Picking good gifts for a college student can be a tricky business. The usual staples of a decorative vase or home appliance are hardly useful, and they probably already have a good smartphone.

What are some nice techy gifts that would be appreciated by a student? Read on to find our favorite picks.

Table of Contents

    1.   Sunrise Alarm Clock

    No one likes being woken up by a beeping alarm. Yet getting up on time is crucial for a college student, and an alarm clock is a necessary evil. But what if it could nudge you from sleep a bit more gently?

    This is the idea behind sunrise alarm clocks. Instead of an irritating sound, it uses a gradually brightening light to wake you up. The intensity ramps up over time, simulating a sunrise, naturally breaking you out of sleep.

    There are many options in this space, from reputed brands like Philips to other cheaper alternatives. In addition to serving as an alarm clock, these devices can double up as reading lamps, making them an excellent gift for any young student.

    2.   Backpack with USB Charging

    Gifting a college student with a laptop backpack is a cliche. But what if that backpack could also charge their devices?

    Backpacks with USB charging ports are surprisingly handy. A student can slot in their existing power bank to keep their phone topped up while running from class to class without walking around with a dangling cable.

    There are a variety of styles and brands to choose from, with great options in every price range. Make sure you match it up with the size of the student’s laptop, though!

    3.   Bluetooth Item Locator

    Useful things have a propensity for disappearing into thin air, especially in messy dorm rooms packed to the brim. And if the missing item happens to be a key, let’s just say the room will get a makeover.

    That’s where a Bluetooth tracker comes in. Usually available as a sleek tag that can be attached like a keychain, this tracker allows you to locate the attached item using your Android or Apple smartphone. You can ring it, check its latest location, or even use the tag to find the phone instead.

    A handy item for a forgetful student, consider gifting a bunch of these tags to attach to everything, from their bags to their wallets. And once you are done, maybe buy a few for yourself to track that pesky remote.

    4.   Wireless Charging Dock

    Apple iWatch, AirPods, iPhone—there is a whole ecosystem of useful Apple devices that can come in handy for a student. But charging them all can be a pain, especially when sharing limited power sockets with a roommate.

    This makes a wireless charging station an excellent gift for students who swear by their Apple devices. A charging dock removes the tangle of cables to just one, charging up all of these devices at once, and that too wirelessly.

    Go for a fast charging version that can top off all Apple gear in minutes, ready for the next few hours of chasing lectures.

    5.   Portable Coffee Maker

    An endless supply of coffee is an essential requirement for surviving four taxing years of higher education. And while it may be a tad overkill to give them a full-fledged coffee maker for their cramped dorm room, a portable version is always welcome.

    These single-serve coffee makers are a great way to grab a cup on the fly, saving time spent running to the cafeteria (not that you would want their coffee). Whether they need a quick morning cup to kickstart the day or a midnight dose for pulling an allnighter, a portable coffee machine will be a lifesaver for a busy student.

    6.   Smart Notebook

    The digital age brings with it a new problem. On the one hand, it is much easier to keep notes organized virtually than in a stack of notebooks; on the other hand, it is more convenient to scribble them down in a notebook in the first place.

    Enter the hybrid solution: a reusable notebook. Made out of a non-porous synthetic material that can be wiped clean, the pages of a reusable notebook provide you with a paper-like surface to write or draw upon. Scan the result when you are done, and you are ready to use the page again.

    The most popular option out there is the Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook. With 32 pages and a specialized pen, a student can take notes for multiple classes before having to upload the pages to the cloud and start over again. Not only is this approach more flexible, but also environment friendly.

    7.   Noise Canceling Headphones

    Noise-canceling headphones do exactly what they say on the tin – cancel out ambient background noise. This makes any audio you listen to much clearer to hear, preventing interference from a noisy environment.

    As you might expect, this is incredibly useful for students. Dorm rooms aren’t known for their blissful silence, and trying to focus while your roommates argue over who gets the bathroom first can be difficult.

    There is a huge variation in price among the models on offer, with fifty buck options competing with premium noise-canceling headphones from the likes of Bose. Unless the student in question is a music lover, the low-cost option will do fine.

    8.   Portable SSD

    There was a time when portable flash drives were enough. That was before the age of 4K videos, however. Nowadays, a few extra gigabytes of storage is hardly enough.

    What you need is a portable SSD. Solid State Drives are well known for their superfast read-write speeds, and an external hard disk usually sports one terabyte of storage to boot.

    From SanDisk to Samsung, there are many big brands in this space, offering more or less the same features at similar price points. You can go with a portable SSD from any leading brand to get a fool-proof student-friendly gift.

    9.   Smart Lock

    Student housing is a notorious target for burglars. After all, students usually have a bunch of expensive gadgets lying around and often fail to secure their doors properly. Whether it is out of a concern for friends frequently coming over or just to avoid the hassle, college students will often leave their doors unlocked.

    This is why smart locks make for excellent gifts for students. These digitally connected locks can be fitted into most doors and help in automatically securing the lock when the owner leaves the premises. Opening the lock is similarly touch-free, thanks to wireless technologies like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

    Most smart locks will have a provision for sharing access with selected users, allowing for a more secure way of granting entry to friends than placing the key under the doormat.

    10. Fitbit

    Wearable tech is nothing new, with multiple players like Samsung and Apple active in the space. But there is still no beating the sheer versatility and reliability of Fitbit.

    Primarily a health-tracking gadget, the Fitbit is specialized in accurately monitoring the user’s heart rate. It then uses this data to determine sleep patterns and calories burnt, helping users understand their health better.

    Busy students would love the Alexa integration, giving access to phone notifications and setting reminders by speaking to it. The only reason we have placed Fitbit on the last spot for a gift option is the likelihood of the student already having one.

    What Are the Best Tech Gifts For College Students?

    The best gifts for a student are gadgets useful in college life. Most college kids already possess all the Bluetooth speakers and chargers they need – the perfect gift is an innovative tool they do not have.

    It is a great idea to go with practical gifts like charging stations or smart notebooks, as college dorms have little room for purely decorative items. Whether you are gifting a high-school kid moving to college for the first time or picking Christmas gifts for a grad school student, this gift guide has some good options.

    Some of these gadgets make for great graduation gifts as well, apart from being a nice holiday gift for virtually any age group. So the next time you are having trouble coming up with a useful gift, don’t just order a portable Bluetooth speaker from Amazon and call it a day.