father's day 2021

The Best Father’s Day Gifts for New Dads

Photo-Illustration: retailer

You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away, and while there is still plenty of time to get the perfect gift, this is no time for dillydallying. You have just enough time to sift through our curated selection of gifts, mull over your top picks for a couple of days, and place your order so it arrives before June 20. And, just because it’s crunch time, that doesn’t mean your gift has to be any less thoughtful. If you’re buying for a first-time father, you’ll want something that’s both worthy of such a momentous occasion and practical — so he will actually use it. We’ve rounded up a range of Father’s Day gifts for new dads that we think will help a time- and sleep-starved new parent rediscover his sanity — whether he’s a golf dad, wine dad, fitness dad, and more. While almost all of the things on this list are available on Amazon, we’ve found many of them elsewhere, too, for those who like to shop around.

For the new dad who loves a good s’more

If he plans on spending any free time this summer around the fire, this marshmallow-roasting kit will complete the night. The telescoping metal sticks can extend up to 32 inches and have two prongs so whatever they roast won’t fall into the fire.

For the new dad who wants to expand his art knowledge

This coffee-table book features work from Black artists created between 1963 and 1983 and focuses on racial identity, politics, and what it means to be Black in America.

For the new dad who is also a neat freak

This space-saving bottle-drying rack is a favorite among NYC moms, but a dish-doing dad will appreciate that it’s upright, compact, and can store baby bottles, breast-pump parts, and pacifiers.

For the new dad who’s also a new chauffeur

If Dad will now be playing driver to a healing postpartum mom and newborn, it might be nice to upgrade his ride. This touchscreen display easily suctions to the dashboard so he can safely use apps like Google Maps while driving and see that text from Mom reminding him to pick up more diapers on the way home.

For the new dad who’s also environmentally conscious

They’ll appreciate this wooden baby toy painted with environmentally friendly, nontoxic milk paint and sealed with organic virgin coconut oil so it’s safe for teething.

For the new dad who needs help putting the baby to sleep

Strategist staffers, Judd Apatow, and Andrew Yang are among the many people who swear by this white-noise machine. Babies (and adults) are comforted by the “womblike whoosh,” so Dad might even be able to catch some Z’s too.

For the new dad who enjoys a perfect cup of tea

A smart electric kettle like this will take all of the guesswork out of making the perfect pot of tea. It brews at the right temperature depending on the type of leaf and desired strength, so Dad can focus on more important things — like the baby.

For the new dad who is also a plant dad

Maybe Dad doesn’t have time to care for a backyard full of flowers this year, but this mini herb garden should be manageable. It has a built-in grow light and self-watering mechanism, so he’ll be able to sit back and watch it flourish.

For the new dad who’s running out of hands

These utilitarian-style pants come highly recommended and with plenty of pockets where Dad can stash a bottle and extra diapers and keep his hands free to play with the baby.

For the new dad who wants to be completely hands free

Combined with the utility pants, this baby carrier will ensure Dad never literally has his hands full (even though he may still feel like it). With the baby strapped to his chest, and all the essentials in pockets, he’ll be able to move through the day freely.

For the new dad who can’t find the time to shower

A quick spritz of this cologne will deliver not only a scent that’s “subtle and clean” but also a bright spot on days filled with dirty diapers and 3 a.m. feedings.

For the new dad who needs a quick snack

Photo: retailer

New parents barely have time to feed themselves, but this squeezable jelly, which was described to us as “high-end baby food,” takes no prep, can be eaten with one hand, and makes for a sweet afternoon pick-me-up.

For the new dad who will be home all summer

Photo: retailer

If they’re a new dad this Father’s Day, they likely won’t be able to spend too much time out of the house this summer. These shorts look comfy enough to sit in at home all day and nice enough to run out for coffee. One Amazon reviewer even compared them to Patagonia’s Baggies.

For the new dad who wants to keep his mind sharp on paternity leave

This book of crossword puzzles will definitely keep his brain active.

For the new dad who is sober in solidarity

If Dad isn’t drinking until Mom can, gift him this trio of alcohol alternatives. He’ll be able to make all the gin, tequila, and whiskey cocktails he’s used to and be able to share with the new mom who is still breastfeeding.

For the new dad who wants to be everywhere at once

If the new responsibility of being in charge of another human being is a little unsettling for a new dad, put his mind at ease with this top-rated smart camera. Knowing what’s going on at all times will give him an added sense of security.

For the new dad determined to make their kid a purist

Start them on vinyl early with this Audio-Technica turntable. It’s one of our top DJ-recommended turntables, and it’s fully automatic, meaning it will be easy to teach your little one on.

For the new dad who will be spending lots of time outside

Instead of living in the rocker this summer, he can sway with baby in this hammock that has nearly 30,000 Amazon reviews.

For the new dad who always makes you wash your hands before touching the baby

They’ll love being able to go that extra cleanliness mile with this sanitizer. The UV-C bulbs inside kill 99.99 percent of all bacteria and germs. It also doubles as a phone charger.

For the new dad who’s back in the office

When he’s back to the office, new baby pictures can go straight from phones at home to this frame on his desk — he won’t miss a thing.

For the new dad who’s still trying to hit his one-book-a-week reading target

His reading goals might now be a stretch, but with a Kindle it’s a little easier to get a couple of pages in. Strategist contributor and dad Andy Selsberg says with an e-reader you’re ready for one-handed reading while the baby is in a stroller, Björn, or sling.

For the new dad who’s also a gamer

If they need a little escape from new parenthood, Selsberg says this will do it. A dad friend of his who owns it gets to play virtual table tennis with people from around the world every night after the kids go to sleep.

For the new dad who’s a little old school

Photo: retailer

When Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotuno was racking his brain for a gift to give his brother-in-law and soon-to-be dad, he eventually landed on a retro Polaroid camera. It quickly captures memories that can be cherished, in hand, just seconds after they are made. And while there are plenty of new instant cameras on the market, even from Polaroid, there’s just something inspiring about the models from the 1980s. Rotuno describes this one as “pleasingly old-fashioned.”

For the new dad who’s also a runner

We spoke to Amir Muhammad Figueroa, the co-founder of Harlem Run, who runs with this 19-month-old in this stroller. He likes the sleek design, the rugged wheels, and that he gets to give his wife a break every time he goes for a run. It can be a restful time for the baby as well. Figueroa says his son often falls asleep as soon as the running starts.

For the new dad who misses his afternoon bubble tea

With a newborn around, he might not be able to run in and out of the house like he used to for snacks, but with these tapioca balls, and a few other key ingredients, he’ll be able to make his own bubble tea at home.

For the new dad who doesn’t want to carry a baby bag

From $79

It might not have all the same compartments as a baby bag, but it’s more aesthetically pleasing, still has pouches for bottles on the side, can easily be carried on the back instead of straining one shoulder, and can hold way more than a few diapers and some wipes. One Park Slope Food Co-Op member says she used to bring her “whole life” with her and then lug groceries around, too.

For the new dad who relies on coffee even more now

Even if his favorite café has reopened, he might just not have the minutes required to run out and grab his morning coffee. This machine can save a new dad precious time in the morning while also giving him a bean-to-cup brew because it has a built-in grinder. And not just any grinder but a burr grinder (the style preferred by every barista we consulted for our roundup on the best coffee grinders). According to Kat Odell, the author of Day Drinking, “the Capresso drip machine yields the cleanest-tasting cup.”

For the new dad who’s sleep-deprived

His old pillows might have worked fine before the baby’s cries started to wake him nightly, but now your new dad might need something even more comfortable to ensure he catches whatever z’s he can. These cheaper-than-Casper gel pillows are the best-rated on Amazon: According to one reviewer, who says they tried dozens of pillows to find one that didn’t “jack my neck up at a funny angle,” the Beckham Hotel Collection pillows are “soft, but have volume” and “give but don’t feel flat at all.”

For the new dad who’s getting too much sleep

Photo: Retailer

If he’s somehow sleeping through alarms (either the one he set on his phone or his newborn’s cry), this should get him up on time. Designer Paul Smith travels everywhere with this clock, and it never fails to wake him up. He says, “I’ve knocked it over while jet-lagged on my way to the loo in the middle of the night and the clock still wakes me up in the morning.”

For the new dad who wants to hide his under-eye bags on Zoom calls

Dermatologists we spoke to about the best products for under-eye bags all told us that caffeine is the “No. 1 ingredient” for making skin look more awake. This eye cream that those same doctors recommend is “chock-full of caffeine and ginseng,” two ingredients that “will reduce puffiness and make eyes look less tired.” It’s also simply packaged, so it doesn’t necessarily look like an under-eye treatment.

For the new dad whose shirts are stained

If his clean T-shirt supply has become nonexistent since the baby came home, many of the cool men we’ve spoken to about the best T-shirts say Gildan’s affordable version is the only one you need. According to New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica, they are “durable, cut wide, but not in any way boxy” and boast “an unflappable crew neck.” Caramanica is specifically a fan of Gildan’s black tees, and we imagine any stain-wary new dad would be, too.

For the new dad who doesn’t have time to freshen up

Showers are a real luxury to a person who needs to be within earshot of their child at all times. These Bliss wipes are nice for Dad to have on hand when he can’t step away but wants to feel clean.

For the new dad who wants to get back in shape

If the demands of a new child mean Dad has let his fitness regime fade away, a subscription to user-friendly digital-workout platform Obé Fitness will allow him to choose from 4,000 on-demand and 100 live weekly classes in all kinds of categories, from yoga to Pilates, HIIT, and more. All of those classes are just 28 minutes long, and none require more equipment than a gym mat. Subscriptions start at $27 a month.

For the new dad who doesn’t have time for a full workout

Photo: retailer

If they’re going straight from the office back home to the baby, they might not have time for the gym. This stepper, which mayoral candidate Eric Adams uses, will allow him to get in a workout while working. Adams says, “I can use it while I’m on the phone, talking to people, and doing my work.”

For the new dad who misses the movies

Baby or not, no one’s really going to the movies right now. But if Dad misses date nights in front of a big screen, a projector can help replicate that experience at home. Amazon reviewers love this relatively affordable model, which they say strikes the perfect balance between quality and price. “Overall, it’s a complete upgrade for less than $500,” writes one satisfied customer. “I am blown away by the picture quality and the color depth it puts out.”

For the new dad who wants to stay on-trend

If the new dad in your life is determined to stay fashionable, gift him the Chris Black–approved “slipper” of the summer from running brand Hoka One One. It’s the perfect twofer: Cool enough to strike up conversation on the street, yet supportive enough in the sole to make the actual reality of his day-to-day commitments that much more comfortable.

For the new dad who misses the outdoors

If Dad would be on a camping trip this summer were it not for his newborn (or a global pandemic), this outdoor rocking chair will at least allow him to simulate that escape from his own backyard (or balcony). Four camping experts we spoke to about the best outdoor chairs recommend GCI’s rocking chairs, and 50 Campfires editor Clint Carlson told us that this specific model is his favorite because it’s lower to the ground, which he finds to be “even more relaxing.”

For the new dad who’s working from the kitchen table

If he’s missing the ergonomic comforts of his office, this affordable stand that sticks to the bottom of a laptop has two height levels and also collapses to lie flat. Sarah Weingust, a travel-industry CEO who works from home, told us the stand is most useful “for my posture and comfort, but also can be really helpful at keeping my computer cool if I’m running a lot of programs.” And the stand never moves, she promises, even when she’s “typing up a storm.”

For the new dad who’s working from all over the house

Perhaps his home office is wherever the baby is. If so, these linked Wi-Fi routers will help ensure your new dad can get online wherever in the house he and baby may be. Strategist contributor (and former tech columnist) David Pogue swears by the Eero system, which he uses at his own home, telling us that not only does it do what it promises from day one but there’s also a “roughly monthly” software update to ensure that smooth service never lets up. As a bonus, he says the gadgets themselves are “smaller, sleeker, and less technoid-looking than other companies’ base stations.” For more tech gifts for a new (or any) dad, click here.

For the new dad who wants to educate himself (so he can educate his child)

$20

In speaking to scholars and experts about the best books on Black feminism, five of them recommended this recent release. While focused on Black women specifically, the book explains the struggles faced by Black Americans to this day. One professor who recommends it noted the book’s powerful “crossover energy” between academia and the general public: “I’ve had discussions about this book in college classrooms and over dinner with friends,” Regina Duthely told us.

For the new dad who needs to declutter

A stylish, unassuming basket like this one will provide a home for the mountain of dirty laundry and odds and ends that are piling up everywhere.

For the new dad who’s also a cat dad

If his new baby is joining a home that already includes a couple of fur babies, the SureFlap automated pet feeder will relieve some of the stress of tending to his multiple cats and human child at the same time. The gadget is compatible with microchipped pets or can be synced up to RFID collars and, once synced, will open or close when a cat approaches to eat or moves away. (If he’s a dog dad, it also works with those.)

For the new dad who wants a break from cleaning

If new-dad duty includes household chores, his life may be permanently changed by the best-rated robot vacuum on Amazon. One happy customer says its suction power is “much stronger than Roombas I’ve had,” while other customers are pleased by its slim design that allows the Eufy to get under beds and dressers and its quiet volume when switched on.

For the new dad who wants to get better at meal prepping

And if new-dad duty includes putting meals on the table, this slow cooker would more or less allow him to simply pop in a roast in the morning and forget about it until it’s ready to be served for dinner.

For the new dad who can’t plan that far in advance

A slow cooker is a nice gesture if you think they’ll have the foresight to think about dinner hours in advance in those first few crazy months. If not, go with an Instant Pot instead so they can still turn around a last-minute meal.

For the new dad who wants to get better at grilling

$26

This nifty tool combines seven different grilling accessories into one, resulting in a very handy doodad that contributor Steven John calls “the Swiss Army knife of grilling equipment.” (It also has a built-in bottle opener.) For more gifts for new (or any) dads who love to grill, click here.

For the new dad who wants to take the edge off

Winc Monthly Wine Club
From $30

Sommeliers told us about this affordable monthly wine-delivery club, which offers hundreds of wines tailored to the taste preferences of each customer. And Dad doesn’t need to know the difference between tannins and ullage to enroll — Winc uses a short quiz that asks questions about how you take your coffee and whether you prefer salty or earthy flavors to figure out what to start you off with.

For the new dad who’s looking a little rough around the edges

After consulting with experts, we named this the best overall electric razor for most people because its rotary mechanism means it can handle both stubble and the fuller beard that a new father may have grown in isolation. What’s more, the larger surface area of rotary razors like this means they take less time to pass over your face, making it an especially great idea for the new dad who’s looking a little scruffy but doesn’t have time for a luxurious five minutes in front of the mirror.

For the new dad who’s not shaving, period