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June 1, 2022, 2:01 p.m. EDT

From Airpods to Air Fryers: These are the top 5 gifts grads want this year

By Maddy Perkins

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Graduation season is underway — and thoughtful gifts are a great way to show your grad how proud you are of their accomplishments. A recent DoorDash survey asked American graduates (and the folks gifting them) what they actually want, and the top 5 most requested gifts of 2022 were as follows, respectively: earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, gift cards/cash, coffee makers and air fryers. Here are our top picks within those categories to help you target the best gift for the graduate in your life (and in some cases, the gift you choose may even help set them up for success in their next academic or professional endeavor — coffee is pretty crucial in my experience).

Apple AirPods Pro


When you think of the best earbuds on the market, AirPods come top of mind. But they can be pretty expensive. The 2021 Apple Airpods Pro model is the most recent iteration and in addition to offering active noise cancellation and adaptive EQ, it comes with a MagSafe charge case for grads on the go. At $179, it’s 21% off — which isn’t too shabby of a deal either.

Anker Soundcore Flare 2 Bluetooth Speaker


I love this speaker. I own two of them, and not only do they pack a real punch audiowise (that little subwoofer is doing great work when it comes to booming bass), they’re portable, and waterproof enough to enjoy safely at the beach or pool. If you buy a couple of these for a college-bound grad, they’ll also be useful ice breakers: You can sync up to 100 of these Soundcore Flare speakers using PartyCast. The audio and LED light displays will be playing simultaneously. The rainbow LED light display is vivid and comes in multiple colorways to help kick the party up a notch.

Happy Cards

It’s tough to hit the ideal balance between offering a giftee total ownership of what they want to get and finding a gift card that is thoughtful and relevant to their interests. Happy Cards does that for you. We like Happy Cards because they work for multiple retailers, giving your grad the options of celebrating with shopping or a movie and game night with friends. Retailers on the Happy Card include Athleta, AMC, Bed Bath & Beyond, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Dave and Buster’s, Express and GrubHub.

Hamilton Beach Programmable Coffee Maker, 12 Cups

Consumer Reports says this is one of the best coffee makers for college kids on the market — and at under $30 at Walmart, it’s a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank. It takes just 10 minutes to brew a pot of coffee and the machine itself costs probably the same or less as a week of coffee from your local shop. Auto shut-off and programming makes it a great fit for busy students.

Cuisinart Air Fryer


Help expand your graduate’s culinary repertoire by giving them the kitchen appliance of the moment. This Cuisinart Air Fryer is now 46% off at Wayfair and boasts a 4.6 average rating from nearly 2,000 verified reviewers. It’s a smaller size so ideal for a household of two (maybe your grad’s next roommate will thank them!) and is “nice looking when it’s left out,” says one reviewer on the Wayfair site. 

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