Teachers can be some of the most important individuals in our lives. Whether you had one this past year that truly inspired you, or one that just made getting through the daily grind of classes easier, now’s a great time to show them your appreciation. If you want to skip the standard gift basket or bouquet of flowers in favor of something a bit more personal (or perhaps practical), these are some of the best gifts for teachers that you can surprise them with this year.
Hario cold brew bottles
We recommend the Hario cold brew tea maker in our gift guide for tea lovers because it makes a beautiful, functional gift for anyone who likes loose-leaf iced tea. The heat-proof glass exterior has a wine bottle shape and the green silicone top houses a mesh strainer that keeps tea leaves where they belong. If the teacher you know is more into coffee, you get them the equally attractive cold brew coffee maker from the same Japanese manufacturer. It brews up a batch in the fridge overnight and has graduated milliliter markings that make it look a little like a chemistry class beaker. – Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer
Ember Mug 2
Many of us rely on caffeine to get through the day and teachers are no different. But dealing with students, lectures and other classroom activities may mean their beverage of choice grows cold before they can drink it all. The second generation of Ember’s smart mug, the Mug 2, doesn’t just keep tea or coffee hot — it keeps it at a steady temperature for a long time. The app integration lets you set the temp of the mug, while interior sensors shut the heat off when the mug’s empty or hasn’t been touched in two hours. The 10-ounce size has a battery life of up to an hour and a half and the 14-ounce capacity adds another 20 minutes. They can also stick the mug on the included charging coaster to keep their java warm all school day long. – A.S.
If your teacher is a sentimental type, a digital photo frame like the Aura Mason can let them easily add and look back on their favorite snapshots. The Mason itself has a crisp, nine-inch, 1,600 x 1,200 resolution display and a minimalist design that should look normal on a work desk or a side table back home. It can display photos in portrait or landscape mode, and uploading photos (or videos) through the Aura app is uncomplicated. Just note that it can sometimes add black boxes around photos that don’t match its 4:3 aspect ratio.
If you want to save $50, the Aura Carver is a larger 10.1-inch frame with similar benefits, though it has a lower resolution (1,280 x 800) and only works in landscape. You could also gift a multi-function smart display like the Google Nest Hub, but those usually have lower-quality screens and aren’t as simple to mount on a wall. — Jeff Dunn, Senior Commerce Writer
Book of the Month
If you know a teacher who’s still a champion of the printed word, they might appreciate a Book of the Month subscription. I like how BOTM does the hard work of figuring out what’s new and good in fiction so all I have to do is read. The club selects seven or so books each month for members to pick from, and the selection is diverse enough that most readers will find something to meet their tastes. And if nothing looks good, they can always pick something from the back catalog or skip the month altogether. At first I thought it would be too much pressure to contend with a new book every month, but the option to skip effectively just extends their subscription, so there’s no pressure. You can gift a three, six or twelve month membership for $60, $100 or $200, respectively. – A.S.
Belkin BoostCharge Pro with MagSafe
A pick from our guide to the best wireless chargers, Belkin’s BoostCharge Pro is a compact charging pad that should be a useful addition for any iPhone-owning teacher’s desk. It’s MagSafe-compatible, so it can snap magnetically onto the back of any recent iPhone, and it delivers up to 15W of power, which is the fastest rate available for this class of device. It won’t be as quick as using a cable, but there’s a certain pleasure to simply plopping your phone down on it to recharge, and it can still deliver about a 70 percent charge to an iPhone 14 in an hour. The BoostCharge Pro also has a built-in kickstand for propping up a phone to watch videos and the like. This is far from the cheapest charging puck around, but as a gift, it’s a convenient way to top up. Just try to get it with a power supply, if possible. — J.D.
Blue light blocking glasses
Your favorite teacher or professor probably looks at a screen for just as long as you do every day. Blue light blocking glasses can be a great gift since they’ll make it easier for them to get work done while (hopefully) reducing eye strain, headaches and other ailments. These are probably best bought for educators who don’t wear prescription glasses already, since you don’t want to impede their actual eyesight with non-prescription lenses. Plenty of eyewear companies make stylish blue light glasses, but you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a pair. Privé Revaux has a ton of options priced as low as $30 each, or if you have a feeling your teacher would like to swap styles more often, Amazon has a number of multi-packs to choose from. — Valentina Palladino, Senior Commerce Editor
The most tenured college professor and the newest preschool teacher could likely use a little more calm in their day, and Headspace is one way to get it. The brightly colored app has a slew of meditations, guided breathing sessions and inspirational talks to choose from and each one lists its duration. I often just have a minute or two before I have to get back to what I was doing, and following even a one-minute-long breathing exercise can noticeably change my mood (and posture and general awareness). Headspace includes sleep programs too, like wind-down sessions, stories, white noise sounds and soundscapes. You can gift one year of the service for $70, or three months for $39. – A.S.
Kobo Clara 2e
We don’t want to make generalizations, but if there’s a segment of the population who likes to read, it’s probably teachers. The Kobo Clara 2E is our current favorite e-reader because it’s easy on the eyes, comfortable to hold and offers the right amount of customization. The waterproof design makes it a good candidate for vacations and pool-side reading, and the warm lights make it easy to read late into the night. Considering Kobo now has an unlimited read and listen subscription in Kobo Plus, the company’s well-built devices are even better equipped to compete in a space where Kindles have dominated for years. – A.S.
Bellroy Desk Caddy
They say an organized desk is an organized mind. Whether that’s true or not, it can certainly be difficult to keep track of all the tech you need on a regular basis. Bellroy’s Desk Caddy has pockets, pouches and loops to keep cords, plugs, earbuds, and dongles in their place. The structured shape stands up when you load it, but is flexible enough to fit into a crowded backpack if you need to take it with you. We also like that it’s water resistant and made from recycled materials. – A.S.
Trade Coffee subscription
A Trade Coffee subscription can help the teacher in your life shake up their morning cup of joe. It offers a curated selection of more than 450 coffees from across the US and smartly personalizes which ones it recommends to each subscriber. Upon redeeming their gift, your teacher will be prompted to take a brief quiz that asks about their flavor and brew preferences, information Trade will use to suggest a specific bag catered to their taste. They can then give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to any coffee they receive, which the company considers to hone future recommendations. Managing all of this online is straightforward. You can gift anywhere from two to 24 bags, and Trade says any gift subscriptions will not automatically renew, so nobody will have any surprise charges to deal with down the line. — J.D.
The Purist Mover is the closest thing to a “premium” water bottle that I’ve tried, with a clean, minimalist aesthetic and a satisfying textured finish. Its biggest hook, though, is the ultra-thin layer of glass that lines its interior. Apart from insulating your drink, this is designed to keep fluids from gaining a metallic taste or unwanted odors as quickly as they might with other bottles. The whole thing will still need washing every so often, but in my experience, this has actually worked.
The Mover is an 18oz bottle, but there are different size and lid options to choose from (the “Union” spout top is my preference, though it can be somewhat noisy, if that matters). No Purist bottle is especially cheap, but it should make hydrating a little more convenient for your teacher’s day-to-day, on top of providing a nicer piece of design for their desk. — J.D.
Tribit StormBox Micro 2
For audio-related lessons in class or just enjoying music while out and about, the Tribit StormBox Micro 2 is a highly portable Bluetooth speaker that pumps out good volume for its compact size. Its playback controls are simple to operate, and its built-in strap lets it connect to things like a bag or bike handlebars on the go. It can also double as a power bank and charge a smartphone in a pinch. A speaker this small will never be the fullest sounding, but for what it is, the Stormbox Micro 2’s audio quality is fine as well. If you like the idea of gifting a portable speaker but want something that sounds richer, though, you can check out our Bluetooth speaker buying guide for more recommendations. — J.D.
Criterion Channel subscription
If your teacher considers themselves a film buff, a Criterion Channel subscription might suit their tastes. This is the streaming service of The Criterion Collection, a video distribution company that restores and preserves a carefully curated selection of acclaimed films that span genres and languages. It doesn’t have the same deluge of content as a Netflix or Prime Video, but it also has a lot less trash.
The service bundles many films into helpful collections, from Afrofuturism to Foreign-Language Oscar Winners to Short Films by David Lynch. Various titles come with bonus features like cast interviews as well. Unfortunately, not every film in the Collection is available on the Channel at any given time. (There are gift cards that can go toward films that are only available in physical form.) Nevertheless, for movie-loving teachers who feel like they’ve watched everything on the usual suspects, the service should still provide hours of stimulating works. Gift subscriptions are available in one- to 12-month increments. — J.D.
The Sill plant gifts
You can’t go wrong with a gift of greenery to show your appreciation for a beloved teacher. You could pick up a flower arrangement locally or send them a fancy one from Bouqs or another online service, but something more unique like a plant from The Sill could be a gift they’ve never gotten before. The site has a bunch of options that will appeal to all kinds of people, from those who have never taken care of a plant before to green-thumbed veterans. There are even pet-friendly plant gifts you can buy for those teachers you know have little creatures in their households. The Sill also has regular deals on plants that you can snag (be it for someone else or yourself), so you don’t have to sacrifice even if you’re working with a tight budget. — V.P.
Amazon gift card
If you’re at a loss over what to get your favorite teacher to show your appreciation, an Amazon gift card is a good catch-all solution. Whether it’s supplies for their classroom, household essentials for their family or just something they’ve had on their wish list for themselves, most teachers will find a way to spend a few extra dollars at Amazon (or Walmart, Target or another retailer they prefer). — V.P.
A relaxing video game or two
For teachers who like to wind down with a video game after an aggravating day of work, a recommendation from our list of good relaxing games could make for a gift that’s both thoughtful and fun. A couple of standouts: PowerWash Simulator is a game about cleaning grimy environments that has a similar soothing effect as those deep-cleaning videos on YouTube, while Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a delightful puzzle game from Nintendo about exploring and reexamining diorama-like levels from new angles. — J.D.