It’s not an easy task to do holiday shopping for the people who you’re closest to, especially for the dad in your life. Not all dads are the same, mind you, but they can be tough to please in the gift department because they might already buy themselves everything they want, thus keeping a clean slate of a wishlist at all times. Or, maybe they’re tough because what they find enjoyment in is really niche, and you fear that you won’t get them something they’ll actually enjoy. No one wants that.
We at The Verge can certainly relate to those feelings, but we think we can assuage most of those concerns with the list of gift ideas below. Most of our staff chipped ideas into this gift guide, which encompasses a range of tastes, hobbies, and aesthetic preferences. Since we originally published this gift guide, we’ve even taken the time to add a couple more must-haves to the list, including Topo Design’s Dopp Kit and the Torch 500 multi-purpose light. No matter the kind of dad you’re buying for, there should be something in here that’ll remind them, at the very least, that you’re trying to make sure they stay cool.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
The first entry in novelist Marlon James’ Dark Star trilogy is not always an easy read. Yet, while his vision of a fictionalized Africa can be unsettling and visceral, it’s also utterly beguiling, an imaginative story that owes as much to African mythology and religion as it does the fantasy epics that came before it.
Price: $15 to $18
Lenovo Smart Clock Essential
If you know a dad who wants the luxuries of owning a smart display but doesn't want to have another screen in the house, Lenovo's Smart Clock Essential might be a good fit. It's a smart alarm clock with a simple LED screen, sunrise alarms, and support for Google Assistant voice commands.
Price: $30 to $50
Lego Ship in a Bottle
Lego kits might not be for everyone, but it's tough to argue that Lego's Ship in a Bottle isn't clever. After you build the 962-piece set with dad, it could make for a nice addition to a bookshelf or bedside table — that is, assuming you're mom doesn't mind bottled, nautical-themed nostalgia.
Sonos' smallest speaker, the Roam, is a worthy addition in dad's repertoire of gadgets. It's a Bluetooth-ready speaker for on-the-go adventures, and it supports Wi-Fi connectivity, so it can fit right into a larger array of Sonos speakers.
Price: $179 to $180
iPad Mini (2021)
The latest iPad Mini is the most powerful and feature-packed version yet. It has an elegant design, a speedy processor, and might end up being your dad's favorite gadget. It also gets bonus points for its larger, 8.3-inch display and USB-C support.
8BitDo SN30 Pro
Whether your dad games primarily on a Nintendo Switch, PC, or smartphone, he'll need a solid controller. 8BitDo's SN30 Pro is tough to beat, both in terms of price and functionality. It stacks up to pricier models for less.
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)
The latest Kindle Paperwhite might be a perfect fit for a dad who loves to read. Amazon's popular e-reader now features a USB-C charging port, a bigger screen that makes text easier to see, and an improved battery that should last 10 weeks on a single charge.
EBL Battery Charger
If the dad in your life burns through AA and AAA batteries like no one's business, a suitable recharging station might be in order. EBL's eight-bay offering isn't high on the fun factor — nor is it particularly fast, the crux of many stations — but it sure is practical.
Price: $11 to $14
Wowstick electric screwdriver
This electric screwdriver from the Wowstick is just the kind of thing that'll likely make the dad in your life wish they'd had it earlier in life, and thankfully, it's not too pricey.
Analogue Super Nt console
Analogue makes modernized versions of classic consoles that are focused on preserving the gameplay experience of retro consoles. One of its best ones is the Super Nt, a SNES clone that looks fantastic. It can handle both SNES and Super Famicom cartridges, as well as oft-forgotten accessories like the Super Gameboy.
It's easy enough to find a record player, but for a high-quality model that doesn't cost a ton, check out Audio-Technica's AT-LP120XUSB. Your dad can use it, of course, to play records through whatever speaker system he might have, but its USB connectivity also lets him digitize his aging collection of vinyl, helping him preserve that Aja crackle for generations to come.
Bote Breeze Aero SUP
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has seen a meteoric rise in recent years, partly because it’s a soothing, low-stakes affair and a good form of exercise. And if you’re tight on space, inflatable SUPs like Bote’s budget-friendly Breeze Aero make the sport even more convenient by allowing you to stow a durable, full-size board in your closet or trunk when the water is better suited for skating.
Price: $649 to $650
BioLite FirePit Plus
Built-in fire pits can be hard to come by, which is why the totable build of BioLite’s FirePit Plus is so convenient. The device’s clever design and battery-powered fans also allow it to emit less smoke than your standard fire pit, regardless of whether you’re burning charcoal or deadfall.
Eater Wine Club subscription
Got a dad who fancies himself a sommelier? Our sister site, Eater, offers a Wine Club subscription that automatically delivers a batch of hand-selected wines to your door every month. Each wine box contains either two or four bottles, depending on the subscription, and is curated by a pro from an Eater-beloved city.
Twelve South AirFly Duo
Bluetooth audio transmitters can be finicky, but one of the best is Twelve South's AirFly Duo. It has a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and it can plug into any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack. It supports pairing up to two sets of Bluetooth headphones, too, making in-flight entertainment much easier to listen to.
The North Face Apex Plus Etip Gloves
A good pair of gloves is handy no matter where you live, and although this touchscreen-friendly pair from The North Face certainly isn’t going to cut it in subzero temperatures, the soft-shell gloves still do a great job repelling light rain and snow while keeping your hands toasty.
For odd jobs in, around, or outside of the house, everyone could use a Leatherman multitool. After all, it's no fun to be stuck without the right tool for the job, so let's just not let that happen in the first place, okay?
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
There are seemingly countless options for streaming devices, but Roku's Streaming Stick 4K is amongst the latest and greatest options out there. It's affordable, easy to setup, and it grants you access to all of your favorite streaming services with support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 Plus.
Price: $39 to $40
Game Console 2.0
If you know a gamer dad, get them The Game Console 2.0, an excellent coffee table book that features in-depth context on all sorts of classic machines, as well as gorgeous exploded views of controllers and consoles alike.
Price: $29 to $34
Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack membership
Nintendo's Switch Online service recently added Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games to its offering (for an extra cost), and even better, it released modernized controllers to make playing them feel just like you remember them back in the day.
The Disney Bundle
Dads contain multitudes, and thus, cannot be satisfied by just one streaming service. If he's not already overwhelmed with subscriptions, the Disney Bundle is a go-to offer that packages Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus in a single package.
Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 18
The Verge's Becca Farsace loves the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 18 backpack and thinks it could be a good fit for anyone in need of a comfy companion that offers plenty of room for a laptop, camera, lenses, and other various gadgets.
What the Dub?!
It can be tough to find a way to get everyone involved during a house party, but What The Dub?! makes it trivially easy. The simple multiplayer game has you view a clip from some awful B movie and then decide the funniest caption that fits it best. Players can also participate from their phone, tablet, or a computer, making it easy to join in on the fun.
Price: $6 to $8
Apple HomePod Mini
Apple's ball-sized HomePod Mini is an essential tool for anyone who has an iPhone and a goal of converting their abode into a smart home. With it, you can summon Siri to play music, answer questions, and control your HomeKit-compatible devices.
Price: $99 to $100
Dads are good at a lot of things, but there's always room for improvement. Whether a dad you know wants to excel as an actor, writer, cook, or in some other profession, consider getting him a MasterClass subscription so he can learn from pros like David Sedaris and Questlove.
Price: $180 per year
If you thought an Instant Pot was cool, wait until your dad lays eyes on Thermomix's TM6 cook-it-all device. It's a more high-tech (and expensive) gadget, with a built-in touchscreen that can steer the controls and guide you through thousands of recipes. With the TM6, you can sous vide food, blend, ferment, thicken ingredients, and more.
Topo Designs Dopp Kit
Whether you need a tote to keep dongles, cables, or toiletries organized in your backpack, or you want a more stylish zip-up pouch for housing other vacation essentials, Topo Design's water-resistant Dopp Kit comes highly recommended. It comes in several bold colorways, too, in the event black is too drab.
Torch 500 Multi-Purpose Light
If the dad in your life needs a bright, rechargeable floodlight for outdoor adventures -- or just to keep in the trunk in case he needs to make any urgent nighttime repairs -- perhaps Goal Zero's waterproof Torch 500 is exactly what he's after. The solar-powered light can even charge his phone in a pinch, even if it can't fully top it off.