father's day 2018

The Best Father’s Day Gifts for Techie Dads

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

Nest Security Camera
$168 at Amazon

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.

Nest Learning Thermostat
$213 at Amazon

Nest’s energy-saving smart thermostat is a favorite of Jeff Titterton, marketing senior vice-president at Zendesk, who loves how the device makes it “easier to control everything throughout the house.”

Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller
$155 at Amazon

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

Bitplay Snap! X Noir Black - iPhone Camera Case for iPhone X
$44 at Amazon

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.

Bitplay 2 in 1 Ultra 0.39X Wide Angle + 6X Macro iPhone Camera Lens
$30 at Amazon

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.

DJI Spark Portable Mini Drone
$318 at Amazon

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

Ion Audio Air LP 3-Speed Belt-Drive Bluetooth Turntable
$102 at Jet

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.

B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen Over-Ear Beoplay H4 Wireless Headphones
$233 at Amazon

Strat writer Steven John has tested out a lot of Bluetooth headphones, and he said these are the best “in terms of sound quality, comfort, and design.” And doesn’t dad deserve the best?

JAYS A-Six Wireless In-Ear Earphones Black/Gold
$80 at Amazon

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

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB Tunable Gaming Mouse
$50 at Amazon

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 VR
$200 at Amazon

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

RIF6 Cube Pico Projector With 120-Inch Display
$250 at Amazon

Strat writer Rachel Rosenblit’s “favorite dummy-proof home-tech product,” this tiny projector can stream video from any HDMI-compatible device onto a wall for dad to watch his shows or movies on a 120-inch display.

TCL 55S405 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model)
$380 at Amazon

One of the best gifts Farrell ever received was a 4K flat-screen television. Why was it his favorite? “Can you say Super Bowl?” This well-reviewed 55-inch 4K TV is a bargain at under $400 on Amazon.

For culinary-tech dads

Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker
$149 at Amazon

Even dads who aren’t usually into cooking will appreciate experimenting with molecular gastronomy with this high-tech sous-vide cooker. The Anova can be controlled on his phone via Bluetooth.

Drop Scale Smart Kitchen Scale and Recipe App
$80 at Bed Bath & Beyond

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

MAKERbuino DIY Game System Standard Kit
$70 at AC Gears

“The MAKERbuino allows you to make your own Game Boy,” said Liu. “It’s a fun project that dads can do with their kids to get them started with robotics and gaming, and then play the games together.”

Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Retro Arcade Gaming Kit With 2 Classic USB Gamepads
$80 at Amazon

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

Airwheel C5 Helmet With Front Camera and Bluetooth Speaker
$199 at Amazon

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.

Bluetooth Smart Body Fat Scale by Weight Gurus
$45 at Amazon

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.”

Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch
$163 at Amazon

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

Pulomi TT Easy Trans Smart Language Translator Device
$100 at Amazon

This cool gadget is especially useful for dads who frequently travel internationally. Simply speak into the device and it will speak your words translated into one of 52 languages.

Braun Classic Analog Quartz Alarm Clock
$30 at Amazon

It looks refreshingly analog, but this travel-size alarm clock comes equipped with features like a voice-activated snooze function and can easily be stashed in a carry-on. It also helped our senior writer, Lauren Levy stop snoozing.

Skyroam Solis Mobile WiFi Hotspot & Power Bank
$150 at Amazon

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.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, bed sheets, coffee makers, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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The Best Father’s Day Gifts for Techie Dads