Buying Guides

Ultimate College AV Gift Guide – Practical Gifts Edition


In our last article, we talked about the must-have tech items for every college student. But let’s face facts. We can give our college kids some practical gifts that don’t wow as much as a new set of headphones but get used a lot. Not sure what to get them? Keep reading, and we will discuss the Ultimate College AV Gift Guide – Practical Gifts Edition! And don’t worry, I snuck in some AV picks as well!

1) Air Fryer (with WiFi!)

Ok, so I don’t know about your family, but we use our air fryer a ton! We used it so much that it became our go-to gift for almost every family member last Christmas. And before I sent my daughters off to school, each had a brand-new air fryer under an arm as they moved into their new place. Plus, if your kids have Tik Tok (they do), there is no shortage of fantastic recipes on “Fryer Tok.”

Today, we can get air fryers with freakin WiFi! We like the COSORI Smart Air Fryer. It’s only a few more dollars than a dumb ole air fryer, and you earn some sweet cred for being the cool parent. I know that it seems like a useless feature. But trust me, when your kids lose track of time, an alert saying it’s chicken tendie time is welcomed! I think we all knew that an air fryer would make my Ultimate College AV Gift Guide – Practical Gifts Edition!

2) A Good Tool Kit

Having been a homeowner for a couple of decades, I can attest to the need for a good toolbox. My favorite housewarming gift for a first house or apartment is not a bottle of wine. You guessed it. It’s a good toolkit. And a decent tool kit doesn’t need to have every tool, just the essentials. It is the perfect practical gift for every college kid!

We really like the CRAFTSMAN Home Tool Kit. At $55, it comes with various standard tools like a hammer, screwdriver, a small socket set, pliers, utility knife, tape measure, and hex keys. Pair that with assorted fasteners or a picture hanging kit; you have it all covered!

3) A Quality Office Chair

So I know most college kids probably want a gaming chair, not an office chair. But in my experience, gaming chairs are all looks and very little substance. And if you want a gaming chair that meets the quality of a decent office chair, you will pay three times more. 

I have an older variant of the Flash Furniture Mesh Executive Chair in my office and its little brother in my home office. At $240, it is decidedly not an inexpensive purchase. But both of my chairs are five years old and going strong. Let’s face it, you pay for quality. And these are quality! For long studying (or gaming) sessions, this chair is the bomb.

4) Powered Bookshelf Speakers

I said this would be a practical gift guide, and I stand by that. Every college kid deserves to have a decent set of speakers. At $250, the Fluance Ai41 powered bookshelf speakers are a combination of value and performance. You could spend a lot less and get a cheap Bluetooth speaker. But it won’t hold a candle to these speakers, and the Fluance’s can grow with almost any system

Because they are powered, an external amp won’t be needed. And because the Fluance Ai41’s are Bluetooth, RCA, and optical, they can hook up to your phone, a Monoprice turntable, or your TV/computer! Options!!!

I have had a set of powered bookshelf speakers for years and have served as a garage, patio, and desktop computer set of speakers. Trust me when I tell you these will not be a throw-away gift!

5) A Backpack

So, of all the practical gifts I considered, none is more important (in my mind) than a good backpack. It is great for hauling laptops and books from class to class, but also at the gym or on weekend excursions. 

I have always been partial to Northface products, and their Jester School Laptop Bag is reasonably priced, comes in a ton(!) of colors, and is super durable. I gave both my daughters Northface backpacks in high school, and five years later, they still have them.  

Our Take

Cool tech gifts for your college kid are easy to find, but practical gifts are just as important. Remember when getting socks was your worst Christmas gift, and now it’s your favorite? It’s just like that!

And the best part is that they are not disposable. These quality items will last your college kid through school and beyond. Given how disposable stuff is today, that’s a welcome change.

What about your experiences? What were the best gifts you were given or received? Let us know in the comments below!


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