Father's Day 2016 gift ideas for the discerning geek

It's time to end the cycle of bad Father's Day gifts. Here are some geeky, techie, and otherwise awesome gift ideas

Father's Day 2016 gift ideas for the discerning geek
Going above and beyond the typical Dad gift

I’ve been a father for a decade now, so I’ve become accustomed to getting a lot of Father’s Day gifts from my wife and kids. At first it was the “draw something cute for Dad” type of gifts, or my wife took over and got me some really cool stuff. With the kids getting older, though, I’m entering the “typical gifts for Dad” era of my life, where I’ll end up with things like, “Hey, Dad, here’s a tie,” or “Hey, want this cool coffee mug?” even though I don’t wear ties or drink coffee.

With the explosion of “geeks are cool now!” over the past 10 years, there are tons of different Geek Dad-related gifts that can help you avoid receiving a tie, coffee mug, or “World’s Greatest Dad” statue this June 19 (although, I gotta admit, I loved buying that for my Dad when I was a kid).

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Think Geek R2-D2 BB-8 gadgets USB
Credit: ThinkGeek
For the Star Wars-loving Gadget Dad:

These gifts will give you the “wow, this is awesome” response from your "Star Wars"-obsessed father. The R2-D2 speakerphone ($25) is a simple Bluetooth speaker emblazoned with the dome of our favorite astromech droid, so you can play music on the back porch or even listen to Dave from Marketing on your next conference call.

The BB-8 car charger ($39.99) sits in an empty cup holder slot, recharging your mobile phone while also giving you the feeling of having a wingman/droid controlling your Honda Accord (you can pretend to be Poe Dameron if you want).

See it on Amazon: R2-D2 speakerphone

Geeky power outlet stickers Etsy
Credit: Etsy
For the Dad who has cheapskate kids

With prices that range between $4 and $6, these stickers can make your electrical outlets, much, much geekier. Our favorites: Batman, Doctor Who, Finn & Jake, and Heisenberg. However, with all of the gadgets and power strips that most of us techie dads own, it might end up being a bit difficult to find open outlets (and it might look weird with plugs coming out of these faces).

Star Wars helmet polo shirts
Credit: ThinkGeek
For the "I have to dress up somewhat at work but subtly want to show my fandom" Dad:

Wearing a tiny alligator on your shirt is so 1980s. Instead, jump back to the 1970s and show off your "Star Wars" fandom with these shirts ($29.99) featuring a tiny helmet instead of a ‘gator. Styles include R2-D2, Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper helmet, and our favorite, in color and style, Boba Fett.

The Dipr Oreo cookie spoon
Credit: Amazon
For the Oreo-cookie loving Dad

It's hard to believe I’ve lived this long on the planet without using one of these. If you’re sick and tired of dunking your Oreo cookies with your fingers and getting milk all over them, this spoon is for you. The Dipr ($5.62) holds the cookie in place while you dip, allowing you to dip all the way as well without having it break apart.

See it on Amazon: The Dipr: Ultimate Cookie Spoon

Game Golf and Zepp
Credit: Game Golf and Zepp
For the Techie Dad who loves golf

We're not going to give you a putter or driver for Father's Day. Nope, we're going to use technology to make you a better duffer. The Game Golf system ($199) includes a device you place on your hip, with little plastic sensors that attach to the top of your club. Used with a smartphone app, the sensor reads a bunch of data about your swing, positioning, and more, as well as calculating the distance of your shot (after you find the ball, of course). The Zepp 2 sensor and system ($149.99) is a wearable deivce that attaches to your glove and provides instant analysis and evaluations, as well as personalized video training programs from PGA/LPGA professionals and tour instructors.

See it on Amazon: Zepp Golf 2 Swing Analyzer

iBobber fish gadget Bluetooth
For the Techie Dad who likes to fish:

This bobber includes sonar technology to scan the waters to help locate the fish, then transmits the data via Bluetooth back to your smartphone, giving you a map of where the fish might be. Sadly it doesn’t catch the fish for you -- you still need skills, bait, and all that other fish stuff.

See it on Amazon: iBobber Wireless Bluetooth Smart Fish Finder for iOS and Android devices

Naturalrays wireless speaker
For the outdoor, music-loving Dad who likes Monsters, Inc.

The Naturalrays Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ($21.99, Amazon Prime) is an ultraportable and lightweight Bluetooth speaker that looks like a giant Mike Wazowski, but instead it’s a Bluetooth speaker for your backpack or bike or for outside near the pool. It’s waterproof, dust-free, and shockproof, so go ahead and abuse it.

See it on Amazon: Naturalrays wireless Bluetooth speaker

Altec Lansing Mini Life Jacket 2
Credit: Altec Lansing
For the rugged, outdoor music-loving Dad

We know that there are hundreds of different Bluetooth wireless speakers available now, but the Mini Lifejacket 2 ($105) from Altec Lansing intrigues us for two of its features. First, it floats in water -- the waterproof speaker can also produce music while floating in the pool. Second, it has a very long battery life and a USB port, so you can recharge your smartphone while also using it as a speaker. Plus, we like the color.

See it on Amazon: Altec Lansing Mini Lifejacket 2

LEGO Marvel Avengers video game Hulk Iron Man
Credit: LEGO
For the Gamer Dad who wants to play something with the kids

If you’ve enjoyed taking your kids to all of the Marvel superhero movies, then you can replay a lot of those earlier films in LEGO format. LEGO Marvel Avengers (from $30 to $60) is great for kids, and dads will enjoy a lot of the puzzles, including dialog from the films, as well. Kick in the extra money for the downloadable content, especially the "Ant-Man" level (and new bonus "Spider-Man" characters).

See it on Amazon: LEGO Marvel Avengers (for PS4)

USB car chargers Knight Rider Back to the Future
Credit: ThinkGeek
For the Dad who's stuck in the 1980s:

Any dad who was a fan of either "Knight Rider" or the "Back to the Future" films will appreciate one of these USB chargers. The Knight Rider K.I.T.T. USB Car Charger ($29.99) will recharge your USB-enabled gadgets, but also includes light bars that synchronize to audio from the TV show (11 different phrases).

The Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger ($14.99) won’t play back audio, but does have two USB ports that can charge two devices at the same time. Great Scott!

tudia clip slide12
Credit: TUDIA Products
For the grumpy Dad who's always complaining about charging cables that break:

The TUDIA Klip ($7 for a pair) is a two-piece clip (made from silicone and polycarbonate) that will snap onto original Apple Lightning and 30-pin charging cables. This helps reduce the strain on the cables from fraying and breaking, protecting your cable investment.

See it on Amazon: TUDIA Klip

mathclockslide13
Credit: Amazon
For the Dad who's a Math wizard:

The Decodyne Math Clock ($15.95, Amazon Prime) is designed to help you remember certain math functions, although most techies should understand this since there’s a big hand and little hand to guide you.

See it on Amazon: Decodyne Math Clock

Playaboule V3 DLX lighted bocce ball set
For the Dad who is two-time Network World bocce champion:

OK, that category is a bit specific. However, if you love playing bocce and are bummed whenever the sun goes down (or if you're not playing on a lighted bocce court), your solution is to get this set. The V3 Lighted Bocce Ball Set includes balls with internal lights that can be activated via a switch. You can have the balls flash or remain solid, helping you track who's winning and where that white ball is located.

See it on Amazon: Playaboule V3 DLX lighted bocce ball set

Star Wars Smuggler's Bounty subscription box
Credit: Keith Shaw
For the Dad who wants to get stuff year-round:

Subscriptions used to be for things like magazines, newspapers, or even regular streaming services (say, Spotify or Netflix). Now, you can subscribe to a monthly (or bi-monthly or quarterly) box of goodies: The subscription box has arrived. Our two favorites are Star Wars Smuggler's Bounty and the Marvel Collector Corps, created by Funko. For each subscription box, you typically get a T-shirt, collectible Funko Pop figures (usually exclusive), patches, pins and other smaller items. Other cool geeky/techie boxes include Loot Crate, Geek Fuel, and Nerd Block. If your Dad isn't into geeky stuff, they have subscription boxes for food and socks, too.

SmartChef CharBroil smoker
Credit: CharBroil
For the chef Dad who wants to party while cooking

We've seen meat thermometers for the grill that connect to smartphones via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi that let you walk away while cooking, but what about if you enjoy smoking meats? From CharBroil comes the Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef technology ($399.99). The included thermometer connects via Wi-Fi to the SmartChef app, giving you real-time temperature updates and alerts sent to your phone over the cloud.

See it on AmazonChar-Broil Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef Technology

Ultimate Ears UE Roll 2 with UE Floatie
For the Poolside Party Dad

That thing floating in the water right below the model is the UE Roll 2, from Ultimate Ears ($100). The Blueooth mobile speaker is waterproof, drop-proof, dirt-proof, and more (it's IPX7 certified). Two things Dad will like: It has a wireless range of up to 100 feet away, and it comes with its own UE Floatie, so the speaker can float on the pool. It looks like you could also use the floatie to put a beer can in it (we haven't tested that feature yet).

See it on AmazonUE ROLL Wireless Mobile Bluetooth Speaker

ThinIce weight loss vest
Credit: Thin Ice
For the Couch Potato Dad

If you happen to be less in shape than the models in the previous slide, then you might want to check out the Thin Ice weight loss vest and system ($120, available in November 2016). Normally I wouldn't really want my kids to give me something that reminds me how heavy I am, not to mention it won't be available until Thanksgiving, but this one has a techie vibe that intrigues me. The system claims to help improve metabolism by "cooling stimulus points on the chest and back, causing the body to react by burning calories to keep its temperature steady." It comes with an Bluetooth-enabled app that helps you control the temperature. Plus, this makes you look like Iron Man.

Thermacell mosquito lantern Scout
Credit: Thermacell
For the Dad who's always getting bitten by mosquitos

Normally I'd say this would be a stretch to give as a Father's Day present, but with Father's Day so close to the summer camping or outdoor season, we'll give this one a pass. The Thermacell Scout Camp Lantern ($40) is the latest mosquito-repelling light that aims to repel those nasty bugs and other biting insects from getting to your tasty skin. The Scout creates a 15-by-15-foot "zone of protection" and provides a bright LED light. Skip the smelly, oily repellants (unless you leave the 15-by-15 zone)!

See it on AmazonThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor and Camping Lantern

Ventev PowerCell 3015-plus
Credit: Ventev
For the Dad who is always losing battery life on his smartphone

We use a lot of different battery packs with our smartphone, but one big concern is how much juice is left in the packs. Ventev has solved this problem with the PowerCell 3015+ ($40), which includes a digital LED battery life indicator (press the power button once). The battery gives you about 12 hours of extra talk time for your phone, and the power plug can quickly recharge the battery unit.

redbubbleslide3
Credit: RedBubble
For the casual, I just want to wear a fun T-shirt Dad:

These two shirts from RedBubble (about $25) seem to embody a lot of “dads” these days – those who hit YouTube in order to figure out how to do something (like I did when I was trying to fix my lawnmower carburetor), or simply the updated “World’s Greatest Dad” shirt. You'll find plenty of other geek-related T-shirts here (and another cool site, Threadless).

Spec Pocket VR with CandyShell Grip
Credit: Speck
For the Dad who wants to frugally experiment with VR

There are lots of other virtual reality setups available, but they come at a pretty penny. If you want to show Dad what a lot of the hype is about, check out this device, from Speck. It includes a CandyShell GRIP iPhone case ($70; also available for Samsung Galaxy phones), but adds a VR component with a slide-out goggle-like contraption. It's easy to set up, and works with most Google Cardboard VR (viewer) apps.

See it on Amazon: Speck CandyShell Grip Pocket VR

ZUS Smart Car Charger Locator
Credit: Nonda
For the Dad who can never find his car

The ZUS Smart Car Charger ($30) not only has two USB ports for recharging your mobile devices (the angled design on the ports make it cool enough), but it also includes GPS tracking through the ZUS app. A red arrow will point you in the general direction of your car, perfect for those times at the mall, grocery store, or stadium when you've forgotten where you parked.

See it on AmazonNonda ZUS Smart Car Locator & USB Car Charger, 24W 4.8A, 2 Ports - Black