Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Best Soundbar: Sonos PLAYBAR at Amazon
"It yields a big and consuming sound capable of replacing your TV’s existing sound system."
Best from Bose: Bose Home Speaker 500 at Amazon
"A really solid speaker that also offers the gift of smart home functionality in a cutting-edge package."
Best Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen) at Amazon
"When Dad wants the best smart device Amazon has to offer."
Best Little Digital Assistant: Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) at Amazon
"It’s 70 percent louder than previous generations."
Best for Charging on the Road: AUKEY CC-S1 Car Charger at Amazon
"It can juice up to two devices at a time."
Best VR Headset: Samsung Gear VR W/Controller at Amazon
"Has solid but growing shelves, so you’ll never get bored of diving into new realities."
Best iPhone X Case: OtterBox DEFENDER Case at Amazon
"It has a multi-layer protective system."
Best for Golfers: Zepp Golf 2 3D Swing Analyzer at Amazon
"It’s a whole-in-one gift for the golfer in your life."
Best for Parental Control Router: Luma Whole Home Wi-Fi at Amazon
"It’s an easy way to blanket your home with Wi-Fi and while still maintaining control."
Best Turntable: Marantz Reference Belt Drive Turntable at Amazon
"Unparalleled sound... will exceed your expectations."
If you want to spoil dad a bit this year, splurge on the Sonos PLAYBAR. With nine amplified drivers — six mid-woofers and three high range tweeters — it yields a big and consuming sound capable of replacing your TV’s existing sound system. Measuring 35.4 x 5.5 x 3.3 inches, it fits underneath your TV comfortably, not to mention stylishly, with its good-looking fabric and aluminum design. As if that’s not enough to love, Sonos also has a killer Android/iOS app that collects all of your favorite streaming services and can play music throughout your home. And if dad likes to turn on an action flick late at night, the rest of the family will appreciate the Night Mode, which enhances quiet sounds while diminishing the volume and impact of intense sounds. It’s on the pricey side for a soundbar, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find better sound.
Courtesy of Amazon
Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift, a birthday present, or something special for Father’s Day, it’s almost certain that pops will appreciate a high-quality speaker. But now that Bose has taken its first steps into the smart home game, you can give him a speaker that sounds great and has all the functionality you’d expect from a connected device like an Amazon Echo. The Home Speaker 500 is a sleek device that is Alexa-enabled so you can ask it questions or control it with your voice. You can ask it to play media via compatible apps like Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, and more. There’s a display on the front that will show what you’re listening to. And because it’s Bose, they’ve promised that the speaker itself will provide rich, room-filling sound, much like the Bose SoundTouch line. All in all, the Bose Home Speaker 500 amounts to a really solid speaker that also offers the gift of smart home functionality in a cutting-edge package.
When Dad wants the best smart device Amazon has to offer (and he deserves it), the Amazon Echo Plus 2nd Generation is the easy answer. This newly-updated Echo has premium speakers powered by Dolby, and it shows. And if he listens to Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music, there’s streaming support — just say “Alexa, play jazz music” and it handles the rest.
It’s also simple to set up the built-in Zigbee hub, which then gives you voice control over all your compatible smart home devices. Alexa can operate smart lights, door locks, smart thermostats, and more. A built-in sensor detects temperature inside the home and can automatically adjust the thermostat.
If Dad needs to make a phone call, the Echo Plus can help. He can just tell Alexa who he wants to call and it will handle the rest. The seven built-in microphones ensure that sound is heard from every room, even if Dad is listening to his favorite music on the speakers.
The Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation is the gift that keeps on giving. Newly redesigned for a sharper look, it comes in three different colors of mesh fabric covering that’s a definite step up from the prior plastic model.
If Dad likes music, the Echo has him covered. Amazon boosted the audio quality of this device so it’s 70 percent louder than previous generations. That’s going to come in handy with Alexa’s streaming capabilities: Just ask Alexa to play a song or artist and it’ll pull from Dad’s favorite service (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc.). There’s also support for Audible, podcasts, and radio stations. And with voice control for your home’s smart devices, Dad can turn off the lights without moving from the couch or turn on the coffee maker with his voice every morning. Seven microphones ensure that Alexa can hear your requests from just about anywhere.
Courtesy of Amazon
Perhaps your family is the more practical type when it comes to gift-giving. If that’s the case, there isn’t much out there more practical than a top-of-the-line car charger. And best yet, it won’t cost you much either.
Our favorite thing about the AUKEY CC-S1 car charger is that when plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter, it sits flush against the edge of the outlet, saving you space and giving off a sleeker design aesthetic. It can juice up to two devices at a time, but the CC-S1 one-ups other chargers by doing so at full speed with 5V 2.4A of dedicated adaptive power output per USB port. Smartly, it also has built-in safeguards to protect your devices from excessive current or overheating.
If your dad owns a recently released Samsung phone, elevate him to coolest-dad-on-the-block status by gifting him the Samsung Gear. (In fact, if he doesn’t own a Samsung, this VR set might just inspire him to convert!)
Next to other smartphone headsets, this device might feel clunky, but in this case, its size is also an advantage. Inside, its optics can be adjusted using the top-mounted dial, giving you a more comfortable picture and it’s pretty breathable considering you’re strapped in so tightly. This updated Gear comes with a motion controller, which is a small remote that pairs easily with your smartphone and adds new levels of interactivity. It has a circular touchpad on the front and a single trigger on the back. The headset also has a USB-C port on the bottom for charging purposes. Perhaps most important for any VR system is its content library, and the Samsung Gear has solid but growing shelves, so you’ll never get bored of diving into new realities.
You’d be awarded Child of the Year if you bought your dad an iPhone X this year, but assuming he beat you to it, we recommend getting him something to protect his valuable investment. From the well-respected OtterBox brand comes this new DEFENDER series case for the iPhone X. It has a multi-layer protective system consisting of a solid inner shell and soft outer cover, though it’s screenless to accommodate new technology. It also includes a belt-clip holster, which dads seem to just love, and conveniently doubles as a kickstand for hand-free media viewing.
Because it’s so new, there’s a lot to be learned about this case, but the OtterBox customer service team says that OtterBox cases have been compatible with Qi wireless charging in other devices, so it anticipates compatibility with the iPhone’s inductive charging and will confirm with testing once it has an iPhone X in-hand. OtterBox offers a lifetime warranty, so you can trust that your new iPhone is in safe hands.
If your dad spends more time on the green than he does at the office, he will certainly appreciate the Zepp Golf 2 3D Swing Analyzer. By wearing the sensor-enabled glove, Zepp will measure key aspects of your swing, including club speed, club plane, tempo, backswing length and more. The smart coach feature will then help you analyze where you can improve and help you adjust your training accordingly. You can record and replay your swing, viewable from any angle, and even compare your swing to the pros’. Compared to the previous model, the Zepp 2 is slightly smaller, has a longer battery life, recharges faster, has improved accuracy and uses Bluetooth LE to connect to your smartphone. Overall, it’s a whole-in-one gift for the golfer in your life.
Speedy and consistent Wi-Fi sounds like a godsend, but if you have a handful of kids at home, you know it can also be dangerous. Lucky for dads, the Luma comes equipped with top-notch parental controls, so they don’t have to lose sleep at night wondering what their kids are surfing. Via the handy mobile app, you can set a content filter policy using five rating levels: Unrestricted, R-rated, PG-13, PG and G, and then add users with specified access levels. Is it homework time? There’s also a Pause feature that lets you freeze Internet access across the whole network.
Parental controls aside, the Luma offers reliable performance, thanks to its three modules that each contain an 802.11ac router, a quad-core processor and two radio bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz). They are AC1200 routers with a max speed of 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Overall, it’s an easy way to blanket your home with Wi-Fi and while still maintaining control over the kids.
Crafted together with German company ClearAudio, the Marantz TT-15S1 comes installed with a ClearAudio Virtuoso Wood Ebony moving-magnet (MM) cartridge, which has a 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency response and a voltage output of 3.6 mV. Alone that’ll cost you $900, and when you factor in the anodized aluminum ClearAudio Satisfy tonearm which retails for $1,200, you’ll almost feel guilty buying 15S1 for $1,499.
The arm/cartridge resonant frequency of approximately 8Hz yields solid bass extension, but isn’t as firm as a damped tonearm gives. It features a silicon-belt drive design and operates at both 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. The flawless design takes cues from ClearAudio, with a free-standing motor built to reduce vibration. But design aside, the real reason you buy a turntable is for the unparalleled sound, and the 15S1 will exceed your expectations.
We bought one of our favorite tech gifts for dad that our reviewer tested for 12 hours. We asked our tester to consider the most important features when using this gift, from its usefulness to the level of tech savviness it requires. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Tech savviness - If your dad is familiar with the latest tech, then buying him a tech gift is a no-brainer. Even if he isn’t, you still can gift dad with the tech you love, or that you think he’ll love, but you need to think about accessibility. Will he be able to set it up and use it by himself, or with a little bit of explanation?
Usefulness - We know we’re recommending a gift for dad, but you may get some extra bonus points if it’s useful for the whole family, too. A gift such as a mesh Wi-Fi system or an Amazon Echo might make the whole house happy, and that’s always a win.
Interests - Regardless of what your dad is interested in, we’ve got a variety of suggestions that are worth considering. Whether he’s a golfer, an audiophile, or just really likes tweaking his home theater setup, there’s something on this list that will definitely make him happy.
Incredible sound quality
Convenient smart features
Slightly limited inputs/outputs
On the heavier side
The Sonos PLAYBAR came highly recommended by our tester for its “premium” sound quality, smart features, and design. Our reviewer said, “Sonos has always had a keen eye for design, so this soundbar will fit right in no matter what your living room looks like.” Our tester also loved its overall functionality, noting that “the ability to control the soundbar from your smartphone, and the ability to independently control other Sonos speakers” were super handy features. On the other hand, our reviewer did warn it’s an expensive gift: He said, “You get a lot of good sound quality and functionality out of the deal, but your wallet will take a hit.” He continued, “A lot of what you're paying for is brand and convenience.”