Why do dads love technology so much? Stores like Brookstone have built their success on the intangible fact that men of all ages can’t help themselves if a button, light and batteries are involved. But things have changed a lot. Gone are the days that dad might actually be excited to open a personal massager or express a modicum of joy when he receives a portable steam iron. The key to a good Father’s Day gift is to know what kind of dad you’re buying for. No one wants to spend $9,000 for the William Shatner-approved Mach IX Massage Chair only to see it sitting in the box a year later.
That said, there’s more useless tech out there than ever, so Paste is here this Father’s Day to help out with a gift guide for your dad, husband or whomever you’re planning to spend the holiday with. Full disclosure, I’m a dad and I have a dad. Let’s go.
Marijuana is legal in 19 states currently and the industry (legal and illicit) is worth billions and growing. If you’ve got one of the millions of dads that enjoy cannabis there are several forward-thinking vaporizers on the market that are stylish and easy to use. Options differ depending on your preferred cannabis product, flower or concentrates, and whether you’re looking for something for your mantle or your backpack. The Pax 3 is a personal favorite because it’s small, indiscreet and can handle either crushed flower or concentrates. The newest version of the popular convection vaporizer includes temperature control, a 10-year warranty and a cost of $250. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, check out the G-Pen Dash ($70) which only uses crushed flower or its cousin the Roam, which only uses concentrate and retails for $200.
There is a constant mess around the house when you have kids, and not just toys. Crumbs on the floor from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time are inevitable. While I don’t mind vacuuming the big messes, the everyday upkeep can be tough when you’re trying to juggle kids, work and whatever else you’ve got going on. There are tons of robot vacuums on the market at the moment, but this Eufy RoboVac X8 won CES in 2021 and topped Good Housekeeping’s list this year. I’m picking it because it sits in the middle of its competitors price point-wise and it’s powerful enough to clean a large home.
Record collecting is cool again and vinyl albums have seen a major uptick in production in the last few years to meet the demand. If you’ve got a dad in your life that wants to start collecting or already has hundreds of records, a Bluetooth-enabled turntable could be your best bet. I have a traditional setup already (lots of speaker wire and old Pioneer receiver etc.) but it’s sometimes frustrating having to go back and forth between set ups, so I’ve been considering a second turntable to connect to our soundbar. The Audio-Technica Automatic Wireless Turntable is a great choice for a few reasons. It won’t break the bank at $200 and it comes with a built-in preamp, Bluetooth tech and speaker ports if you want to use it with vintage speakers.
I live near the ocean and I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve lost power over the last few years. We bought a generator to deal with the problem, but I also invested in a small portable emergency battery generator for travel and small issues that may arise at home. While I didn’t get the Jackery Explorer 300 I’m strongly considering one because of its solar capabilities. According to their page, the Jacket comes with a 293Wh power capacity so it can power small appliances and charge up to six smart devices at once. It takes about 2.5 hours to fully recharge and uses a 90W wall charger, solar panel or 60W USB-C outlet.
Everyone and their dad has a podcast these days, so if you’ve got a Star Wars nerd in your home streaming about the new Obi-Wan series or a comic book geek ranting about the Illuminati and Dr. Strange, a new condenser mic could be the ideal gift. This HyperX QuadCast microphone works with both Mac and PC and is incredibly simple to use, plus it looks really cool. There are plenty of customizable features and, according to reviews, it’s great for both gaming and podcasting. Prices for this model start at $100.
This probably applies to way more people than it did a few years back but an extra screen on your desk can change how you do work, especially at home. When the pandemic began, my wife opined for her dual-screen setup at the office. This SideTrack monitor is about 12 inches and easily plugs into whatever laptop you have to provide an extra screen with ease. It works with both MAC and PC as well and prices start around $300.
Ray-Ban Stories Wayfarer Smart Sunglasses are ideal for that dad who loves being online. These glasses start at $300 and come in three styles with each having three distinct color sets. The big difference here, of course, is the built-in camera from Meta that allows the wearer to take pictures and video and connect directly to social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Speakers on both sides of the frame can play sound from your phone over Bluetooth, allowing you to take a call or listen to a podcast without having to pull your phone out. The glasses also feature a touchpad built into the side of the frame which allows the user to adjust volume or pause the audio.
Do you even lift, bro? Personally, I don’t, but if I did I would most likely splurge for some adjustable weights because they look cool and, when you have kids, space is always at a premium. Like everything else, there are a lot of options when choosing adjustable weights but these Flybird dumbbells are a little cheaper than the Bowflex option and just as highly rated. The weights adjust from 11 lb to 55 lb and aren’t as bulky as other similar products.
My parent’s cat could be considered their favorite among my three siblings. I’m putting this on the list because I’m considering buying it for my dad for Father’s Day. The robot cat box market has blown up in the last few years so there are a good number to choose from. This Nature’s Miracle litter box is easy to use, highly rated and not as expensive as a lot of other models. It’s large enough for bigger cats and each tray lasts about a week before you need to dump it. If you’re looking to splurge on your cat, the Litter Robot 4 is releasing next month and is one of the top of the line litter boxes on the market. It’s app-enabled, looks like the Death Star and runs around $650.
There’s nothing worse than seeing that check engine light pop up on your dashboard. Wait, taking your car into the mechanic to see how much the problem is going to cost you is infinitely worse. With the FIXD sensor you can find out that information immediately on your own. You simply plug in the module into your car’s OBDII port, connect to it via Bluetooth, open the FIXD app, and any fault codes will be clearly displayed. The sensor itself costs around $60 and comes with a year-long subscription to the app.
Dana Forsythe is a freelance writer covering tech, comic books and culture. He lives in Massachusetts, enjoys photographing street art, collecting comics and can be followed via Twitter (@danafour).