Best College Graduation Gifts for 2021
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College graduation marks a transition filled with exciting possibilities. Many grads are living on their own for the first time, which means looking and paying for an apartment. In the U.S., the average one-bedroom apartment is more than $1,620 per month. This hefty price tag can make furnishing a new home difficult for students.
Help a loved one feel comfortable in their post-graduation life by getting them one the best college graduation gifts of 2021. We've sorted these recommendations into seven categories to help you find a product that suits your grad's lifestyle and interests.
- Price Legend
$ = Under $10 | $$ = $10-$25 | $$$ = $26-$50 | $$$$ = Over $50
For the New Apartment
Help your loved one get up for an early-morning workout with this coffee and espresso maker from Nespresso. On top of detailed instructions and 12 sample capsules, this package includes a Nespresso Aeroccino3, which can froth milk in seconds without intrusive vibrations or noise.
Sparkling Water Machine
By using SodaStream, you can enjoy refreshing sparkling water without contributing to the waste created by single-use plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Product contents include a sparkling water maker, a carbonating bottle, and a CO2 cartridge that can carbonate 60 liters of water. Add flavor to your fizzy beverage with SodaStream Fruit Drops and other compatible ingredients.
With 250 watts of torque power, the small Magic Bullet blender lets you grind, blend, chop, mix, and whip up healthy smoothies and snacks. Blender cups are made from high-impact plastic, making them durable and easy to clean. This 11-piece kit comes with a recipe book, sealable cup lids, and extra blades.
Using precise heat and timer settings, this stainless steel toaster oven can evenly bake a 9-inch pizza or toast four slices of bread. It also has a broil setting and can be used to keep food warm. At a little over 16 inches across, the Black+Decker Toaster Oven is a perfect fit for small kitchens.
Help your recent college graduate make healthy, cost-effective meals with this programmable pressure cooker. The Instant Pot Lux Mini uses the latest technology to steam, slow cook, and sauté in 70% less time than conventional appliances. Additional features include one-touch controls, adjustable temperature settings, stainless steel construction, and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
This nonstick cookware is made from anodized aluminum, which evenly conducts heat and resists scratching and corrosion. The 12-piece set comes with two frypans, three saucepans, a dutch oven, a slotted spatula, and a solid spoon. T-fal cookware is dishwasher safe and withstands heat up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Made of stainless steel, LIANYU silverware is rust-resistant and easy to clean. The 20-piece set includes even numbers of tea spoons; salad forks; and dinner forks, knives, and spoons. Each piece is sturdy and comfortable to hold, making this silverware set a good fit for the dinner table or around a campfire.
No kitchen is complete without a durable knife set. These Cuisinart knives boast carbon stainless steel construction and ergonomic design, making them lightweight and sharp. They're suitable for precise chopping, carving, and slicing. The 15-piece block set comes with 13 knives — including an 8-inch chef knife and six steak knives — and all-purpose scissors.
This premium porcelain dinner set from Safdie features four dinner plates, four bowls, four salad plates, and four mugs. The dinnerware can be stacked and features a chip-resistant, microwave-safe, and dishwasher-safe design.
Now that they're out of college, the grad in your life should stop drinking beverages out of red plastic cups. This 12-piece, dishwasher-safe glassware set from Home Essentials contains even numbers of double old-fashioned and highball glasses. It also comes with four juice glasses.
Reusable Food Storage
Meal prepping becomes a lot easier with these Stasher reusable food bags. Made from platinum silicone, these sandwich, snack, and half-gallon bags create an airtight seal to keep food fresh and flavorful. In addition to being microwave and dishwasher safe, the Stasher bags contain no BPA, latex, or PVC.
This 12-piece set of dish and kitchen towels from Utopia Towels lets users keep their home clean without producing paper waste. Made from ring-spun cotton, the towels are both durable and soft.
Help your grad save money on food with "The Ultimate Cooking for One Cookbook." Author Joanie Zisk compiles 175 recipes that focus on minimizing waste and leftovers. The book is divided into chapters for appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, breakfasts, and vegetarian cuisine.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
This eight-piece set of measuring utensils is a great gift for the dedicated baker and occasional cupcake maker. These measuring cups and spoons are made from stainless steel and designed to produce accurate results. The pieces are simple to clean and nest for convenient storage.
This complete household hand tool set from Cartman can help your grad decorate and maintain their new apartment. The 148-piece kit includes heat-treated and chrome-plated wrenches, pliers, hex keys, and screwdrivers — all neatly organized in a durable plastic storage case.
The EUREKA Airspeed vacuum cleaner is powerful but lightweight. You can switch between the all-floor head and the detachable handle by pressing a button. The vacuum comes with a washable filter and accessories like a dusting brush and crevice tool.
Made of layers of cotton, polyester, and microbeads, this premium weighted blanket from Quility is soft and breathable. The blanket comes with a detachable duvet cover for added comfort and easy cleaning. As a general rule, weighted blankets should be about 10% of the user's body weight.
Help the grad in your life sleep better with a new bed sheet set. Choose from various sizes and over 40 colors and patterns, including imperial blue, striped white, and checkered burgundy. These bed sheets are resistant to stains, wrinkles, fading, and shrinking.
This bed-in-a-box from Nectar is constructed from five layers of gel memory foam that cool and evenly distribute weight, providing a restful experience regardless of a user's sleep position. The package comes with two premium pillows and a lifetime guarantee. Additionally, users can test out this mattress for a full year without commitment or risk.
Bathroom Towel Set
This towel set includes two washcloths, two bath towels, and two hand towels made of luxury cotton imported from Turkey. These soft, lightweight towels absorb moisture rapidly and can be hand or machine washed.
Complete the look of a living room or bedroom with a 5'3" x 7'6" area rug from Artistic Weavers. Fashioned out of machine-woven polypropylene, the rug can withstand playful pets and high traffic, and can be easily vacuumed or spot cleaned. Pick from colors like grey, black, and dark blue.
For the Tech Lover
Released in 2020, this TV is fully compatible with Amazon's streaming services. Use Alexa voice controls to quickly access more than 500,000 films and TV episodes, as well as play music and manage other smart devices. This TV produces richly defined images using LED backlighting and high dynamic range technology.
The Apple Watch SE pairs with the iPhone to provide enhanced connectivity, allowing users to receive messages and calls, play music, and use the features of Siri. The device also acts as a health coach, analyzing workouts for potential improvements and monitoring heartbeats for irregularities. Users can customize their Apple Watch with stylish bands and digital faces.
Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Device With Alexa Voice Remote
Stream movies and TV shows in 4K with this streaming media stick. You can control devices with Alexa voice commands and store up to 8 GB of data. Compatible with various subscription services, the Fire TV Stick also supports Dolby Vision picture and Dolby Atmos audio.
The latest Apple AirPods use state-of-the-art wireless connection technology to play stable, high-quality sound. In addition to a one-step setup process, these AirPods boast a universal fit and give you access to a variety of features through Siri. The wireless charging case provides up to 24 hours of battery life.
A portable and waterproof Bluetooth speaker, the JBL FLIP 4 offers enhanced stereo sound and a speakerphone with built-in echo and noise-canceling features. Connect up to two phones/tablets and amplify the audio by synching multiple JBL speakers. Additional features include voice command using Google Now or Siri and a 12-hour battery life.
The Echo Dot is a smart speaker capable of delivering clear sound quality. Users can listen to music through Pandora or finish a bestselling audiobook with Audible. Thanks to a suite of Alexa features, you can also check tomorrow's weather, control compatible devices, and keep your home safe with the Guard app.
Bluetooth Tracker Tiles
With this four pack of Bluetooth trackers, you can help the recent college graduate in your life find their keys, wallet, and phone as they rush to an important job interview. The free app (compatible with Android and iOS) lets users trigger an alarm within 150-200 feet and, when outside that range, retrieve an item's most recent location.
For the New Job
Help a recent college graduate nail their job interview with this matte black document organizer. Made of faux leather, the Stylio padfolio has a refillable writing pad, a pen holder, and double-stitched pockets to securely store resumes, business cards, and other documents.
In addition to being a weekly/monthly scheduler, this planner is also a productivity journal that helps users improve their time-management skills and achieve goals. The planner comes in a gift box, which also contains an illustrated guide and 150 colorful organization stickers. Choose from several colors, including emerald, amber yellow, and rose gold.
Handheld Clothes Steamer
This handheld steamer helps working professionals look their best. On top of its lightweight portability, this garment steamer boasts 700 watts of power and a 240-milliliter water tank capable of producing 15 minutes of continuous steam. Use the included brush to remove stray hairs and any remaining wrinkles.
The Pro M15w printer is the smallest of its kind and HP's least expensive wireless laser printer. Through the HP Smart app, users can print from their smartphones through cloud networks like Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Additional features include reliable wireless connectivity and fast printing capable of producing 19 pages per minute.
Help your college grad keep prepared meals fresh with an insulated and leakproof lunch bag. This bag contains compartments for meals, drinks, and utensils, as well as a durable and adjustable shoulder strap that can be detached. Choose from various color and pattern combinations, including classic black and dark blue.
For the Jet-Setter
Scratch-Off World Map
This scratch-off world map lets die-hard travelers document their adventures in gold. This detailed map features topographic shading and clear and colored national boundaries. The product is delivered in a protective tube and is ready for display.
Airline Gift Card
Travel can be life changing, particularly for recent college graduates trying to find their place and purpose in the world. A Southwest Airlines gift card lets you help them pay for a plane ticket in denominations of $50, $100, $150, or $200.
With this handy laptop backpack, traveling professionals can store their electronics and personal belongings in three secure compartments. The bag also features strong metal zippers, a combination lock, and a hidden port to connect headphones or a USB cable. Choose from six colors, including gray, purple, and black.
Travel Tote Bag
An elegant alternative to a clunky backpack, this laptop tote from Kate Spade contains two compartments large enough to store a 13-inch device. The bag also has an interior zipper pocket and exterior side pockets for personal accessories.
Made from a lightweight but tough thermoplastic polymer, this luggage set allows users to securely store clothes, shoes, and other belongings in mesh zip compartments. Ergonomic handles and multidirectional wheels provide ease of mobility. The three-piece set includes 20-, 24-, and 28-inch upright suitcases.
This duffel bag is perfect for a weekend getaway or a trip to the gym. The bag offers over 42 liters of primary storage space, a separate footwear compartment, and a detachable padded shoulder strap. With dimensions of 11.75 inches x 20.5 inches x 11 inches, this duffel satisfies the carry-on requirements of most airlines.
Travel Toiletry Bag
This hanging travel bagc comes with six compartments, including two mesh pockets, and a stainless steel metal hook to help busy travelers keep their toiletries protected and organized. Made of high-quality PVC, the bag is durable, waterproof, and quick to dry.
Whether by plane, train, or automobile, prolonged travel can be taxing on the body. The Lucear memory foam pillow twists to accommodate multiple positions and shapes for individualized support of the back, shoulder, head, or upper spine. This travel pillow is easy to clean and attaches to any bag.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 lets you print color photos immediately after snapping a picture. The camera features automatic exposure control and a one-touch selfie mode for easier photography. You can also personalize your camera with shutter button accessories.
For the Reader
A how-to guide on managing adult life, this book provides insight on topics like filing taxes, finances, and work relationships. The book offers useful and humorous advice for complex subjects, along with activities and quizzes.
Audible lets users listen to the latest memoirs, novels, and podcasts from their smartphone or tablet device. The Premium Plus gift membership provides access to a huge library of books and original content. Members receive one credit each month to purchase any title in the Audible catalog and the ability to make free exchanges.
The newest Kindle Paperwhite boasts a glare-free display and up to 32 GB of memory, allowing users to store plenty of books and comics. This e-reader is waterproof and provides weeks of entertainment with a single charge. Additional features include Bluetooth connectivity, Audible compatibility, and immersive reading tools.
For the Beauty Enthusiast
A gold pendant necklace crafted by Valloey Rover jewelers is a good accessory to any outfit. This hypoallergenic necklace (meaning it contains no lead or nickel) can be customized with a single-letter initial and dangles from a chain that extends to 2 inches.
Discover new makeup and skincare products with a monthly Allure Beauty Box. Each package contains six or more products personally tested by Allure experts, as well as a magazine filled with tips and discounts. There is no shipping cost, and you can freely pause or cancel the subscription at any time.
This NEST Fragrances candle offers 50-60 hours of pink pomelo grapefruit-scented burn time. The classic glass vase features a striped etching, and the cosmetic-grade wax helps diffuse the scent more effectively and for longer.
For the Picky Shopper
Give the gift of online shopping with an Amazon gift card in any amount from $10-$2,000. The card is sealed in a mini envelope, and free one-day shipping is available depending on the location. Amazon does not charge a processing fee or stipulate an expiration date for gift cards.
An Amazon Prime Membership makes purchasing goods from the world's largest online retailer easier and cheaper. Members enjoy free expedited shipping, including two-day delivery of prescription medication, early access to daily Lightning Deals, and exclusive discounts at affiliated stores like Whole Foods. A Prime Membership also provides access to a library of free music, movies, TV shows, and video games.
Feature Image: AzmanJaka / E+ / Getty Images