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 make your search easier this year, we have a wide variety of gifts for your tech-head dad. (We also have guides to gifts for every type of dad, gifts for new dads, golf dads, and grilling-enthusiast dads.) Whether they’re interested in experimenting in the kitchen, snapping photos of the fam, or setting up a beautiful audio experience with wireless speakers, we’ve got you covered. 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
Stephen Farrell, director of merchandising at Hammacher Schlemmer, likes the smart security camera from Nest. It sends alerts of suspicious activity directly to the app, and includes speakers and a microphone. Farrell says 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.
All of dad’s smart gadgets depend on Wi-Fi, so make sure his house is free of any dead spots with the Eero system of Wi-Fi–extending “beacons,” recommended to us by former tech columnist David Pogue. “The beacons are smaller, sleeker, and less technoid-looking than the other companies’ base stations (and it has a night-light, which is supercool),” said Pogue.
For amateur-photographer dads
Kohn Liu, founder of AC Gears, 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.
For dads looking to branch out from smartphone photography, writer Steven John thinks this is the best digital camera for most people. “This device works great in the bright light of day, or the lower light of evening or interiors. It has a high-quality 24-megapixel sensor, a lens with zoom range between 16 and 50 millimeters, and superfast autofocus abilities, so you don’t miss the moment,” he said.
If your dad takes a lot of photos, he needs a way to show off his work. This digital frame lets him upload images straight from his phone. Customers also mentioned that the app was intuitive to use. “It was simple to setup, and the app makes sending photos fast and easy,” says one customer. You can also connect your frame to Google Photos, Dropbox, Facebook, or Instagram.
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.
If your father is an avid photographer (or just someone you think would enjoy the nostalgia of an instant camera), get him the Polaroid One Step 2. When we asked experts for the best instant camera, the One Step 2 was a favorite, commended for its ability to take beautiful images and its ease of use. Dan Rubin, a photographer and designer, says, “It has very few settings, but that’s the whole point. You can pick it up and start using it. You don’t need to think about it.”
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.
For multiroom wireless speakers, no system works as seamlessly as Sonos. Multiple experts we spoke to praised its quality sound, tasteful aesthetic, and ability to quickly connect with other Sonos speakers. Jade Baker, partner and assistant buyer at John Lewis says, “This is the classic starter speaker for your multiroom collection. With the ability to link up to all other Sonos speakers in the range, you can kit out your whole house with room-filling sound.”
David Pogue’s favorite noise-canceling headphones are just as good for listening to music as they are for enjoying the silence. Compared to a similar pair from Bose, Pogue said the Sonys sound better. “The bass is stronger and deeper, the midrange is balanced, the highs are crisp.”
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.”
And if he’d rather go wireless, Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder determined that these were the best truly wireless earbuds. “If you’re looking to maximize sound, style, and comfort, or want to finally upgrade your AirPods, you cannot do better than with these Sennheisers,” she said.
For gamer dads
PC-gaming dads will love this programmable mouse with more than 2,600 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 wary 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
The Nebula Capsule is the size of a soda can, so he can take it anywhere he wants to project his favorite movies, television shows, or YouTube videos. It even includes a built-in speaker. The Capsule can be plugged in via USB or HDMI cable, or if that’s more work than he wants, he can stream shows to it via AirPlay or watch shows on the Netflix or Hulu apps.
If you have a little more to spend (perhaps a group gift?), this Samsung flat-screen is a favorite among industry experts for ultrahigh-definition viewing.
For culinary-tech dads
Just in time for grilling season, dad can stick this thermometer in his steak or chicken and monitor the temperature from his phone while he’s playing cornhole.
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
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.”