February 7, 2023

If you’re buying for a young teenager, these must-have gifts will put a smile on their face
ooking for the best gifts to buy for a 13-year-old? Or wondering what presents will keep a 14-year-old entertained? We’ve cherry-picked our favourite products for teens in this age bracket – from budget-friendly stocking fillers to standout gifts they won’t forget.
Unsurprisingly, tech features heavily on the wish-lists of 13 and 14-year-olds. So, our list includes some electronic essentials – from the best headphones and earbuds to that all-important phone.
On the other hand, we’ve looked for present ideas that get them outdoors or get them learning a new skill. There’s a grown-up bike to encourage independence, as well as activities to build on blossoming design skills and entrepreneurial streaks.
We’ve also looked for gifts for their bedroom, an all-important space at this age. That includes a clever light strip that will transform their room faster than you can say ‘Alexa, switch to mood lighting’. Absolutely no DIY skills necessary.
Last but not least, we’ve considered budget and included smaller gifts that still bring plenty of fun. Whether it’s a family game that makes everyone sound stupid, or bath bombs that double as a portal to The Upside Down, there’s a gift idea to make them smile – whatever the occasion.
If you’re buying for a gamer, they’ll love JBL’s new Quantum 910 Wireless gaming headphones. Crucially, they cut out the need to be connected to a console, so you can move around freely while you’re playing without getting caught up in cables. The sound quality, integrated head tracking, and noise cancelling abilities are next-level, too, so you get a truly immersive experience whether you’re chasing Pokémon or scoping out the enemy.
The headphones stay charged for up to 39 hours – brilliant for forgetful teens – and you can plug in, charge, and play when they do inevitably run out. Our tester found them comfy to wear and we were pleased to find these work with both Nintendo Switch and PlayStation. The all-important mic folds down when they want to chat to their pals, then flips back up to mute.
Poetry for Neanderthals is another brilliantly simple card game from the makers of Exploding Kittens. You’re given a secret word and your task is to try to explain it to your team, but you’re only allowed to use single-syllable words to do so. You can’t help but sound a little bit stupid, which is all part of the fun.
The game is very easy to pick up, suitable from ages 7+ and playable for 2-8 players – so it’s great for a family games night. It takes a while to get the hang of using monosyllabic words, and any accidental eloquence is met with a blow to the head with an inflatable club. For our testers, that was the best bit.
Time for a bike upgrade now they’re bigger? Bobbin’s Brownie 7 Dutch bike will see them through their teenage years and into adulthood with a small/medium frame that’s ideal for a rider height of 5’3″ to 5’7″. Our 13-year-old tester and lover of all things vintage tested the glossy green frame – a bright, minty hue inspired by 1950s gelaterias – but there’s also a sky blue, navy blue, and a classic black option.
The alloy frame is nice and light, and the colour-matched mudguards and chaincase are both practical – clean trousers never go out of fashion – and stylish. Soft cork and rubber handlebar grips and a buttery vegan leather saddle make it as comfortable as it is pretty. And if you’re looking for something a bit more boyish, try Bobbin’s new Hornet – a BMX-style frame for smaller riders.
The 4lite LED strip light is a quick and easy way to brighten up their bedroom without having to give it a complete DIY overhaul. Peel off the backing and stick it in place wherever you fancy – we used ours around the base of a loft bed. Connect the 2m strip to the Wizz app on your phone and you can change the 30W LEDS into a whopping 16 million colours, including – should you need them – 64,000 shades of white.
Our tester created a gaming den and loved the fact you can change the whole look of a room in an instant without any permanent changes. It works with voice controlled smart devices, connects via Bluetooth and WiFi, and is extendable up to 10m with 2m extension kits.
These magical unicorn macarons are so pretty it seems a shame to eat them. Hand-painted with rosy cheeks, edible sprinkle crowns, and colourful glitter horns, they’re gift-wrapped just as beautifully and can be delivered anywhere in the UK.
Naturally gluten-free, flavours include Madagascan vanilla, raspberry and salted caramel and each one is individually wrapped for freshness. The unicorn macarons are baked to order so they have a 10-day lead-time, but Oh La La make all manner of designs available to ship next-day from their Bloomsbury bakery. That includes personalised macarons decorated with an edible photo of your choice, and several vegan options.
If a phone is top of their wish-list, the Nokia G60 is a good option for this age group. With 5G, triple-camera technology and a gorgeously crisp FHD+ display, this a step up from an entry-level handset, so they’ll be happy to show it off to their mates. Yet despite the bells and whistles, the price tag remains pleasantly within reach for a birthday or Christmas gift.
The handset comes with three years of software upgrades and security updates, as well as a three-year warranty. Our tester liked the fact the 60 per cent recycled-plastic frame feels robust without being too big and bulky for smaller hands. The grown-ups were pleased with the phone’s buffer-free performance when streaming full movies, and the impressive battery life.
Lush + Stranger Things + bath bombs. Need we say more? This Stranger Things x Lush Hellfire Club bathing duo will go down a treat with fans of the show, who’ll recognise the D8 dice and The Rift.
The Rift smells divine and pops and fizzes in the water, but it’s the D8 that really impresses – ours rolled eerily on the surface and left blue and red trails in its wake. The bombs were packaged so nicely it felt a bit of a shame to use them, so we were glad to find the set also includes two collectable playing cards compatible with the Dungeons and Dragons game the kids play in Mike’s basement.
Young teens will love being able to make the perfect cup of hot choc with The Chocolatier – a mini kettle designed to get you whipping up pro-level drinks at home. Cordless, compact, and quiet, it was soon proudly displayed on our tester’s bedside table alongside a jar of marshmallows like some sort of boutique hotel. The rest of us barely got a look-in.
To use it, just add dairy or plant-based milk or water with chocolate flakes, and your silky hot chocolate is ready in about five minutes. Powdered hot chocolate works, too, and is just a little less velvety. It doesn’t get scorching hot – ideal when a teenager is using it – and makes just the right amount for one mug of hot chocolate. It has a milk frothing option, too, which is handy for coffees. That’s if you can sneak it out of their room.
Buying for a budding entrepreneur? Get them busy making gifts for friends with Cricut’s mug press. This compact machine makes it easy to personalise mugs, and we were amazed by the professional results. Plus, if you team it with The Chocolatier, they’ll be setting up a side-hustle in no time.
There are a few extras you’ll need to buy separately if you want them to be able to start making right away, or go all-out choose a bundle offer. That includes Infusible Ink sheets to use with a Cricut cutting machine and suitable blank mugs. Teens can then design their transfers in Design Space – Cricut’s free design app, which has loads of tutorials and templates to get them started. This one’s definitely an ongoing project and they’ll need adult supervision at the cutting and heat transfer stages. But it’s a great gift for any young designers and the perfect step up from a kids’ craft kit.
These Boo Tip wireless earbuds from Urbanears tick a whole lot of boxes. The buds themselves have a pared-back look and come in six colours including a classic white, charcoal black and khaki green. They’re made from 91 per cent recycled plastics and slip neatly into a sleek little wireless case.
Once charged, the buds will give you 4.5 hours of playtime, and the case holds an extra 25.5 hours. But it’s the sound that impressed during testing – dual noise filtering microphones meant no interruptions, even when walking next to busy traffic. The choice of three in-ear silicone tip sizes meant our 14-year-old tester could get a snug fit, but there’s also a Boo design without these if you prefer a more streamlined shape.
If they’re using a laptop regularly for schoolwork, this 13’’ laptop sleeve from Kind Bag will keep it safe without looking boring and corporate. We tested the geometric ‘navy coffee’ design but there are a couple more bright and bold options to choose from. All of them are made exclusively from old plastic bottles and they’re both machine washable and water resistant.
The quilted design gives the laptop sleeve a decent amount of padding, and it’s a snug fit for 13’’ laptops like a MacBook Air or Surface Go. We found it a bit annoying that we couldn’t therefore fit a mains charger in, but it did stop the contents from moving around.
Verdict
For big-ticket gifts, JBL Quantum 910 Wireless gaming headphones came out on top. They’re robust, comfortable to wear, and will take their gaming to the next level – whatever they’re playing. If you’d rather encourage your teen outdoors, we recommend investing in Bobbin’s Brownie 7 Dutch bike, which will last them beyond adolescence. And if you’re on a budget or just looking for a stocking filler, it’s hard to beat the fabulously silly Poetry For Neanderthals game.

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