By on June 6, 2019

happy father's day

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Listen up, ungrateful youngsters — dear old Dad has a special day coming up and you need to remember to get something for him. He’s brought you to hockey practice, bailed you out of the drunk tank, and deftly handled the gruff owner of a taxi company into one of whose cars you reversed into at 1:00 am the previous night. That last one was a suspiciously specific example. Anyway.

We’ve pawed through Amazon and found a few items that he’ll actually want, which means there will be no pen holders shaped like Mount Rushmore or loudly patterned ties on this list. Also, I’m a Dad myself, so I know what to look for. Now, get to reading this list before I count to 10 and turn this car around for good. Don’t make me come back there.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

1. Editor’s Pick: Sony Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

sony noise cancelling headphones

Here’s a tip, wise guy: sometimes Dad wants to block you out. While he is endlessly supportive and will listen when required, there are occasions when he simply wants to take an hour or three to have a brew and enjoy his favorite music.

Noise cancelling means he can’t hear anyone complain, providing a virtually soundproof experience. These things are enabled for Alexa, so while the rest of the family might not listen to him, at least Amazon will. A neat feature of these headphones is the ability for the wearer to turn down the music by simply covering the right ear cup with one’s hand if, say, someone is trying to asking him something. Again. There are cheaper options out there but he deserves these good ones, ya friggin’ cheapskate.

Pros: Slick looks, awesome sound, neat features

Cons: Costs a bundle

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2. Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger

anker powercore 5000 portable charger

Reaching for one’s phone only to get a fistful of no-go is one of modern life’s great annoyances. Besides, Dad is always exhorting “fer chrissakes, call me when you get there” but it would be difficult to do so if his phone is deader than a doorknob. Enter the invention of portable power banks.

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This high capacity power pack contains 5000 mAh of power, enough to provide over an entire replacement charge for iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S9 or almost two charges for iPhone 8. Its ultra-compact tubular design slides into his overflowing pockets or bag since it is just 10 cm tall and 3 cm wide. It’ll provide fast 2A charging as well, getting the battery on his device back in the green in no time.

Pros: Cheap insurance, compact size, plenty of power

Cons: With a fully charged phone, he’ll be able to email you those ridiculous memes

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3. Shop-Vac 8 Gallon 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum

shop-vac 8 gallon 6 peak hp stainless wet dry vacuum

Having a Shop-Vac on hand is the Dad equivalent of a teenager having an extra Instagram account – it’s not often used but incredibly useful when needed. These wet-dry units suck up all manner of debris, from wayward Lego blocks to an entire carton of spilled milk. They’re good in the garage too, of course, providing the power for any number of cleaning jobs.

This one is an 8-gallon unit, powered by a robust motor that allegedly belts out six horsepower. A secure latching system literally keeps a lid on things while a very useful rear blower port converts the vacuum into a powerful blower. I have one and trust me – this feature can blow leaves like a hurricane.

Pros: Comes with accessories, it really sucks but also blows

Cons: They’re bloody noisy

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4. Polaris PS-4 Oil Filter Change Kit

polaris ps-4 oil filter change kit

You know what Dads are? Yes, okay, sometimes they’re a pain in the backside but they are also eminently practical. That’s why they’ll appreciate tools or consumable supplies to help keep their toys running. As an example, one can purchase this oil change kit for a Polaris ATV or Side-by-Side.

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It provides two quarts of 5w-50 oil for the Polaris 4-stroke engine along with an oil filter and a jaunty box in which you can wrap it all up or place it in a gift bag if you’re lazy. Straight from Polaris so you know it’s the good stuff, buyers still need to make sure they’re selecting the correct fitment, particularly for the filter. This kit is good for the vast majority of Polaris rigs like the RZR but double-check what your Dad’s parked in the garage to make sure.

Pros: The engine in his off-road ATV won’t seize up like Golden State in Game 3

Cons: You’re making work for him

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5. Chelmon Slim Wallet RFID Front Pocket Wallet

chelmon slim wallet

Despite popular belief and a raft of memes, not every Dad has a Costanza wallet in which they’ve kept every single receipt since 1982. This spellcheck-vexing Chelmon slim wallet is sized perfectly to hold a quartet of credit cards and a few bills, either of which he’ll be using to bail your sorry butt out of the county clink after a night of partying.

Allegedly, this thing keeps identity theft at bay, with an RFID blocking shield that foils nefarious types who may attempt to scan his cards while he’s waiting in line at the lumber yard of The Home Depot. It looks like a hard case but is actually made of soft leather so it won’t poke his most principal parts when he’s kneeling down to tie a shoelace.

Pros: Very useful, slim design

Cons: Easy to carry

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6. Flora Guard Bulb Planter with Depth Mark

flora guard bulb planter

Believe it or not, every Dad in the world isn’t obsessed with hunting rifles and beer fridges. A good many of them, mine included, are gentle souls who’d much rather spend their rare spare evening doing a bit of gardening and planting flowers. The world needs more people like my Dad.

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This flower bulb planter has a spring-loaded handle which digs out a bit of earth just the right size for planting a new bulb into the ground. The bottom of the planter is a gear type which makes for efficient transplanting of existing greenery. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry.

Pros: Anti-corrosive plating, easy to use, good for both planting and moving flowers

Cons: You should also get him a pair of gloves, knucklehead

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7. Xbox One S 1TB Console (Renewed), White

xbox one s 1tb console

Yep, your author is putting an Xbox on this list because he’d like to have one for Father’s Day if he didn’t already have one himself. A modern console like the Xbox (VS lawyers are reminding me to mention that other gaming consoles are also available) acts as much more than just a time suck for Forza Horizon and Fortnite sessions.

Microsoft has assembled plenty of entertainment apps to download, including the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. Those services require an additional subscription fee, of course. Know what doesn’t? YouTube. For the gearhead Dad, the IMSA channel is packed full of entire race weekends complete with commentary. This Xbone features a 1 TB hard drive at just a $10 premium over a unit with half the digital storage space.

Pros: Myriad of uses, multiple options for his TV time

Cons: He might disappear for a week after discovering Forza 7

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8. Readywares Waxed Canvas Utility Apron

readywares waxed canvas utility apron

The term ‘waxed canvas’ brings to mind Bob Ross but, in this case, it refers to a sturdy apron that he can wear when out in the garden (see above) or tackling an oil change out in the garage (ditto). He could also wear it while playing the Xbox mentioned earlier but that would be a bit weird.

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A trio of pockets, two on the waist and one on the chest, stand ready to hold tools or a smartphone if he’s feeling particularly brave. Cross-back straps measuring a good six feet in length means this bad boy will fit Dads of all sizes. Get him the good one that covers the entirety of his torso, not just the small apron.

Pros: Made with robust materials, keeps the inevitable BBQ mess at bay

Cons: He might be motivated to fix that leaky tap for which he should totally call a plumber

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[Images provided by the manufacturer. Lead image:]

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17 Comments on “Dads Be Daddin’: Father’s Day Gifts He’ll Actually Want...”

  • avatar

    I agree that a wet and dry vacuum is a good gift, but 6hp? That would be 4,476 watts or 37.3 amps from a standard 120 volt outlet. Obviously not going to happen.

    Perhaps the former Sears vacuum cleaner marketers have moved on to Shop Vac? They were infamous for their lies. One story is they measured the instantaneous peak current at start up which is quite high due to the motor being stopped and producing no back emf. Multiply this by 120 and voila! we’ve got 6hp. Actually the continuous horsepower can be no more than 2 or so if you want to use it on a standard 120 volt 15 amp outlet.

    • 0 avatar

      its “peak horsepower”

      **”Peak Horsepower” (PHP) is a term used in the wet-dry vacuum industry for consumer comparison purposes. It does not denote the operational horsepower of a wet-dry vacuum but rather the horsepower output of a motor, including the motor’s inertial contribution, achieved in laboratory testing. In actual use, Shop-Vac motors do not operate at the peak horsepower shown.

  • avatar

    Daddy’s getting himself a car between now and Father’s Day.

    What do I want my family to get me? One of those Texas style smokers with an separate firebox.

  • avatar

    Hint on the wireless Sony noise cancelling headphones: Ebay is your friend. I’m listening to a pair so bought right now – $65 for a $200 pair. Dad loves a good deal.

    • 0 avatar

      I will caution in the realm of things bought online Hot Rod Magazine did a test where they purchased specific performance parts online and in brick and mortar stores. The only fakes (as determined by engineers from the brands purchased) were bought online. No fakes from brick and mortar stores.


      • 0 avatar

        That’s why you check the seller ratings, buy from folks with the highest review ratings, and stick with “refurbished” stuff. I’ve bought all kinds of stuff that way and haven’t gotten screwed yet.

        But yeah, you can get jacked. I found a pair of $400 Bose headphones on Ebay for $50. The seller, who was in Poland, said they were “new”. Zero seller rating. Sure thing, fella.

  • avatar

    I got my 92 year old dad a portable compressor. He drives so rarely that his tires go flat

  • avatar

    #1 is the only type of gift on this list that I think I would want, although I could do with one that costs less and I have zero use for Alexa (or Siri, or Cortana, etc). But I do fly a lot, and have been in the market for noise-cancelling headphones.

    #5 is neat, but that would only be a ‘going on a date night’ wallet. It doesn’t really hold enough otherwise.

  • avatar

    A comment on the pic at the top of the article. Why would you give a German electrical socket (the white thing with 2 holes at the bottom left) to your dad for Father’s Day?

    Most ‘merican dudes would have no idea what it is much less what to do with it. Maybe a gag gift to drive ole dad crazy??

  • avatar

    A nice day with my son sans his wife would be nice…..

    She won’t allow it and I need no presents .


  • avatar

    Thanx, we’ll see .

    It didn’t start well with her, I won’t take my son’s business into the street but I feel badly for and worry about him .


  • avatar

    Off-topic: you have those round euro wall plugs in Canada? I always thought Canada followed the stellar American example in everything except hockey sticks and the Metternich system.

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