Last Updated on July 31, 2020

If you’re thinking about giving practical gifts to those you love, you’re on the right track.

No more giving junk.

Really.

No one likes that.

The best gifts have that perfect combination of class, durability, quality, and desirability. You want your gift to be used often, and to fill a need that the recipient might not even know they had.

In other words, the best kind of gift is a practical gift. And the best kind of practical gift is one with premium quality, lasting usefulness, and an attractive “wow” factor.

Let’s take a look at the best and most practical gifts in the world.

Two Highly Practical Gifts

We’ll get to our list of ten great practical gifts in a moment. Those are actual gift ideas you can actually buy.

But we couldn’t honestly say that this post covers the most practical gifts in the world if we didn’t mention the next two things.

1 | Wisdom

Yes, you can give wisdom. It’s the most practical gift of all. Of course, you’ll have to be creative in how you give it, but if you actually have any wisdom to give then it shouldn’t be too big of a problem.

What use is giving car keys to someone who doesn’t have the wisdom to avoid driving drunk, high, or half-asleep? Is the gift of a computer a blessing to someone who will just veg out all the more? Should you give a terrifically helpful book to someone who will never crack it open?

This is why wisdom is the best practical gift of all. Wisdom is the skill of living well. Scholars of the Bible define wisdom in the book of Proverbs as “skill in living according to God’s way of life.” What could be better than giving someone your time, attention, affection, and something of the wisdom you have gleaned in this life?

Of course, you don’t want to wrap yourself up and say “my wisdom is your gift!” That’s just dumb. Give them one of the gift ideas below, then make yourself a commitment to spend some quality time with the person so you can perhaps pass on a bit of wisdom and guidance as your relationship deepens.

A few quick ideas on how to do this:

  • Take them out. Go to coffee, lunch, or bowling (etc) and just hang out and talk. High-school, college, and young people in the workforce often don’t have a lot of discretionary funds, so pick up the tab and they’ll appreciate it.
  • Write letters. Like, actual handwritten letters that you put into an envelope and drop in the mail. This is a good one for those who live far away or are off at school.
  • Exercise together. Jog, hit the gym, take up rock climbing, kayak, hike. Outdoor activities are a great way to spend some quality time together.
  • Open your home. Let them crash on your couch, extend an always-welcome invitation to dinner, let them use your wifi, and just be around for them.
  • Text. Drop a note every now and then. It doesn’t always have to be some great dispensation of wisdom; send memes or just ask how they’re doing.
  • Help with practical things. Change the oil on their car, be the person they call when they need a truck to pick up a craigslist futon, help with a plumbing issue.

2 | Money

Money is a very practical gift. The recipient can use it to spend on what is most important to them. They can save it, invest it, get caught up on rent, pay off bills, get some item they really need, or blow it on something fun.

The trouble is, money isn’t a very thoughtful gift. Sometimes it may be a good idea (it’s great for graduations and weddings, when people are just starting out on a new life adventure), but most of the time it comes off as crude, tactless, or even offensive.

One of the main points of a gift is to give something that is a blessing or benefit or joy to the recipient. Money, in itself, is none of those things. Sure, it can buy whatever the person wants or needs, but it’s just a tool. It’s a step on the way, not the end result.

So it’s far better to come up with a truly practical gift idea that you can buy and give to the practical person in your life.

Next, we will look at ten of our favorite ideas.

The 10 Most Practical Gifts in the World

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1. Laptop

Let’s just face it – in most of the Western world, we live in the internet age. A good laptop is not just a luxury or a source of entertainment (though it definitely can be both of those things!). No, a laptop is a necessity.

From school to work to community involvement, from taxes to budgeting to even grocery shopping, we need to be connected. Almost everyone has a mobile device, but a personal computer can do so much more.

Word processing, spreadsheets, image and video editing, online learning, job applications, and working remotely – all these things are much easier on a reliable laptop.

2. Vacuum Sealer

What? A vacuum sealer? Yes, really.

Let me explain.

We eat every day. Most of our living expenses are relatively fixed. For instance, your housing, utilities, gas, and insurance costs pretty much stay the same each month.

Once the savvy budgeter has chosen an affordable place to live, economized on energy consumption and transportation, and shopped around for competitive prices on insurance, well, the only thing left is food.

One of the best tools for creating efficient, economic, and healthy food consumption is, surprisingly, a vacuum sealer.

You can make a big pot of soup all at once and vacuum seal it into individual or family-sized portions. Freeze, then pull out to defrost once you’re ready for it. Since all the oxygen has been removed, it won’t get freezer burn and will taste much better (and last longer) than sitting in tupperware or ziploc bags.

The same principle goes for smoothies, granola, meat (cooked or uncooked – vacuum sealing is a great way to marinade) and much more.

If you need more convincing, here are 16 reasons why a vacuum sealer may be the greatest gift idea ever.

3. Electric Toothbrush

Everyone needs to take care of their teeth. An electric oscillating toothbrush is one of those super-practical gifts that someone might not splurge on to buy for themselves.

According to Healthline,

A review of studies showed that, in general, electric toothbrushes do decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes.

Is It Better to Use an Electric or a Manual Toothbrush?

What more needs to be said? Check out the top electric toothbrushes here.

4. Full Grain Leather Belt

Every wardrobe will require a belt for at least some outfits. Most of the belts you find at Target, WalMart, or the local mall are junk.

Even a belt made from “genuine leather” isn’t necessarily good quality. The only type of leather that hasn’t been altered or compromised in some way is full grain leather. That’s what you want to look for in a belt. It’s the type of thing you buy once, and buy for life.

So a full-grain leather belt like the one above is a great and truly practical gift. Handcrafted from genuine cowhide leather, this belt comes in a variety of colors and buckle styles plus options for personalization. Give a thoughtful and functional gift that will last a lifetime!

5. Luggage

Maybe it’s just me, but luggage seems like one of those things that you never think to get for yourself until it’s too late. Like, I’m boarding a plane and wishing I had made different life choices.

Don’t let your loved ones get into those situations. A well-made and well-designed luggage set is the perfect practical-yet-thoughtful gift.

Perhaps they love to travel, have dreams about travel, or are in a period of transition that involves a certain amount of couch surfing. Any way you slice it, luggage is a truly practical gift that they will be sure to love.

Our pick is this expandable hardside 2-piece luggage set from Samsonite. Both pieces feature rollers for ease of use, and the smaller one meets the size requirements for domestic flights.

6. Crock Pot / Instant Pot

Once again, we have to acknowledge that food is a huge part of our daily lives. We eat every day. So what could be a more practical gift than something that helps you make a wider range of better food more easily?

Thus we suggest one of the truly classic practical gifts: a crock pot, also known as a slow cooker.

Or the new kid on the block, the contemporary classic: an instant pot, also known as a pressure cooker.

Both help you prepare large (or small) vats of delicious food that simmers and literally basks in flavor. In either a crock pot or instant pot, you can make:

  • Soups
  • Rice
  • Whole roasted chicken
  • Chicken stock
  • Pulled pork
  • Lasagna
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Granola
  • Yogurt
  • Bread
  • Beer
  • Brownies
  • Soap
  • … and so much more!

There are some important differences between the two. A slow cooker is more affordable and easier to use (just Off, Low, and High settings), which the instant pot can do much more but comes with a higher price tag and slightly steeper learning curve.

For the person who craves simplicity above all, go with a slow cooker/crock pot.

If you are looking for a practical gift for someone who truly loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen, go with the instant pot/pressure cooker.

If you’re unsure, go with the instant pot. I have one; it’s awesome.

7. A Good Coffee Maker

Coffee is delightful. For the coffee lover, anything related to coffee makes a great gift idea. Artisan roasted coffee, a gift card to a local coffee shop, a personalized travel mug, funny mugs, coffee bar decor… the list goes on.

But perhaps the most practical of all is a good coffee maker. The right coffee maker is the perfect tool to craft delicious, barista-worthy coffee right at home, and for a fraction of the price.

Popular coffee maker types include:

My favorite, however, is the pour over coffee maker. This is a great combination of low cost, low maintenance, and fantastic coffee results.

The Chemex Classic Pour Over Coffeemaker (pictured above) is a great choice. With simple design and functionality, the smooth flavor that comes from a glass pour over is the stuff of dreams.

And it’s practical, too – to keep their coffee habit going, all your coffee enthusiast will need is more paper filters (and coffee beans, of course). They will be able to make their own craft-style coffee at home, anytime, for just a sliver of the cost of the fancy places.

A truly thoughtful and practical gift for the coffee lover in your life!

8. Emergency Kit

An emergency kit is something you won’t fully appreciate until you really need it. Everyone should have some emergency supplies – but not everyone does!

Don’t leave your loved ones unprepared. You can give them a nifty 4-Person Family Survival Kit, which has plenty of supplies to aid a small family for up to 72 hours after a disaster or other emergency.

Or you can make your own emergency kit gift basket, filled with helpful and useful items like:

Of course this is a non-comprehensive list – food, water, bandages and stuff like that will be the mainstays in an emergency kit. But this post is about gift ideas. No one wants a 50 lbs bag of beans or a stockpile of their prescriptions for their birthday. That would be more along the lines of the worst gifts ever. People like receiving fun gifts, like the light-radio-charge combo gadget.

Anyways, you can find more ideas on what to put into an emergency kit here.

9. Umbrella

For anyone who lives where it at least occasionally rains, umbrellas will always be practical gifts.

This fun and useful Inverted Umbrella quite literally turns the classic design on its head. No more opening the umbrella after you’re already well out the door. Instead, the inverted opening function allows you to open and close the unit with ease. At the same time, closing it traps all the rain inside the umbrella rather than outside, keeping the floor or the car or the hallway drip-free.

This is a truly practical gift that will surprise and delight the recipient. Plus it comes in a variety of fun colors and themes!

If you want to stick with the classic style, here’s a spacious old-fashioned umbrella that perfectly fits the bill.

10. Cutting Board

As mentioned above regarding food, most practical types see the advantage of cooking at home. That means they use their kitchen stuff regularly.

If you want to give a great gift that will be used all the time, go with a personalized cutting board. It’s fancy enough to put on display or be used for serving appetizers, yet it’s supremely practical and durable enough for everyday use.

The floral quote design pictured above is the most popular style at Northwest Gifts, and it can be personalized any way you like. Check out all the personalized cutting boards here.

More Genius Practical Gifts

For a little bonus, here are ten more genius practical gift ideas:

Bonus: Custom Engraved Tumbler

Everyone loves AND uses these tumbler mugs for their on-the-go lifestyle. Crafted to hold drinks at a steady temperature for hours on end, our tumblers include free customized laser engraving making it the perfect practical gift.

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Practical Gift Ideas
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