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Another school year is upon us, and if you’re gearing up for your next academic year or preparing for a big educational transition like college or grad school, you’re probably on the hunt for school supplies. You never quite know exactly what you need until you arrive, but if you’re shopping school supply lists or trying to gear up to leave home on a budget, big box retailers like Walmart will have the essentials you need.
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We’ve rounded up the best back to school supplies you can find at Walmart, from well-rated staples under $25 like pens, colored pencils and notebooks, to more expensive (but no less necessary) items like laptops and espresso machines. If you’re looking for markdowns, you can also get discounts on certain dorm finds, laptops and bedding right now at Walmart.
1. A workhorse laptop at a good price
If you’re on the hunt for a powerful, relatively inexpensive Chromebook with 2-in-1 capabilities and a touchscreen, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Lenovo ThinkPad C13, which was the best overall Chromebook of those we tested. The Lenovo C13 has a great keyboard, an elegant design and a wide variety of ports to choose from. At $334, it’s also priced well for a school laptop, and has enough staying power to get students through several years of academic work.
2. Gel pens with over 1,200 5-star reviews
The Pilot G2 pen is a favorite of students, writers and creatives, and if you’re on the hunt for a solid set of gel ink pens that apply cleanly and dry fast, the G2 pens are for you. Reviewers recommended the Pilot G2 pens for their ink flow and overall quality, and several people noted that the pens didn’t smudge like other gel pens they’d used before. You can also buy the G2 style pen in a variety of colors if you purchase a multipack.
3. Classic notebooks for class
Notebooks are essential to schoolwork, even if you’re just using one every day to jot down ideas, notes, or your schedule. The Mead Five Star notebook series is cost-effective, and comes in a variety of rulings for your studying and note-taking needs. You can get them in 100 sheet versions or 200 sheet versions, and choose from a wide variety of colors.
If you’re looking for notebooks that are a bit more moody, the Decomposition notebook series has various patterns and illustrations that may better suit your personal aesthetic.
4. Colored pencils for art class
If this year’s school supplies list includes colored pencils, grab a pack (or several) of these Crayola colored pencils. Available in 24 colors and crafted with nontoxic materials, these art tools are a staple for any kids that are embarking on new artistic journeys, in art class and beyond. As a bonus, they come with over 250 5-star reviews at Walmart.
5. Flash cards for citations, studying and more
At some point, whether you’re in grade school or headed off to college, it’s likely you’ve been asked to use index cards. Whether you’re studying for a test or preparing a paper, these ruled index cards will help you stay organized. The Pen + Gear index cards come in packs of 100 and have over 350 5-star reviews thanks to their sturdy design and light ruling. They’re also quite cheap, so you can invest in multiple packs.
6. A colorful assortment of highlighters
Sharpie makes excellent permanent markers, and, according to over 230 reviewers, excellent highlighters as well. This 12-pack of Sharpie highlighters comes with classic yellow highlighters as well as pink, orange, green, blue and purple. Highlighters are great for notetaking—if you or the student on your shopping list has a lot of exams to look forward to this year, getting organized ahead of time may be key.
7. Simple, solid-colored folders
Homework needs a place to be safe on the way home from school: Enter, these Pen + Gear folders from Walmart. Available in seven solid colors, each folder comes with interior pockets and three holes in case you want to store them in binders. They’re also extremely cheap, so if you need multiples or are buying for multiple students they’ll do the trick.
8. An iPad for e-books and notetaking
iPads are great for school. They’ll allow you to read e-books, download notes and excerpts, and access school programs on the go. They’re also conveniently portable, especially if you prefer not to carry large backpacks to class. If you’ve been on the hunt for an iPad, you can get the 2021 10.2-inch iPad with 64 GB of storage for $300, in Space Gray or Silver.
9. A basic backpack for everyday wear
Sometimes simple is better when it comes to backpacks, especially if you’re planning on reusing them from school year to school year. The Everest backpack line comes in neutral colors and has a large main compartment and a secure front pocket with a hidden zipper. The backpack starts at $14 and can be customized with patches or decorations.
10. Over-ear headphones for the bus and beyond
The Puro Sound Labs kids headphones are some of the best kids’ headphones we’ve ever tested, with great sound quality and soft padding that makes them perfect for long commutes to and from school. Puro Sound Labs’ entire range of headphones are designed to protect kids’ ears from early hearing damage by limiting the volume range kids can listen to, while also providing excellent sound quality and comfort. You can get the headphones in teal, lime green, pink or deep blue.
11. A happy little planner
Keeping homework, readings and events organized could be as easy as investing in a planner that works for you. The Happy Planner comes with 12 months of calendar space, with a color block design that is formulated to keep your daily tasks organized.
12. An espresso machine for late night coffee
Staying caffeinated is a key component of many people’s college experience, so if the student in your life is headed back to class this month, consider investing in a luxurious gift that they’ll use every day. The De’Longhi Nespresso machine is perfect for making single cups of coffee or espresso, and comes with a milk frother for
13. A keyboard for late-night essay writing
Whether you’re writing in cafes, at home, or even on the couch, this keyboard will get you through. The Logitech Wireless keyboard and mouse connects to your laptop or desktop with a USB port, and comes with two years of battery life for extended use. If you’ve been on the hunt for a cheap, portable keyboard, you can be assured of the Logitech’s quality—it currently has a whopping 1,423 5-star reviews.
14. An Apple Pencil for notetaking or drawing
If your school year already has you familiarizing yourself with Procreate or Adobe Suite, or you prefer paperless notetaking, you may want to invest in an Apple Pencil. The second generation Apple Pencil has over 350 5-star reviews at Walmart for its sleek look, pressure sensitivity and excellent connectivity.
15. A high-powered calculator to get you through
At some point, you’ll likely need a TI-84 series calculator as you’re going through schooling. You can get a TI-84 Plus graphing calculator at Walmart for $40 off of its typical list price of $140, with all the functions and programs you’ll need to get through your education.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: 15 back-to-school essentials you can get at Walmart