Porches, decks, patios, balconies, terraces. Places for dads to find solace from the world around them. Those spots, and backyards overall, are excellent places to cook a meal, have a drink or simply relax. We’ve compiled a list of the best backyard gear for dads this Father’s Day, from smart grills and pizza ovens to fire pits and drinkware. There’s something that can help all dads enjoy a little time outside.
Thermacell Lighted E-Series Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
Marshall Emberton II Portable Bluetooth Speaker
MEATER Plus: Wireless Smart Meat Thermometer
BrüMate Hopsulator Trio 3-in-1 Insulated Can Cooler
Kasa Outdoor Smart Plug
Traeger Ironwood series
Weber Genesis series
Solo Stove fire pits
Ooni Karu 16
Brumate Nav 22
BioLite BaseCharge 600
When it comes to portable mosquito repellers, Thermacell’s gear is a favorite amongst the Engadget staff. The company’s newest model, the EL55, is much like the E55 we previously selected. The main difference is the addition of a dimmable light for use after dark. The EL55 will last up to nine hours on a charge with the light off, or up to five and a half hours with it on. Like other recent Thermacell products, the EL55 uses liquid cartridges to offer scentless protection for a 20-foot radius.
Marshall Emberton II
A speaker that looks like a guitar amp might be the perfect option for dads. Let them relive “the good ol’ days” while jamming to yacht rock, ‘80s hair metal and everything in between. The Marshall Emberton II continues the brand’s knack for replicating guitar-gear aesthetics on a Bluetooth speaker. With up to 30 hours of listening time and a “Stack Mode” for pairing it with other speakers, there’s plenty to like here. Expect balanced sound with plenty of low-end tone in a unit that can blast tunes 360 degrees.
Maybe dad doesn’t need a new grill, but could use some help perfecting his skills or would enjoy monitoring food from afar. Meater+ is a wireless probe that sends food and ambient temperature readings to your phone via Bluetooth. Both sensors are in the same probe, further cutting down on any clutter and giving backyard cooks free access to everything they’re cooking. The Meater software can guide you through the cooking process and provides estimated completion times. And with a rated range of 165 feet, dad can relax and still keep tabs on everything.
Brumate Hopsulator Trio
Every dad can use a way to keep canned beverages cold on a hot day, and Brumate’s Hopsulator Trio functions as a koozie and a travel mug. There are a few different models, but I prefer the Trio’s 3-in-1 abilities. For 16 ounce cans, it’s an insulated aluminum holder. For 12 ounce cans, the Hopsulator comes with a reusable cold puck for even more efficient cooling. And as I mentioned, it comes with a lid so you can use it as a cup if you want. I use mine year round, but it gets the most work during the warmer months when I’m out at the grill or sitting on the deck.
TP-Link Kasa outdoor smart plug
What do you get the dad that has seemingly everything already? Something to make his life easier. TP-Link’s Kasa line offers a range of smart home products, including smart outdoor plugs. These work well for things like patio string lights and other items you’d rather not venture outside to simply plug in. You can control the outlets via the Kasa app or with your voice via Alexa and Google Assistant. The app gives you the ability to set timers to automate things and the IP64 rating means you won’t have to worry about dust or rain.
Traeger Ironwood (2023)
Traeger redesigned its Ironwood grills earlier this year, adding touchscreen controls and a host of design improvements. There’s a lot to like about the new changes, even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the latest Timberline – namely the side-mounted induction burner. The cooking chamber was reconfigured for better efficiency and the company made cleanup easier with a new ash and grease keg system. The Ironwood also utilizes Traeger’s “Pop-and-Lock” rail for tricking out your grill with a range of handy accessories. Most importantly, dad can monitor long cooks from the couch with the company’s app, which also houses a ton of recipes – complete with step-by-step guidance.
Weber brought its smart grilling platform to its gas grills in 2021, putting a sous chef on every dad’s phone. With the latest models, the company made some design tweaks to make the grills more versatile, but Weber Connect remains. Via an app, dad can access step-by-step cooking guidance, estimate completion times and even monitor fuel levels (propane models). Weber’s new line of accessories also expand what you can cook, adding things like a pizza stone, roasting basket and flat-top griddle as optional gear for the new Genesis smart grills.
Solo Stove fire pits
I’ve had several fire pits since I bought a house in 2014, and none of them can compete with Solo Stove. The company’s products are designed to channel smoke upward, keeping you from being choked out while you’re trying to enjoy some time outdoors. The pits come in various sizes, so you have options if dad goes camping often or just needs a place to chill in the backyard. The interior design of the Solo Stove pits also facilitates proper airflow, so fires always burn nicely.
Ooni Karu 16
It’s no secret that Ooni’s pizza ovens can help you make restaurant quality pies at home. They’re well built, easy to use and reach cooking temperatures in just a few minutes. The Karu 16 is the company’s latest outdoor model, and it’s also one of the most versatile. You can cook with wood or add a gas burner in order to power your pizza parties. Plus, there’s a viewing window in the front and an ambient temperature display that comes in very handy. The Karu 16 is more expensive than some Ooni models, but it also makes things easier on dad when he’s launching pizzas on the patio.
Brumate Nav 22
Trust me. Even dads who seem to have everything can always use a travel mug. Or in this case, a tumbler. I’ve been a fan of Brumate’s drinkware for a long time, mostly due to how they keep my bevys cold in the summer heat. With the Nav series, the company offers a leak-proof tumbler in a range of sizes (the 22-ounce is the sweet spot for me). In addition to a lid that thwarts spills, the cup itself can keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for up to four. What’s more, it’s dishwasher safe and will fit in dad’s cup holder.
BioLite BaseCharge 600
Sometimes dads want to fix things – or simply hang out – where power outlets don’t reach. BioLite’s BaseCharge 600 combines a 622 watt-hour battery with a slew of ports and an informative display panel. When I tested it out, it easily powered a drill and hand sander long enough to finish a simple woodworking project, with plenty of charge left over. And when I pretended to be in a power outage, it kept my laptop, monitor, gateway and lights running for one and a half work days. It recharges from the wall in just over three hours or, for a fully off-grid experience, BioLite’s portable 100-watt solar panels can refill the station to about 75 percent with eight hours of unobstructed sunlight. Combined, the battery and panels cost an epic $1,000, but they are just the sort of cleverly designed gadgets dads tend to love. — Amy Skorheim, Commerce Writer