24. It’s lightweight, compact, and boasts YETI’s Permafrost insulation proven to keep even ice cold for days.
38. Mini Disposable Shot Glasses
A cheeky ode to the iconic red Solo Cups fueling every frat party, now in shot-friendly form! This pack contains 120 mini plastic cups that go straight in the recycling bin for easy cleanup. Cheers to that!
39. L-Bell Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Banish the morning struggle with this sunlight-simulating, multifunctional alarm clock. They won’t even think of hitting the snooze button through their early morning class as this alarm gradually energizes them with their own personal sunrise. In addition to FM radio and USB port, it features seven different colors and 20 levels of warm light to set the perfect ambiance at any hour of the day (or night).
40. Campus Colors Gameday Crewneck
Sure it’s a bit on the nose, but showing school spirit never goes out of style. These officially-licensed NCAA crewneck shirts are available in the school colors and logos of dozens of colleges and universities across the country. It’s a must for wearing around campus or to the big game.