5 Father’s Day Gifts That Buyers Almost Always Regret

African American woman at home surprising her husband with a gift and covering his eyes.
Hispanolistic / Getty Images

Dear ol’ Dad deserves the very best, doesn’t he? Father’s Day is just around the corner and even though he says he doesn’t want anything, you know you have to get him something. After all, it was just Mother’s Day and you went all out for her, right?

But you’ve bought your dad everything you can think of for past Father’s Days: the ice cream cake with the shirt and tie on it, the golf-themed tchotchkes for his office, the fishing-and-beer themed hat. Wait, did you actually get him those? As bad as those items sound, you might not have been scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to buying bad Father’s Day gifts.

GOBankingRates reached out to some experts to determine what are the most regrettable Father’s Day purchases. Buckle up your seatbelts and get ready for some dad jokes about the worst gifts for your old man.

Novelty Ties

Nothing ties dad up in knots like a novelty tie.

Consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews.com shares how novelty ties “are cute when young kids are giving them, but unless your dad works in a place with a somewhat relaxed dress code that allows these kinds of accessories, odds are good he won’t get much use out of them.”

She also points out, “If he doesn’t even work in a place that requires ties every day, he’ll get even less. They might be fun to buy, but they’ll probably spend most of the time languishing in a closet.”

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Funny Mugs 

Dad humor runs rampant on all sorts of dishes and dining sets — pint glasses, engraved plates, and of course, humorous mugs.

“Sure, one mug that says something like ‘World’s Best Farter’ may be chuckle-worthy, especially if your dad appreciates jokes about bodily functions, but don’t make this a habit,” cautions Ramhold.

“Any dad isn’t going to be happy with essentially getting different iterations of the same gifts year after year, so if you’ve already gone this route, it’s best to think of something truly different,” she suggests.

Lawn Equipment

Taking care of the lawn is traditionally a dad’s duty. However, times are changing and yours might not want to spend Father’s Day whacking weeds.

“If your dad adores lawn care, that’s a different story entirely, but for most dads who have other hobbies, getting a new lawnmower for Father’s Day isn’t going to be a win,” notes Ramhold. “It’s just going to serve as a (potentially expensive) reminder that there are chores to be done for the next few months while the weather is at its warmest.”

Cheap Tools

On the whole, dads do seem to love tools and having everything they need on hand to fix stuff around the house. What they don’t like is getting subpar quality tools as a gift on their special day.

“While it might be tempting to choose a tool from Amazon as a quick Father’s Day gift, it’s important to consider quality and utility,” says Matt Carlson, founder of ParentPresents.com, which helps young adults save time, stress and money finding gifts. 

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“Often, these tools end up unused or redundant if your dad already possesses a reliable version of that specific function,” adds Carlson.


It’s not just the silly ties that you should avoid getting dad for his big day this June — it’s really any type of clothing.

“Speaking from personal experience, one of the purchases I almost always regretted was clothing,” shares Victoria Hudgins, founder and managing editor of Tattoo Glee. “Here’s the thing, my artistic bent tends to color my choices. I might find a Hawaiian shirt with a bold pattern captivating, but my dad prefers more muted tones and classic styles. It can be so disappointing buying a gift that you later realize didn’t really suit his style. But hey, we live and learn.”

She adds, “Clothing and accessories that don’t match individual aesthetics often make the regret list. Let’s face it, these are subjective choices, and it can be tough to nail someone else’s style. This goes for ties, hats, and even shoes. They’re often priced anywhere between $20 to $100, but if they end up collecting dust, it’s money down the drain.”

Go With These Gifts Instead

There are some alternative presents your pop will love and will impress him by saving money in the process.

Upgrades and Additions to His Tool Kit

“If you’re considering a tool, ensure it’s an upgrade to his existing collection or a tool he genuinely needs but doesn’t own yet,” suggests Carlson. “For instance, if your dad already has a gas-powered leaf blower, an electric handheld leaf blower (about $100) could be a thoughtful and practical gift.”

Gift Cards

Dads, just like everyone else, love money. And if you don’t feel great about handing dad a stack of bills for Father’s Day, you can get him a gift card instead.

“Guess what my dad loves more than anything else?” Hudgins asks. “An Amazon gift card. You might think it’s impersonal, but he gets a kick out of scrolling through Amazon and picking something he truly wants. And best of all, it’s affordable — around $50 (any more, and he usually gets cross), and it’s a purchase I’ve never regretted.”

Experienced-Based Gifts

Depending on your budget, you might want to get your dad a subscription to a new app he’s always talking about but never downloads, or a pass to a class for him to try developing a new hobby.

“Lean into experiences or versatile options,” Hudgins recommends. “In light of this, subscriptions for online classes (around $15-$30 per month), or a gift card to a local restaurant or his favorite online store (around $50), could provide an experience and the freedom of choice, making them both thoughtful and practical presents.”

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