The Best Back To School Gadgets & Accessories

Nowadays, it seems like every product is marketed as a back-to-school necessity. In reality, the supplies you actually need are the ones that will help you power through those term papers and get from class-to-class more easily.

To help you cut through the supply list clutter, we’ve pulled together eight, genuinely useful items — from a pair of headphones that block out noise to help you get sh*t done to an easier way to access your student ID. These are the ones that will help you survive midterms and have some fun, too.

And, if you’re in search of a laptop that can handle your course load but also meet your budget, check out these options.


Beyond the now-standard perks of a smartwatch — calendar reminders, sleep and step tracking, and the freedom to leave your phone at home — the real reason for students to invest in an Apple Watch arrives this fall, when iOS 12 rolls out with support for student IDs.

At launch, the feature will be available for students at six colleges — the University of Oklahoma, Johns Hopkins, Santa Clara University, Temple University, the University of Alabama, and Duke — but you can expect more to follow. It promises to ease the pain of forgetting your physical pass in your dorm room, and escape the penalty fees if you’re the type of person who loses your pass on a regular basis.

Apple Apple Watch Series 3, $329, available at Apple


Avoid endlessly tangled cords in the bottom of your backpack with this compact organizer. Zip in everything you’ll need to power up for an afternoon of classes and studying — laptop charger, phone charger, headphones, and more.

Porte Play Organizer – Mint, $18.98, available at Porte Play


The less you need to lug around campus, the better. This leather pocket attaches right to the back of your phone and can be used to store your license, student ID (if you’re not going the Apple Watch route), and credit card.

Casetify Neon inspired flamingo pattern, $25, available at Casetify


Laptop sleeves can get ridiculously pricey, but this Amazon Basics option is a stylish, simple solution for less. Beneath the velcro tab is a hidden pocket for pens, notebook paper, or any other small accessories you want to remember to bring to class.

Amazon Basics AmazonBasics 13-Inch Felt Laptop Sleeve – Light Grey, $11.99, available at Amazon


Party on with JBL’s small, wireless Bluetooth speaker. You can use it to stream music from your phone for up to five hours long and it’s waterproof, because, well, accidents happen.

JBL JBL GO 2, $39.95, available at JBL


A smart plug is not the most exciting buy, but it is a necessary one. This fabric-covered option from Native Union has an eight-foot power cable, and ports for four USB devices and two AC outlets — enough to power up all your devices in one go.

Native Union SMART HUB BRIDGE, $54.99, available at Native Union


If you have a phone equipped for wireless charging, try Belkin’s new 10-watt charging stand. It powers up iOS and Android phones faster, and you can position your phone vertically or horizontally, for a more optimal streaming-while-charging experience.

Belkin BOOST↑UP™ Wireless Charging Stand , $69.98, available at Belkin


Blocking out distractions to get work done isn’t easy, but Bose’s wireless noise cancelling headphones can help. If, on the other hand, you like a bit of white noise, a useful switch lets you adjust the level of noise cancellation. Plus, Alexa and the Google Assistant are built in, though you may want to avoid using the smart assistants in the library.

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II, $299.95, available at Bose

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