This story is part of Father's Day Gift Guide, featuring our top picks for dads who love tech.
Now's the time to think about getting your gifts ready for Father's Day (Sunday, June 20), especially if you're buying online and shipping. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a panicked rush, which often means that your dad or the paternal figure in your life is getting some gift cards or a "World's Best Dad" mug -- not exactly the perfect Father's Day gift.
Luckily, there are plenty of great Father's Day gift options. Wherever you buy, we've assembled some great gift ideas here in the $51 to $100 range, all of which have been fully reviewed or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. These should arrive on time -- if you hurry.
I like Hyperice's Hypersphere Mini ($99) massage ball, but Theragun's new Wave Solo massage ball is arguably a tad better and definitely $20 cheaper at $79. It's also about the size of a softball (3.4 inches, or 8.7 cm, in diameter), charges with a USB-C cable (a full charge offers up to 200 minutes of battery life) and has three vibration speed options.
It's good for pinpointing such problem areas as hip flexors that you might roll out with a lacrosse ball. There's also a Wave Duo version for $99 that's good for rolling on either side of the spine or placing at the top of your shoulder behind your neck while lying down.
Read more: 7 massage guns that cost less than the $600 Theragun
Anker's Soundcore Motion Plus is larger than many mini Bluetooth speakers, but it's still compact and manages to sound quite a bit fuller than much of the competition under $100, with bigger bass, more volume and better clarity. It's also fully waterproof (IPX7 rated) and has support for the aptX streaming codec for devices like Samsung's Galaxy phones that support it. Battery life is rated at 12 hours at moderate volume levels. There's even an app for tweaking the sound. It's an excellent value at $100.
Blue or red versions are available for $3 more.
There are plenty of great Alexa-powered Echo products, but in this price range, we're fans of the new Google Nest Hub (2nd gen). The upgraded smart display delivers more bass along with a new Sleep Sensing feature. It also gives you instant access to a world of answers whenever you say, "Hey, Google," and allows you to cast content directly to the screen from any Android device.
Not every father has time to sit and enjoy a few hours of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on the couch, but that doesn't mean they don't have time to enjoy it while waiting in the car for kids to finish practice. Razer's Kishi controller clips on to whatever phone you own and gives you the full console experience in your hand. It's all you need to have some fun anywhere, and what Dad wouldn't want that?
Dad may be a little embarrassed if you get him this gift but he'll most likely appreciate it. Panasonic says its new ER-GK80-S has a unique V-shaped head that's "built to go everywhere" -- and with precision. It comes with two attachments, has almost two hours of battery life and can be used wet or dry. A travel case is included.
Anker's Soundcore Wakey may be the best clock radio you can buy for the money. Not only does it sound better and play louder than your typical clock radio, but it has an integrated wireless charging dock for Qi-enabled smartphones, which includes all the iPhones and Samsung smartphones from the last few years. What's also appealing about this gift idea is that there's a companion app (yes, it's also a Bluetooth speaker) that allows you to preset your FM radio station favorites and dim the LED clock to your liking.
Currently, the black version is less expensive ($74) while the white version costs $90.
The Luxe is SanDisk's latest iXpand Flash Drive that allows you to move photo and video files from a Lightning-enabled iOS device to a USB-C-enabled computer or Android phone. It also has an automatic back-feature for iOS devices (you'll need to download the iXpand Drive companion app).
The 128GB version I tried costs $60 (though it's on sale now for $53) while the 256GB version costs $90.
Ember makes 10-oz. (284 grams, $100) and 14-oz. (397 grams, $130) versions of its temperature-controlled smart mug, which keeps your hot beverage of choice hot while you sip it over a longer drinking session. While it won't keep 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 version, but it 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 the top.
This smaller 10-oz. model is available in a variety of colors, including the snazzy bronze pictured here, while the larger version only comes in black or white.
There's nothing like a little blending on the go for dear old Dad's protein shakes. That's where the BlendJet 2 comes in. Equipped with a rechargeable battery, it's more powerful than you think and is able to whip up smoothies without having to plug in anywhere. It charges via USB-C (you get about 15 blends per charge) and is fully waterproof. Drink right from the blender!
This insulated water bottle has built-in UV technology in the lid that, with a press of a button, kills off bacteria in three minutes and purifies your water. (There's an integrated rechargeable battery that uses a proprietary USB charger.)
The UV light breaks the DNA of the bacteria," Glo says, "eliminating the bacteria that cause bad smell and taste." So not only does the bottle clean water, but it cleans itself.
The bottle also keeps your water cold or hot for up to 12 hours.
Amazon's smallest Echo Show has been upgraded for 2021, and the new Gen 2 version ships on June 9, which means you can get it in your hands before Father's Day. The new model -- which, like the updated Show 8, adds a higher resolution camera -- lists for $85. (The dilemma: Prime Day is coming sometime in June this year, at which time this is likely to see a price cut -- but that may be too late for you to hit Father's Day proper.) If you're looking for a video-enabled Echo device for Dad's nightstand or home office, this is the most affordable option. The new Echo Show 8 lists for $130 and sometimes goes on sale for less than $100.
The Upright Go 2, a little device you stick onto your skin at the top of your back (between your shoulder blades), monitors your posture and vibrates when you're slouching. Using the companion app for iOS and Android, you can set up training regimes and keep track of your progress. This new second-generation version is 50 percent smaller than the original. Additional adhesives cost $10 for a 10-pack, but some people use double-sided tape to save money. There's also a new Upright Go necklace accessory ($20) that allows you to not bother with adhesive strips.
The adhesives (10 are included) kept the Upright Go 2 on my back just fine -- I barely noticed the device was there except for when it vibrated -- and you can wear it for several days without replacing the adhesive. That said, the necklace is the way to go. It'd be nice if it was included as part of a bundle.
I was a fan of Logitech's earlier MX Master and MX Master 2S mice, which shared the same design. For the MX Master 3, Logitech's engineers made some upgrades to both the design and the mechanics of the mouse, most noticeably to the scroll wheel, which is driven by electromagnets and is buttery-smooth to operate. It's fast and quiet -- you can zip through literally thousands of lines in seconds when you switch from ratchet to free-spin mode. This stylish mouse costs just less than $100, and it's a neat upgrade for Dad, whether he's got an old desktop PC or a laptop with a stubborn trackpad.
The Roku Ultra has always been a fine 4K HDR streamer. As the flagship in Roku's extensive line of sticks and players, its bag of nifty tricks includes a remote finder and a remote with programmable remote buttons. The 2020 version adds better Wi-Fi, a faster processor and the ability to stream in Dolby Vision -- a long-awaited feature that allows it to better compete with the best streamers from Amazon, Apple and Google.
Yes, the Roku Express 4K Plus, which costs around $40, is a better value, but the upgraded Ultra is often on sale these days for $70 (it lists for $100) and has an Ethernet port for those who want to go with a wired connection.
Whether Dad is aiming for some post-vaccine travel or sticking around the house, the UE Wonderboom 2 is a great wireless speaker. It's pretty compact and offers better -- and bigger -- sound than some of its slimmer and smaller rivals. This wireless speaker is available in about a dozen fun colors, it really can float and has better battery life than the original Wonderboom.
It's time to upgrade Dad's PC keyboard -- and the MX Keys is arguably the smartest low-profile Logitech keyboard I've used. It has "spherically dished" keys that kind of cradle the tips of your fingers, and the keyboard is responsive and tactile. In that sense, it's similar to Logitech's Craft keyboard, which lists for twice the price.
The keys light up as your hands approach, and there's a sensor that adjusts the illumination according to the lighting conditions. You can also turn off the light if you want to save battery life. The dual layout is designed for both Mac and Windows users, and MX Keys is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android systems.
Using illumination, you can get 10 days of operation on a full charge or up to five months with backlighting turned off. When it's time to recharge, the battery indicator LED glows red and you can continue using the keyboard while charging via USB-C.
Yes, the Echo Dot sells for half the price, but it's worth splurging on Dad's special day for the full-size Amazon Echo -- especially if it's marked down. In addition to its zillions of smart home functions, this voice-controlled speaker delivers better-than-average sound quality and doubles as a straight-up Bluetooth speaker, too. Oh, and it tells jokes that only a dad can appreciate.