The best gifts for Dad under $50 | Engadget


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Us kids know how hard it is to buy gifts for parents. Its either a case of they dont want anything or theyve already gone out and bought the product you had your eye on without telling you. Especially tech-savvy dads. But there are some oft-forgotten, cheaper gifts that can do the job without breaking the $50 barrier. From console controllers to tracking tags, smart lights to charging accessories, our ideas will tick the list of even the most hard-to-buy-for father figure in your life.

8BitDo Pro 2 controller

8BitDo

It might look a bit retro, but make no mistake, 8BitDos Pro 2 controller is crammed full of tech. The Bluetooth handheld connects to your Switch, PC and mobile device, offering a familiar thumbstick and D-Pad layout, as well as back paddles and a profile switcher. That means dads will be able to use the controller in Switch or Android mode or pair it as an X-input or D-input device. Perfect for gaming while on the move.

Buy 8BitDo Pro 2 at Amazon – $50

Amazon Smart Plug

Amazon Smartplug

Amazon

As appliances become smarter, its now a lot easier to automate our homes. Lighting, thermostats, vacuum cleaners and even microwaves can be set using a couple of simple commands. But theres still a handful of electronics in every home that would undoubtedly benefit from some Alexa integration. Enter Amazons Smart Plug. This cheap accessory can connect to a dumb lamp and offer remote timing, automate the power for your air conditioner or dehumdifier or simply start the coffee machine at the same time each morning.

Buy Smart Plug at Amazon – $25

Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000mAh portable battery

A rendering of the Anker PowerCore Essential 20,000mAh portable battery and a smartphone being charged.

Anker

These days, most modern smartphones and tablets can last a day without charging, but it always pays to be prepared when it comes to keeping devices juiced and operational. Ankers PowerCore Essential charging bank is a compact brick rated up to 20,000mAh that comes with two USB ports for dual charging. Itll juice new iPhone models around four times over and has at least 50 percent more power needed to fully charge an iPad. Both its USB-C and USB-A ports are 18W for high-speed charging, meaning your dad shouldnt get caught short again.

Buy PowerCore Essential at Amazon – $50

Wyze Cam v3

The Wyze Cam v3 security camera.

Wyze

From unwanted intruders to porch pirates, security cams are a very useful tool not only as a deterrent, but also to capture irrefutable proof of wrongdoing. Wyzes home-surveillance cameras have carved a niche for themselves with the offer of impressive features inside a small price tag. Like its predecessors, the Cam V3 is sound- and motion-activated, sending alerts to your dads smartphone. It has a IP65 waterproof rating, which means it can be fixed outside, and offers improved low-light detection to brighten up even the darkest of nights.

Buy Wyze Cam v3 at Amazon – $33

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Clock

Philips SmartSleep HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock

Philips

Like screaming children, a shrill alarm clock isnt the most welcome way to wake up in the morning. Unlike phones or conventional clocks, sunrise alarms are designed to imitate the breaking of dawn, gently waking you by filling the room with light. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Clock can help reset sleep cycles and wake you up more naturally, which has been shown to improve the overall quality of sleep and boost morning moods.

Buy SmartSleep light clock at Amazon – $50

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag

A press image for the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag showing a couple at a shop with luggage and a phone showing its location.

Samsung

If your dad has a habit of losing his keys or misplacing his wallet, a tracking tag may be in order. Samsungs Galaxy SmartTag is a small square-shaped dongle that uses built-in Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) connectivity to locate lost or stolen items. Either slip it into a rucksack or attach it to a keyring and itll silently wait for a ping via Samsungs SmartThings Find app.

If the basic SmartTag isnt quite informative enough, Samsung also offers the SmartTag+, which includes support for ultra-wideband (UWB) frequencies that provide a more accurate estimate of an object’s location. It also offers an augmented reality-powered map via the SmartThings app to guide you to your lost item. Right now, the SmartTags only work with Samsung devices, but Tiles tiny trackers and Apples own AirTags will provide similar features on non-Galaxy phones.

Buy SmartTag at Samsung – $30

LastPass subscription

The LastPass logo on a concrete background.

LastPass

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. Itll save all of his passwords and suggest stronger ones all day long, but it isnt limited to just that: Feed it addresses, card details and other important information and itll reduce the time and effort it takes to fill in those pesky online forms.

Buy LastPass Premium starting at $3/month

Sony Playstation DualSense charging station

Sony Playstation DualSense charging station

Sony

Not everyone has been lucky enough to secure one of Sonys next-generation consoles, but if your father ranks among the (relative) few then Sonys official PlayStation DualSense Charging Station is a required buy. The station is capable of charging two controllers at the same time, removing the need for cables and dongles. The only downside is that its in stock as often as the console itself, which means getting your hands on one totally depends on Sonys restock schedule. If you dont want to wait for the official charger, NexiGos Upgraded PS5 Controller Charger will do the same job for around the same price.

Buy DualSense charging station at Amazon – $50

Mommy Power Stroller Power hook and power bank

Mommy Power Stroller Power hook and power bank

Mommy Power Stroller Power hook and power bank

When out with the little one(s), keeping a phone or kid-friendly tablet charged isnt the highest priority. A lack of pre-planning probably means there wont be a backup power brick in the changing back. Thats where the Stroller Power comes in and dont worry about the name, its for dads, too. Put simply, the Stroller Power is a carry hook and power bank in one, which lets moms and dads juice their phones while out with the little one(s). Its rated for 5,000 mAh, which will keep at least one (but probably two) devices going all day and can hold up to 25 pounds of weight while taking up next to no space.

Buy Stoller Power at Amazon – $28

ThermoWorks ThermoPop

ThermoWorks ThermoPop

ThermoWorks

Were big fans of ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4, but spending $100 on an instant-read thermometer may not be in your budget. Luckily, you can still upgrade your dads cooking toolkit with the $35 ThermoPop, a compact, lollipop-like thermometer that is accurate and easy to use. It has a single button that turns it on and rotates its backlit digital display so you can always read it properly, regardless of how youre holding it. Temperature readings pop up in about 3-4 seconds, so it wont take long for dad to figure out if his brisket is cooked to perfection. With a temperature range of -58 to 572F and a splash-proof design, the ThermoPop could end up being dads new favorite kitchen tool.

Buy ThermoPop at ThermoWorks – $35



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