Best birthday gifts for teen boys: What to buy so you won’t hear a deep sigh

Young dudes can be notoriously hard to shop for, so we’ve rounded up the best birthday gifts for teen boys whether they’re into gaming, tech, clothing or just shopping for themselves online.
best birthday gifts for teen boys
Your teen boy is an individual. Here’s how to make sure his gifts are original, too. Kat Wilcox via Pexels

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They won’t like it. And even if they do, it won’t fit, or won’t fit for long. It’s just not dope or lit or drippy or snatched or whatever the current word for cool is … The list of fears for anyone buying birthday gifts for teen boys goes on and on and on. It’s a tricky age, one known for quick pivots, but we’ve done the research for you, so read on for the best birthday gifts for teen boys.

Top birthday gifts for teen boys they won’t roll their eyes at

When setting out to pick the top birthday gifts for teen boys, two paths seem to work best. First, you could ask around and see if there are popular gifts for teen boys, stuff their friends are also geeking out about. Second, you could try and seek out a unique gift, a specific find tailored to your teen’s personality or interests that he would feel sets him apart without making him awkwardly stand out. Of course, since you’re here you can also do things the easy way: keep reading, because we’ve collected the top gifts for teenage boys, from gadgets to sports to music to, of course, gift cards.

Best gaming gifts for teen boys: Nintendo Switch

Win the Gifting Game

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First released in 2017, the Nintendo Switch took off to become one of—if not the—most in-demand gaming gaming gifts for teen boys, particularly after Nintendo released a slew of top titles. (We direct you to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Animal Crossing: New Horizons for gifting purposes.) It works as both a portable device and a home console system, depending on whether the tablet is docked. But the real ticket is that it is set up for play with others, whether remotely connecting over the internet, or with other nearby consoles on its own network. So if you want a gaming gift for the teen in your life, but also want to encourage them to be social, this is not a losing proposition.

Related: Best birthday gifts for gamers

Best gifts for teenage boys who love gadgets: GoPro Hero7 Waterproof Camera

He Shoots, He Scores

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Sure, they could use their (hopefully insured) smartphone to snag action footage, but why not keep that device secure and go with a super tough, entirely waterproof GoPro camera instead? They can take it to the beach or the pool, the skate park or the state park, or just doing something perilous in the backyard. The GoPro Hero7 shoots 4K video and takes 10 megapixel still photos, can be voice-controlled, and is less than half the size of a smartphone. (It also comes with a warranty.) With legit photography specs, as well as social media-friendly portrait-orientation shooting, this just might be one of the elusive gadget gifts for teenage boys that also teaches them a skill.

Best tech gifts for teen boys: Oculus Quest 2

Far Out, Way In

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With school having gone online for the better part of 2020, giving teens anything virtual reality may feel a little too on the nose. But au contraire with the Oculus Quest 2. If anything, it’s an escape the likes of which we all could use in the wake of a pandemic. The lightweight headset and hand controllers are all you need—no console, TV, or other equipment required. And with it, you get into the center of the action in a whole host of settings, such as gaming, live concerts, and sports. The user can meet up with others in the virtual world, or show what’s inside the headset on a nearby screen. This is, unquestionably, a very cool gift for teen boys—and anyone else in their household who gets to steal a turn.

Best gifts for teenage boys who love music: Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker

A Sound Investment

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A great solution for the terrible sound of bass trying to bump out of a smartphone speaker? An actually good speaker. Marshall packs deep, defined sound quality into small speakers, and this one is portable with 20-plus hours of playtime per charge and Bluetooth that works up to 30 feet away. The Stockwell II is also water-resistant and built to survive being out and about. As far as getting a thumbs up from teen judges: Besides the sound rocking, the “I’m with the band” style certainly doesn’t hurt, either. 

Best accessory gifts for teen boys: Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz Pack

Pack Style in Your Gift

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Herschel backpacks hit that sweet spot of design, function, and simplicity that will keep them not only highly usable, but also something teens will want to use for a long time. It’s a trend that keeps on trending, making it one of the best accessory gifts for teen boys, who can get obsessed with the new new. From a secure laptop pocket to waterproof zippers to keep everything dry, to scratch-safe fleece lining on a sunglasses compartment, the pack is built for use without being overrun with additions for the sake of additions. The only thing your teen might not use is the headphone port built for, gasp, cords…

Best clothing gifts: Patagonia Retro Pile Men’s Fleece Jacket

Great Gift? You’re Getting Warmer

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We love this fleece for adult men, we love this fleece for teen boys, and chances are very good this fleece can move between them. This matters, because clothing gifts for teen boys may be the most daunting of all the categories to buy for. Patagonia has been cool across an extremely broad swath of humans for a very long time, and there is absolutely no indication of that changing. The quality holds up to the style, as their jackets are also made to be crazy durable. Have a socially conscious teen? Good news: Patagonia makes these from 100 percent recycled materials, and pays premium Fair Trade wages to those who sew them.

Best gifts for teen boys who love sports: TRX Fit System Suspension Trainer

Pull On Up

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Whether a teen athlete in your life is needing more strength training than quarantine can provide, is generally interested in getting fit, or just needs a place to expend excess energy, the TRX fit system is hugely versatile with a very tiny—like, small notebook size—footprint when not in use. Although the name mostly gets tossed around with gyms and group fitness, the system is fundamentally just about body resistance, which means no extra equipment, and can be anchored with a closed door or tree—no drilling into walls required. The TRX Fit System is the least expensive of the tiers (Strong and Elite follow), but the main difference in levels, besides color and a small pack of resistance band loops, is in the TRX training classes that come with it, which, as your savvy teen would quickly know, can be found on their app, or around the internet for free.

Best novelty gifts: Revolution 101 Balance Board Trainer

Board, Not Bored

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Think your teen wants to try surfing on land or skateboarding in the living room without the need to shovel sand or pick up shattered decor? Gift them the chance to try both with a balance board trainer. What looks basically like a wheel-less skateboard atop a foam roller is actually a specifically engineered training system to replicate the balance and coordination needed for board sports, while generally improving strength and providing an all-around very fun challenge. The true teen test, of course, will be texting while balance board training.

Best gift cards: eGift Card

Cash Money (Kind Of)

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You know how sometimes you just really want cash? This is basically that, but without having to stop at an ATM. You choose a gift card design, they choose whatever they want in the wide world of Amazon. Amazon also sells gift cards to other vendors (Chipotle, Apple, Starbucks, Netflix, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, etc.), so you can always split the difference based on their interests. Cash (even on a card) is king for a reason, especially if the teen is heading off to college or already balancing work with life.

Best birthday gifts for teen boys under $100: Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

Affordable Audio? I’m All Ears.

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Reviews for these declare consistent satisfaction, often with an element of surprise considering the price tag is a fraction of AirPods but the feature set (sans noise cancellation) is the same: great sound, no wires, a case that charges them between uses. And these Skullcandy Sesh Evos have soft ear fittings, which standard (non-Pro) AirPods do not. So, if you were looking for the best birthday gifts for teen boys under $100, you can give them what they want and still have a few bills to spare.

A primer for buying the best birthday gifts for teen boys

First of all, their birthday comes every year (on the same day, in fact), so toss aside the stress and learn what works. Ask yourself: What are their interests? Then ask yourself: Are those actually their interests, or was that one to seven years ago? From there, generally speaking, look around at current popular gifts for teen boys and find the crossover. Great music gifts for teen boys? Great gaming gifts for teen boys? Clothing? Gadgets? Sports? You’ve narrowed your category, just scroll back up and get to clicking. Still lost? We’ll gently direct you back to gift cards, which often aren’t only the best gifts for teen boys, they’re the ultimate gift for them.

PopSci wants to help you find the most useful and expert shopping recommendations for the best gift ideas. Searching for more, unique gifts? Check out best gifts for teenage girls, best gifts for women, and the best birthday gifts for men.