The best and most practical graduation gifts that they’ll really use

Grad presents don’t have to be fancy or complicated. The practical graduation gifts in this gift guide will spare your grad a lot of stress and make their lives easier.
woman throwing glitter in front of herself wearing a graduation cap
Graduation gifts that are actually useful. Joshua Mcknight via Pexels

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Looking to help ease the transition into post-grad life? These practical graduation gifts can simultaneously streamline and enhance your favorite graduate’s everyday routine. Whether you’re looking for college graduation gifts, high school, or anything else, we’ve got the best ideas here. From a smart notebook that translates all their notes into the digital realm, to an alarm clock that eases them in and out of slumber, this gift guide is here to help you find something smart, stylish, and efficient.

Practical graduation gifts for commuters: Fjallraven Kanken Everyday Backpack

Classic Looks

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The Fjallraven Kanken backpack boasts an iconic and functional design that’s perfect for transitioning from the classroom to a work environment. This practical graduation gift is made of dirt- and water-resistant vinylon (yep, that’s a real fabric!) that’s easy to wipe clean and comes in an enormous number of colors to suit any grad’s personal style. A roomy 3.5-gallon interior and front zipper pocket offer plenty of space for books, a laptop, and other personal items, and a compact, removable seat pad plus an ergonomic shoulder strap configuration ensure maximum comfort through even the longest commutes.

Best grad gifts for early risers: Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Alarm Clock

Rise and Shine

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Quality sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and the Hatch Restore is an all-in-one sound machine and alarm clock that’s designed from the ground up to deliver a more restful sleep experience. The unit offers white noise and soothing nature sounds, along with a variety of warm and cool lighting that perfectly eases users in and out of their resting states. The super-simple volume and brightness controls, combined with a soft fabric texture and understated clock display, make for a sleek and aesthetically pleasing presence in any room. An accompanying app offers granular control over alarms, sounds, lights, and more.

Dorm room essentials: Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Deep Bass Response

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These noise-canceling headphones from Anker are perfect for blocking distracting noise and allowing users to remain focused within a bubble of isolation. This is an ideal grad gift for anyone who shares spaces regularly while working, whether in a dorm room, apartment, or a busy office. The Q20 headphones are fully wireless and connect via Bluetooth, offering up to 40 hours of continuous use on a single charge. Memory-foam earcups form a comfortable full seal around users’ ears, which further enhances the long-term usefulness of this particular model. 

Best graduation gifts for bookworms: Kindle Paperwhite


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The Kindle Paperwhite is a classic e-reader that makes a convenient graduation gift for any heavy reader. It comes in capacities of 8 gigabytes and 32 gigabytes, and it includes Wi-Fi connectivity to allow for on-the-go management of reading libraries. Its 6-inch anti-glare display makes for easy reading in many environments including direct sunlight, while five onboard LEDs allow for bedtime reads. This model is also set apart from others by its IPX8 waterproof design, which grants it immunity from accidental dunks in up to 2 meters of water.

Best grad gift for writers and artists: Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse Smart Writing Set Pen & Ruled Smart Notebook

Smart Doodles

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Moleskine has earned a reputation for manufacturing high-quality notebooks and stationery that earned the brand popularity with writers, artists, and students everywhere. Grads will appreciate the Pen+ Ellipse set’s ability to automatically digitize and send everything written to the companion notes app for later review, reference, and searching. The whole set includes a high-quality ruled paper tablet, the pen itself, and instructions on how to pair with the app. Users can take notes as normal, plus record audio and export PDFs without missing a beat, making this a great choice for students continuing their education as well as anyone looking to save time within their workflow.

Recent graduate kitchen essentials: Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer

7-in-1 Cooker

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As important as home cooking is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it can throw a wrench into the busiest schedules. New grads can save time and money in the kitchen without sacrificing health or convenience with the help of a dedicated air fryer and multi-cooker, like this model from Instant Pot. It offers a generous 10-quart capacity and multiple cooking modes including broiling, baking, toasting, rotisserie, and dehydrate, all of which are fully automated and require nothing more of users than a simple push of a button. Cooking with a versatile unit like this one cuts out the need for storing multiple appliances, which makes it the best graduation gift for people living in small dorms or apartments. 

Portable and Powerful

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This wireless speaker from Bose packs a 30-foot Bluetooth range and high-quality sound plus voice assistant compatibility into a single package. It’s water-resistant, so users can enjoy podcasts and music in the shower or by the pool, and it has a soft silicone exterior that makes it resistant to bounces and bumps. Up to two units can be connected to play in tandem using the Bose SimpleSync function, making this speaker an ideal choice for get-togethers at your grad’s new apartment.

Best old-fashioned but handy gift: Brother HL-L2300D Monochrome Laser Printer

Paperwork on Demand

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Almost every grad has extensive experience with library printers, and those working in law, accounting, and clerical-adjacent fields in particular know just how important having a reliable source of printing at a moment’s notice can be. This monochrome laser printer from Brother can print up to 27 pages per minute and boasts a 250-sheet tray as well as automatic two-sided printing, making it a great grad gift for busy people who work from home. Unlike pages printed from ink printers, the edges are much sharper and aren’t susceptible to running, which makes this the best choice for acquiring clean, professional prints every time.

Best practical graduation gift for homebodies: Tempur-Pedic Symphony Pillow

Soft Touch

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Not all bedding is created equal, and this pillow from Tempur-Pedic will demonstrate just that to your new grad. It’s dual-sided and made of adaptive memory foam that shapes and molds to the contours of the head and neck, resulting in a high level of stability and alignment correction over long periods. One side is subtly arched for back sleepers, while the other is flatter to cater to side and stomach sleepers. Because quality sleep and health go hand-in-hand, a pillow designed for enduring support and better rest will go a long way in supplementing busy post-grad life.

Most practical graduation gift for life on the go: Tile Mate

Mini and Multi-functional

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Everyone knows all too well the feeling of desperately searching for keys, bags, pets, and other essentials while running late. A Tile Mate tracker is a fantastic option for alleviating that stress and cutting out the need to panic over lost items altogether. The small, water-resistant, and incredibly thin Tile packs a year of battery life and utilizes Bluetooth to locate your lost item and even emit a ringing sound within a range of 200 feet. Users can even service and replace the battery themselves when it runs low, making Tile a unique long-term solution for keeping tabs on personal belongings.

Some last words on practical graduation gifts

The items in this gift guide are hand-picked for grads of all ages for maximum versatility and usability. The best practical graduation gifts don’t have to be flashy or fancy to facilitate your grad’s big step into their future; by choosing a gift that takes care of the more mundane concerns that crop up in daily life, you’ll allow your new grad to devote more of their energy toward making their next big push toward secondary schooling, their career path, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.