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Best Father's Day gift ideas under $30 in 2021

Your dad deserves something nice, but it doesn't have to break the budget.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
6 min read
See at Amazon
Meterk 2-in-1 tape measure
A tool with frickin' laser beams
See at Atlas Coffee Club
Atlas Coffee Club subscription
First bag is free, just pay shipping
See at Amazon
Ultrabright headlamp
A must-have for handyman dads
$25 at Amazon
Amazon Smart Plug
Control anything from anywhere
See at Amazing Clubs
A monthly gift from Amazing Clubs
No fruit, just Dad-friendly eats
See at Daily Steals
Father's Day T-shirts
Prove he's the 'Best Dad Ever' in shirt form
$11 at Amazon
City of Thieves by David Benioff
Even dads who don't like to read will love this book
See at BruMate
BruMate Hopsulator beer cooler
Mmmm... cold beer that stays cold
See at Clckr
Clckr Universal Phone Stand and Grip
Make his smartphone smarter
See at Amazon
Colonel Popper microwave popcorn maker
The name alone makes it worth buying
See at Hunt a Killer
Hunt A Killer murder-mystery game
Dial 'M' for 'mail-order puzzles'
See at Life is Good
Life is Good T-shirts
More great dad-wear, this time with a mission
See at Amazon
Rocketbook reusable notebook
Magical and practical at the same time
See at Spiceology
Spiceology spice kit
Variety is the spice of life, but so is spice

Father's Day will be here sooner than you think: It's Sunday, June 20. Do yourself a favor this year and don't wait until the last minute to start Father's Day gift shopping.

Short on funds? No worries: Everything on this particular list is priced at just $30 or less. If your budget can stretch a bit further, check out our roundups of the best Father's Day gifts under $50 and under $100. And while you're at it, have a look at CNET's full Father's Day gift guide, which has even more great ideas for all price ranges. Now all you need to worry about is a card.


Yes, I'm channeling Dr. Evil in describing this tape measure, because what dad isn't made happier by the presence of lasers?

This two-in-one tape can be used to measure length, area, volume and indirect height -- up to 3,000 times on a single charge, according to Meterk. And it recharges via USB-C.

Even if Dad already has a tape measure, this upgrade is million times better.

Atlas Coffee Club

If Dad likes coffee, I'm pretty sure he'll love this gift idea. Atlas Coffee is a subscription service that delivers beans from countries all over the world. In the past I've enjoyed brews from the likes of Burundi, Costa Rica and Indonesia.

Get the java party started with code CNETDAD, which gets you the first bag for free -- you pay just the $5 shipping charge. Subsequent months cost $14 per bag, plus shipping. And the gift can run as long as you want it to, meaning you can stay under the $30 total threshold if needed.

I'm a big fan of this service; it's definitely a great gift for coffee fans. (And it'll soon get into tea as well, just FYI.)


Does Dad still reach for his phone every time he needs a light? This headlamp is infinitely more practical, as it allows hands-free illumination wherever he points his face. This Father's Day gift idea is bright, rechargeable, water-resistant and fully adjustable, with a lifetime warranty and -- at the time of this writing -- a $2-off coupon you clip on the product page.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Every Dad owns something they love that isn't "smart" in some way. A favorite lamp, a stereo system, anything they would love to have the ability to remotely turn on and off. Amazon's Smart Plug gives you that ability while being dead simple to use in the process. You can get it cheap, and add this great gift to just about anything to make life just a little easier.

Read our Amazon Smart Plug review.

Amazing Clubs

Most gifts you open are just bam, done. Here's something that won't be quickly forgotten: a thing-of-the-month club. Amazing Clubs offers dozens of thoughtful gift options, many starting below $30 a month. Indulge Dad's love of hot sauce, pickles, you name it. Here are a few options from the below-$30, er, club. Every single one is way better than a gift card.

The prices below are for three-month subscriptions. Rates tend to dip if you choose a longer duration.

And if any family members happen to be reading: There's a chocolate club, too, cough-cough.

Daily Steals

Daily Steals has an assortment of T-shirts for both dad and grandpa -- some funny, some celebratory. And if shirts aren't his thing, there are similarly amusing coffee mugs as well. You can save $4 on any of them with promo code CNETFTHR.

Penguin Books

Why does the author's name ring a bell? Oh, he's just the co-creator of a little TV show called Game of Thrones. This novel came first, and it's got "Dad" written all over it: In war-torn Russia, two young men are sentenced to death. Their only hope is to complete an impossible mission for a lunatic colonel. City of Thieves is riveting from the first page, but it's also funny. Dad will love this unique gift idea.


Does Dad like a cold brewski? The BruMate promises to keep his favorite beverage 20 times colder than a neoprene sleeve. There are different versions for cans and bottles; the Trio is a good choice for can fans because it can also work as a pint glass.

All the BruMates come in a variety of colors. I tried them out last year and can confirm they work really well: My last sip from the can was nearly as cold as the first -- and I nursed that sucker for probably half an hour.


Everyone knows dads love "clickers" (aka TV remotes). But this is a Clckr of a different sort. It attaches to the back of a phone to provide a secure grip and a stand that supports both portrait (read: Zoom) and landscape (read: Netflix) viewing. When snapped closed, it still allows for wireless charging, which I found surprising and impressive. (This may vary depending on your phone model.)

The $11 universal version can work with just about any phone, but Clckr also makes cases that have the grip-stand thing built right in.

Colonel Popper

A product with a dad joke of a name (Colonel Popper... see what they did there?), this awesome kitchen tool makes a perfect bowl of popcorn every time. It's also healthier and cheaper than microwave popcorn, because all you do is pour in some kernels and add a little oil (optional). One nice added perk: It collapses down to store flat when not in use.

The bowl is currently on sale for $15, though prices do fluctuate, occasionally jumping up to $20.

Hunt A Killer

For the dad who loves solving crimes, puzzles, mysteries or all of the above, there's Hunt A Killer. Each month he'll receive a box containing tools, evidence, clues and more, all with the goal of eliminating suspects and identifying the murderer. Your gift can be just the first box or a "season pass" (basically the entire mystery, start to finish) of six months.

Whatever you choose, use promo code FLASH20 to get 20% off the first box.

Life is Good

I'll unabashedly admit to loving the Life is Good brand. Love the shirts, love the humor, love the message. (Now more than ever, we need reminders that life can be good.) You'll find nearly two dozen dad-friendly shirts to choose from, all priced at $28.


Does your dad like to take notes? Sketch ideas? Draw doodles? Consider giving him the last notebook he'll ever need. The Rocketbook is a smart, reusable spiral-bound pad that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. It also pairs with the Rocketbook app to preserve all Dad's notes in the cloud.

There are different sizes available; the Executive dot-grid version is currently priced at $24.


Variety is the spice of life, but spices add variety! (I just made that up. Can't decide if it's genius or...) Spiceology is a chef-owned source for hundreds of interesting and unusual blends, herbs, salts, powders and the like -- plenty of stuff to help Dad elevate his cooking game.

You could start him with something like the Chef Chad White Northwest Spice Collection, which includes three rubs. Take note, though, that your cart total needs to hit at least $40 to score free shipping.

More Father's Day ideas

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