The Primer Gift Guide for Guys

It's that time of year, when everyone from your girlfriend to your mom to your cubicle mate wants gift ideas for things you want. Coming up with a list of things we want isn't the hard part; I'll take a PS3, new Sportcoat, and vacation in Alaska – it's coming up with things we want in affordable gift ranges that makes this so difficult. If it's something we want, and it only costs $25, we probably would have just bought it for ourselves already, right?

That's where the Primer Gift Guide comes in. It's chock full of awesome stuff you'd love to have, but might not be able to justify shelling out the money for.

The gifts are categorized in price ranges so you can easily come up with ideas for your office Secret Santa from the under $30 range, or ideas for your girlfriend in one of the higher ranges. She's been begging for ideas since Thanksgiving, lets give her some.

Special thanks to Jack Busch, Patrick Wittwer, Grant Harris, Kenneth Suna, Richard Dedor, Douglas Wagner, and Jorge Del Pinal for their awesome help with this.

What's Primer Approved?

On some of the gift ideas there's a small “Primer Approved” badge. This is a classification for some of the products I've tested hands-on and feel they're worth the money. Companies can't pay for this distinction: The product we used must have met both the advertised promises and our expectations.

gift ideas for guys

Tintin: The Complete Companion

A fully illustrated guide to the world of Tintin, Snowy and their classic adventures.

Syma S107 R/C Helicopter

This awesome indoor RC helicopter is tons of fun once you get the hang of it. Just don’t bang it around too much, or you’ll need replacement parts.

Manvotionals by The Art of Manliness

Build your character and find true internal motivation with this excellent introspective manual on being the best you can possibly be. Read Andrew's full review here.

HYPERtheticals: 50 Questions for Insane Conversations

50 Cards with conversation starters with the wit of Chuck Klosterman.

Charcoal Grill Chimney Starter

Grilling is fun, but can take forever waiting for the coals. Speed up the process with a chimney starter.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Cooks better, cleans up easier. What else do you want? Read more on Cast Iron Man Cooking.

Allen Edmonds Cedar Shoe Trees

Cedar shoe trees maintain the shape of your dress shoes and help keep them stink free.

A Donation to Feeding America

Instead of another iTunes gift card from your Secret Santa, put the money to good use and help feed the hungry this season.


A great looking scarf, perfect dressed up with a pea coat, or down with a sweatshirt.

Icons of Men’s Style

A look into the defining pieces of men’s style, the stories of their design and the brands that started it all.

Cardboard Animal Heads

So you’re not much of a hunter, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have animal heads on your wall, albeit cool, hipstery cardboard ones!

Ticket Stub Diary

This diary can help organize your collection of tickets to show your friends that you were there for that incredible overtime win, stayed for the epic encore before the band sold out, or saw that comedian before he had a pay per view.

Picture Window

With this being sold in a pair for $25, the ideal gift would be one empty picture window for me to fill and one already filled by the gift-giver. It's also a handy way to spruce up a blank wall or frame a door.

Behance Action Cahier

Designed by the productivity experts at Behance, these back-pocket notebooks provide a flexible template to get the most out of everyday meetings, brainstorms or marathon bathroom ideation sessions.

Cremo Cream Shaving Cream

A coconut oil based shaving cream with a light scent.

Johnnie Walker Black

Perfect for the connoisseur or scotch novice. Splurge-priced alcohol makes a great gift.

Otterbox Defender

I don’t like using thick cell phone cases, but it would be nice to have one for camping or other harsh environments.


Custom Self Inking Stamp

Makes cashing checks or sending letters way easier. Besides stamping things is fun.

Victorinox 8 Inch Chef’s Knife

A chef’s knife is required for every man’s kitchen. This one has 4.5 stars with 642 reviews and comes in under $30. Can’t beat it.

You Are Not So Smart

Journalist David McRaney explains all of the logical fallacies we delude ourselves with including hindsight bias, confirmation bias and brand loyalty. It’s the best parts of Psych class without the homework.

Local Art/Handmade Goods

Entering a search with “Buy Local” and your hometown should bring up plenty of suggestions. This is also typically an affordable option, with many great finds falling under $20.

Wurkin Stiffs Magnetic Collar Stays

Quit walking around with floppy collars. These collar stays come with magnets to keep you looking sharp all day.

Stainless Steel Bar Shaker Set

Making great drinks requires the right tools. This simple set will look great for years.

Cedar Hangers

Your clothes deserve more than the free wire hangers you got from the dry cleaner. These will protect the shape and threads of your fancy new clothes.

Knockaround Sunglasses

Our new favorite sunglasses were only $25. Say what? Read our full write up here.

Business Cards

Every guy should have two types of business cards, one for his employer and one for everything else. Personal cards are an easy way to network and give out your info.

Wool Tie from The Tie Bar

Ties only suck as gifts when they’re ugly. Check out this number we used in our article on the Nicky knot.

The Nerdist Way

Nerd Herd commander Chris Hardwick teaches fellow nerds what he’s learned about managing anxiety, secrets to achieving goals and tapping into our more productive selves.

Craftsman 8 pc Standard Combination Wrench Set

Gifts are a great way to build a tool collection, and Craftsman tools are guaranteed for life.

Epic Art

Satisfy the patriotic comic booker in all of us with these “historically accurate” art prints from Etsy artist Sharpwriter.

Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide

The 75th Anniversary edition of the classic cocktail manual. Includes over 1,500 cocktail recipes.

Liquor Filled Chocolates

The only thing better than receiving chocolates is receiving ones filled with Jim Beam, Remy Martin, Stolichnaya and Grand Marnier.

Organic Wool iPhone Oxford Sleeve

A stylish alternative to clunky hard cases.

Mixergy Subscription

For the insatiable entrepreneur, Mixergy offers courses on starting a business, building mobile apps, hiring interns and more.

Every Man Jack Shave Kit

I’ve been using EMJ since we first reviewed them years ago.

Aaron Sorkin DVDs

With the Social Network, West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60, A Few Good Men, and pretty much any other show or movie Sorkin wrote, there's bound to be something any guy would love to have.

To-Do Notebooks

Whether it’s your to-do list or a collection of all your great movie ideas, they’ll be at home in your Shit I Gotta Fucking Get Done notebooks

Canadian Club 6 Year

Need to add a last, small gift for someone? Skip the socks, pick up a bottle of CC. Draper would be proud.

Ninja Star Coat Hook

Hanging up your coat like your mother always told you to is way better when it's on a ninja star.

gift ideas for guy friends

Keyport Slide

Keychain technology hasn’t changed, well…ever. This cool device brings keys, flash drives, and club cards into one easy box

Ocean Salt Face Scrub from LUSH

Many gents avoid LUSH, thinking it's only there for the ladies. This is not true. The Ocean Salt scrub, while pricey, is worth every penny.

Timex Weekender

A casual watch to give your metal banded Fossil the day off.

Customized Phone Case

You must protect your phone, especially something as beautiful as your iPhone! This company offers a unique, one-of-a-kind case for just $40. They can print photos and logos … well … just about anything really.

Custom Journal

Handcrafted in North Carolina, these customizable journals are available in multiple versions and customers can choose everything from the color of the cover to literally what's on every page inside.

Italian Leather Driving Gloves

Every guy feels like a badass wearing them, but most never shell out the cash for them.

Fully Automatic Foam Dart Blaster

The battery powered Tommy 20 is the only weapon you'll need when the assholes from the next department over want to start some inter-office shit.

Handmade Moleskin Shoe Bag

These beautiful shoe bags will keep your footwear investments cared for, handmade right in Portland.

Shawl Cardigan

Get in on the most popular style of sweaters right now with this affordable Shawl Collar Cardigan.

Items for Your Survival Kit

It's important for every guy to prepare for the worst. But paying for “What if?” items doesn't always fit into the budget. Check out our guide to preparing for the apocalypse and add what you're missing to your list.

Digital Photo Frame

Remember what you’re working so hard for by adding a digital picture frame to your office. If you give it as a gift, extra points for loading it up with embarrassing Facebook photos.

Samsung Focus Flash

Lightning quick smartphones don’t have to be hundreds of dollars. The Samsung Focus Flash from AT&T runs Windows Phone 7.5 with ease. No more painfully slow cell phone for you.

Square Frame Aviators

If they’re good enough for helicopter pilots, Don Draper, and Apollo astronauts, they’re good enough for me. Read our full write-up here.

Eco Extreme Waterproof MP3 Dock

Take your music anywhere: camping, the beach, or just the shower. Read our full review here.

Valeo Medicine Ball

Old school workouts are effective and don’t require an expensive gym membership.

Bodum French Press

That 4 cup coffee maker from junior year has got to go. Read our post on making coffee with a French Press that tastes better than Starbucks.

LED MagLite

Durable and ready, no matter the emergency you’ll be prepared when the lights go out.

PocketToolX Piranha

Our Piranha giveaway was such a huge success, it’s sure to win over whoever you give one to.

gift guide for men

Computer Backup

This is definitely a bit higher on the “geek” scale, but any man worth his stuff will be backing up his computer and external hard drives. BackBlaze offers unlimited, read unlimited, data for as little as $5 a month.


TOMS Shoes has grown a lot over the past couple of years. Check out their latest styles including botas and desert boots.

Fictional Blueprints

Have you ever wondered the square footage of Don Draper's office? This etsy poster shop offers detailed architectural floor plans from fictional abodes featured in Mad Men, Friends, Seinfeld, and many others.

7 Deadly Sins Glasses

Perfect for sharing a dram of whiskey with fellow gents, though be careful who you give Gluttony to. For more classic glasses, check out our guide to the common glasses of alcoholic drinks.

Custom Clothing Gift Cards

Get a shirt you’ll really like: One made specifically to your tastes and dimensions.

Directors Chair

Directors chairs are not only cool looking, they make great extra foldable seats for your apartment, balcony or office.

Beckel Canvas Possibilities Bag

This durable duffel is perfect for the gym, the beach, or anywhere you’ve got to carry your gear. Proudly made in Portland. Read our full review here.

gifts for boyfriends

Kindle Touch

Sure, it’s no iPad, but it’s 1/6th the price, and still pretty awesome for guys who read a ton of books.

The Duffaluffagus

This giant duffel bag also transforms into a backpack perfect for whatever your travels throw your way.

Nooka Watch

Looking at the time on your watch has become pretty predictable: boring digital numbers or old school ticking hands. Nooka watches offer unique bar/dot readouts and come in a wide array of colors.

Star Wars 1-6 Blu-ray

Nine Blu-ray discs of goodness from a galaxy far, far away. You can't be expected to buy these movies for the 7th time, so ask for it as a gift!

Wooden Clock & Weather Station

If having a wooden clock wasn't cool enough, this one also tells you the weather!

gift ideas for guys over $100

Hlaska Caliper Briefcase

An awesome briefcase at an entry-level price, from the cool folks at Hlaska.

Mossberg 500 Shotgun

Perfect for the range, the field and home defense, the Mossberg 500 delivers quality at a great price. Read more on our guide of the best weapons for home defense.

Frost River Flight Bag

You can’t take weekend trips with your college backpack, and a suitcase is too big. Enter the weekend bag, this one is made right in Minnesota. Read our full write up here.

Norelco SensoTouch 3d Electric Shaver

Shave wet, dry, with shaving cream, or without. Electric shavers have come a long way since we were kids. This one even comes with a self-cleaning unit.

Saddleback Leather Thin Briefcase

Pay a little more and buy one briefcase that is guaranteed to last the rest of your life. Read our full review here.

Ghost Trap Replica

Mattel released a screen accurate replica of the Ghostbusters ghost trap this year, with working lights, doors and petal.

gift guide for men

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author bio image

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.