11 awesome gifts for your awesome Dad

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11 awesome gifts for your awesome Dad

Welcome to the 2016 TechCrunch Holiday Gift Guide! We’ll be rolling out a bunch of guides leading up to Christmas, hopefully making your holiday shopping a little easier. Looking for gifts for others on your list? Check out our full 2016 Gift Guide Hub.

Your dad is great. Your dad is smart. The one thing he probably isn’t, however, is easy to shop for.

Yeah, yeah, you could get him another tie or a gift card to Home Depot or something and call it a day … but, well, you can do better.

Need inspiration? We asked our dads and a bunch of dads on staff at TechCrunch what they’d want this year — here’s some of what they came up with. Tap that right arrow over there to proceed — or if you’re on mobile, just scroll!


This awesome Anker smartphone battery that can also jumpstart a car

One of my earliest memories as a kid is of my Dad pulling over in a parking lot during a terrible storm to help someone jumpstart their dead car.

Meanwhile, I’m also a firm believer that everyone, everyone needs at least one big, beefy USB backup battery in their car at all times to charge a smartphone in a pinch. It can be a literal life saver.

This rechargeable battery from Anker ($70) can charge your smartphone (regardless of brand) a handful of times on a single charge, and it’ll jumpstart your car.


A Fistful of charging cables

My dad still uses the microUSB cable that came with his smartphone. There are two problems with this:

1) The in-the-box cable is usually short as hell. Who wants to be tethered to the wall?
2) He’s gotta drag it around from room to room.

REALLY GOOD cables are cheap these days, as long as you know where to buy them (read: not in the checkout line at Best Buy.)

You can get a 6′ cable — be it a lightning cable for iPhone or a microUSB cable for pretty much everything else — for under ten bucks on Amazon these days. I like Amazon’s own AmazonBasics line, but Anker’s stuff is also really good and affordable here.

Hell, buy him 10 of them and he’ll never have to think about it ever again.


A really good drone because seriously all Dads seem to like drones

Are drones super practical? Eh. Does everyone really need one? Maybe not.

And yet, every single Dad I speak to seems to be drawn to them. There’s something about harnessing the power of flight and having the ability to say you own a little bad ass flying robot that is somehow universal.

Alas, a lot of drones suck. They’re hard to fly, or randomly crash themselves, or have some other glaring flaw that leads to them gathering dust in a closet somewhere.

Our on-staff drone fans say DJI’s Mavic Pro ($999) is one of the best they’ve ever flown. It’s powerful, yet portable and easy to use.

The bad news? Between huge demand and delays on DJI’s end, getting one by the holidays is unlikely — so if you go this route, pops might be unwrapping an IOU on Christmas morning.


A shaving subscription to keep him so fresh and so clean.

Chances are preeeetty good your Dad shaves.

Chances are also pretty good that your Dad shaves with the same blade for way longer than he should. Buying new blades is a pain.

If Dad won’t laugh at the idea of switching up his blade brand, Dollar Shave Club takes a lot of said pain out of the mix and makes sure he’s always got a sharp blade in his hand. For $1 to $9 a month (depending on the type of razor cartridge you want) they’ll drop enough blades on his porch each month for him to switch in a fresh one each week.

And for dads with coarse/curly facial hair, check out Bevel’s subscription shave system; it’s a bit pricier, but it’ll help cut back on razor bumps and skin irritation.


A voice assistant to make him feel like Tony Stark

Voice recognition has made massive strides in the last few years, allowing for an influx of really, really good voice-powered living room assistant devices.

If Dad is hooked into the Google ecosystem — Gmail, Google Calendar, etc — set him up with a Google Home ($129). It’ll play his tunes, tell him the weather, remind him of his calendar events, and answer most random questions he can throw at it.

Alternatively, there’s Amazon’s Echo ($159). It doesn’t tie as deeply into Google’s products, which can be good or bad, depending on your Dad, but it’s been around longer and has a bit of a headstart in terms of skills you can add to its repertoire.


These mega trendy Allbirds

These wool shoes from Allbirds ($95) seem to be on everyone’s feet in the Bay Area right now, and not without reason: they’re comfortable, lightweight, and look pretty damned good.

(Plus, if your Dad has stank-ass Dad feet, they’re pretty good at minimizing odor and can be tossed in the washing machine when they get funky)


The reigning champ: the Chromecast

The Chromecast turns a dumb TV into a really good smart TV (using your smartphone as a remote, letting you push content from lots of third party apps like Netflix and Hulu and HBO with a single tap). It also makes smart TV’s smarter, because the smartphone apps Chromecast taps tend to be much better maintained than the ones built into TVs.

It’s hard to make the Chromecast better. It was on just about every one of our Gift Guides in 2015, and it was one of our favorite gadgets of the year.

And yet… Google went and made it better. 2016’s Chromecast Ultra ($69) brings 4K video support (assuming Dad’s TV supports 4k) and the option to use a wired internet connection for maximum speed.

It’s about twice the price of the standard Chromecast ($35), so weigh your options here. If Dad doesn’t have a 4K tv and isnt going to upgrade any time soon, you could probably get away with a standard Chromecast. If he’s just about to plunk down for a new set, that extra $35 is worth it for the sake of future proofing.


The Waylens dash action camera

Dash cameras — cameras that run automatically whenever you’re driving — are nothing new, but the Waylens Horizon ($449) ups the game.

It’s sleek as heck, shoots beautiful video, has a great companion smartphone app, and my favorite thing: it hooks into your car’s OBD-II port. That lets it gather data like speed, RPM, and your GPS location and overlay them onto the footage it shoots. The end result is a totally customizable video with a HUD that looks like something out of Grand Theft Auto.


The NES Classic

We’re reaching a point in time where, if you’re into video games, it’s quite feasible that your Dad was into video games way before you.

Nintendo’s NES Classic ($60) helps Dad relive the golden age of gaming on his modern TV. It’s preloaded with 30 games — Mario, Donkey Kong, Castlevania, and a bunch of other classics — and brings in new tricks like on-the-fly game saves. It’s also tiny and adorable.

The catch: this thing is really, really hard to get right now. As in Tickle-Me-Elmo-in-1996 level hard. As in it made Amazon’s servers freak out when it launched.


A Spotify account pre-loaded with his jams

While buying someone a Spotify account isn’t the most personal gift, there’s a way to make it a whole lot more meaningful: sign into the account and pre-load it with music you know they love. Fill the playlist collection with all the Dad-rock bands he’d play on roadtrips. If he’s not super tech savvy, teach him how to use it (both on-the-go and in his car)

(This is also a particularly good gift if money is somewhat tight this year; if you’ve already got your own $10 Spotify subscription, you can add 5 family members to it for another $5 bucks — total, not per person. That’s $60 a year for a gift that you can split between 5 people.)


Techshop membership/classes

Even if your Dad has a bunch of power tools, I guarantee there’s a bigger/crazier tool out there he wishes he had access to.

If he’s in the right area (SF, LA, San Jose, or a handful of other major cities), there’s an easy fix for this: TechShop.

TechShop is a chain of workshops that gives its members access to an insane array of tools  — from woodshop tools, to metal working stuff, to crazier things like laser cutters and water jets.

The membership isn’t cheap — it’s around $1,650 a year if you buy it outside of a promotion. You can usually call and ask about ongoing promos to save big bucks, though.

Don’t want to plunk down over a grand? Get his feet wet and give him a chance to fire lasers at things, anyway — they’ve got classes that’ll teach him how to use things like the aforementioned lasercutter, or a 3D printer, or massive CNC machine, and they run around $70 bucks each.