valentine's day 2023

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Every Type of Man

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Amazon

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Valentine’s Day gifts should feel a little indulgent, which is a very different measure depending on whom you’re shopping for. Certain guys may be yearning for a highly rated turntable, others may want nothing more than a reliable chef’s knife, and some may want fancy skin care. (And of course, there are the guys who actually just want chocolate.) To help discover the right Valentine’s Day gift for the man in your life, we combed through the Strategist archives to find tried-and-true items that would make thoughtful presents for any type of guy. Many of these we’ve gifted (or were thrilled to receive) ourselves. All of the things on this list are available on Amazon, but we’ve found some of them elsewhere, too, for those who like to shop around. All of them will arrive by Valentine’s Day as of this update, but order soon (like, in the next 24 hours), as shipping deadlines are fast approaching. And if you’re looking for more ideas, we have gift guides for everyone, from the person who just wants flowers to kids who collect stickers and stuffed animals.

Under $25

For the man with a sweet tooth

Photo: retailer

Do him one better than a heart-shaped sampler from the drugstore with this four-pack of bars from Tony’s Chocoloney, which we named a status Halloween candy after speaking to in-the-know parents and candy experts.

For the man who likes old-school candy

For the man who seasons generously

If he only breaks out “the fancy salt” for special occasions, this giant bucket of cult-favorite Maldon salt will let your man make any meal a bit more festive (and flavorful). Vogue sustainability editor Tonne Goodman told us the size, at first, “seems a bit extreme, but then again, salt fanatics do exist. I gave it to my brother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook, and he laughed and loved it.”

For the man growing out his facial hair

Grave Before Shave Beard Oil

One of our favorite beard oils, this product contains jojoba and tea-tree oils to soften skin and clear pores.

For the man who steals your fancy soap

Claus Porto, a brand that barbers love, has been making its luxe soaps in Portugal since 1887. This soap from the company’s Musgo Real line has notes of lemon verbena, ginger, and neroli.

For the man who wants to start cooking more

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo called this cast-iron skillet the best thing she bought last decade: “I use it every day, would buy it over and over again, and enthusiastically recommend it to everyone I know,” she wrote. “Like a good leather jacket, if you treat your Lodge skillet well it will continue to mature and get better with age.”

For the man who wants to start baking more

Escali Primo Lightweight Scale
From $25
From $25

The Escali Primo, our best-in-class kitchen scale, is inexpensive, reliable, and comes in a wide range of colors, from bright orange to burgundy.

For the man who’s trying to spend less time staring at his phone

When we asked chess players about the best chess-related gifts, several said nothing beats an affordable, portable, roll-up chess set. Grandmaster Susan Polgar, a three-time chess world champion, likes this one, praising it as an “an inexpensive but durable set that’s perfect for casual or tournament play.”

For the man who’s planning on a memorable 2023

These surprisingly high-quality black-and-white disposable cameras are an easy way to capture memorable moments from weddings and graduations to scenic hikes and cross-country road trips.

For the man who just adopted a dog

Kong Wubba Friend Dog Toy
From $17
From $17

If getting him a stuffed animal feels too cheesy, give his dog one. “We call it his ‘bear octopus,’ and we hate it,” writes Alice Gregory of this multi-leg dog toy. “We’re not even sure where it came from, but Mickey, our toy poodle, likes it more than anything that is not a piece of outright garbage.”

For the man with only one sweatshirt

Model-actor Miles Garber told us he lives in his Gildan hoodie: “They’re cool because they look vaguely ’90s, which is the best era of sweatwear, I think.” If your valentine doesn’t wear red, the sweatshirt comes in no fewer than 20 (!) other colors.

For the man who likes to read about basketball

Whether you’re married to, dating, or crushing on a basketball obsessive, giving this book by Cookies Hoops podcasters Ben Detrick and Andrew Kuo on Valentine’s Day will score you lots of points.

For the man who’s on Grilltok

Strategist contributor Regan Stephens discovered that these Thai charcoal logs — made from the wood of rambutan trees, a renewable resource — were the secret to “the most tender, wildly delicious poultry I’ve ever tasted.”

For the man who’s on his feet all day

This analog foot massager was recommended by immunologist Lina Velikova in our roundup of the best gifts for doctors — it’s even compact enough to fit under a desk.

For the man with a caffeine addiction

From $28

If he always has a coffee or cold brew, gift him a travel mug that’s “super-sleek, retains heat and cold really well, and never leaks,” according to Allie Caran, product manager at Barista Valet in New York City.

For the man with a woodshop in the garage

Photo: Retailer

If he spends days fiddling over a dovetail or has just bought a biscuit joiner, he’ll appreciate this introduction to Japanese carpentry written by architect Kiyosi Seike that highlights 48 different joint styles.

For the man with a grimy tub

If DIY projects help him relax, he’ll appreciate this unlikely tool for giving his bathroom a deep clean. Strategist editor Maxine Builder originally discovered the Drillbrush, a power-tool attachment that erases years of built-up grime and soap scum. Since then, it’s become a Strategist staff favorite.

Under $50

For the man who loves a luxurious vibe

One of our best-in-class scented candles, this scent by Harlem Candle Company has “a mix of amber, woody, and gourmand scents,” says Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst, “making it the kind of fragrance that can really set the tone for a space.”

For the man who plays with fire

For the man who has trouble falling asleep

One of our favorite weighted blankets, this cotton-and-glass-bead weighted quilt is a game changer, according to Strategist assistant editor and (formerly) restless sleeper Jenna Milliner-Waddell. “I now define my life as pre–YNM blanket and post–YNM blanket,” she says.

For the man you travel the world with

We learned about this device from food stylist and frequent flier Judy Kim. It plugs into a headphone jack and connects via Bluetooth to your AirPods, eliminating the need for dinky airline headphones (and for unplugging your setup when your seat partner stands). This model can be paired with up to two sets of AirPods in case you’re watching something together.

For the man with a plan for the year ahead

The Hobonichi Techo Planner is in the “if you know, you know” category for stationery nerds. Associate editor Louis Cheslaw loves its “hard-wearing cover, thin (but quality) pages for a slim profile, lie-flat opening, and compact size.”

For the man who doesn’t drink

Help him stock his nonalcoholic bar cart with these tasty adaptogen-fueled spirits from Kin. They come recommended by several experts, including Jeremy Mustakas, the director of restaurants for ABC, who particularly loves High Rhode, which he calls a “must-have for any at-home nonalcoholic bar.”

For the man who likes a Balvenie before bed

“The world of whiskey is littered with glassware, but most of the expensive glasses with lofty claims aren’t worth your time or money,” says Jason Julier, editor of scotch and whiskey website Malt Review. He likes these tulip-shaped glasses, which “provide solid performance and a robust, practical design.”

For the man with a curated sweats drawer

In our guide to the best loungewear for men, Adidas’s sweatpants were recommended several times. “I would generally never wear sweatpants out,” says Matthew Malin, co-founder of Malin+Goetz, “but I’ve had these track pants with a stripe down the side for a couple of months now and I find myself wearing them pretty regularly.”

For the man with a Crunchyroll Premium subscription

For anime fans, a Gundam action figure is the Valentine’s equivalent of a box of luxury chocolates.

For the man with an extensive skin-care shelf

This algae-based eye cream is a favorite of Emilio Quezada of the skin-care podcast Dewy Dudes, who describes himself as “genetically unblessed with big ol’ eye bags and dark circles.” Algenist’s balm “reduces puffiness quick and provides a bright-eyed effect in the morning.”

For the man with hard water

The excess minerals in hard water, like calcium and magnesium, can wreak havoc on your skin and hair. Sweeten up his shower by installing one of these doodads that combines activated-carbon and oxidation-reduction technology to filter contaminants and reduce bacteria.

For the man who’s trying to declutter his desk

If your man is trying to minimize the number of wires and cords running across his desk, Strategist contributor (and former tech columnist) David Pogue told us that this wireless charger is the first one he’s ever liked: “It props your phone up so you can see it from your pillow or across the room. Better yet, the charging happens whether you’ve put the phone down vertically or horizontally, while watching a movie, for instance.”

For the man who wants to match with his dog

Under $100

For the man who already has a gnocchi board

Continue his fresh pasta journey with this chef-favorite, hand-operated appliance from a company that has been making pasta machines since the 1930s.

For the man who hates letting grocery-store herbs wilt

AeroGarden Sprout

Give him the gift of infinite fresh produce with our best-in-class smart garden, which is compact enough to fit in a small kitchen but, according to our earlier review, produces “a prodigious quantity of herbs.”

For the man who likes a chilled red

Sure, he could use a normal corkscrew. But if he’s a bit of a design nerd, he’ll love this tool, created by Memphis Milano designer Alessandro Mendini in the ’90s.

For the man who likes to sing in the shower

From $110

This waterproof, shockproof Bluetooth speaker that tops our list of the best Bluetooth speakers can go everywhere (including the bathroom).

For the man who keeps talking about starting a podcast

The Blue Yeti mic is a favorite of Twitch streamers, and since it plugs into your USB port, it doesn’t take much technical skill to set up.

For the man who games on the subway

This easy-to-use console for the iPhone is one of our favorite gifts for gamers. Strategist tech writer Jordan McMahon writes that its portability has “turned gaming on my iPhone into a first-class experience that can follow me nearly anywhere.”

For the man with a display-worthy sex-toy collection

The design of this stainless-steel butt plug is rarely updated because the brand got it right on the first try, according to sex educator Lola Jean. Its steel construction makes it heat conductive and easy to clean.

For the man with only one coat

From $72
Photo: Retailer

If his only water-repellent jacket is his winter puffer, he’ll appreciate this lighter, packable raincoat designed with April showers in mind. Television personality and outdoor enthusiast Garrett Yrigoyen told us he relies on it because “it helps keep me and my under layer dry,” then, when “the sun comes out, I can roll it up and stuff it in a bag.”

For the man who hits the slopes

This rich balm from the maker of our best-in-class natural deodorant will heal even the thirstiest, most wind-chafed skin.

For the man who refuses to get a smart watch

Drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova wears this no-nonsense digital watch specifically because it isn’t connected to the internet: “I don’t want email on my arm,” she says. It has all of the necessary functions — an alarm, a stopwatch, and a light-up face — and nothing extra.

For the man who needs a better knife

From $78
Photo: Jed Egan

If he is still trying to cut tomatoes with a steak knife, do him a favor and upgrade to a chef’s knife that we love.

Under $200

For the man who loves getting cozy

Our best-in-class bathrobe (for women, but sizing is unisex) is perfect for chilly winter days. “It’s the dreamiest robe to put on post-shower or over PJs in the winter,” says Reshma Patel, founder of jewelry store Quiet Storms.

For the man who gets competitive about bird-watching

This pair of bins comes highly recommended by Strategist contributor and bird enthusiast Steven John. Their durability and light weight make them a favorite pair for hiking and camping adventures.

For the man who kept his quarantine beard

The Wahl Magic Clip is “the top product to own if you want to re-create a barbershop experience in the comfort of your home,” says Miles Wood-Smith, master barber at Murdock London. It’s popular among barbers for its power, sharp blades, and a good range of guard options for getting his beard length just right.

For the man who likes to read in the tub

The latest Kindle Paperwhite is lighter and thinner than earlier models, and it’s waterproof.

For the man you convinced to take up hiking

If you got him into your favorite hobby, now would be a nice time to get him into some boots made for it. Merrell’s footwear has long been a Strategist favorite for its hard-wearing, comfort-driven design and these Moab 2 Mid hiking boots are no exception. Suitable for both urban and backcountry terrain, your man is sure to get more than a few nods from fellow hikers (and fewer blisters) wearing them.

For the man you convince to hike to the bodega

If the only hiking you’re getting him to do is for more seltzer, Birkenstock’s classic clog may be more appropriate. Although the brand’s Boston clogs have become wildly popular, Corsillo says the Tokio is “actually the best Birkenstock” — and with their grippy sole and ankle strap, better for running errands.

For the man who would rather stay on the couch

From $134

These comfy, cork-soled woolen slippers are a splurge, but they “last forever,” according to chef and farmer Phoebe Cole-Smith.

For the man who just picked up a new sport

Beloved by doctors, basketball players, runners, and Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton, this mini percussive massage tool will soothe aches and pains.

For the man who just became a father

This baby carrier helps new dads keep their hands free for important things, like writing emails and feeding themselves. With the baby strapped to his chest, he can even walk the dog while carrying a drink at the same time.

For the man who makes your coffee (or tea)

Baristas, coffee roasters, and tea sommeliers all say that coffee and tea simply taste better when poured from a gooseneck kettle because the design allows for both more precision when pouring and richer flavor extraction. Fellow’s electric kettle is beloved by so many experts (and Strategist writers) that it made the Strategist 100 — our list of the most-stood-behind products we have written about.