A daughter found a great gifts for dad.
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Handy, Happy Dad Picks

Smart, Useful Gifts for Dads and Father Figures

Andrew Zoellner
December 11, 2023

If you’re looking for a little help with gift ideas for the dads or father figures in your life, we’ve put together a few picks that hit the mark for these notoriously hard-to-shop-for folks (with an eye toward the smart, useful, and energy-conscious).

Gifts for Dads

Smart thermostat

Smart Thermostat

There’s a reason that there are so many jokes about dads knowing somebody adjusted the thermostat: Heating and cooling homes is expensive! Fortunately, he will no longer need to wonder if somebody has been playing with the thermostat because he’ll be in full control. A smart thermostat automatically learns a household’s habits and can be set to heat or cool to specific temperatures at specific times. If your dad isn’t a smart home tech person yet, a smart thermostat is a great first step. He’ll see the utility right away, and he’ll save money on his utility bills.

Smart speaker

Sonos Smart Speaker

I’ll admit it - I was a late smart speaker convert. (I also had a collection of records and a pretty sweet stereo setup.) When life got busier and sitting perfectly between two speakers listening to my favorite band on vinyl just wasn’t feasible, a smart speaker saved my listening. Now we have a few Sonos speakers throughout the house, and it’s so darn convenient. They sound pretty good, too! I listen to way more music and podcasts than I used to. Highlight recommended for dads and non-dads alike.

Power box

Portable Backup Power

If there’s one thing I know about dads, it’s that they like to be prepared. Power outages are all too common these days, and we have more electronic gadgets than ever. Battery technology has gotten so good that you can fit a day’s worth of power for essential items in your home into a backup battery that’s the size of a 12-pack. This Ecoflow battery includes a solar panel, so you can recharge off the grid, too. It’s not just for emergencies - you can use it camping, tailgating, or wherever you find yourself in need of some portable power.

Outlet gaskets

Outlet Gaskets

This may seem like an odd choice, but hear me out. Air-sealing your home has a huge return on investment in utility bills, and these gaskets are great. Any outlets or light switches you have on exterior walls in your home are potential sources of air leakage. Installing these is easy - just remove the cover plate with a flathead screwdriver, put on the gasket, and reinstall the cover plate. It’s a quick, easy home improvement project (one of the very few there actually are). He’ll get the satisfaction of working with his hands, saving some money, and knowing that you care just as much about air-sealing as he does.

Thermal camera

Thermal Camera

A thermal camera checks so many boxes: cool tech, helpful data, x-ray vision, and more. (Not x-ray vision in a traditional sense, but sensing temperature changes within a structure lets you “see” through it.) A thermal camera will show your dad where there are issues in a home’s building envelope. Why is this wall always cold? Do you feel a draft? Something seems off here? He’ll be able to get to the bottom of all of those questions with a thermal camera.

Air monitor

Air-Quality Monitor

Indoor air quality is super important, but not all air quality monitors are created equal. This one, by AirThings, keeps tabs on all the important metrics and alerts you when things are spiking. If your dad likes gadgets and wants to make sure his family is safe, an air quality monitor is a great idea.


Darn Tough Socks

Socks? For a dad? At Christmas? Yes, it’s a cliche, but for good reason. Putting on a pair of new socks is one of life’s little luxuries. These Darn Tough Socks (yes, that’s a brand name) are warm, breathable, and long-lasting. And, if they ever wear out, they come with a lifetime replacement guarantee. It’s truly the gift that can keep on giving.

Smart plug

Smart Plugs

We’ve espoused the genius and joy of smart plugs, but one of the reasons I really like this particular plug is the energy monitoring built into the Kasa app. You can see the hourly, daily, weekly, and lifetime energy use of whatever is plugged in. You get all of the great benefits of automation (and demand response!), as well as the ability to get into the weeds with how much energy you’re using.

Bonus: this one integrates with OhmConnect!

Smart garage door opener

Smart Garage Door Keypad

Dads love telling you to shut the garage door. With the MyQ keypad, he’ll know if the door is open or closed and who the last person to go in or out was. It works with the major brands of garage door openers, and is a great way to keep tabs remotely. It’s just the right amount of smart tech and usefulness that most dads will enjoy.

Editor’s note: If you make a purchase through our affiliate partner links, we may receive a commission. This does not impact the recommendations we make.

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