Yes, we know that teens want money for their birthday gifts. And clothes. And money for clothes. Also Starbucks. It can be hard finding a cool birthday gift for teens these days, especially because they’re going to have very particular taste.
So, start there. Ask yourself, what do they like? What movies do they talk about? What music do they listen to? What causes do they support? What do they do with their free time? What do they want to do when they grow up? You’ll end up with a cool birthday gift, guaranteed.
Use this list of great birthday gift ideas for teens to get you started. (And check our list of the best birthday gifts for tweens, too.) They’re all approved by our team’s own teen sons and daughters, from all over the country.
Be sure to see our full list of the coolest birthday gifts for kids by age
All gifts have been editorially determined by our staff, there is no compensation in exchange for picks.
CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate and we may earn a small commission on purchases at no expense to you. This helps us remain independent and support our team.
Whether you get to go with them, or they take a friend, they’ll flip out if you can hook them up with one of their favorites. Tours this year: Billie Eilish (above), Lizzo, Ne-Yo, Fallout Boy (though it will have to include a trip to Tokyo), BTS, Drake, Maroon 5, Shawn Mendes, Queen with Adam Lambert…name a genre, basically
($109.99 at Amazon)
Shoot like Jonathan with the original instant cam — now a retro-cool instant cam, thanks to Netflix. Feel free to add in a Stranger Things 3 Funko POP! figure too, as seen in our gift guide for tweens.
($15, Pop Socket)
Choose a favorite photo (maybe with the BFF?) and get popping.
($24.99 on sale at Amazon)
This hugely popular collaborative game has a team working together as the last defense standing in the way of deadly diseases that threaten the world.
($72 on sale at Amazon)
If they seem like they’re constantly in space…well, maybe that’s where they want to be. The Celestron 21035 Travel Scope 70 is a highly rated professional travel telescope that happens to be handy for more novice astronomers too. It also comes with a travel bag, additional lenses, and other cool stuff.
($159-199 at Apple)
($31.99, Team USA Shop)
Available in girls and boys styles. Of course.
($14.69 at Amazon)
Whether or not they’re already super fans of the musical, Val Emmich’s story is required reading. Psst…it would be a super cool way to let them know you got Dear Evan Hansen tickets on Broadway or for the touring show.
($24.99 at Amazon)
This fidget toy 2.0 is a huge hit with our teens and older kids who love rolling it around in their fingers or using it to created different 3-D shapes. It comes in original silver, or lots of fun colors. Don’t be surprised if you want one for yourself.
($52, Bauble Bar)
Yes, children from the 80s — they’re back. And so are ear cuffs. Love them together in fact.
(Ear cuff sets start at $34)
($30, Uncommon Goods)
The hottest frozen treat these days isn’t froyo, parents. It’s Japanese mochi. Now you know.
Created in collab with James Harden, these shoes pay tribute to his high school basketball career, making them perfect for teens. They’re made for on-the-court play, but kids will wear them off the court, too.
($30, Stuzo Clothing)
Made in LA from a cool woman-owned business. We can think of a lot of teens who’d love to wear this — and have earned it.
($19.50-79.50 at Sugarwish)
They’ll love getting a notification that they get to choose their own treats, then have their every candy wish fulfilled. The Ultimate Box of 16 would be a smart and uh, sweet, Sweet 16 gift.
($12 individual glosses, $45 for Gloss Addict Set, $24 for glitter duo at Fluide)
Fluide is the brand taking teens by storm — it’s gender-neutral, made for everyone, in a celebration of all the many ways our teens see themselves and want you to see them. If you want a place to start, try the best-selling blue-tinted Elsewhere gloss, or their uber-popular Fluide glitters for $15 each or 2 for $24.
($14.99 on sale at Amazon)
If you’re shopping for an illustrator, comic artist, anime fan, or super journaler, these is the marker set to own — making it a very cool birthday gift for teens at a great price.
($16.90 at Hot Topic)
They will never outgrow this one. Trust those of us adults who want one too.
($7.79 at Amazon)
If your teen has seen the movie but not read the fabulous YA Marvel novel, get it. It’s amazing.
($299 at Urban Outfitter)
In 9 amazing colors, your teen will look ridiculously cool zooming around the neighborhood in Moxi’s sturdy, well-constructed skates. Plus, cheaper than a car, right?
($290 at Amazon; deals often available)
It’s not just about gaming anymore. With this amazing teen birthday gift, you’re giving them access to TV, music, movies…and okay, lots and lots of games.
($19.95 at Urban Outfitter or $15.96 at Amazon)
Our teens thought tarot cards were a little woo-woo until they discovered this adorable new deck. Cool gift for a cat-loving teen looking for a little guidance — not from their parents.
($25, Philadelphia Printworks)
This hand-printed tee includes a list of amazing writers woh have added to discussions about feminism, racism, and sexism, making it a perfect birthday gift for your favorite woke teen — boy or girl. Especially because your purchase helps support incredible organizations.
($8.66 on sale, Amazon)
Inspired by the autobiographical graphic novel trilogy by Rep John Lewis, with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, the journal offers prompts, illustrations, and plenty of space for kids to plot out their world-saving plans.
As little as $13 a month gets her samples of all kinds of cool beauty, cosmetic and skincare products to try. Not that she isn’t beautiful just the way she is, obv.