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It's not exactly controversial to say that teen boys aren't known for being verbose and expressive. Because of this, people in their lives might be expected to predict their wants and needs, which makes things difficult—especially when it comes to shopping 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 we’ve done our research. These are the gifts teen boys actually want this year.
1. For the tech-focused student: Asus Chrome Flip
The Chomebook Flip is one of our favorite laptops for high school and college students. This is because it's lightweight—yet sturdy enough to withstand jostling around in a backpack—has great battery life, and runs fast. All in all, its performance exceeds its sub-$600 price tag, which makes it a great choice for anyone who needs a highly functional, low-maintenance laptop.
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/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 podcast lover: Apple AirPods
What is there to say about Apple AirPods that hasn't already been said? They're wireless, it's easy to pair them with devices, their sound is shockingly good, and, for many teens (and, let's face it, adults), they are a bonafide status symbol. Gifting them to a teen is a surefire way to help up their cool factor, and, possibly, yours.
4. For the low-maintenance, style-conscious guy: Everlane Premium Weight Crew Shirt t-shirt
We tested a bunch of men's t-shirts earlier this year. By the end, we deemed the Everlane Premium Weight Crew the best of 'em, due to its solid, thick weave and ability to withstand multiple washes without shrinking or having its fabric degrade.
This makes it a fantastic gift for any guy of any style caliber. If they're into fashion, they'll love the chance to use the shirt as a base layer for accessorizing. If not, the high-quality tee is simple and classic enough to add into their outfit rotation without much effort.
5. For the techie: An iPad
You can't really go wrong with gifting an iPad. Whether it's for watching Netflix, downloading textbooks, or as a supplement to a laptop, it's a useful (and fun) addition to anyone's tech collection.
6. For the guy who can't get a grip on his laptop: Evercase laptop sleeve
For students, a case-less laptop is an accident waiting to happen. Prevent these future (expensive) mishaps by getting them a case. We like the Evercase, which has diamond-shaped neoprene bumps on the exterior to help 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 your phone 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, charges phones quickly, and holds multiple charges.
8. For the guy on the go: L.L. Bean Quad Pack
A good-quality backpack is vital in high school and college. 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 (say that ten times fast, if you can). It's got squishy shoulder pads, tons of well-organized storage space, and easily-adjustable straps that make it simple to fit any kind of body.
9. For the shaving newbie: Gillette Clean Shave Kit
If a teen family member is just getting to the face-whiskers stage of life and isn't quite sure how to handle it, they'll like this shave kit (and some guidance, probably). The set, which comes with a razor, replacement cartridges, shave gel, and moisturizer provides all the essentials for a first-time shave—though, if they're looking for a tutorial, that might be on you.
10. 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. We like the Hydro Flask 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.
11. For the guy who loves layers: Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece
This Patagonia makes for a fantastic grab-and-go sweater for school, weekends, 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.
12. 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.
13. For the sneakerhead: Sneaker balls, Bombas original socks, Allbirds wool runners
Trendy sustainably-sourced shoe brand Allbirds is everywhere—and, based on our review, actually worth the hype. They're super comfy, long-lasting, and stylish enough to make event 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.
14. For the avid gamer: HyperX Cloud 2 Gaming Headphones
Diehard fans of Fortnite, Twitch, and even Mario Kart will appreciate these the HyperX Cloud 2 headphones, 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.
15. 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 some rough conditions—say, being knocked around in a backpack or used as all-purpose speakers in a college dorm—and make it out intact. It also comes in a wide range of colors—including camo—to suit anyone with any kind of style.
16. For the guy who loved the TV show: Game of Thrones box set
This spring's Game of Thrones finale was one of the biggest TV events of the last few years (but you probably don't need anyone to tell you that). If you know a teen who loved the show, but hasn't gotten around to the books yet, they might appreciate a box set—they're not quite finished (and maybe never will be), but reading them can help fill the void the Game of Thrones show left when it ended.
17. For the self-care savant: 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 their 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.
18. For the guy who loves making faces: Watch Ya Mouth card game
The concept of this game is simple in theory—three to 10 players wear a mouth guard, read a funny phrase off a card, and teammates try to guess what they're saying—which only makes it more hilarious in practice. This makes it a great game to gift and play as a family activity on Christmas day, though a teen will likely want to co-opt it to play with their friends, too.
19. For the guy who takes his games everywhere: Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a great, all-purpose portable gaming system. You can play a bunch of classic games on it, like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., and Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening, that will be sure to inspire new and seasoned gamers alike.
20. For the Stranger Things devotee: Camp Know Where cap
Know someone who binged the third season of Stranger Things on the day it came out this summer? Give them this cap, a copy of the one Dustin—a fan favorite character—wore on the show. It's subtle enough that they can wear it out and about without feeling like they're in a costume, but those who know it's a nod to a Stranger Things will appreciate it.
21. 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 soft, cozy microfiber material is perfect to curl up in after a long, hard day when he just needs some comfort (food, that is).
22. For the frequent flier: Herschel Novel Duffle
Perhaps they're in college, or visiting a friend there, but either way: a good duffle bag is never a bad idea. This particular duffle, which has padded shoulder straps and an extra shoe compartment, is a great companion for weekend trips, the gym, or any other reason why a teen guy might need a duffle.
23. For the guy who needs a good reason to wear a coat: North Face Nuptse Coat
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 to school every day this winter.
24. 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 phone holder get a better, more comfortable grip to prevent it from slipping out of their grasp.
25. For the gamer who needs to take things IRL: Fortnite Monopoly
Fortnite is a game best left to the screen—but this Monopoly game should inspire even the most hardcore of gamers to play a game in real life. Reviewers say it offers an update to the classic Monopoly game and provides an incentive for the whole family to play.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.