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Know someone who understands how to tell you exactly what they want? If so, they probably aren’t a teenage boy. It’s not exactly controversial to say that teen boys aren’t known for being the most expressive of people. Because of this, people in their lives might be expected to predict their wants and needs, which makes things difficult—especially shopping for presents for said teen boys around the holiday season.
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A direct question might not get you the answer you want (or perhaps any answer at all), but here at Reviewed, we know what to look for. These are the gifts teen boys actually want this year, from laptops to gaming equipment to everything else.
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1. For the gamer who needs the newest stuff: The PS5 or Xbox Series X or Series S (or some accessories)
If a teen guy is into video games, there’s probably only one thing they know they want: The new Sony Playstation 5 or new Xbox series X or Series S. But they probably aren’t the only ones who want these hot new items—both are currently sold out almost everywhere.
If you can’t snag a console, consider adding on some accessories for when they do get their hands on their desired gaming vessel. We love the HyperX Cloud II gaming headset, which we named our Best Value pick in our test of gaming headphones. These stood out from the rest because of their comfortable leatherette headphones and excellent sound quality, which delivers each note of the game with depth and clarity.
It also can’t hurt to get a good gaming chair, such as the Gtracing chair or a Rocker chair, both of which provide a comfortable, ergonomic base to keep them supported throughout hours of gaming.
2. For the guy who doesn’t want to carry much: Silk Wallet Slayer
We named the Silk Wallet Slayer our top choice for wallet/phone case hybrids because it does exactly what it claims to do: protects iPhones and holds cash and cards in a sleek, stylish package. The cardholder doesn’t have a ton of space, which keeps it slim, but it’s still more than sufficient to carry a student ID, driver’s license or learner’s permit and a credit or debit card or two. This makes it an ideal phone case for a teen guy—especially one who never remembers to bring his wallet with him when he needs it.
Get the Silk Wallet Slayer from Amazon for $23.99
3. For the audiophile: Apple AirPods Pro
What is there to say about Apple AirPods Pro that hasn’t already been said? Their sound is shockingly good and they have great battery life and an improved shape so they fit nicely into almost everyone’s ears. And, for many teens (and, let’s face it, adults), they are a bonafide status symbol. Giving them to a teen is a surefire way to help up their cool factor and, possibly, yours.
Don’t feel like shelling out top-level cash for a top-level product? We also love Mpow’s affordable Flame earbuds, which are waterproof and have hooks to keep them from falling out of the ears, even during vigorous workouts. They have a cord that connects them to each other, so they aren’t true wireless but, unlike Airpods, they come in different colors, such as pink, red, black and blue.
4. For the guy who does everything from bed: A reading pillow
Trust us: Lounging around in bed all day is no easy task. Whether your teen guy is taking online classes, chatting with friends, playing video games or anything else, whatever pillow-prop situation he’s working with probably isn’t cutting it. Rectify that with this reading pillow. It has a sturdy foam interior, soft micro-plus exterior, two-arm support and a headrest that should provides him with enough support to keep comfortable and alert throughout whatever task he’s doing.
Get the Husband Reading Pillow from Amazon for $79.95
5. For the techie: An iPad
It’s hard to feel disappointed after unwrapping an iPad. But if you need any convincing to give it as a gift, the Apple iPad is our favorite tablet, thanks to its crisp display, easy multitasking abilities and sleek, lightweight construction. Whether it’s for watching Netflix, downloading textbooks or as a supplement to a laptop, it’s a useful (and fun) addition to a teen guy’s tech collection.
Get the Apple iPad from Amazon for $329
6. For the guy who’s an occasional klutz: Tomtoc laptop sleeve
For many students, a case-less laptop is an accident waiting to happen. Prevent these future (expensive) mishaps by getting them a case. In our review of laptop sleeves, the Tomtoc performed well, thanks to its luxurious inner lining, spacious outer pocket, and rounded protective corners that absorb the shocks from falls and bumps.
Get the Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Sleeve from Amazon for $20.99
7. For the guy who always forgets to charge his phone: Anker PowerCore
Portable phone chargers are always nice to have on hand—especially if you’re always on your phone, or never remember to charge it when you’re at home. Because both of those statements could very well apply to a teen guy, it’s probably a good idea to get them a portable charger. The Anker PowerCore is a great choice because it’s compact, holds multiple charges and charges phones quickly. (Reminding him to charge his charger is a topic for another time.)
Get the Anker PowerCore Slim from Walmart for $29.99
8. For the guy who never goes shopping for himself: Old Navy plaid shirt
Most teen guys are still figuring out their personal style. One thing that’s sure to go over smoothly, no matter how much interest (or lack thereof) he has in clothes? A classic plaid shirt. This one, from Old Navy, has hundreds of rave reviews, thanks to its subtle-yet-flattering colors (gray and dark blue), relaxed-but-not-slouchy fit and comfortable cotton-spandex material. Whether it’s paired with a t-shirt or worn on its own, it’s likely to become his staple for years to come.
Get the Regular Fit Built-In Everyday Shirt from Old Navy for $27.99
9. For the guy with a lot to carry: L.L. Bean Quad Pack
A good-quality backpack is vital in high school and college (even if it’s mostly remote). If you’ve noticed your teen’s backpack is fraying a little around the edges, replace it with the L.L. Bean Quad Pack, our pick for best backpack. It’s got squishy shoulder pads, tons of well-organized storage space and easily-adjustable straps that make it a cinch to fit any kind of body.
Get the Quad Pack from L. L. Bean for $64.99
10. For the tech-focused student: HP Envy x360
The HP Envy is one of our favorite laptops for someone on a budget, making it ideal for high school and college students. It’s lightweight—yet sturdy enough to withstand jostling around in a backpack—runs fast and has great battery life. All in all, its performance exceeds what you might expect from its sub-$800 price tag, which makes it a great choice for anyone who needs a highly functional, low-maintenance laptop.
Get the HP Envy x360 from HP Store, starting at $699
11. For the outdoorsy dude: Hydro Flask
Whether it’s for sports practice, hiking or staying hydrated during the school day, a Hydro Flask water bottle is a cool gift for any teen. The Hydro Flask landed our top pick of all the water bottles we’ve tested because it has incredible heat and coolness retention, doesn’t transfer weird flavors and is easy to carry around, thanks to its slim design and handles around its cap. (Not to mention, owning one is a status symbol, in a low-key kind of way.)
Get the Hydro Flask from Backcountry for $29.95
12. For the guy who’d eat Taco Bell every day if he could: Burrito blanket
This blanket is the item to have for any guy who lives and breathes by a post-school or -practice Crunchwrap Supreme. (Or Chipotle burrito. Or frozen microwave burrito. Or any kind of burrito, really.) Its uncanny tortilla pattern and cozy microfiber material is perfect to curl up in after a long, hard day when he just needs some comfort (food, that is).
Get the Burrito Blanket from Amazon for $30.99
13. For the beanie lover: Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat
This Carhartt beanie has a lot of fans, thanks to its classic design and tightly woven acrylic fabric that keeps the wearer warm, comfortable and stylish. Best of all, the cap comes in more than 25 colors, so it’s possible for teens to maintain individuality when wearing it, even if everyone at their school owns a similar version.
Get the Carhartt Acrylic Watch Hat from Dick’s Sporting Goods for $16.99
14. For the sneakerhead: Sneaker balls, Bombas calf-length socks, Allbirds wool runners
Trendy sustainably-sourced shoe brand Allbirds is everywhere—and, based on our review, is actually worth the hype. They’re super comfy, long-lasting and stylish enough to make even the snobbiest of shoe nerds happy.
Round out the gift with some extra-comfy Bombas socks and odor-neutralizing sneaker balls (hey, foot stank happens to the best of us), and you’ll be all set.
15. For the guy who loves lawn games: Tabletop Cornhole
Cornhole is an almost universally-beloved, social distancing-appropriate sport. (Yes, it is actually a sport.) But when colder weather, rain or snow make it necessary to play the game inside, this tabletop version is a great option. Equipped with eight mini beanbags, plastic launchers and an on-the-board scorekeeper, it’s an all but guaranteed way to have a blast with the family inside the house.
Get Tabletop Cornhole from Uncommon Goods for $48
16. For the on-the-go music lover: JBL Flip Waterproof Speaker
This JBL is one of our favorite portable speakers, thanks to its excellent sound quality and robust battery life. It’s also almost entirely waterproof and quite durable, meaning it can endure, say, being knocked around in a backpack or used as all-purpose speakers in a college dorm. It also comes in a wide range of colors—including camo—to suit anyone with any kind of style.
Get the JBL Flip 5 Waterproof Speaker from Amazon for $89.95
17. For the guy who likes to feel cozy and look sharp in and out of the house: Minnetonka Slippers
Know a teen guy who constantly has scuffed-up, stepped-on sneakers from sliding them on and off every time he leaves the house? If so, they’ll appreciate a pair of Minnetonka moccasins. These are sort of a shoe and sort of a slipper, with an extra-soft, pile-lined interior, stylish suede exterior and indoor-outdoor rubber soles.
Reviewers say the soles are perfect for a quick jaunt outside, even in the frigid cold, but don’t track much dirt inside. This makes them an ideal choice for any teen guy who wants footwear he can slip on without having to think too much about it, no matter what he’s doing.
Get the Minnetonka Suede Moccasin With Faux Fur Lining from Nordstrom for $49.50
18. For the guy who’s always looking for his mask: Champion Adult Cotton Wicking Face Mask
Sure, it’s not the most fun gift. But it is a necessary one—and if your guy is always complaining that his mask gets uncomfortable when he’s moving around or wearing it for long periods of time, he’ll find this Champion mask as a (nearly literal) breath of fresh air.
It’s made of a lightweight, moisture-wicking cotton that our reviewer says makes it perfect for working out. It’s also washable and reusable (up to 20 washes to ensure proper protection) and, at $7, it’s a perfect stocking stuffer for any guy who’s in need of a new mask.
Get the Adult Cotton Wicking Face Mask from Champion for $7
19. For the guy who wants an excuse to throw things inside the house: Throw Throw Burrito
In the doldrums of winter, it can’t hurt to have some new indoor games on hand—and most teen guys will be thrilled by the prospect of getting one that combines two of his favorite things: burritos and throwing things at his siblings (we’re just guessing). Throw Throw Burrito is a game that its creators describe as “half card game, half dodgeball,” in which players try to collect matching cards while pelting (or dodging) foam burritos. Collecting cards gets you points, but getting hit loses them.
It’s playable by two to six people, so it’s a great option for playing during some downtime with a sibling or as the main feature of a family game night.
Get Throw Throw Burrito from Target for $24.86
20. For the guy who’s always on the move: Fitbit Versa 3
If he’s into tech and fitness, a fitness tracker is a great way to serve the intersection of these interests—and this newly-released Fitbit Versa 3 is an especially great option for any active teen guy.
It has a built-in Amazon Alexa and Google voice assistant, which allows the user to check the weather or get reminders with a simple question. It also tracks all kinds of workouts, from runs to bikes to hikes, in addition to measuring step count all day long.
The Versa 3 also allows the user to connect to Bluetooth headphones and control Spotify, Pandora or Deezer, which makes it possible to listen to tunes and podcasts during a workout without lugging around another device. Finally, it tracks sleep, so he can make sure he’s making the most of his zzz’s.
Get the Fitbit Versa 3 from Amazon for $199.95
21. For the one who could use some self-care: Kiehl’s men’s skincare starter set
Skincare can be confusing. If you know a teen who is just starting to come around to the concept of washing and moisturizing his face, but isn’t quite sure how to do so, this Kiehl’s mini set is a great start. It contains face wash, moisturizer, shave cream, exfoliating body soap and hand lotion—all of which can help a teen learn the basics of skincare in a simple, low-maintenance way.
Get the Kiehl’s Men’s Groom-On-The-Go Set for $40
22. For the guy who’s obsessed with The Office: Schrute Farms Sweatshirt
If he spent a large portion of his shelter-in-place period watching (or rewatching) “The Office,” this sweatshirt is an essential gift. He will immediately know the not-so-secret meaning behind this sweatshirt, which references the farm owned by resident “Office” oddball Dwight Schrute. Reviewers of the sweatshirt love its soft, warm material and the fact that it often gets them appreciative nods and smiles from fellow fans of the series.
Get the Schrute Farms Sweatshirt from Etsy for $23.95
23. For the guy who’s always snacking: Peanut butter spoon
Of all the culinary tragedies a teen boy might endure, few are greater than reaching the bottom of a jar of peanut butter and realizing there’s just enough to have another mini-spoonful. If only he could get to the dribs and drabs stuck in the corners! Enter this novelty silicone spoon-and-spatula combo. It has a pointed edge to get at nooks and crannies of the jar, a flat edge to scrape every last bit and a rounded edge for direct delivery to the peanut butter-lover’s mouth.
Get the Peanut Butter Spoon from Uncommon Goods for $12
24. For the guy who was born in the wrong generation: Crosley C6 Record Player
Bowie and The Beatles sound great through a pair of Airpods. But if you know a teen who’s becoming a true audiophile (or just watched “High Fidelity” for the first time), he’s probably hankering to hear his favorite artists on vinyl. In this case, we recommend the Crosley C6, our best value pick in our test of record players. We love the clean sound and cool, retro-inspired look it delivers at an inexpensive price (compared to other turntables).
With the C6, he’ll get a way to listen to the classics the way they were originally heard—and some motivation to support his local record shop.
Get the Crosley C6 Turntable from Amazon for $146.95
25. For the guy who loves layers: Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece
This Patagonia makes for a fantastic grab-and-go sweater for road trips, outdoor gatherings and everything in between. When the weather is still warm, it works as a main layer of warmth, and when it gets cooler, it’s slim enough to provide extra insulation under a jacket. For a teen boy who seems to rotate among a few go-tos, this sweater will no doubt get a prime spot in his rotation.
Get the Patagonia Better Sweater Quarter-Zip from Nordstrom for $119
26. For the wannabe world traveler: Scratch-off map
International travel, whether it’s a study abroad trip or summer backpacking excursion, probably won’t be an option for a while. But if your guy is always hankering after new passport stamps, you can help him get excited about the places he will go, one day, with this scratch-off map. When you rub the shiny gold surface with a coin (or fingernail), it reveals a bold pop of color, making each map totally unique to the person who owns it.
Giving the map now offers the satisfying task of scratching off the places he’s already visited and can only get him more pumped about planning his next trip (soon, hopefully), so he can scratch off even more.
Get the Luckies Scratch-off Map Deluxe from Uncommon Goods for $32
27. For the guy who needs a good reason to wear a coat: North Face or Uniqlo coats
Not all teen guys will willingly wear the coat they need to get them through winter—but with this North Face down coat, they won’t need any prompting. It’s puffy and warm, yet still stylish in a retro way, so they’ll be glad to pull it out and wear it all winter.
If you’re looking for a less expensive (but no less enticing) outerwear option, the Ultra Light Down Parka from Uniqlo is a good bet. It contains a down filling to insulate body heat, but still feels lightweight. It also folds down well, so it can be easily stowed if it’s not needed.
28. For the guy who always drops his phone: Popsocket
Whether it’s from FaceTiming, browsing Instagram or taking a front-facing video, there are a lot of ways to drop a phone. This Popsocket, a gadget that grips to the back of a phone or case and provides something that’s almost like a hand, might help prevent it. It’s not a full preventative measure, but it helps a hand get a better, more comfortable grip to prevent it from slipping.
Shop Popsockets starting at $8
29. For the guy who likes some good headwear: BDG Bucket Hat
Bucket hats are having a capital-M moment among the youths. So, if you know a style-focused teen guy, he’ll probably get a lot of use out of this trendy hat. It’s made of cotton, so it allows comfy airflow to the head, and also has an adjustable chin strap, so it won’t fly off if the brim catches a breeze. It also comes in three colors—army green, taupe and blue.
Get the BDG Boonie Bucket Hat from Urban Outfitters for $9.99
30. For the guy who wants to stay warm and look cool in the snow: Duck boots
Bean Boots are a tried-and-true holiday gift for a reason. These iconic snow boots— the “original antidote for wet feet,” according to L.L. Bean—keep feet warm and comfy in wind, snow and rain. Their design, with grippy rubber soles and a full-grain rubber upper, hasn’t changed in the 100-plus years they’ve been around, so you don’t have to worry about them going out of style. This is good news, because they last for many, many years, according to hundreds of happy Bean Boots reviewers.
Love the look of duck boots, but not L.L. Bean’s $139 price? Sperry makes a great dupe. This brand’s pair has thick and tractioned rubber soles, a sleek leather upper and a similar classic, two-toned look at a more affordable price of about $90. Whatever option you go for, it’s a great way to ensure your dude’s feet stay toasty all winter and for many more to come.
31. For the guy who wants to revisit the classics: Disney+ (and maybe Hulu and ESPN)
Sure, maybe he has access to his family’s account. But if not—or he just wants his own—consider giving him a Disney+ subscription. A full year of access is $69.99 (or $6.99 a month), and with it, he can watch old favorites from his childhood, plus newer movies and shows such as “Black Panther” and “The Mandalorian.” To really sweeten the gift, you can make it a package with Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month. No matter what you opt for, it’s sure to keep him entertained throughout the cold winter months ahead.
Get Disney+ for $6.99 a month/$69.99 a year or Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month
32. For the t-shirt lover: Champion long-sleeve tee
This Champion t-shirt is made of an extra-soft, breathable cotton that makes it ideal for hanging out around the house, shooting hoops outside or anything else. In short, it’s classic, it’s simple and it’s comfy. What more do you (and he) need?
Get the Champion Long Sleeve Tee for $19
33. For the guy who always needs something to do with his hands: Build-on brick mug
Drinking water, juice, or coffee around the house is a lot more fun with this Lego-style mug. It has raised dots on the outside and comes with three packs of bricks, allowing its owner to build custom creations while enjoying a beverage. Whether he has restless hands or just likes building things, he’ll love this mug.
Get the Build-On Brick Mug from Amazon for $16.90
34. For the guy who always hits snooze: Philips Wake-up Light
Getting up in the morning is tough for anyone—and it’s even tougher for most teens, who may hit the snooze button on their phone alarm so many times it renders them immune to its sirens. If this sounds like someone you know, consider getting them a Philips Wake-Up Light. This is an alarm clock that wakes you up with gentle light and nature-inspired sounds—light starts glowing 30 minutes before wake-up time and gradually increases until the alarm noise goes off. With this method, alarms aren’t quite as jarring, and mornings can feel a little more pleasant for everyone in the house.
Get the Philips Wake-Up Light from Amazon for $99
35. For the guy who likes a game wherever he goes: Nintendo Switch Lite
Sure, the new Playstations and Xboxes are great—but they aren’t exactly portable. The Nintendo Switch Lite, however, is a great, all-purpose portable gaming system that can be taken wherever one goes. Gamers can play a bunch of classics on it (including Mario Kart and Animal Crossing) that will be sure to inspire new and seasoned gamers alike.
Get the Nintendo Switch Lite from Target for $199
36. For the guy who drops his phone a lot: A cool new case
Smartphones? Way too easy to drop. Help your teen guy keep his intact, even when it slips out of his hand, with one of Lifeproof’s Wake cases. This ultra-slim, eco-friendly phone case is made of 85% recycled plastic, but can help phones survive drops of up to six feet. It’s also available in sizes for Apple, Samsung and Google phones and comes in colors green, gray, purple and black.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 36 best gifts for teen boys – Good gift ideas he actually wants