16 best gifts for dads this Christmas: From turntables to ebikes

·13-min read
We looked for presents that suit all budgets, tastes and interests  (iStock/The Independent)
We looked for presents that suit all budgets, tastes and interests (iStock/The Independent)

Dads are notoriously difficult to buy for at this time of year, and they usually occupy a special place on the gift list that remains conspicuously blank until a few days before the main event, when we all decide that it’s about time he needs a new tie – even though we know he hasn’t taken the one from last year out of the wrapping yet.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to put something under the tree that will genuinely get him pumped for the big day? So that he’ll have more than his mid-morning mimosa to get excited about.

As such, we’ve tried to cover all the bases in our gift guide by considering the things that he would probably never buy for himself, after all, dads aren’t just about DIY.

So, if you think dad deserves to be more than an afterthought then look to our round-up, as we’ve scoured the online shelves to come up with plenty of cool and exciting gift ideas, for all budgets and all interests, that will mean he won’t have to feign surprise when he rips off the wrapping this year.

How we tested

To come up with the definitive dad pressie list we were looking for quality products that had some real wow factor, so that his delight in receiving them would rival any grandkids in the room. We were looking for original gifts that wouldn’t get the same lukewarm response as the gifts of Christmas past and instead would illicit a real whoop of excitement and would make him want to play it, wear it, drink it, read it or generally try it out straight away. Just don’t shout at him for being so distracted that he burns the turkey.

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The best Christmas gifts for dads for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Lenco LS-55WA turntable: £104.84, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for outdoor cooks – Traeger ironwood 650 pellet grill: £1,199, Hayesgardenworld.co.uk

  • Best for bookworm dads – ‘And Away’ by Bob Mortimer, published by Gallery: £10, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for exhausted dads – Canyon pathlite:ON 5: £2,499, Canyon.com

  • Best for fitness fans – MuscleSquad adjustable single dumbbell: £200, Musclesquad.com

  • Best for beer connoisseurs – Firebrand core beer mixed case: £32, Firebrandbrewing.co.uk

  • Best for forgetful dads – Tile mate locator: £19.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for dad’s playlist – Samsung AKG Y400 wireless headphones: £89.95, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for thirsty dads – Stanley classic easy-pour growler: £49.95, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for dads in need of a shot – Illy X7.1 Iperespresso capsule coffee machine: £156, Illy.com

  • Best for dad’s movie night – Sonos beam gen 2: £449, Sonos.com

  • Best for 007 dads – Royal Doulton Jack the Bulldog: £109.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for rap fans – Rapper Stacks nineties edition card game: £9.99, Stackslondon.com

  • Best grooming gift – Braun series 9 shaver with cleaning centre: £224.99, Braunshop.co.uk

  • Best stocking filler – Pantherella sport luxe socks: £14.50, Pantherella.com

Lenco LS-55WA turntable

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

If your dad is fully behind the comeback of vinyl then this good-looking, wooden, belt-driven turntable with a built-in amplifier means that all he has to do is dig out his old record box and relive the tunes of his formative years. The turntable offers up full, room-filling sound and the in-built USB player means that you can rip music from the vinyl to MP3, which is great for those more obscure tracks which can’t be found on streaming music services.

Buy now £104.84, Amazon.co.uk

Traeger ironwood 650 pellet grill

Best: For outdoor cooks

Rating: 9/10

If he’s been a very good boy this year then you might think about really splashing out on this barbecue which combines two dad passions – gadgets and grilling – and will give him an excuse to finally retire that rusty old kettle barbecue that won’t survive another winter. Traeger’s wifire (do you see what they’ve done there?) allows you to control the cookout from anywhere within wifi range, setting a grill temperature, monitoring the temp of the in-built meat probe and keeping you updated on pellet levels from the hopper.

We really liked the super smoke mode that allows you to boost the smoke rolling over the food at the touch of a button to impart even more flavour to meat and veggies. The innovative construction that turns the Ironwood into an all-season outdoor oven means that ambitious chefs could give their Christmas dinner a delicious, smoky spin that will even make the sprouts edible. Now all you’ve got to do is figure out how you’re going to wrap it.

Buy now £1199.00, Hayesgardenworld.co.uk

‘And Away’ by Bob Mortimer, published by Gallery

Best: For bookworms

Rating: 9/10

Bob Mortimer will no doubt be granted “national treasure” status soon, and this tell-all biography details why, as he reveals the events that have shaped his life in prose that is in turn laugh out loud funny and incredibly moving. From the loss of his dad in a car accident when he was just eight-years-old to his first meeting with Vic Reeves, it’s everything you would want from the man who is the highlight of every show you see him on, from Would I Lie To You? to Gone Fishing.

Buy now £10.00, Amazon.co.uk

Canyon pathlite:ON 5

Best: For exhausted dads

Rating: 8/10

There comes a time in every dad’s life where he realises that he needs a bit of a boost if he’s going to keep up with the kids and this is especially true when it comes to a day out on the bikes. Canyon’s new ebike, which is available in two colours (tundra green and lake blue), will eat up all kinds of terrain and ride well with plenty of stability and disc brakes that can easily get you out of trouble. The cockpit is ergonomic and clean with easily reachable gear shifters and brake levers, plus there is an excellent front light and a rear light integrated into the seat post, so it’s all set up for winter riding. Most importantly, underlying all these features is a punchy Bosch motor and a 500Wh battery that will easily power you through a day’s ride and outlast younger legs.

Buy now £2499.00, Canyon.com

MuscleSquad adjustable dumbbell

Best: For fitness fans

Rating: 7/10

This dumb bell does away with the need to have an entire rack of weights clogging up the spare room and instead allows you to choose between 5kg to 32.5kg in 2.5kg increments, so you can progress your workouts over time. The laser cut plates are easy to select using the dial and the efficient locking mechanism ensures that you won’t have to worry about dropping weight plates on your feet when you’re half way through a particularly gruelling set.

Buy now £200.00, Musclesquad.com

Firebrand core beer mixed case

Best: For beer connoisseurs

Rating: 7/10

You can now add craft beer to pasties and clotted cream as some of Cornwall’s finest food and drink exports. The Firebrand brewery has gone from humble beginnings in a converted milking parlour to producing some of the country’s best brews borne out of all-natural ingredients, Cornish spring water and American hops. This case includes the brewer’s flagship beer, the “patchwork rocket” pale, as well as a tropical-tasting west coast session IPA; a hazy, juicy “thundercloud” NEIPA and a celestial equator pale, all ranging in ABV from 4.2 per cent to a heady 5.5 per cent.

Buy now £32.00, Firebrandbrewing.co.uk

Tile mate locator

Best: For forgetful dads

Rating: 6/10

The dad brain is crammed with a lot of information (admittedly, most of it useless) which is why he can’t be blamed for continually forgetting his keys, wallet or phone. However, you can give him a helping hand by putting this gadget in his stocking, which simply attaches to car keys or slips inside a wallet and then the next time he misplaces them, all he has to do is tap “find” on the dedicated app and the Tile will ring if it’s within 200ft of the Bluetooth signal. Conversely, if it’s a lost phone that’s making him late for work all he has to do is press the button on the Tile to set off the ringer on the phone.

Buy now £19.99, Amazon.co.uk

Samsung AKG Y400 wireless headphones

Best: For dad’s playlist

Rating: 7/10

These on-ear phones are extremely comfortable with a superb sound profile that will be able to handle anything from the Stones to Slipknot. The connection was faultless and we didn’t suffer any interruptions, even in built-up areas crowded with lots of signals. The cans themselves rotate to lie flat for storage when packing them away and they also fold up inside the headband for excellent space saving. Playback pauses when you take the headphones off and we managed to get 21 hours of battery life on a full charge, which takes just over two hours.

Buy now £109.00, Amazon.co.uk

Stanley classic easy-pour growler

Best: For thirsty dads

Rating: 7/10

A growler allows you to keep drinks hot or cold for a long time and in the Stanley’s case that’s 18 hours hot and 24 hours cold. What separates a growler from a traditional thermos is that they are specifically designed to transport draft beer and capture the fizz and freshness of the brew ready for when you pop the top. The Stanley did a great job and was able to carry 1.9l (that’s over three pints) with the wide mouth making it easy to fill and pour and the grab handle making sure that you didn’t spill any of the precious liquid when pouring it at your destination.

Buy now £49.95, Amazon.co.uk

Illy X7.1 iperespresso capsule coffee machine

Best: For dads in need of a shot

Rating: 9/10

Coffee machines are usually on show in the kitchen and, in our opinion, this is one of the best-looking out there. It also utilises one of the best coffee capsule systems, iperespresso, which is easy to use and produces quality espresso. The machine is a doddle to operate with the icons in the circle lighting up progressively to indicate the increase in boiler temperature. Once the espresso cup lights up, you’re ready to brew with the single dose capsules, making it possible to get a full-bodied shot with rich crema in under a minute. You can set and memorise the quantity you want by keeping the espresso button pressed and there is a steam wand on hand to froth the milk for cappuccinos or latte.

Buy now £156.00, Illy.com

Sonos beam gen 2

For: Dad’s movie night

Rating: 8/10

In this update to the now three-year-old original, Sonos’ second generation soundbar packs a massive audio punch and will definitely help make the most of that Saturday night Bond binge by employing surround sound technology, Dolby Atmos, so that it comes from a single source. Easy to set up and optimise to your living or media room we tested the Beam with the challenging score that accompanies the film Tenet and it handled it supremely well, giving the film an even more immersive experience by amping up the action set-pieces and even making the dialogue easier to hear.

Buy now £449.00, Sonos.com

Royal Doulton Jack the bulldog

Best: For 007 dads

Rating: 7/10

Remember that poignant scene at the end of Skyfall when Bond is bequeathed M’s bulldog desk ornament? If your dad’s a massive Bond nut then he certainly will and now he can have his own Jack the bulldog, made by Royal Doulton, that is an exact replica of the one seen in the movie. The ceramic is hand decorated with some meticulous attention to detail that involves the same chips, cracks and scorching as the original, which survived being blown up in the movie to go on to feature in both Spectre and No Time To Die and become a must-have 007 collectible.

Buy now £109.99, Amazon.co.uk

Rapper Stacks Nineties edition card game

Best: For rap fans

Rating: 7/10

Top trumps with a twist, this quality deck of nostalgia takes 34 of the Nineties’ most famous (and infamous) rappers and scores them according to “lyrical ability”, “notoriety”, “bling” and “impact”, so that you can pit them against one another in the traditional game format. All the big names are represented, from Biggie Smalls and Tupac to Dr Dre and Ice Cube and each is wonderfully hand illustrated to really give the pack a premium feel.

Buy now £9.99, Stackslondon.com

Braun series 9 shaver with cleaning centre

Best: Grooming gift

Rating: 6/10

The latest from Braun offers up a very comfortable shaving experience thanks to the sonic vibrations that the razor uses to glide effortlessly over the skin and provide a close shave even in harder to reach areas around the jawline. The series 9 offers an efficient shave that maximises the number of hairs cut on each stroke while minimising any redness or irritation. The shaver can be used wet or dry and cleaning was easy as the whole unit is 100 per cent waterproof.

Buy now £224.99, Braunshop.co.uk

Pantherella sport luxe socks

Best: Stocking filler

Rating: 5/10

Well, we couldn’t leave these out, could we? And the new line of sport luxe socks from the long-established Leicestershire hosiery brand are both comfortable and good looking with a striped design and the manufacturer’s signature at the toe. Available in six different colour combinations they’ll be a welcome addition to the sock drawer and will make dad’s Christmas Day complete.

Buy now £14.50, Pantherella.com

The verdict: Christmas gifts for dad

Many dads will have an old record box of vinyl tucked away in a garage or under the bed so the Lenco LS-55WA turntable is the perfect gift to allow him to reconnect with the music that made him. Combining solid sound from the in-built speakers and eye-catching design, the turntable fits anywhere in the house from the bedroom to the lounge and offers a real nostalgic experience in the streaming era.

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Tech geek in the family? We’ve found the best presents to treat them to this Christmas

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