From new true wireless earbuds to a mini massage gun, these are the best tech gifts in the $100-$250 range for Father's Day 2021.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
Father's Day is Sunday, June 20, and if you're fortunate enough to be able to spend between up to $250 on dear old Dad, we've got a bunch of CNET-approved gift ideas in our gift guide below, all of which have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by our editors.
This unique Father's Day gift is sure to please any dad: His very own mini percussive therapy device. New for 2020, the 1.5-pound Theragun Mini massager is designed to be portable, easily fitting in a backpack or purse. While it doesn't have quite the power of one of Theragun's full-size devices, it's surprisingly powerful considering how small it is. I've tried larger massage guns in this price range, and it's just as powerful but half the size. The rechargeable battery is rated to last two-and-a-half hours, and a neoprene protective case is included.
After nearly three years, Apple as finally given the Apple TV 4K an upgrade. The new Apple TV 4K costs $179 with 32GB storage or $199 with 64GB.
Along with an upgraded A12 Bionic processor, the biggest upgrade is the all-new Siri remote control. Silver in color instead of the original's black, it features a directional pad at the top (with gesture support), a Siri toggle on the side and a power button for controlling your TV. The new d-pad addresses a lot of the complaints users had with the original remote, with its larger touchpad and lack of directional cues.
Bang & Olufsen has upgraded its dome-shaped aluminum-clad A1 speaker with improved battery life, better speakerphone performance (it now has a 3-microphone array) and slightly improved sound, thanks to a new Qualcomm chipset that powers the speaker. It remains one of the best-sounding mini Bluetooth speakers, with richer more tonally balanced sound than other Bluetooth speakers its size -- and it should sound good, considering its elevated price point.
It's also worth noting that the A1 has multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you can connect this to your PC and smartphone at the same time and easily switch back and forth between the two if a call comes in on your phone. Additionally, the speaker is Alexa-enabled, meaning you can activate Amazon's voice-assistant by just saying "Alexa."
Available in white or black for $169, the Roam is currently Sonos' smallest and most affordable speaker (if you don't count those $99 Sonos-compatible Symfonisk Ikea Wi-Fi bookshelf speakers). For its size, it sounds impressive and is equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Even if Dad doesn't have a Sonos system already, this is a good starter speaker and he can use his own money to add more Sonos gear in the future. Read our Sonos Roam review.
Battery Life Rated up to 8 hoursNoise Canceling NoMultipoint NoHeadphone Type Built-in with glassesWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)
If you're looking for the best-sounding pair of audio glasses with the best overall performance -- that includes call quality and battery life -- the Bose Frames Tempo are the one to get. It's ostensibly a sports model designed for runners and bikers, and while it's a little bulky, it stays on your head securely.
The Tempo offers slightly better sound and battery life than the more traditional-looking Tenor, which is a good choice for a more everyday set of audio sunglasses. The Tempo has better specs all-around, with USB-C charging and larger 22mm drivers. It also delivers up to eight hours of battery life.
Their sound is definitely improved from the original Frames. Bose says the Tempo plays "deeper and louder -- loud enough for cycling at 25 mph -- while still able to hear traffic and your training partners." They're sweat-, weather-, scratch- and shatter-resistant, according to Bose and fit under most protective helmets. (I had no problem using them with a couple of bike helmets.) They also work well for making calls, thanks to a new dual-microphone system. Optional lenses are available for $39 and you can order prescription lenses through Lensabl. Read our Bose Tempo Frames review.
Dads secretly want an electric razor even if they've never used one. While many fathers have been spending a lot of time at home these days letting their beards grow out, dad might take more of an interest in shaving if he had a new gadget.
The Braun Series 7 isn't the top-of-the-line Braun (the $260 Series 9 is), it's still in premium territory with a price tag of $30. It can be used dry or wet -- it's fully waterproof -- and comes with beard trimmers, a cleaning dock and a carrying case. Battery life is rated at up to 50 minutes on a full charge and a quick five-minute charge will get you enough juice for a shave.
With a full-fledged 4K HDR Roku streamer built in and a single voice remote controlling everything, this bar makes a thoughtful gift and offers a simple all-in-one audio-video system. Setup is a breeze -- just plug it into a TV with a simple HDMI connection. Sound quality is very good for a single bar, and you can add Roku's optional wireless subwoofer for more punch. It also comes with the much-loved Roku remote control.
What dad wouldn't appreciate a new pair of versatile shoes for summer? Danner has several models, including the new Overlook ($170 -- pictured left) Trail 2650 Campo ($140 -- pictured right) and that work well for everyday use on the streets or out in the great outdoors. Both models are durable, comfortable and offer good support (that said, I found the Trail 2650 slightly more comfortable on my wider feet). The Overlook offers some water-resistance while the Trail 2650 Campo is available in a variety of styles and comes in a waterproof version with a Gore-Tex liner that costs $30 more.
Ember makes 10-ounce ($100) and 14-ounce versions ($130) of its temperature-controlled smart mug that keeps your hot beverage of choice hot while you sip it over a longer drinking session. While it won't keep your coffee or tea warm for hours, the idea is that you can select your ideal temp via the companion Ember app for iOS or Android and keep your beverage at a high temp during the 30 minutes or so it takes to casually drink it.
I personally prefer the larger 14-ounce version, but does cost more. A good insulated mug with a top on it will also keep your beverage hot (and they are cheaper), but this Ember mug allows you to drink a cup of joe like you normally would and not sip it through a small hole in a top.
This larger version is available in black or white while the smaller 10-ounce model is available in a variety of color options.
Available in multiple color options, the latest version of JBL's Charge Bluetooth Speaker delivers improved sound with more bass. It's bigger than your average portable Bluetooth speaker, but it's got some good kick to it and like previous Charge speakers, it has a USB out port that allows your to charge a device like smartphone. Battery life is rated at up to 20 hours at moderate volume levels. It's fully waterproof, as well as dustproof.
Battery Life Rated up to 6 hoursNoise Canceling Yes (ANC)Multipoint NoHeadphone Type Wireless earbudsWater-Resistant Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)
The AirPods Pro aren't necessarily the best-sounding $200 true wireless headphones out there, but they integrate seamlessly with Apple devices, their noise canceling is excellent, and the transparency mode is great for listening without shutting out the world around you. They're also excellent for making calls. Any iPhone-owning dad will dig these.