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Top 10 gifts for teenagers in 2021

We get it: Teenagers are hard to shop for. Their fickle tastes change as often as the trends, and it’s hard to keep up. But we’ve done the research for you. This gift guide features popular products that will bring a little cheer to the adolescent on your list. 

Whether you’re shopping for the holiday season or a birthday bash, there are gifts for varying interests and at different prices, so you’re sure to find a winner. There are much-desired ones like Beats Studio Buds and Oculus Quest 2, as well as bedroom luxuries — a fuzzy weighted blanket and a pretty trio of plants. And we’ve included just-for-fun items: games, a turntable and even a boba tea kit. Read on to plan your perfect present. We bet your teenager will be appreciative… for once.


Kodak’s pocket-sized projector is a cool gift for teens who love movies, TV shows or video games (which is pretty much all teens). The Luma 150 can project up to 150 inches (12.5 feet) onto almost any surface to give your teen an impressive big-screen experience. Plus there’s a built-in speaker so no extra equipment is needed.


The weighted blanket craze doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. What’s even better than a weighted blanket? A fuzzy weighted blanket. If your teen likes to sleep in on the weekends (who doesn’t?), this blanket will keep them cozy, relaxed and stylish. It comes in cream, gray, brown, navy, pink and rainbow.

David Carnoy/CNET

Beats’ first-ever true-wireless headphones sound better than the more expensive AirPods Pro (in our opinion), and they work equally well with Android phones, too. 

Uncommon Goods

If your teen likes a daily dose of boba, this DIY kit comes with everything to make bubble tea at home: tapioca pearls, classic royal milk black tea and rooibos chai tea, plus two reusable stainless steel straws.

Andrew Gebhart/CNET

Teens love video games, but if you want them to have more IRL face time with their friends — and if they’re partial to Dungeons and Dragons-style fantasy strategy games — Jaws of the Lion is a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. It works both as a standalone game and as an expansion pack to the original Gloomhaven game. 

Urban Outfitters

It’s easy for teens to take pics with their phones, yet it’s more fun to capture their favorite moments with an instant cam. Pics can be printed out — and shared with friends or pinned up — instantly. 

Urban Outfitters

This huggable llama is more than a cute stuffy. Pop it in the microwave and it’ll warm up your bed or soothe sore muscles — or you can keep it in the freezer and use it as an ice pack. And what could be more adorable than a llama?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sure, Spotify is great, but there’s nothing quite like the retro feel of real records and spinning vinyl. We think this turntable offers the best quality and sound for the money, which is why it received a CNET Editors’ Choice award.

Read our Fluance RT82 review.


Ansel & Ivy

Plants are big this year, even among the younger crowd. Give your teen the gift of greenery and detoxify their room or dorm with this aesthetic trio.

Scott Stein/CNET

Once your teen puts these on, they’ll never want to take them off. The Oculus Quest 2 delivers a fun and immersive virtual reality experience. It remains our top pick for the best VR headset you can buy, especially with this year’s storage increase to 128GB on the $299 model.

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