Graduation stands as a testament of hard work and perseverance. At the same time, it’s a new beginning that can be exciting but scary for young adults. A graduation gift can be fun and celebratory or practical and needed. Either way, a graduation gift sends them into the world with the support to ease the transition from child to adult.
We’ve reviewed dozens of products in search of the best that’s on the market today. We looked for gifts that were appropriate for high school or college graduates as well as those gifts that are purely entertaining versus practical in nature. Our list has a mix of everything so you’re sure to find something will be meaningful to your graduate.
The Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage Set stood out for the durability and security features it offers. We especially like that you can buy it as a one, two, or three-piece set. Add to that the TSA-approved locks and these pieces allow graduates to travel the world knowing their luggage is tough enough to handle anything they can throw at it.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Graduation Gifts for Him
|Best Overall||Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage||4.2|
|Runner Up||Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag||4.4|
|Best Budget Buy||Anker Powercore 10000 Power Bank||4.5|
|Best High School Graduation Gift||COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones||4.3|
|Best College Graduation Gift||T-fal Anodized Cookware Set||4.3|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage will get your graduate from here to there and back again. Whether he’s traveling from school to home or lands a job that takes him around the world, this luggage set will stay with him for years to come. Samsonite is well known for high quality and durability, both of which will be needed to make it through the adventures of the typical young adult.
Let’s start with the mobility of 360-degree spinner wheels. Moving through the line at an airport or navigating a crowded street gets dicey when pulling luggage. These wheels allow the suitcase to be moved in any direction even while fully upright. A wide, multi-stage pull handle that’s made of lightweight aluminum provides a comfortable, secure grip.
A full-zip interior divider keeps things organized while the hard shell prevents damage to the interior. We love that the smaller suitcases can fit inside the larger one for compact storage. Finally, the TSA approved locks allow only the owner and the TSA to have access. Any gift that simplifies airport security is worth giving.
Samsonite Windfield 2 Hardshide Luggage Key Features:
- Five (5) color options
- Expands 1.5-inches for increased capacity
- Side-mounted TSA locks
- Wide grip handle
- Nesting storage
Our Runner Up Pick: Samsonite Columbian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag
The Samsonite Colombian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag is the perfect gift for the graduate who will be stepping into the corporate world. It combines the rugged good looks of natural cowhide leather with modern design. Each bag has a unique look and feel due to the unique properties of every hide used. This messenger bag allows the graduate to fit in with colleagues while standing out with a bag of impressive quality.
A padded center pocket perfectly fits a laptop, iPad, or tablet up to 15.6 inches. Yet, there’s still ample room for files and books in the other large back pocket. Success in the business relies on organization, and the designer of this bag didn’t ignore the need for essentials. Under the flap, there’s a pocket specially designed to keep a cellphone, pen, and an ID or business card in order. With an additional zippered pocket to hang onto valuables, the graduate will be set.
What we love about this bag is that it’s as attractive and useful on the outside as it is on the inside. Beautiful topstitching brings eye-popping detail to the leather. The adjustable shoulder strap can be completely removed if a briefcase rather than a messenger bag works or looks better for your graduate’s new occupation. The cherry on top is the carrying handle that’s wrapped in the same high-quality leather. Overall, it’s a messenger bag that doesn’t look like your graduate just turned his tassel but that he’s capitalizing on his education to start a career.
Samsonite Columbian Leather Flap-Over Messenger Bag Key Features:
- Natural cowhide leather
- Removable and adjustable shoulder strap
- Padded laptop pocket
- File folder pocket
- Business organizer pocket
- Protective top/front flap
Best Budget Pick: Anker Powercore 10000 Power Bank
The Anker Powercore 10000 Power Bank is not only practical but a lifesaver. It’s hard to keep track of the charge on electronic devices like where they are in the power cycle and how long you’ll be away from a power source. That’s where the Power Bank comes in. The capacity surpasses many portable chargers of a similar size by holding an incredible 10,000mAh. To give you an idea of what that means, that’s roughly three and a half full charges on an iPhone 8 or two and a half on a Galaxy S8. The ability to stay powered and connected keeps your graduate safe and ready for the sometimes unpredictable lifestyle of a recent graduate.
This model holds a lot of power and delivers it quickly. Anker has a unique PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology that gets things charged in less time than the average portable charger. At the same time, it’s also loaded with Anker’s MulitProtect safety system to prevent damage from power surges or bursts. It also comes with a micro USB cable. However, if your device needs a different kind of cord, it will have to be bought or provided separately.
Anker Powercore 10000 Power Bank Key Features:
- Light and compact (same size as a deck of cards)
- Quick charge with PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology
- Includes micro USB cable and protective carrying pouch
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
Best High School Graduation Gift: COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The COWIN E7 ACTIVE Noise Canceling Headphones are almost an essential for a high school graduate, especially one who loves the solace of music. Based purely on appearance, these headphones are a stunning addition to any graduates small supply of possessions. The active noise canceling technology not only reduces airplane or traffic noise but it also drowns out roommates or neighbors who don’t keep the same hours. The noise canceling technology works in both wired and wireless modes so your graduate can be protected from distraction while almost anywhere. The Bluetooth and NFC technology are quick with an excellent connection distance for headphones in this price range.
The noise canceling technology may keep things quiet but it’s the 40mm large-aperture drivers that keep the bass pumping. Swiveling ear cups both surround the ear to provide another barrier against outside noise and encapsulate the interior tones for a brilliant sound. The earcups are covered in a comfortable, skin textured fabric for a light but tight fit. Finally, there’s the playing time. A four hour charging time is totally worth thirty hours of playback. Most users will get far more than a day or two of listening before it’s time to charge again. Of course, playback time depends on the settings, including wired vs. wireless, volume, and outside temperature.
COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones Key Features:
- Connects with Bluetooth and NFC technology
- 40mm speaker drivers
- 30 hours of playback time
- 4 hour charge time
Best College Graduation Gift: T-Fal Anodized Cookware Set
College graduates are heading out into the real world where they need to establish themselves as a professional. The T-Fal Anodized Cookware Set lets your graduate step into this new chapter of his life and leave instant mac and cheese behind. While we love the full 17-piece set, there are 12, 13, and 14-piece options if your budget or your graduates living space can’t hold the full set. A full set includes an 8, 10, and 11.5-inch (with lid) frying pans; a 1, 2, and 3-quart sauce pans and lids; a deep saute pan; a 5-quart dutch oven with lid; a steamer insert; and one egg wonder pan. That’s enough to go solo or entertain a crowd.
But what we really love about this set are the ease of use and cleaning. T-fal includes a spot indicator, which lets you know when it’s heated and ready to cook. And all pans are oven safe up to 350 degrees, giving you extra browning and crisping options. These pans have a hard anodized titanium coating that makes them non-stick and completely dishwasher safe. There aren’t too many graduates who are willing to cook if it means a long clean up time, and this set solves that problem. The hard coating resists scratches and can be used with metal utensils. It’s designed for someone ready to try their hand at cooking beyond the basics, which is perfect for the recent college grad.
T-Fal Anodized Cookware Set Key Features:
- Comes in sets of 12, 13, 14, and 17 pieces
- Includes multiple fry and sauce pans
- Dutch oven, steamer insert, egg wonder pan
- Dishwasher safe
- Thermo-spot indicator
- Oven safe up to 350 degrees
Who Should Buy a Graduation Gift for Him
While there’s no hard and fast rule, in general, if you’re invited to the graduation ceremony or the graduation party, you should give a gift. What kind of gift, how expensive, and when to give it can vary. Again, the rules aren’t set in stone but generally, the closer you are to the graduate or their parents, the more expensive the gift. However, there’s no obligation to buy a gift you can’t afford. Your budget and own finances should also determine the price of the gift. No matter the price, if you’ve put thought into it, the gift should be received with gratitude.
Your relationship to the graduate and budget will also help you narrow down the type of gift—something on the practical side or one that’s purely fun and entertaining. You might want to ask the parents or friends of the graduate what he could really use. Some graduates are decked out from the get-go so something fun makes sense. For others, they’re heading out with little more than what they can carry in a backpack, which means a practical gift might be more appreciated.
Important Features to Consider
A graduation gift for a young man will either fall on the practical or fun side. After you’ve considered your relationship to the graduate and your budget, it’s time to get down to the key features:
- Size and storage. Dorm rooms, studio apartments, shared rentals—graduates aren’t known for their spacious living conditions. Anything you give him will need to fit within the confines of his life. You might need to find out if he has roommates, what kind of storage space he has available, and what he already has to assess what will work. You can talk to the graduate himself, his parents, or even his friends if you want to keep things quiet. Keep in mind that many items come in compact or mini versions that are easier to store and still leave space for the essentials.
- Personality and interests. If you’re already close to the graduate, this part will be easy. However, if the graduate is the son of a friend or a relative you don’t know well, ask those who are closest to him about his interests. A gift that involves his favorite sports team or hobby may be the right way to go. Parents, friends, and neighbors can all be resources when you’re in search of something that’s tailored specifically to his needs.
- Monogramming. Monogramming is always a nice personal touch but if your graduate is heading off to life with roommates, it can be crucial to keeping track of his things. Towels, clothes, notebooks, pens, pencils—almost anything can be monogrammed.
- Practicality vs entertainment. Young adults leaving home for the first time or leaving the college life behind might be in need of the essentials like kitchen appliances or towels. Practical items can be great gifts because the graduate can use his own funds elsewhere like rent, food, and utilities. On the other hand, sometimes a fun gift makes an appreciated break from stress. Graduates are less likely to spend money on entertainment because they’re focused on the basics. Something completely unexpected could put a smile on his face and give him permission to have some fun.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it customary to give gifts for college graduation?
Gifts are customary if you receive an invitation to the graduation ceremony or party whether it’s high school or college. The kind of gift you give for a college graduation may be different than what you would give for a high school graduation. College graduates may need kitchen essentials, furniture, or linens to expand to fit their working life. College graduation gifts definitely have a more adult feel and purpose.
Do you bring a gift to a graduation party?
In general, yes, you bring a gift to a graduation party unless it says otherwise on the invitation. If you can’t make it to the party, you’re not obligated to give a gift unless you want to. In which case, you can either have it delivered beforehand or deliver it yourself within a few days of the party.
How much money do you give for a college graduation gift?
There’s no standard amount that you should feel obligated to give. But you should take into account two things 1) your relationship to the graduate and his parents and 2) your financial situation. Generally speaking, the closer you are to the graduate, the more money you give. However, how much you give should also be based on your finances. You don’t need to go into debt or go without the essentials to give a monetary gift. Give what feels appropriate to you and that should be enough.
Do you give guys flowers at graduation?
You can give men flowers for graduation. However, the kind of flowers you give will probably be different than you would give a woman. Think outside the box for men like sunflowers or lilies. A bouquet in school or team colors are also appropriate for men.
Other Graduation Gifts for Him We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other potential gifts. They didn’t make our 5 best graduation gifts for him list, but they’re still great options and some may be perfect for your graduate. We’ve included the information you need to compare, contrast, and sift through the rest.
- High school graduation gifts
- College graduation gifts
- Practical graduation gifts
- Fun graduation gifts
High School Graduation Gifts
Most dorm mattresses are extra long to account for students of all heights. Give the graduate a head start with these soft microfiber sheets. The deep corner pockets fit tall mattresses too.
- Fits mattresses up to 16 inches deep
- Includes a pillowcase, top sheet, and fitted sheet
Start your graduate out right with a basic tool set. Screwdrivers, pliers, socket wrenches, and more will help graduates stay on top of home and car mainenance.
- Plastic storage case
- Includes an assortment of wrenches, ratchets, sockets, and screwdriver bits
- Also includes hammer and measuring tape
The name says casual but the monochrome design makes it appropriate for work too. It’s a stopwatch and tracks the date. We love that it’s water resistant in up to 165 feet of water, making it appropriate for most water sports.
- Quartz movement with three hand analog display
- Black stainless steel case
- Leather band
Compact and economical, it’s hard to beat transportation that you can store in your bedroom. Schwinn put together a 21-speed bike with a back sweep handle and a suspension fork for comfortable riding. The storage rack is perfect for a backpack or gear for an all-day outing.
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- 21-speed SRAM grip shifter
- Suspension fork
College Graduation Gifts
The late nights of college quickly get replaced with early mornings of a corporate start time. Make six, eight, or ten ounce individual cups with a 48-ounce reservoir that doesn’t need to be filled every day.
- Simple controls
- Auto-off kicks in after two hours
- Brews 6+ cups before needing a refill
Give the gift professionalism with this powerful laptop. What isn’t there to love about ultrafast SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, and ten hours of battery life?
- Intel 6-core and quad-core processors
- Retina display
- Comes in a 13 or 15-inch model
Cuff links say good taste and professionalism. What college grad doesn’t want that? These brass cuff links covered in three layers of stainless steel look solid and polished for the confident appearance needed in the corporate atmosphere.
- Three (3) layers of stainless steel
- Bullet back closure
- Swivel post
The perfect shave starts the day out right. The Cheiftain provides medium aggression with an easy to handle top-heavy design. Classic precision beats disposable speed any day.
- Three (3) piece design
- Includes extra blades and case with mirror
- Easy change blades
You have to look the part. An assortment of six ties gives the graduate a few options right out of the gate.
- 100 percent silk
- Six assorted colors and patterns
- Length: 57 inches, Width: 3.1 inches
Practical Graduation Gifts
It’s not easy to keep everything charged. A dual USB charger may not be exciting, but it will keep your graduate powered while on the go.
- Compact size
- 4.8 amps of power
- Aluminum alloy body
Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time. This kit goes beyond emergencies to a few basic necessities that are easy to forget. Prepare your graduate with an all-inclusive emergency kit that’s perfect for the car, dorm room, or backpack.
- Includes spring action needle-nose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, wire stripper, saw blade, can opener, bottle opener
- Compass, whistle, fire starter
- First aid items not limited to—bandaids, medical scissors, butterfly bandages, q-tips, rubber gloves, triangular bandages
Even if your graduate isn’t a gourmet cook, he can create some quick, delicious meals in an Instant Pot. It brings 6-in-1 cooking to the table—pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, saute, steam, and warm.
- Stainless steel inner pot
- Delayed start feature
- Six (6) cooking options—pressure, slow, rice, saute, steam, and warm
Start the day out right with a natural light alarm clock. The light brightens in the morning and dims at night to support the body’s natural rhythms, easing the transition to and from sleep.
- Plays natural wake-up sounds
- FM radio
- Back up battery provides eight hours of power
Protect important documents and valuables in a fireproof box. This model withstands up to 30 minutes at 1,500 degree Fahrenheit.
- Includes two keys
- Flat key lock
- Carrying grips
Noisy dorms or neighbors can be tough for a light sleeper. This sound machine adjusts the sound levels to the room environment and can mask noise with a choice of 64 natural sounds.
- Front panel lighting dims according to the time
- Dual USB ports, audio input, and headphone jack
- Timer sets for a 30, 60, 90 or 120 minute shut off
Fun Graduation Gifts
A fire stick gives the gift of entertainment, and one that works with Alexa is even better. You can do far more than just watch TV. You can also control the lights, stream music, check the weather, and monitor live camera feeds.
- Compatible with Bluetooth headphones
- Easy setup—connect to TV, plug into an outlet, and connect to the internet
- Watch thousands of channels or browse the internet
This portable game system will keep your graduate entertained. It can be played alone, with multiple players, at home, and when out and about. For the graduate who can’t live without his games, it’s the perfect gift.
- Includes console with docking station
- Two (2) controllers in blue and red
- Can play in HD when connected to a TV
A dependable portable speaker can go on a hike, to a pickup game, or be used in the dorms. The Oontz model has impressive clarity and volume for a speaker of this price.
- 100-foot Bluetooth range
- Connects with other Bluetooth devices
- IPX5 water resistance
A regulation size dartboard is a welcome distraction for any graduate. With the TG Champion, a unique bristle construction self-heals so the graduate will be playing darts for years to come.
- Staple-free frame
- Wire dividers
- Includes mounting hardware
Gamers won’t be able to help themselves with this one. This gaming system comes complete with the Battlefield V Deluxe Edition. If the graduate needs even more, XBox One has over 1,300 games from which to choose.
- Includes full downloads of 1943 and Battlefield 1 Revolution (including Premium Pass, Expansions: They Shall Not Pass, In the Name of the Tsar, Turning Tides, Apocalypse, and 14 Superior Battlepacks & unique dog tags)
- Ability to set privacy settings, screen time, and content limits
- Watch in 4k