May 23, 2024 | Peter Kinney

Father's Day Gifts That Don't Actually Suck

The Clock Is Ticking

Father may know best, but you can still surprise dear ol’ dad with a hit gift that he never saw coming. This year, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 16, 2024—so there’s still time to get out there, get shopping, and get the best possible gift for your dad.

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Foot Massager

Who says a foot massager needs to be a Mother’s Day gift exclusively? There are a number of new foot massaging baths out there with much more gender-neutral trim than ever before, and while few Dads would take the opportunity to pamper themselves without encouragement…many would definitely take it if it were presented to them.

Close Up Photo of White Foot Massager placed on a wooden floorHS You, Flickr

Personal Fireplace

What is it with men and fire? Even if there’s no room in your backyard for a full-sized fireplace, there are many small personal fireplaces out there for the dad with a bit of a pyro side—just big enough to warm your hands or roast a couple of marshmallows.

Close Up Photo of Tiny Round Tabletop Fire Pit placed on a tableKaren Culp, Shutterstock

Yeti Beverage Bucket

The cooler-obsessed Dads out there undoubtedly already have a Yeti or two in their arsenal. After all, they’ve been the hottest coolers of the summer for a few years running. But for the father who loves to entertain, there’s the Yeti beverage bucket—perfect to show off a few bottles of beer or wine and chill them to the perfect temperature.

Customer shopping for Large collection of Yeti productsTrong Nguyen, Shutterstock

Magnetic Wristband

For the dad that’s always in his workshop—and refuses help—a magnetic wristband is the way to go. He can keep screws, bolts, and other metal doodads within easy reach for any project that requires both hands.

Tools magnetic bracelet on wrist with screws and screwdriver in person handsVlarvixof, Shutterstock

Electric Smoker

Once he’s mastered grilling, smoking is up next. For all of the benefits of smoking with a lot less work, an electric smother will get things up to temperature and keep them steady without needing to constantly adjust things. All you need to do is making sure there’s enough wood chips to get that delicious smoke flavor.

Close Up Photo of Electric Smoker placed near windowJack, Flickr

Golf Essentials Kit

If the dad in your life is a golfer, it’s likely that he’s replacing his tees and balls regularly (hopefully not by losing them in the water feature). But Amazon and other retailers have great golf essentials kits featuring not only the abovementioned equipment, but also a fresh microfiber tower, cleaning brush, and divot repair tool—all in a handy carrying case.

Silver Golf Clubs and Golf BallsKindel Media, Pexels

Knife Sharpening Stone Set

If you’ve heard the knife sharpening truck go by but never had the desire to run screaming out into the street carrying your knife, there’s good news. Thanks to home sharpening stones and YouTube videos, you too can bring your knives back to life in just a few minutes.

Close Up Photo of Knife Sharpening Stone SetIn Green, Shutterstock

Sweat-Wicking Hiking Socks

Socks are a stereotypical “boring” gift—but anyone who has tried a nicer, more expensive pair of socks will tell you that it’s one thing that can make a huge difference in your day. If the dad in your life is a hiker, he’ll immediately appreciate a good pair of sweat-wicking hiking socks. They’re truly one of those products that once you try them once, you can never go back.

Close Up Photo of Hiking Socks in waterZoe Rudisill, Flickr

Reusable Rubber Cable Ties

Sure, they’re not as glamorous as an electric smoker or some of the other gifts on this list, but their usefulness far outweighs any other consideration. Once Dad has a few floating around the kitchen or the workshop and he realizes how helpful they are, you’ll find yourself needing to order extra packs.

Close Up Photo of Reusable cable tie.GeCaHu, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Portable Pickleball Set

It’s the “sport” that’s sweeping the nation…but is it really a sport? Either way, a portable set is a great way for Dad to did his toe into the world of pickleball. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the US, and everyone who tries it seems to fall in love with it.

ickleball sport equipments, paddles and basket of balls on courtRamil Gibadullin, Shutterstock

Wine Cooler Sleeve

Summer means more time on the patio or at the park, and dads drink wine too. Get him a cooler sleeve to keep everything the right temperature—store it in the freezer for whites, or in the fridge to keep a red at cellar temperature on a hot day.

Close Up Photo of red sleeve to keep a bottle of champagne coldFOTOADICTA, Shutterstock

LEGO Architecture Sets

Who says you need to be a kid to play with LEGO? LEGO produces some fantastic and breathtaking sets based on architectural marvels from all over the world, including Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, Japan’s Himeji Castle, and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Close Up Photo of Lego Architecture SetsScarlet Sappho, Flickr

Classic Stanley Thermos

No, we’re not talking about the trendy Stanley mugs that have taken over Tiktok and that fly off the shelves at Target. We’re talking about the time-tested, tried and true Stanley mug with the screw-off cap that doubles as a mug. It’s one of those products where, once you have one, you’ll realize it has a million different uses.

Close Up Photo of Green Thermos on the GroundYasin Tetik, Pexels

Bluetooth Keyboard

Whether he’s still working or retired, one thing that dads seem to have in common is their affinity for their tablets—but typing things out on those touchscreen keyboards can be a pain. Get him a Bluetooth keyboard that he can set up on any flat surface and connect to his tablet. Many of them also work as a tablet stand!

Close Up Photo of  folding Bluetooth keyboardTim Walker, Flickr

Rechargeable Headlamp

Camping gear has come a long way in recent years, and the new wave of headlamps are rechargeable and soft enough that they don’t sit on any pressure points on the head. Plus, as any camper stranded in the dark will tell you, it’s always good to have an extra headlamp on hand, because someone always forgets one.

Close Up Photo of Rechargeable HeadlampMIKI Yoshihito, Flickr

Electric Pasta Machine

Sure, hand-cranked pasta machines are romantic—but they’re better in theory than in practice. They’re hard to use and messy…but there’s another way. In an electric pasta machine, you simply add flour and water, and it mixes the dough and extrudes it for you—opening you up to the possibility of more shapes, like tube pastas.

Automatic pasta machine, household pasta maker on a kitchenSonate, Shutterstock

Gooseneck Kettle

Other kettles look clunky and passé next to the gooseneck kettle, popularized by coffee aficionados and professional baristas for its ability to pour water directly where you want it, and in the correct quantity. The spout creates a steady stream no matter what angle you pour at—and it looks elegant on a kitchen counter.

Close Up Photo copper gooseneck kettleCraft Coffee Spot, Flickr

Backyard Bar/Cooler

What the bar cart is to the interior, the combination bar/cooler is to the backyard. There are many models out there, but most feature a metal basin for ice, and some kind of work surface to make drinks—even if it’s just slicing a lime to throw in a Modelo.

Person flipping bottle at a backyard house party behind portable barElite Bartending, flickr

Sunrise Wake-Up Alarm Clock

If Dad has trouble waking up in the morning, he might need a little something more than the standard iPhone alarm. An integrated alarm clock/light that simulates sunrise might help him get through the winter blues and swing out of bed with a little more pep in his step.

Close Up Photo of Alarm Clock on a Side Tablecottonbro studio, Pexels

Charging Station And Valet Tray

Gone are the days when men had a valet station to keep all their necessities in line—but some companies are bringing them back by making integrated charging station/valet trays that charge your phone and keep all the important stuff in one place.

Charger Station for Multiple Devices, Wireless Charging Station Stand Dock Padoasisamuel, Shutterstock

Home Bidet

It’s the gift that no one wants to ask for—but that no one ever regrets getting. It’s a home bidet. We won’t go into too much detail, but once you’ve got one, there’s no going back. And every time you stay in a hotel or at a friend’s home, you’ll miss it.

Modern bathroom with bidet and sinkMax Vakhtbovycn, Pexels

Waxed Canvas Jacket

Few Dads will admit to being royal watchers, or even fans of The Crown. But you can’t deny that the waxed canvas jacket is a classic and timeless style that looks good on pretty much anyone, and can be dressed up to wear out on the town, or down for an afternoon moving firewood around.

Close Up Photo of Waxed Canvas Jacketkelly, Flickr

Microfiber Beach Towel

Whether it’s meant to be used for camping or just to pack light for a beach day, a big microfiber beach towel is another way to step up dad’s game on Father’s Day. They pack way smaller than regular beach towels and dry just about a million times quicker, making them a real game-changer.

Sun goggles lying on a microfiber towel next to the mobile on the travel MatHaoka, Shutterstock

Grill Press

A cast iron grill press has more uses than you think. Not only is it fantastic for making perfect paninis, it can also be used for making smash burgers or flattening bacon and speeding up the cooking time in a cast iron pan. Once you have one, you’ll find yourself reaching for it on the regular.

Close Up of Handmade Hamburgers Cooking on Hot Grill Using PressViacheslav Nikolaenko, Shutterstock

Home Deep Fryer

The time has come to admit what we’ve all been avoiding. Yes, the air fryer is great. But it can’t do everything. And it certainly can’t make a French fry better than a traditional deep fryer. Modern deep fryers are so much easier to use and clean than earlier versions—and you’ll never have to deal with a burnt, dry air fryer fry again.

Close Up Photo of Modern deep fryerPixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Water-Filtering Straw

Whether dad is a hiker, camper, or just plain survivalist, a LifeStraw or other water-filtering straw is a great, inexpensive tool to have in his arsenal. This straw can make water from basically any body of water drinkable. It’s also handy to have if dad is a globetrotter who visits places where the water isn’t safe to drink.

Close Up Photo of Water-Filtering StrawsKars Alfrink, Flickr

Heat-Controlled Mug

If Dad is going back and forth with his ceramic mug to the microwave all day and reheating the same cup of coffee because he drinks it too slowly, there is a solution. A number of companies make temperature-regulating rechargeable mugs in elegant shapes and colors.

Close Up Photo of rechargeable coffee cupra_fus, Flickr

Airbnb Experiences Gift Card

Many of us have tried Airbnb when traveling—but how many have tried Airbnb experiences? There are as many to explore as there are places to visit, from street taco and lucha libre tours in Mexico City to pub tours in Dublin.

Close Up Photo of AirBnB gift cardmelissamn, Shutterstock

Gardening Sleeves

Do they look cool? Absolutely not. But are they a lifesaver? For any dad who has a thriving garden, yes. Gardening sleeves not only act as gardening gloves, protecting hands from dirt, they protect arms from skin-irritating plants, bugs, and the sun.

Black arm sleeves with UV protectionLilkin, Shutterstock

Dash Cam

Whether Dad is a road rager or just simply very conscientious about his car, consider getting him a dash cam. It’s safe, smart, and also a great insurance policy in case of accidents.

Close Up Photo of Dashcams placed on a car windshield.Fernost, Wikimedia Commons

Concert Earplugs

If the dad in your life is still the type to head out in the summer and catch his favorite band, whether it’s at a small club or a big outdoor stage, concert getting him a pair of concert-graded earplugs. They’ll protect his hearing (so you don’t have to yell when he’s 80), but still let him hear the tunes.

A man inserts earplugs in his ears so as not to hear extraneous noise, musicOlya Detry, Shutterstock

Coffee Subscription

Forget going to the grocery store for a can of Folger’s. Many great coffee roasters all over the country have started to offer a subscription model for their coffee, where you sign up once and decide the frequency and then fresh coffee, in your desired roast and format, arrives at your door. It’s a great way to up your morning coffee game and ensure your coffee is fresh as can be.

Close-Up Photograph of Roasted Coffee BeansSara, Pexels

Drill Brush Attachment Set

What dad doesn’t love using his drill for any and all household task? Well, now he can use it any more—it’s great for cleaning siding, window grooves, outdoor gear, and has all sorts of other niche uses for the handy, tidy dad.

Close Up Photo of Head Scrubber Brush Drill SetOMfotovideocontent, Shutterstock

Retro Candy Box

Give dad a blast from the past with a box full of candy from his childhood. Many different vendors offer these curated boxes of treats, tailored to specific decades. Whether dad is a boomer, Gen X, or 80s or 90s kid, there’s something for everyone.

Close Up Photo of Metal candy boxbballchico, Flickr

High-End Umbrella

Umbrellas are one of those products we always have around—but usually, they suck. Normally purchased in an emergency situation at the nearest CVS during a storm, there’s nothing worse than pulling out an umbrella for its third use only for it to immediately get bent out of shape. Shelling out for a higher-quality umbrella is a game-changer—sure to remove storm frustration from Dad’s life.

Happy young businessman with smartphone standing under umbrellaPressmaster, Shutterstock

Baseball Tickets—Or Any Game Tickets

Sure, it’s not breaking any barriers of Father’s Day gift-giving, but it’s always appreciated. Tickets to any major league games are getting more and more expensive—meaning it’s less likely for dad to treat himself. Very few people, including casual sports fans, will be disappointed by the chance to see a game live.

Close Up Photo of Baseball ticket and ballslgckgc, Flickr

America’s Test Kitchen Cookbooks

Even if dad considers himself an accomplished home cook, there’s always more to learn—and there’s an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook for any subject or cuisine, from grilling or air-frying to Chinese or plant-based meals.

Close Up Photo of Cooking Book stacksbrewbooks, Flickr

Good Binoculars

Like umbrellas, the difference between entry-level quality and good quality binoculars is night and day. Whether your dad is a bird-watcher or a continual purchaser of cheap-seat concert and sports tickets, there’s always a reason to pull out the binoculars.

Close Up Photo of of person with binocularsEdith Soto, Flickr

Seat Filler

This handy device, made in a variety of sizes, slides in between the front and passenger seats of a car, or the gap between the driver’s seat and the center console—which, as we all know, can be a vortex that sucks in dropped keys, phones, and, occasionally, crumbs. It might not be glamourous, but it really solves an everyday problem.

Close Up Photo of Car Seatamy jett, Flickr


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