Primer’s Annual Gift Guide for Guys

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 3D printer, new Allen Edmonds, and a week in Norway – 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.

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.

gifts under $30

Guitar Wall Mount

For practically pennies you can change your old acoustic from a dust collector to wall art.

Head scratcher

Get your noodle's juices flowing.

Bad Bryan's Butt Rub

An all-purpose seasoning used by champion barbequers.

Tovolo King Cube Ice Trays

These large ice cubes are slow melting, perfect for your next Old Fashioned.

Wall-mounted bottle opener

Ditch the plastic keychain and install this die-cast zinc wall-mounted opener.

American-made cedarwood soap

What does an Irish spring smell like anyway?

ManCans Candle

A 13 year old boy had an idea: What if you buy a can of soup, donate it to a food shelter, and then make a candle with a “manly” smell inside the leftover can. Sounds pretty good to us.

Mr.Tea tea infuser

Bring the hot tub experience to your favorite Earl Grey.

Herringbone pocket square

A beautiful and easy way to class up any jacket.

Nicer socks

The devil is in the details, and nowhere is that more true than with personal style.

Reusable Metal Filter for Aeropress

Love your Areopress but hate the paper filters? Upgrade to this American Made stainless steel alternative.


Pick up a bottle of expensive smelly water. Here are 4 to consider.

Belt blanks

Give our easy DIY belt project a try for a nicer belt than you'd feel comfortable buying in a store.

Infared thermometer with laser

Sure, you'll probably just use it for the grill or to futz around with boiling water, but it'll be fun won't it?

Tightvac Vacuum sealed coffee container.

This unique coffee container creates an airt-tight seal, while also allowing the beans to vent CO2.

Houndstooth Tie Clip

At 1” this sharp looking tie clip will look great with a casual getup or a suit.

Charcoal and cinnamon knit tie

With a suit or a sweater, this beautiful tie will keep you stylish all year.

Bittercube artisanal cocktail bitters

These delicious Wisconsin-made bitters will spice up any drink.

Mountek Phone/GPS auto CD player mount

Fits almost any GPS or phone and slides into that unused slot in your dashboard. CD players…remember those?

13 Piece Professional Mixology Set

Get your home bar equipped properly.

Swiss Stays

One set of collar stays for all of your shirts. Swiss Stays are adjustable to four different sizes.

Industrial-style wall clock

A functional wall piece that also looks great.

Anker USB backup

A lipstick-sized USB backup for all your devices.

Dockers Grooming Set

The $.99 fingernail clippers from Rite-Aid did a fantastic job –  let them retire in peace.

Craftsman Ratchet

The holidays are the perfect time to build up your toolbox.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One

Just because you're on your own, doesn't mean you can't eat good food.

American-made magnetic lightswitch plate

Never forget your keys again – and your friends will think there's something wrong with your electrical.

Hardbound leather book

Finally have a place to put all those good ideas of yours.

Knockaround Sunglasses

A fun, stylish pair of shades at an unbeatable price.

A nice pair of underwear, for a change

Grab a pair of shorts that you won't be embarrassed to strip down to. Made in the US of A.

Label maker

New Year's Resolution 2014: Finally get organized.

Chefman Cordless Electric Kettle

Whether you're a sophisticated tea drinker or a nightly spaghetti eater, an electric kettle makes everything faster and easier.

Cedar hangers

Keep your clothing in shape and give your closet a better smell than your gym bag.

Treeline Woodworks Butcher Block

I don't think they ever clean those cutting boards that come built into the kitchen counter when people move out. Need I say more?

Merkur Model 180 Safety Razor

One of the finest starter safety razors at an unbeatable price.

gifts $30 to $50

Cuisinart 14 piece stainless steel grill set

You won't have to keep stabbing your steaks with forks with this nice grill set that packs away in an included case.

Flat wallet by TGT

Small enough to fit in your front pocket, big enough to hold everything you need. Made in New York.

Logitech wireless adaptor for Bluetooth devices

Control your tunes from wherever you are – wirelessly. Check out our review here.

Old Calgary Whiskey Wallet

Holds 3-5 cards with a beautiful Italian leather front and sturdy German felt backing.


A gun that shoots salt at flies…what else can I say?

Pandora One subscription

Sick of those cheesy localized commercials? Get the upgrade as a gift.

Leather watch strap

A new watch may be outside of the Secret Santa budget, but a new leather strap can revive an old ticker with a new style.

8 cup Chemex coffee maker

An incredible coffee experience with no moving parts.


Stop doing that weird “It's freezing when you get out of the shower” dance – get a bathrobe.

Engraved grooming set

Leave the plastic razors in the dorm.


Victorinox Chef's Knife

Use the right tool for the job with this highly rated chef's knife from the same makers as the Swiss Army Knife.

Monogrammed rocks glasses

The guy with his initials on the glasses doesn't have to pour the second round.

American Optics Square Frame Aviators

Still my go-to sunglasses all these years later. They look great on everyone.

Bespoke Post

A cool assortment of guy gear, right in your mailbox.


Stay hydrated on your outdoor adventures.

American-made test tube spice rack

Let's face it: Our cooking is always an experiment anyway.

Tailored flannel shirt

One can never have too much flannel.

gifts $50 to $75

Norelco 3 piece face and body groomer

I've always hated having to have 19 different shavers to do different things.

Alec Bradley Taste of the World cigar sampler

It's hard to learn what you like if can't compare it to something else.

Steel toolbox

Proper tools should have a proper home.

American-made horseshoe set

American-made for an American past-time.

1 TB external hard drive

You know what the best gift of all is? A back-up of every song, paper, and photo on your computer.

Star Wars Frames

After completing Episode III, George Lucas scoured the entire 6 film saga frame by frame to construct this beautiful retelling in the form of photography.

gifts over $75

Ben's Chili Bowl Half-smokes

No matter where you live, you can get DC's best dogs from the world-famous Ben's Chili Bowl. 16 hot dogs and 2 pints of chili sauce for $5 each – easier than braving downtown DC traffic.


A dashing watch at an affordable price.

Cuisinart 10 Piece Stainless Cookware Set

Take a look at the pot you use most. Are there scratches all over the non-stick surface? Do you find flakes in your food? It's time to upgrade, my man.


Having a place for guests to stay in your first couple years out of school is almost impossible. This air mattress is double-high and is more comfortable than a pull-out.

MIDI keyboard

Finally realize your full music potential with a computer and a keyboard.

J.Crew peacot with Thinsulate

You'll be just as warm as you are sharp in this classic coat from J.Crew

Microsoft Surface RT

The perfect transition from your mobile life to your desktop life.

Bike trainer

Stuck inside? Put that old 10 speed to good use.

Sig Sauer .22 Mosquito

A great starter pistol, or a smart way to shoot for less with this .22 from one of the world's greatest gun manufacturers.

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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.