The 50 Best Gifts for College Students

Looking for gift ideas for the college student in your life? Our list includes 50 options, including must-have items, unique ideas, and fun gifts.
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The staff writers for BestColleges collaborate to deliver unique, student-driven content on topics such as career development, college life, and college planning....
Updated on June 13, 2023
Edited by
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Tyler Epps
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Editor & Writer

Tyler Epps is an editor for BestColleges. He writes and edits content about higher education, specializing in degree planning and college rankings. He is passionate about helping students prepare for college and navigate their educational journey. He...
Learn more about our editorial process is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Are you shopping for a college student? It can be hard to come up with great gift ideas for college students. Do they need practical gifts, like slippers or a backpack? Or something fun like a card game or popcorn popper? Maybe they'd love tech gifts like noise-canceling headphones or a new laptop.

Our list of 50 gift ideas makes it easier to find the perfect gift. We included practical, fun, and thoughtful options so you can find the perfect gifts for your budget.


Our Recommendation: Apple Airpods With Wireless Charging Case

Perfect for studying, working out, or zoning out, Airpods are easy to use and portable. Plus, they pair seamlessly with iPhones and other Apple products. College students can stream shows without bothering their roommates or listen to study playlists with Airpods. Our pick also comes with a wireless charging case.

Price Range: Over $100

Echo Dot

Our Recommendation: Echo Dot (5th Gen)

For the college student who sleeps through their alarm, forgets their coat, and loves music, an Echo Dot makes the perfect gift. Set times and alarms, check the weather, and call family hands-free using the Echo Dot. It's also a great way to keep up with the news and play music.

Price Range: $51-$100

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Our Recommendation: Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones

Being able to block out the world to study is an important skill for all college students. These Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones can help. The over-the-ear design relies on smart noise cancellation, and the battery lasts for up to 35 hours. These headphones use Bluetooth, so no wires are required.

Price Range: Over $100

Bluetooth Speaker

Our Recommendation: JBL Charge 4 Waterproof Speaker

A speaker is an essential item for college, providing a soundtrack for studying or a playlist when friends visit. The JBL Charge 4 is waterproof and portable. The battery life of this speaker lasts for up to 20 hours. It charges through a USB port and comes in multiple colors.

Price Range: Over $100

Instant Camera

Our Recommendation: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Camera

College students love snapping pictures on their phones. But an instant camera prints out photos on the spot. College students can snap pics with friends, decorate their dorm rooms, or take selfies with the Fujifilm Instax Mini. Throw in a pack of instant film for a perfect gift bundle.

Price Range: $51-$100

Fitness Watch

Our Recommendation: Fitbit Inspire 2 Health & Fitness Tracker

It's easy as a college student to make unhealthy choices when it comes to diet, sleep and exercise (especially during finals week). The Fitbit Inspire 2 can help you track your daily steps, heart rate, and even REM sleep cycles. It comes with a free 1-year trial of Fitbit Premium.

Price Range: $51-$100

Coffee Maker

Our Recommendation: Black+Decker 12-Cup Coffee Maker

Some college students rely on caffeine to manage their daily routines. This simple Black+Decker coffee maker gets the job done at a reasonable price, allowing students to brew a pot in their dorm rooms. The lighted on/off switch means they can brew coffee early in the morning without waking up their roommates.

Price Range: $25-$50

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Our Recommendation: Fire TV Stick 4K

For college students missing the free cable in the dorms, grab a Fire TV Stick so they can get the perfect streaming experience in their off-campus housing. The Fire TV Stick gives viewers access to Amazon Prime shows. They'll also be able to stream YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, and more.

Price Range: $25-$50


Our Recommendation: M1 Macbook Air

If you're in the market for a big-ticket item, consider a laptop. And college students love the Macbook Air. Lightweight, fast, and powerful, the Macbook Air comes with up to 18 hours of battery life. It also pairs perfectly with an iPhone or Airpods.

Price Range: Over $100


Our Recommendation: Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack

A good backpack is a college staple. And the Fjallraven Kanken Backpack ranks among the most popular options. Classic and durable, the Kanken is also waterproof, roomy, and dirt resistant. Plus, it has handles to change things up. Check out our list of the 10 best college backpacks for other options.

Price Range: $51-$100


Our Recommendation: UGG Tasman Slippers

Many college students appreciate a quality pair of slippers, but they often don't buy slippers for themselves. We chose the UGG Tasman Slippers for their soft sheepskin lining, fashionable suede, and non-skid rubber soles. They're also incredibly durable, so your giftee won't need to replace their slippers for years.

Price Range: Over $100

Card Game

Our Recommendation: What Do You Meme? Card Game

Portable and affordable, card games are perfect gifts for college students. Our pick is What Do You Meme? It's a fast-paced game where players add captions to famous memes and compete for the most hilarious answer. The game also offers expansion packs for future gift-giving occasions.

Price Range: $25-$50

Beanie Hat

Our Recommendation: Carhartt Knit Cuffed Beanie

A beanie makes a great gift for college students — especially if you choose a classic like the Carhartt knit cuffed beanie. Durable and warm, Carhartt's beanie comes in over a dozen colors. And thanks to its stretchable fabric, it will fit most heads.

Price Range: Under $25


Our Recommendation: The Five Minute Journal By Intelligent Change

Many college students enjoy journaling for mindfulness, self-reflection and creativity. The Five Minute Journal is a reminder to stop and smell the roses. This guided journal features prompts, daily affirmations, and inspirational quotes to give writers a sense of direction. Its undated calendar format lets you dive in at any time of the year.

Price Range: $25-$50

Desk Lamp

Our Recommendation: AFROG Desk Lamp with Wireless Phone Charger

Most college students stay up late studying. Make sure their study space is well-lit by giving them a desk lamp. Our pick includes multiple brightness levels plus a wireless phone charger. It's a great option for college students living in dorms or off-campus housing.

Price Range: $25-$50

Instant Pot

Our Recommendation: Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Slow Cooker

Finding the time to cook is a challenge. This pressure cooker from Instant Pot can cook one-pot meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking recipes. It can also slow cook, steam, and sauté. You can also find over 1900 recipes to try on their free app.

Price Range: $51-$100

Wallet Clip

Our Recommendation: Mountain Voyage Minimalist Wallet Money Clip

Give your college student the gift they'll use every day. This minimalist wallet is designed to be slim and stylish. The RFID blocking technology will block people from stealing the wearer's credit card information, so it's an investment in security, too.

Price Range: $25-$50

Water Bottle

Our Recommendation: Iron Flask Insulated Water Bottle

College students on the go need to stay hydrated. So consider gifting an insulated water bottle. Perfect for student-athletes and students with early morning classes, this water bottle keeps cold drinks cold and coffee hot. Our pick also comes with three lids so students can get the perfect drinking experience.

Price Range: Under $25

Photo Clip String Lights

Our Recommendation: LECLSTAR Photo Clip String Lights

Perfect for homesick college students, photo clip string lights bring warmth to any room. Students can hang the lights on their walls and use the clips to attach photos. These battery-powered lights can be used in dorm rooms, apartments, or even outdoors.

Price Range: Under $25


Our Recommendation: Bombas Original Ankle Socks

The days when kids groaned at getting socks as gifts are in the past. Now, college students have to buy their own socks. That's why we added Bombas ankle socks to our list. Perfect for hiking across campus, hitting the track at the rec center, or just lounging around the dorms, Bombas socks come in over a dozen fun colors.

Price Range: Under $25

Personal Safe

Our Recommendation: Master Lock 5900D Portable Safe

Moving into a dorm room with a stranger may make a college-bound student feel uneasy about the security of their belongings. A personal safe from Master Lock lets students store away important items such as a smartphone, credit cards, cash, or identification. This portable safe allows users to set their own combination.

Price Range: Under $25

Night Light and Alarm Clock

Our Recommendation: Gallstep Night Light and Alarm Clock With Bluetooth Speaker

Help the college-bound person in your life wake up in time for class with this fun night light and alarm clock. With three brightness levels and 48 color options, this device is powered by a large-capacity battery that can be recharged by a USB cable in about six hours. This night light from Gallstep also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker.

Price Range: $25-$50


Our Recommendation: Blundstone Classic Chelsea Boot

College students will spend a lot of time walking between classroom buildings. Help them do it in style! These Chelsea Boots are lined leather and come in a wide variety of colors. Their classic and unisex design works with many different outfits and styles. Their slip-on feature is also convenient.

Price Range: Over $100

Folding Chair

Our Recommendation: Urban Shop Super Soft Faux Fur Saucer Folding Chair

A comfortable chair is a must for any dorm room. It provides a place for friends to sit and an alternative to the desk and bed. This folding saucer chair allows your student to curl up and sink in for maximum comfort. The simple black design pairs well with any decor.

Price Range: $51-$100

Smartphone Printer

Our Recommendation: Zink Kodak Step Wireless Mobile Photo Mini Printer

Printers are sometimes tough to access on college campuses. This Kodak smartphone printer allows users to instantly print photos from their phone, which students can use to decorate their dorm room or give to friends. They can also edit each photo with the Kodak app before printing.

Price Range: $51-$100

Weighted Blanket

Our Recommendation: Waowoo Adult Weighted Blanket - Queen Size, 15 lbs

Students sleeping away from home for the first time should do their best to maximize their comfort. They can use weighted blankets to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. This 15-pound blanket from Waowoo includes pockets that more evenly distribute its weight.

Price Range: $25-$50


Our Recommendation: AstroAI Mini Fridge

This AstroAI fridge contains space for up to six 12-ounce cans, medications, and food. It offers the ability to cool or warm, depending on a student's storage needs. The small design makes it ideal for dorm rooms and lets students keep their favorite snacks on hand. The fridge comes in several colors.

Price Range: $25-$50


Our Recommendation: Tempur-Pedic Memory Foam Cloud Pillow

College students tend to cheap out on pillows. But a quality pillow means a better night of rest — which sets students up for success the next day in class. Our pick is a Tempur-Pedic memory foam pillow that supports sleepers in any position. Plus, a washable cover makes it easy to keep the pillow clean.

Price Range: $51-$100

Smart Notebook

Our Recommendation: Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook

Take note-taking to a whole new level with this smart notebook by Rocketbook. The dotted grid notebook uses a special Pilot Frixion Pen to record notes, which you can send to popular cloud services using the free Rocketbook app. The erasable pages mean no more wasting paper, and notebooks come in a variety of colors.

Price Range: $25-$50

Tote Bag

Our Recommendation: BAGGU Reusable Grocery Shopping Bag

Perfect for hauling groceries to off-campus apartments or carrying library books, a reusable tote bag is a must-have item for college. And these BAGGU bags are a great option because of their durability and style. They also pack down super small for space-conscious college students living in the dorms.

Price Range: $25-$50

Stun Gun and Flashlight

Our Recommendation: VIPERTEK VTS-989-1 Stun Gun With LED Flashlight

Classes, work schedules, or late-night study sessions at the library may mean walking back to the dorm after dark. One way to help keep the student in your life safe is with this stun gun, which also doubles as an LED flashlight. Product features include ultra-sharp spike electrodes that penetrate clothing and a rechargeable battery.

Price Range: Under $25


Our Recommendation: "Recipes Every College Student Should Know"

Whether your college student lives in the dorms or off campus, they'll appreciate a gift that fills their bellies and teaches valuable skills. Our pick teaches students how to microwave mug cakes or bacon and put together brain-friendly meals for themselves and their friends.

Price Range: Under $25

Phone Mount

Our Recommendation: Lamicall Cell Phone Holder With 360 Mount Clip

The universal clamp of this phone holder can be clipped to the side of a desk, table, or bed frame. It adjusts to fit most smartphones, and the flexible gooseneck allows users to position their phone at the perfect angle needed to watch their favorite shows or make video calls back home. The clamp is available in black or white.

Price Range: Under $25

Portable Charger

Our Recommendation: 2-Pack Miady Dual USB Portable Charger

Everyone knows that one college student who walks around with their phone battery at under 10%. A portable charger is a perfect gift to make sure students always have a charged phone. Our pick works for most major smartphones, including iPhones and Android phones.

Price Range: Under $25

Essential Oil Diffuser

Our Recommendation: Pure Daily Care Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser

Living in a dorm may feel cramped and stuffy, but an air purifier can help clean the air and make any room feel more like home. This essential oil diffuser functions as an air purifier, ionizer, and night light. Users can let it run continuously or set it to run on a timer for one, three, or six hours.

Price Range: $25-$50

Desk Organizer

Our Recommendation: Office Oasis Desk Organizer

This slender desk organizer offers compartments to store essential office supplies without taking up too much desk space. It holds pens, notepads, paper clips, and thumbtacks, and it even includes a phone stand. Students can rearrange the compartments, allowing them to organize the item to their needs.

Price Range: $25-$50

Bluetooth Tile Tracker

Our Recommendation: Tile Starter Pack 2-Pack Bluetooth Tracker

Know a college student who always leaves their keys in the dorm bathroom or loses their phone every time they set it down? A tile tracker helps absentminded students keep track of their wallets, keys, and phones. It's a thoughtful gift that also gives parents peace of mind.

Price Range: $51-$100

Portable Shower Caddy

Our Recommendation: iDesign Orbz Plastic Bathroom Shower Caddy

Sharing a bathroom in a dorm poses challenges. A portable shower caddy ensures that the student in your life can easily complete their daily routines. This caddy by iDesign comes in a variety of colors and features holes in the bottom to allow water to drain. It also offers compartments that let users easily organize toiletries.

Price Range: Under $25

Voice Recorder

Our Recommendation: Sony Store ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder

A voice recorder is a great tool for recording classroom lectures to ensure students don't miss any information. The Sony ICD-PX370 boasts up to 57 hours of battery life and a USB connection, making it easy to transfer recordings to a computer. The recorder also features an easy-to-read digital screen and headphone jack.

Price Range: $51-$100

Light Therapy Lamp

Our Recommendation: Circadian Optics UV Light Therapy Lamp

During the winter months, college students may experience stress, homesickness, or sleeping issues. This light therapy lamp combats the negative impacts of these problems with a pure white LED light that mimics the sun without exposing users to harmful UV rays.

Price Range: $51-$100

Electric Kettle

Our Recommendation: Mueller Ultra Electric Kettle

An electric kettle offers a safe and easy way to boil water. This comes in handy for making a warm drink like tea or fixing a quick meal for days when a student needs a break from the cafeteria. This kettle features long-lasting borosilicate glass and stainless steel.

Price Range: Under $25

Storage Ottoman

Our Recommendation: YOUDENOVA Storage Ottoman Cube

Finding storage space in a college dorm room can be a challenge. The best furniture serves multiple functions. This ottoman offers both a storage compartment and a place for your student to rest their feet. It also features sponge padding for increased durability and comfort.

Price Range: $25-$50

Lap Desk

Our Recommendation: LapGear Home Office Lap Desk

A lap desk can help students make better use of the comfortable furniture in their dorm. It also gives them a place to study if their roommate is already sleeping. This LapGear model features multiple colors, a vertical phone slot, and an integrated mouse pad.

Price Range: $25-$50

Power Strip

Our Recommendation: ALESTOR Power Strip With 12 Outlets

Having access to more power outlets can be convenient, but a dorm room can limit a student's options. This 12-outlet power strip includes four USB charging ports. It also features a compact design and a six-foot extension cord ideal for smaller living spaces.

Price Range: Under $25

Phone Sanitizer and Charger

Our Recommendation: PhoneSoap 3 UV Phone Sanitizer and Universal Charger

Smartphones can get incredibly dirty, but this device is a great way to help kill germs. Available in several colors, it functions as both a sanitizer and a phone charger. It uses UV-C bulbs to kill 99.99% of bacteria and accommodates all smartphones.

Price Range: $51-$100

Popcorn Popper

Our Recommendation: Original Salbree Silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker

Popcorn is delicious and cheap, making it a classic snack for a good reason. But there's nothing worse than a flaming bag of microwave popcorn in the dorms. So give the college student in your life a silicone popcorn maker that's safe and easy to use. Plus, the Salbree popcorn maker collapses, making it a great gift for the dorms.

Price Range: Under $25

Under-Bed Storage Bags

Our Recommendation: Onlyeasy Foldable Underbed Bags

Cramped dorm rooms offer limited storage space. These foldable underbed bags create extra space, allowing students to store essentials under their beds. The breathable and eco-friendly design helps keep stored items fresh. And handles make these bags easier to move, even if the contents are heavy.

Price Range: Under $25

Bedside Caddy

Our Recommendation: Lib Large Bedside Caddy

This caddy lets students keep important items next to their beds. And it's especially handy if their living space doesn't have room for a bedside table. It offers compartments for a phone, laptop or tablet, books or magazines, and pens. The caddy comes in various colors and simply hooks over a bed frame.

Price Range: $25-$50

Dry-Erase Sticky Notes

Our Recommendation: M,C. Squares 6-Pack Reusable Sticky Notes

These dry-erase sticky notes provide a reusable way to take notes, write reminders, or keep track of assignments. The pads stick to a variety of surfaces, such as glass, steel, and aluminum. You can also place them on cabinets using Bubble Bond, a reusable and residue-free adhesive.

Price Range: Under $25

Coffee Mug Warmer

Our Recommendation: Cosori Coffee Mug Warmer and Mug Set

Cosori offers a coffee warmer and mug set that can keep a student's favorite beverage warm while they study. It features an LED display screen and lets users easily control the temperature. The mug comes with a lid and is made of stainless steel with a slip-resistant silicone sleeve.

Price Range: $25-$50 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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