The following gift suggestions were carefully selected by the GeekDad writers. Need more ideas? Be sure to check out our gift lists from previous years.
Super Soaker Thunderstorm
Two interesting innovations are built into the Thunderstorm, the very modestly priced ($14.99 SRP) headliner of this year’s Super Soaker line. First, battery power! That’s right, no manual pumping. Just pull the trigger and water sprays out, thanks to an electric pump. It also has features another innovation: a swappable “clip” of water! While not gigantic — they hold 10 ounces — the clips allow for much more rapid reload than the old dip-into-the-swimming-pool method. Spare tanks ($3.99 SRP) can be clipped onto your belt for full Rambo action. Buy it from Amazon.
Samson Zoom Q3HD Video Recorder
A pocket video recorder? Didn’t Flip, the brand that made the category, just lose its lunch? And, don’t we all have smartphones that can record video? Yes, all of these are true. But the Zoom has something your smartphone doesn’t — those sexy capsule microphones on the top! The Q3HD records extremely clear HD, even in dim light, and the sound is amazing for the category. The Zoom is very portable and accepts SD cards. At Maker Faire I shot a bunch of 1080i video using a 16-gig SD card and never ran out of space. Buy it from Amazon.
The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
Like many parents, Alice Ozma’s father read stories out loud to her. Unlike most parents, though, he and Alice made a pact to read every night without fail, at least ten minutes each night — and then kept it up for nine years. Ozma’s stories about The Streak are told in The Reading Promise, a perfect Father’s Day gift for any book-loving dad. Read the full GeekDad review here, and then purchase a copy from Amazon.
Dad can make his own soda with this handy gadget, which basically carbonates water that you can flavor with bottles of syrup. The whole back of the Fizz is a CO2 tank, giving you a whole bunch of bottles of pop on one recharge. I really liked the soda flavors that you can buy, a couple of the exotic flavors were challenging but for the most part they were tasty and accessible. Buy it from Amazon.
The deck-building card game genre has exploded since Dominion appeared on the scene a few years ago, but the Thunderstone series is one of the best. Instead of the rather abstract game mechanics, you get to assemble a deck of heroes, weapons, spells, and equipment to battle the monsters in the dungeon. Thunderstone: Dragonspire is the second expansion in the series, but it’s a stand-alone that doesn’t require the earlier sets and is a great way to dive into the game. Read the full GeekDad review here, and pick it up from Amazon.
Extech 382213 Desktop Power Supply
The ultimate GeekDad electronics hobbyist’s power supply. That’s the thing that powers dad’s projects so he doesn’t have to waste batteries. The Extech gives you 4 ways to dispense the juice: first, it has 5V/.5A and 12V/1A “speaker-style” snap terminals on front, giving you fixed power if that’s what you need. Alternatively, you can dial up the precise voltage and amperage for the terminals on the right, which work as either binding post terminals or banana plug sockets, and deliver up to 30V/3A. Buy it from Amazon.
Magic: The Gathering Duel Decks
I don’t know how many different kinds of Magic cards have been designed, but there are a LOT. One intriguing aspect of this huge collection is the possibility of creating theme decks that hail some of the game’s most epic matchups, for instance, goblins vs. elves. That’s the premise of Wizards of the Coast’s Duel Decks. They sent me a Knights vs. Dragons deck and it contains loads of knightly and draconic cards from multiple sets. Each package contains a pair of decks, with a bonus foil card (rare and printed with metallic inks) adding to the value. This product is also a great way to learn about the game if Dad is a n00b.
Badass LEGO Guns: Building Instructions for Five Working Guns
The book is very simple: essentially it is the complete guide to building five Lego guns that actually shoot Lego bricks like bullets. Each entry starts out with an explanation of the mechanics behind the firing mechanism, surely the primary detail that most people building Lego guns cares about. Author Martin Hüdepohl also includes some of his design sketches, giving the reader a sense of the model’s development. Next, each project gets a visual parts list so you know whether you can build it. Finally, each gun gets full instructions, made up of CAD drawings similar to those found in regular Lego kits. Like the rest of the book, these step-by-steps are black and white, with relevant action points highlighted in red. These two-color pages convey a surprising amount of information. As a bonus, Hüdepohl supplies a sixth weapon, a butterfly knife he calls the Magic Moth. The blade is merely a Technic girder, but apparently you can do cool butterfly knife moves with it. Buy it from Amazon.
Zeppelin Speaker Dock
When I reviewed the original Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker dock last year, I couldn’t get enough of it. To the extent that I bought the review unit rather than let a courier pry it out of my hands, despite the fact that there were already three or four other speaker docks kicking around here, including several very high quality JBL units. B&W has upped the ante by incorporating Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology in the new Zeppelin Air 2.1 Wireless AirPlay Speaker System. Not only can you stream from your iOS device without having to dock it, B&W upgraded the DAC (Digital to Analog) units and boosted the power to a total output of 150 Watts. If dad’s pining for a sweet speaker dock, this one isn’t cheap but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better sounding, better looking one. Look for the people standing around a display unit at the Apple Store, buy it online, or you can usually find one on Amazon.
Merrell WaterPro Manistee
Active dads appreciate quality footwear and these Merrell WaterPro Manistee shoes have been a great addition to my active outdoor wardrobe. I’ve come to appreciate hybrid shoes like these that are incredibly lightweight while providing support and cushioning with mesh sides and footbed perforations that ensure a soaker doesn’t last. The rugged soles do a good job of grabbing water-slicked rocks. I wear these WaterPro Manistees for light hiking, urban walking and camping. They wash up easily and Aegis antimicrobal treatment helps to keep them from being banned from the house after a long day of use. They look pretty cool too and for added brownie points, these shoes are also Vegan friendly. Buy them from Amazon.
Cornerstone Essential combines the strategy of Carcassonne with the dexterity and balance of Jenga. It’s a building game where you stack various Tetris-like blocks up to build a tower, but you also want your meeple to climb as high as possible. Read the full GeekDad review, and pick it up from Amazon or Good Company Games.
CHEW Omnivore Edition Volume 1
New or lapsed comic book geeks will likely love John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Eisner and Harvey award-winning Chew. This Image-published monthly follows the misadventures of former Philadelphia vice cop Tony Chu, a Cibopath who gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. Now a special agent of the Food and Drug Administration, Tony finds himself caught up in a world of murder, mystery, intrigue and entrees as he attempts to enforce the national ban on chicken consumption precipitated by the Bird Flu epidemic. This hardcover collects the first 10 issues and takes readers through a pair of the book’s earliest story arcs. Sometimes insightful, regularly disgusting, generally hilarious and always entertaining, its sharp writing and stylized art is sure to please the comic-loving foodie in your Geekdad. Buy it from Amazon.
Surgical stainless steel nail clippers are better designed and more solidly built than any of those drugstore nail-manglers. The unique ergonomics let you press down at just the right angle for a smooth cut. As a bonus, the nail clippings don’t fly off to the 8th dimension, they frequently sit there in the Klhip, waiting to be tipped into the trashcan. Buy it from klhip.com.
The alluring, addicting Lego MMO. Play the role of a minifig adventurer, saving Imagination from uh… evil anti-Imagination forces. It goes without saying that you’ll be building like crazy — smartly, Lego leverages its cred to give you a million building-related tasks like assembling structures and vehicles. Battle enemies, explore new worlds, and get to play with virtual Lego! Buy it on Amazon for $15 and you get a free month’s gameplay.