What to buy for new grads who need help "adulting"

Nicole Lee
Senior Editor
for graduates

Even if your grad has finally made it through college, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to step out into the real world with no help. They’ll not only have to find a job but also might need a little help living on their own, taking on more responsibility and being more of an adult in general. That includes having better security practices, dressing smarter and, if they’re lucky enough to find their own apartment, making their new place feel more like home. Here are a few gadgets that could help ease the transition into “adulthood.”

1Password

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

It’s not a terribly sexy subject, but keeping your online data safe should be a priority for everyone, including your new grad. A great way to do that is to use a password manager, which encourages them to use strong passwords across multiple platforms and stores them in a single location. One of our favorites is 1Password, which has apps on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android -- plus it integrates with all major web browsers. It features strong encryption plus a Watchtower feature that will help your grad weed out weaker passwords. You can also opt to unlock it with your fingerprint or facial recognition as well as a master password. 

Buy 1Password starting at $3/month

Belkin WeMo Mini smart plug

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

One of the easiest ways to smarten up the home is to get a WiFi-connected plug. If your grad loves the idea of turning on their floor lamp or coffeemaker from the comfort of their couch, then consider the Belkin WeMo Mini. It uses their home WiFi network to add wireless control to any plugged-in appliance, so they can easily turn almost any appliance on or off with their phone. It’s compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit, so voice commands are also an option. 

Buy Wemo Mini smart plug at Best Buy - $20

Cartman 39-piece tool set

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

Sooner or later, your grad will find out that things break and they’re going to have to fix them. When that situation occurs, they’ll be glad they have the Cartman 39-piece set, which contains everything they’ll need for small repairs around the house. From a screwdriver with multiple attachments to a simple hammer, this tool set will serve them well when they need to fix a lock immediately or put together a new piece of Ikea furniture.

Buy Cartman tool set at Amazon - $20

Chemex eight-cup classic

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

If your grad loves coffee but spends a little too much time and money at the local cafe, a Chemex may suit them well. It’s an hourglass-shaped glass flask with a conical neck into which you insert the company’s own paper filters. Chemex uses the pour-over method of brewing coffee, which simply means manually pouring hot water over coffee grounds set inside a filtered cone. It’s one of the best ways we know of to get coffeehouse-quality coffee at home, plus we think your grad will love how beautiful the Chemex looks.

Buy Chemex at Amazon - $48

Contigo Autoseal West Loop travel mug

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

Perhaps your grad wants to take their coffee on the go rather than sipping it at home. In that case, we recommend the Contigo Autoseal transit mug. It’s wide enough to fit in most cup holders, and we also love that it keeps the contents securely contained: The only way to take a sip is to hold down on the Autoseal button. Plus, both an Aeropress and a drip filter cone fit nicely over the Contigo mug.

Buy Contigo Autoseal mug at Amazon -$11

Instant Pot Duo (eight-quart)

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

Whether their new kitchen is big or small, your grad will definitely appreciate the gift of an Instant Pot. If you live under a rock, the Instant Pot is a multifunctional cooker that acts as a slow cooker, a yogurt maker, a rice cooker and, its most popular feature, an electric pressure cooker, all in one. With this last function, they can cook stews, beans, braised meats and all manner of foods in significantly less time than they could using traditional methods. Think pulled pork in an hour or chili in 10 minutes. If your grad needs some guidance on how to use their Instant Pot, feel free to send them a link to our Instant Pot guide so they’ll know where to start.

Buy Instant Pot Duo at Amazon - $99

iRobot Roomba 614

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

Maybe your grad needs some help in the cleanliness department. Short of hiring a full cleaning service, we recommend getting them a robot vacuum like the iRobot Roomba 614, which will eat up dirt and debris around their home without their lifting a finger. It’s durable enough to clean both rugs and hardwood floors, and it has enough capacity for smaller spaces. No, it won’t take out their trash for them -- but it’s a start.

Buy Roomba 614 at Best Buy - $225

Nutribullet Pro 13-piece set

blender

If your grad is a smoothie king or queen, or simply likes the occasional blended drink, then a device like the NutriBullet Pro makes a great gift. It’s small enough to fit in even the most cramped kitchens, and it’s powerful enough to handle ingredients like frozen fruit, spinach and kale. The NutriBullet Pro comes with both a 32-ounce jar as well as a 24-ounce cup with a handled lip ring. There’s even a flip-top lid if they want to quickly blend and go on their morning commute. 

Buy NutriBullet Pro at Amazon - $89

Philips Hue White Ambiance starter kit

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

If you want to give your grad a taste of the future in their new apartment, consider getting them some Philips Hue smart light bulbs. You can not only turn the lights on and off with your smartphone but also easily use them with popular virtual assistants (it works with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit). In other words, your grad can just yell, “Turn off the lights” at night instead of getting out of bed. We recommend the Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 starter kit, as it comes with four bulbs and you can adjust not only the light’s brightness but also its temperature. 

Buy Philips Hue starter kit at Best Buy - $120

Stitch Fix

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

Not all of us are natural fashionistas. Your grad might need some assistance in the style department, which is important when interviewing for a job or going on that first date. Thankfully, there are several clothing sites online that offer personalized styling. Services like Stitch Fix and Nordstrom’s Trunk Club, for example, lets them dial in on their preferences through an online quiz (are they more of a bohemian hippie or a preppy modernist?), and then a real-life stylist will actually pick out their clothes for them based on their answers. They can opt for a onetime purchase or, if they really like it, a monthly subscription.

Buy Stitch Fix starting at $20

Buy Trunk Club starting at $50

Yubico YubiKey 5 Series

adult-oriented gifts for graduates

If a password manager isn’t the right fit, getting your grad a physical security key is the next best option. Our favorite is the Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC, as you can use it with any computer with a USB-A port plus any phone with NFC support, and it also features a wide array of security protocols. Using a security key on top of two-factor authentication is one of the strongest ways you can make sure that you -- and only you -- can access your accounts securely. Yubico also offers the YubiKey in two-prong USB-C and Lightning connector models if your grad has hardware that better suits that configuration. 

Buy YubiKey 5 at Amazon - $45

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