Back to school: Top tech, gadgets and essentials that students need for the new term

Here are some of the back to school essentials you might want to consider

(Image credit: eero)

It’s that time of year again when students, young and not quite as young, start to head back to school. At T3 many of us attended schools and universities, and some of us did so recently enough to remember what it’s like to have to find the money either for your own stuff, or for your little people. 

As always, as deal hunters extraordinaire, our job is to find you the best prices we possibly can on anything you need to head back to school. That might be the best kids bags, or it could be a shiny new computer with a big discount to help you study and maybe even destroy some demons playing Doom in your downtime.  

If you don’t know what you want, then check out Amazon's back to school store, see what Argos has to offer in its back to school offers. There’s also a whole host of great stuff on John Lewis’ site for everything you might need.

For younger children


Check out our guide to the best backpacks and laptop bags for all ages.

🐉Jurassic World Kids Backpack - £14.95 @Amazon🐉
🐕Paw Patrol Kids Chase Marshall backpack - £13.95 @Amazon🐕
🕹Soda Squad 22L gamer backpack - £20 @Argos🕹
🐶Hey Duggee 6L backpack - £15.00 @Argos🐶

School uniform

Children wear through uniforms at speeds that are truly astonishing, save some money on kit, because you’ll be buying lots of it. 

👖Trousers - from £7 @Argos👖
👗Skirts - from £6 @Argos👗
👞Shoes for boys - from £3 @Argos👞
👟Shoes for girls - from £2.40 @Argos👟

Packed lunches 

If your kids are taking their own lunch to school, here are some great options. We’ve got loads of adult picks in best water bottles and best gym water bottles, but sometimes you just need a dinosaur or a unicorn to cheer things up a little. 

🦄HeavenlyUnicorns children's water bottle - was £14.00 now £11.99 @Amazon🐉
🌊Jurassic World black water bottle - only £6 @Argos🌊
🐛Zak Bugs & Surfboards Bottle Twin Pack - only £8 @Argos🏄‍♀️
🧱LEGO Ninjago insulated lunch bag - £11.79 @Amazon🧱
🥪Zak Xbox Lunch Bag And Bottle Set - £14 @Argos🥪

For college and uni students

Get some peace with the best noise cancelling headphones and best wireless headphones and enjoy music while you study. 

🎧Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones - Save over £80, now £202.95🎧
🗣Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II - Save 57% now £130 @OnBuy🗣
👂Apple AirPods - Save £34 now £124.99 @ Amazon👂

Laptops, iPads and Chromebooks for students

These days students need a laptop. There is a dizzing array and we’ve got guides for the best student laptops, best chromebooks, best laptops under £500 and best laptops in general. For many, a tablet is also an option for taking notes and working while out and about, our guide to best tablets has loads of suggestions. 

💻ASUS VivoBook Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, Windows 10 - £329.99 @ Amazon💻
🍎Apple MacBook Pro 2020 with Apple M1 processor - £1,129.97 @ Amazon🍏
📑Microsoft Surface Go 2 4GB RAM, 54GB SSD - £399 @John Lewis📑
🍏Apple iPad Pro 11" 128GB 3rd Gen - Space Grey - £734.97 @Laptops Direct🍎
💻HP Pavilion 14 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD - only £399 @Currys💻

Best deals on 5G SIM only tariffs 

Your parents are going to want you to call. Or at least text. Plus, with the best SIM Only deals you can pick up unlimited 5G data in cities. Ideal for Uni students who want to sit in the park and work. 

📶Three 5G SIM only, 12 months, unlimited everything - only £16 per month📶
📲Voxi 5G SIM 12GB no contract, free social media and video streaming - £12 per month📲

Best mattress toppers

You’re going to pay a lot of money for a bedroom either in halls, or a shared house. Someone else will have slept on the mattress, get a topper to avoid sharing the exact surface someone else drooled on. We’ve got a great guide to the best mattress toppers too. 

🛏Airstream Slumberdown 4.5cm Cold Foam Mattress Topper - save 62% now £35.99 @Wayfair🛏
💤Silentnight Impres 2.5cm memory foam mattress topper - save 33% now £51.99 @Wayfair💤

Best desks for uni and college students

For young students the idea of being hunched over a laptop sitting on a bed probably isn’t too mortifying. But let us assure you, these contortions can haunt you in later life, so if a desk isn’t provided you’ll want to get one. Perhaps check our best gaming desks (you don’t have to use them just for gaming) and best standing desks.

💻IBUYKE Computer Desk - save 6%, just £29.99 @Amazon💻
🎮Furmax large Gaming Desk 140 cm - save 7% now just £134.99 @Amazon🎮
☕Habitat Trestle Table Office Desk - now £70 @Argos
⌨John Lewis Anyday box desk - now only £59.00 @John Lewis

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.