21 cool gifts for 13-year-old boys, including a mini projector, a high-strategy game, and classic sneakers

settlers of catan game tokens and board is one of the best gifts for 13-year-old boys
If you're shopping for a serious strategy game for a 13-year-old boy, Settlers of Catan is our recommendation.

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  • Buying a gift that a 13-year-old will love means considering their very specific interests and hobbies.
  • The best gifts for 13-year-old boys range from outdoor gear to style accessories to handy tech.
  • Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested.

If you have a 13-year-old boy to buy for this holiday, it can help to understand a bit more about what their age group cares about. Social Worker Mendi Baron, LCSW, a father of four, says, "While one would assume that tech would be at the top of the list, and still is for many, today's teens are looking for ways to connect in person." 

Thirteen-year-olds are seeking independence and relationships outside their families, says child and adolescent psychiatrist Sid Khurana, medical director at Nevada Mental Health. He recommends leaning toward their favorite hobbies, sports, and activities, but not discounting that they they still might like stimulating and complex board games

It's important to remember that interests vary widely depending on the individual 13-year-old. Khurana says that by age 12, preteens have developed a sense of their own gender identity. This can inform the type of clothes, accessories, or activities they might like, going beyond stereotypical gifts for boys and girls. "Whether they are cis or trans or fluid, their identity should govern how we identify and address them, and our gift giving should be no exception," he says. 

Here are 21 of the best gifts for 13-year-old boys:

A film lover's bucket list challenge

Uncommon Goods

100 Movies Scratch Off Poster, available at Uncommon Goods, $15

If your 13-year-old is a film fanatic, they will love this scratch-off poster that guides them through the most iconic movies they didn't know they needed to watch. This also has potential to serve as a gift that connects them to others, such as family members who watch with them or friends who race them with their own chart.

An indoor garden

aerogarden black with tomato plant in white kitchen is great gift for 13-year-old boy

Aero Garden Sprout, available at Amazon and Walmart, $59

This indoor garden gives 13-year-old boys with a passion for nature an opportunity to develop their green thumb all year long. No soil or sun needed. There is room for three plants, and he can choose to grow, herbs, flowers, or vegetables. 

A remote control dragon

boy playing with zing go go bird dragon outside

Zing Air Go Go Bird: Red Dragon, available at Target, $39.99

You may think the 13-year-old boy in your life has outgrown dragons, but this one takes it to another level. The flying dragon works with a remote control, getting teens outside and off their smart device.

A gadget to help them remember


Apple Air Tag, available at Amazon, Target, Apple, and Best Buy, $29

If your teen is feeling a bit scatterbrained lately, the Apple Air Tag can help. Buy them one (or a few) to help them track from their phone where their most precious belongings have ended up.

A versatile hat for outdoor adventures

man wearing floating waterproof hat-everyday california
Everyday California

Everyday California Floating Waterproof Snapback, available at Everyday California, $32

Buying for your favorite hiking, biking, paddleboarding teen can seem daunting, but they might be into smarter gear, like this hat that floats. Next time they are on the water, they won't have to worry about sun protection or losing it.

A replica jersey for the Lasso fan

WB Shop Ted Lasso AFC Richmond Lasso Replica Jersey
The WB Shop

WB Shop Ted Lasso AFC Richmond Lasso Replica Jersey, available at The WB Shop, $69.95

A Ted Lasso AFC Richmond Replica jersey captures the heart of the show and the feel-good inspiring messages behind it.

Supplies for painting and drawing

paint set

Prismacolor Premier Mixed Media Art Kit, available at Blick and Walmart, $29.99

Liquitex Basics 48 Tube Acrylic Paint Set, available at Blick and Amazon, from $33.65

If he has been expressing an interest in art, or is already an avid painter or drawer, these two gifts will get him started with all the necessities or refresh his supply. Featuring sketching pencils, markers, and acrylic paints, he doesn't have to choose just one medium and it will allow him to explore the extent of his creative vision.

A weighted blanket

Luna Weighted Blanket

Luna Weighted Blanket, available at Amazon, $59.99

This is the gift that doesn't have that out-of-the-wrapping wow factor, but he'll tell you a few days later about how much he loves it. The blanket is breathable but weighted for optimal napping and is available in a variety of prints and sizes.

A scratch-off for a cause

scratch off card
Lotto Love

Lotto Love Basic Needs 4 Ticket Gift, available at Lotto Love, $40

If he is the strongest activist you know, you may want to forgo cash lotto scratch-offs and gift him these giveback options instead. The recipient scratches off each ticket to reveal what charities will receive proceeds to provide clean water, literacy tools, meals, solar energy, and more around the world.

A page-turner

the maze runner book cover

The Maze Runner, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop, from $4.99

If your teen says the last books he really enjoyed were "The Hunger Games" or "Divergent," this might be the next book he'll devour. In a fast-paced race to exit a maze against formidable foes, a group of teen boys who have forgotten their pasts struggle to figure out an escape. You can also opt for a three-month audiobook subscription through Audible if you know he'd prefer to listen instead.

A pocket projector for sharing with friends

kodak ultra mini portable projector-Amazon

Kodak Luma 75 Ultra Mini Portable Projector, available at Amazon, Target, and B&H, from $169.99

So your teen wants to play video games or watch movies ... in the backyard. That's not a problem with this pocket projector that connects to PCs, Macs, cable boxes, gaming consoles, and HDMI players. This gift is also perfect for gathering with friends just about anywhere to watch a movie or play a game.

An alarm clock that lets them charge their phone

lacross color mood light alarm clock-

La Crosse Technology Color Mood Light Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, from $26.46

This mood light alarm clock and phone charger can also play music from their phone or help them zone out to nature sounds. It has adjustable settings such as five brightness levels, ensuring optimal sleep conditions and on-time school mornings. 

A sophisticated case for keeping track of that first debit card

leather phone sticker card case-Mark & Graham
Mark & Graham

Leather Phone Sticker Card Case, available at Mark & Graham, $19.99

If your teenager is entering the years of learning how to manage money and keep track of a credit or debit card, this card case that attaches to smartphones makes things a little easier. Teens typically know where there phone is, so this keeps all of their important stuff in one place.

A game to see the world from another perspective

settlers of catan board game on a wood table

Settlers of Catan Board Game, available at Amazon, Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, from $35.20

Khurana says kids this age typically prefer games of strategy over chance, and this one for three to four players fits the bill. They will trade, build, and settle an island and will most definitely want to play it more than once.

Some throwback vibes for relaxing

lava lamp

Original 16.3 Inch Silver Base Lamp with Yellow Wax in Purple Liquid, available at Amazon, $39.46

If you are looking to help a 13-year-old boy relax, a lava lamp can be the perfect throwback addition to his bedroom. Baron says self-care for teens is a topic to focus on while gift giving, and this colorful floating lava will have him in a meditative state in no time.

A rockin' beanie

bluetooth beanie

Rotibox Bluetooth Beanie Hat, available at Amazon, $29.99

It's such a tough choice, and one your favorite 13-year-old boy doesn't have to make this winter — warm ears or ear buds. This hat with built-in Bluetooth headphones will keep them warm on chilly walks. It has six hours of battery life and the headphones can be removed for easy washing.

A knife for getting started in the kitchen

chefs knife
Victorinox Fibrox

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-Inch Chef's Knife, Extra Wide, available at Amazon, Sur la Table, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, from $37.78

Whether he is already a wizard in the kitchen or is just getting started, a chef's knife, used with a bit of adult instruction, will help him feel ready to take on any recipe. Be prepared for some meals not prepared by you, as he learns to love having ownership of his own cooking tools.

A shaving set

shaving kit

Harry's Truman Set, available at Harry's, $15

The first-time shaver might not be sure where to start when it comes to picking a great razor and shave gel. The Truman handle uses a textured rubber grip to prevent mishaps and minimize the need for bandages and the shave gel prevents irritation.

A tent for camping at home or away


REI Co-op Passage 2 Tent with Footprint, available at REI, $159

Whether your teen is planning an overnight in the yard or is an avid camper, a tent of his own offers indpenendence. This tent uses an X-pole configuration for easy setup and spaces for gear storage. 

A pair of Classic Chucks


Adult Converse All Star Chuck Taylor High-Top Sneakers, available at Converse, $60

You know the rules: Black and white. High tops. Classic. If you are a purist Chuck Taylor fan looking to bring these retro classics to your teen, this is your chance. They're comfortable, simple, and easy to wear with almost anything.

Fresh socks


Nike Everyday Plus Cushioned Tie-Dye Crew Socks (2 pairs), available at Nike and Dick's Sporting Goods, $18

Socks are a serious style component for many 13-year-olds. These tie-dye socks will be a hit, far from the six pack of plain white socks they'd be less than enthused about.

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