Thomas J. Story

These Father's Day gift ideas span various budgets and interests, meaning you're bound to find something for dads of all sorts

John Patrick Pullen  – April 19, 2017

What do you get for a man who has you for his kid? No fuss, that’s what. As amazing as you think you are, what you don’t realize is that you’re a huge pain in the neck — and dad just doesn’t have the heart to tell you. So this year, give him a gift that’s going to make his life fun, or at least a bit easier.

These 10 gadgets span various budgets and interests, meaning you’re bound to find something for dads of all sorts. Just remember to order in time: Father’s Day is Sunday, June 18 this year.

Nomad Rugged Universal Cable

It’s a common refrain heard in households around the world: “Who took my phone cable?” It would seem that there’s an epidemic of elves raiding the electrical outlets of modern day homes — either that, or the kids are making off with their parents’ chargers en masse.

Repay your dastardly deed with Nomad’s Rugged Universal Cable, an Apple-approved Lightning cable that pulls triple duty with USB-A and USB-C connectors as well. And with a distinctive look that differs from Apple’s white cables, the $35 Nomad has some built-in theft protection because it’s easy to tell apart.

Keport Slide 3.0

The amount of keys on a dad’s keychain are directly proportional to the amount of responsibility he has. Okay, that may not be a law of fatherhood, but it’s close. The reason it’s questionable is that gadgets like the $39 Keyport Slide 3.0 busts those conventions by slimming down the tangle of keys in dad’s pocket to an easy to handle package. Able to hold up to six keys — and expandable with pens, tools, mini-flashlights, and other gadgets — the Slide turns that painful pocketful into a slick multi-purpose accessory.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Amazon, $59

New-yet-retro 8-bit video games on your smartphone might be all the rage these days, but for your gaming geek dad, old-school titles like Super Mario Bros. and Metroid represent the true golden age of gaming. Make him feel like a kid again with Nintendo’s $59 NES Classic Edition, a miniature console that connects to your newfangled television using modern HDMI cables.

Featuring 30 titles (but sadly no cartridges to blow into), the little throwback box comes with a 4:3 aspect ratio and an optional CRT filter that makes games look just like dad remembers them. But if you want to take him on in Tecmo Bowl, beware: The machine only comes with one controller. If you want to play two-player modes, you’ll need to power-up your Father’s Day present with an extra joypad.


You’ve probably tried to give your dad a fitness tracker already, and learned the hard way there’s no way you’ll separate the man from his thirty-year-old Seiko watch. Stop trying to make wearables a thing, and make his thing a wearable instead.

A quarter-sized disk that attaches to the underside of any conventional round wristwatch, the $99 Chronos connects to a smartphone app to infuse a treasured timepiece with fitness tracking, music control, notification and alert capabilities. Packing vibration and LED technology as well as a battery that lasts nearly two days, Chronos boasts many of the same features the most popular smart watches and fitness trackers do, only it won’t make your dad feel guilty for stuffing it in a drawer.

UE Wonderboom

Decked out in bright colors and able to handle a bit of a tumble, the $100 UE Wonderboom may be targeted at millennials-and-unders, but it’s also a great gift for your old man, too. This coconut-sized Bluetooth speaker can kick out 360-degrees of Dad Rock, including Brothers Doobie and Avett. Ten hours of battery life can keep it powered through an afternoon of landscaping, grilling, or both. And it’s water-resistant enough to survive in one meter of the drink for 30 minutes — in case Dad gives it a dunk during your Father’s Day pool party.

Anki Overdrive

Slot cars might be old-school fun, but Anki Overdrive kicks them into high gear with an app-connected interface that blends video game elements with real-world racing. The result is an experience that’s fun for all ages, and will have dad feeling like a kid again.

But forget the mundane, stay-in-your-lane ways of the past. Anki’s $120 starter kit comes with two iOS or Android-connectable cars and enough track to make eight different courses, complete with bumps and banks. And the racing is new wave too, with weapons, tractor beams, and even A.I. bots for dad to race against in case the kids aren’t around.

AmpliFi HD Mesh Point

There’s a fine line between visiting your parents’ house and providing a tech support house call. If you find yourself on the wrong side of that relationship when it comes to your father’s shoddy Wi-Fi setup, consider gifting him an AmpliFi HD Mesh Point.

This $129 mesh Wi-Fi antenna can pair with your dad’s existing Wi-Fi router to extend the range of his home’s network, and eliminate dead spots. Great for pushing signals into the backyard, adding coverage in the basement they refinished after you moved out, or for stretching Internet access into your old bedroom where you still bunk up for overnight visits, AmpliFi is as much a gift for you as it is for him.

InstruMMents 01 Dimensioning Instrument 

Tools are always a good stand-by when it comes to Father’s Day gifts. But any dad worth his salt already has all the gear he’s ever going to need. Or maybe not: He probably doesn’t have the $149 01 Dimensioning Instrument, an app-connected measuring implement that’s basically an app-connected pen (or a pencil, or a stylus – it comes in three variations) with a wheel on the end. Roll the wheel across the surface, and it calculates the length, width, depth, and any other distance you need. And better yet, it eliminates that moody tape measure from your dad’s toolkit.

Jabra Speak 710

Some dads are all business, and they deserve – no, command! – a Bluetooth speaker that matches their timbre. The $299 Jabra Speak 710 is just the thing for the guy who calls the shots.

A portable sound system that’s equally suitable for speakerphone calls as it is for playing music, the 710 has an omni-directional microphone that can pick up talking from any direction, making ideal for the boardroom or the hotel room. Able to connect via USB or Bluetooth, in addition to conventional smartphone calling and audio output, it works with all sorts of video conferencing services, from GoToMeeting to Google Hangouts. The 15-hour battery life will outlast any conference call (we hope!), and with a programmable smart button, it can interact with Siri, Cortana, or Google Now with a touch.

Stihl Electric Chainsaw

Bringing yardwork boldly into the future, Stihl’s MSA 120 C-BQ Chainsaw is a battery-powered tree-chewing machine that eschews loud, cranky gasoline engines for a lithium-ion battery. The result is a powerful tool with an electric motor that’s silent until called upon, and dramatically cuts down on vibration to boot. Lightweight and compact, this $299 electric chainsaw isn’t going to star in a horror movie any time soon, but it’ll get the job done – and that’s what your dad wants the most.

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