We Asked a Panel of Dads To Edit Our Father’s Day Gift Guide, and They Crossed Everything Out. Here’s What They Told Us To Recommend Instead.

By Sam Cohen, Lisa Hayes

May 31, 2023

Buying gifts for Father’s Day can be a real pain. Hey, someone had to say it.

Whether your father (or father figure) likes to cook, hike, ride his motorcycle, read a good book, or never misses a football game, the idea of buying him a present seems pretty straightforward. 

But, as we all know, it never is

To prove it, we assembled a guide filled with lovely, thoughtful gifts—and then ran it past eight dads, each in different stages of the parenting journey. They crossed off every single one. Luckily for us (and you), they told us what to buy instead. 

Food and Beverage Supplies 

“Hey—my eyes are up here.” Sorry, we can’t stop staring at that Dutchess.
  • The Meater meat thermometer, which may be the greatest gift some dads on our panel have ever received, judging by their enthusiasm. (?!?) The original version is about $70, and the longer-range “plus” model is about $100.
  • Misen knives, which are relatively inexpensive and approved by the very picky dads on our panel who love fancy knives. Their suggestion? Skip a chef’s knife every time in favor of a well-balanced santoku knife ($85). If your dad already loves the santoku he has, consider Misen’s great paring ($40) and serrated ($65) knives, or their kitchen shears ($25). 
  • The Dutchess, Great Jones’s incomparable and very cute Dutch oven, which is $160.
Please enjoy these zombie poodles on your dinner plate, from Calamityware.com
  • One of the world’s best aprons, according to chefs and other experts, including a personalized option (from about $30)
  • Outdoor safe wine and beer glasses (from about $25)
  • An outdoor patio cooler on wheels for the backyard (from about $150)
  • A sous vide and vacuum bag kit ($99) lets Dad immerse himself in hot-water-bath cooking technology. *wink
  • Calamity Ware: Dishware that, on first glance, appears to be printed with classic scenes, but is instead depicting invasions of aliens, dragons, bigfoot, pirates, and insects. 

Clothing and Accessories

“Oh nothing, just on my way to meet my cool family for lunch. Hbu?” MackWeldon.com
  • If we’ve learned anything over the past three years, it’s how to dress down—so help Pop do it in style with Mack Weldon’s Ace Sweatpants ($78), which have a full-on cult following and come in tall sizes.
  • The Vuori Sunday Collection, specifically the joggers ($98) and shorts ($84)—which we can’t help noticing would be great if, say, you want your old man to pull it together a little more when you meet for Sunday brunch.
Is that your dad bringing in the newspaper, or is a rock star at your door? Make it tough to tell at OluKai.com
  • The Dad Hoodie ($108), which takes cargo pockets to the left, to the left, to the back, to the back for new dads.
  • Those same guys might really dig a stylish diaper bag ($165) from Dagne Dover, too.
  • The Kings Loot wallet (around $85), which is one of those social-media-ads-gone-viral products that turned out to be legit good.
  • OluKai slippers (from $100), which are known for their support and comfort. And because we know you’re wondering—yeah, he can wear them out of the house and still be respectable.


“Oh nothing, just fixing my kid’s bike. Hbu?” Check out his ring at OuraRing.com
  • Does Dad want a smartphone on his wrist, or does he want the most accurate sleep and activity tracker? Probably the tracker. Oura ring (from $299)
  • Reach out and touch your traveling guy, with this bracelet that vibrates on his wrist when you touch one on yours ($69).
  • An Amazon Smart plug ($24) will let your family use voice commands to turn off the TV after someone has fallen asleep in front of it.


“Oh nothing, just popping and locking my ladder. Hbu?”
  • Look, if your garage doesn’t have a Little Giant ladder in it already, your Father’s Day gift search is over right now. (From $279; check out their solid sale section, too) 
  • The birth of his children. When he finally landed his dream job. The day he received a battery-powered chainsaw on a pole. ($169)  
“Oh nothing, just finally cutting back this invasive bamboo with my new battery-powered pole saw. Hbu?” EgoPowerPlus.com

Around the House 

Making memories with blankets? It’s a thing. Check out more at us.tartanblanketco.com


The dads on our panel suggested the following activity-based gifts:

  • Group cooking class
  • Escape room
  • Paddle boarding
  • Airbnb weekend getaway
  • Sports event
  • Concert

Gift Cards

Skidding in, just like Dad taught us. From Willowcrest Press on Etsy.

Start with an excellent card, like this one featuring a Hunter S. Thompson quote. Then tuck one of these highly desired gifts inside:

  • Car wash pass book or membership
  • Local hardware store gift card
  • Gift certificate for massage

Thanks to our panel of dads for their tips, and to all the father figures in everyone’s lives. Happy Father’s Day!


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