6 foolproof gifts for dad—even if he’s super hard to shop for

Young daughter gives her father a gift

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Dads might say they don’t want any gifts — and indeed, most dads are happy with a cold beer and food on the grill. But we think that some fathers claiming they don’t prefer presents are just worried about us blowing our hard-earned money on something frivolous.

Why not kick their happiness up another notch and show them how much you appreciate them? There are tons of practical gifts out there that won’t leave you broke. Here are a few thoughtful gifts to give your dad or a stand-in dad in your life, which will let you surprise him with something he never realized he needed.

For The Jokester: A Book Of Dad Jokes


While he may usually be the only one laughing at the puns he tells at the dinner table, it’s clear he’s got a sense of humor. Help him armor up with new material! There are so many books filled with corny jokes just waiting to be memorized and retold.

For The Home Chef: A Smokeless Indoor Grill


Having a dad who loves to make food can be a blessing, especially if they live close by. While grilling tends to be most dads’ go-to cooking medium of choice, it’s not always ideal to stand outside. So in times of snowstorms and torrential downpours, smokeless indoor grills can get the job done without making the cook fight the elements.

For The Tool Guy: The Best Ratcheting Screwdriver


If your dad likes to fiddle around the house or garage fixing things and often comes over to your place to help, show him your appreciation by buying him a new ratcheting screwdriver. It’ll come in handy when he needs to install or remove a set of screws, eliminating the need to reposition the wrist with every turn.

If you’re wondering which one to pick up, check out our picks for the best ratcheting screwdriver, which have been vetted by a team of experts.

For The Forgetful Guy: Phone Docking Station


Give him the gift of never forgetting where he placed his phone, keys or wallet ever again. Phone docking stations let you keep all your on-the-go essentials in one special spot. He can even charge his phone while it rests.

These often come in attractive wood finishes to match furniture and may have dedicated spots for watches, glasses, and other handy items.

For The One Who Could Use A Hand: A Smart Voice Assistant

AP Images | Mike Stewart

As smart home concepts are becoming more of the norm, voice recognition assistants help us lead a more seamless life. Just speak a few commands to turn off the lights, answer the phone or play music. Sure, this might need to come along with some personalized instruction, but once it’s up and running, he’ll be thrilled he doesn’t have to lift a finger.

For The Guy With A Green Thumb: A Plant


While he might have a good selection of plants already, can you ever really have enough? We didn’t think so. Gift him a new piece of greenery, along with a sturdy pot. Then ask him to keep you updated on how well it thrives. Bonus points if it’s of a flowering variety.

When in doubt, give the gift of time. Take him out for a weekend brunch or a weeknight dinner or head to the movie theater to catch the latest film. Nothing says “You’re the best!” more than spending time together.

MORE:  20 Gifts For Men That They Actually Want

About the Author

Emily O'Brien

Emily is a freelance writer who loves connecting the dots among facts and finding obscure little details to weave in throughout her work. Whether she's interviewing Olympic athletes, small business owners, dessert cookbook writers, or world-renowned architects, she's passionate about shining the spotlight on good people doing remarkable work. More.

More to explore