Engadget
Why you can trust us

Engadget has been testing and reviewing consumer tech since 2004. Our stories may include affiliate links; if you buy something through a link, we may earn a commission. Read more about how we evaluate products.

The best gifts for teachers

From digital frames to cold-brew accessories, these are items any educator would appreciate.

Engadget

Few people get into teaching for the money or the prestige — most do it because they genuinely want to help people. If a teacher has helped you or your kids this year, a thoughtful gift can be a good way to show them that you appreciate what they do. We’ve gathered up gadgets and services we’ve tried that make unique gifts for the educator in your life, with ideas for those into coffee, movies, reading or music — plus a few items that will be universally loved.

Quick overview
See 10 more
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Many of us rely on caffeine to get through long days and teachers are no different. But dealing with students, lesson plans, 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 cup of coffee warm all school day long. – Amy Skorheim, Reporter, Buying Advice

$104 at Wayfair
Explore more purchase options
$104 at Amazon$104 at Target
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If your child's 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. This thoughtful gift 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 Reporter, Buying Advice

$169 at Amazon
Explore more purchase options
$169 at Walmart$170 at Kohl's

Maybe you don’t have a ton of cash but still want to show your favorite educator a bit of appreciation — this Anker Nano Pro charger isn’t a conventional gift, but it will be one that they use on the regular. It delivers 20W of power to the device it’s powering up, which means it’s strong enough to fast-charge the latest iPhones, and it can handle other smartphones and some tablets, too. It’s 45 percent smaller than most 20W chargers that come with handsets, so it’ll be a great spare charger for your teacher to keep with them wherever they go. It also comes in a few attractive pastel colors to choose from, including white and black if you think your teacher would prefer something more muted. — Valentina Palladino, Deputy Editor, Buying Advice

$14 at Amazon

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. — V.P.

$10 at Amazon

For some of the coffee nerds at Engadget, the Fellow Carter 3-in-1 Sip system is the ideal way to transport and drink one’s daily cup of joe. The system combines the vacuum-insulated, ceramic-lined 16-ounce Carter travel mug with three different lids — one with a straw for cold drinks, a slide lid, and the original curved-lip lid with splash guard. Anyone who’s into coffee will appreciate the luxe treatment this travel tumbler provides. — A.S.

$49 at Amazon

Chances are, if they like teaching, they like learning, too. We found MasterClass to be a cross between an online learning app and a tightly curated streaming platform, starring some of the most talented people across a slew of different industries. Sure, one can approach it with a specific goal — learning how to make kimchi, shoot portraits or survive in the wilderness — but the classes can also be viewed in a more passive manner for pure, curiosity-satisfying entertainment. The gift works as a one-year subscription that goes for $120 for the standard tier. It grants access to all Masterclass content on one device at a time but doesn’t allow for offline viewing. Higher tiers allow for multiple devices at once and downloads to watch while disconnected. — A.S.

$120/year at Masterclass

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.

$167 at Walmart

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.

$40 at Trade Coffee

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.

$59 at Bellroy

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.

$60 at Book of the Month

The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is a dependable portable speaker for audio-related lessons or just enjoying some music while out and about. Its wedge-shaped frame is small enough to tuck into a bag without much fuss, and it’s waterproof with an IPX7 rating. Most importantly, it pumps out impressive volume for its size. Like most smaller speakers, it won’t deliver a ton of deep bass, but it sounds full enough to be helpful in class or on the beach. It also supports wired connections through a 3.5mm jack, while the battery can last a decent 15 or so hours per charge. — J.D.

$100 at Amazon

The Purist Mover is the closest thing to a “premium” water bottle that I’ve tried, with a clean, minimalist stainless steel 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 all day, 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.

$48 at Purist
Criterion Channel

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.

$11 at Criterion Channel

A pick from our power bank buying guide, the OtterBox Fast Charge 15,000mAh is a simple but effective way to ensure your teacher’s gear doesn’t die in the middle of class. Its handsome, sturdy frame includes one USB-C and one USB-A port and can supply up to 18W of power. That lets it fully refill a recent iPhone in about two hours or provide a 33 percent charge in just under a half-hour. The 15,000mAh capacity in this model is also enough to provide more than two charges to an iPhone 15 Plus or more than a full charge for an iPad Air. To be clear, this isn’t the fastest battery we’ve tested, nor is it fully wireless like some newer alternatives. But it looks good, it gets the job done and it’s a nice value at about $30. — J.D.

$20 at Amazon
Explore more purchase options
$40 at HSN$45 at REI

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 school supplies, 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.

$25 at Amazon