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Best back to school supplies 2020: Send them back prepared with stationery, tech and more

Caroline Preece
3 Sep 2019

Load the kids up with all the best gear from our school supplies checklist

The new school year has begun, and no matter how old the returnees happen to be, they’ll probably need their fair share of new supplies to get started. Long hours and hard work after a summer of relaxation and fun always come as a bit of a shock, but the right equipment or even just a fresh notebook and water bottle can make all the difference.

University freshers and returnees can be a whole different ball game, requiring so much more than a new set of pens. Laptops and tablets also become a requirement rather than an optional extra that can be shared by other members of the family, and the study of more specific subject matter can require more specific tools as the school year progresses.

From laptops to bags, from pencil cases to portable chargers, we’ve made the back to school rush that much simpler by collecting some of the best buys to kick things off.

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The best back to school supplies for 2020

1. YanJi Laptop Backpack

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

Kids need a good backpack to transport books, laptops and other daily essentials. Despite the affordable price, the YanJi backpack is anything but average, hiding various different compartments and pockets for things like headphone cords and chargers - keeping valuables safe but making it super easy to access them. The breathable mesh back makes the bag easy to carry around for long periods, and there’s even a reflective safety strip on the exterior, so the wearer can be seen clearly at night. You can read more about the best laptop sleeves to buy here.

2. Homecube Pencil Case

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

If you always end up having to empty your bulging pencil case to find the item you need, then this one from Homecube is an organisational godsend. Pens, pencils, sharpeners or highlighters are no problem at all, and it’s more than capable of storing larger items such as calculators and staplers. A detachable separator for the main compartment allows you to keep everything in its own zone. The case also looks great with a variety of colours and high-quality oxford material.

3. Creative Outlier ONE Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

Who needs wires? Whether it’s listening to an educational podcast, recordings of lectures, or simply enjoying music while doing assignments and revision, earphones are amazing companions for students. These Creative Outlier headphones are great, with a built-in microphone, 9.5 hours of battery life and a tangle-proof cable. Audio quality is also really great, with 6mm Neodymium drivers and Bluetooth 4.1 technology that boosts your listening. They’re also water-resistant, so you can use them in all weather conditions.

4. Andrew James Cold Infusion Water Bottle

Price: £5 | Buy now from Amazon

We all know that staying hydrated is incredibly important to how our brains function throughout the day. For those who don’t fancy chugging plain water, there’s this Andrew James Cold Infusion water bottle that will lace its contents with the delicious taste from real fruit. The metal clip makes it easy to attach to any bag or belt, and the 700ml capacity means you’ll have no trouble getting enough liquids throughout the day. On top of the convenience, reusable water bottles are also super good for the environment compared to single-use.

5. Microsoft Surface Pro

Price: £760 | Buy now from Amazon

It’s difficult to choose a laptop with absolutely everything you might need, but you’ll be pretty safe with the Microsoft Surface Pro. The main benefit for students is that it’s a hybrid device that can easily be used as a tablet or a laptop depending on the situation, and the stylus means that you can write notes or sketch directly on the screen. Its slim, light design also means that it’s easy to slip into a backpack on the way to the next lecture. The device also has a 13.5-hour battery life, a high-resolution PixelSense Display, an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM.

6. AUKEY USB C Power Bank

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s nothing worse than running out of juice just before the end of the day, and this particular problem is solved by a simple USB power bank. Stick one in your bag, or pop it in your pocket, and you can top up your phone, tablet or even a USB-C-equipped laptop whenever needed. This one from AUKEY supports both Quick Charge 3.0 and USB power delivery, and this means it can charge compatible devices in a fraction of the time of lesser power banks. Helpfully, there’s also a low-current setting reserved for things like headphones and smart watches.

7. Brigenius Bento Lunch Box

Price: £22 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s nothing wrong with the old Disney or superhero-themed lunch boxes of the 90s, but this model from Brigenius is a cut above. This Bento-style box has a total of five compartments that can be filled with meals, snacks and sides, helping you to meal prep and get enough of all the healthy food groups into your kids while they’re at school. The lid is completely spill-proof and the box is safe for microwaves and dishwashers.

8. Canon PIXMA TS3150 Student Essentials Printer Bundle

Price: £40 | Buy now from Argos

Get everything you need with this Canon PIXMA TS3150 Student Essentials Printer Bundle which, along with the PIXMA printer and scanner, includes a pack of black ink, square photo paper, and A4 paper. It’s the perfect gift for students moving away from home for the first time, allowing them to print out assignments at home rather than at the library, or print photos directly from their phones. It’s compatible with both PC and Mac computers, too.

Buy now from Argos

9. Rocketbook Everlast Smart Reusable Notebook

Price: £33 | Buy now from Amazon

This is not your average notebook. The Rocketbook Everlast is a reusable way of taking notes and brainstorming that can be uploaded to services such as Google Docs or Dropbox or simply erased when no longer needed. Especially useful for students in mathematics or science, who need space to work out equations but no need to keep them forever, or people who prefer handwriting their notes but don’t want or have space for an ever-expanding collection of notebooks. Basically a smart whiteboard you can keep in your bag.

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