Father's Day gifts that dads actually want

Stop fooling around and get the dad in your life something they really need.

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Statistically speaking, you’re likely to encounter a father at some point in your life. It may be your father, someone else’s father, or you may end up becoming a father.

Is there a dad in your life who you’re thinking about on Father’s Day? Is there a dad (or daddy?) that deserves the very best? If you said yes, then you’ve come to the right place. The Input team has painstakingly put together this buying guide for the father you know — someone who is smart, discerning, and appreciates the finer things. We curated the selections below to call out gifts that we think are a little less obvious; a little less expected. We hope that somewhere here you find that perfect thing for the dad you know. He loves you regardless, but hey, a nice gift can’t hurt.

Input may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by Input's editorial team.

Family time

Dads love to mess around with stuff. This is a known fact. “Fixing” broken electronics. Jiggling breakers in the fuse box. Replacing batteries. Well kids also love to mess with stuff, particularly when it creates a reaction of some type — so this kit is the perfect way to connect with your child and scratch your tinkering itch. The Elenco Snap Circuits Jr. is actually a really wonderful way for kids to learn about basic electronics, and it’s a perfect activity for when the puzzles and board games start to lose their luster.

Once you’ve gone from small-time snap and play tinkering, you can level up to this surprisingly sophisticated robot, which you not only build but can control and code via a very well thought out iOS app. The kit itself is 847 pieces, so be prepared to do a lot of construction before you can experiment with your bot. But once you get going, there are a ton of entertaining and, yes, educational things you can do with the Boost. Bonus: Because it’s Lego, you can Frankenstein this into something totally outrageous.

Skateboarding is fun, “cool,” and probably decent exercise? As long as you keep your fear in check (and get a decent helmet), it’s probably not too late to get halfway decent on a board. You may not go full Tony Hawk — but a good deck and decent wheels are a great match for rolling around town (or just messing around in the driveway). It’s time to say “F U” to the man, even if you ... are the man.

The only thing better than getting good at skating is having a sick little partner to shred with. That’s where this kid-sized kit comes in. Now admittedly, the PlayWheels deck isn’t the finest board you can buy, but for someone who is small and just learning, it’s the perfect fit (and to be honest, there aren’t that many smaller boards available). If your kid turns out to be really invested in the sport, you’re probably going to need to upgrade a bit, but for learning the ropes, it’s hard to top this. Cowabunga!


There are now a variety of ways to play retro video games — but by far the most convenient of them are the handheld emulation consoles coming out of China. The RG350M leads the pack of these, offering an affordable way to play console games from the NES days right up through the original PlayStation and handheld games from the Game Boy through the Game Gear and Game Boy Advance. This metal unit features long battery life, a gorgeous IPS display, two microSD slots (one for the OS, one for your ROMs), and two analog sticks for enjoying PSX games the way they were meant to be played.

Not all dads drink, but for those who do, you can’t go wrong with a solid single malt scotch. Balvenie isn’t as popular as Macallan, nor as niche as Oban, but its Doublewood blends (made using both an American oak bourbon barrel as well as a Spanish oak sherry cask) are about as delicious a drink as you can get. The 12-year is a fine sipping scotch, but the 17-year takes it to a whole new level. Whether it's on the rocks or neat, every time the dad in your life takes a sip of this sweet nectar, they’ll think fondly of you. And they'll also get totally wasted. While thinking of you.

Rick Deckard retires replicants for living, which is dirty, violent, and over time will make you question your own humanity. The dad in your life probably doesn’t kill robots for money, but they certainly deserve to drink like they do. Enter these very expensive, exact replicas of the tumblers from which well-known Blade Runner Rick Deckard sips his post-replicant-retirement scotch. Your favorite dad may not ever feel the soul-crushing pain of killing a sentient being, which was created in a lab for perverse and deadly purposes, but at least he’ll have these cool looking glasses.

With travel limited, why not transport yourself to another planet, watch movies with friends in a VR theater, or break a sweat slicing things up in Beat Saber or exploring Darth Vader’s fortress in Vader: Immortal. VR has never been simpler to hop in and out or as immersive now that Quest supports hand tracking.

These stressful times call for soothing scented mist to calm the body, mind, and soul. Just add water and a few drops of whatever essential oil scent (sold separately) that helps you get to your happy place to decompress from the burning world. It comes in several sizes; the bigger the diffuser, the more it costs.


Dads love to collect all manner of small and medium-sized items. Screws. Extra watch links. Matches. A surprising amount of business cards they never look at or use. USB cables and associated adapters. A weird little knife their grandfather left them. Buttons. But where do all those things go? And what if you need to store little things for a real purpose, like keeping prying eyes away from your nudes? What if you just want a nice wooden box because, dammit, isn’t it time you had a nice wooden box to store small things in? Well Gerstner has you covered. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re also beautiful, well made, and will last a lifetime. Every dad should have a box like this.

You absolutely must have a selection of screwdrivers for every weird thing you own that has a screw. From eyeglasses to the new gaming PC you’re building and everything in between, no dad is complete without a screwdriver set like this ORIA kit. This version has 56 different bits (including torx, triangles, and nut drivers), comes with an extension arm, can flex in various directions, and includes an adapter for your drill. Never disappoint a child in need of a battery swap ever again.

A chore jacket is like a secret weapon. It can keep you warm on slightly chilly mornings, it has a ton of pockets for storing all the crap you need to carry around, and you look like a very sexy and effective person who gets things done. Whether you’re gardening, messing around with a personal project, or just trying to layer up without a lot of fuss, you really can’t go wrong with Uniqlo’s offering. This version comes in three different shades, is a solid medium weight, and won’t break the bank. Look good, feel good, be good.

Finding a workspace to do your own repairs is hard, especially in a small apartment. And this time, for once, you’re going to be organized. You’re not going to move your elbow and send microscopic screws careening onto the floor, never to be seen again, because you’ve got a dedicated repair mat with multiple magnetized areas. What now, gravity?


The Nike Wildhorse 6 is for the dad in your life who is always threatening to exercise more but really just wants to wear cool shoes. These lightweight, all-weather hybrid running / trail shoes are the perfect thing for actualizing one’s desire for a more “tight” and “sexy” bod, or just running from the door to the mailbox. The Wildhorse comes in a variety of colors, but you’d be doing yourself and your dad a great disservice if you do not choose the obviously dope aura / mint foam / speed yellow / blackened blue colorway. C’mon now.

You can never go wrong with a crispy pair of all-white Air Force 1s. But even timeless sneakers need a fresh spin every now and then. Supreme’s take on the AF1 is the perfect example of that, featuring a minimalist design that keeps the core of the silhouette largely untouched. The main difference is the iconic red “Box Logo” that’s embossed on the shoe’s upper. It’s the perfect sneaker for anyone who loves streetwear, but especially dads who want to keep their flex subtle.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we now live in a world where everyone should be wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the virus. And if the dad in your life is going to have to have his pretty mug covered, it may as well be with a cool mask. At $25, the Gordon Modern Mini Tartan face mask, designed by streetwear brand Rowing Blazers, is a perfect non-medical option. It’s sleek with a dark blue and yellow plaid pattern, which was created using recycled fabric scraps from blazers, suits, and shirts. Better yet, for every Gordon Modern Mini Tartan face mask you buy as a gift for all the dads you know (or for yourself), Rowing Blazers donates one to the NYC Food Bank. A win-win for everyone involved.

You may not like the Grateful Dead, but you can pretend you do while wearing these shorts. Tie-dyed stuff was supposed to be a momentary fad a few years ago, but since culture has collapsed in on itself, there’s no reason to suspect these won’t be fashionable for a very, very, very long time. Hey, if they’re good enough for John Mayer, they’re good enough for you. (Editor’s note: We do not know if they’re good enough for John Mayer, but they seem like something he’d be into.)