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When buying gifts for a loved one, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending big. This is especially true for tech-competent parents who always seem to have the best tech that money can buy. But that doesn’t always need to be the case, so we’ve put together a list of gift suggestions for dad that are all under $50. From speakers to smart plugs, organizers to DIY computing boards, our ideas will tick the list of even the most hard-to-buy-for father figure in your life. Take a look.
Bagsmart Glendora electronic organizer
Often, the trouble of owning so much tech is that you can’t find it when you need it, especially when traveling. Bagsmart’s $16 electronic organizer is designed to keep small devices like a power bank and portable hard drive safe as well as help catalog important cables and accessories. With two large inner mesh pockets, six elastic-looped mesh pouches and three SD card slots, this organizer is perfect for the camera-toting or Switch-loving dad who likes to have everything easily accessible when out and about.
If your dad has already begun building a smart home with help from Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, an underrated addition to his arsenal is a smart plug. Belkin’s $20 Wemo Mini solution supports all three major AI assistants as well as IFTTT, helping to intelligently control otherwise “dumb” appliances like coffeemakers, lamps and even sprinklers. Program a couple of settings and you have a makeshift security light for when he’s out of the house. Its slim profile ensures that it won’t take up the entire outlet, and a built-in power switch means any preset controls can be overridden with the push of a button.
Are you even a dad if you don’t own a phone holder or navigation mount for your car? The great thing about the $50 Hudly car mount is that it’s dual purpose. It can be securely mounted onto the dashboard, windshield or air vent in most vehicles but also wirelessly charge mobile phones at the same time.
Does your dad have at least one password with “123456” in it? Instead of shaming him, consider getting him a password manager instead. While most browsers come with their own built-in password tools, a LastPass Premium subscription operates across a wide variety of devices, browsers and operating systems. It’ll save all of his passwords and suggest stronger ones all day long, but it isn’t limited to just that: Feed it addresses, card details and other important information and it’ll reduce the time and effort it takes to fill in those pesky online forms.
While some dads are great with tools, others love to tinker with computers. If your dad falls into the latter camp, or somewhere between the two, you can’t go wrong with a Raspberry Pi computing board. The DIY nature of the Raspberry Pi means it can be modded into a portable desktop computer, a smart doorbell, a bespoke weather station or a powerful media center.
In a busy household, accessible outlets for charging a phone or tablet can be at a premium. For dads who love a sense of order, the $50 Satechi seven-port USB-charging-station dock is more than accommodating. The USB charger features seven slots with anti-scratch silicone pads and can juice up to seven devices simultaneously, with four ports delivering 1V (1A) and three additional ports providing 5V (2.4A) of power. There’s plenty of room for phones, iPads, handheld consoles and more, but make sure you buy some short cables, as they aren’t included in the box.
Yep, Dad’s lost his keys/phone/wallet again. If the father figure in your life is forgetful and could use a nudge in the right direction, the $25 Tile Mate can be attached to nearly anything with a toggle and remotely ping its location within a 200-feet radius. If that’s not enough, it can also find a lost phone with the press of a button. Hit it and it’ll ring his phone, even if it’s been set to silent.
Home-surveillance cameras are important for identifying and warding off intruders, but they can also be a fun way to catch a family member stealing the last piece of cake from the fridge. The Wyze Cam provides Dad with a high-definition live feed of his home via a smartphone, but it also backs up clips to the cloud with free, rolling 14-day storage as standard. At $26, Wyze’s solution offers a lot of features for a low price, allowing for more than one in high-trafficked areas of the house.
Bluetooth speakers are an essential gadget in any music lover’s life. Wireless connectivity not only unburdens your dad’s phone but also lets him carry a speaker around as he moves around the house or heads out for a day in the sun. The Tribit StormBox is compact, waterproof and offers plenty of bang for your buck with bass-heavy 360-degree sound. (While the price recently went above $50, we think it’s worth the extra couple of dollars.) Decide to buy two and they can be paired in stereo mode for an ad hoc outdoor sing-along or movie night while its 2,600mAh rechargeable battery offers around 20 hours of uninterrupted playback.