The best back-to-school supplies, gear, and essentials of 2019

Here's everything you should be buying for the school year.

Credit: TI/Post-It
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Armed with your school supply list, you head off to Target (or open up an Amazon tab on your laptop) feeling prepared and optimistic—until you realize there are so many choices out there for everything. Different colors, different features, different material, different sizes. The overwhelm is very real.

To help make your back-to-school shopping a little less stressful, we've rounded up some of the best supplies and essentials below, from our favorite backpack to the best laptop for students to the number one coffee maker for your dorm room.

School Supplies

1. Backpack: L.L. Bean Quad Pack

LLBean
Credit: L.L. Bean/Reviewed.com/Jackson Ruckar

Save your back with this comfortable carry-all.

So you have all your supplies—but now you need somewhere to put them. Our favorite back-to-school backpack is the L.L. Bean Quad Pack. Thanks to its comfortable padding and tons of pockets and pouches, it's fashionable and functional.

Get the Quad Pack from L.L. Bean for $89.95

2. Pens: Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens

PaperMate
Credit: Paper Mate

Write the rainbow with these pretty pens.

I never understood people who had a "favorite pen"—until I got my first pack of Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens. And with over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, I'm clearly not alone in my love for these colorful pens. They write smoother than any other pen I've ever used and don't dry out quickly.

Get the Paper Mate InkJoy Gel Pens from Amazon for $16.93

3. Highlighters: Sharpie Liquid Highlighters

Highlighters
Credit: Sharpie

You really can't go wrong with Sharpies.

Sharpie makes more than just some of the best permanent markers—they also make some of the best highlighters. And these liquid ones are the most popular, with over 1,200 Amazon reviews praising them for their vivid colors, long-lasting ink, and the fact that they don't smear or bleed through.

Get the Sharpie Liquid Highlighters from Amazon for $5.99

4. Pencils: BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencils

Pencil
Credit: Bic

One-click writing at your fingertips.

Goodbye cheap pencils that break easily and have erasers that, well, don't even erase. These colorful mechanical pencils from BIC—dubbed the number one selling mechanical pencil out there—are refillable so they can be used all school year and don't smudge easily. Customers also say they're very comfortable to hold and write with.

Get BIC Xtra-Sparkle Mechanical Pencils from Target for $3.99

5. Glue: Elmer's All Purpose School Glue Sticks

Elmers
Credit: Elmers

Glue that actually sticks? Yes, please.

There are few things worse than pulling out your glue stick—only to find it's completely dried up after just a few uses. These washable glue sticks from Elmer's (which are number one in glue sticks and in art glues on Amazon) will help you avoid that struggle. With over 2,000 reviews, happy users like that they're easy for kids to use and have good adhesion.

Get a 30-pack of Elmer's All Purpose School Glue Sticks from Amazon for $8.88

6. Sticky Notes: Post-it Pop-up Notes

PostIt
Credit: Post-It

So bright, so fun, so sticky.

There are tons of sticky notes out there, in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. But for everyday use, you can't go wrong with the classic Pop-up Notes from Post-It. Named "America's number one favorite sticky note," people praise these Post-Its for being able to stick to almost anything and for being the perfect size (three inches square).

Get a five-pack of Post-it Pop-up Notes from Amazon for $6.99

7. Binder: Case-It Mighty Zipper Binder

CaseIt
Credit: Case-It

This binder will hold up all year long.

Take it from the 2,000-plus people on Amazon who are in love with this binder: It's worth the price. With sturdy rings and a firm backing, it's incredibly heavy-duty and has extra-large capacity so you can store more papers and supplies inside. Customers also appreciate that it zips closed to keep everything neatly inside when you're toting it from class to class.

Get the Case-it Mighty 3-Inch Zipper Binder from Amazon for $24.89

8. Planner: BooQool 2019-2020 Academic Planner

Planner
Credit: BooQool

This planner will help you keep track of all of the things.

Homework assignments, tests, extracurriculars... the school year gets busy fast. Stay organized with this customizable planner from BooQool (it has a clear pocket cover so you can change up the design whenever you want). Its 1,000-plus reviewers say it has more than enough space for listing all your to-dos and holds up well to daily wear and tear.

Get the BooQool 2019-2020 Academic Planner from Amazon for $9.99

9. Notebook: Mead Spiral Notebook

Mead
Credit: Mead

Meet your spiral notebook stash.

A lot of school supply lists look like this: one binder, one backpack, one laptop, 12398743 spiral notebooks. For the best value, stock up with these ones from Mead, which are highly-rated (and very popular) on Amazon. They come in a variety of colors so you can use one color per subject and users like how durable and sturdy they are.

Get a six-pack of Mead Spiral Notebooks from Amazon for $13.97

10. Folder: Avery Two-Pocket Folders

Avery
Credit: Avery

File in style.

The number one binder pocket on Amazon, these Avery folders received high marks for being great quality and even better value (you can get 25 for under $10!). They're also durable and won't rip easily and have ample space for storing looseleaf papers.

Get a 25-pack of Avery 47993 Two-Pocket Folders from Amazon for $8.19

11. Lunchbox: Rubbermaid LunchPak

LunchPak
Credit: Rubbermaid

Pack lunch like a pro.

If you pack lunch for your kids every day, they'll need a lunchbox that lasts—and that will actually keep their food cold. Our experts tried all different lunchboxes and coolers and found that the Rubbermaid LunchPak was the best for students. It has a freezable gel lining so you can stick the whole thing right in the freezer and parents love that it's durable and easy to clean.

Get the Rubbermaid LunchPak from Amazon for $46.69

Tech and Electronics

12. Laptop: Asus Chromebook Flip

Chromebook
Credit: Reviewed.com/Betsey Goldwasser

The Flip is sleek and stylish.

When you're hunting for a school laptop, you want to look for the sweet spot that's a computer with all the features you need but without the outrageous cost. That's what you'll get with the Chromebook Flip, which our experts voted the best laptop for students. It's lightweight, has good speed and decent storage, and, the best part, it's under $500.

Get the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA from Amazon for $470.97

13. Tablet for Kids: Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition

AmazonFire
Credit: Reviewed.com/Jackson Ruckar

The Amazon Fire is great for schoolwork (and games!) on the go.

Here at Reviewed, we tested some of the most popular tablets on the market to find the best one for students. It turned out to be the Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition because it's sturdy, portable, and has great image and audio quality. Bonus: It's easy to set up parental controls, too.

Get the Amazon Fire 8 Kids Edition from Amazon for $129.99

14. Wireless Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose
Credit: Reviewed.com/Michael Desjardin

Listen to your music in peace with these Bose headphones.

There's a reason people are obsessed with Bose (and why they're our number one wireless headphones of 2019)—they're all around great quality. Whether you want to listen to Spotify on the way to school or block out any outside noise while you're studying, this pair has the active noise-cancellation that Bose is known for and is light and comfortable enough to wear for a few hours at a time.

Get the Bose QuietComfort 35 II from Amazon for $349

15. Calculator: Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator

TI
Credit: Texas Instruments

Make math easier with a TI calculator.

There are some things the calculator app on your phone just can't handle (like graphing advanced algebraic equations). And for that—or if your school doesn't allow phones in class—you'll want the TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator, which has nearly 4,000 glowing reviews on Amazon. The number one new calculator for 2019, it has all the functions students need and comes highly recommended by teachers.

P.S.: If you don't need the graphing function, you can also opt for the much less expensive (but still great quality) TI-30XS Scientific Calculator for under $20.

Get the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator from Target for $99.99
Get the Texas Instruments TI-30XS Scientific Calculator from Target for $15.49

Dorm Room Essentials

16. Single-Serve Coffee Maker: Nespresso VertuoPlus

Nespresso
Credit: Reviewed.com/Betsey Goldwasser

Become your own barista.

Move over, Keurig—after hours of testing single-serve coffee makers, our experts chose the Nespresso VertuoPlus as the clear winner. (One Amazon reviewer even called it "a Keurig on steroids!") Not only does it brew a great cup of coffee but it's super compact, making it ideal for dorm rooms.

Get the Nespresso VertuoPlus from Amazon for $149.84

17. Comforter: Linenspa All-Season Down Comforter

Linenspa
Credit: Linenspa

Upgrade your dorm bed with a cozy comforter.

Comfort is key when it comes to your dorm room, especially your bed. And this quilted comforter from Linenspa will provide just that. Chosen as our best value comforter of 2019, it has over 6,000 positive Amazon reviews touting its warmth and stain-resistant surface. Tip: Check your specific dorm's bed size before you click buy—most require a Twin XL comforter rather than a regular Twin.

Get the Linenspa All-Season Down Comforter from Amazon for $49.99

18. Pillow: Xtreme Comforts Memory Foam Pillow

Pillo
Credit: Reviewed.com/Jackson Ruckar

Bonus: This pillow is also hypoallergenic.

For the best sleep in your new bed, snag one of these memory foam pillows which is our top-rated bed pillow. That's because it's adjustable (so you can make your pillow firmer or cushier depending on your preference) and provides the perfect balance of support and softness.

Get the Xtreme Comforts Shredded Memory Foam Pillow from Amazon for $49.99

19. Bath Towel: Fieldcrest Spa Solid Bath Towel

BathTowel
Credit: Reviewed.com/Camryn Rabideau

The fluffier, the better when it comes to towels.

You may have to settle for sharing a bathroom in your dorm but that doesn't mean you should settle for less-than-amazing towels. These plush towels from Fieldcrest were chosen as the best bath towels of the year by our experts thanks to their perfect size and ability to soak up water better than most other towels.

Get the Fieldcrest Spa Solid Bath Towel from Amazon for $24.90

20. Storage Bin: Sterilite Ultra Storage Box

Bin
Credit: Reviewed.com/Jackson Ruckar

Under-the-bed bins will keep your room organized and clutter-free.

When you live in a small dorm room, storage space is limited. Make the most of every inch by using under-the-bed bins, like these from Sterilite, which our testers found to be the best of their kind. With a 66-quart capacity, they're incredibly roomy yet slide under your bed easily (thanks, wheels!) and can be neatly stacked.

Get a four-pack of Sterilite Ultra Storage Boxes from Amazon for $69.76

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Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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