If you have a bit less money to spend and dad likes a larger, over-ear design, then check out the Monoprice HiFi DJ-Style Over-the-Ear Pro headphones, which generally cost about $25. (These are my own favorite cheap headphones, and I got them from Monoprice during a sale for about $18.) They won't win any style awards—they're basic-looking black headphones—but they deliver surprisingly good sound for the money, and the closed, over-ear design does a decent job of muffling outside sounds.
Even if your budget this year is tighter than Joan Rivers' face, you can still get dad a set of headphones he'll actually enjoy: Panasonic's RP-TCM125K earphones, which generally cost about $15, though I've seen them online for as little as $10. These in-ear earphones not only have very good sound and come with a one-button remote and mic, they're offered in a variety of colors—some striking—in the event your dad likes to let his freak flag fly.
Of course, these are only a few of the nearly 150 models in our headphones Ratings, which are available to subscribers. The Ratings encompass all types of models, including in-, on-, and over-ear headphones, those with built-in noise-canceling circuitry, and even wireless models. In addition to these budget models, we also have some of the top-selling higher-priced models from companies such as Beats and Bose.
So don't let a limited budget this year stop you from showing dad how much you care. After all, you don't have to tell him how much they cost, and he'll never guess just by listening with them.
—James K. Willcox