The 22 Best Gifts for Dads
Photo: Michael Murtaugh
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The 22 Best Gifts for Dads

Whether you’re celebrating your granddad, your dad, or your favorite “zaddy,” you may need some gifting inspiration. Dads often don’t help in this regard; the most common refrain from my own father as we approach any holiday is a gruff “I don’t want anything.” But of course he does, and even if you can’t pull it out of him, you can still get your dad something he’ll appreciate. Send him one of these great, Wirecutter-recommended gifts for dads—none of which is another boring tie.

Laguiole Toothpick Knife.
Photo: Smoky Mountain Knife Works

Smoky Mountain Knife Works D.I.Y. Laguiole Toothpick Knife Kit ($10 at the time of publication)

Smoky Mountain Knife Works was founded in 1978, and it’s located in Sevierville, Tennessee. Although you may not be able to tour its 100,000-square-foot showroom this year, you can still send something from the Smoky Mountain Knife Works digital catalog.

Take, for example, the D.I.Y. Laguiole Toothpick Knife Kit: Like a pocket knife, a traditional toothpick knife can be used for a wide variety of everyday tasks, from opening a package to chopping fruits and veggies. If your dad is so daring, he can even take its name literally and use it to floss. With this knife kit, your dad will have all the parts necessary to make his own Occitania-style pocket knife—so it’s a mini assembly project, where building it is half the fun. This gift is craftier—and requires a bigger time commitment—than if you simply got your dad our favorite budget pocket knife, the Sanrenmu 7010 (aka the 710). But the 7010 is a great choice, too, if your dad doesn’t have time for crafts.

A video of two wine glasses being clinked together.
Video: Michael Murtaugh

Astor Wines & Spirits Gift Card ($25 at the time of publication)

If your dad routinely unwinds after work with a bottle glass of Merlot, we bet he would appreciate a gift card from your local wine shop. In case you don’t have one, we recommend Astor Wines & Spirits, which has a collection that spans the globe and often runs sales on already affordable wine. Astor Wines & Spirits is based in New York City, but it ships nationally (check its website for state-based restrictions). And it has a great selection of wines, sake, and spirits for the dad who lives more than a few blocks away from a good wine shop. If his tastes are evolved enough that he knows exactly what he likes, he can search the Astor site by name, country, region, or grape.

MegaPro 13-in-i screwdriver resting on a wooden surface.
Photo: Doug Mahoney

MegaPro 13-in-1 Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver ($27 at the time of publication)

We’ve been testing screwdrivers for the past five years, but none of them have worked as solidly as the MegaPro 13-in-1 Multi-Bit Ratcheting Screwdriver. If your dad is like mine and spends a lot of his visit tinkering with various repairs around your apartment, a great screwdriver will be essential. Although most screwdrivers are fine, this MegaPro will help your dad work faster and expend less effort. And that ultimately means you can see the front of his face sooner, too.

Hasami Mugs shown stacked and shown as a singular mug.
Photo: Tim Barribeau

Hasami Porcelain Mug ($30 at the time of publication)

Wirecutter editor Tim Barribeau has waxed poetic about Hasami porcelain from 2017 to 2020, and in his stead, I will do the same. My favorite mugs—like Tim’s—are from Hasami, a Japanese ceramics company. I bet these mugs, given the chance, will become your dad’s favorites, too. Hasami mugs are gorgeous porcelain pieces that always look like a set, no matter what size or color you end up buying. They’re easily (and pleasantly) stackable, making it a joy to view more than one of them on your shelves. To start, I recommend investing in the 13-ounce gloss gray mug, which is, in my opinion, the perfect size in the most striking color available.

Wooden model motorcycle.
Photo: UGears

UGears Bike Mechanical Model Kit ($30 at the time of publication)

Does your dad love motorcycles? Has he been itching to get back on the road but can’t because of “obligations” (like family, a job, a mortgage, the crippling fear of dying alone)? Do you think a model kit that he can complete from the kitchen table might help satiate this fantasy? With 189 components, the UGears Bike Mechanical Model Kit is a moderately difficult kit, made of sustainably sourced high-grade wood. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions, and we expect it to transport any dad from wherever they are to the open road. Leather jacket not included.

One of our testers reclining on a bed with a cup of tea while wearing our pick for best men's sweatpants.
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Uniqlo Men Sweatpants ($30 at the time of publication)

With the current state of our world, your dad may be working from home or otherwise not working. In either case, we recommend grabbing him a pair of our favorite sweatpants, which will make time spent lounging immeasurably more pleasant. Many Wirecutter staffers swear by Uniqlo’s sweatpants, which are thicker, sturdier, warmer, and come in more sizes than other brands we researched. On top of that, buying a pair for your dad won’t break the bank, and they’ll more than prove their worth: We’ve owned pairs of Uniqlo sweatpants that have lasted over five years, without anything worse than some light scuffing around the edges and a hole in the back pocket to show for it.

A soft pink Takeya 24oz Actives water bottle sitting on a table outdoors.
Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald

Takeya 22oz Actives Insulated Water Bottle ($32 at the time of publication)

If your dad needs a water bottle to remember to stay hydrated, the Takeya 22oz Actives Insulated Water Bottle is a double-walled, stainless steel model that stood out to us when we tested for the best water bottles. Its plastic lid features a spout with a twist-on flip cap, which allows liquid to flow as easily as if you were drinking from an open glass. But it won’t splash when your dad is cantering down the sidewalk at a brisk clip or pushing through a sweaty treadmill workout in his basement. He can also pop off the lid and shove ice, electrolyte powder, or lemon wedges into this bottle’s 2¼-inch-wide mouth opening. The Takeya comes in a variety of colors and sizes, but we think the 22-ounce bottle is the Goldilocks size: not too big, but not too small, either.

Personalized SpaceTimeCoordinates art print on a wall
Photo: SpaceTimeCoordinates

SpaceTimeCoordinates Art Print ($39 at the time of publication)

SpaceTimeCoordinates will create a personalized art print that shows—when you include a date and time—how the solar system looked at a specific moment. We think this will make a special gift for your dad, whether you decide to use the date and time of his birth or another pivotal moment in his life. You can choose whether to include the date and event name, or just show the solar system, for a more symbolic present. It’s sweet and simple, and it’ll look great hanging on his wall.

water being poured into a Kalita Wave sitting on top of a ceramic mug.
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Kalita Wave 185 Dripper ($25 at the time of publication)

Among the drippers we tested for making great pour-over coffee, the Kalita Wave 185 Dripper produced the most consistent, flavorful, and balanced coffee, perfectly suited to your dad’s sophisticated taste buds. After brewing 150 cups, we found that the Kalita Dripper’s flat-bottomed design promoted more-even water drainage and made it easy for beginners to get consistent results (for example, we found that it made great coffee even when we’d just eyeballed the amount of water per pour or our aim and timing were off).

We also like that it comes in ceramic and stainless steel versions, as well as glass. Picking one material over another is ultimately a matter of your dad’s preference: Sneak a couple of suggestive questions into casual conversation to decide which might be the best surprise for him. Keep in mind that a full pour-over setup includes a lot more than just the dripper, such as a gooseneck kettle, a good burr grinder, a scale, and a timer, too.

Knife from Massdrop x Ferrum Forge
Photo: Massdrop x Ferrum Forge

Massdrop x Ferrum Forge Retracting Utility Knife ($45 at the time of publication)

It’s an indisputable fact: Dads—like all human beings—love tools. And this keychain-ready Massdrop x Ferrum Forge Retracting Utility Knife will be a great addition to his collection. It weighs little more than an ounce, so he won’t even notice it hanging from his keys. But its spring-loaded steel blade can accomplish a wide variety of small tasks, such as cutting open boxes and letters, crafting, and carving paper, plastic, and cardboard. Plus, it just looks good. Designed by Ferrum Forge in Southern California, this retracting utility knife comes with a brass, copper, or titanium handle that adds style to its useful design.

chocolate in the shape of fossils.
Photo: The Edible Museum

Chocolate Fossil Collectors Box (about $62 at the time of publication)

Note: Due to the pandemic, chocolate fossil orders are currently taking about 2-3 weeks to fulfill.

Sarah Hardy, the creator behind the Edible Museum, was first commissioned by Mick Jagger to make a zombie cake for his daughter’s birthday. If that’s not rock ’n’ roll, I don’t know what is. Hardy eventually began crafting edible chocolate fossils in this Collectors Box, which we think will make a tasty surprise for your dad, especially if he’s a fan of the Mesozoic Era. Each box contains hand-painted chocolate fossils, like trilobites, ammonites, brachiopods, and shark’s teeth, made from quality dark, milk, and white chocolate. Whether he chooses to eat one a day or to have them all at once, we think your dad will be sorry once these treats go … extinct. If you think he’d prefer more-traditional treats, we’ve also tested a number of boxed chocolates.

The Droll Yankees 18-inch Onyx Mixed Seed Tube Bird Feeder with Removable Base hanging from a tree.
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Droll Yankees 18-inch Onyx Mixed Seed Tube Bird Feeder ($55 at the time of publication)

For dads who love bird-watching from their kitchen, we found the best bird feeder is the Droll Yankees 18-inch Onyx Mixed Seed Bird Feeder. It was the sturdiest and best-built bird feeder we tested, with tough metal components that secure tightly to the body of the feeder; it’s also versatile enough to hold several different feed types, and it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee against pesky squirrels and the damage they bring with them. Most importantly, the base is easy to remove for cleaning, and there’s plenty of room for birds to perch.

Panasonic Electric Body Hair Trimmer and Groomer for Men ER-GK60-S
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Panasonic Electric Body Hair Trimmer and Groomer for Men ER-GK60-S ($70 at the time of publication)

Facial hair may not be the only hair your dad wants to be rid of; we don’t judge, and neither should you. (He changed your diapers, after all.) In this case, we recommend the Panasonic Electric Body Hair Trimmer and Groomer. The Panasonic is vertically oriented (unlike other trimmers that work horizontally) and water-resistant. And it’s extremely powerful, so your dad can easily cut through body hair in a single pass. Fully charged, the Panasonic’s battery lasts 40 minutes—more than enough time to take a pass at any annoying body hair.

Women’s Wicked Good Moccasins
Photo: Sarah Kobos

L.L.Bean Men’s Wicked Good Moccasins ($79 at the time of publication)

We’ve been wearing and recommending L.L.Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins since 2017; they’re the perfect gift for your dad, because no other slippers we’ve tried have been as comfortable or kept our feet as warm as the Wicked Goods. Their stitching is durable, too, and the suede shearling upper means your dad won’t have issues with these moccasins wearing thin or splitting open on top. And L.L.Bean has a one-year guarantee to back the purchase, if anything should happen to these slippers in that time (although we don’t anticipate it).

A person wearing a Crossback Apron preparing sliced apples
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Hedley & Bennett Crossback Apron ($95 at the time of publication)

No matter what size dad you have, we bet Hedley & Bennett makes a Crossback Apron that will fit him. Of the 24 aprons that we tested, the Hedley & Bennett got the most upvotes, largely because it adjusts to fit a wide variety of body types—whatever a dad’s height or weight may be. (This apron adjusts to fit sizes extra-small to extra-large, and the straps are long enough to double around and tie in front, for those with up to a size 34 waist; you can also just knot them at the back.) The Crossback Apron also has big pockets, which will make it easy for your dad to store a phone or towel while he’s preparing a meal.

The Leatherman Free P2 unfolded on a wooden tabletop.
Photo: Doug Mahoney

Leatherman Free P2 Multitool ($120 at the time of publication)

A multitool is as useful in the kitchen drawer as it is in the glove box, a back pocket, or attached to a commuter’s bag or a hiking backpack; it should help your dad save time and make things easier for him. When dad can quickly solve small problems without having to go find other tools, we think that adds to the overall quality of his life.

We recommend that you pick up the full-featured Leatherman Free P2 for your dad when he’s due a celebration and he has a project in mind; it’s larger than other multitools we tested, but it’s still extremely easy for him to use. With the handles closed, you can access and open all of the tools with a single hand, which is unique in the world of multitools. You can deploy the pliers with just a flip of the wrist, too.

pastrami sandwiches, matzoh ball soup, and pickles served on plates and in bowls
Photo: Katz’s

Katz's Delicatessen Complete 3-Course Dinner for 4 ($125 at the time of publication)

Cooking—although a fun, collaborative, and often unifying task—can also be extremely laborious. How about you buy dad a three-course dinner from the famed Katz’s Delicatessen, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, instead? Dishes include delicacies like homemade matzoh ball soup, hand-sliced pastrami, corned beef, and chocolate babka. The soups, meats, and knishes come frozen inside a cooler in the box; the soup is individually portioned and bubble-wrapped, and the meats and knishes rest in vacuum-sealed bags. The bread, pickles, babka, and mustard are packed inside the same package, but are placed separately from the cooler. Although Katz’s claims the meal serves four people, we think that you and your dad can probably finish it off yourselves if you’re really hungry.

AirVape X
Photo: Rozette Rago

AirVape X Vaporizer ($179 at the time of publication)

If your dad just needs to chill out (and he’s open to it!), we recommend giving him the AirVape X, our favorite portable cannabis vaporizer—after researching more than 50 models and testing nearly two dozen over the past four years. Whether he’s completely new to cannabis or has been a casual smoker in the past, a vaporizer is a great way to bypass the sticky, ashy, black mess that comes along with smoking joints, pipes, and bongs. It will also provide a cleaner taste, less lingering odor, reduced throat irritation, and more efficient use of your materials.

The AirVape X is easier to use than other portable vaporizers we tested: We loved its large, intuitive temperature controls and status display, and its USB charging docks are more convenient to use than those on other models.

Olive green twill open tote from Filson.
Photo: Filson

Filson Rugged Twill Tote Bag ($195 at the time of publication)

The Filson Rugged Twill Tote Bag makes a great present for Dad for all the same reasons we love it as a gift for any other occasion: It’s lightweight, well-constructed, and can suit any occasion, from a day of running errands to sitting in at a business meeting. And it has a standard but elevated design that makes it appear as if the gift bearer has it all together, too (even if that’s not the case). The Filson tote is made from 100 percent cotton and water-repellent twill, with inner seams bound to protect it from fraying. Basically, it’s safeguarded against all of the activities that dads are wont to do—but in case you’re still worried, it has a lifetime warranty.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19
Photo: Michael Hession

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit ($200 at the time of publication)

Philips Hue A19 smart light bulbs make it easy for dad to create a relaxing environment for when he’s at home, and they’re even easier to control, using Bluetooth and his smartphone. If your dad is particularly tech-savvy, we recommend adding a Hue hub, which will allow him to set schedules, as well as integrate the light bulbs with motion sensors and wireless switches from the Hue family of accessories. The White and Color Ambiance A19 Starter Kit includes four bulbs and a Hue hub to get dad’s system off the ground and running.

The Astronomers Without Borders OneSky Reflector Telescope, which is blue and black, standing on a grassy field at night with city lights out of focus in the distance.
Photo: Caleigh Waldman

Astronomers Without Borders OneSky Reflector Telescope ($200 at the time of publication)

If your dad fantasizes about gazing at the stars through a manual telescope with quality optics, we recommend the Astronomers Without Borders OneSky Reflector Telescope to help him achieve his celestial ambitions. Astronomers Without Borders (an organization whose profits go toward expanding astronomical scientific educational programming in underserved countries) created a great manual telescope that excels in image quality, and also offers the best mix of portability and ease of assembly and use for its price.

One note: You have to collimate, or align, the telescope’s mirrors before you use it, which can be tedious or frustrating if you weren’t aware it had to be done. Still, the experts we spoke to advised learning the ins and outs of astronomy on a manual telescope first, so we think this is a great choice for a dad new to astronomy.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (Arctic White)
Photo: Rozette Rago

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 ($349 at the time of publication)

If your dad lives in a busy city, or often complains to you about loud noises outside his house, we recommend the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Though expensive, they’re the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones set that Bose has ever released; we found that some people even use the Bose Noise 700 to help them fall asleep.

These headphones are worth their price if your dad values performance, comfort, and some control over his auditory environment. He’ll be able to adjust the active noise cancellation level on a scale from 0 to 10—depending on how much of his surroundings he wants to hear. And the Bose headphones have a lightweight design, so they’re comfortable to wear for hours. Plus, their controls are easy to use, and they fold for uncomplicated storage.

About your guide

Justin Krajeski

Justin Krajeski

Justin Krajeski is a staff writer reporting on everyday carry at Wirecutter. He previously wrote about tech at Wirecutter. He carries things every day. He’s very well versed in carrying.