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Back to school gift guide 2022 — great ideas for every budget

A MacBook Pro, Beats headphones, calculator, and two backpacks
(Image credit: Tom's Guide/Shutterstock)

Searching for the right back to school gift can be expensive. Fortunately, back to school sales have started early this year, so we're rounding up back to school gifts for every budget. 

A back to school gift can either be an educational essential, or something for when all the work is done. From laptops to streaming devices, there are plenty of options that students can use throughout the academic year. (Make sure to check our ultimate back to school guide for even more gifting inspiration). 

Whatever your budget, below you’ll find our top picks of the best back to school gifts to fit every need. Furthermore, we also advise getting your back to school shopping done as early as possible, because summer will be over before you know it. 

Best back to school gifts

Back to school gifts less than $50

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INIU Portable Charger: was $19 now $14 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The INIU 10000mAh Portable Charger is our top pick for the best portable charger (opens in new tab) you can buy. It offers two USB-A ports, fast device charging and a sizable battery that can keep your smartphone powered all day long. It's a useful accessory to have in your pocket for those long days on campus when you're not within reach of a power outlet. 

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Texas Instruments Scientific Calculator: was $21 now $13 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The smartphone in your pocket might come with a calculator app but there's still value in having a proper scientific calculator for those larger mathematical problems. This Texas Instruments model is currently 37% off at Amazon just in time for back to school gifting. 

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Mancro Laptop Backpack: was $29 now $23 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Mancro Laptop Backpack has over 10 compartments, one of which can house a 15-inch laptop. It also has a combination zipper lock, which ensures no one will open your laptop bag and steal its contents when you're not looking. Click the on-page coupon to drop its price to $23. 

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Fire TV Stick 4K: was $49 now $29 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The Fire TV Stick 4K is one of the best streaming devices available, offering 4K Ultra HD streaming at 60fps with HDR support and including an Alexa Voice Remote. Right now it's $20 off in this early back to school sale, but note that it's been as low as $24 in the past.

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PS5 games: from $15 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Even with school in session, students can't be expected to work every minute of the day. If you're looking to reward a hard worker with something to enjoy after all their homework is done, Amazon is offering a range of PS5 games on sale starting from just $15. 

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Canon TS302 Wireless Printer: was $69 now $49 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
A printer is no longer the back to school essential it was a decade ago, but having one to hand is still extremely useful. This Canon model prints from laptops, smartphones and PCs and also functions as a scanner. It's a useful little machine to have when your teacher demands an assignment be handed in on paper. 

Back to school gifts less than $100

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Secura Air Fryer XL: was $70 now $51 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Fry, roast, grill and bake with this extra-large air fryer from Secura. This appliance is currently $18 off at Amazon. It boasts a roomy 5.3 quarts capacity and heats up within just three minutes. It's also highly user-friendly with adjustable controls and simple temperature settings. This is a great back to school gift for a student heading off to college and in need some a convenient way to cook food quickly. 

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SwissGear 1900 ScanSmart Laptop Backpack: was $89 now $79 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The SwissGear 1900 is made with 1200D ballistic polyester to withstand heavy use and harsh environments. It's also a TSA-friendly laptop bag, which means it's designed to produce a clear and unobstructed image of your laptop when undergoing X-ray screening. The 31-liter bag can hold up to a 17-inch laptop. 

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UE Wonderboom 2: was $99 now $83 @ Best Buy (opens in new tab)
The UE Wonderboom 2 portable Bluetooth speaker is IP67 waterproof and delivers up to 13 hours of rich 360 degree sound. In our UE Wonderboom 2 review (opens in new tab), we said the Editor's Choice speaker delivers good bass and vocals in a highly portable package. 

Back to school gifts more than $100

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Samsung Chromebook 4: was $229 now $127 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
This Samsung Chromebook 4 is $100 off at Amazon, it sports an 11.6-inch HD display, Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB eMMC. It's a solid device that gets the job done when you need it. 

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Beats Solo3: was $199 now $149 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
If you want to pair comfort and style with excellent battery life, then the Beats Solo 3 are for you (especially now they're on sale.) A solid entry-level pair of 'phones, these are a great pick as a back to school gift. 

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Insignia 43" F30 4K Fire TV: was $229 now $189 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
A TV might not seem the most conventional back to school gift, but it's a perfect present for college dorm rooms. Right now, this Insignia F30 is one of the cheapest 4K TVs you can get. It features HDR10 support, DTS Studio sound, and a voice remote with Alexa built-in. 

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10.2" iPad (64GB/2021): was $329 now $309 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
The 2021 iPad features Apple's A13 Bionic CPU, a new 12MP front camera, and 64GB of storage (instead of 32GB like its predecessor). You also get support for Center Stage, which uses machine learning to adjust the front-facing camera during FaceTime video calls. Deals on this base model are rare, so snatch this up while you can. The 256GB model is also on sale for $429 (opens in new tab) ($50 off). 

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MacBook Air (M1/256GB): was $999 now $899 @ B&H Photo (opens in new tab)
The MacBook Air offers fantastic performance thanks to its Apple Silicon. The M1 CPU also helped it reach over 14 hours on our battery test. It features a 13.3-inch Retina display, Apple M1 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It's no longer Apple's flagship, but at $100 off its an excellent pick for budget-minded Mac fans. 

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MacBook Pro 13" (M1/256GB): was $1,099 now $1,049 @ Best Buy (opens in new tab)
$250 off!
The MacBook Pro with Apple's M1 chip delivers performance that runs circles around Windows laptops, and you get a brighter display than the MacBook Air M1 and beefier 8-core graphics. Even better, the system lasted over 16 hours in our battery test. It's now on sale at its second-lowest price ever and just $50 shy of its all-time price low. 

Rory Mellon
Rory Mellon

Rory is a Deals Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on deals, gaming and streaming. When he’s not scouring retailers for PS5 restock or writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found attending music festivals and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.