By Antonio G. Di BenedettoBrandon Widder
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As any son or daughter can attest, dads can be pretty picky and hard to please when it comes to gifts. However, while it may pose a bit of a challenge to gift them something perfect, it’s better to put in the work than to go the cheesy route with a “World’s Best Dad” mug or yet another pair of socks. Luckily, we’re here to help you find a gift that’s just right.
We’ve compiled a list of ideas that are sure to surprise and delight all kinds of dads, whether they’re the techie type or the weekend warrior. Got a Mr. Fixit on your hands? The Wowstick Electric Screwdriver Set ($50) may be just the tool they didn’t know they needed. Does your dad fiddle away at a computer all day? His wrists will probably thank you if you pick him up Logitech’s ergonomic Lift mouse ($67). We’ve assembled a bunch of other ideas as well, especially for those who cherish a bit of nostalgia or want to completely disconnect and get back to nature.
We’re confident at least one of these gifts will make the dad in your life happy. Who knows. He may even brag about it to all his friends — well, that or maybe just anyone who will give him the time of day.
We recognize that not everyone cares to see just how fast they’re charging their electronics, but for nerds like us that do, Chipofy offers a 6.6-foot USB-C cable with a built-in wattage meter. It’s not a high-speed data cable — the transfer rate tops out at a paltry 480Mbps — yet it still offers 100 watts of power, making it ideal for charging everything from the Nintendo Switch to Apple’s 14-inch MacBook Pro. Plus, it looks cool doing it.
We’ve all seen the famed prints of Yosemite and Yellowstone from the late 1930s, but did you know you can also grab a WPA-style travel poster depicting the Forest Moon of Endor? Well, Sylvan Design Co. makes a vibrant collection of retro-inspired prints showcasing near-mythical locales from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and some of the most beloved franchises of all time, all of which come in a range of sizes.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to really rip when your partner works from home and spends most of their time waist-deep in spreadsheets. Luckily, there’s Fender’s Mustang Micro, a miniature headphone amp that’s perfect for the musician who needs to keep the volume to a minimum. The simple device is well suited for a range of guitars, from straight-sided models to the angular variety, and features 12 different effects that sound surprisingly good when paired with the right headphones.
No matter what your audiophile neighbor says, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars just to spin T-Swift’s latest pop opus. U-Turn’s Orbit Basic Turntable isn’t like the record players you see lining the shelves at Urban Outfitters; it packs a respectable cartridge, requires little setup, and sounds absolutely great for the sticker price. Best of all, it’s available in an array of fun colors, which only adds to its clean, modern aesthetic.
The LG C2 is the like-minded follow-up to the C1, one that boasts a brighter panel and serves as an all-around excellent OLED thanks to its lightweight build and a set of gaming features that set it apart from its peers. In addition to a 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision support, the C2 is also compatible with AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync, allowing for an incredibly smooth gaming experience.
The Solo Stove Ranger 2.0 is the kind of fire pit that’s likely to raise few eyebrows from your neighbors. The self-contained stainless steel cylinder is designed to provide adequate airflow to your chosen flammables while producing less smoke in the process; it’s even outfitted with a removable ash pan so you can “leave no trace” like a responsible camper should you decide to take the portable stove with you into the boonies.
Quality family time should be cherished, but sometimes you just want to relax with your music without having to listen to the kids bicker over screen time. The Bose QuietComfort 45 are great for carving out some R&R at home or making a hectic commute much more tolerable, especially since the superb noise-canceling headphones are comfortable enough to wear for hours on end without fatigue setting in.
Lunch is served, and whether it’s a simple sandwich or a meticulously put-together bento, it all looks handsome in this insulated lunch box made by Hydro Flask. The basic nylon-covered offering is durable, easy to clean, and can even house a small ice pack, helping ensure your food stays fresh and cool while you’re on the job.
Garmin’s affordable Vivomove Sport deftly blends a capable fitness tracker with a dignified-looking timepiece. The watch’s 40mm case is sized nicely for most wrists, and given it offers up to five days of battery life, you can track your activity and receive phone notifications without having to constantly worry about juicing the hybrid smartwatch before heading out the door.
If you want your dad to feel like a superhero while he’s at home, allow him to improve older appliances and lighting with modern features like timers and smart scheduling. Smart plugs like Kasa’s budget-friendly offerings are great for adding to an existing smart home setup or getting started with the bare minimum, especially since they allow you to add voice controls to any outlet without the need for a hub.
Two words: bistable hinge. Nike’s clever Go FlyEase were initially designed with accessibility and limited mobility in mind, and as such, the entire heel of the shoe pivots to allow for hands-free entry. And while they were once a rarity reserved only for sneakerheads willing to cough up $400 on the resale market, they’re now widely available enough that even non-hypebeasts can afford them.
Terrible name aside, a subscription to Nugs.net is a great way to surprise the dad in your life who has yet to (fully) succumb to jam bands. It’s somewhat of a niche streaming service that offers both new and archival concert livestreams from the likes of Wilco and The Dead, with a premium tier starting at $12.99 a month or a hi-fi version with lossless audio for $24.99. Best of all, the audio is based on actual soundboard recordings, as opposed to a shoddy recorder from ’84.
There are lots of terrific streaming devices available today, but the 4K-capable Chromecast with Google TV ticks all the right boxes. It comes with a handy remote and makes use of Google’s intuitive TV platform, which serves up smart recommendations based on your viewing habits and all of your favorite services. If nothing else, the useful content recommendations can help dad avoid the proverbial Netflix brain drain.
Amazon’s Echo Show 5 is a multipurpose smart display that’s good for video calls as well as controlling smart home systems via voice or touch. The Alexa-enabled device can fit just about anywhere in the house, too, including the bedroom, which is convenient if your dad likes to wake up with the news or continue hitting the snooze button until someone forcefully drags him out of bed.
Crosswords, sudoku, Wordle — oh my! Want to get dad hooked on a minimalist gaming subscription that’s bound to level up his Scrabble game? New York Times Games offers eight word- and logic-based puzzles that should appeal to gamers of any generation. The crossword alone is one of the best exercises you can partake in if you want to relax and activate brain cells, especially when you have Chris Remo’s excellent “The Daily Solve” YouTube series to accompany you.
Rumpl may not have been the first brand to convert the iconic puffy into a quilted covering fit for Instagram, but it certainly has been the most successful. The Original Puffy is a cozy blanket that’s perfect for camping, picnics, and unexpected beach outings, one that’s packable and comes in a wide array of colorful prints that pair with a range of aesthetics. And yes, you better believe there are vibes for days.
Despite the meteoric rise in podcasts over the past decade, an Audible subscription can still be a cherished gift for anyone who never has the spare time to read or wants to fill empty air time with a wide variety of audiobooks. They’re one of the best companions for long drives and commutes, allowing dad to keep up with whatever genres and authors he might prefer — even if it is just Stephen King and John Grisham.
There isn’t a dad alive who wouldn’t appreciate the handiness of a comfy, water-resistant jacket that folds up into its own pocket for easy stowing and travel. Fortunately, L.L.Bean’s multicolor anorak is relatively inexpensive compared to similar offerings from brands like Patagonia, making it a practical gift as well as an economic one. Admit it, you can just picture the dad jokes now about wishing more stuff folded into themselves.
Price: $49.99 to $59
The original Sega Genesis Mini was a bona fide winner that offered a robust library of games, great ease of use, and everything a retro fan could ask for in a throwback console. Its sleeker successor, the Sega Genesis Mini 2, ups the ante with a six-button gamepad and 60 classic games, including Shining Force CD and Sonic the Hedgehog CD as well as two unreleased titles that never made it stateside. If dad has been waiting 27 years to play Ristar, now is your chance.
Getting into mechanical keyboards can feel like diving into a rabbit hole, but here’s one that’s easy for any casual user to appreciate. The NuPhy Air75 is a low-profile wireless board that works great on a desk and can even sit over your MacBook keyboard, which is particularly helpful for anyone stuck using an older model with butterfly switches. You can also pick it out with linear red or tactile brown switches — never condemn anyone to clicky blue switches — and the switches are hot-swappable should your giftee change their mind later. And just look at that colorful keycap set. Lovely.
Fancy ice is some serious business, but you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a lil’ sampling of it. These little silicone trays allow you to freeze big, bulky chunks of ice in either nicely squared-off cubes or perfectly round spheres. If dad prefers his Moscow mule or weekly dose of bourbon on the rocks, you might as well gift him the kind of chonky ice he can be proud of.
Most of us at The Verge are hooked on coffee, and the winter months are a terrible time to be surprised by a cold cup of the black stuff. Thankfully, Ember’s ceramic Smart Mug keeps your beverage heated to your preferred temperature for up to 80 minutes (or indefinitely when it’s resting on the included charging coaster).
We all know it’s nice to always have the right tool for the job, and with the Wowstick Electric Screwdriver Set, the right tools take up less space than ever. This rechargeable screwdriver includes 56 magnetic bits and plenty of other gizmos, making it an ideal tool for adjusting the bridge on a guitar, fixing small electronics, and cobbling together various household items.
AirPods, schmairpods. If your giftee is a runner, they deserve a pair of wireless earbuds that sound great and stay in their ears while they’re pounding the pavement. The water-resistant Beats Fit Pro offer great noise cancellation, terrific audio quality, and come in unique colorways like sage gray and stone purple. Their only downside is a clunky case that lacks wireless charging, but they make up for it in sound and fit.
Is your dad the type who frequently misplaces his keys, bag, and other small goods? An AirTag is a helpful little gift that says “you’re forgetful” but also “I care.” Apple’s nifty Bluetooth trackers make keeping tabs on your belongings via Apple’s Find My app incredibly easy, especially since the waterproof trackers can alert you if you’re walking away from one of your items while out in the world.
Sometimes nothing does the job quite like a handy knife. The Hori Hori Ultimate is great for camping out in the field or even working in the garden. It’s got a solid wood handle and a blade with both straight and serrated edges as well as a bottle opener and matching sheath. It’s definitely more functional than any garbage your dad might stumble upon while watching late-night infomercials. Those still exist, right?
It’s true, ergonomics matter. And if your dad spends his day chipping away at spreadsheets and his nights posting on Nextdoor, it’s best to make sure he’s minimizing his risk of carpal tunnel with a vertical mouse like Logitech’s Lift. The low-cost accessory features a soft grip and a thumb rest as well as a design that opens up your wrist positioning for a more natural posture. It’s great for reducing unwanted wrist strain, even if he’ll never admit it.
There’s something to be said about the simplicity of a deck of cards in the age of virtual reality and next-gen gaming. Hoyle’s opaque playing cards aren’t particularly fancy or adorned with lavish artwork, but they are waterproof, meaning your dad can play Speed, Solitaire, or an abundance of other games without worrying about who’s likely to spill the next drink.
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By Antonio G. Di BenedettoBrandon Widder