Gifts that'll make Dad a happy camper—even at home

Consumer Reports News: June 01, 2011 04:13 PM

Sure some Dads like gadgets and gizmos, and for those you can buy a smart phone, tablet or whatever. But real men like things with a little more heft, things they can take apart and put back together, drag out of the shed or toolbox, or use to perform some chore that'll make the wife and kids happy. Like cooking a steak, mowing the lawn or hanging a shelf. Here's some gifts for those guys.

Portable gas grill: Margaritaville G1000 Ride Behind tailgating grill ($400)
Why we liked it: The Margaritaville is a transportable grill with a new twist: You can attach the swing arm to any vehicle's 2-inch receiver hitch and have an instant tailgate. The G1000 aced our high- and low-temperature grilling performance tests.
Why Dad will too: For starters, it turns heads when you take it on the road. And when he gets to the campsite or stadium, he doesn't have to haul it out of the trunk. The fold-out side shelves provide ample space for that rack of ribs or can of beer.

drills_DeWalt_DCD_940KX.jpgCordless drill/driver: DeWalt DCD 940KX ($280)
Why we liked it: The 18-volt NiCd-powered drill is the only drill we tested that posted top scores for speed, power and run-time. It also had decent scores for handling.
Why Dad will too: Even if Dad is only hanging a picture, he'll look macho with this drill. It has three speeds, a hammer-drill setting for boring into masonry and an LED light. As one man said in our user reviews: "This tool can be dragged through the dirt, get wet, fall off a ladder and still work."

Electric lawn mower: Black & Decker SPCM1836 ($450)
Why we liked it: A cordless self-propelled electric mower that cuts it. In our mower tests, the Black & Decker was very good at mulching, side discharging and handling and we recommended it.
Why Dad will too: No more trips to the gas station or smelly emissions—but then again, no more excuses. This mower requires less maintenance than a gas-powered model. And it's so quiet, Dad can mow while the kids are sleeping. (That's why they'll love it.)

ac_Friedrich_Kuhl_SS08M10-A.jpgAir conditioner: Friedrich Kuhl SS08M10 ($800)
Why we liked it: While the Kuhl isn't cheap—and might require professional installation—the 7,900-btu model outscored all the other models in our air conditioner tests for cooling, quiet operation and brownout resistance.
Why Dad will too: Because it's cool-looking and has a remote! The thermostat can be programmed for up to four different daily settings, or hardwired to a programmable thermostat. And it comes in Black Onyx and several other colors to match Dad's man cave.

Pod coffeemaker: Senseo Supreme 7832 ($130)
Why we liked it: Pod coffeemakers are the fastest-selling type of coffeemaker and the Senseo was the best pod in our tests. The Senseo was very good at quickly turning out a first cup of coffee, the one you want most.
Why Dad will too: This coffeemaker caters to him. He gets his own cup of coffee how he likes it and when he wants it. And he can take the Senseo to the office and impress colleagues by giving them their own favorite brew.

blender_Ninja_Master_Prep_Professional_QB1004.jpgBlender/food chopper: Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 ($60)
Why we liked it: Consumer Reports put the Ninja to the test against 14 other choppers. And the 5-cup-capacity chopper really was better than the competition at balancing a variety of tasks, including chopping, pureeing and grating.
Why Dad will too: Simple—it's a Ninja. The "ancient Asian metalworking secrets" described in the infomercial apparently make it masterful at concocting icy drinks and crushing ice. And after a hard day's work that's exactly what every Dad needs.


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