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30 Best Gifts for Nerds That Are Better Than Star Trek Socks

Finding a thoughtful gift for a nerdy friend can be tough. These ideas should help.

best gift ideas for nerds

Gifts for nerds sort of suck. You have the ThinkGeek product machine, pumping out one-size-fits-all presents, and everything else is of equally poor or uninspiring quality. No. More. Star. Trek. Socks. But, maybe something Star Wars-related, instead.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your favorite nerd, but they’re already stocked with tons of toys and gadgets, consider helping them out with a battery pack so everything is always properly charged for hours of fun, or maybe a cool drone. With everyone out and about now more than ever before, the nerd in your life could spend tons of time outside flying their new drone over neighborhoods, cities, or open fields. Plus, the footage they'd get would be incredible.

Regardless, the selections here aim to be something different. Spread across a variety of pop culture properties, these gifts for nerds have a certain sophistication or story to them that any true super fan will enjoy.

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out our guides to gadget gifts, tool gifts, and gifts for DIYers.

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For the Comic Book Collector
Marvel Greatest Comics
$19.59 (44% off)

Enter the Marvel universe with this collection of 100 comics. These comic books take fans on a journey to discover what makes Marvel Comics the phenomena they are today. 

For keepsake purposes, you can purchase the hardcover copy, but if you want something digital, it’s available for Kindles as well.

For the Gamer Who Wants to Relive the Good Ol’ Days
Analogue Pocket Console

We’re anticipating the release of the latest consoles as much as anyone, but sometimes simplicity and familiar systems are comforting. Analogue makes some of our favorite Nintendo- and Sega-inspired platforms, and this Game Boy lookalike is no exception.

For the Social-Distancing Escape Room Fan
Libellud Obscurio

Gorgeously illustrated, Obscurio is part escape room, with a twist thrown in: One player is the “traitor” secretly working to prevent the team from making it out of the library. The game is easy to get the hang of and emphasizes effective communication among the party. To succeed, members must decipher the meaning of certain images on their way to the correct exit.

For the Friend Who’s Enthralled by the Laws of Physics
ScienceGeek Kinetic Art Asteroid

Gift the nerd in your life something to improve their work-from-home setup. This electronic perpetual-motion desk toy requires just one spin to get it going, and then your recipient will be mesmerized throughout the day. It uses batteries to power up, and note that batteries are not included.

For the LOTR Superfan
The Lord of The Rings: The Board Game Anniversary Edition
Fantasy Flight Games
$49.40 (10% off)

Anyone who is a fan of The Lord of the Rings needs this board game in their life. This special anniversary edition offers the same experience of the original game, but with some added extras, while truly encompassing the magic of the famous trilogy.

For Those Who Have Already Solved a Rubik’s Cube
$79.95 (20% off)

Has the nerd in your life already solved a Rubik’s Cube? Well, now’s their chance to solve a GoCube. Not only can they solve the physical puzzle, but they can connect it to their phone for even more digital games for hours of fun. 

Plus, they can track their progress on the app to see how close they are to solving it.

For the Nerd Who's a Night Owl
Tetris Night Light

Any gaming aficionado probably spends some late nights playing their favorite titles, making this cool Tetris lamp the perfect nerd gift. Your recipient can create their own personalized lamp by stacking Tetris blocks to keep their space bright and fun. 

This lamp can be made into any pattern, and only one block is needed for its power. Plus, it’s helpful for exercise and development of the human brain.

For Those Who Want to Embrace Their Inner Child
Remote Control Robot Toy

Gift this robot toy to any nerd looking to embrace their inner child. It moves forward, backward, left, and right, as long as you command it to do so. Plus, you can explore other options for fun with the remote control that comes with it.  

For Everyone Who Can’t Get Enough Baby Yoda
Lone Wolf and Cub
Criterion Collection

Baby Yoda and his Mandalorian guardian became a huge hit in late 2019. But it’s not a story that comes completely from nowhere. Originally a manga by Kazuo Koike and then adapted into a series of popular Japanese films, Lone Wolf and Cub follows assassin Ogami Itto and his three-year-old son, Daigoro. While dad cuts his way through bad guys, the son is along for the ride. Sound familiar?

For the Friend Who Likes to Learn While Playing Games
Particle Physics Playing Cards

With this playing card set, you can safely play with sub-atomic particles right in the comfort of your own home. Each card features a different sub-atomic particle, complete with a cute graphic and some details about the particle, too.

For the VR Nerd
Oculus Quest 2

Do you have a friend that needs an escape from reality? This virtual reality headset provides all-in-one entertainment allowing even the biggest gamer to explore all kinds of immersive experiences from movies to live concerts to games. Your friend will never need to leave the house again thanks to the endless exploration the Quest content library provides.

For the Comic Reader Ready to Go Digital
Marvel Unlimited Comics Subscription

Why give the gift of one comic when you can give 20,000? Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service that gives you access to almost every Marvel title you can think of—past and present. So if you’re hunting for a gift for someone new to comics or is looking to relive some old issues from his or her childhood, Unlimited is the way to go. 

The app is also only six months behind new print comics, so you won’t be too out of the loop when it comes from the latest and greatest stuff from Marvel. At either $70-$100 a year—depending on your friend’s comic love—a person can more than make up the cost by just reading a couple dozen comics throughout the year.

For the MTG Fan Who Likes a Good Board Game
Cosmic Conflict
Fantasy Flight Games
$22.11 (17% off)

The inspiration behind Magic: The Gathering didn’t come from nowhere. Creator Richard Garfield often cites Cosmic Encounter, a board game originally released in 1977, as a major influence on Magic. With 20 exciting new aliens, plus a new rule that affect players' hands unpredictably, you'll have nothing short of fun while playing Cosmic Conflict.

For the Gamer on the Go
Domiso Laptop Sleeve

Do you know a gamer who's always on the go? Don’t let them throw their laptop in any sort of bag. This laptop sleeve from Domiso is shockproof and waterproof, with an outer surface made of premium thickened EVA material. It offers protection from accidental scratches, dints, scrapes, spills, and dirt. Plus, there are two additional pockets inside for even more storage.

For the Lego Builder Looking for a Challenge
Lego Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer

There are Lego sets, and there are serious Lego sets. This one, an entry in the brand’s Ultimate Collectors Series, is one of the longest sets ever made and meticulously recreates the Star Destroyer from the opening scene of A New Hope. It even comes with a small (by comparison) Tantive IV spacecraft. Just make sure your friend or loved one has enough space for this big boy.

For Keeping Devices Clean
SurfaceSoap UV Sanitizer Wand

In a time when we’re all wary of spreading germs, this handheld UV wand is an excellent gift for your friend who uses a lot of electronics or gadgets. Great for at home or on the go, this wand will kill 99.9 percent of bacteria on your friend’s most beloved possessions.

For Those With an Affection for Arcade Game Artwork
Artcade: The Book of Classic Arcade Game Artwork
Bitmap Books

Help your friend or family relive some of their arcade game glory days with this book of artwork featuring the classics. In 2015, the book's publisher collaborated with arcade game enthusiast Tim Nicholls to create the first edition. Now, this extended edition includes even more memorable artwork to give readers a better idea of some of the most popular games over the years. 

For Budding Astronomers
AstroReality Mars Pro Model

Coming in at a tight 1/56,491,666th proportion to the real thing, this replica of the red planet is part eye-catching piece for the mantel, part educational toy. The corresponding app pulls up features and information on Mars as you run your phone across the model.

For Star Wars Fans Who Want to Dig Deeper Into a Galaxy Far, Far Away
‘Star Wars Thrawn Ascendancy Book I: Chaos Rising’ by Timothy Zahn
Star Wars

Before he dogged Phoenix Squadron in the Rebels TV series, Thrawn was an up-and-coming officer in the military of the Chiss Ascendancy. The latest from Timothy Zahn, author of previous beloved Thrawn novels, dives further into the origins of the blue-skinned Imperial tactician.

For Those Who Want to Read About Video Games Rather Than Play Them
‘Masters of Doom’ by David Kushner
Random House Trade Paperbacks
$14.99 (17% off)

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the genius mind behind a video game’s creation? Masters of Doom takes readers into the minds of two entrepreneurs with creative and outlandish ideas for video games. 

For Those Who Want to Upgrade Their Next D&D Adventure
Wizards of the Coast: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything D&D Expansion Pack
Wizards RPG Team

Even the best Dungeon Master needs some new material every once in a while. This expansion pack provides plenty. Tasha’s Cauldron contains more character options, spells and magical items, and puzzles.

A Thrilling Take on the Classic Hot Potato
Shock Ball Hot Potato Game

Looking for a thrilling game to play with friends? This shock ball takes a twist on the classic game of hot potato. Pass the ball from player to player and prepare to get shocked at random. It’s the perfect game to keep parties or gatherings exciting.

For the DM who Likes to Flaunt a Little Style
CritIt Wooden Dungeon Master Screen

A necessary tool for any Dungeon Master, a DM screen helps keep the adventure a secret from players and also add some necessary theming. While you can’t go wrong with your standard screen, this Etsy creation is next-level. Just look at the Beholder—beautiful.

For the Nerd Who Likes Functional Gifts
Star Trek Qi Wireless Charger

This unique wireless charger is the perfect gift for nerds who want a collectible that's also functional. It features an illuminated Starfleet logo. It's compatible with iPhones and Androids, and features USB and Lightning connections to charge multiple devices at once.

For the Friend Who Likes Dinosaurs and Beer—In That Order
Factory Entertainment Fossil Raptor Claw Bottle Opener
Factory Entertainment

Remember when Alan Grant pretends to gut an innocent child with a raptor claw in Jurassic Park? That was weird, but now you (or a friend) can re-enact the scene with this prop. Or just crack a few brews—it doubles as a bottle opener.

For the Retro Gamer With a Musical Inclination
Teenage Engineering PO-20 Pocket Operator Arcade Synthesizer
Teenage Engineering

Know someone who loves classic video games? Get them into the creating mood with Teenage Engineering’s PO-20 Arcade pocket synth. Create awesome chiptune tracks filled with all those great 8-bit tones of old.

For the Stand-up Gamer
Arcade 1Up X-Men VS Street Fighter

This Arcade1UP game cabinet is the perfect addition to any nerd's game room. Not only does it play and look great, it also includes games such as X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel vs Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for endless hours of hard-hitting action.

More: Your Essential Guide to Christmas Gifts for Men

For the Star Wars Superfan
Luke Skywalker Battle Simulation Helmet

Pretend to be Luke Skywalker for a day with this simulation helmet. It features highly-detailed deco, movie-inspired design, interior padding, lights, and sound FX to serve as a full-scale replica of Luke Skywalker's iconic helmet. It’s the perfect addition to any Star Wars fan’s collection.

For Those Who Look to Ripley as a Personal Role Model
Rebel Nemesis

While not explicitly a board game based on Alien, Nemesis drops players into a spaceship shortly after they wake from cryosleep. (Sound familiar?) As players progress from room to room, they soon discover that they’re not alone. 

What takes this game to the next level, however, is that each player has a secret mission—ranging in mostly innocent to delightfully nefarious—making it hard to know whom you can trust.

For the Friend Who's Sheldon in Real Life
The Big Bang Theory Coffee Mug

If the nerd in your life is always quoting The Big Bang Theory, gift them this fun mug featuring the show's classic quotes. Its microwave- and dishwasher-safe, comes in two different sizes, and you can choose from white or black.

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