While some gents spent last year fussing over their sourdough starters, others may prefer to now enjoy their carbs in liquid form. The Midwest Supplies Micro Brü Brewing Kit, our favorite 1-gallon kit, offers a rewarding way for dad to learn how to brew, ferment, and bottle his own microbrew in manageable batches. The kits are available in brown ale, red ale, and pale ale recipes, with the option to add a 12-pack of bottles, so your dad can personalize his efforts to share with friends and family. And if your dad happens to be a maximalist, you could give him Northern Brewer’s Brew Share Enjoy Homebrew Starter Set, which is basically the same as the Micro Brü kit, but it brews 5 gallons at a time.
Plant Material is not your typical plant nursery. Co-founded by a Los Angeles landscape architect with an affinity for local native flora, it’s been described as a “punk rock plant shop,” where local handmade goods and drought-tolerant species intermingle with positively green-thumbed vibes. Its curated nursery carries some of the best Japanese gardening tools, including this serrated, multi-purpose instrument with a name so nice you have to say it twice. We consider the Hori Hori a treasured tool for digging, sawing, picking, and prodding in the garden, so give it to the gentleman who also appreciates a single tool that’s always at the ready.
Now more than ever, a pair of active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones may prove to be a godsend for any dad who’s trying to weather a multitude of distractions while working from home. Bose has always made great ANC cans, but these are some of the best we’ve ever tested—lightweight, comfortable, and rated for 20 hours of use between charges. Give Dad a pair and tell him you hear him loud and clear, recognizing that everyone needs a little peace and quiet these days.
For the dad who loves observing nature in all its detail, even from a distance, you can’t go wrong with a pair of capable binoculars like these to watch birds and insects from the backyard while social distancing at home. The Athlon Optics Midas ED 8x42, our favorite overall binoculars, are exceptional for their ability to adapt to focusing on both bright and dark subjects from afar.
Alongside punny jokes and questionable choices in sneakers, dads have a notorious propensity for waxing nostalgic about the music of their youth. A turntable like the U-Turn Orbit Basic model, outfitted with a built-in preamp, makes it a cinch for him to renew his license to ill with minimum hassle, delivering a tactile satisfaction no Spotify playlist could ever deliver. This deck keeps things simple, delivering proficient noise rejection and producing a wide stereo image at a very reasonable price. Get one for the dad whose vinyl collection has gathered dust for far too long … but ask him about his desert island discs at your own peril.
A complete set of mixology tools, per our best barware guide, would make for an elegant Father’s Day gift. But if budget dictates a more-targeted choice for making cocktails at home, get him a shaker. Cocktail Kingdom’s Usagi Cobbler Shaker’s no-leak strainer and all-in-one design makes this one easy to use and nearly as simple to clean.
Fitbit Charge 4
If your dad wants to keep track of his physical activity, the Fitbit Charge 4 is our favorite fitness tracker, capable of tracking sleep, heart rate, and physical activity throughout the day, for up to seven days between charges. This device excels at tracking a bevy of exercises—such as lifting weights, interval training, spinning, and yoga—so no matter what your dad’s routine is, he’ll stay motivated with daily data of his progress.
The balance between the crispiness and chewiness of proper pizza is hard to reproduce at home because most residential-grade ovens cannot reach the same high temps of commercial ovens. But a pizza stone can help: Unlike a cookie sheet, it will store heat better, and that concentrated heat will result in crispier pizza bread and crustier bread. Our highest-rated model is the FibraMent, which not only works the best but also comes in the most size options of all those we tested.
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also the secret to fitness, since muscles adapt quickly to routine. That’s what makes a sandbag an especially effective gift for the dad who’s looking to get shredded. Filled with sand, rice, beans, or pebbles, these heavily reinforced stitched workout bags—which can weigh anywhere between 25 pounds and 125 pounds, depending on the bag’s size and what you fill it with—offer a killer means of keeping muscles challenged and fatigued.
Smartphones have rendered the wristwatch a bit of an anachronism these days, but if your dad would appreciate being unbound from the passing of every minute, give him one of these monochromatic Tian Black + White wristwatches. Although this watch’s Japanese Miyota movement is precisely kept, the two-dial display itself is intended to slow down everyday life by offering time in only 15-minute increments, rather than by exact seconds or minutes.
If you consider your dad to be a bit of a jokester, give him one of these handmade wooden voice recorders. He’ll probably be pleased as punch when he’s speaking into the built-in microphone and manipulating his voice with the device’s simple-to-use pitch control and looper capabilities. Just expect to get a few phone calls or voice messages by way of his new best friend, Lou.
For many people in the past year, being able to cut their own hair crossed over from a curiosity into a practical super power. If your father has shown interest in taking things into his own hands, it might be a good idea to gift him the proper tools to hone his haircutting skills. The Oster Fast Feed is a classic found in many barber shops, and one of the best we’ve tested. While there’s no guarantee dad’s first hair cut using these clippers will come out perfect, at least he’ll be using “extremely powerful and pleasingly quiet” clippers that are easy to adjust, shearing down the learning curve alongside his mane. Just be sure to advise him to watch a few tutorials online before he flips the switch.
Many of us have more free time than ever to learn some new skills (or revisit some old ones). If the father, husband, partner, brother, or friend in your life has always talked about picking up a guitar “one day, when I have more time,” tell him that “one day” has arrived by giving him a bass guitar—a noteworthy way of saying, “I love you, man!” This Yamaha is well made, comfortable, and an affordably priced entry level model for a beginner to strum.
If the dad in your life likes to cook (or likes to look like he cooks), give him the gift of a classic and comfortable apron. While we were testing aprons for our guide, this one from Williams-Sonoma stood out for its durable cotton construction, roomy front pockets, and long ties. Plus, it should retain its color (and there are several fun ones to select) for years and years. For an extra $10, you can get the apron monogrammed with up to nine characters—not enough to spell out Paterfamilias, but enough to accommodate Best Dad.
Whether your dad is an avid poker player or more of a Go Fish fan, elevate his game with a set of elegant cards that benefit a great cause. These cards from Parks Project feature spare and almost poetic line drawings of some of the most famous sites from America’s national parks, including Yosemite, Zion, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone. The company gives back 5 percent of each sale to benefit the National Parks Conservation Association, too.
You don’t need a banneton for proofing bread—any old bowl will do. But if your dad got really hooked on sourdough last year and wants to keep the hobby up, the Sugus House basket will make the process feel special. This banneton from Sugus House is one of our favorites, and when it’s not being used for baking, he can use it as a fruit or vegetable bowl, too. Just remember that it’s not microwave-safe, in case he gets any ideas.
If your dad is the sentimental type, he’ll love seeing you, your siblings, or his grandchildren every time he opens the fridge with custom photo magnets. Our favorite service for the job is Inkifi, through which you can easily select images from your desktop, phone, or even Instagram to convert into a four-pack of 3-by-3-inch magnets or a nine-pack of 2-by-2-inch magnets. We don’t love that shipping these little magnets costs about $12, but the experience is so easy and fast we think it’s worth the investment.
There are few pleasures on this planet better than padding around home in a soft robe on a lazy morning, cup of coffee in hand, no jeans or obligations in sight. The dad in your life deserves such a moment, and you can supply the uniform (even if you can’t guarantee the other elements). We tested dozens of robes, and one of our favorites for this task is Brooklinen’s Waffle Robe, which is lightweight yet plus, comes in a wide range of unisex sizes (from XS to 2X), and comes in four colors to suit any dad on your list.