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Hello, and welcome to your 30s. This milestone—once thought of as a drag, as the real-life equivalent of Cinderella’s stroke of midnight where everything stops being magical—might seem scary, but the truth is, it’s actually a coronation. Because I’m going to let you in on a little secret: The 30s are the new roaring 20s (for millennials anyway). Except maybe it’s time to get nicer sheets and invest in good everyday essentials, like a food processor or an office chair that won’t leave your back and shoulders aching after a couple hours.
If someone special in your life is approaching their big 3-0 and stressing about it, you can help take the edge off with some of these thoughtful and creative 30th birthday gift ideas. From that KitchenAid stand mixer you know they’ve been lusting after for years to the rock album to end all rock albums (a.k.a., the cornerstone of any 20s-to-30s survival pack), these fabulous gifts can give that soon-to-be tricenarian everything they need to make the most of this most special of birthdays.
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1. For the cook who wants to save space in the kitchen: Always Pan
The Instagram-famous Always Pan is wildly popular for a reason: This nearly 5 star-rated cast aluminum pan is essentially eight pieces of cookware in one. Made with ceramic nonstick coating, it functions as a fry pan, steamer, skillet, sauté pan, saucepan, spoon rest, spatula, wok, and Dutch oven, and more than 15,000 Our Place shoppers swear by it. Reviewed’s cooking writer Valerie Li Stack considers it especially great for deep frying and says it a good gift option for anyone who does a lot of stovetop cooking but is short on cabinet space.
2. For the one who’s headed back into the office: Madewell tote bag
Madewell’s cult-favorite Medium Transport tote bag is a stellar gift option for anyone who’s in need of a stylish yet sturdy handbag that’s great for everyday commutes. This 4.4 star-rated bag is made from real leather and is roomy enough to hold almost everything, from laptops to books, water bottles, and more. It also comes with an adjustable strap, so your giftee can wear it over the shoulder or as a cross-body. More than 1,000 Madewell shoppers adore it, especially on account of its lightweight feel and slouchy look, which makes it seem so effortlessly chic.
3. For the one who wants to learn more about their roots: AncestryDNA kit
Turning 30 is a major milestone—it’s also one that could leave your giftee eager to discover new things about the past. AncestryDNA can help them kickstart that journey and wander deeper into their own ancestral history, from uncovering family secrets (psst, it really does happen!) to creating family trees, and more.
4. For the one who isn’t a morning person: Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe and mug
Single-serve coffee makers can be a blessing in disguise for the soon-to-be 30-year-old who still struggles to roll out of bed each morning. Unlike a lot of fancy coffee makers that require extra prep and consideration, the best pod coffee makers like the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe can be a quick and easy way to brew a strong cup of coffee that comes out with the same even taste and intensity every time.
With close to 1,600 glowing reviews on Amazon, the Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe is more than just a crowd-pleaser, too. This 4.6 star-rated pick is compact for easy storage and delivers super-quick brewing. Best of all, this coffee maker will give your giftee options, like the chance to make double espresso drinks (big yum!).
And since it’s the big 3-0, consider pairing this coffee gift with a mug in honor of this milestone. Fans of Friends in particular might get a kick out of this cute themed mug from Etsy that plays off the series and puts a clever 30th birthday spin on it.
5. For the one who desperately needs a vacation: Airbnb and travel accessories
If your giftee is heavy on the wanderlust these days, consider giving them the present of a faraway adventure or a weekend getaway all to themselves. An Airbnb gift card still leaves the choice of where and when they go entirely in their own hands, but can be an unforgettable way to help them have the 30th birthday of their dreams.
Pro tip? Don’t just give them a gift card, though. Consider tucking it inside one of our favorite carry-on luggage options, the Away carry-on. This ample suitcase is TSA-approved and available in a variety of millennial-approved pastel color options, so your giftee can stay trendy during travel. If you upgrade the standard Away carry-on to include a built-in battery, your giftee can even keep their most important electronic devices charged via the suitcase, so they’re less likely to stress about battery power as they’re jet-setting to their next destination.
6. For the one who’s obsessed with skincare: Laneige products
Skincare becomes more important as folks get older, both in terms of reducing the look of aging but also as a form of self-care. When it comes to luxurious products that can work for all types of complexions, Laneige makes some of the most buzzed-about products in the beauty world right now: the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and Lip Sleeping Mask, respectively.
With nearly 3,000 rave reviews on Sephora, the 4.2 star-rated Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is a moisturizing gel mask that absorbs into skin overnight and can leave your giftee’s skin looking—and feeling—more hydrated. It pairs perfectly with the Laneige Lip Sleeping, which has a 4.4 star rating and more than 13,000 positive reviews on Sephora. In her review, Reviewed’s beauty writer Sha Ravine Spencer loved how supple and moisturized this left her lips feeling after every use and considers it a beauty staple.
7. For the one who’s tired of wearing sweatpants: A really good pair of jeans
Gen Z might say that skinny jeans are over, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter what kind of style your giftee wants to wear, so long as they feel great in them. And by 30, everyone should have at least one pair of go-to jeans that they feel amazing in, no matter what.
If your millennial giftee is firmly and forever on team skinny jeans, Madewell’s 10-inch high-rise Roadtripper jeans are incredible and have a 4.7 star rating from happy customers, who love their length and stretchy, comfy feel.
But if your giftee is feeling this Mom jeans trend and wants a pair that won’t make them feel like they just stumbled out of that infamous SNL skit, American Eagle’s stretch Mom jeans are worth looking at, too. Reviewed’s style writer Cailey Lindberg swears by these 4.7 star-rated jeans and in her review, raved about how versatile they are for everything from running errands to going out on the town.
8. For the one who likes to make fitness fun: Bala Bangles
These trendy wearable weights are the perfect solution for anyone who gets bored working out at home and has been searching for creative ways to make their everyday regimen more fun. In her review, Reviewed editor Amanda Tarlton gave the 4.6 star-rated Bala Bangles major kudos on account of how comfortable they are to wear and effective they can be for adding an extra amount of external resistance to exercise. More than 1,600 Amazon reviewers agree and consider them a solid way to kick a Zumba or barre workout up a notch.
9. For the one who likes to tune in and tune out: Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones
Similar to the XM3 headphones (our previous pick for the best overall for noise-canceling), the XM4’s will adapt to your giftee’s environment instead of drowning out external sounds completely, while also eliminating a ton of ambient noise, delivering stellar audio quality, and being comfortable enough for all-day wear. If your giftee has been hinting for a better set of headphones, consider the Sony XM4’s the ideal upgrade.
10. For the one who’s serious about baking: KitchenAid stand mixer
The KitchenAid stand mixer is iconic and one of those aspirational gifts that’s probably already high-up on your giftee’s wish list, but given the price tag, they might be sheepish about saying so. Here at Reviewed, it reigns supreme and we consider the 5-quart version the best stand mixer money can buy. It’s easy to use, comes with an assortment of attachments (even a pasta maker), and available in 47 different color varieties. Often imitated yet never truly duplicated, a genuine KitchenAid stand mixer can be wonderful for everything from baking bread to grinding up meat, and so much more.
11. For the one who’s sentimental: A heart-shaped collage from Minted
Time waits for no one, but a heart-shaped photo collage like this one from Minted can help your giftee feel like they can relive all their most precious moments from the last 30 years over and over again. As one of the best gifts to buy from Minted, this photo art is comprised of 30 images (all of your choosing) and fashioned in the shape of a heart, so your giftee is sure to feel the love in the most thoughtful way possible.
12. The one who's finally grown up enough for coasters: Agate coaster
There comes in a moment in every soon-to-be 30-year-old’s life where they realize coasters are more than decorative—they’re actually a crucial way to avert catastrophe on expensive wooden surfaces. (Cue this.)
But even though wanting coasters—and investing in nice furniture that can’t easily be replaced—is a sign of growing up doesn’t mean it has to be a total drag for your giftee. Anthropologie’s exquisite coasters made from real agate are a beautiful but still functional option that make a great present for that special someone. More than 300 Anthropologie shoppers adore these brass plated coasters, which have a 4.2 star rating on the site and are available in five unique shades. They’re also among our favorite things to buy at the retailer on account of how pretty they are.
13. For the one who’s a little witchy: Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and a Stevie Nicks candle
No one leaves their 20s unscathed. From bad jobs to big breakups, we all deal with our fair share of highs and lows. If Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours wasn’t the soundtrack to your giftee’s heartaches during the decade, then by the age of 30, let it be the balm that heals them. This legendary album—as known for its hit singles as it is for the drama that surrounded the making of it—grows on a person with age, the same way wisdom does. It doesn’t matter what kind of music your giftee normally grooves to, because chances are by the time they’re on the verge of the big 3-0, at least one track on _Rumours_ will speak to them—such is its timeless power.
But you don’t have to stop there. With scent vibes of silk scarves, feathers, and tarot cards, the Stevie candle from Bijou Candles is more than just a delightful ode to rock goddess Stevie Nicks—it’s also a dreamy gift pick for the soon-to-be 30-year-old who loves trying out new candles. With an impressive 140-hour burn time, this tall votive candle releases the subtle, seductive aroma of white sage and neroli, perfect for all your giftee’s Silver Springs singalongs.
14. For the one who appreciates a good blow-out: The Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer
With more than 255,000 glowing reviews on Amazon—no really, seriously—it’s fair to say that the Revlon One-Step hair dryer and volumizer is one of the most beloved haircare products on the market today and could make a great gift for your special someone’s precious 30th birthday.
In her review, Reviewed beauty editor Jessica Kasparian referred to this 4.6 star rated tool as magic and it doesn’t take a Stevie Nicks fan to see how true that is. Billed as a “one-and-done” haircare solution, this gadget can help transform wet, frizz-prone locks into the perfect blow-out in the half time it would ordinarily take with an old blow dryer and brush, and without ever requiring a trip to the hair salon.
15. For the yogi: A Lululemon yoga mat and leggings
If your giftee loves their yoga mornings but you know that their yoga mat has seen better days, give them the upgrade they deserve with the Lululemon reversible mat. Our experts consider it the best yoga mat money can buy thanks to it’s flat, non-stick surface, which may seem daunting to use at first, but can actually help reduce the amount of wobbling and slipperiness on the mat itself, which makes it a big win.
Another great way to put a smile on your favorite yogi’s face is to pair this mat with a pair of Lululemon’s much-celebrated Align leggings, which Reviewed editor Amanda Tarlton considers terrific for everything from yoga poses to lifting weights, and so much else.
16. For the one who works from home: ErgoChair 2
Pandemic life taught us lots of things—for those who transitioned to working from home full time, one of the biggest lessons it imparted was the importance of having a really good office chair. Unfortunately, high-quality office chairs don’t come cheap, but if you know your giftee has been struggling with aches and pains due to working from a couch, kitchen chair, or some other less-than-stellar seating surface, an ErgoChair 2 could be a practical (but still incredibly thoughtful) option for them.
In our roundup of the best office chairs, we consider the 5 star-rated ErgoChair 2 the biggest value due to its thick padding, ergonomic support, and ability to morph its shape to please virtually anyone. A good office chair is an investment, but the ErgoChair 2—which also has more than 2,600 rave reviews on Autonomous—is one of those rare budget-friendly picks (compared to other high-end options) that really could make a difference for your giftee.
17. For the one who loves to stay organized: Happy Planner
Even if that about-to-be 30-year old in your life spends most of their time on their phone, a daily planner like this gorgeous 2021 option from Happy Planner can be a sweet way to help them relax, focus, and find their zen through organization.
As one of our favorite places to buy daily planners, Happy Planner’s adorable picks come thoughtfully decorated (the Beauty in Florals edition has a 5 star-rating on Happy Planner and is especially lovely) and a handy disc binding system, so it’s easy to add or remove pages. It runs from July 2021 to December 2022, so your giftee won’t need to have gotten it in January 2021 to get a lot of use out of it. From tracking budget to staying on top of monthly goals, this planner can be a tender way to show support for that special someone all through the year.
18. For the one who’s curious about smart tech but hasn’t tried it yet: Echo products
Amazon’s Echo line is a fabulous way to discover the wide, wonderful world of smart tech, and if your giftee has been interested in exploring smart tech but hasn’t dived in fully yet, the best Amazon Echo smart speakers could be a great gift option for them.
Ultra-modern and sleek, the Echo Dot (4th Gen.) is our favorite from the line, hands down, on account of it’s built-in, speedy processor (which operates faster than previous generations, specifically the popular 3rd Gen. Echo Dot), Amazon Sidewalk compatibility, and Zigbee hub functionality, which means it’ll easily sync up to other smart home devices, like Kwikset smart locks. With more than 236,000 positive reviews from happy customers and a 4.7 star rating on Amazon, this orb-shaped smart speaker is a great entry point into smart tech.
However, if you think your giftee might prefer a smart speaker with a screen, the 4.7 star-rated Echo Show 5 is a steal at its current price point (less than $50) and can be a great way to play tunes, watch videos, follow along with recipes, and more. In her review, Reviewed smart tech writer Rachel Murphy loved how easy it makes total smart home control and that it features a mic-mute button and physical shudder over the camera, which she felt added an extra layer of security
19. For the one who hates vacuuming: eufy Robovac 11S
Oh, eufy 11S, how we at Reviewed love thee, let us count the ways. For starters, this slim little robot vacuum is our favorite affordable robot vacuum because it’s so budget-friendly in the grand scope of robot vacuums, where many units can go for double, even triple the price of the 11S. But that’s not all: This zippy, whisper-quiet gadget offers incredible suction and in our tests, picked up around 11.6 grams of dirt per run, which far exceeded what most iRobot units could handle.
If your giftee is pushing 30 and still considers vacuuming one of the worst household chores ever, the 11S, which has a 4.5 star rating and more than 46,000 glowing reviews on Amazon, could be just the thing they’ve been needing to help maintain their floors between deeper cleaning sessions.
20. For the the one with serious FOMO: Birthday Milestones bucket list
As a catchphrase, “FOMO” (much like “YOLO”) stopped being a thing circa 2013 or so, but the feeling it speaks to—that sense of life moving by so quickly and having the big, heart-pounding urge to just dive in, carpe diem-style, and not miss out on an opportunity as it presents itself—is still hella valid.
If your favorite tricenarian is the type who lives for new experiences and never wants to live with a single regret, this Birthday Milestones bucket list tailored specifically for 30-somethings could be a fun gift for them. This 4.2 star-rated kit includes 25 inspiring prompts, which could propel your giftee to all kinds of surprising but joyful moments.
21. For the one who’s all about relaxation: Bath products
Never underestimate the power of a good soak to turn a bad day into a good one. If your giftee loves to luxuriate in the tub as a form of self-care and relaxation but is maybe missing out on a few key essentials, bath products like this 4.7 star-rated bathtub caddy and the cult-favorite Gorilla Grip bath pillow (which has a 4.3 star rating and close to 13,000 positive reviews on Amazon) can provide a much-needed upgrade.
Feel like really treating them? Consider grabbing a box of the best bath bombs we’ve tested here at Reviewed, the 4.8 star-rated LifeAround2Angels set, which comes with 12 fizzy, colorful, and moisturizing bombs. Close to 33,000 Amazon reviewers swear they’re just as good as Lush bath bombs are, but more affordable, and they’ll likely have your giftee eager to stay in the water until their fingers get all pruny.
22. For the one who wants to double down on comfort: Richer Poorer loungewear
Maybe your giftee doesn’t want to go back to wearing jeans all the time. Maybe they’re the type who wishes they could stay in comfy duds—specifically, sweatpants—forever and cringes every time they have to put on official work or going-out clothing.
Here’s the good news: Richer Poorer makes some of the best loungewear worth trying. In her review, Reviewed editor Amanda Tarlton lauded these snuggly separates and considers them a must-have for anyone who appreciates the beauty of a great sweatsuit. This brand in particular is also blowing up on Instagram right now, so your giftee can stay on trend while also being luxuriously at ease.
23. For the one who spends a lot of time in bed: Brooklinen sheets
Amazing sheets are worth investing in, but if your giftee is the type who tends to shy away from spending big bucks on anything bedding related, these top-rated Brooklinen sheets could be a terrific surprise for their birthday this year.
In testing, our experts absolutely adored Brooklinen’s Luxe Core sheet set, which are designed to fit mattresses up to 15 inches deep and are made from 100 percent cotton with a soft sateen weave. With so many color options to choose from, these 4.6 star-rated Brooklinen sheets are also a hit with more than 17,000 shoppers on the retailer’s site, who love that they can coordinate them to match their existing bedroom aesthetic (and for how nice they feel to sleep on, of course!).
24. For the one who loves plants—even if they kill them: Real or artificial plants
Does your giftee have a green thumb, or hopes to cultivate it? The Sill is one of the best plant delivery services we’ve ever tried on account of its impressive inventory of cute plants and quick delivery times. The ZZ plant in particular is a great gift option because it’s not too difficult to care for. In her review, Reviewed managing editor Meghan Kavanaugh felt the ZZ plant made a lovely addition to her living room and The Sill provided helpful instructions, which made it easier to keep Branche Devereaux (her name for the plant) alive and thriving.
But not so fast—black thumbs (like yours truly) can still appreciate the splendor of a little green around their homes too with artificial plants. The best fake plants take all the stress (and guilt) out of plant mama status but can still be a nice way to spruce up a home. When it comes to artificial plants, Reviewed writer Izzy Kagan likes Nearly Natural, and in her review, she was especially keen on the String of Pearl hanging plant, which looked almost identical to the real thing. If your giftee is a serial plant killer who still loves the look of pretty greens, this 5 star-rated pick is absolutely worth gifting.
25. For the foodie who cares about sustainability: Crowd Cow
Where’s the beef? Well, depending on which box option you choose, it could be right here in this Crowd Cow box. This subscription service could be a solid gift choice for that special someone who not only loves cooking with meat, but also cares about sustainability. The company only works with small, independent farms that raise their livestock in ethical ways, without any added hormones or unnecessary antibiotics. Additionally, all packaging is 100 percent compostable and recyclable.
26. For the one who wants to be better about food prep: Cuisinart food processor
Much like a KitchenAid stand mixer, a great food processor is one of those aspirational products that not everyone has when they’re just starting out as an adult on their own. But by 30, it’s time to have one, especially if your giftee is someone who spends a lot of time prepping their own meals.
As the best food processors go, the Cuisinart 13-cup is among our favorites and is just a bit more compact than the 14-cup version. It’s versatile enough that they can use it for everything from mincing garlic to kneading bread dough, and features a feed tube that can adjust to three widths. Even better, this 4.6 star-rated device has close to 1,000 stellar reviews on Amazon and shoppers say it’s straightforward and easy to use, without the complicated learning curve that may come from other food processors.
27. For the one who needs to hydrate more: Hydro Flask
Water bottles are divisive. Depending on who you ask, they might prefer a cute S’well, a massive Yeti, or the water-filtering functionality of a Brita B11. And to be fair, any one of them could make a great gift, as they’re among the best water bottles we’ve ever tested here at Reviewed.
But speaking personally, it’s Hydro Flask or bust, baby. Portable, durable, and exemplary in its ability to keep water cold for up to 24 hours, the classic 32-ounce version is the most perfect water bottle I’ve ever used, especially if you grab one with a straw lid. Whether your giftee is planning a lot of hikes this summer or just needs a new water bottle to replace the one they’ve been using for years, Hydro Flask lives up to the hype and makes a fab present.
28. For the one who wants to see what the fuss is about: Birkenstocks
Summer wedges, a sultry pair of strappy heels that make the wearer feel like they have legs for days—they show up in a lot of shoe collections, especially for fashionistas. But so do Birkenstocks, too.
While these slide sandals came to fame in the ‘90s and might once have been associated with earthy-crunchy types, the classic, 4.6 star-rated Birkenstocks Arizona sandals are—shock of shocks—tres chic now among Gen Z and millennials, and for the best of reasons: They’re just really freakin’ comfortable. If your giftee has never experienced the near-heavenly sensation of having their feet molded into the cloud-like soles of a pair of ‘Birks before, do them a favor and grab them a pair. More than 1,000 Nordstrom shoppers are obsessed with them, plus they’ll last forever and you’ll probably win at gift-giving forever because of it.
29. For the one who loves puzzles: Jiggy Puzzles
Finishing a puzzle? Satisfying. Finishing a puzzle and then gluing it together to create a lasting piece of framable artwork in your giftee’s home that they can admire for years to come? Legendary. With Jiggy Puzzles, that’s what your soon-to-be 30 giftee is in for: A beautiful puzzle that’s also meant to be bound together and framed up afterward.
Each Jiggy Puzzles box comes with glue and a straight-edge tool to make piecing everything together easier. While there are many options to choose from, the 5 star-rated Bathing with Flowers puzzle from Slovenian artist Alja Horvat is a gorgeous option that’ll look just as good splayed out on a table as it will hanging from a wall when your giftee is done.
30. For the one who wouldn’t buy them otherwise: Car essentials
For millennials during the mid-2000s, the MTV show Pimp My Ride was huge. Now as your favorite young millennial pushes 30, you can help them pimp their whip out in the most—sigh—grown-up and responsible way possible by using their birthday as an excuse to give them all those car essentials that really matter, especially in the event of a problem.
Is it fun to get car stuff for one’s birthday? No. But is it useful, practical, and potentially life-changing? You bet, especially if your giftee in question isn’t the type who would buy this stuff on their own. Take, for instance, our favorite affordable flashlight, the Anker Bolder LC40. More than 7,000 Amazon reviewers give it a thumb’s up and a 4.6 star rating, and in our tests, we found that it was virtually flawless and loved its rechargeable battery.
Other great car essentials worth gifting? A NOCO Boost Plus car jump starter, which has close to 38,000 positive Amazon reviews and can start dead batteries up to 20 times off a single charge and works for 12-volt cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans. All your giftee has to do is juice this 4.7 star-rated bad Larry up and stash it in their trunk, just in case. Another goodie would be a set of car shades from Enovoe, which can help keep harsh light out of their car and reduce the risk of glare. More than 22,000 Amazon shoppers dig these versatile shades, which have a 4.3 star rating on the site, and consider them an excellent choice for more cars.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 30 best 30th birthday gifts of 2021