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Say hello to adulting! Unique and thoughtful gifts for your 18-year old

These are the best college must-haves and everyday essentials to buy for your teen.

Teenagers love keeping up with the latest trends, but with the retail market constantly changing, it can be difficult to pinpoint a perfect gift they’ll truly cherish. This holds especially true for those 18-year-old daughters and sons entering young adulthood

Whether they’re surviving their first year of college or about to graduate from high school, having everyday basics is essential for teens at this age. That said, finding gifts for your 18-year-old that’s practical and sophisticated, yet trendy and fun is the key to putting a smile on their face. From a coffee machine for the caffeine fiend to a smartwatch for the fitness guru, these gifts will help you do just that.

Tech | Foodie gifts | Fashion and accessories | Skin care and makeup | Games | Fitness | Unique gifts

Best tech gifts for 18-year-olds

Braided Charging Cord

This colorful cord will ensure they'll never confuse their phone charger with their friend's.

Cozoo Headphone Stand with USB Charger

Give them a place to rest their new headphones with this universal headphone stand. It’s equipped with three USB ports and two outlets, extremely durable and fire-resistant. Plus, it might help them keep their school desk organized.

Anker PowerCore 1000 Portable Charger

It's not unusual to see teenagers glued to their electronics. Having a portable charger is ideal for moments when they can't find a plug-in and their battery is running low. Whether they're at school or traveling, this charger will make sure they can stay connected with ease.

Fire Stick TV Lite

This remote is perfect for "cord cutters," or those looking to save a little bit of space by only having one device, ahem, college freshmen. Rid of clunky DVD players, say goodbye to multiple remotes and plan your next movie night with Fire Stick.

JBL Go 3

For the 18-year-old who takes their music seriously, get them this JBL portable Bluetooth speaker with “punchy” bass. Besides delivering “surprisingly big audio” for its petite size, it provides up to five hours of playtime on a single charge.

Wooden Docking Station

Minimize a messy room with the help of an organizer. This docking station looks to be a go-to space for all your teen's personal belongings. It was designed to hold a cellphone and charger, watch, sunglasses, wallet and more. You can even further personalize it by having their initials engraved.

LapGear Home Office Lap Desk

Schoolwork can happen anywhere with the help of a portable desk. This lap desk comes complete with a mousepad, dock for a phone and enough space to place a laptop. Created with comfort in mind, this lap desk will allow teens to get their work done on the couch or from the comfort of their bed.

Luzdiosa Candle Warmer Lamp

If you’re shopping for an 18-year-old who has a candle addiction, this gift will save them money in the long run by making their favorite candles last longer. “Before finding this gadget, I was spending so much money on replacing my candles. Since buying this warmer, I haven’t needed to replace the candle in over a year — and it’s still going strong,” one Shop TODAY writer wrote.

Elo X Stereo Premium Performance In-Ear Headset

Every gamer needs a good pair of headphones for chatting and gameplay. These come with noise-canceling features for enhanced sound clarity. The model was also made to be compatible with various gaming stations.

Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller

Your favorite gamer can now play their go-to Playstation titles wherever they are, courtesy of this mobile controller designed for the iPhone.

Best foodie gifts for 18-year-olds

Virtual Cooking Class with Gordon Ramsay

Treat the 18-year-old in your life to a Masterclass subscription so they can take this virtual cooking class with Gordon Ramsay. With their membership, they can also peruse other cooking and baking classes!

"The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook" by Pamela Ellgen

Don't let a busy schedule get in the way of proper eating. Skip the instant noodles next time and enjoy a delicious dinner, thanks to this cookbook full of five-minute meals.

Omg I'm An Adult Mug

Perfect for teens who are about to graduate, this funny mug features the saying "OMG. I'm an adult." and is sure to get a chuckle.

Stanley 40 oz FlowState Quencher Tumbler

Calling all pink lovers! Stanley's have become a staple in the eyes of Gen Z and this new shade drop is leaning into the Barbiecore trend.

Williams-Sonoma Flour Shop Rainbow Pop-Up Cake Kit

Whether they're an avid baker or just like tasty creative outlets (who doesn't?), this cake kit is sure to be a hit. It comes with enough material to make 12 push pops so they can have some now and save for later or share with friends.

Ninja Personal Blender

Most teens are on a budget, so making quick and affordable meals is essential. If your teen is an avid gym-goer, then they may appreciate a personal blender to make their favorite smoothies and protein shakes. This one was designed to crush through ice and frozen fruit with ease.

Keurig K-Compact Single-Serve Coffee Maker

For the young adult who runs on caffeine, a personal coffee maker is perfect. This Keurig model can make multiple serving sizes, from six to 10 ounces. It also brews a single cup of coffee in under a minute to save them some extra time.

Best fashion and accessory gifts for 18-year-olds

Personalized Wallet

Nothing screams adulthood more than a trusty wallet. And with this one, you can have their initials engraved on the front, or add a personal message to the inside. Whether it's an inside joke or words of encouragement, they are sure to treasure it.

Southpole Basic Jogger Fleece Pants

Comfort is always a must, especially on early class days. Give your teenager a pair of reliable sweatpants that are fashionable and comfortable. The jogger provides ventilation and breathability no matter how hot or cold it is outside. It even comes with an adjustable waistband.

Shoulder Bag

A fashionable bag gives you that extra confidence boost whether you're going out with friends or commuting to work. No matter where you're going, this purse is versatile enough to fit their needs.

Silver Personalized Engraved Cufflinks

From first interviews to attending formal events, owning a pair of cufflinks is key to completing a dressy look. Rather than go for a traditional plain style, personalize these with their initials or a special message they can cherish.

Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag

Uniqlo's mini shoulder bag can hold anything and everything. This has become TikTok's favorite bag as it can pack a punch when it comes to storage. It comes in 7 colors but this olive green color is so Gen Z.

Adultish T-Shirt

If your teen appreciates humor, they may get a laugh with this shirt. As an 18-year-old, they're on the cusp of adulthood and are becoming more independent. With a dozen colors to choose from, you can personalize it to fit their wants.

High-Waisted Leggings

A reliable pair of leggings can be dressed up or down. This style comes in 30+ different colors to stock up on and uses material that aims to move with you throughout the day.

Inicat Large Crossbody Bag

This unisex bag will keep your teens items safe whether they’re going to a music festival or headed to a new country. Associate Editor Shannon Garlin says this sling her her new “go to” personal item for travel.

“The pouch portion features two zipper pockets that fit my passport, portable chargersunscreen, credit cards, sunglasses, some beauty items and my phone,” she says. “And there’s even a secret compartment, accessed via the backside, which features a zipper that hides against your body. This is where I safely stashed some cash and my hotel room key.”

Nike Off-Court Slides

After a full day of classes or a long workout, your teenager will enjoy sliding their feet into this comfy pair. Created with a contoured footbed and dual-density foam, these shoes look to move with you and even have a soft strap for added comfort.

Naadam Modal Cashmere Boy Shorts

They’re old enough to start to appreciate the finer things in life, like these luxe boy shorts made with “silky soft” micro modal.

Hayley Elsaesser Go Away Crew Neck Sweatshirt

This will quickly become their go-to sweatshirt since it's plastered with a phrase they're probably thinking (or saying out loud) all of the time. They come in five different colors and are available in sizes S-5XL.

Mark & Graham Sarah Chloe Build Your Charm Bracelet

This classy gold-plated bracelet that includes monogrammable disc charms. Represent your birthday month by adding your birthstone to this charm bracelet.

Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Hoodie

Everyday basics are a closet must-have. This sweatshirt aims to provide style and comfort for even your laziest days. It was made with a cotton and polyester blend for added softness and has adjustable drawstrings to fit your needs.

Vans Old Skool Canvas Shoe

Who doesn't love a classic? Teens are bringing back some staple style and white Vans are just one of them. The color block detail on these Old Skool canvas shoes is just on trend too.

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

Trust us when we say this: Faux leather leggings are a wardrobe essential. This specific pair from Spanx doesn't have a center seam, so it creates a more streamlined look and the glossy finish adds a chic touch to any outfit.

Doodle Line Rugby Sweatshirt

For the 18-year-old who loves to stand out, this playful, color-block sweatshirt features pretty pastels and ready to be shown off.

Best skin care and makeup gifts for 18-year-olds

Earth Therapeutics Gel Bead Sleep Mask-Green

Self-care is always a necessity. On the days when your teenager is feeling extra stressed or run-down, this soothing eye mask can help. It was designed with flexible beads and a plush lining that contours to the face to help relieve tension and eye puffiness. It's perfect for winding down after a long day of classes.

Hommeface Men's Revitalizing Hydrogel Facial Sheet Mask

If your son is already on top of their skin care routine, opt for a pack of these luxurious face masks. They're great for all skin types and help to reinforce and protect the skin barrier while improving collagen levels.

Glow Recipe Fruit Babies Bestseller Kit

Curate their perfect skin care routine so they don't have to! Included in this five-piece set are some of Glow Recipe's bestselling products, including the summery Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops and PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner.

Jack Black Skin Saviors Set

From moisturizer to SPF lip balm, this set from Jack Black has all of the basics for the teen who hasn't quite established a skin care routine yet. One reviewer even wrote this all-too-relatable sentiment about her boyfriend: "The essentials for your man when you’re trying to convince him to stop using bar soap on his face."

Glossier The Makeup Set

This makeup set includes all of Glossier's classics: their Lash Stick mascara, the Cloud Paint blush and the Boy Brow eyebrow pomade. Reviewers say this set is "good for beginners" if your teen prefers a simple makeup routine.

The Little Gift Set from Drunk Elephant

All the skin care essentials they'll need when they're traveling with friends are packed into this adorable jelly pouch that's perfect for on-the-go.

Trinny London Trinny's Bare-Faced Beauty Set

If they're looking for ways to shorten their beauty routine, this set from Trinny London has all of the essentials they need for an everyday look. It comes with a cleanser, T-towel, mascara and lip gloss in your choice of 11 colors.

Best game gifts for 18-year-olds

Exit: Sunken Treasure Escape Card Game

For the young adult who wants to take the escape room experience to the next level without leaving their dorm room, this game is ideal for playing with roommates, new friends and those who want to prove their survivalist skills.

Gift Republic 100 Things-to-Do Bucket List Scratch Poster

Odds are your 18-year-old is about to make a big move for college or is preparing to start a new job. No matter what the next step is, it's the perfect time in their life to start crossing things off their bucket list. This scratch poster features 100 fun activities they'll love getting inspiration from.

Tapple Game

They've probably seen this fast-paced game all over their TikTok For You Page and watched along in anticipation to see how each player will beat the timer. It's the perfect game to play with friends (up to eight people can participate comfortably) and the rounds are quick, keeping everyone engaged.

New Phone, Who Dis? Game

This game is loved by Amazon shoppers; it has over 11,000 five-star ratings. It's made from the same maker as What Do You Meme? and thus has a similar objective: players compete to create the funniest text message thread by matching up an inbox card with a response card.

Hues and Cues Game

This super aesthetically pleasing game involves having one person describe a color on the board in one word while all the rest of the players try to guess which of the colors the other player is describing. It's perfect for game nights with all their pals!

What Do You Meme? TikTok Edition

Another great gift for the TikTok lover is this hilarious game in which your loved one competes with their friends to create TikTok-themed memes.

Best fitness gifts for 18-year-olds

Iron Gym Total Upper-Body Workout Bar

Most of us don't have enough space for an entire gym set in our homes, which is why this workout bar is great for the fitness fanatic in your house. It installs in any doorway in seconds and can be used to do pull-ups or chin-ups at any time.

Rimable Skateboard

For the skater in your family, gift this 22-inch skateboard. It's sturdy, stylish and a great option for beginners.

5-in-1 Dumbbell Weights

Want your teen to size down on their workout equipment? Save space in your home and their room by gifting this five-in-one adjustable dumbbell kit. With no assembly needed, reviewers say this sturdy kit is a great bang for your buck.

Unique gifts for 18-year-olds

"Almost Adulting," by Arden Rose

They're thisclose to being a full-blown grown-up, but may still be lacking a few critical life skills. Enter famed YouTuber Arden Rose who penned the ultimate how-to guide on everything they need to know to be a proper adult on their own terms.

Bottle Bright Bottle Cleaning Tablets

These cleaning tablets are a game changer for any 18-year-old who never wants to separate from their favorite water bottle. "After using one tablet, I said goodbye to scrubbing and hello to grime-free hydration," one Shop TODAY writer wrote. "I’m a proud owner of a Stanley TumblerLululemon Hot/Cold BottleS’well Bottle and glass coffee tumbler, and these tablets have cleaned coffee, wine and mold stains without fail."

Kitsch Satin Heatless Curlers

Heatless hair curlers have been having a moment on TikTok, so chances are they may already have this Kitsch set on their wish list. Featuring a satiny foam headband and two satin scrunchies to secure their tresses while they sleep, Shop TODAY commerce coordinator Alexa Arent previously said that these curlers "have revolutionized [her] morning routine."

Gray Felt Letter Board

For the 18-year-old who likes decorating their dorm room, kitchen or at-home bedroom, gift this letter board. They can write out any words or phrases they like with the felt lettering to create an Instagram-worthy decoration.

She's Birdie Personal Safety Alarm

Personal safety should always be top of mind while they're out. This discreet personal safety alarm will easily blend in amongst the rest of their keychains while providing peace of mind. When the top pin is pulled, it activates a loud siren and flashing strobe lights to help draw attention to the situation and hopefully deter an attack, according to the brand.

College Cityscape Rocks Glasses

Upgrade their cup situation with this unique glasses set. They can be personalized with their alma mater's campus and is a fun way to showcase their school pride.

Magda Archer 'Is It Over Yet?' Trinket Tray

This eye-catching catch-all tray designed by artist Magda Archer is sure to be a conversation starter whether they leave it by their bed, on their dresser or by the door.

A to Z Bookends

Improve their bookshelf aesthetic with these fun bookends from Wayfair. The pieces will hold their favorite novels into place without worrying about falls and book bends.

The Comfy Original Oversized Microfiber & Sherpa Wearable Blanket

Keep your young adult warm with this wearable blanket. The oversized piece is made from a luxurious fleece microfiber that feels fluffy and cozy.

Susan Alexandra Bead Box

Let them make their own quirky beaded creation with this beading kit from fan-favorite Susan Alexandra. We're especially keen on the summery fruit beads and that signature Susan Alexandra clasp.

We Are Knitters Lovely Sweater Intermediate Knitting Kit

Knitting can be a great way to help them de-stress in between finals or during especially strenuous times. While simultaneously learning a new skill, they'll end up with a new sweater that will feel special knowing they make it from scratch.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Instant Camera Bundle

This Polaroid camera creates instant memories with the press of a button and aims to instantly print photos from the moment they're taken. This version comes with a bundle that includes a six-pack of white boarded film, a photo album and a carrying case.