What to Buy

18 Father’s Day Gifts Our Dads Use More Than Dad Jokes

We know these are the best Father's Day gifts because our dads won't stop calling us about them.

June  1, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

Father’s Day is coming up, which means you’ll need to find a thoughtful yet practical gift that isn’t another tie or punny mug. He’ll appreciate them just the same, but we all know that there are gifts he’ll love and then there are gifts he’ll love-love.

So, how do you find that perfect present? By checking out the favorite gifts we’ve given our own father figures who never stop calling to tell us about it. From practical noise-cancelling headphones and tool kits to thoughtful donations and music memberships, these 18 gifts are sure to be used more often than his favorite dad jokes (thankfully).

Sorry in advance if they keep calling you, too.

1. A delicious homemade cake

"We're not big on Father's Day gifts in my family, but if we're together, I usually make a special cake.

We also just celebrated my dad's birthday, and my sis and I gave him an oriole feeder (he already has a regular bird seed feeder). A bird feeder may feel like a hokey gift, but I promise it will bring anyone hours of joy. Pair it with one of Stan Tekiela's state bird identification guides and he'll be halfway to a new hobby."—Laura Alice Fenton, Contributor

2. Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, $17.98

“For the past decade or so, I've gotten my dad a bottle of hot sauce for every holiday (I have no idea how or why this started, but now it's a thing!). Usually I pick something up from wherever I've traveled recently, but this year, I have gone nowhere, so I'm changing things up just a bit. I'll be gifting a jar of my favorite Fly By Jing Sichuan chili crisp, which is deeply flavorful, and the best spicy-savory condiment to spoon over everything from eggs to noodles to vegetables.”—Rebecca Firkser, Assigning Editor

3. Norlan Whisky Glasses, $48

"My dad is a big scotch drinker, and his well-loved crystal glasses were looking a bit worse for wear. I decided to get him these Norlan Whisky Glasses, which not only have a cool modern appearance but also a unique shape that's supposed to make the whisky's aroma 'more expressive.' We did a side-by-side testing with them in the Norlan glass versus a regular glass, and the alcohol truly gave off a much richer aroma in the Norlan glass. Plus, my dad uses them constantly!"—Camryn Rabideau, Contributor

4. A donation in his name

“My dad unfortunately has multiple eye conditions, and I just didn't feel like giving a material gift last year given all that was happening in the world. So I gifted him something special: a donation in his name to the Department of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma of Mass General Hospital—where he ironically got surgery on his cataracts which is complicated by his glaucoma. He was very touched by the gift, calling it one of the most unique Father's Day gifts ever. He's doing well, but I wish they would stop sending me snail mail.”—Larissa Sanz, Brand Manager, Five Two

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, $299

“My father both loves and bemoans the fact that he’s surrounded by chatty women (my mum, sister, and I) who constantly demand his attention. To give him the quiet time he deserves, a couple of years ago, the three of us gave him these noise-canceling headphones. I love seeing him bob his head to Bruno Mars or Maroon 5 or whatever else he's listening to these days—even if it means he's shutting us out. Actually, we suspect he now pretends he can’t hear us even when he can.”—Arati Menon, Editorial Lead, Home52

6. Haus Sampler Kit, $50

“This year, I have my eyes on this apertif sampler kit from Haus. It’s completely customizable so you can add four flavors of your choosing. That helps because while my hands-down favorite is the smoky Grapefruit and Jalapeño, it can be harder to pick for someone else. I’m just sad my dad will have to wait till later this summer for me to hand him this…”—Arati Menon, Editorial Lead, Home52

Photo by Haus

7. Tortuga Steel Modern Bookends, $60-$68

"My dad has stacks of books everywhere—on his nightstand, on his desk, on random surfaces around the house. These simple, sleek bookends make those stacks look more put-together, not to mention easier to slide titles out as needed. The perfect combination of form and function."—Emma Wartzman, Contributor

8. How to Wash the Dishes by Peter Miller, $8.99

"My mom is the cook in our family—and my dad is the dishwasher. This short and sweet book by Peter Miller explains exactly what the title states, with more finesse than you could ever imagine. It may seem like a bit of a joke present, but it’s actually just a beautifully designed, delightful read that will turn even the best dishwasher into a better one."—Emma Wartzman, Contributor

Tortuga Steel Modern Bookends, $60-$68 Photo by Food52
How to Wash the Dishes by Peter Miller, $8.99 (Kindle Edition) Photo by Amazon

9. iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit, $69.99

“My dad is constantly tinkering with small electronics, 3D printers, and any number of tech items, and this is the best gift I've ever given him. He texts me once a week to tell me he's used these tools again, which is high praise from him! Any dad into fixing and gadgets needs this tiny tool set.”—Caroline Mullen, Assistant Editor

10. Warby Parker At-Home Try-On Kit, Free

“Given the success of my last gift (and the near impossibility of getting him a gift he'll use), this year I'm looking for something very practical for my dad. We're often poking fun at him for wearing my mom's reading glasses around the house (they are so ridiculously small on his face), so I'm going to order him an at-home try on kit from Warby Parker and sponsor a pair of glasses that actually fit him. Here's hoping he doesn't revert to my mom's just for fun.”—Caroline Mullen, Assistant Editor

11. Food52 Berry Nice Cheese Board Jigsaw Puzzle, $35

"Dads love puzzles, or at least mine does! So I try to find a unique one each year for Father's Day and this one fit the bill. It's nice to look at and is great inspiration for your next cheese board, a win-win!"—Patrick Moynihan, Director of Social Media

Photo by Rocky Luten

12. REI Co-op Multi Towel, $8.93

“My dad likes to fish—he's never loved a present more than this one.”—Stacey Rivera, SVP, Content

13. AeroGarden Harvest, $101.62

"My dad is a chef and always needs some fresh herbs around so I bought him an AeroGarden a few years ago. He uses it to grow herbs like basil and cilantro without any soil or mess—he just fills the tank with water and watches the seeds grow. It's also an easy way to add some greenery around the house.

A second favorite was paying for his Amazon Prime membership renewal. Buying a material gift last year just felt wrong when the world was burning, so I paid for his annual membership. This way, he could continue to buy things he really needed like hand sanitizer, masks, and even groceries without going outside to a store."—Jada Wong, Market Editor

14. Bodum Chambord French Press, $30.23

“My father-in-law loves his drip coffee so it was hard to convince him to give French press a try. But once he did, there was no turning back—it’s easier to brew than drip coffee and still makes a rich, robust cup. The Bodum Chambord is a classic French press so it was a no-brainer, and it looks nice even when it’s sitting on the counter.”—Jada Wong, Market Editor

Aerogarden Harvest, $101.62 Photo by Amazon
Bodum Chambord French Press, $30.23 Photo by Wayfair

15. Palmpress Collapsible Coffee Press, $42

“My dad's become a coffee connoisseur as he's gotten older, and being in the Navy, he does a lot of traveling and spends many nights away from home. This is now a part of his standard away kit along with his favorite beans.”—Kaleigh Embree, Customer Care Specialist

16. A Spotify subscription, $9.99

“The best Father's Day gift I have given to my dad was a Spotify subscription. My dad loves listening to music any time of the day, especially when he's working. He was so amazed that you could have any song from any artist right at your fingertips instead of his usual routine of turning on the radio. He carries his iPad with him wherever he goes, so his Spotify music library is always ready whenever he needs some tunes.”—Dominique Evans, Social Media Coordinator

17. Food52 x Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan, $55-$115

“One of the best Father's Day gifts I've ever given was actually to my father-in-law and it was from our very own shop before I worked here! My father-in-law doesn't like stuff so he's hard to buy for, but one thing I know he does every day is heat his milk for coffee in a little pan. I got him the Dexam Home Enamel Milk Pan so he could enjoy it even more and he's been using it ever since! We don't sell it anymore but the Food52 x Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan is pretty similar and does the same job.”—Alex Egan, Senior SEO Strategist

18. Fuego Box Small-Batch Quarterly Hot Sauce Subscription, $120

“If you want to get technical about it, this wasn't a Father's Day gift—it was for my mom's birthday. But! My dad has been enjoying it just as much as her, if not more: Fuego Box's quarterly hot sauce subscription. In fact, they both made it sound so fun—hot sauce happy hour! better egg sandwiches!—I ended up gifting another subscription to, ahem, myself.”—Emma Laperruque, Food Editor

Food52 x Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan, $55-$115 Photo by Ty Mecham
Fuego Box Small-Batch Quarterly Hot Sauce Subscription, $120 Photo by Rocky Luten

What's the favorite gift you've given the father figures in your life? Tell us in the comments below!

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.