Buying a Father’s Day gift for a tech-savvy dad can be tricky if you don’t keep up with all the latest gadget and gizmo releases. To find out what techhead dads really want this year, we spoke with Kohn Liu, founder of AC Gears, and Stephen Farrell, director of merchandising at Hammacher Schlemmer. They clued us in on the best tech gifts for dads, whether they’re interested in experimenting in the kitchen or snapping photos of the fam. We also combed our archive of tech recommendations for dads who are into everything from virtual-reality headsets to fitness tracking.
For Internet of Things dads
One of Farrell’s picks, the smart security camera from Nest, can be set up indoors or outdoors, sends alerts of suspicious activity directly to the app, and includes speakers and a microphone. Farrell said it helps his family feel more secure.
Help dad save on the water bill, too, with this smart sprinkler controller that’ll automate watering the lawn. Dad can input details like sun exposure and plant type, and the Rachio also checks the weather, so it knows to skip watering on rainy days.
For amateur-photographer dads
Liu, a self-described “avid amateur iPhone photographer,” uses the Bitplay case and its interchangeable lenses for making the most of his phone’s camera: “The grip allows me to pick up the phone and just shoot, and its mechanical shutter, which is positioned just like on a camera, is exceptionally easy to use,” he said. Also available for iPhone 8.
Start dad off with a two-in-one Bitplay lens for capturing both landscape shots and details in close-up shots. And if dad upgrades his phone, he can still use his lenses since they’re retrofitted for all Bitplay cases.
If dad’s been itching for a drone, the DJI Spark has a powerful lens for capturing aerial photos and video, and it’s easily controlled by his phone or even through hand gestures. It’s a solid entry-level drone with more features than a “toy” one, but is still affordable compared to higher-end models.
For audiophile dads
Dads with a record collection will appreciate this Bluetooth turntable, a pick from Farrell, that will let them link their music to any wireless Bluetooth speaker — or headphones for private listening.
If dad’s more of an earbud guy, Liu recommends these Bluetooth earphones. “They’re small, so easy to transport, and fit in the ear quite well with different ear-tip options,” he said. “The sound quality is great with warm midrange and good bass response.”
For gamer dads
PC-gaming dads will love this programmable mouse with more than 2,500 positive reviews on Amazon. We were won over by this one: “The software that comes with it is fantastic and makes it very easy to customize it for any game. It can even scan your computer for installed games and auto-program the buttons based on the game. I was very weary about spending so much money on a mouse, as I am a weekend-warrior FPS player; it was worth every penny.”
PlayStation’s virtual-reality headset got our vote for the best VR headset for kids under $500, but it’s also fun for dads who are kids at heart: “If you’re looking for a pretty-good VR headset for gaming that’s versatile, doesn’t require a ton of computer knowledge, and isn’t going to blow your budget, the PSVR is probably your best bet.”
For Golden Age of Television dads
For culinary-tech dads
Another Steven John favorite, the Drop smart food scale makes measuring cups a thing of the past. Simply pull up a recipe and the app will let you know when you’ve added enough of each ingredient to the bowl. Another cool feature? “The Drop Scale will even calculate how to compensate with other ingredients when you make mistakes (add too much flour, for instance, and the Drop Scale will scale up the butter and sugar so your cookies turn out just fine).”
For tinkering dads
For even more DIY tech, the Raspberry Pi is a microcomputer board that dads can use to design games, learn programming, and make websites. It won’t do much on its own, though, so buy him a kit with everything he’ll need to get started. This one has accessories for re-creating classic Nintendo games.
For fitness-tech dads
Step up dad’s biking game with this smart helmet recommended by Farrell. A built-in camera captures photos or videos of his ride, and the Bluetooth speaker means he can safely answer calls without taking his hands off of the handlebars.
Tech toys, like this well-reviewed and affordable Bluetooth-connected scale, can make slimming down and cutting body fat slightly more enjoyable for dads into the whole quantified-self thing. One reviewer liked “that the app can connect to Apple HealthKit, so all of this data can be synced with other health and fitness applications.”
Support dad’s running habit with a GPS watch for tracking his time, speed, distance, and heart rate. City Coach co-founder and head coach Jonathan Cane said the Garmin Forerunner 35 “will certainly do the trick for a new runner, and will be adequate even for a more hard-core athlete.”
For traveling tech dads
When business or leisure travel takes dad off the grid, he can still use his devices with this portable Wi-Fi hot spot that works throughout most of the world. It also doubles as a charger for getting an extra boost of juice on the go.
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