Let’s not lie: It can be tough to find a special gift for dad for Father’s Day, since they’re not always the greatest at telling us what they want or need. But after talking to a bunch of fathers I know, a few themes stood out.
To start, dads are super sentimental about their families. They love doing things with family members, sharing experiences and making memories, whether that’s eating out at a restaurant on Father’s Day or training for a 5K together. One father said he’d love it if his kid got him their favorite book so he could read it, too and they could talk about it together afterwards. Quite a few others said they loved art made by their kids to hang on the wall or receive games they can play with you.
Other dads also have sentimental attachments to beloved sports teams, bands or hobbies, but be thoughtful about your gift choices. As my friend Don points out, “If Dad has a passion for something, they’re probably picky about it, so if you tread into Dad’s favorite things you need to do the research and understand what they have vs. what they like. [For example], Dad likes 80/90s music but probably doesn’t like all of it, so don’t buy that Milli Vanilli Album just because it’s vintage unless dad really, really and truly, non-ironically likes them.”
Though Dad has a soft, squishy heart, many of the fathers I interviewed are also practical and said they appreciate useful gifts. If your dad/partner/step-dad/etc. is happiest when his life is organized and efficient, go ahead and get him something that’s sensible instead of, say, a stuffed animal that says “World’s Greatest Pop-Pop,” although even the flintiest of dads would probably also love a card recognizing all that he’s done and all that he means to you.
No matter what kind of dad you have, below are 13 great dad-approved Father’s Day presents under $50. If you’re looking for a splurge gift for Father’s Day, RetailMeNot has ideas for those, too.
Scroll down to see the 13 best Father’s Day gifts under $50.
Editors’ Pick: Bass Pro Shops Soft-Sided Cooler
What Dad will get: A portable cooler perfect for keeping lunch or beverages cold on his next adventure. It features a waterproof front pocket and a detachable shoulder strap for easy carrying. The cooler also features a convenient bottle opener built right in, so a refreshing beverage is always just a reach away!
Why Dad will love it: Whether he brings it along for his next fishing trip with his buddies or tailgate with the fam, he’ll be so pleased knowing that the durable, double-coated shell is keeping his items nice and cold.
Special Offer: Now through June 23, you can save up to 40% off top picks for Dad during the Father’s Day Sale at Bass Pro Shops. You can also score an extra 5% cash back for your purchases.
Men’s New Era Heritage Series Authentic 1909 St. Louis Cardinals Retro-Crown 59FIFTY Cap
What Dad will get: This snazzy 59FIFTY Heritage Series cap is made from a wool/polyester with a wool felt St. Louis Cardinals team logo on the front. This is a fitted cap rather than adjustable for a sporty fit. It’s part of a series of retro caps from beloved teams, like the 1970 Philadelphia Phillies and the 1931 New York Yankees, all available from the official online store of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Why Dad will love it: These vintage styles allow him to celebrate his fandom in style.
Price: $47.99 at BaseballHall.org
Keepsake 9” x 9” Bond Frame
What Dad will get: Keepsake saw a need in the market and filled it. The brand recognized that most of us take wonderful photos on our phones and they get forgotten about rather than preserved, so they created an easy-to-use app where you can get your favorite photos. The process is easy: choose a photo from your phone, preview how it would look in a range of frames, such as this classic 9” x 9” wooden one, then Keepsake creates a handmade frame in the USA and ships the photo to you or directly to your gift recipient.
Why Dad will love it: A framed photo of a special vacation spot, Dad with his buddies on a camping trip, a sweet shot of the grandkids — whatever it is, it’ll be special and appreciated and ready to be hung.
Price: $29 at KeepsakeFrames.com
What Dad will get: Order dad a pair of socks, printed in the U.S., with their dog’s, cat’s or kid’s face on them. Face Socks lets you choose to have a single face or up to four, so no one is left out, and the sock background is also customizable, so you can pick from ones that say “Best Dad Ever” or stick to solid colors or patterns.
Why Dad will love it: This idea comes via my friend Patty whose husband has to dress in a suit for work every day, so he enjoys fun accessories from his family — think cufflinks or ties or in this case, socks — that are personalized and playful.
Price: $24.95 at FaceSocks.com
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey
What Dad will get: Get him a bottle of Tennessee-based, award-winning Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. The spirit was inspired by the first African-American master distiller on record in the US, Nearest Green, who was actually Jack Daniel’s mentor. Drizly makes ordering alcohol for delivery super easy.
Why Dad will love it: Delicious-tasting and with a fascinating background, to boot. So if Dad’s a whiskey and history buff, send him the link to this short documentary about Nearest Green’s legacy, narrated by Jeffrey Wright.
Price: $49.99 at Drizly.com
ESPRO Ultralight Travel French Press
What Dad will get: This portable French press allows him to brew 12 ounces of fresh coffee whether he’s traveling to work or camping. All he has to do is pour hot water over coffee grinds, wait four minutes, and drink. The press is made from stainless steel with vacuum insulation, and coffee stays hot for hours.
Why Dad will love it: It’s durable, leak-proof, travel-friendly and filters the grinds so they don’t wind up in his drink. It makes a delicious cup of fresh coffee on the go.
Price: $49.95 at Amazon.com
Back to the Roots Kitchen Herb Garden Seed Kit
What Dad will get: He’ll always have fresh herbs on hand with this easy-to-grow set of basil, mint and cilantro. Back to the Roots provides everything he needs to start growing right away, and then he can transplant the herbs to an outdoor garden or just keep using the small planters by the windowsill. The brand offers a guarantee that if the herbs don’t grow, they’ll replace or refund the item.
Why Dad will love it: This is a lovely gift for the home cook. It’s budget-friendly and convenient to have fresh herbs available whenever he needs them, rather than buying them and having them wilt in the fridge.
Price: $17.99 at Target.com
Hot & Spicy Cheese Pack
What Dad will get: This gift set sends a lucky Dad a box of the Cheese Brothers’ spiciest Wisconsin cheeses: Honey Sriracha Gouda, Three Amigos Spicy Gouda, El Diablo Scorpion Pepper Gouda and Mango Habanero Gouda. Don’t worry about shipping — if the weather where Dad is is above 60 degrees, the cheeses arrive in an insulated box.
Why Dad will love it: When in doubt, get snacks for Dad! It’s a clutter-free present and who doesn’t like yummy food?
Price: $29.95 at CheeseBros.com
Bevel Men’s Shave Balm and Bevel Men’s Moisturizing Shave Cream
What Dad will get: Bevel makes high-quality men’s skincare products, like their moisturizing shave cream, which contains soothing aloe vera and vitamin E for a gentle, nick-free shave. Or, go with Bevel’s alcohol-free shave balm, made with nourishing shea butter and jojoba oil and gentle exfoliants salicylic acid and lactic acid to keep skin smooth and bump-free.
Why Dad will love it: Every guy I know who’s gotten an upgrade to his shaving cream and post-shave care has mentioned how noticeably more pleasant it is than using the regular, harsher products. He’ll appreciate it and use it!
YETI Rambler Tumbler
What Dad will get: This request comes courtesy of my military friend Garri (if Mrs. Garri is reading, Dad wants a Yeti Tumbler from the boys for Father’s Day!). Garri appreciates Yeti, probably for the reasons everyone else likes Yeti products. They’re shatterproof, rust-resistant, sturdy and non-tippy. This 20-ounce tumbler and the special MagSlider Lid are both dishwasher safe, and you can pick from a range of cool colors. It’ll keep drinks hot — or cold, depending on his preference — all day long. This is not leakproof, though, so don’t take a full cup and throw it into a backpack.
Why Dad will love it: Lukewarm coffee is no way to start a day, right?
George Foreman Submersible Grill
What Dad will get: Hello from the future! Finally, a George Foreman grill that’s fully submersible for faster, easier clean-up. Just remove the control panel and wash the rest, either by hand or in the dishwasher. The grill cooks up to four servings at once, and it’s compact and can be stored vertically.
Why Dad will love it: He can make a burger or panini or whatever else he’d like, simply and easily.
Price: $49.99 at Amazon.com
“Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases” by Paul Holes and “Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook: A Family Affair in Smoke and Soul” by Kevin Bludso
What Dad will get: Pick up a couple of cool new releases for Dad’s collection — and ask him to share them with you when he’s done so you can bond over them. “Unmasked” is a memoir by Paul Holes, a Calfironia police detective who’s worked some of the biggest murder cases (including finding the Golden State Killer). He explores his career and the high cost to his own personal life. On a happier note, “Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook“ is both a delicious BBQ cookbook and a family story, written by Kevin Bludso, the founder of famous Los Angeles-based Bludso’s BBQ.
Why Dad will love it: These are both brand-new, fascinating books from unique and smart writers.
Star Wars Death Star Perpetual Calendar
What Dad will get: A Star Wars desk calendar for work or a home office that he can use forever, with changeable blocks for the month and day. The calendar has a quote from Darth Vader, “This will be a day long remembered” on it.
Why Dad will love it: If he’s a Star Wars fan, you’ve got to up your game to find him something unique and cool. This is the gift you’re looking for.
Price: $26.95 at Hallmark.com