32 cool gifts for teen boys that they won't return

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  • Buying gifts for teen boys can be daunting. You have the opportunity to get them something innovative and cool, but it's not so obvious what you should buy with so many great options out there.
  • Below, you can find a list of 32 gifts that range from classic, big-ticket items to simple, thoughtful gestures — including a Disney Plus subscription, Bluetooth beanie, DJI mini drone, and electric skateboard.
  • See also: 30+ tech gifts for teens that won't end up in a desk drawer
  • You can find all of our 2020 gift guides here. 
  • Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals

Buying gifts for teens can be a daunting task, and that can be especially true for teen boys, especially if you've already bought them the same Nike T-shirt in every neutral color.

But it doesn't have to be so difficult. There are tons of great gifts on the market — cool, innovative, thoughtful, and ranging in price from big-ticket items to under-$25 purchases you can make on Amazon.

Below, you can find a mix of 32 gifts that cover tech, grooming, nods to hobbies, and practical gifts for everyday needs. If you need more gifting inspiration, check out all of our gift guides here. 

Check out all 32 gifts for teen boys below:

An Echo Dot that works as a speaker and alarm clock

Echo Dot (4th generation), available at Amazon, $29.99

The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason: It's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (voice control, music, news, weather updates, and more). They'll love that it has a decent speaker. Parents will love that it works well as an alarm clock. 

A pair of gloves he can use with his phone

The North Face Apex Etip Tech Gloves, available at Macy's, $50

The North Face's Tech Gloves have silicone palm grips and touchscreen-friendly fingertips so he can use his devices without taking them off. 

A Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T fleece pullover

Patagonia Men's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover, available at Patagonia, $119

Like Champion, Patagonia is a brand that's gaining increasing popularity among teens. Its Snap-T Fleece Pullover is one of their best and most popular products.

The best socks we've ever worn

Bombas Socks, available at Bombas, from $10.50

Practically the entire Insider Reviews team is made up of Bombas fans, largely because of the socks' standout features and the brand's mission. Socks are the number one requested product among homeless shelters, and each time a pair of Bombas socks are purchased, a pair of socks is donated by the brand.

Super convenient Apple AirPods with a wireless charging case

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, available at Best Buy, $159.99

When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're incredibly easy to use. 

A streaming service that includes the Star Wars and Marvel universes

Disney+ Monthly Subscription Service, available at Disney, $6.99/month or $69.99/year

Disney Plus is the relatively new Disney-centric streaming service, but it carries much more than the nostalgic movies they may have grown up watching and the Marvel movies. The platform includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox — and you can also bundle ESPN+ and Hulu with it. Disney Plus offers two subscription options: $6.99 a month, or a slightly cheaper $69.99 a year ($5.83 a month). With ESPN Plus and Hulu, it's $12.99 a month (a $17.97 a month value).

Gift cards to virtually anything they could need or want

To a teen, there's probably nothing more useful than a gift card. Here are a few of the best you can give.

Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card / Gift Amazon Prime Membership

Coffee: Starbucks Gift Card

Books: Amazon Gift Card / Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Entertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub gift card

Transportation: Uber Gift Card 

Music: Spotify Gift Card

Food: Taco Bell Gift Card / Chipotle Gift Card

Clothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift Card / Nike Gift Card / Under Armour Gift Card / Adidas Gift Card

Tech: Best Buy Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card

A pair of cool new Adidas Ultraboost sneakers

Adidas Ultraboost Shoes, available at Adidas, from $54

In 2015, Adidas introduced the Ultraboost as an entirely new running silhouette, but it was quickly adopted by sneaker heads for its comfort and style. It's responsive, supportive, and they'll probably wind up wearing it for both sports and around town. If you don't see a color he'll like, check StockX for more options.

A 4,108-piece, app-controlled Lego kit that incorporates advanced engineering elements

Lego Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator 42100 Building Kit, available at Amazon, $449.95

Lego's new excavator building kit was designed in partnership with Liebherr and has over 4,000 parts that mimic the real thing — incorporating advanced elements of engineering and accurate details like access ways and extensible ladders. It's operated via the Lego app, so they can control the boom and bucket, create movement sequences, and complete fun challenges with real-time feedback. 

A skin-care starter set of Kiehl's products

Kiehl's Men's Groom On-the-Go Gift Set, available at Bloomingdale's, $30

Whether he'd buy it for himself or not, he'll love using these Kiehl's products. This set includes an energizing face wash, body scrub soap, brushless shave cream, and a moisturizer. 

A book they'll reread in the years to come

'The Book Thief,' available at Amazon, $6.99

Some of my favorite gifts ever have been books, and I've revisited many of the ones I read as a teen now in my adult years. If he loves to read, the award-winning "The Book Thief" is a good place to start. It follows Liesel Meminger as she comes of age in Nazi Germany. Recognizing the power of the written language to inspire hope, she begins stealing books that the Nazi party tries to destroy, and writes her own story. It's been translated into more than 60 languages, and the New York Times said it's "the kind of book that can be life-changing."

We've also made a list of the 37 best young adult books Business Insider staff ever read, and Amazon has curated a list of the 100 books you should read in a lifetime that's a great jumping-off point as well. 

A Kindle Paperwhite for reading on the go

Kindle Paperwhite, available at Best Buy, $129.99

Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, has double the storage of its previous model, and is its lightest and thinnest version yet. The glare-free display adjusts to accommodate even bright sunlight, and it has a battery charge that lasts for weeks. 

A popular streaming media player

Roku Express Streaming Media Player, available at Best Buy, $29.99

The Roku Express Streaming Media Player turns an otherwise dumb TV into a smart TV with access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Now to cable alternatives like Sling or YouTube TV.

A simple sweatshirt from a classic brand

Champion Men's Pullover Eco Fleece Sweatshirt, available at Amazon, from $26.67 (prices vary based on size and color)

Champion is having a moment with the teen demographic. If they don't already have one, pick up one of the brand's most popular items in a color and style they'll wear often.

A projector the size of a soda can that's great for movie-watching

Anker Nebula Capsule Mini Projector, available at Amazon, $299.95

Anker makes a mini projector the size of a soda can that's perfect for screening their favorite movies. It weighs only 1 pound, and it offers four hours of continuous playtime. Find a full review here.

A drone with included stablization

DJI Mavic Mini Quadcopter with Remote Controller, available at Best Buy, $359.99

For the price point, this drone has some impressive features. The device has a 3-axis motorized gimbal for stabilization, and it has QuickShot presets to shoot epic clips like a Hollywood movie. The DJI Fly app also allows users to edit videos and share them on social media.

A small, travel-ready camera that stabilizes shaky video footage

GoPro Hero7, available at GoPro, $199.99

For travel, adventures, and even school projects, a GoPro is one tech gift that's hard to oversell. It also makes a great gift for teens who are interested in photography and film. If you have a larger budget, there's a newer version of the GoPro for $100 more.

A speaker they can spill on and drop in the pool without breaking it

JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, from $78.95

This under-$100 Bluetooth speaker connects to smartphones to give their songs a stereo-sound treatment. It has an IPX7 waterproof rating, so they don't have to worry about spills or drops in the pool. 

A new cologne that's a little more unique than what they already have

Proper Cologne, available at Duke Cannon, $25

If you want to gift him a slightly nicer and more unique cologne, Duke Cannon makes a few that we really like. They smell good, are relatively affordable, won't be the same thing all his friends have already, and every year the brand donates 5% of its net profits to causes (typically one for each quarter of the year) that benefit veterans and active-duty military. Learn more here. 

A Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con, available at Target, $299.99

If you're gauging the success of your gift based solely on the excitement it elicits, this is a good option. This model has a battery life of up to nine hours and can be played with friends or solo at home or on the go.

A durable, weather-resistant backpack from Under Armour

Under Armour Gameday Backpack, available from Dick's Sporting Goods, $65

Under Armour's black backpack has a water-resistant finish, padded shoulder straps, and a tough bottom panel that can handle less-than-gentle handling. 

The most popular and useful Fitbit

Fitbit Charge 4, available at Kohl's, $119.99

The Fitbit Charge 4 isn't the newest model the company has released, but it is perhaps one of the best and most popular. It has a lot of useful activity-tracking features without a big, clunky screen or an exorbitant price. It has a built-in heart rate monitor, in-depth sleep tracking, advanced workout features, and real-time workout tracking on the screen.

A cult-favorite water bottle

Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, from $37.46

These cult-favorite, vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottles work really well. It'll keep hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours.

Smart lights with bright lights for studying and dimming at night before bed

Bulbrite Solana A19 WiFi Connected Color Changing LED Smart Light Bulb, available at Home Depot, $17.99

Smart lights mean he can change the lights to a range of colors, create customized lighting for watching a movie or studying, and set a schedule for the lights to turn off and on or brighten and dim at different times during the day. 

An electric skateboard

Boosted Mini X Battery-Powered Board, available at Amazon, $999

The Boosted Mini X is a shorter board that's easy to carry and compact enough to be stored under desks, and its a few hundred dollars less expensive than the company's longboards. It can reach speeds of up to 20 mph, has up to 14 miles of range, and a battery charge time of 1.75 hours.

We want to remind parents that electric skateboards can be dangerous, and if used improperly, they can cause serious damage. We suggest buying pads and a helmet to go with this and strongly encouraging your teen to wear this protective gear.

An audiobook subscription

Audible Membership (3 months), available at Amazon, $45

If they love to read, or you're trying to get them to love to read, a gift subscription to Audible is a great idea. They'll get three free titles for each month they're a member (one audiobook and two Audible Originals), and 30% off any additional audiobooks they buy. They can listen and read anywhere and anytime using the free app. 

A cult-favorite duffel bag that's durable and cavernous

Black Hole Duffel Bag, $139, available at Patagonia, $139

Patagonia's Black Hole duffel bags deserve their cult status: They're seemingly neverending, extremely durable, and are now made out of recycled plastic bottles. 

A T-shirt from a new outdoors brand with great gear and a philanthropic mission

Do Good Men's T-Shirt, available at Cotopaxi, $30

Whether he's into the outdoors, volunteering, or might appreciate an introduction to a cool new startup he hasn't heard of, he'll appreciate a soft, unique T-shirt from Cotopaxi. 

An online class from one of the greats

Tom Morello Teaches Guitar (single class), available at Masterclass, $90

Masterclass hosts online classes on virtually every topic taught by the experts themselves — from Neil Gaiman teaching the art of storytelling to Annie Leibowitz teaching photography. This class, by Grammy-winning musician Tom Morello, teaches you the guitar techniques that define his style. 

A beanie with Bluetooth connectivity so they can listen to music on the go

Tenergy Wireless Bluetooth Beanie Hat, available at Amazon, $24.95

An increasingly popular accessory among teen boys is the Bluetooth Beanie Hat, which lets them listen to music while wearing it. The headphones pair with a tablet, Apple watch, or smartphone, and the Bluetooth range is up to 33 feet. There are even built-in controls for adjusting the volume, skipping songs, and pausing/playing music.

Editor's note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A powerful portable charger

Elecjet PowerPie Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $49

Whether for traveling or keeping in contact with friends or parents while on the go, this external battery is great for giving parents and teens convenience and peace of mind.

Editor's note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A unique retro-style poster of their favorite movie

Retro Style Movie Poster Art Print, available at Etsy, $49.10

If he's into film or just happens to be at the age where he's discovering cult classics like "Fight Club" and "Donnie Darko," getting him a cool, retro-style art print is a thoughtful nod to his interests.

Editor's note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

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