The Best Gifts for Men (That They Actually Want)

Color & Chic blogger Hoang-Kim Cung and fiance Johnny Van at home sharing 50+ best gifts for men

Another year older. Another year wiser. I’m glad to be back in the saddle writing the 6th edition of my definitive best gifts for men. Does it feel like you’re just getting a handle on 2021 and 2022 is just around the corner?! Regardless…we made it fam!

For the OGs, you know the rules of my guide for the best gifts for men. For the newbies, here’s a refresher:

The best gifts for men are organized in order of the level of relationships to the guy in your life.

  1. From gifts for guys in your life like your boss, neighbors, and acquaintances who you deem worthy of gifts in general ($),
  2. to your close cousins and close friends ($$),
  3. to brothers, dads, husbands, fiances, and boyfriends ($$$).
  4. A little bit both – these gifts are definitely for him, but you come out winning in the end too ($$$$)!

How Things Made This Guide of Best Gifts for Men

  1. Is this something he’d use every day? Men are usually functional creatures. My favorite things in life are items I use every day making my life materially better.
  2. Is this something that will last? Guys buy certain things a lot and some things never. For example: I buy a lot of books all the time but I never buy clothes. I want to make sure whatever you get him will be something he doesn’t have to buy again unless it’s lost.
  3. Will this make your life better over the next year? This is where books, movies, and other “tools” will not only benefit him, but benefit you too. Win-win!
  4. Will his face light up? This is the most subjective question. It’s really for you to answer for the man in your life. What do they love? What are their hobbies?

Stocking Stuffers

Given the speed of wired charging, I can’t in good conscience recommend wireless charging anymore. After I accidentally broke off the “off brand” charging cable in Hoang-Kim’s old phone late last year she was stuck wirelessly charging until upgrading to the iPhone 13. Wireless charging is not it if you’re using your phone a lot. It’s better to plug in for 15 min than attempt to wirelessly charge for hours.

10 ft Lighting Cable – You may need to get this for your significant other, yourself, and all your family members. Hoang-Kim and I have one reaching out to each of our nightstands, near our dining table, and our offices. 10 ft. means you can move without fear of your phone being pulled out of your hands by the cord. These threaded cables durably last unlike the default cables.

2.5x faster charge Power Strip or Power Cube – Working from home is no longer a luxury. That means serious upgrades to all the spaces in your home are the gift that keeps on giving. Getting the right production and electric outlet output gives you security and convenience. We sometimes have 2-3 people working at the table and both of these items are lifesavers. No more fighting for plugs in your own home!

Smart Plugs – This one feels like magic and is compatible with all smartphones and items. Instead of spending on a smart device, just get a smart plug and control your “dumb” lights from anywhere. Now he can turn off all the lights before bed with one touch. I’ve plugged in our Christmas trees and all our lamps. Every night, I’m like Harry Potter, the chosen wizard. Lumos! Easily one of the best gifts for men.

Magsafe Compatible Cardholder – Does he still carry a wallet? Does he really want to? If not, he can streamline his pocket profiles with one of the best gifts for men, a Magsafe wallet. I’ve trusted Spigen for almost a decade with my iPhone and they knock it out of the park with their magnetic cardholder that rivals Apple’s at less than half the price. I only carry my essentials and that leaves my butt pocket comfortable. My back already thanks me. Not to mention I have one less item to keep track of. 

*Warning: make sure he has a magsafe compatible case and iPhone or it won’t attach.

Apple Airtags – Speaking of tracking…a friend of ours gifted Hoang-Kim and me 4 Airtags as a gift this summer and I can say as travel picks back up, it’s a real life saver. Our friend travels with a ton of priceless gear for work and swears by his Airtags. He can confirm when his checked gear is on the plane and can see exactly where it is in the baggage claim process. For us, we’ve placed them on keys and other core items we carry around. It kind of reminds me of life before and after GPS map apps on our phones.  

Where Should We Begin Game – I’ve been an avid listener to Esther Perel’s two podcasts: Where Should We Begin and How’s Work. She’s a world renowned relationship therapist and I really appreciate the work she’s done to help couples and co-founders navigate life while sharing those conversations with listeners. She launched the game to open back up the conversations we’ve been missing for the last year or more. I guarantee playing this game with anyone will bring you closer together.

Texas Hold ‘Em Set – Earlier this year a friend hosted a Poker Night and it was the best money I’ve ever lost. Don’t worry, that’s not what makes this one of the best gifts for men. Add in a few pizzas, drinks, and a set of friends and you’ve instantly created hours of endless fun and heckling. Every man secretly wants to host or be invited to a poker night. It all starts by having the set so he doesn’t have to get ready. He can stay ready!

Everyday Carry Pocket Knife –  Every guy needs an everyday carry pocket (EDC) knife. Whether he keeps it in his car or in his pocket, it’s incredibly valuable to be the guy who can cut open something at the right time. With more than 10 Amazon boxes showing up at your door every week, this will definitely come in handy this holiday season. It can double as a bottle opener if you’re smart. This blade is 3.1 inches and non-threatening to carry around. This is important because you cannot carry a knife more than 5.5 inches in Texas. Lastly, it’s light at just 3.8 oz.

Moleskin Journals. I don’t think and then write. I write to think. For the contemplative and observant types in your life. It’s one of the best gifts for men – esp. for the Type-A’s. Tell them the greatest men listened and took notes when important people spoke. I’m not much of a writer, but one of the best tips I’ve gotten was to take notes when you’re speaking with important people. They take it as a sign of respect and active listening. No one feels respected even if you’re typing notes on your phone or computer. Get it dotted, squared, ruled, or plain. Get it in multiple colors. One thing for sure…don’t cheap out on a daily-use journal. He’ll appreciate the binding and paper quality. It makes a significant difference. 

$ (less than $100)

Rugged Leather iPhone Case – I haven’t hit a point where I can flex a naked iPhone yet. Until then, this leather case will give him a low profile case with great protection. This case has a very low profile and is just the right amount of grip that you can hold it firmly in hand and still slide it in and out of your pocket easily. 

Travel Sized 30 oz Tumbler – This baby is my daily driver. Immediately one of the best gifts for men. If I’m working, I have it within five feet of me at all times, whether it’s keeping my cold brew at the perfect temperature, on my nightstand…not leaving a water ring, or in my car…this tumbler never fails. Warning: make sure to hand wash only. I’ve been on the wrong end of the dishwasher before.

Life changing water flosser – Honestly, I’ve spent my entire life only flossing periodically…until now! I dreamed of a water flosser for the better part of a decade, but as someone who clearly didn’t see the value, I felt a little dumb spending $40 on a water flosser. Now that I jumped over that chasm, I’d say it’s the most no-brainer buy of the year. I use it twice a day and I know my dentist is very thankful (or mad that he can’t do more work!)

Panda Journal for his goals, gratitude, and focus – One of our executive teams instituted 10-15 minutes daily dedicated to panda journaling company-wide. Saying it’s been transformative for members of the team is an understatement. We had one team member who resisted for a while. That member recently reconnected with her estranged brother after writing it down daily as a goal. There’s power in putting pen to paper. 

Portable Bluetooth Speaker – This little beast is a must have in every household. We’ve almost become bluetooth speaker collectors at this point using a combo of the more expensive JBL Bluetooth speaker. This one is a bit smaller, more rugged, and easier to travel with. Sometimes you’re traveling and just want to listen to a podcast or create a mood. This is your answer. Who doesn’t love the DJ?

Japanese Cold Brew Coffee Maker – I’m the psychopath who drinks cold brew year-round. If it was -20 degrees…I’d have a cold brew in hand. I just like the low acidity from this method of brewing. I can really taste the coffee. All you do is fill it up and steep overnight. It’s stupidly easy, stupidly cheap, and stupidly good. Do him a favor and start this habit if he’s a psycho like me. I learned the hard way after blowing too many discretionary dollars over the years on bad cold brew coffee.

Rocketbook Infinity Planner – This is the upgrade from the blank Moleskins and paper Panda Journal. I’ve been using it for the past year and it’s crazy to see what’s been accomplished when you can look back. Having a planner template has dramatically improved my productivity just by keeping me focused. You can upload your notes to the cloud along with automatic transcription. I don’t use this feature much, but I know people who do and it’s a great digital archive of your days and years. What I appreciate most, unlike the paper version, is that it’s only 16-20 pages thin and you can wipe away the ink with water and a cloth. That low profile allows me to slide it into my backpack right next to my laptop and it only weighs a few ounces.

Doorway Pullup Bar – Nothing builds confidence like being able to do pull-ups. Like squats, it’s one of the few exercises that test functional strength. I ascribe to the 5×5 rule. I’ll do 5 pull-ups 5 times a day while I’m in the home office. It’s a saving grace since my spine gets some traction and I get some activity during the day despite long hours at a desk. Eventually, he’ll be looking at a V-shape of a man, which makes this one of the best gifts for men.

French Press Coffee Maker – You could get the generic version, but with any tool that you use daily, I always say spend the extra money on the real deal. There’s a difference in craftsmanship in the glass and plunger that makes a difference for coffee snobs. Make sure you get the right OZ size for everyday coffee making. The vacuum created when you plunge the press makes all the difference. No plastic smell or taste in your coffee ever again. Hoang-Kim is a hot coffee drinker and we use this religiously with fresh coffee.

39 pc Starter Toolkit – This gift ranks VERY VERY high in the “will this make your life better this year” category and the “is this something that will last” category. One of the best gifts I’ve ever received was a tool kit from my Dad. I use it almost weekly and bring it to friends who need a helping hand. This covers all the basics for any small project, earning its spot on this list of best gifts for men.

Books

The Alchemist – You always remember your first. The first book I ever read front to back in one sitting. It was the book that Hoang-Kim recommended to me in college that completely flipped the switch for me. I hope it can open up the door in his mind too. Transformative reading makes it one of the best gifts for men.

Reboot – The second book I re-read every few years along with The Alchemist. I feel so seen reading it. What I love most is that it’s interactive. There are 9 interactive chapters that ask critical questions that force introspection. If he reads this and is honest with himself, I promise he’ll learn something new and profound by the time he’s done.

Psychology of Money – People love great stories and Morgan Housel is a tour de force on finance sharing 19 stories that make you reframe most of your money life. You can join the 1M+ people who have now read these powerful short stories. Because this book is at the intersection of psychology and money, it should hook him immediately and I believe this will go down for the next decade as the best gift for men.

High Growth Handbook – This one’s for any of the executives or founders. Join Elad Gil, a prolific tech angel investor, as he interviews and shares dozens of powerful stories, strategies, and tactics from high-growth founders. They break down their frameworks and systems in a way that is transformative for individuals and organizations. My personal favorite is an interview with Claire Hughes Johnson, COO of Stripe. In particular, she laid out “Working with Claire: An Unauthorized Guide.” I’ve now taken that framework and requested people I work with write their Personal Operating Systems at the beginning of new partnerships. 

Make Your Bed – I witnessed this book come together during the commencement speech at graduation in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin. In 20+ years, it took a Navy Seal and Admiral a few sentences to change my behavior. “Make your bed, because that way you can start your day with a task well done. Worse case, if you have a bad day, you can come lay down in a well-made bed.” Admiral McRaven shares powerful lessons in a tiny package.

The Crossroads of Should and Must – I read this when it was just a Medium blog post right before I graduated in 2014. It played a large role in my unrelenting pursuit of entrepreneurship. Your passions call you. Listen carefully. Then act. If he’s contemplating a change, this is a book that can give him the positive nudge he needs.

10% Happier – Written by Dan Harris, a certified JewBu and retired ABC News anchor. He was inspired to go on his journey to become 10% happier after a viral, on-air panic attack that engulfed him. He’s still pretty skeptical to this day and I appreciate his truly curious mind diving deep into the culture and practices that helped him recover and make himself 10% better.

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design – There’s nothing that says, sophisticated like a good table book. If kids, guests, or even a bored version of him sits next to the coffee table, you’re assured a fun fact and illustration with every page!

Bible Project – Nothing says, you care about your Bible study like having a giant one within arms reach. This fun project is sure to get attention and is certainly a fun way to revisit passages and readings that might inspire a wonderful conversation.

Bucket List – 1000 Adventures – Wanderlust. This book has it all. I’m adding to my travel list as we speak. For the aspiring traveler, this will surely get the destination ideas flowing.

$$ (less than $200)

The Rolls Royce of Toothbrushes – So I’ve been a pulsar semi-sonic brusher for the last decade and sworn by it. It’s kept the dentist away for any major issues. This past year, Hoang-Kim got me a Sonicare and now I’m spoiled! This toothbrush is idiotproof and extremely thorough. Every time he uses it, he’ll feel as clean as if he just went to the dentist. We all know and want that fresh feeling without the unfun part! This is only the good stuff!

Portable Jump Starter with Air Compressor – Every year I want to kick this off the list, but this gift continues to deliver. This year it was my mom’s car that needed a jump. Keep it charged up and never have an issue with low tire pressure or a dead battery…the two highest likelihood reasons you need to make “the call.” Especially good for road trips since it can help fill up balls and bicycle tires too. My favorite feature is that the compressor hose can screw onto your tire nozzle securely before turning on the compressor. This is one of those best gifts for men that isn’t just a luxury, it’s a need.

21.5″ Work From Home Monitor – There’s no debating that we’re living on our screens these days and it can be exhausting. It’s especially exhausting if you’re in front of a 13.3 inch or smaller screen all day. This is the saving grace. An incredibly valuable and quick upgrade to the home office setup. I love the edge-to-edge screen and I’m sure he will too. This is not a “performance monitor.” If your significant other is a screen junkie, then I’d suggest opting for a 27” curved monitor. For $50 more, it’s a big upgrade.

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug – If he’s a hot coffee or hot drink person, this will level him up drastically. I drink cold brews almost exclusively, but when I make myself a cappuccino or some other lovely drink, I want it to stay at the perfect temperature. By the time I make it to the last ¼ of my drink, it’s cold and sad. This is especially true for slower drinkers. Hot drinks should be hot. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s really one of a kind. Pay for the best or only for your loved ones I always say.

Kettlebell – Ultimate Home Gym Starter Piece – If he’s into weightlifting or working out at all, I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a 50 lb. kettlebell. If he doesn’t, add one! For most strong guys, 50 lbs. is just the right weight to do the innumerable exercises possible with a kettlebell. It’s the ultimate home gym starter kit, and one of the best gifts for men. Don’t be mad if he ends up taking up the whole garage or a room after this red pill.

Long Sleeve Essentials – There’s a new kind of office wear that demands the flexibility of going from the home office zoom call, to the office, to a cocktail party. This new black long sleeve is a must-have addition to his wardrobe. Extremely comfortable and lightweight, it’s hard to imagine a better “all-purpose” workwear shirt. My general feeling is this is the ABC Pants of workwear. Athletic feel, but professional trim that allows him flexibility in every setting. 

Slim Fit Dress Pant Essentials – Similar to the black long sleeve, as he ventures out into the world, he’s going to want some pants that are nicer than jeans, but not necessarily dress pants. These slim-fit pants from AG are especially good if he’s got an athletic build. 

Lounge Pants – part of my weekend uniform – These pants from Outdoor Voices are incredibly versatile. I start every Saturday with them, rain or shine. I can get a workout in, handle some chores, and go out and run errands while looking great and feeling great. Every guy could use a pair. Hoang-Kim likes how my butt looks, so that’s a plus.

Lululemon pants that could pass for work pants – As a long-time In Mind pants customer, I know some of their pants can almost pass for dark chinos, which is a beautiful thing. These pants have fewer seams and give him a pseudo-professional look depending on his workplace and obviously he can jump straight into the gym by just switching his shirt and shoes. Isn’t life wonderful with little miracles like this!

Tommy John Boxer Briefs –  I know…underwear…really? Yes really. As a guy who has at times severely underinvested in underwear, take it from me that you want to spend a little extra on a few pairs of underwear. As the most intimate part of his everyday dress, these are a no-brainer on my list of best gifts for men. Invest in keeping your man’s parts comfortable and dry. I also love that boxer briefs are comfortable and breathable enough to get a good workout in too. Get him a pair (like 2 pairs hah)

Legendary Air Fryer – Last year my go-to in the kitchen was the instant pot. We use it every 1-2 weeks for our homemade spaghetti and it’s glorious, but the real star of the kitchen is our air fryer. Whether it’s a quick toast, cooking up some chicken nuggets, or re-frying takeout tempura, the air fryer rules supreme. Despite getting a few new gadgets this year, my Dad’s housewarming present is the gift that keeps on giving. If you don’t have one, get one. I swear by this thing and am on a mission to get one in every kitchen!

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky – I think I’ve made it fam. Last year I was wishing for this. I finally have this on my shelf and it drinks as smooth as you think. Like manly honey! He will earn instant respect if a friend or family member sees this on his bar.

Subscriptions

The Motley Fool – It feels like 2020-2021 was the year of, everybody is an investor. Luckily, things have slowed down a bit as everyone gets into the rhythm of normal life again. However, if he’s deep enough into investing that he’s a nerd like me and likes to study the game, Motley Fool is a great place to get ideas and keeps you out of “degenerate” territory. 

Wall Street Journal – One of the only publications I subscribe to. It helps me quickly get a 10-minute view of the world as I scan headlines and dig into any news stories. I always feel like it gives me a good sense of what everyone else is reading topically. WSJ is generally a good BS filter and a publication I still hold in high regard. Their crossword puzzles also aren’t to be trifled with! Make sure to take advantage of any new subscriber specials!

Headspace – A close friend of mine recommended I add Headspace. It almost slipped my mind, but it’s been great to see more people take care of their mental health. If he regularly seems stressed, consider this a strong investment. You’d be surprised what a few exercises and good daily habits can do to improve his life.

Masterclass – if he’s into learning new things from the best people vs. just a book, this is an utter steal. If he wants to learn any ONE of the skills they have featured, it’d worth the subscription. Whether it’s cooking exotic cuisines, learning to negotiate, or learning to rock climb from Mr. Free Solo, they’ve got it. 

Blinkist – If you remember Sparknotes, Blinkist will give you that flavor. For avid readers who just want to suck up all the summary knowledge from the endless books launched, Blinkist gives you 15-20 minute bite-sized takeaways from the top books. 

$$$ (less than $1000)

Always Cool Pillow – This pillow has been a godsend. The way it’s constructed there’s just more space for air to flow. And if that’s even too hot for him, there’s a cooling gel side of the pillow. Personally, I find one side much more comfortable because it’s so soft, but for anyone who likes a more firm memory foam feel, simply flip it over and you’re golden. You can feel the quality of the pillow when you hold it. It’s so good you might gift it for him…and then gift it to yourself.

Mesh Wifi System – I help run an internet service provider day-to-day and I can’t tell you how much this system has made our customers’ lives easier. I’m one of those people. This Google Nest mesh wifi was a super quick install and blanketed every corner of our house with wifi and then some. It’s a must have if you have a home bigger than 2000 sq ft. This is one of the best gifts for men because it can literally turn your house into a high speed oasis!

Working man’s messenger bag – Ladies…look at that man go. I have a Ted Baker messenger bag I invested in during my first internship in NYC. I’ve never received more compliments consistently over the years. The inner lining elevates this bag to sophistication and accents a masculine leather shell. Sounds like your man. If he takes care of this bag, it’ll take care of him for a lifetime.

Nespresso – I lied. Our Nespresso is actually the #1 used appliance in our kitchen. In the hierarchy of kitchen appliances, this is definitely higher than our air fryer. Every morning, Hoang-Kim religiously wakes up and makes herself a Nespresso. If I’m staying home in the morning, this is my go to. The recyclability, reliability, and flavor variety of the pods make it a no-brainer as a coffee maker upgrade. If he’s coffee snob, the French Press Coffee Maker is the way to go, but if he’s a one-click guy, this is one of the best gifts for men in the coffee arena.

Series 7 Apple Watch – Edge-to-edge screen. You don’t think it matters until you’ve lived with it. I’ve seen enough executives and working guys pair their apple watches to their phone to track their health and communicate with family that it’s hard to argue that we’re not already living in the future. A friend at the beach this last week told me he walkie-talkie’s with his kids and my jaw dropped. 

Airpod Pros – Hoang-Kim gifted me a pair of these like the wonderful miracle that she is and I haven’t been without them since. Another Christmas season and this still holds true. They are life changing. What’s unique to me is they are noise cancelling, but really smart in allowing certain ambient frequencies in so when a car passes by or someone is urgently talking to you, it comes through much more clearly at seemingly the right times than traditional noise cancelling headphones. Most importantly, they will survive a wash cycle or two. When technology is nothing short of magic like these, I crown it one of the best gifts for men.

Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones: Indispensable. My travel and office life have never been the same since. If he works in an open office floor plan and can wear these, get them for him ASAP. Als, if he travels a lot, get them for him ASAP. They are a staple for weekly or bi-weekly travelers. Pair with Dolby Atmos on Apple Music (you get a 6 mo. free subscription) and he will be L-I-V-I-N.

J Crew Top Coat – There are only a few things sexier than a man in a wool-cashmere overcoat walking to you with a gift coming out of the snow. A coat like this is a must have in every man’s wardrobe. I particularly love the toffee color. It’s just the right amount of “look at me,” with a timeless panache. 

Oculus Quest 2 – This is on my own personal wishlist. Everyone I’ve heard try the Oculus Quest says they’ve finally made VR worthwhile. It still needs mass distribution, but after a decade of waiting, VR is put into a form factor that people love and can fully be immersed in. If he’s obsessed with how the future will look, this is a glimpse into it.

$$$$ (less than $1200)

Herman Miller Sayl Chair – I always say your most expensive tool is your cheapest tool. It doesn’t get the job done and worse, it can hurt you over the long term. Gifting the Sayl chair means buying comfort that lasts 8+ hrs a day. Hoang-Kim and I have sat in ours for an embarrassing number of ours and have no back issues. It’s truly incredible how comfortable, reliable, and supportive this chair is. It’s one of the most iconic office chairs for a reason.

Surround Sound Bar – The sound is better than what I get in IMAX theatres in my opinion. Now if only my screen size could match. If you have a media room and are serious about your in-home cinema experience, this is the fastest way to get surround sounds without the entire home-theater install. This is really for the audiophiles. If he has streaming subscriptions or movies with spatial audio, he’ll never go back. Everything sounds flat after experiencing the Bose difference. Invest in the best or the only.

An alternative if y’all love a “feel it in your bones” bass and still keep the system under $1k, consider a combination of the lower end Bose Soundbar and add a Bose subwoofer

Tods Loafers – I was recently introduced by Hoang-Kim to the wonderful world of Tod’s Italian leather craftsmanship shortly before we left for Florida. It’s hard to put into words what truly great shoes look and feel like, but I know this is it, making it one of the best gifts for men. The way the inner sole is made, it makes it incredibly comfortable to wear sockless. It’s definitely a shoe that can age with you. 

Garage / Media Room Refrigerator – Someone once told me that the happiest people in the world are the kind of people who have a second refrigerator in the garage. It means you have enough to have it and fill it with drinks and have enough friends to come over and enjoy it together. Getting one has been on my list since we closed on the house. This is one of the few beauties that’s even available that you’d be proud of when you’re spending a day with the garage door open.

Traeger – Is there anything this thing can’t do! If you haven’t been welcomed to the Traegerhood, let me be the first to do so. This bad boy grills, smokes, bakes, roasts, and everything in between. We’ve tested turkey legs, steaks, pork ribs, shrimp, and more. We’re well on our way to making a full smoked turkey for Thanksgiving. He will be cooking up a storm if he isn’t already with this – definitely one of the best gifts for men. It’s the YETI of grills. Hat tip to all the other owners out there. If you want to read our full review, you can read it here.

Vacuum that makes you feel like a certified Ghostbuster – I have a weird relationship with vacuuming. Namely, I love it. Something about vacuuming is uniquely soothing to me. Maybe it’s that there’s an instant result. Maybe it’s the sound. I’m not sure what it is, but like all the things I love in my life, I invest in the best tools. This vacuum is tiny, powerful, and doubles in making me feel amazing because of the shape and user experience. It’s one of a kind. We recently got this for a friend as a wedding present and his wife said she hasn’t seen him light up like that since the wedding hah!

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