Father’s Day 2017 is June 18th. With some help from other dads I’ve compiled some of the best and most unique gift ideas we could find. The best gifts are those that are going to last, be used regularly, and leave an impression as being unique or thoughtful. Choose the type of dad gift you’re looking for to get started.
Gifts for every kind of dad:
For the Dad Who Likes to Drink
I recently received the gift of Whiskey Elements from Time & Oak. I was skeptical to say the least, but interested enough to try it. We dropped the “signature” flavor into a not-expensive bourbon, left it there for 3 days, and then did a double-blind taste test with several friends between the Time & Oaked version and a bottle opened the same day. We take blind taste-testing seriously around here.
The Whiskey Elements version won hands down for all 5 people who tried it.
There are 3 flavors: signature, wine (barrel), and smoke. Adventurous dads will enjoy experimenting with different Elements in different whiskeys. What happens when you make a Highland Scotch a little smokey? What if you tried evening out an Isle Scotch with the wine barrel taste? Or maybe you want to give the Ardbeg an extra kick and surprise your friends with a super-smokey whiskey.
At $7 each there’s not much risk in experimentation. I haven’t made a whiskey worse… not yet, anyway. It’s not going to turn a $15 bottle into a $90 bottle, but you might think you’re drinking a $40 bottle if you drop the right Element into the right $20 bottle. Besides, these are just fun if your father is open to trying new things.
Argon is a must-have for any dad who drinks fine wine or whiskey. If you paid attention in chemistry class, you know that argon is a “noble gas.” That means it doesn’t react or bond with other chemicals like oxygen does. Argon is also heavier than air, which means it will sit on top of the drink and form a protective layer for the drink.
Every drinker knows wine goes bad by reacting with the air, but fewer realize that fine scotches and bourbons have the same problem. Whiskeys will start to lose some of their highly-prized flavors – especially those notes of smoke and pete – if exposed to the air too long. Argon is one of those things whiskey drinking dads don’t know they need until they’ve tried it.
Moscow Mule Glasses – Solid Copper
It’s true that you can find cheaper cups for Moscow Mules and other summer drinks, but I strongly recommend against bargain-hunting on this one. There’s just nothing like a solid copper mug for the Mule. Most cheaper mugs are going to be coated with copper, which means they’ll eventually need replacing. A solid copper mug will last pretty much forever. Besides, the weight of the mug tells Dad how much you care.
Ice Sphere Makers
Have you noticed Dad lower his eyes and mumble something about funny-tasting ice from the fridge when his friends ask for a drink on the rocks? Help your father class it up a little and feel like a star host when he pulls out perfectly-round ice cubes.
What I like about these ice makers is that they’re not going to take up your entire freezer like some other ice ball makers, and they freeze into smooth orbs that add a little chill without immediately watering my bourbon down.
Imagine this: your dad opens his gift, sees a tie, and has this sinking feeling of disappointment. That is, until he realizes the tie is a freaking flask. It holds 8 ounces of liquid, and has a valve on the bottom of the tie. Word is that it can be a little heavy, but that it does work without leaking if you’re careful with the connections and valve.
For the Nerdy Dad
Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger
This Flux Capacitor has space for two separate USB power cords (one 1A, one 2.1A). Light flashes from the outside in, doing a pretty decent job of mimicking the Back to the Future version. As long as you need roads and wired phone charging, why not do it with some style? (That’s a reference your father would appreciate.)
Millennium Falcon Bottle Opener
The classic ship from Star Wars is a great conversation piece and a great bottle opener. The hefty magnets stick to the fridge, and it does its job as a bottle opener well.
The Enterprise Pizza Cutter
Maybe Dad is a trekky rather than a Star Wars fan. You do know the difference, right? This gift might look like a gimmick, but, like the Star Wars bottle opener, it’s also functional, dishwasher safe, and built with great quality. This is one of the products I personally own, and it never fails to make people smile when I go to cut up a pizza.
What If? By Randall Munroe of XKCD
Every nerd and geek loves XKCD. Every. Single. One. This is an entertaining read that attempts to answer ridiculous questions with solid scientific facts. For example, “What would happen if a pitcher threw a fastball at the speed of light?”. These and many other answers are given in detail in a dry and hilarious manner. This is a great gift for fathers who like to read sci-fi or humorous non-fiction.
Build-On Brick 12 Oz. BPA-free Mug
This is just cool. You can attach legos and other types of compatible building bricks to the mug. great for passing the time during a dull meeting or just letting dad express his love of tweaking and building. The mug is definitely useable, and holds 12 ounces of hot liquid. The mug itself is BPA free – blocks you drop in your coffee are another matter.
For the Techie Dad
Chromecast allows you to play Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more. Just plug it into the TV, connect it to Wi-Fi, and then download the Chromecast app on your phone. You can then cast the videos and images on your phone to the TV. We’ve used it most to pull up little clips that we think the family will enjoy – it beats trying to show everyone your phone.
I like giving speakers as a gift – especially when they’re nice, large, have great sound quality, and cost less than $50. These speakers match that bill. Speakers are the type of thing most people are so unfamiliar with that they’ll never buy themselves, but will use all the time.
2TB External Hard Drive
This is a great present for dads who have lots of large files, images, and videos that they don’t want to lose. Hard drives fail regularly – that’s just a fact of a life. Your dad will appreciate this gift most when you’ve saved his memories in a failure, but it could also just give him some extra room for storing favorite TV shows and movies.
A Hard-Core Mouse
Here’s one that’s best for the PC gaming dad. The huge number of buttons on the side of the mouse can all be programmed to perform different actions in his favorite games. The buttons beneath the mouse wheel adjust how sensitive the mouse is (how fast the cursor moves), so that he can go from spreadsheets to battlefields without missing a beat. And it never hurts to give a gift that just looks cool.
A New TV
Okay, it might be a stretch, but have you seen the price on new LED TVs? It’s ridiculous. You can get the TV above for about $820. It’s 60 inches, 1080p, and can access Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube by itself. New Vizio TVs have also really stepped up their game in picture quality and black levels. I might just be projecting my wish list into this gift idea list, but it also looks like something I’d actually want to put on my stand.
For the Active Dad
Shin splints are the worst. If you start running too hard too early, they kill your progress. If you’re in great shape and feeling like you could go for miles, shin splints is probably the first thing that will go wrong. These compression socks aim to prevent shin splints, and people love them. If Dad is a current or aspiring runner or hiker, these could make his year.
Fitbit Charge HR
The Fitbit Charge HR is the latest and greatest in fitness tracking. Tracking steps is nice and all, but it’s more useful to see your heartbeat throughout the day. The battery lasts up to 5 days, and it can receive some notifications from your phone if you want. Like all Fitbit products, tracking is automatic and presented in a user-friendly interface on your computer or phone.
Fitbit Aria Wireless Scale
The Fitbit scale works along with the Charge HR to track progress for you. Once programmed (for up to 8 users) the scale can recognize you automatically and upload your weight, BMI, and body fat percentage to your Fitbit account. Dad can see his progress over time and get a sense of how that correlates with died and exercise.
Daypack for Outdoor Sporting
There aren’t many fathers who are out for a week-long hike through the woods, so this bag is perfect for day hikes and one-day outdoor activities. I suggest this bag because it works as well as a $150 North Face day hiking bag, but is far more affordable. Unless your dad is a hardcore backpacker, this will be more than enough.
Cushioned socks are great for tons of activities: running, hiking, cross fit, or taking kids around the zoo. I also just wear cushioned socks if I know I’m going to be standing a lot at work or shopping. Maybe, while wearing these, he’ll complain a little less while Mom tries on clothes.
For the Classy Dad
Eau de Toilette
You probably call this cologne, but if your dad is the classy kind of guy he knows it’s Eau de Toilette. Buying smells for someone else is always a little risky, but this one has a broad enough appeal and a unique scent. It should work well in both casual and professional settings as long as Dad doesn’t over-use it.
Shaveology Gift Set
The first step in any dad’s shave kit should be a high-quality razor. Don’t let your dad get by with over-priced Gillette razors just because he doesn’t know there’s better stuff out there. The Shaveology razor has a lifetime guarantee, gives a great shave, and looks classy. Replacement blades are also incredibly cheap at around $9 for 10.
Stainless Steel Collar Stays
Nothing says “class” like holding your collar up with freaking stainless steel. Real men have collars that come to a perfect sharp point – don’t let Dad’s collar sag on the job ever again. Rid him of the tyranny of weak and pathetic plastic that folds and bends. Just make sure to take these out before washing the shirt.
A Stainless Steel Wallet
Since we’re going on the stainless steel theme, why not a wallet? It might look like it’s just for show, but the stainless wallet is actually functional, too. Because so many cards are now RFID, it’s becoming increasingly risky to carry RFID materials in an unprotected wallet. Stainless reflects any RFID “sniffers” out there trying to gain access to your accounts or building.
For the Grilling Dad
Magnifeko makes some great oven gloves for the grill. The material is thick, heat resistant, and covers enough skin to avoid most burns. If you’re like me, you fumble around with oven mitts and hate the lack of coordination. These gloves are great for any cooking a meal or making some BBQ.
Digital Smart Thermometer
The iGrill2 is like the Cadillac of meat thermometers. There are 4 probes that are highly resistant to heat, and you can see their temperature from your iPhone or Android phone. One of my biggest frustrations in grilling is that I always seem to put the thermometer in, see that I have 50 degrees to go, then come back to over-cooked jerky a couple minutes later. The iGrill aims to stop that with real-time monitoring and custom alert temperatures so your food always comes out right. The price is a little high, but maybe dad will make it up to you by cooking you some steak.
Heavy-Duty Grill Tools
Last time I grilled I had three friends over, and they all noticed my grill tools… because we all got the exact same cheap set at Costco. I’d love to show off some heavy-duty stainless steel tools next time. Any dad will tell you that something this heavy must be quality construction.
A Grill Apron
If your father already has a nice set of grill tools, get him a functional apron with holsters. This will also keep the grease off his clothes. Protip: one of the pockets can be used to hold a beer.
Weber’s Way to Grill is the go-to book for someone looking to up their game on the grill, both in terms of recipes and techniques.
For Every Dad
A Nice Pen
Like I mentioned at the start, the best gifts are those that are going to be used regularly and appreciated. Even in today’s paperless offices, people are still writing notes to themselves every day. This Parker pen is my choice; it writes as well as a $150 fine writing pen, but costs half as much or less.
Minimalist Card Case
Help Dad cut down on his wallet’s size by getting him a front-pocket wallet. In modern times it’s no longer necessary to carry more than a few cards and your ID. Cash isn’t necessary, and discount cards can be handled by apps. Mega-wallet dads might not want to transition, but this is a good gift for the more organized dad.
A Badass Multi-Tool
Gerber is known for their sharp and incredibly long-lasting blades. This multi-tool holds up that tradition. It’s made from premium quality steel and made in the USA using top manufacturing methods. He doesn’t need to be a DIY dad to appreciate the gift, but a master DIY-er would.
My one complaint with this tool are the scissors. Seriously, who needs teeny-tiny scissors when you have at least 3 sharp blades? Overall a great multi-tool though, and it feels 10x sturdier than the $20 version you find at big-box stores. (I saw a muti-tool at Wamart advertised as a “great Father’s Day gift!” – and it was mostly made from aluminum.)
The Best Wet/Dry Electric Razor
I’ve owned an earlier version of this product for the last 7 years, and I still love it. I usually shave dry, and it works quickly to give a clean shave. If I forget to shave before I hop in the shower – which I still do, sometimes – I just reach out of the shower, grab it, and use a little soap to shave. It’s obvious I’m a fan, but it’s also been the highest-rated best-selling razor for quite some time. Don’t worry about the gel stuff. It’s nice, but not a necessary thing to refill each time.
An On-the-go Charger for Devices
For younger people, charging devices is very nearly an obsession. Dad might not be as good about charging at night or during the day. Mobile battery packs help keep his phone running while he’s out. I really like this little Foxnovo charger. It’s compact, sleek, and packs a solid 10400mAh. To put that in perspective, it will fully charge an iPhone 6 more than 5 times before running low.
Chemex Coffee Maker
We use the Chemex glass coffee brewer because we were unsure of what we were getting with regular coffee brewers. Are the lines clean? Is there BPA in the plastic? Is the water spreading evenly? Now the pour-over method takes a little more time, but the coffee tastes better and there aren’t any unknowns about the quality or safety of your coffee. It’s also using a paper filter, which, according to Harvard medical research, is healthier because it removes cholesterol-raising lipids from the coffee. See, you learned something new about health today.
Combine it with this electric tea kettle if you want to help dad brew coffee or tea at the perfect temperature.
Chris has a knack for finding gifts that are unique, useful, and memorable. He enjoys sharing his ideas and finding new presents for his loved ones in the process.