Father’s Day Gift Guide 2011

Inventive yet reliable ideas about what to give your father on June 19.

Photo: flickr.com

The annual ritual of buying gifts for Father’s Day is underway. When it comes to home products and gadgets, shopping doesn’t have to be a daunting task, especially if you know what Dad loves to do: Is he one of those hard-core do-it-yourselfers who wants the latest tools? A sports aficionado? A culinary or gardening maven? Or a dad who just likes to take it easy?

Simply browsing through the stores or internet offerings of Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Sears, Ace Hardware, and other retailers, as well as surfing the websites of The Sharper Image, Amazon, and other online-only retailers, can provide a seemingly endless number of gift ideas.

The DIY Dad
Combination tool sets, which are useful for a variety of projects, are usually a popular Father’s Day gift.  Ryobi, for example, offers various tool sets, including its Auto Hammer & Compact Drill Combo Kit, and Black & Decker offers a 24-volt 133-Piece Project Kit.  Individual tools are also available for various levels of expertise, such as a Bosch Brute Tough™ Hammer Drill/Driver.

Whether one has a large or small number of tools, organization is often an issue, and Home Depot’s Husky 10-Drawer Tool Chest is one of many available solutions.  Electronic gadgets are also an essential part of the do-it-yourselfer’s arsenal — Stanley offers various devices, such as laser leveling devices and stud locators.

The Sports Dad
For the active sports enthusiast, storing equipment is a big deal.  General organizers can usually suffice, but don’t forget to shop for specialized solutions, such as golf equipment or bicycle organizers, available at Wal-Mart, Rush Gideon, Suncast, and other retailers. With guns, adequate storage addresses both space and safety issues:  Take a look at gun storage cases from Orvis and products from GunVault, such as its MVB500 Microvault Biometric Pistol Gun Safe.

With new storage space, a well-considered gift can help support Dad’s insatiable desire to improve his game — without having to leave the backyard.  Calloway offers a variety of golf training aids, including its 6-foot Home Range Hitting Net & Mat. Discount Golf Supplies offers a Super Size Net Hitting Cage available through various retailers, including Amazon and The Greater Golf Store.  For a fairly relaxed sports experience, consider floating table tennis sets, or other games for the swimming pool, made by Swimline and Poolmaster, and available at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Poolcenter.com, Target, and elsewhere.  For an active father, home exercise equipment might be the way to go. The Power Tower Home Gym from Brookstone and Home Gyms from Bowflex are appealing options (also check out our article “Design a Home Gym”).

The Culinary Dad
For fathers who fancy themselves the Iron Chef of their kitchen or grill, the selection of Father’s Day gifts is wide.  Brookstone offers the Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer, which will assist him in getting that steak medium-rare; bottle openers in tool shapes are made by Nambu Tekki; and Vinturi Wine Aerators help that Cabernet or Pinot Noir to breathe.

When it comes to actual cooking, you might want to investigate Eva Solo’s Table Grill from the A&R Store or a digital smoker from Bradley Smoker, just the right vessel for preparing smoked salmon, brisket, or ribs.  And for the Dad who prefers chocolate to construction, how about molded chocolate tools from The Chocolate Vault? 

The Green-Thumb Dad
Father’s Day coincides with a heavy gardening season in many areas. Fortunately, there are lots and lots of gifts to get your Dad if he likes to obsess over the lawn or the garden. The Shrub Sculptor from Hammacher Schlemmer is a wonderful tool for trimming plants, while Sonnylight’s LED Kitchen Garden is a year-round, energy-efficient system for growing fresh herbs.

Other great gardening gifts come on the low-tech side – aerator spike shoes from the Grumpy Gardener, for example — or on the high-tech side, such as Black & Decker’s PlantSmart, which will give Dad a road map to growing a healthier garden by enabling him to digitally evaluate soil suitability for more than 6,000 plants.

The Leisure-Minded Dad
After a busy work day, and sometimes at the end of a hectic Father’s Day, Dad may just want to relax or entertain buddies.  Hammocks, for example, are great for taking naps and they come in all shapes and sizes. Rope hammocks are available from yardenvy.com, while stand-mounted versions may be purchased from Texsport.  For the environmentally conscious father, there’s the Ultimate Hammock from Alphamom, made of 100% recycled fiber.

A Father’s Day shopping expedition is not complete without perusing the latest gadgets at Best Buy or other electronics retailers.  Mark Feldstein offers Wireless Floating Speakers for listening to music while lounging in the pool or hot tub. For the audiophile, Bose 251 outdoor speakers could  transform the patio or deck into an open-air music venue.  Then, when the sun goes down, Dad — with his friends, or with his whole family — can enjoy movies on an outdoor movie screen, like the 12-foot Gemmy Widescreen Airblown Deluxe Movie Screen or the higher-priced Open Air Cinema H-12 Projector Screen.  These products can help create your ideal home theater for Dad on his special day.