Bring Dad into the smart home age with the second-generation Amazon Echo Dot. From simple tasks like timers and weather reports to more advanced commands of other networked products in the house, this Alexa-powered assistant is one of the best gifts you can give for under 50 bucks.
The $35 Chromecast Audio turns Dad's old stereo, boombox or dusty PC speakers into a wireless music system. Just tap a button on phone or tablet apps like Spotify, Pandora, NPR One or iHeart Radio, and the music is transported to those bigger speakers via Wi-Fi. It works with iPhones and iPads with a few apps, but Android users can send any audio from their phone without restriction.
Help Dad embrace his inner couch potato with the $50 Roku Streaming Stick. Plug it into any HDTV, and the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, ESPN, HBO or any of a zillion other streaming video channels is just a click away.
Does Dad listen to music on his smartphone or tablet? Bring him into the world of wireless audio with a Bluetooth speaker. The Logitech X100 shown here has been discontinued, but at just $20, it's a steal.
The largest Bluetooth speaker on our list is still small enough to travel well, and it delivers a bit more oomph than the micro-mini models listed previously. The Amazon Basics model is also available in blue, white and red. A smaller model, the Ultra-Portable Mini Bluetooth Speaker, retails for just $30.
Does Dad prefer private listening? The full-size but lightweight Panasonic RP-HTX7 headphones do a good job of blocking out external sounds, and they sound great for the price. They're available in at least five colors (black, white, red, pink and green) for as little as $35.
If your Dad is cool enough to rock the Skullcandy death's head logo, the Grind headphones are a great choice, and they only cost $25 to $32. If you can, splurge for the Grind Wireless, which can be found for about $62.
Is Dad an outdoorsman? If so, the $50 Biolite PowerLight Mini may be just the ticket. It's a handy lantern, bike light, and charger all in one. He can clip it to a pocket or strap or mount to his bike (mount included) and its 1,350mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light or a backup boost to your phone. Lighting modes include White Lantern, Red Night Vision, Red/White Strobe and White Point Light.
If Dad prefers an old-school keyboard to an on-screen model, the $30 Logitech K380 is a great choice. This multidevice wireless keyboard toggles between three devices -- say, a PC or Mac, a tablet and a smartphone -- at the click of a button.
The best thing we can say about the entry-level Fire tablet is that it costs less than $50. But your better bet is to get the larger 8-inch model for $90. Yes, it's almost twice as much, but it's a far better experience. And Dad is worth it, isn't he?