Buy This, Not That: 9 best gifts for Dad — under $50

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Get dad a gift that delivers.

This holiday season, consumers plan to spend $501, on average, on gifts for family, friends and co-workers, according to the National Retail Federation. A lot of that is for naught: More than one in three Americans return gifts they get over the holidays.

Don’t let the present you get your father end up in this category. “Think about your dad’s interests, and what he needs right now,” suggests Kristin McGrath, an editor for and

Also see: 10 fabulous gifts for your wife under $100 — that she won’t dream of returning

Whether the dad in your life is recently retired or starting a new career, an empty-nester or the caretaker to a newborn, we have the perfect gift suggestion for him, all for under $50.

For the cook: Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker, about $30

Maybe the dad in your life is in charge of making breakfast before school every morning, or brunch on the weekends. Or maybe he just loves a cool contraption. Either way, the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker — which has garnered 4.5 stars and more than 6,800 reviews on Amazon — makes a fun gift. Consisting of three layers that allow you to heat up different combinations of bread, meat and eggs, the device cooks breakfast sandwiches in five minutes. And the removable parts are dishwasher safe so it’s easy to clean up after. Read more here.

For the dad with the epic junk drawer: Cocoon GRID-IT! Organizer, about $25

Ever year, getting organized lands on plenty of New Year’s resolutions lists. That’s why the Cocoon GRID-IT! Organizer make a solid gift: It keeps objects such as smartphones, pens, receipts and screws in place with smartly placed, thin elastics. You can use it in that junk drawer — and as an extra gift, sort the drawer for him using the organizer over the holiday. The organizer is also great for keeping luggage neat while traveling, McGrath notes. Read more here.

For the dad who needs to text and walk to fit it all in: Touchscreen Texting Italian Leather Gloves, about $30 on Amazon

More than 8 in 10 men now own a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center — and they likely spend a ton of time on them. Indeed, Americans spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes on smartphones and tablets each day, according to research released this year by eMarketer. For your dad, some of that time may be when he’s on the go, which is why these gloves are so helpful, letting you use your phone and keep your hands warm at the same time. Made of leather, the gloves feature two tech-touch fingertips on each glove to allow for easy smartphone use. Read more here.

For the fitness buff (who keeps losing his AirPods): JBL Waterproof Wireless Sport Headphones, about $50

Consisting of two earbuds linked together by a cord that wraps around the back of the head, the JBL Endurance Sprint headphones are waterproof and designed to be worn in all weather conditions. A hooked design ensures that the buds will stay in ears even during intense workouts. “People lose AirPods all of the time,” says Chandra Steele, senior features writer at PCMag. “These will stay in when you’re exercising.” Get them for the dad who always complains about losing his headphones, or needs some motivation to move his body. Read more here.

For the dad with a long commute: Yeti Rambler Tumbler to keep his coffee hot for hours, about $30 on Amazon

McGrath notes that Yeti’s “products are very high quality” and have “luxury appeal.” The Yeti Rambler Tumbler, she says, is a really good entry-level product from the brand. Made from double walls of stainless steel that are vacuum sealed to prevent heat or cold from escaping, the 20-ounce Rambler Tumbler also has a magnetic lid. On average, the Tumbler keeps drinks hot for up to six hours. It’s a great gift for a dad who has a long commute. Read more about this product here.

For the world traveler: Solo Tablet Sling Tote — to protect your computer on the go, about $30 on Amazon

Bodge recommends this brand, because, she says: “Their products are really well thought out.” The Solo New York Ludlow Universal Tablet Sling Tote has a padded compartment that can fit a tablet up to 12.9-inches-long, as well as two zip-down front compartments for small items such as sunglasses and keys. One reviewer on Amazon said he ordered the bag to carry his tablet “to and from work without being called out for carrying a man purse” (mission accomplished) and another writes: “Overall, an excellent, well-made bag, and exactly what I needed at a reasonable price. A well-deserved five stars.” Read more here.

For the dad who travels often: Mad Style Mens iShave Electric Razor, about $34 on Amazon

Inspired by the square design of early model iPhones, the Mad Style Men’s iShave Electric Razor has net foil design, which captures hair in a thin layer of metal mesh, and then cuts it with oscillating blades, allowing for a close shave. A USB keys pops out of the bottom, allowing the razor to be easily charged in a computer or smartphone charger. Small and compact, the razor is great for traveling. “You can throw it in a pocket,” says Steele. Read more here.

For the dad who keeps telling you not to buy him any more junk: an experience gift from Cloud 9 Living, starting at $50

Experiential gifts are growing in popularity, NPD data shows, particularly things like tickets to sporting events or dinner gift certificates — and there are plenty of ways to give a memorable experience to dad. Cloud 9 Living allows you to search for different types of experiences in the area of your choosing. Some of the experiences are pricey — glamping near Yellowstone, anyone? — but there are also many options on the site that are affordable, including a desert tour in New York City and a tropical isle tour in Fort Lauderdale. Read more here.

For the dad who likes to sample a lot of different options: a gift box from FitFabFun, starting at $49.99

Still can’t nail down the perfect gift for dear old dad? Gift box subscriptions are another major gifting trend right now, according to Bodge, in part because they keep arriving even after the holiday season has passed. If you know your dad loves to try new products before he commits to buying them, Bodge recommends getting him a subscription for a box from FitFabFun, which comes with items from trusted brands including socks, shaving cream, Bluetooth earbuds and a multi-tool kit. “Dads are bound to find a bunch of things in that box they’ll really fall in love with,” Bodge says. Read more about this product here.

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