15 Father's Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad (and Every Budget)

iStock/Halfpoint
iStock/Halfpoint

Father’s Day can really sneak up on you. Once May rolls into June, your thoughts turn to sandy beaches, county fairs, or long-overdue vacations. Then it suddenly hits you: Dear Old Dad’s big holiday is coming up—and you still haven’t found that perfect, unique gift for your father (or stepfather, or grandfather, or husband)! Never fear. We’re here to help. On this list of ideas, there’s a little something for every kind of papa, from sports dads to foodie fathers to game-night-loving patriarchs.

1. Matador Travel Accessories; $10 to $13

Having to travel in close proximity to screaming babies or roaring engines is never a pleasant experience. The good news is, you can preemptively spare your father’s eardrums from that kind of cacophonous racket before he embarks on his next vacation or business trip with a nice pair of earplugs. We like this travel kit from Matador, which includes memory foam earplugs rated at a 32 dB noise reduction plus a silicone carrying case that doubles as a zipper pull so Dad doesn't have to worry about misplacing them.

Matador's other travel accessories would also make a great gift for any travel pro: The company's space-saving Flat-Pak bottles squish flat so as not to take up room in dad's suitcase after he's run out of shampoo, while the innovative soap bar case somehow manages to be totally leakproof while still allowing the bar to dry through the fabric.

Buy it: Matador

2. The Sopranos Family Cookbook; $14

The cover of 'The Sopranos Family Cookbook'

Grand Central Publishing, Amazon

This unique cookbook for pop culture geeks boasts a fun mixture of mouthwatering Italian recipes and colorful remarks from Artie Buco, Carmela Soprano, and other characters in the classic HBO series, which turned 20 in 2019. The Sopranos Family Cookbook is sure to be a hit with any dads out there who’ve got a taste for crime drama and/or lasagna.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Crossword Puzzle Coffee Mug; $16


The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, Amazon

Now Dad can enjoy his daily dose of caffeine with a puzzle on the side. The exterior of this ingenious mug from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild doubles as a blank crossword puzzle. Every month, your father can find the clues to a different puzzle online. Then he’ll inscribe the answers onto his favorite new piece of drinkware with a pencil.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Major League Ballparks Scratch-Off Chart; $25

Visiting all 30 major league ballparks is a popular bucket list entry for hardcore fans of America’s pastime. Using this scratch-off chart, your dad can track his progress while he tries to follow suit. And if baseball isn't his sport, fear not—Pop Chart also has scratch-off stadium charts for football fans and basketball arenas.

Buy it: Pop Chart

5. Insulated Beer Bottle Holder; $35

An open beer inside a BottleKeeper stands in the sand next to a surfer in a wetsuit.

BottleKeeper, The Grommet

Koozies are for amateurs. Using this insulated bottle-shaped holster, your dad can keep a 12-ounce bottle of his favorite beer nice and cold for up to two hours straight. Oh, and did we mention that there’s a screw-on cap that’ll let him re-seal the bottle after it’s been opened? As Toby Keith says: Proceed to party.

Buy it: The Grommet

6. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth; $42

The cover of 'Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth'

Bodleian Library, Amazon

If your dad pines for Mirkwood or Hobbiton, he’ll want a copy of this beautiful book. A 416-page tribute to the father of modern fantasy, it’s replete with hundreds of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original sketches, watercolor paintings, and manuscripts. Plus, there’s a wonderful set of essays from archivists, scholars, and mythology experts.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle; $56

A black Stanley vacuum-insulated bottle

Stanley, Amazon

Whether your pops prefers iced coffee or steaming hot java, the Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle will have him covered—for days. The 1.4-quart model keeps hot drinks hot for 40 hours on end. As for chillier beverages, it’ll help them stay cold for 35 hours straight, or, if there's ice involved, 160 hours.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Dyna-Glo Compact Bullet Charcoal Smoker; $56

A black barbecue smoker

Dyna-Glow, Walmart

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned barbecue. Using the temperature gauge as a guide, your dad can smoke or grill all manner of delicious entrees on this compact charcoal-based unit. It might not be a bad idea to throw in some nice barbecue tools as a bonus gift.

Buy it: Walmart

9. Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone; $70

A Holy Stone RC quadcopter flying above New York City

Holy Stone, Amazon

You’re never too old to enjoy flying remote-controlled gadgets—or to appreciate quality videos. The Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone lets dad create the latter by using the former. It’s a win-win.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Eagle Creek Backpack Cargo Hauler; $77

An Eagle Creek cargo backpack

Eagle Creek, Amazon

So your old man’s the kind of guy who likes to roam around. More power to him. Get the man a spacious, 45-liter travel bag with detachable backpack straps, exterior pockets, and a lifetime warranty. The hardy bag is equally suited to wandering through a new city, embarking on a business trip, or throwing in the back of his truck on the way to the campsite.

Buy it: Amazon

11. LifeProof FRE Series Waterproof iPhone Cases; $80 to $100

Might as well admit it: Everyone—dads included—gets their phone wet now and then. Go ahead and give your dad the gift of peace of mind. LifeProof's FRE series protective cases are waterproof and can keep a fully submerged phone safe underwater for up to an hour. They’ll also shield your dad's phone from snow, dirt, and dust. And better yet, when a mobile device is encased in one of these babies, it can withstand getting dropped from heights of up to 6.5 feet. FRE cases are available for most smartphone models in a variety of colors.

Buy it: LifeProof

12. Jenga GIANT Premium Hardwood Game; $118

A 5-foot-tall Jenga tower

Jenga, Amazon

Family game night is a time-honored tradition in many a household. But that doesn’t mean you can’t up the ante. Your pops will get a real kick out of stacking these precision-cut wooden blocks into toddler-sized towers. The starting height is 2 feet, but with a delicate touch, your dad can arrange these Jenga blocks into a 5-foot monstrosity. Sounds like a good time.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Bordo Big Alarm 6000 Key Folding Lock; $200

No cycling dad should be without a good bike lock. Every year, somewhere from 800,000 to 2 million bicycles are stolen across the U.S. To keep his beloved bike from becoming another statistic, your dad can secure it with this quality folding lock. It uses 5-millimeter steel designed to foil any would-be thieves, with a casing system designed to keep his paint job looking pristine. And in the unlikely event that the lock fails, it has a sophisticated alarm system that can alert your dad from afar that his ride is leaving without him.

Buy it: Competitive Cyclist

14. iRobot Roomba 690; $297

Help your dad tackle basic housework in style—all without lifting a finger. The mid-range iRobot Roomba 690 won't break the bank, but still has plenty of high-tech features that will change your dad's life for the better. It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity so he can monitor its progress via smartphone or control it with Google Home or Alexa. It can be pre-scheduled to clean overnight or at specific times during the day, and features virtual wall technology that will allow your dad to block off stairs, doorways, or pet food bowls that might trip the vacuum up. That’ll free him up to kick back and relax while he waits for the floors to get tidy.

Buy it: Amazon or iRobot

15. Fromaggio Automated Home Cheesemaker, $318

Fromaggio's home cheesemaking machine

Fromaggio, Indiegogo

A high-tech cheesemaking device that can fit on Dad’s kitchen counter? Yes, please. This beauty churns out delicious cheddars, mozzarellas, and provolones in as little as 30 minutes. And with Fromaggio’s handy smartphone app, your old man will be able to buy ingredients, find great recipes, and control the device from afar. The high-end countertop gadget won’t hit the market until 2020, but you can pre-order one today—a true cheese connoisseur like your dad will be willing to wait. In the meantime, we recommend you enroll your papa in Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club so he'll never be without gourmet cheese. (Between June 14 and June 16, you can get 10 percent off Murray's monthly cheese clubs with the code DADGIFTS10.)

Buy it: Indiegogo

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

ThinkGeek Is Merging With GameStop, and Everything is 50 Percent Off Right Now

ThinkGeek
ThinkGeek

ThinkGeek, that beloved destination for nerdy goods like Star Trek bathing suits, Game of Thrones doormats, and astronomy-themed jewelry, is moving. While the site isn't going out of business, it is merging operations with its parent company, GameStop, and shutting down its website in the process. "After this move, you will be able to shop a curated selection of unique items historically found on ThinkGeek.com via a ThinkGeek section at GameStop," the site explains. And that's good news for you, if you're looking for a bargain. 

ThinkGeek is clearing out inventory by offering 50 percent off everything on its website. That includes 20-side-die-themed waffle makers, constellation lamps, unicorn wall sconces, and more. There are whimsical goods and apparel designed for fans of everything from Doctor Who to The Avengers to Star Wars to J.R.R. Tolkien to Harry Potter to Firefly to Pokemon. Love Funko POP! figurines? ThinkGeek has you covered. What about Super Mario Bros.? Heck yeah. This would be a great time to search for a Halloween costume.

Here are a few things that we would buy if we were you, but there are more cool designs available than we could ever highlight here. 


This 34-ounce TARDIS French press coffee maker is just $20.


ThinkGeek has a bunch of pop-culture themed wallets, but this Star Trek one is extra cool. And it is now just $10. (The NASA one is also great.)


This constellation backpack is out of this world. It's just $24 with the discount.


For $7.50, it's hard to resist this Mario-themed soap dispenser. Add a Mario-themed toothbrush holder to really make getting ready in the morning fun. If you're all about that bar soap, there's also a soap dish.


Wrap yourself in happiness with this Bob Ross-themed blanket that is just $17.50.


If you want to wear your fandom, this Harry Potter Deathly Hallows necklace set is an attractive choice. They're just $7.50 for two.


This handsome Mars watch doesn't have typical hour and minute hands. The moon Phobos orbits the Red Planet as the minute hand, the moon Deimos is the hour hand, and a miniature Mars rover takes the place of the second hand. It's a steal at just $20. 


When it's filled with hot liquid, this Game Boy mug changes from a blank screen to an image of Mario rescuing Daisy. It's only $7.50.


Several '90s cartoon-themed lunch boxes with puzzles are on sale, including ones celebrating Rocko's Modern Life, Hey Arnold!, and Rugrats. The puzzles that come inside the tin lunch boxes are 500 pieces. At less than $5 each, you should go ahead and buy all three.

Shop the sale here using the code MOVINGDAY until July 2. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the sale, all purchases are final, and you'll have to pay for shipping.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

10 Surprisingly Cheap Items Everyone Should Have in Their Kitchen

iStock.com/4kodiak
iStock.com/4kodiak

When shopping for certain kitchen gadgets, sometimes paying a little extra is worth it. But there are plenty of supplies that can greatly improve your cooking skills without hurting your wallet. Some of the most essential tools to have in your kitchen are available from quality brands in the $10 to $30 range. If you want to take your food to the next level on a budget, these are the products you should own.

1. Wooden Spoon; $15 for Three

Three wooden spoons
OXO, Amazon

There are many fancy kitchen utensils available to home cooks today, but the best type of spoon for cooking is one that’s been around for centuries. Wooden spoons have several advantages over spoons made from metal or plastic: They don’t conduct heat well, they won’t scratch the bottom of your expensive pan, and they won’t leach chemicals into your food. They’re also just as durable as they are versatile. Wood is naturally antibacterial, and if you care for your spoon properly, it will last you through countless meals. OXO sells a set of three different wooden spoons for under $15. (We also like OXO's single corner spoon, which is sold out on Amazon right now—but you can still get it from Bed Bath & Beyond for $6.)

Buy it: Amazon

2. Silicone Mat; $25

Silpat with macarons.
Silpat, Amazon

Neater than cooking spray and less wasteful than foil or parchment paper, silicone mats are essential for home cooks and bakers. These reusable mats turn any surface into a nonstick surface. When a baking sheet is lined with a silicone mat, temperamental items like cookies slide off in one piece. The mats are also easy to wipe down and can survive thousands of baking sessions. They can also make cleanup easier when roasting savory items like vegetables and chicken wings.

But it from Amazon

3. Kitchen Shears; $20

Kitchen shears.
Apogee Culinary Designs, Amazon

Quality knives are vital in the kitchen, but no collection of cutting tools is complete without a good pair of scissors. A home cook needs kitchen shears for butchering jobs, like spatchcocking a chicken. Kitchen shears are also useful for trimming pie crusts, snipping herbs, and even cracking open lobster claws. And unlike decent chef’s knives, a great pair of shears can cost as little as $20.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Digital Scale; $18

Digital kitchen scale.
Etekcity, Amazon

If you’re serious about baking, invest in a kitchen scale. Baking is all about precision, and it’s hard to be precise when working with measuring cups and spoons. A digital scale, however, can measure your flour and sugar down to a fraction of an ounce. It’s also great for making recipes written in metric units. (Say, if you're cooking from Great British Bake Off recipes.)

Buy it: Amazon

5. Mortar and Pestle; $25

Mortar and pestle.
Fox Run, Amazon

A bulky mortar and pestle may seem antiquated in today’s modern kitchen, but it’s necessary if you want to take your cooking to the next level. Some spices—like fennel seeds, cardamom, and peppercorns—taste much better freshly ground than they do out of the jar. Using a mortar and pestle is also the key to making professional-tasting sauces and condiments, such as aioli, pesto, curry paste, hummus, and guacamole.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Box Grater; $12

Box grater.
Cuisinart, Amazon

Think of a box grater as more than a basic cheese grater. Each of the four sides serves a special purpose, from slicing to zesting. You can use it to shred potatoes for latkes, grate nutmeg for desserts, or slice zucchini for ratatouille. Of course, the cheese-grating capabilities alone are worth it if you like to make mac and cheese at home.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant-Read Thermometer; $27

Instant-read thermometer.
Lavatools, Amazon

There are many tricks you can use to gauge if your meat is cooked properly, but none are as foolproof as an instant-read thermometer. The tool makes cooking steak, chicken, and roasts much simpler and less stressful. It’s also essential for deep frying food or making candy like caramel at home. Sometimes an extra minute of heat is all it takes to push an ingredient from perfect to inedible, so the time it saves you compared to analog thermometers is definitely worth the price.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Citrus Juicer; $15

Citrus hand juicer.
Zulay Kitchen, Amazon

Fresh citrus juice is superior to the packaged stuff, but squeezing halved fruits by hand can get messy. With a manual press juicer, you can add bright, acidic notes of lemon and lime to your meals without stinging your fingers. This tool also catches the seeds for you, making squeezing citrus juice over your food almost as easy as squeezing it from a bottle. Even if you don't use it often while cooking, it's an essential component of any good bar cart.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Locking Tongs; $13

Pair of locking tongs.
OXO, Amazon

Bare hands are underrated tools in the kitchen, but some jobs just can’t be done without tongs. If you’re flipping hot meat on the grill, tossing wings in buffalo sauce, or serving pasta, you’ll need a decent pair of locking tongs to keep your hands clean and unburnt. Fortunately, durable, stainless steel tongs with smooth, pinch-free locks are easy to find for less than $15.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Cast Iron Skillet; $15

A cast iron skillet
Lodge, Amazon

Cast iron skillets seem like they should be expensive. They’re heavy, long-lasting, and they make food taste amazing. Steaks, potatoes, and hamburgers all benefit from the material’s unique heat-conducting properties. But you don’t need to blow your paycheck to own this tool chefs swear by: Some of the best cast irons available cost less than $25. As long as you care for it properly, buying a cast iron skillet is one of the cheapest ways to improve your cooking.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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