20 gifts teenage boys actually want in 2020
They'll appreciate any of these dynamite gifts
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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.
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.
- Get the HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset from Amazon for $79
- Get the Gtracing Gaming Chair from Amazon for $139.99
- Get the Adjustable 14 Position Rocker Game Chair from Wayfair for $74.96
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.
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.
- Get Apple AirPodsPro with charging case from Target for $199.99
- Get Mpow Flame Headphones from Amazon for $19.98
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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.
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.
- Get Allbirds Wool Runners for $95
- Get Bombas Holiday Calf Sock 4-Pack for $57
- Get Sneaker balls from Amazon for $4.99
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time.