Your student is halfway through high school — how exciting! At this point, they may have some leftover school supplies from their past school years and not need many more items. However, that doesn’t mean their supplies are any less important. From the backpack they carry to the pencils they use and the notebooks they write in, your student deserves the best and most efficient items out there.
So, whether your student already has all of these essentials covered or needs an entirely new stock of school supplies, this list is here to help! Here are our top school supplies for 10th grade. They’ll help your student stay organized and excited to finish out the academic year, and we hope that this list takes off some of the pressure you might be feeling about school supply shopping.
What We Review
Must Have General 10th Grade School Supplies
- The pen is mightier than the sword. Pens and pencils are absolutely necessary for every student. Almost all schools will require #2 pencils, as well as blue and/or black ink pens. A classic mechanical pencil is the BIC Xtra-Sparkle mechanical pencils. Mechanical pencils have the edge over wooden pencils both for their continual sharpness, and their lifespan. These BIC pencils use 0.7mm lead that will stay sharp long after the wooden pencil is replaced. These pencils are good for everyday use, and the only thing that needs to be replaced is the lead inside. Another high-quality pencil that won’t break or bend is the Zebra M-301 stainless steel mechanical pencil. The stainless steel feels solid, yet lightweight, and will stand up to the wears of school and the metal tips won’t bend like plastic ones might. These come in both 0.5mm and 0.7mm, have replaceable erasers, and work with standard lead refills. These sturdy pencils will last your kid through their whole high school career and more. Pens are also an essential part of the supply bag. Gel pens are very popular because of their precision, bleed resistance, and how quickly they dry. Paper Mate is a quality and trusted brand, and their InkJoy gel pens are no exception. They write smoothly, are comfortable to hold, and dry quickly. They also come in a variety of colors if your student likes to color coordinate their notes. Another quality pen is the Uni-ball Jetstream pen, made from stainless steel, and equipped with fast-drying and bleed resistant ink.
- Papers, please. Notebooks are essential for every class. They’re good for doodling, origami, and most importantly, note taking. Mead Five Star notebooks are well-trusted products that come in a variety of options and colors. Their notebooks come in several sizes, 5-subject, 3-subject, 2-subject, and 1-subject. These have dividers that have sleeves to store papers, allowing for storage of papers for many classes in one notebook. Another option is to buy loose-leaf paper and store them in a three-ringed binder of your choosing. There are a variety of brands, prices, and quantities. Some come with hole reinforcers, making it harder for the pages to tear around the holes. This might be useful if your student constantly has those tears. Composition books are also a staple option. College ruled paper is a must.
- Foldable friends. Folders and good organization will be a lifesaver. We’ve all been there, losing something even though we swore it was right there. A quick and easy way to keep your papers organized by class is to buy generic two-pocket plastic folders. Some come with holes punched, allowing you to store them in a binder. You’re able to purchase a large quantity for cheap, making this a good purchase if your student has multiple classes, or if you have multiple students of your own. Generic three-ringed plastic binders are also a good option to put in your loose-leaf paper, or two pouch folders. If you’re looking for a place to store pens and pencils, you may want to look at the Bertasche pencil case, a large capacity, foldable, multi-pocket case, or the Homecube pencil case, which is smaller and more rectangular in shape.
- Take two. Erasers are necessary. Sometimes the ones on the tips of pencils just don’t cut it, and you’ll need something more heavy duty or a backup. Paper Mate Pink Pearls are trusted options, and latex free as well. BIC White-out or other similar products like correction tape are handy for mistakes made in ink. Both their tape and fluid products are trusted to dry quickly and not tear or scratch.
- In sickness and in health. Staying healthy is important! Not only is it unpleasant, but you’re less likely to perform well in classes, and you may end up staying home, missing school entirely. Having Kleenex facial tissues at the ready as well as some Purell hand sanitizer is very important. Both come in travel sizes that will easily fit in a pouch or pocket. Moisturizing cream will be important if your student uses alcohol sanitizers regularly as it can dry out their skin.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration. Drinking enough water is key to staying healthy. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and other health problems. Having a reusable water bottle is an easy way to make sure to drink enough, not to mention it’s eco-friendly and economic! Getting an insulated bottle will keep the liquids hot or cold. A Hydro Flask is a popular option. It’s durable, comes in a variety of colors, and helps keep your drinks cold all day. Another great and less expensive option are Contigo water bottles. They have the same reputation as Hydro Flask, but come with more user-friendly drinking tops, as opposed to the Hydro Flask’s open mouth.
- Measure twice, cut once. Your student may be taking a math course that requires rulers, protractors and a compass. You may want to look into getting a 12-inch ruler that has both inches and centimeters. You may also want to purchase a plastic one, as the metal rulers can bend. The brand eBoot makes transparent plastic rulers with both metric and empirical measurements. The transparency will help with accuracy. Protractors will help your student find their degrees. Compasses are usually paired with protractors, so look at getting a set like the Charles Leonard ball-bearing compass and 6-inch protractor set. This set uses a wooden pencil with the compass, so instead, you might want to look at the more equipped set. The 8-piece geometry kit by MeetUs comes with a protractor, two triangles, a 15cm ruler, a mechanical pencil, and a compass with a mechanical pencil, as well as lead refills and an eraser. This kit will take care of your every geometric need.
The Best Backpacks for 10th Grade School Supplies
- Burton is a trusted brand, and you’ll see their backpacks all over school. The Burton Treble Yell backpack is on the simpler end, three pockets, a large, medium, and small, along with two mesh water bottle holders, and straps to hold a skateboard. Inside the largest pouch is a sleeve to hold a laptop up to 14 inches.
- Another great option with a few more features is the Bolang college backpack. In addition to the large main pocket big enough to fit a laptop and several books, there is another front pocket that has many sleeves and areas to store small items, as well as a tablet. There are also two small pockets on the front for smaller and more valuable items. The bag also has a chest buckle and is water resistant.
- One bag with a lot of storage is the High Sierra Swerve backpack. This bag has two large pockets, a small and medium front pocket with additional organizer sleeves inside. This bag is made of a durable material that should last many years.
The Best Writing Utensils for 10th Grade Classes
- As mentioned earlier, the Zebra M-301 is a great pencil. It’s precise, durable, yet inexpensive. The Zebra comes in 0.5mm and 0.7mm, fitting your student’s preference. This pen will be perfect for standardized testing and filling in those small bubbles.
- For more technical, and even more precise work, the Pentel Stein is available to write at 0.3mm, making it great for drawing, graphs, or detailed sketches. However, it can also be used for any writing needs your student may have
- Pilot is well known for their quality pens, and the Precise V7 rolling ball pen is no exception. At 0.7mm, this fine point pen will glide across the page leaving a clean line behind.
The Best Binders for 10th Grade Binder Organization
- The Case-it Mighty Zip 3-inch Zipper Binder is a multipurpose tool, equipped with expandable folders, eliminating the need for extra folders or dividers. It also comes with pouches and pockets able to store pens, pencils, erasers, smaller notebooks and journals, calculators, and other school equipment. It’s also very durable and should last many years of use. While it has more options than a standard plastic binder, it will cost more than your average, generic-brand binder.
- Another similar option is the Five Star 2-inch zipper binder. This binder also comes with expandable storage like the Case-It, but the Five Star has a larger zippered pouch on the inside, allowing you to store more things. This one is slightly cheaper than the Case-It.
- Getting a little more sophisticated is the Wundermax Portfolio binder. This binder has many sleeves and compartments to store tablets, notepads, folders, etc. It even has slots to put cards in. This binder has an emphasis on pens and notepads and would work well as a binder for your art student. This binder is on the pricier side, but you’re paying for a quality product.
The Best Study Tools for 10th Grade School Supplies
- Sticky notes are a must for any student. They can be squares for quick reminders or arrows for marking pages in textbooks. Post-It sticky notes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and some other sticky note brands even design them in animal patterns. Pick whichever sticky notes your student may enjoy and use the most.
- Highlighters are also necessary for studying and marking key passages. Highlighters come in a variety of colors, allowing you to color coordinate related sections in your textbook. The Sharpie Clear View highlighter has a clear tip, allowing you to see exactly where you’re highlighting, allowing for a cleaner start and finish. The Clear View highlighters even come in a pack of yellow, pink, orange and green.
- Continuing with color coordinating, getting colored pens can also help your student mark different concepts in their notebook with different colors. They often will draw diagrams in their notes as well and having different colors to differentiate parts of the diagram will come in handy.
The Best Calculators for 10th Grade
- The most requested calculator by teachers is the TI-84 programmable graphing calculator. This calculator can do a lot of complex functions and will be more than sufficient for any of the classes they’ll take in high school and college. Graphing calculators are allowed on most AP tests, the ACT and SAT.
- A step down from graphing calculators is the scientific calculator. This loses the programmability, the screens and several more complex functions. Though it’s lost a lot, it’s still great (and expected) in most science classes. The TI-30X IIS 2-line scientific calculator or the Casio fx-300ES are great options, and ones recommended by colleges.
- The most basic calculator you can have is the standard or four-function calculator. This just has your standard addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and possibly square roots. These can be found for only a few dollars. While allowed, these calculators would not be recommended or expected for any class or standardized test.
Every class is unique, whether it be world history, honors English, AP Calculus, or anything else. So, not every course your 10th grader takes will require the same school supplies. Make sure to check with them first to see if their school or their courses ask for any unique or non-conventional supplies, and don’t leave those off the shopping list.
We hope, however, that this list gives you a better understanding of some of the essential school supplies for 10th grade and that it hopefully eases some of your shopping stress. Feel free to get creative with the products. Get different colors. Try out different brands. Buy your student what you think they will enjoy using the most, and don’t hold back.
Want to look up what you need for other grades? Check out our other school supply lists:
- The Best 8th Grade School Supply List
- The Best 9th Grade School Supply List
- The Best 11th and 12th Grade School Supply List