The Best Man Cave Signs to Give Your Space Some Dad Vibes

When you’re a new dad, you may not understand why you would ever need the oasis of a man cave. Then the adorable babies turn into toddlers who learn the word “no” … before turning into sarcastic teenagers who learn how to put “no” into actionable events. So you can see why a man cave becomes a must-have retreat.

Sure, we dads love spending time with our kids. But everyone needs a break occasionally. So a man cave becomes the perfect alternative. You can go to the man cave, watch the game or play video games, let out all of your gross noises and smells, and be refreshed and ready to give the family your best again afterward. (There are even some man cave candles to cover up those smells, if you want.)

Best of all, you will be allowed to decorate your man cave however you want (after plenty of begging and whining with your partner, of course). We would recommend starting with one (or all 12) of the best man cave signs. Some signs look great, while others have clever messages (at least on a dad joke level). They set the tone for your time spent there.

And don’t take it personally when your wife gives you the most remote room in the basement for your man cave. It says nothing about your decorating skills. Or everything. (Decorating is so confusing, which is probably why I don’t understand HGTV.)

Best Man Cave Sign Products

best man cave signs

Jameson Whiskey 2-Sided Man Cave Sign

We know, we know. Starting a list of the best man cave signs with a sign dealing with alcohol is a little predictable. But we don’t care, because this Jameson sign looks so great that we’re guessing even your wife will not complain about it. (But you didn’t hear that from us.)

This is a two-sided sign that ships with a wall bracket, so it sticks out from the wall and provides a bit of a 3D feel versus the traditional man cave metal signs that you mount flat to the wall.

With the graphic on both sides, you’ll be able to hang this sign anywhere in the room, and it’ll look great.

Of course, if you choose to hang this sign in the man cave, you better have plenty of Irish whiskey on hand to serve to visitors, or you’ll be guilty of false advertising. (Yes, we’re telling you that you have to stock up on whiskey. You’re welcome.)

Buy for $69 on Amazon

best man cave signs

American Art Craft Beer LED Man Cave Sign

If you love 3D man cave signs, this vintage sign has depth to it and graphics on both sides. It measures 25 by 8 inches, so it’s large enough to serve as an impressive focal point in your man cave. (Impress your S.O. by telling them that you bought this to be a focal point for the room … or watch her laugh her ass off after you utter that phrase.)

It has vintage-looking LED lights on the side that will generate attention when it’s lit, day or night. The lights operate from two AA batteries, so you don’t have to worry about running a power cord to wherever you choose to mount the sign.

The same rules apply with this sign as with the whiskey sign: If you’re going to hang this sign in your man cave, you better have plenty of craft beer on hand to serve to visitors. (Keep this up, and you may qualify for the volume discount at your local liquor store.)

Buy for $60 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Custom Home Bar Personalized Man Cave Sign

Storytime: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with neon signs. I thought they had to cost at least $1 million apiece because they were so cool. Several years later, I realized my 7-year-old brain was pretty f***ing terrible at judging the cost of items. But I never lost my fascination with neon.

So, when seeking the best in man cave neon signs and the best in personalized man cave signs for our list, there was exactly zero chance I was going to skip past this one.

This neon sign hangs from the ceiling on a chain. It ships with a 5.5-foot power cord and an on/off switch. More than a dozen color combinations are available, and there are three sizes available up to 24 by 16 inches.

Add your name to the top of the sign at the time of ordering for the perfect finishing touch. (As a bonus, with the personalization, if you’ve had a few too many and you’re not quite sure whether you’re home yet, seeing your name on the sign can let you know for sure.)

Buy for $100 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Big Daddy’s Garage Man Cave Neon Sign

Even if your man cave is in the basement instead of the garage, this man cave neon sign looks so good that you should consider it. This sign’s graphics are great on their own, but when you add in the neon … well, it’s simply the epitome of perfection in the world of the best man cave signs.

This sign measures 17 by 10 inches, so it has an attention-grabbing size. Mount it to the wall with the keyhole slots on the back. The sign runs from either a power cord or four AA batteries.

Even if you’ve never lifted the hood of your own car in your life, you can hang this sign in your man cave and feel good about it. If someone asks about your mechanic’s skills, just hand them another beer or a shot of whiskey, and change the subject. Problem solved, and you can keep your cool sign on the wall.

Buy for $40 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Excello Global Vintage License Plate Man Cave Metal Sign

If your taste in the best man cave signs tends more toward the rustic than the neon, well, I don’t agree with you, but I understand your choice. Every man cave has its own vibe.

This metal man cave sign features pieces of vintage license plates, spelling out “MANCAVE”, all mounted on a tin background. It’s perfect for a garage-based man cave or for the dad who’s a car enthusiast, but it’s also useable in a basement man cave for someone who can’t tell the difference between an alternator and a spark plug. (Strike that last one; we dads have to be better than that.)

At 15.75 by 9 inches, it has a great size. The wooden outer frame has preinstalled mounting brackets to simplify hanging it on the wall.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Excello Global Enter at Your Own Risk Metal Man Cave Sign

If you protect the sanctuary of your man cave with the ferocity of a guard dog, this man cave metal sign is the perfect one for you.

It has a triangle shape that signifies a warning. It clearly states that the room is the man cave, which means it belongs to Dad and Dad alone. And its message plays off the “beware of dog” warning signs.

It even has a creepy handprint in the universal gesture for stop. Add in the weathered design, and, if you’re lucky, your kids will be seeing this sign in their nightmares, ensuring they want no part of entering the man cave.

There are nail holes in all three corners for mounting. The sign measures almost 15 inches square, so it’s going to be noticeable to anyone contemplating entering the room without permission. Leave a few of your special dad scented candles nearby, and your man cave room will have all of the protection it needs.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Toothsome Studios Man Cave Flowchart Sign

If your family is having a hard time understanding exactly what your man cave means to you, perhaps this flowchart can explain it to them in simple terms.

This sign measures 12 by 8 inches with nail holes in all four corners for mounting to the wall.

Of course, your family will know you’re just kidding about them not being allowed in the man cave unless they bring you some sort of gift. But bringing gifts of beer and food will certainly make the time spent together in the man cave go smoother (and they definitely should know that, too).

Buy for $14 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Rogue River Tactical Sarcastic Metal Man Cave Sign

As we mentioned earlier, the decorative theme in your man cave needs to fit your personal tastes and vibe.

For those whose tastes slant toward the low brow level, we present this sign. When you hang this farting sign in your man cave, those who enter will know where the bar is set for the expected level of behavior. (Answer: Incredibly low.)

This sign measures 12 by 8 inches and has two nail holes for mounting.

Be warned: If you have boys in the house, this sign will generate endless fart jokes … so, actually, pretty normal behavior. Never mind.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

best man cave signs

HANTAJANSS Vintage Route 66 Metal Man Cave Sign

Let’s say you need to offset the farting sign in your man cave with something a little more classy. This Route 66 vintage sign is the ideal selection.

For those dads who love the open road and cars, this Route 66 sign will be the perfect gift for the man cave, reminding them of vacations in the car with the kids. (And maybe they’ll forget about how crazy the kids actually drove them during the trip.)

Each sign measures 12 by 12 inches, and it contains three nail holes for easy mounting.

Even though it has a vintage look with worn paint, this sign will not fade if left in the sunlight streaming through a window into your man cave. (While we are certain your partner has banished your man cave to the most remote area of the house, this feature is still important because there is a tiny chance you have a small window in the man cave dungeon.)

Buy for $9 on Amazon

best man cave signs

DE Sign Vintage Budweiser Man Cave Signs Set

Vintage beer brand signs are always welcome in a man cave, and when you order this set, you’ll receive four Budweiser branded signs to create a matching set.

These are cool vintage reproduction signs — hence the no-longer-realistic 25-cent price for a bottle of beer — that’ll add some class to your man cave. Each sign measures 12.5 by 16 inches and has four nail holes to simplify mounting to the wall.

With four matching signs in this set, plus a magnet for the fridge, people might accuse you of actually having a theme in planning the look of your man cave. You can decide whether you want to take the credit or give them the actual answer about why you have this set of matching Budweiser signs: You just like beer.

Buy for $39 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Panguru Retro Car Brand Man Cave Signs Set

If you’d prefer that your man cave has a garage theme instead of an alcohol theme, this set of three metal man cave signs all have a theme around car part brands.

Hang the 8-by-12-inch little man cave signs using the four nail holes in all four corners of each sign. The brands on the signs include Champion spark plugs, Castrol motor oil, and Mobile racing mobile oil.

Focusing on cars in your man cave signs gives you the ability to keep the alcohol in the glasses and bottles, rather than on the walls, which may be preferable if young kids will be spending time in the man cave regularly. (And if you don’t know the difference between a spark plug and an alternator, as we mentioned earlier, you’ll be able to look at these signs and figure it out.)

Buy for $16 on Amazon

best man cave signs

Rogue River Drinking Man Cave Sign

Of course, we cannot allow any list of the best man cave signs to pass without adding in a dad joke man cave sign. This one works on so many levels: Drinking and butchering Michael Buffer’s famous saying. (OK, it only works on only two levels. But that’s a lot for a dad joke.)

This novelty metal man cave sign measures 12 by 8 inches and has nail holes on either end for easy mounting to the wall.

Plus the sign is brown. What’s more Dad than brown?

Buy for $11 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Chews One of These Jerky Subscriptions if You Want the Best in Your Belly

beef jerky subscriptions
Stick in a Box

When I was a kid, every year we would give our grandfather beef jerky for the holidays as a gift. He loved jerky, and it was an easy gift for a bunch of kids to buy and give. Back in those days, original was the main (and only) flavor and the idea of a jerky subscription box was still many years away, so it wasn’t like we had to make a lot of tricky decisions.

I’m not sure what my grandfather would think of some of the flavors in today’s best beef jerky subscription packages, but I can guarantee he wouldn’t have argued with receiving jerky every month in the mail.

There’s a lot to like about beef jerky. Who are we kidding? There’s a lot to love about beef jerky. It’s delicious, it has a great texture, and it’s a fun snack. Don’t tell the kids, but beef jerky puts their beloved fruit snacks and Rick and Morty Pringles to shame. (Although if Rick and Morty dabble in sponsoring a Szechuan flavored beef jerky, we’ll be first in line.)

Bottom line: We love jerky. We’re sharing our love of jerky with you by creating this list of the best jerky subscription boxes.

Remember, the best beef jerky subscription makes a perfect Father’s Day gift. Dad will receive a reminder of how much the kids care 12 times per year, after all, rather than only on that special, special day in June.

best beef jerky subscription

LOLJerky Subscription Box

LOLJerky subscription boxes emphasize quality over quantity, giving the beef jerky snob the perfect collection of flavors and textures each month. LOLJerky sources its beef from local farms, seeking to boost quality.

Choose among one, two, four, or eight bags of jerky each month with your subscription. Some flavors this beef jerky subscription has featured in the past include:

  • Spicy teriyaki
  • Baby blues BBQ
  • Korean BBQ
  • Sriracha honey

Best of all, with “LOL” in the name, when you suggest to the kids that they give this to you as a best Father’s Day gift, they might actually remember it.

Buy for $22 per month on LOLJerky

best beef jerky subscription

Jerky Subscription Beef Jerky of the Month Club

When looking at brands, sometimes you don’t want a crazy, clever name. You just want the brand name to tell you exactly what you’re receiving. For example, when you visit TheDad.com, you know exactly what you’re receiving. At one time, though, when you visited WhiteHouse.com, you were definitely not receiving what you were expecting. (WhiteHouse.org is where you should’ve visited … at least that’s what you were thinking while you were serving your detention after visiting WhiteHouse.com on the school computer.)

When you are ordering a product from Jerky Subscription, thankfully, you’re receiving exactly what you are expecting — one of the best beef jerky subscription options.

Jerky Subscription uses only American-raised beef for its products, which are available in subscriptions of two, four, six, or eight bags each month.

It focuses on small-batch craft jerkies that give customers unique flavors and excellent quality.

Some of the flavors shipped in the past include:

  • Cowboy pepper
  • Sesame teriyaki
  • Fiery hot
  • Lemongrass
  • Habanero ale

Buy for $20 on Amazon

best beef jerky subscription

Jerky Snob Jerky Subscription Box

Being a snob may still have a slightly negative connotation, but this word certainly doesn’t have the same meaning it had a generation ago. These days, if you’re a beer snob, a whiskey snob, and a wine snob, it only means you demand a certain level of quality from these products. (It also means you really like alcohol.)

So when you order the Jerky Snob brand as a best beef jerky subscription, you’re telling others that you demand the best from your beef jerky. Jerky Snob offers subscriptions with two, four, or eight bags per month.

Jerky Snob focuses on unique flavors and textures. It also occasionally includes exotic jerky meats, such as elk or boar, in addition to the beef jerky. Some of the flavors of jerky in past boxes include:

  • Wicked Boston original
  • Bold and smoky BBQ
  • Baja
  • Orange teriyaki

Buy for $18 on Amazon

best beef jerky subscription

Jerky.com Beef Jerky of the Month Club

You’d expect a Jerky.com jerky subscription box to give you more ordering options than others, and you’d be right.

When seeking the best beef jerky subscription box from Jerky.com, you can select one, two, four, six, eight, or 12 bags per month. Jerky.com also offers an exotic jerky subscription, and — brace yourself — a Jerky of the Week Club. They know our weakness. We love jerky, and we eat all of it as fast as we can, so we always need more. (Let’s just hope they don’t introduce a Jerky of the Hour Club, or we’re in big trouble.)

Some of the available beef jerky flavors include

  • Hickory
  • Honey pepper
  • Teriyaki
  • Pale ale beer
  • Montreal style

Buy for $16 on Jerky.com

best beef jerky subscription

Sumo Jerky Subscription Box

With a name like Sumo Jerky, you may expect mega-sized bags and boxes of beef jerky to arrive in the mail … maybe enough to actually last for the entire month, but probably not. (Did we mention we really like jerky?)

Well, the bad news is the Sumo Jerky subscription box is about the same size as others on our list, offering three, six, or 12 bags per shipment. However, Sumo Jerky focuses on delivering rare brands of jerky, interesting flavors, and small-batch options, creating some unique taste opportunities.

You’ll pay for between three and 12 months of your subscription at one time, rather than monthly.

Some of the flavors in past Sumo Jerky boxes include:

  • Mango habanero
  • Hickory smoked
  • Teriyaki
  • BBQ mesquite

With Sumo Jerky, we’d recommend wearing pants instead of a loincloth when meeting the delivery person at the door with your monthly box. After that, when you’re eating the jerky, though? It’s up to you. Go nuts.

Buy for $29 on Sumo Jerky

best beef jerky subscription

Club Jerky Subscription Box

For those who like small-batch jerkies with a variety of flavors, Club Jerky will ship these tough-to-find brands to your home every month. Select either two or four bags per month with the subscription package.

And for those who hate the way jerky tends to stick in their teeth, this subscription comes with Club Jerky toothpicks. There are even trading cards in some boxes. (We guarantee the Club Jerky jerky tastes far better than the baseball trading card gum from back in the day.)

Some flavors found in past boxes include:

  • Orange Baja
  • Whiskey BBQ
  • Baja carne asada
  • Bacon jalapeno

Buy for $20 on Cratejoy

best beef jerky subscription

Stick in a Box Jerky Subscription

Stick in a Box tells us that we should “get our meat in a box like a king.” We’re not arguing. Having someone else give us meat each month is a damn fine idea.

This subscription offers anywhere from two to 21 bags of jerky in the box each month, depending on your subscription level. For those who want to feel like a king, go for 21 bags.

Some of the flavors available include:

  • Jalapeno beef
  • Western style
  • Teriyaki

Buy for $32 on Cratejoy

best beef jerky subscription

Buffalo Bills Classic Beef & Exotic Jerky Subscription Box

Maybe beef jerky isn’t adventurous enough for you. If so, Buffalo Bills has you covered with elk, turkey, boar, and venison.

However, the main meat you’ll receive is beef in many different flavors. This box is for the big eater or for the family to share. (Yeah, right.) It ships with 10 different snacks per month. It sticks primarily to Buffalo Bills branded jerkies and sausage sticks, but you will receive a few other brands each month.

This box is the best beef jerky subscription package for someone who prefers the Buffalo Bills brand, rather than for someone who prefers trying new brands constantly.

Some of the flavors you may receive include:

  • Mesquite
  • Black pepper
  • Hickory smoked
  • Barbeque
  • Teriyaki

Buy for $60 on Amazon

best beef jerky subscription

Box of Jerks Beef Jerky Subscription

Box of Jerks chooses to focus its bags of jerky on those with a lot of taste and a lot of character. These craft jerkies come from suppliers from across the United States.

Pick among three, five, or seven bags per month with your subscription. All of the jerky from Box of Jerks comes from the United States. Box of Jerks makes it easy to subscribe for yourself or to give the subscription box as a gift. (Hint, hint.)

Some of the flavors available include:

  • Peppered stout
  • Voodoo hot sauce
  • Black pepper

Buy for $23 on Box of Jerks

best beef jerky subscription

Nativo Beef Jerky Subscription Box

For those who are less interested in trying different small-batch jerkies, exotic jerkies, or odd flavors of jerkies, the Nativo Beef Jerky subscription box is made with you in mind. Your monthly box contains only Nativo branded jerkies of different flavors.

Nativo focuses on its own manufacturing process and on delivering the best quality from its own brand, rather than relying on other producers to fill out the box.

It’s also a little less expensive than some others on our list, delivering six bags per month for $21. We’ll never argue with receiving more jerky for less money.

Some of the flavors available include:

  • Adobo
  • Hickory
  • Hot habanero
  • Lemon pepper
  • Chile de Arbol

Buy for $21 on Cratejoy

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Here Are the Best Grill Covers To Protect Your Pride and Joy

best grill covers
(Amazon)

When you have two thick, juicy steaks ready to grill — the rest of the family can have their hot dogs later — you want to heat up the grill, place them carefully onto the grates, and sear them to a perfect medium-rare as quickly as possible. Even though you know that having a best grill cover is important to protect the grill, when you’re ready to grill, the cover may feel like it’s just in the way.

Think about the greater good, though. Your grill is your baby. You know it. Your wife knows it. Deep down, even your actual baby boy or girl knows it. Keeping your grill protected with one of the best grill covers is a smart way to guard the investment you’ve made in the barbecue grill, which is the most dad of all of the dad items.

A grill cover will provide protection for the grill from weather, sunlight, and that damn bird that loves to dive-bomb and decorate your grill. With the right grill cover, when you receive one of those beautiful winter days where you want to grill a burger, your grill will be protected and ready to go.

It can be tempting to try to save a bit of money by leaving the grill uncovered — not to mention the extra 20 seconds you’ll save when it’s time to grill those steaks. However, this is a bad idea. Even the best grill covers are relatively inexpensive, meaning you can protect your investment without spending a huge amount.

Sure, the best grill covers are not anywhere near as important as the best steak, the best chop, the best burger, or, hell, even the best vege-burger that you can make on your grill. But sometimes, you have to make sure the basics are taken care of, so the star will be as juicy and charred to perfection as possible.

Best Grill Covers

best grill covers

Duck Covers Ultimate Grill Cover

When you want the ultimate in water protection for a grill, you could do a lot worse than purchasing a best grill cover with “duck” in the brand name. This cover has multiple models, ranging in width from 44 to 82 inches.

The cover works for a variety of grill designs, as it has adjustable straps to create a tight fit as needed.

The rain-proof material will keep your grill safe from moisture … other than those times when you’re grilling in the rain, of course. (We’ve all done it when we’ve been desperate for the perfect burger; it’s OK to admit it.)

Buy for $52 on Amazon

best grill covers

Simple Houseware Waterproof Heavy Duty Grill Cover

Some people are fine with grill covers that protect the upper part of the grill. If the wheels and legs don’t have a cover over them, it’s not a concern.

But for those with a desire for perfection 24/7, the grill cover needs to fit perfectly, all the way down to the legs and wheels. This Simple Houseware cover fits your need for perfection, giving you both the width and length you need in a cover. It is available in widths between 32 and 72 inches.

Should you have concerns about the snow and rain trying to climb up the inside the bottom of a loose fitting cover, your worries will come to an end with this model, and you can sleep comfortably. You’re welcome.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

best grill covers

Unicook Heavy Duty Gas Grill Cover

The grill cover Amazon offers often will be a universal cover that would fit a variety of models of gas grills. Sometimes, you might be better served with a specific Char Broil grill cover or a Weber grill cover to gain a tighter fit.

However, universal grill covers will save you some money. You can tighten the cover for a better fit using Velcro straps with universal covers.

This Unicook cover is one that fits a variety of grills, offering widths between 50 and 75 inches. This is a best grill cover for areas with quite a bit of humidity, as it has mesh vents on either side to allow airflow, evaporating moisture.

(These mesh vents also work for those times where you forgot to put the grill cover back on before a rainstorm, and you don’t want to admit to your wife that you forgot, so you throw the cover over the top of the wet grill. With the mesh vents, the grill will dry relatively well with the cover on it. No one ever has to be the wiser.)

Buy for $26 on Amazon

best grill covers

Kingkong Gas Grill Cover For Weber Genesis Grills

Use this heavy-duty grill cover from Kingkong to protect your baby from water and sun, delivering outstanding protection in all kinds of weather at any time of the year. It has widths ranging from 22 to 75 inches for an ideal fit.

The waterproof 600D polyester fabric is especially resistant to moisture. In fact, the manufacturer recommends rinsing the cover with a garden hose to remove dirt and other soils. So it’s sure to stand up to those times when the kids decide to have a water balloon fight while you’re enjoying a beer and grilling. Just climb under the cover, and you’ll stay dry in your cocoon.

Buy for $38 on Amazon

best grill covers

Zober All-Weather Premium BBQ Grill Cover

Let’s face it. Sometimes we dads don’t get the final say on purchasing things, even when they’re primarily for our use. #underwear

Your best grill cover Amazon offers may be one of those things. Your wife may think a boring black grill cover doesn’t compliment her design layout on the deck. She’s going to vote for a different type of cover that looks better … say a light gray grill cover.

Fortunately, this Zober cover, which is available in widths between 44 and 64 inches, has plenty of toughness to go with its sharp gray color, including waterproof polyester fabric, sunlight resistance, and tightening straps along the bottom.

So when you pretend to put up a fight about buying a gray BBQ grill cover instead of a black one, before giving in to your wife’s wishes, you can score some points for letting her have her way without sacrificing the quality you want.

Buy for $17 on Amazon

best grill covers

VicTsing Waterproof Grill Cover

VicTsing grill covers are available in widths between 30 and 72 inches, protecting multiple sizes of grills in almost any kind of weather, including a sandstorm, according to the manufacturer. (We would not recommend grilling in a sandstorm, by the way, not because we don’t think you could still end up with the perfect steak, but because that blowing sand is sure to make it tough when you’re adding your own blend of seasonings.)

This waterproof fabric includes UV resistance and adjustable straps for a tight fit.

Plus this model has a drawing of a flame on the side, along with the word “grill” printed over the top. (Trust us: Depending on how many beers we’ve had while grilling, having this reminder printed on the grill cover isn’t the worst idea in the world.)

Buy for $26 on Amazon

best grill covers

Classic Accessories Veranda Water Resistant Grill Cover

When you’re seeking a grill cover that delivers the best in protective features for the grill, along with a heavy-duty fabric that looks great and reaches to the ground, it’s tough to beat this Classic Accessories model.

It will fit a number of models, including a Weber, Jenn Air, Brinkmann, and Char Broil grill cover with widths up to 80 inches.

The light tan color in this BBQ grill cover is impressive, but we do have to warn you: If someone spills a little grease from your burgers and steaks, it will show up on this color of grill cover, unlike with a black colored grill cover. (We know with your impressive grilling skills you wouldn’t spill a drop, but when the kids are trying to “help” you at the grill, the possibilities for spills are endless.)

Buy for $52 on Amazon

best grill covers

Tvird BBQ Grill Cover

Every dad doesn’t have to have a four- or five-burner gas grill with a roaster spit and multiple side burners built into it that takes up half the deck. Sometimes, it’s OK to have a small, narrow two-burner grill. You don’t need to have the largest grill in the neighborhood to show off your manhood.

Besides, you already have the coolest car in the neighborhood, which is far more important.

When you use a small grill, a small-sized grill cover gives you the perfect fit at a reasonable cost (leaving you more money for thicker, juicier steaks).

This 30-inch Tvird grill cover has waterproof fabric that’s durable enough to stand up to all kinds of weather, just like the larger grill covers we’ve been discussing. (If you have a larger grill, this model also is available in a 58-inch width.)

Buy for $15 on Amazon

best grill covers

NJIUSA Charcoal Grill Cover

Grilling with charcoal briquettes may be an old-school method, but there’s something about it that we as dads just need to do once in a while. (Just like we need to drink a 6-pack of Natty Light once in a while to remind us of the days when things were simpler and there weren’t 100 IPAs to choose from in our favorite liquor store.)

Grill covers aren’t just for gas grills. For those who still prefer charcoal briquettes for grilling in a round grill, this cover will slide over the main part of the grill and the lid, providing protection from the weather.

It has waterproof and UV-resistant fabrics, just like the larger gas grill covers, to protect your investment. It has a drawstring at the bottom to tighten it.

Buy for $13 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

The Best Recliners for Dad … and Dad Alone, or Else

best recliners
Amazon/Wayfair

If you’re looking for the best recliners, you’re in the right place. When it comes to the traditional rules of the house, few of them are as important or as cherished as the “dad’s chair” rule. If you’re a dad, you should have a chair for watching TV, relaxing, napping after meals, and whatever else you want to do in it. This chair is yours and yours alone. Kids know to stay out of it, your partner knows to stays out of it, and even the pets f***ing know to stay out of it.

When a guest to the home inadvertently sits in the dad chair, the horrified look on the faces of every family member lets you know your control of the dad chair is complete.

For many dads, the chair of choice is the best recliner. My dad had a recliner. His dad had a recliner. If my great-great-great-great-grandfather had been clever enough to invent the recliner, that would’ve been his chair of choice. Hell, some dads threaten to die happily in their recliners … and then follow through.

In fact, I may be writing this article on a laptop while leaning back in my recliner. Later on, I may use my dad chair as one of the best recliners for sleeping in front of the TV before the local news weatherperson finishes screwing up the forecast. (Who am I kidding? There’s no “may” about it.)

I’ve relaxed in a recliner or two or a dozen in my day. (I may have even tried out my dad’s recliner when I knew he was out of town, but I’ll never admit it … even under oath.) Here are the best recliners that will have you claiming them as your dad chair immediately.

The Most Comfortable Recliner

ANJ Electric Recliner Chair

When you’re seeking the best recliners for sleeping, it’s tough to beat the overstuffed pillows on the back and armrests with this ANJ model. Yet it has the support you’ll want for the back and neck when you’re spending a quality Sunday watching an NFL triple-header, only moving at halftime (out of necessity).

Rather than having to manually lean back to extend the recliner function, just press a button on the side. This actually is a handy feature for grandpa, who may have difficulty manually controlling the footrest on such a large chair.

It even has a USB charging port built into it. If only it had a fridge hidden under the footrest, you’d never have to get up again.

Buy for $500 on Amazon

The Best Recliner Chair for Style

Leonie Manual Recliner

None of us want to admit it, but there are rare occasions where we dads aren’t in complete control of purchasing furniture for the house. Once in a while, our wives have an opinion on a piece of furniture, including the best recliner that will eventually become the dad chair.

Admittedly, this Leonie recliner may not be quite as comfortable as the plush leather recliner we just discussed. But it still has a footrest and leans back just far enough to let you relax fully, making those sighs only dads can make when they finally have a chance to sit down, stretch out, and relax.

Plus, this fabric recliner looks great, which will make your partner happy. Once you sit in it and have a chance to put your feet up, you’ll be comfortable enough that you can live with giving in to your wife’s wishes this time. Next time will surely be different. (Just keep telling yourself that.)

Buy for $347 on Wayfair

The Best Classic Wingback Recliner

Waldo Tufted Wingback Best Recliner Chair

There’s just something about a wingback recliner that makes it fit into almost any type of home. It’s a classic design that has cushioning in all the right places to make it one of the best recliners for back pain.

This Waldo model has all of the accents you’d expect to find in a wingback recliner, including the tufted back secured with buttons, the decorative nail heads outlining the front and sides, and the stylish feet in the front.

This is the kind of style in a dad chair that your grandfather or great-grandfather would’ve been proud to call his own. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, you may want to wear a fedora while you’re relaxing in this chair. Its style is that classic in nature. (Not that any of us need an excuse to break out the fedora.)

Buy for $394 on Amazon

The Best Recliner For Sleeping

Hemington Reclining Glider

If you have little ones at home, it’s more than okay to share the dad chair with them, gently rocking them to sleep (just make sure you don’t leave them alone — this could be dangerous). Sharing is OK, as long as they realize who ultimately owns the dad chair.

This glider recliner swivels and rocks gently. But it also has a footrest and a reclining back to give you the benefits of the best recliner chair. It’s a little smaller than some other of the best recliners on our list, meaning it can fit into a tighter space.

And if you happen to fall asleep after you rock the baby to sleep, call it a win-win.

Buy for $405 on Wayfair

Best Recliner Chair for Watching Movies

Jummico Home Theater Best Recliner Chair

One of the most exciting home improvement projects for the whole family is creating a home theater room. Kids love the idea of having a completely dark special movie room to enjoy watching the same movie for the 99th time. Mom and dad love the idea of having a completely dark theater room to sneak in a nap while the kids watch the same movie for the 99th time.

If you’re going to build a theater room, you will want to outfit it with theater recliner chairs. The extra tall backrest allows you to angle the back of the chair perfectly for the screen while your back remains fully supported.

You can adjust the angle of the backrest between 90 and 165 degrees to the seat. Nap time during a movie at home has never been more comfortable. Just try not to snore, or the kids will want to start the movie over again. After all, they don’t want you to miss the best parts … over and over and over.

Buy for $140 on Amazon

Best Lift Assist Recliner

Three Posts Lift Assist Power Reclining Chair

If you’re looking for the best recliner chair for Grandpa, who may need some help trying to stand up from highly cushioned chairs, this lift assist recliner is a great option.

The entire chair lifts upward and tilts forward when you need a bit of help rising to a standing position. Now, the kids may be tempted to try to fling their little brother halfway across the room with the lift feature, but it, fortunately, doesn’t move quite fast enough to accomplish this trick.

As an added benefit, it has a massage feature and a heating feature, so grandpa may just choose to live in this dad chair … as long as he doesn’t lose the remote control. (Yes, we know the remote is connected to the chair with a cord, but we also know how Grandpa excels at losing his electronics. It should end up being quite the battle between the two.)

Buy for $423 on Wayfair

Best Recliner Chair for Back Pain

Esright Heated and Massage Recliner for Back Pain

With such a high level of padding and comfort in this chair, you may not expect to receive the bonus features of heating and massage too, but this Esright recliner offers varying intensity levels for vibration massages and for the heating control modes. The heat function focuses on the lumbar, making this one of the best recliners for back pain.

Each chair has two cup holders, storage pockets on the sides, and a pillow cushion for your head. It swivels 360 degrees and has a gentle rocking feature. The PU leather surface is easy to clean and offers water resistance.

This chair can do it all, making it worthy of being the perfect dad chair.

Buy for $355 on Amazon

Best Recliner Loveseat

Perrysburg Wide Pillow Best Recliner Loveseat

Sometimes, you have the ability to select your own dad chair recliner. Other times, your wife decides she also would like a recliner. (A mom chair? Not quite the same ring, but it makes sense.) Unfortunately, your TV room may not be big enough for two competing recliners sitting at the optimal viewing position.

This Perrysburg reclining loveseat is the best compromise. This setup consists of two connected recliners, each of which has separate controls. So you can be fully laid back, reclining in perfect napping position, while she sits at the edge of her recliner seat, staring breathlessly at the TV to see who receives the next rose. Win-win.

This loveseat has a center console for storing drinks or other items, keeping everything well-organized in a small room. It’s not quite a full dad chair, but this half dad chair is better than nothing.

Buy for $700 on Wayfair

Best Recliner Sofa

Ullery Pillow Top Arm Best Reclining Sofa

Sometimes, the best recliners for sleeping come in a sofa configuration. You can sleep in your recliner, tilting the backrest to an almost horizontal position to rest comfortably. Or you can stretch across the entire length of this recliner sofa and use it like you would a regular sofa for a nap.

When you’re in trouble and your S.O. tells you to go sleep on the sofa, you’ll appreciate having two options instead of the typical one.

The two outer seats have separate reclining options, so you can set the backrest at the best angle for comfort independently on either end. (The middle seat does not recline.) The metal frame is sturdy, supporting up to 750 pounds in total.

And just think about how many positive “dad points” you’ll receive for sharing your dad chair with two other people at the same time. Surely those dad points will come in handy when it’s time to receive your amazing Father’s Day gifts. (Heck, maybe they’ll even remember to pick up a gift ahead of time this year, rather than running to the convenience store at 8 a.m. on Father’s Day. Not that we’re complaining about the doughnuts with sprinkles they bring back. Keep ’em coming with the real gift.)

Buy for $690 on Wayfair

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Make Your Kids Excited About Going to Bed — No, Really — With Marvel Sheets

Marvel Bed Sheets and Pillows
(Amazon)

Looking for Marvel bedding for your kid? That’s understandable. When it comes to classic debates for sci-fi nerds, the best ones used to involve Picard vs. Kirk, Han Solo vs. Indiana Jones, and Sarah Connor vs. Ellen Ripley. Now, though, the majority of these debates have Marvel vs. DC Comics at their heart. Whether you’re debating if Batman could out-gadget Iron Man, if Thor or Wonder Woman has the better backstory, or if any DC character could challenge Deadpool in a gross-out contest, the debates can become fierce.

Within the superhero genre, the majority of fans feel the need to pledge allegiance to either Marvel or DC. (Although some people would love to see a Marvel/DC crossover.)

If you as a dad have made the choice to be a Marvel fan, you’re probably going to try to raise your kids as Marvel fans too. (We wouldn’t recommend writing your kids out of the will if they slide toward being DC fans, but if you did write them out, we wouldn’t argue with your decision either. The DC/Marvel divide runs that deep.)

One of the ways to get your kid excited about Marvel characters is to purchase a Marvel bedding set for them. For kids who are scared to go to bed or who dislike going to bed, having Marvel bed sheets may be the trick to convince them to hit the hay at the appropriate 9 p.m. bedtime you’ve set (for a change).

Now we can’t guarantee that having Marvel bedding won’t make them act like superhero lunatics from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pretending to be Hulk, Black Panther, or Spider-Man may have them jumping on and off the bed for hours at a time during the day. As long as they’re out like a light at 9 p.m., though, you may be willing to make this tradeoff.

The Best Marvel Bedding:

Friendly Spider-Man Reversible Comforter Set

When you want a classic Marvel character to use as Marvel twin bedding, Spider-Man is a great choice. After all, about 20 years ago, the highly popular Spider-Man movie really kicked off the onslaught of Marvel and DC Comics superhero movies to follow.

Plus kids love Spider-Man. The costume is cool. Shooting spider webs out of the wrist is cool. Flying around New York City on a web string is cool. Even kids who are terrified of spiders can find something to like about Spider-Man. Just don’t expect the most squeamish ones to watch the scene where the spider bites Peter Parker. Ouch.

The Spider-Man character on this Marvel bedding is an adorable cartoonish character, which makes it a good Marvel toddler bedding set. Little kids will like the friendly look to this Spider-Man.

This twin size Spider-Man bedding set includes:

  • Reversible comforter
  • Pillowcases
  • Sheets

Buy for $93 on Wayfair

Miles Morales Spider-Man Marvel Twin Bedding

For older kids (or adults) who prefer the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man over Peter Parker, this bed set is made with you in mind. (And if you don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, you may need to check in your Marvel Fan Club card.)

This set uses a lot of darker colors, far more than the first Spider-Man Marvel bedding we discussed, which may scare some younger kids (or they might think it’s super awesome).

Plus, one of the pillowcases is just a drawing of a giant spider from the Spider-Man logo, so this isn’t the best option for kids who are a little skittish.

This Marvel bedding set includes:

  • Twin comforter
  • Pillowcase
  • Sham
  • Flat sheet
  • Fitted sheet

Buy for $70 on Amazon

Black Panther Blue Border Tribe Twin Sheet Set

For kids who loved the Black Panther movie from a few years ago, this Marvel twin bedding will quickly become a favorite.

One of the best things about the Black Panther character is the detailed backstory, which some kids will want to dive into after receiving this bed set.

This Marvel bedding set doesn’t have a comforter, so you can save some money if you just add a solid colored comforter, more than enough to see the upcoming Black Panther II movie. (By then, we’ll hopefully be back attending movies in theaters again, so you’ll almost certainly need the extra cash — and then some — for snacks too. Even the mob is impressed by the markup at the movie theater snack bar.)

This twin size Black Panther bedding set includes:

  • Pillowcase
  • Fitted sheet
  • Flat sheet

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Hulk Out Marvel Toddler Bedding Set

Kids can relate to the Hulk character. When Bruce Banner gets mad, he turns into the Hulk, wreaking havoc in an uncontrollable rage. When your kid gets mad … well, let’s just say the kid’s tantrums would give the Hulk a run for his money. If the kid knew how to turn green, it’d be tough to tell the two apart.

The good news is you can send your kid to an extended timeout. We wouldn’t try that with the Hulk.

This Hulk set is made as a Marvel toddler bedding set or even as Marvel crib bedding, as the fitted sheet measures only 28 by 52 inches.

The Hulk character is a cartoonish version of the Hulk, made to be more fun than brooding and scary, further appealing to toddlers and preschoolers.

This twin size Hulk bedding set includes:

  • Reversible comforter
  • Pillowcase
  • Flat sheet
  • Fitted sheet

Buy for $54 on Wayfair

Marvel Avengers Queen Bedding Set

For those older kids and adults who are huge Marvel fans but who just can’t decide on a single favorite character, this Avengers comforter and sham set has you covered. It includes artwork featuring Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Ant-Man.

The artwork on the comforter and shams is highly detailed, made to resemble artwork you’d find in a modern Marvel comic book, which will appeal to teens and adults.

The images are a bit darker than something that would be aimed at young children, some of whom may find them a little scary.

Then again, sometimes the best way to overcome a child’s fears is to throw them in the deep end. Leave the kid in the room with these character drawings for an entire night and the kid will overcome the fear … or will have nightmares for the next few months. Just a word of advice as you try to decide what to do: A few months is a long time for you to sleep on the couch while your wife is pissed at you.

This queen and full-size Avengers bedding set includes:

  • Comforter
  • Two shams

Buy for $45 on Amazon

Marvel Avengers Emblems Full Bed Set

As an adult, you may feel a little weird about having bedding with cartoon characters on it. (Your wife might use a different word to describe her feelings.)

This Marvel bedding set may be a nice compromise, as it features the emblems of several Avengers superheroes, giving you a more subtle look than drawings of the characters themselves. The emblems represent Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Black Widow, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Someone who has no idea what Marvel is might even think these are NHL or NFL logos. (Feel free to use this idea to see if you can fool your wife on this one. We’ll wait to see how it goes for you before trying it ourselves.)

This full-size Avengers bedding set includes:

  • Comforter
  • Two pillowcases
  • Two shams
  • Fitted sheet
  • Flat sheet

Buy for $70 on Amazon

Avengers Hero Up Marvel Toddler Bedding Set

Toddlers who are a little nervous about bedtime can feel braver with these Marvel Avengers bed sheets. They have multiple Marvel characters along with their emblems on the pillowcases and comforter. All of the character drawings are cartoonish and made to be friendly, which keeps the scary level to a minimum.

The sheets have the message HERO UP! printed on them, which may encourage the kid to be brave all night.

Just imagine it … a child who stays in his or her bed all night and doesn’t interrupt your sleeping. Just the thought of it brings a tear to your eye.

This twin size Spider-Man bedding set includes:

  • Reversible comforter
  • Pillowcases
  • Sheets

Buy for $50 on Amazon

Marvel Avengers Fight Club Twin Bed Set With Guardians of the Galaxy

When it comes to traditional superheroes, a talking raccoon and a tree creature normally wouldn’t have fit the bill for most fans. Then Guardians of the Galaxy came along and “I am Groot” became a sensation, holding us over until the Baby Yoda phenomenon started.

If you and your kids are big fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll appreciate these twin Marvel bed sheets, featuring a host of those characters, including Groot, Gamora, and Rocket Raccoon, as well as Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Iron Man.

This twin size Avengers bedding set includes:

  • Twin/full comforter
  • Pillowcase
  • Sham
  • Fitted sheet
  • Flat sheet

Buy for $60 on Amazon

Avengers Superheroes Marvel Full Bedding Set

If you’re the kind of dad who likes to tell your kids how much better things were in your day, here’s your chance to put those words into action with this Marvel bedding set. It features popular Marvel characters in artwork that resembles classic comic books.

The drawings of Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man have an old school look to them. Your kids may snicker at the look of some of these characters, but maybe they’ll learn to appreciate the rough, hand-drawn look these characters had in the comics from when you were a kid (or maybe from when your dad was a kid and gave you the same “things were better in my day” speech).

If your kids don’t appreciate the old school look, well, you can make them sleep on these Marvel bed sheets until they do. You’re the dad, after all, and your word is law. (Until your wife overrules you.)

This full-size Avengers bedding set includes:

  • Two pillowcases
  • Fitted sheet
  • Flat sheet

Buy for $30 on Amazon

Avengers Comic Cool Marvel Bed Sheets and Comforter

For teens (or dads) who appreciate the comic books featuring Marvel characters as much (or more) than the multitude of movies over the past couple of decades, this Marvel full bedding set is made with them in mind.

This is an interesting design with black and white comic book panels adorning the comforter with large full color drawings of characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and Hulk superimposed over the top of the comic panels. These are old school drawings of the characters from the vintage comics, which adds to the cool factor.

With the black and white comic panel drawings, it may even spark an interest in the child of reading black and white graphic novels. Yeah, yeah, we know. There’s plenty of people out there who would tell you graphic novels are not real books. But at least the kid would be reading willingly. (Pat yourself on the back. You just parented the crap out of your kid’s reading time.)

This Marvel full bedding set includes:

  • Twin/full comforter
  • Two pillowcases
  • Two shams
  • Flat sheet
  • Fitted sheet

Buy for $70 on Amazon

80th Anniversary Marvel Queen Bedding Comforter and Sham Set

Perhaps you wanted Marvel bedsheets when you were a kid, and your mom quashed your hopes. Then your live-in girlfriend in college (who you somehow kept a secret from your mom) also said no to your hopes of buying a Marvel bedding set.

Now your wife says no too. But when she says no, you can see a hint of pity in her eyes. (Never underestimate the benefits of being the recipient of your spouse’s pity.) So if you believe there’s a sliver of hope for your Marvel queen bedding quest, we have the model that may work.

This 80th anniversary Marvel bed set has a reversible comforter. One side has Marvel comic panels in color on a gray background. And when your wife wants to pretend that she did not marry a huge comic book and superhero nerd (totally on her, TBH), the reverse side of the comforter has a classy gray and white stripe pattern.

Most nights, she’s so tired from the antics of the kids that she’ll never even notice if you flip the comics side of the comforter upward for all to see.

Hopefully, she says yes to this Marvel comforter. But if she says no, and if you’ve lived through being a father to a toddler, at least you’re finally at a point in your life where you’re prepared to hear no. After all, your toddler likely said no to you roughly 156 times per day.

This queen-size Marvel bedding set includes:

  • Reversible comforter
  • Sham

Buy for $45 on Amazon

Captain American Adult Duvet Cover Set

If you want to go even more subtle when it comes to your Marvel bedding, this Captain America comforter set will meet your needs. Rather than full color drawings of Captain America on the bed sheets and comforter, this product uses his emblem of stars and rings from his shield in varying shades of blue and gray.

If you encounter someone who is not a Marvel fan, they may not even know that this is Captain America’s shield emblem. This kit provides a contemporary style (whatever that is).

This Captain America full-size bedding set includes:

  • Comforter
  • Two pillowcases
  • Accent pillow
  • Sham

Buy for $104 on Wayfair

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

Get Medieval on Their Asses With This Guide to the Best Axe Throwing Equipment

Axe throwing. It’s a thing. Remember the episode of The Simpsons where Homer is missing the Springfield Chili Cook-Off? He’s dancing around the house like a 3-year-old who’s guzzled a six-pack of juice boxes but is too busy to use the bathroom, urging Marge to hurry. Homer’s excitement over chili reminds me of my reaction when I heard about axe throwing for the first time. I may or may not have danced around the house, imploring my family to hurry up, so we could go to the new hatchet throwing bar (yes, bar — although if you’re a beginner, we definitely don’t recommend drinking and axe-throwing at the same time).

What is there to love about an axe throwing bar? To quote our new president, c’mon man! They’re handing you an axe. They’re allowing you to throw it at a target. They’re also letting you drink beer. They might even serve chili. Then you get to do it again and again, competing against other axe throwers, and we all know dads love any competition. #nirvana-medivalstyle

As with any new sport that dads try, we may choose to go overboard a bit. We may become a little over-competitive. We may decide we need to start practicing at home in the backyard with the best axes for throwing … safely, of course. (Mrs. Stephens’ damn yippy toy poodle, Muffy, next door must be protected at all costs, after all.)

For the Chili Cook-Off, Homer had his special chili boots and wooden spoon he carved himself from a bigger spoon. For your axe throwing equipment, we would not recommend making your own axe. (If your homemade throwing tomahawk blade pops loose and comes within 50 feet of Muffy, police will be at your door in minutes, ticketing you for violating the f***ing dog’s restraining order against you.)

We’ve put together a list of the best axe throwing equipment, so you can practice at home. Beer is optional. (Kidding.)

The Art of Throwing Book

Some people like to jump right into axe throwing immediately. Just pick up the axe and chuck it toward the target. Drink more beer. Repeat.

Hey, it might work. And you might only scare others in the vicinity instead of hitting someone.

If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of person who prefers to have at least a vague idea of what you’re doing before you jump in, this book gives you advice on how to start with your axe throwing sport. Believe it or not, there is a technique to this sport that will help you have more success.

Yeah, we know. Books? Psssshhh. But no one has to know. Just hide it in the bathroom for morning constitutional reading material. No one dares to check on what you’re doing in the bathroom during that time of the morning.

Buy for $14 on Amazon

WATL World Axe Throwing League Competition Axe

For beginners, this axe might seem a little too big, but this is the right size for a throwing axe, with good balance and handle length, making it one of the best axes for throwing. The axe weighs only 2.22 pounds total, so it’s not as heavy as it may look.

With a 16-inch handle, you can cut it down to a shorter length as needed to match your throwing technique.

It has a curved design in the blade that will help beginners keep the axe on target. Any axe throwing equipment that can make you look better while trying to learn this sport is well worth the investment. And when you’re using an axe with the official league logo printed on the head, you’re going to look like a pro … even if you are definitely not a pro. (Here’s a hint: You aren’t.)

Buy for $39 on Amazon

WATL The Corporal Competition Axe

If you want a bit more of an advanced axe — while keeping the World Axe Throwing League logo on it to show how serious you are about this sport — this model is a strong contender. It has an extremely sharp blade, giving it a better chance of sticking in the target.

It uses a flat blade design, so it may not be the best option for beginners, who may struggle to keep it on track toward the target.

You can cut down the 16-inch wooden to match your needs.

Plus it has a name: “The Corporal.” If your axe has a name, how can you go wrong?

Buy for $83 on Amazon

Viking Throwing Tomahawk

Sometimes, axe throwing equipment is more about the look of the axe blade than your accuracy. There’s nothing wrong with having an axe blade that makes you look medieval while you’re working on your sport.

This throwing tomahawk has a curved blade that looks positively dangerous, which is part of the fun. It has a 19-inch handle that you can cut down to a shorter length as needed.

We do have to mention that this blade fits onto the hickory handle using a friction fit system. This means that the axe head may separate from the handle through the normal course of use. See? Even more danger. Cool.

Buy for $40 on Amazon

Stansport Wood Handle Camp Axe

We understand not everyone can purchase a competition-level throwing axe. Kids need braces, school clothes, and the type of overindulgent, extravagant birthday parties that put Jamie’s dad to shame. (No one can stand that guy, but if he wants to start an expensive kids birthday party war, we are ready to one-up him at every turn.)

So you may need to cut back a bit on your spending for your throwing axe. This versatile Stansport axe has a 14-inch handle with a balanced weight, making it a better option than some other general-use axes for throwing.

The blade is made for chopping firewood and kindling, rather than for sticking in a target, so it isn’t the perfect option. However, when you need an axe that you can use equally well at a campsite and at a throwing lane, this is an option that should fit in your budget.

Buy for $17 on Amazon

SOG Tactical Straight Edge Tomahawk

Here is another versatile tomahawk that you can use for all kinds of work at an acreage, at a campsite, or for throwing.

It has a polymer handle that will last a long time. The head consists of stainless steel and a hard cased black coating for durability.

Plus it’s just a cool piece of hardware. Having success with a throwing axe isn’t as easy as owning an impressive looking axe … but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Buy for $50 on Cabela’s

Foam Axe Throwing Game Set

As a dad, you know that certain things you want to do can never be done alone. Make yourself some nachos? The kids will be on you like locusts. Want to run to the hardware store quickly? The kids will tag along, begging for candy, picking up every item in the store, and asking non-stop questions, turning a 20-minute trip into a 2-hour slog.

So when you want to start throwing axes as a hobby, chances are you won’t be able to do it yourself. Once the kids get involved, sharp axes being flung over several feet sounds a lot less fun and a lot more bloody and put-an-eye-out-y.

So why not have this foam axe throwing game set on hand for times when the kids want to join in? The chances of someone ending up bloody with this foam set are quite a bit less. Not zero, mind you. After all, these are your kids, and they routinely accomplish the impossible. Let’s just say almost zero.

Buy for $69 on Amazon

axe throwing

Outside Inside Foam Axe Throwing Game

Another great option for littles, this axe throwing game is perfect for outdoor or indoor fun. The board and axes are made of foam, so if they hit anyone or any wall, nobody gets hurt. The set comes with one board and four axes, and the board is collapsable, and you can easily hang it up on the wall (the material is light enough to not damage surfaces).

Buy for $35 on Amazon

 

 

Pebble Axe Sharpening Stone

If you have purchased some of the best axes for throwing (not made of foam), you will need to sharpen them from time to time. After all, a dull axe will not stick in the target as well as a sharp one.

This is a highly regarded sharpening stone that also works to sharpen your other tools. It has a 150-grit on the dark gray side and a 320-grit on the light-colored side for finishing work on the blade. It fits in the palm of your hand for convenience.

It even ships in a sharp-looking bamboo box to protect it when it’s not in use, which your wife will appreciate.

The downside? You no longer can use the excuse that the dull axe blade is preventing you from sticking the axe in the target. (Sooner or later, the blame lies with your technique.)

Buy for $31 on Amazon

2×4 Wood for Building a Target

Although some people may want to practice with their best throwing tomahawk on a tree in the backyard, we do not recommend this. The round tree and rough bark will make the axe bounce at odd angles. There’s no extra wood to catch a stray throw to the side.

Not to mention, you’re going to kill the tree eventually, meaning your wife will probably want to kill you.

Instead, build yourself a target with a large backstop. To build a target area, make sure it’s huge to catch any stray axes. (Remember Muffy.) Connect several 8-foot long 2x4s to make up the frame, which should be free-standing. A frame 5 or 6 feet wide should catch most errant throws.

Then use screws to mount a large piece of plywood (about 2.5 by 2.5 feet) onto the frame of 2x4s and paint the target on the plywood. The outer ring of the target should be about 27 inches in diameter with smaller rings at 17 and 7 inches in diameter. The center of the target should be about 5 feet off the ground.

As the plywood becomes damaged after dozens of axe strikes, you can simply replace the plywood with a new sheet. The 2x4s will be tough enough to stand up to stray axe strikes when you miss the target. Try to build the frame so that you can replace a chewed-up single 2×4 in the future, if needed.

If this sounds like too much construction work for your skills, there’s always the foam axe throwing set. (Muffy will laugh her ass off at you, but you’ll survive.)

Buy for $6 on The Home Depot

Greatmats 4×10 Foot Rubber Roll

If you’re going to practice with your axe throwing equipment inside your garage, you’re going to want some protection on the concrete floor. (Believe it or not, we’re guessing you’re going to miss sticking the throwing tomahawk in the target a time or two … or 200.)

Using this roll of rubber on the floor protects the concrete from damage from the axe blade. Additionally, you’ll keep the blade sharper if it falls to the rubber instead of on the concrete. You should use rubber under an outdoor target too, to protect the blade as it hits the ground.

Cut this rubber roll to fit the space. For extra protection for the floor, cut the 4-by-10-foot roll in half and stack the pieces.

Buy for $116 on Amazon

Dad-Pun Axe Throwing T-Shirt

Some dads love their T-shirts with bad puns on them. Some dads just need a T-shirt for anything and everything in which they or the kids participate. (Although the “My Kid Won a Participation Ribbon at the 3rd Grade Science Fair” T-shirt is a bit much in our opinion.)

Regardless of why we dads love T-shirts, we can never have enough of them. So to commemorate your new love of hatchet throwing, here’s a t-shirt you can wear with a semi-dirty double meaning on it … a bad pun that clearly identifies you as a dad. You’re welcome.

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

You’ll Relish This Hot Dog and Bun Toaster

hot dog toaster
Amazon

I think we can all agree that there are few things better than a perfectly toasted hot dog, and you can’t get that from microwaving hot dogs and using cold buns. Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way; I don’t make the rules. If you want baseball park-worthy hot dogs, you gotta go pro. And by pro, I mean a hot dog toaster. It’s just as fast and convenient as a microwave, but delivers a far superior product (it even gives you grill marks). And it’s only $20, so you might as well buy one for yourself and everyone you know, because nobody deserves to eat sad microwave dogs.

 

hot dog toaster
Amazon

Purchase for $20

This hot dog toaster will toast two hot dogs at a time, distributing even heat on all sides so that it’s perfectly cooked every single time (it accommodates for extra-large hot dogs, so don’t worry if you prefer them robust). The toaster also features adjustable heat settings, and even comes with special tongs so you don’t have to burn your hands every time you make yourself a hot dog. Cleaning is even easier since all you need to do is remove the drip tray and wipe it down separately.

Is it a novelty gift? Sure. But it’s so worth it (and if your S.O. or roommate are concerned about counter space, rest assured that it’s pretty slim and compact). 5,000+ customers who’ve given the toaster five stars on Amazon would agree. “LOVE IT!!!! I bought this for home so my 7 year old could make a quick snack before bed…he loves hot dogs…. I love the smell of cooking hot dogs and buns without the mess!” one reviewer wrote.

“We LOVE that this makes AWESOME Grill marks on the hot dogs!!! I read all the reviews before purchasing and I am shocked that no one mentioned this! And this is not simply a hot dog Heater Upper LOL! There is a BIG difference in using this versus a microwave. For one, THE Grill Marks LOL Sorry- that just tickled me silly and I am in love with that feature alone 🙂 The hot dog does not get “rubbery” like they can in the microwave. We cook ours on setting number 5 and it gets a perfect sear on the outside trapping in all the juices. This little hot dog toaster will give you perfectly juicy hot dogs every single time,” another customer wrote.

We did mention the grill marks, right?

Get one for yourself for $20.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Soak Your Aching Dad Bod In This Zero-Hassle, Inexpensive, Inflatable Hot Tub

inflatable hot tub
Amazon

A hot tub sounds great in theory but it’s pretty easy to talk yourself out of one. You’re a dad, you’re practical. For starters, hot tubs are expensive and all dads know money doesn’t grow on trees. Plus, they’ll require maintenance that you’ll be responsible for, and you already have a backlog of home projects. Plus, hot tubs take up a ton of real estate.

But what if I told you there’s a low maintenance one you can get for a steal – that you can just deflate when not in use? Your wallet and your dad bod will both approve.

At 77” x 77” x 28” this Coleman SaluSpa inflatable hot tub is large enough for up to 6 people. It’s equipped with jets (this is not a freakin’ kiddie pool!), massage and heating systems, and water filtration. The water can even reach 104 degrees. It features solid construction and extremely durable material that ensures there are no safety issues. It even comes with a pre-tested pump and a ground fault circuit interrupter that trips at 6mA.

Oh, and the set-up is a snap and it’s easy to drain.

Just look at how much these people are enjoying it.

inflatable hot tub
Amazon

Buy here for $530

“Love this tub. I’ve had it two months now. Electric bill barely budged $10 a month even the first month when I filled it with 39 degree water and it heated for 4 days straight !! I set it up pretty quick, maybe an hour but I was in no rush. Filled up within 20-25 min tops,” one reviewer wrote.

“Honestly, I have never been in a hot tub or spa in my life but I was looking for something to cool off in on hot summer nights instead of a pool. We had an in-ground pool for many years and all I ever did was sit on the stairs in the evening and have a few drinks. I figured this might be the “equivalent”, and it was! I absolutely love it. It’s not a big “Hot Tub” with all the bells and whistles but that’s not what I wanted. This is perfect for relaxing soak and the bubbles are much better and more powerful than I expected. LOVE IT!,” one reviewer wrote.

BTW, you can use this hot tub in the winter. It just takes longer to heat up. 

“For the price, nothing comes close! After playing in the mountains, a hot soak in minerals is amazing. The bubbles are relaxing, not a therapy jet. Have been using it in Denver in winter (with a thick cover to retain heat). 2f/hr heating times, drops about ~10f overnight (is 20f at night here). Super, super happy with this tub. Easy setup and maintenance. Cleaning filters has been easy, and we’re using bromine tablets and soaking salts. I -may- have overclocked it too, a searing 110f soak is possible ;)” another wrote.

Buy here for $530

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! These Are the 9 Best Headphones for Gaming and Music

gaming headphones
(Getty/PatriciaEnciso)

Sound is everything when it comes to playing video games, and you’re going to need a good pair of gaming headphones.  Whether you’re immersing yourself in a single-player adventure or calling out enemy locations during those white-knuckle online matches with your friends, having the right headphones can be crucial to a great experience.  They also need to be comfortable for listening to music, watching movies, or those marathon game sessions you try to fit in between all of those other obligations that fill up your day-to-day routine.

The headphones listed here are reasonably priced, and are some of the best-selling and best-reviewed you can find.  Most of the models can also be used on any game console as well, so no matter your preference, you really can’t go wrong with any of these picks.

Best Open Back Headphones for Gaming

Razer Kraken Gaming Headset, $80

Since 2005, Razer has been the leading manufacturer in gaming peripherals, and their Razer Kraken Gaming Headset is a great example for why that still stands true.  With a lightweight aluminum frame, cooling gel cushions, and 6 different colors to choose from, this is a great addition to any game set-up.

SteelSeries Arctis 3 All-Platform Gaming Headphones, $64

Widely recognized as the best mic in gaming, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 features a retractable microphone that delivers studio-quality voice clarity and background noise cancellation.  Even volume adjustments are as easy as tapping the ear cup.  This headset is available in both wired and wireless models, depending on your preference.

Best Gaming Headphones for PS4

HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset, $80 (21% off right now)

With supreme audio quality and 7.1 surround sound capabilities, the HyperX Cloud II will immerse you completely in whatever you’re playing.  This headset also features a detachable microphone and memory foam ear pads that are interchangeable between leatherette and velour ear cushions for the style and comfort that suits you.

Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50X Headphones, $25

The Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50X is one of the top-selling PS4 headsets and is a real mouthful to say out loud.  This headset comes in 3 different colors and features quality 40mm speakers and a high-sensitivity adjustable boom mic for crystal clear in-game and online chat.

Best Headphones for Xbox One

RUNMUS Gaming Headset, $26 (40% off right now)

The RUNMUS Gaming Headset provides excellent quality and value.  The 7.1 surround sound capabilities are great and the ergonomic design and adjustable band make sure this headset will fit on anyone comfortably.  With over 64,000 reviews on Amazon and holding a 4.5/5 star rating, this one’s a worthwhile purchase for any gamer.

PDP Level 50 Wireless Gaming Headset, $80

Officially licensed by Microsoft, the PDP Level 50 Wireless Gaming Headset is a perfect fit for the Xbox One.  It comes with a rechargeable 16 hour battery and a wireless range of 40 feet.  This means your teammates will have no idea you’re actually in the kitchen grabbing a snack.

Best Headphones for Nintendo Switch

Turtle Beach Recon 70 Gaming Headset, $40

Designed for the Nintendo Switch, the Turtle Beach Recon 70 provides excellent sound quality with its 40mm speakers and over-ear premium synthetic leather cushions.  This means your ears will be comfortable for hours and you’ll be able to hear all those crucial in-game sound effects like your enemies’ footsteps.

PDP LVL40 Wired Stereo Gaming Headset, $30

Officially licensed by Nintendo, these light-weight and breathable headphones aren’t as invasive as other models.  With on-ear volume control and a mic that can be muted simply by flipping it up, they’re easy for kids to use and perfect for on-the-go gaming or when you’re just chilling and playing Switch in bed.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

The 15 Most Popular Toys From the ’90s

Top 15 Most Popular 90s Toys
(Getty / Education Images / Chesnot / John T. Barr)

When someone references something from the ’90s, my brain still categorizes it as something taking place roughly 7 to 10 years ago. I’m pretty sure it’s a defense mechanism preventing me from focusing too hard on my body’s gradual decay and slow march towards death. But let’s not focus on that right now.

Instead, let’s dwell on the special and bizarre decade that was the ’90s itself. The books were weird. The food was awesome. Companies were going nuts with crazy, neon-colored ideas that, as kids, we couldn’t stop pining over. The toys, specifically, held a very special place in our hearts, even if they seem a little absurd in retrospect. The internet was in its infancy so we didn’t have detailed reviews or YouTube unboxing videos. We just had TV commercials that made us salivate at the prospect of getting our grimy hands on the newest popular gadget. It was a sickness and we loved it so damn much.

So here’s a list of some of the most popular toys from the 90s that we ached to have and still can’t seem to forget. And the cool part is a lot of them are still for sale!

Tamagotchi Digital Pet

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Tamagotchi
(Getty / Xavier ROSSI)

Just because we didn’t have smartphones or tablets like kids nowadays doesn’t mean we weren’t completely addicted to other tiny screens. Tamagotchis—every kid’s favorite black & white virtual creature—required constant care from birth to their inevitable death when you forgot to feed it or clean up its pixelated poop. Hmmm, this all seems mighty familiar now that we’re parents.

Fun Fact: Tamagotchis could start their own families. You and a friend could breed a male and female Tamagotchi, after which the female would produce two eggs—one for each parent to care for respectively. No custody battles here!

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Stretch Armstrong Action Figure

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Stretch Armstrong
(Getty / Leon Neal)

Everyone’s favorite gel-filled action figure has actually been around since 1976 but he remained popular and in production until 1997. Stretch could be pulled, twisted, and tied into a near-infinite number of positions up to 5 feet in length. By popular demand, he even made a resurgence in 2016 and can be purchased today!

Fun Fact: As of 2017, Stretch Armstrong stars in his own TV show on Netflix called Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters. Whether it’s actually good is for you to decide.

Buy for $35 on Amazon

Pokemon Cards

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Pokemon Cards
(Getty / picture alliance)

While technically a card game and not a toy in the traditional sense, we can’t talk about ‘90s crazes without talking about Pokemon Cards. This paper-based phenomenon was an instant success when it dropped thanks to the already surging popularity of the Pokemon video games. Just about everyone spent their time playing with or trading their card collection during recess… except for that kid, Kyle, who had a holographic Charizard and made sure EVERYBODY knew.

Fun Fact: Kyle is in prison now (probably).

Buy for $6 on Amazon

Skip-It

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Skip-It
(YouTube / wiifermadness)

The Skip-It was released in the ‘80s but didn’t really hit its stride until the ‘90s. Not exactly an innovative piece of tech, it was literally a rolling ball attached to a string tied to your leg that required you to jump over it as you spin it faster and faster. Of course, the ball only really rolled on hard surfaces, nearly guaranteeing bodily injury when you eventually tripped and fell on the concrete. Oh well, pain builds character.

Fun Fact: The addition of the skip counter in the ‘90s led to sales doubling compared to the late ‘80s. The then-CEO gleefully referred to it as a “Skip-It Renaissance.”

Buy for $16 on Amazon

Furby Robotic Toy

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Furby
(Getty / Matthew Fearn - PA Images)

Odds are pretty good that you were one of the many kids who felt snubbed on December 25, 1998 when your Christmas presents were markedly Furby-less. These little beaked, furballs were a massive commercial success with their moving eyes and unnerving ability to gradually learn English. Of course, the real joy was teaching them swear words and laughing as their batteries died, causing their voices to deepen and slow until they sounded like tiny, possessed demon animals. God, what a treat.

Fun Fact: An English-to-Furbish (the Furby language) dictionary was published in 2005 and included 121 words, including terms like “dog” (“bar-bar”), “joke” (“loo-loo”), and “whassup?” (“doo-oo-tye?”).

Buy for $65 on Amazon

Polly Pocket Dolls and Accessories

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Polly Pocket
(Pinterest / Good Housekeeping)

A doll that could fit in your pocket doesn’t exactly sound revolutionary but ‘90s girls went completely ape shit over Polly Pocket and her teeny accessories. Polly’s pocket-sized dollhouses came in a variety of pretty magical designs, including a wooden ship drifting in the ocean or a bright pink palace with gold accents. Of course, Polly was also the perfect size to be a choking hazard or get sucked up in the vacuum: two slightly less luxurious homes.

Fun Fact: When I turned 6, my older sister borrowed $5 of my birthday money to buy a Polly Pocket and has still never paid me back. Yes, it’s been 25 years. Yes, I still remember, Leslie.

Buy for $11 on Amazon

Nintendo 64 Video Game Console

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Nintendo 64
(Getty / Future Publishing)

Objectively one of the greatest video game systems of all time, the Nintendo 64 sent shockwaves through the gaming community when it dropped in 1996. If you were one of the lucky few to get one early after its release, you instantly gained celeb status in your friend group. Even if you didn’t have one, you begged your parents to take you to Blockbuster so you could get a few precious minutes with that legendary three-pronged controller yourself. The N64 boasted some of the top games of any console.

Fun Fact: The console’s most popular release title, Super Mario 64, is in fact the bestselling game of all time on the Nintendo 64… by a lot. It sold around 12 million copies while the next highest seller, Mario Kart 64, sold a paltry 9.8 million.

Buy for $165 on Amazon

Hit Clips Digital Audio Player

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Hit Clips
(eBay / allynelson123)

Who wanted dumb old CDs with full-length albums when you could have a tiny plastic cartridge that played 1-minute clips of a song? Yes, Hit Clips might have been one of the stupidest concepts when it comes to music consumption but thanks to heavy promotion from McDonald’s, Radio Disney, and Lunchables, late-‘90s kids couldn’t seem to get enough of them. Now, shut up – I’m listening to the chorus and half a verse of “When It’s Over” by Sugar Ray.

Fun Fact: A 1-minute clip of music might not be great but the ultra-lo-fi mono music that Hit Clips provided… ALSO sounded awful. It was like listening to someone play music through a speakerphone that had horrible reception and was also on fire.

Buy for $16 on Amazon

Pogs Cap Game

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Pogs
(Getty / Xavier ROSSI / Gamma-Rapho)

Even though they’d been around for decades, Pogs soared in popularity during the ‘90s. You probably had hundreds, won fair and square during lunch or recess, all thanks to your trusty go-to slammer(s). What was on yours? The Superman logo? Bart Simpson? A holographic skull? It didn’t matter – they were all cool as hell… unless you used one of those metal ones. You, sir or ma’am, are a cheat and have no honor.

Fun Fact: POG stands for passionfruit, orange, and mango. The cardboard discs were actually bottle caps for POG juice bottles made by Haleakala Dairy in Hawaii.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

Beanie Babies Stuffed Animals

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Beanie Babies
(Getty / JOYCE NALTCHAYAN)

No ‘90s toys list would be complete without the worldwide phenomenon that was Beanie Babies. Each creature was filled with plastic beads that made them heavier than your everyday teddy bear and included a TY tag, which revealed the animal’s name and a cutesy poem about them. God forbid you remove that tag, though. These bad boys were collector’s items. Folks dreamt of paying off their mortgage or sending kids to college with the money from their Beanie Baby collections, and while some are definitely worth a pretty penny nowadays, others are basically just adorable stuffed animals that your parents won in a fistfight inside your local McDonald’s.

Fun Fact: The most expensive single Beanie Baby is the purple Princess Bear, made in honor of the late Princess Diana. Its extreme rarity has earned an asking price of around $500,000. Time to go digging in your parents’ attic!

Buy for $7 on Amazon

Super Soakers Water Guns

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Super Soakers
(Getty / Fabian Posselt / ullstein bild)

Water guns were generally pretty lame until Hasbro started pumping out Super Soakers in 1990. These pressurized water weapons put measly squirt pistols to shame as you were finally able to launch powerful streams of water at your friends from an impressive distance. Sure, Super Soakers caught some heat in the media for looking like actual guns, but that just made us want them more. The company has since grown into a billion-dollar brand, and “Super Soaker” has even begun being used generically to refer to any pressurized water gun.

Fun Fact: The Super Soaker CPS 2000 Mark 1 released in 1996 was considered by many to be the most powerful water gun made by a toy company. It could fire an entire liter of water in about one second and provided the shooter with some noticeable recoil. Some of those unlucky enough to be on the receiving end complained about minor injuries; however, a legend arose that some kid’s eye was shot out after catching a blast in the face at close range. The story has never been confirmed but the CPS 2000 Mark 1 was discontinued soon after these rumors spread.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

Talkboy from Home Alone

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Talkboy
(YouTube / Laura Legends)

When a toy is used by a child to thwart violent home invaders, it should be no surprise when it becomes an item wanted by kids everywhere. The Talkboy was released on November 20, 1992, the same day Home Alone 2 debuted and it was an instant hit. Granted, the cassette and recording quality probably weren’t good enough to actually trick anybody, but why waste an opportunity to call someone a filthy animal?

Fun Fact: A pink version was released a little later, dubbed the “Talkgirl,” because gender roles, I guess.

Buy for $229 on Amazon

Bop It Audio Game

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Bop It
(YouTube / classic90sfan)

Just because a game is easy to understand doesn’t mean it can’t be difficult. The original “Bop It” rhythmically spat out instructions to either bop it, twist it, or pull it – commands that required you to engage one of the three parts of the toy. Mess up a command or take to long and you’re out. Oh, and the game gradually increases speed as you play. It’s a fun game to play alone or with friends as long as mild anxiety attacks are your kind of fun.

Fun Fact: The original Bop It model had a limit of 100 points while the second edition released in 2000 allowed a score of up to 200. Reaching the highest score ends the game with a victory song and, hopefully, an intervention from your friends to find a new hobby.

Buy for $15 on Amazon

Easy-Bake Oven

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Easy-Bake Oven
(YouTube / Lane and Lexi’s Funhouse)

For most, the appeal of the Easy-Bake Oven was less about actual baking and more about being able to cook your own junk food whenever you wanted and without parental supervision. Sure, it felt like it took hours for the 40W incandescent bulb to heat a single serving but it was all worth it to be able to cook brownies and riddle your body with sugar all by yourself. Ok, this actually sounds a lot like my diet in adulthood.

Fun Fact: In 2003, an updated version of the Easy-Bake was released, called the Real Meal Oven. The newer model could cook two dishes at once and at higher temperatures because who doesn’t love a good fire hazard?

Buy for $30 on Amazon

Tickle Me Elmo Plush Toy

Most Popular Toys of the 90s: Tickle Me Elmo
(Getty / Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times)

I never knew anyone who actually wanted a Tickle Me Elmo but seeing people lined up outside various K-Marts in the December cold, fist-fighting to get their hands on one of the red, giggly muppets was Christmas PR at its finest. Everyone wanted one just to say they had one. Of course, once kids realized that it was just a doll that vibrated and laughed when you poked it, they ditched the thing (likely for another toy on this list). Your dad likely drank a little extra egg nog that day while staring into the fire as a result.

Fun Fact: In 2001, a “Surprise Edition” of Tickle Me Elmo was released. Five of these Elmos were programmed to stop laughing on Jan 9, 2002, indicating that the purchaser had won a prize – the grand prize being $200,000! It was like Willy Wonka but without all the gruesome child deaths.

Buy for $32 on Amazon

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

How to DIY Clean Your Dishwasher (Even Though Its Only Job Is to Clean Things #MindBlown)

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

Sometimes, my kids come up with logic that I have a hard time refuting, which simultaneously pisses me off and impresses me.

For example, the kid asks, “Why do you have to take away my favorite bath towel and put it in the washing machine? It’s only used for drying after we’re already clean, so isn’t it also clean?” After I sit there for a minute dumbfounded, I call them a smart ass under my breath and threaten to send them to bed early … which they know is an empty threat. Hell, it’s tough enough to get kids to go to bed on time, let alone early.

Or when the kids ask if apples would be a healthy, low-sugar snack before bed, and I say yes. Then they come back with a bowl of Apple Jacks and give their sister a slice of apple pie with ice cream. I just shake my head and wish I’d have thought it through.

So when my wife says it’s time to clean the dishwasher, which sounds like a simple DIY task, it tempts me to break out some kid logic. The dishwasher’s job is to clean dishes, keeping them sanitary enough to use for eating and drinking. (I mean, that’s way beyond the job of a bath towel.) So why would we ever need to know how to clean a dishwasher? I mean, I know why I need to (partially) clean the grill to make great BBQ, but the dishwasher? It should be cleaner inside thereafter it does its job, right?

Truth is, as crazy as it sounds, it does need cleaning. Using the best dishwasher cleaner means it will smell better and clean more efficiently. Additionally, the dishwasher contains a filter that catches certain solids, and you need to remove these to keep it running without backing up and flooding. If there is gunk or pet fur on the seal or on the edges of the door, the dishwasher might leak as it runs.

So, yes, we do need to know how to clean a dishwasher, no matter how silly that sounds. (Now if we could only come up with a cool hack like the dad who cleans baby bottles with a power drill, then we’d love cleaning the dishwasher.)

How to Clean a Dishwasher

The best plan to clean the dishwasher is to clean the individual parts separately.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

1-How to Clean the Removable Parts

Items like the dishwasher rack and silverware rack will come out of the dishwasher. You then can clean these in the sink, if desired.

Clean the dishwasher racks with vinegar. Fill half the sink with warm water, add a cup or two of white vinegar, and let them soak 15 to 30 minutes. Then wipe them clean and return them to the dishwasher.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

2-How to Clean the Interior

To clean the dishwasher interior with vinegar or another product, you can do it with the racks removed from the dishwasher or with the racks left inside, including:

  • By hand: When wondering how to clean a dishwasher by hand, you can use a regular household cleaner without bleach and scrub it with a sponge or rag. Remove all the racks to simplify the job. Wear rubber gloves.
  • With a product: A few different drop-in products will work as the best dishwasher cleaner. These will run during the regular dishwashing cycle or with the appliance empty. These cleaners remove odor, grime, and grease.
  • With vinegar: To clean a dishwasher with vinegar, add a cup of vinegar to a bowl and set it upright on the upper rack. Run the regular cycle and allow the dishwasher to air dry.
  • With baking soda: To clean a dishwasher with baking soda, sprinkle a cup in the bottom of the machine, and run a regular cycle. Allow the dishwasher to air dry.
  • With bleach: Do not use bleach on the interior of a dishwasher if it consists of stainless steel. Otherwise, for cleaning a dishwasher with bleach, place a cup of bleach in a safe bowl on the top rack and run the regular cycle. Let the appliance air dry.

One last piece of advice: Do not use more than one of these substances at the same time. You’ve seen the videos of people creating baking soda/vinegar volcanoes? You don’t want this to happen inside your dishwasher.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

3-How to Clean a Filter

Did you know your dishwasher has a filter? No? Uh-oh. (To be fair, some newer dishwashers don’t have filters that need manual cleaning, so you might be off the hook.)

If it’s a manual filter, it’ll be in the base of the dishwasher. When the filter is installed in the dishwasher, you’ll be able to see the top section of the filter (pictured on the left). Some dishwashers have an upper filter too, near the upper rack.

Turn the top of the filter a quarter or half a turn and lift it straight out. Once the round filter is out, you may see a C-shaped, flat filter that also will pop out (pictured on the right) that protects the drain area. Remove the flat filter and clean the interior of this drain area too.

Remove any food particles you see. If needed, you can soak the filters in warm water in the sink for 10-15 minutes.

4-How to Clean a Rubber Gasket

Check the rubber gasket and edges around the door of the dishwasher. Contaminants on the rubber will prevent a perfect seal and cause a leak. Use warm water and an old toothbrush to clean the gasket.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

5-How to Clean Spray Arms

Sometimes, the jets on the spray arms will become plugged over time. You can remove any blockages using toothpicks in the holes for the jets.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

6-How to Clean a Heating Element

The heating element is the curved piece of metal that surrounds the drain and filter.

This element may end up with scaling on it. You can use an old toothbrush and lemon juice or CLR to clean the element. There may be multiple layers of hard scale attached to the heating element, so this cleaning could take a while.

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher
Home Depot

7-How to Clean an Exterior

Use warm water and a little bit of dish soap on a sponge or dishcloth to clean spots off the outside of the dishwasher.

If you have a stainless steel dishwasher, you can choose to use a stainless steel cleaner instead. These come in sprays or wipes and are the only way to get fingerprints off of the stainless exterior.

8-How Often to Clean a Dishwasher

You don’t need to clean the dishwasher daily, but one to two times per month should be adequate. Those who run cycles in the dishwasher daily will want to clean it a little more frequently than suggested here. Those who only run a load a couple of times a week can probably clean the dishwasher a little less frequently.

  • Every 10-14 Days: Clean the interior of the unit a couple of times a month with a cleanser like Finish. At the same time, remove the filters and looking for bits of food, which can cause odors over time.
  • Every 45-60 Days: Clean the dishwasher with vinegar or bleach every couple of months. Check the spray arms and the gasket around the edge of the door at this time, too. If you want to clean the racks separately, every couple of months should be adequate.
  • As Needed: Clean the front of the dishwasher with the best dishwasher cleaner that matches the material used on the front door.

Best Products For How To Clean a Dishwasher

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Finish Cleaner

Finish In-Wash Best Dishwasher Cleaner

When you are wondering how to clean a dishwasher interior in the easiest method possible, Finish drop-ins greatly simplify the process. Just drop one in the bottom of the dishwasher occasionally when running a load of dishes, and it’ll clean all of the interior parts efficiently and easily. #LazyCleaningIsTheBestCleaning

Buy for $20 on Amazon

Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner (Safe for Septic Systems)

Clean the interior of the dishwasher with this drop-in tablet that’s safe enough even to use with septic systems. Powers away lime and mineral build-up. It’s odor-free as well, so you’ll remove the funky smell from inside the dishwasher and not replace it with an even funkier smell. Isn’t it a great time to be alive? Recommended for use once a month, buy a few packs, and be pro-active on the cleaning front.

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Mamison Gloves

Mamison Reusable Rubber Gloves

We agree that it seems a little silly to use manual dishwashing rubber gloves to clean the automatic dishwasher, which is an appliance that makes it so you don’t have to manually wash the dishes and wear rubber gloves. But you’re still going to want to wear them if working with cleansers inside the dishwasher.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher CLR

CLR Calcium Lime Rust Remover

CLR works well for removing limescale and rust from inside the dishwasher and from the heating element. It also works to clean rust stains and scale on items inside the bathroom and kitchen, including glass, porcelain, and chrome.

Use this regularly throughout your home and your wife will dub you the king of cleaning. (On second thought, maybe not a title you want to hold.)

Buy for $5 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Vinegar Concentrate

Calyptus 45% Concentrated Pure Vinegar

Remember how important Windex was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? That’s vinegar to all of us, it is a cure-all, clean-all. Having this concentrated natural product on hand in gallon size will ensure you always have plenty available to do whatever job you have in mind— starting with cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar.

Just be sure to hide it from the kids. Who knows what destruction they could cause using this huge bottle of vinegar in a giant baking soda volcano?

Buy for $23 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Liquid Bleach

Pure Bright Liquid Bleach

You can use bleach in so many different ways around the house that it’s always good to have some on hand, including for cleaning a dishwasher with bleach … as long as it’s not a stainless steel interior dishwasher. Just keep it somewhere safe, it doesn’t mess around.

Buy for $25 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Stainless Steel Cleaner

Therapy Premium Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

Stainless steel appliances look amazing … until the kids touch them with whatever disgusting goo they have on their hands 24/7. Unless you’ve banned your kids from the kitchen, we’re guessing you may go through this entire bottle of stainless steel cleaner in a few days, because their grubby little hands just can’t resist the shiny stainless steel surface.

Buy for $17 on Amazon

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Maytag Dishwasher

Maytag Front Control Built-in Fingerprint Resistant Dishwasher

We’ve assumed throughout this discussion of the best dishwasher cleaner techniques that you have an automatic dishwasher. If, instead, you are the dishwasher in your house — the manual dishwasher — maybe it’s time to purchase an automatic dishwasher.

This Maytag model runs quietly, has an effective drying system, and features a stainless steel front.

And once you have it installed, we’re sure you’ll love cleaning it instead of cleaning the dishes daily.

Buy for $673 on Home Depot

DIY How To Clean A Dishwasher Whirlpool

Whirlpool Heavy Duty Portable Dishwasher

If you don’t have room in the kitchen for a built-in dishwasher, this Whirlpool portable model is a nice choice. Roll it to the sink when it’s time to wash dishes, and roll it out of the way when the cycle is finished.

Just be ready for the top of it to collect all of the kids’ crap when they get home from school. Any open counter space or tabletop space is irresistible to any kid who’s carrying something, which really sucks. After all, when the kids cover every open space with backpacks, lunch boxes, and jackets, where the hell are you supposed to throw your keys and the mail?

Buy for $718 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.

How to DIY Remove Wallpaper … and Successfully Complete #76 on the Honey-Do List

DIY How To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

There’s something about wallpaper that brings out the remodeling instinct in a lot of wives. If you buy a house with wallpaper in it, it has to come down almost immediately. If you hung wallpaper a few years ago in your own house, chances are your wife will be tired of it by this point. So removing wallpaper DIY style goes near the top of the honey-do list.

Hanging wallpaper may very well be one of the worst jobs on the planet. Until you try to figure out the best way to remove wallpaper. Then there’s no question that it takes over as the worst job on the planet.

Staining concrete flooring is a messy job. Returning things to normal after the kids “wash” the car with motor oil is a disaster we hope you’ll never have to experience. But learning how to remove wallpaper is the equivalent of a 2-year-old’s birthday dinner combination of spaghetti and Blue’s Clues cake with bright blue frosting. (Yes, I have been stupid enough as a dad to allow that to happen.)

The good news is learning how to remove old wallpaper is not as dangerous as some other DIY dad projects, meaning you don’t run the risk of a hospital visit — probably. (Full disclosure: I have had to get multiple stitches while hanging wallpaper in the past. Don’t ask. But never while removing wallpaper, at least so far. Fingers crossed.)

Read through our steps to help you figure out the best way to remove wallpaper successfully. And if there is a God, hopefully, you won’t be hanging new wallpaper immediately afterward … that you’ll almost certainly be removing again in a few years. #CircleOfHell

DIY How To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

How to Remove Wallpaper

1-Don’t Just Say, I’ll Hang New Wallpaper Over the Old Wallpaper

Yes, it’s tempting to skip the removal process and just paste the new layer of wallpaper over the old layer, especially if you’re trying to figure out how to remove wallpaper from drywall without tearing the paper layer on the drywall.

However, the glue for the new wallpaper may not stick to the old wallpaper, especially if it’s vinyl, foil, or textured. If the old paper has any wrinkles or loose seams, the new paper soon will pull away from the wall.

Occasionally, you can hang new wallpaper over old paper successfully, but it ends up in disaster a few years down the road more often than not.

2-Figure Out What’s Behind the Old Wallpaper

The type of permanent wall behind the old wallpaper plays a role in the best way to remove wallpaper.

  • Drywall: Drywall is common in any home built or remodeled in the last few decades. It has a paper/cardboard layer over a substance that resembles chalk.
  • Plaster: Plaster is a liquid wall covering that hardens over a wood lathe. It is common in homes at least four decades old, but not in newer homes. Plaster usually is not as smooth as drywall, which can make wallpaper removal tricky.

If you have drywall, damaging the paper/cardboard layer during wallpaper removal can cause significant problems, so use care. If the paper/cardboard starts to peel with the wallpaper, try using a razor blade to slowly work the wallpaper away from the drywall paper layer as carefully as possible. Once finished, use a spackling compound to repair the tears in the drywall paper/cardboard.

With plaster, avoid using too much water and stripping liquid. This may soak into the plaster and could cause it to crumble after drying. Chances are you’ll need someone who specializes in plaster to come and fix the wall.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

3-Prepare the Room

Because learning how to remove wallpaper is a messy job, you’ll want to cover furniture, carpeting, wood floors, and baseboards. Use plastic sheets, drop cloths, and painter’s tape to secure the protective layer. If you have an outlet along the wall where you’ll be working, cover the entire faceplate in painter’s tape to protect it from liquid.

You’ll be using water as the primary tool in the best way to remove wallpaper, and the parts you peel from the wall will want to stick to everything. Without a drop cloth or other protection for the items in the room, the mess you’ll make will leave you in big trouble. Trust us. We speak from a horrible, horrible experience.

4-Pray That You Have Strippable Wallpaper

We mentioned earlier that wallpaper was the worst thing on the planet. We’d like to amend that statement to admit there are exceptions. For example, if you’re fortunate enough to have used strippable wallpaper in the previous project, wallpaper’s reputation as a giant pain in the ass is exaggerated.

Strippable wallpaper also called temporary wallpaper or peel wallpaper, is a newer type of paper that pulls away from the wall easily versus other types of wallpaper. Using strippable wallpaper makes learning how to remove wallpaper from drywall an almost enjoyable process.

Just use a paint scraper or putty knife to catch the edge of a sheet of the strippable wallpaper. Once you found an edge that you can grab, start pulling. If the wallpaper pulls away in large chunks without leaving residue behind, you have strippable wallpaper. Thank whatever higher being you believe in — because you just saved yourself hours of work — and start removing it.

Occasionally, even strippable wallpaper will catch on the wall a little bit. Use a putty knife or a razor blade to gently loosen the parts that are sticking.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

5-Move to Water and a Stripper, and Prepare for a Long Process

If the paper does not come off easily, you don’t have strippable paper. You can let out a heavy sigh because your short project just became an all-day job, complete with scraping. (Hurray for hand blisters.)

Start with hot water alone. If it doesn’t work, add a wallpaper stripper product to the water. If you choose a liquid stripper, mix it with hot water in the concentration specified on the product. There are also gel strippers, which are pricey, but which work nicely on drywall if the cardboard/paper layer is peeling along with the wallpaper.

Use a paintbrush or a spray bottle to apply the stripper/water mix to the wallpaper. Don’t apply it to an extremely large area at once, or it will dry before you can begin scraping. We’d recommend no more than about 4 square feet at a time.

Let the product sit for a few minutes before trying to scrape it off with the scraper.

Always start at the top of the wall and work your way downward. Additionally, wear gloves and goggles if using chemical strippers.

6-It Won’t Come Off

Some wallpapers do not soak up the wallpaper stripper and water mixture well. They may have a plastic film over the top (which is used in wallpaper that’s washable). They may be older types of wallpaper. They may have two layers, one of which is a vinyl outer layer that peels easily and an inner layer that refuses to pop loose.

If so, try applying a heavier coat of the liquid mixture or a gel stripper. Let it sit longer, maybe up to 10 minutes, and try scraping again.

If it still doesn’t work, lightly sand the wallpaper to create scuffs, which may allow the liquid mixture to penetrate the wallpaper easier. You also could use a wallpaper scorer tool to puncture the paper over a large area in a short amount of time.

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper
Home Depot

7-It Still Won’t F***ing Come Off

If the wallpaper still is not pulling away from the wall properly, go ahead and let loose with a string of profanity. Be creative. Try putting together some new combinations. Use nouns as adjectives. Curse the inventor of wallpaper glue. (It’s Ferdinand Sichel, in case you’re curious. We’re sure you can come up with multiple rhyming profanities for Sichel.)

Hopefully, it’ll make you feel better.

It’s probably time to employ a wallpaper steamer. This method works on even the most stubborn wallpaper, but it’s a giant hassle, creating an unprecedented mess. You have to move slow, giving the steamer time to penetrate the paper. You may have to score the wallpaper to accommodate the steam. And using the steamer is hot and uncomfortable.

Other than that, it’s a joy.

Always wear goggles and non-slip gloves when using a wallpaper steamer. Hold the steamer pad against the section of wallpaper you want to remove for at least 30 seconds. Then scrape the loosened paper.

Using the steamer sucks, but it’s better than tearing down the entire wall and rebuilding it from scratch, so there’s that.

8-Clean Any Excess Adhesive

If any wallpaper glue remains on the wall, you can purchase TSP Heavy Duty Cleaner, mix it with water, and clean the glue using a sponge.

Should you have gouged the wall anywhere during removal, use spackle to fix the gouges and smooth the wall. Do a good job here. Yes, you will see it all afterward. New wallpaper or paint does NOT fix walls.

Now you’re ready to add new wallpaper … or, better yet, a coat of paint. (But we’ll suggest waiting for another day to start that project.)

Best Products for How to Remove Wallpaper

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Gorilla Non Slip Gloves

Gorilla Grip Slip Resistant Gloves

These gloves have a polymer palm that resists liquid absorption, meaning you can maintain a good grip on your tools while working around water and mess, which is a given when you’re trying to figure out how to remove old wallpaper. There are five pairs in this pack, which is handy because they’re useful for almost any kind of DIY dad job.

Buy for $18 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Water Spray Bottles

Pinnacle Mercantile Plastic Spray Bottles

Do you actually need four empty spray bottles? Do you have kids who find a way to create unspeakable messes involving unrecognizable goo in every room in the house … sometimes multiple times per day? Then, yes, you need four — one for the best way to remove wallpaper and three for other daily emergencies. They come in handy, even just for spraying plants, or each other.

Buy for $24 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper WP Chomp Scraping Tool

WP Chomp Wallpaper Scraping Tool

When scraping wallpaper, the quality of your tool plays a big role in whether you can finish the job after several hours without hand cramps and blisters, or whether you give up halfway through the job and put your house up for sale instead of trying to finish removing the wallpaper.

Buy for $10 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Red Devil Scraper

Red Devil 4045 Utility Patcher and Scraper

If you’re trying to figure out how to remove wallpaper from drywall, you’ll need a tool that simplifies patching the tears and gouges you put in the drywall. This multi-purpose tool works for spackling, and it works for scraping stubborn wallpaper.

Buy for $6 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Roman Removal Kit

Roman Professional Wallpaper Removal Kit

If you prefer a kit that has all of the basic tools you need to begin removing wallpaper, this one includes a scraper, a wallpaper scoring tool, and a liquid stripper. This is easier than buying them separately. Plus it’s just cool to own a kit of anything.

Buy for $20 on Home Depot

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper WP Chomp Wallpaper Stripper

WP Chomp Wallpaper Stripper

This gallon of wallpaper stripper is recommended to remove up to 400 square feet of wallpaper. (Let’s hope you don’t have that much wallpaper removal on your honey-do list.)

Buy for $20 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Zinsser Stripper Gel

Zinsser Wallpaper Stripper Gel

For looking at how to remove wallpaper from drywall, a gel-based stripper may give you better results than a liquid stripper, causing less potential damage to the cardboard/paper layer on the drywall. You will need a paintbrush or roller to apply it, rather than a spray bottle.

Buy for $29 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Wagner Power Steamer

Wagner Spraytech Wallpaper Steamer

If you have to make use of a steamer to remove the wallpaper for your project, you might as well go big. This steamer can carry 1 gallon of water, so it’s the equivalent of the biggest power tool on the block. At least you’ll feel manly while scraping soggy wallpaper off the wall. Yuck.

Buy for $211 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Wagner Power Steamer

Wagner 915e On-Demand Power Steamer

When portability is key, the 915e steamer is small enough to carry easily. It has the capacity for enough water to allow you to work for 45-ish minutes before it needs a refill. For most people that’s more than long enough. After all, if you can stand to work that long continuously doing a horrible job like scraping wallpaper, you deserve some sort of medal.

Buy for $129 on Home Depot

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper TSP Glue Removal

TSP Surface Cleaner and Wallpaper Glue Removal

If you have luck similar to mine, there will be quite a bit of wallpaper glue left on the wall after you remove the wallpaper. Use TSP mixed with water to finish the job– properly.

Buy for $16 on Amazon

DIY Best Way To Remove Wallpaper Red Devil Spackle

Red Devil Lightweight Spackling

Spackling can be almost as big of a mess as wallpaper removal, which is what makes this Red Devil spackle such a handy product. It is premixed and goes on pink, so you can clearly see where you’ve added it. As it dries, it’ll turn white.

Buy for $8 on Home Depot

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site. 

The 10 Best Sega Genesis Video Games of All Time

The 10 Best Sega Genesis Games
(Sega)

The Sega Genesis was one of the definitive video game consoles of the ’90s and primary competition to the powerhouse that was Nintendo. At the time of its American release in 1989, it boasted incredible performance over the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and wowed gamers with eye-popping colors and giant detailed sprites. Even after Nintendo released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in 1991, Sega went on an absolute advertising offensive, bragging that “Sega does what Nintendon’t.”

With hundreds of games in its library, there were plenty of amazing titles to choose from – some standalone stars and others that built game franchises still popular today. So we’re diving into our nostalgia-ridden minds to reminisce about the best games Sega had to offer in this 16-bit era and highlight the absolute cream of the crop. Even when considering only Genesis exclusives (sorry, Mortal Kombat 2, and NBA Jam), it’s painful to narrow the list down to a mere 10, but dammit, we’re going to do it.

First things first though, you’ll probably need a console. You can grab one on eBay, they’ve got a great selection here.

So here it is. The Dad’s Top 10 Games on the Sega Genesis (in no particular order):

Earthworm Jim

Throwing an earthworm into a super-suit to create a superhero might sound ludicrous when compared to modern-day every-actor-has-a-six-pack Marvel movies, but this is 1994 we’re talking about – weird stuff just worked. Earthworm Jim is one of many 2D platformers from the Genesis era, but it had a number of characteristics that really set it apart as something special. Sure, Jim was armed with a gun like other action heroes, but it wasn’t until players watched him grab his own head out of his suit to attack enemies like a whip or navigate around and hang from hooks that we realized this was something different.

The art direction in this game is truly stunning with animations and cartoony graphics offering incredible detail and fluidity that few others can match. The only area where Jim really struggles is in the actual gameplay department. The animations, while beautiful, make Jim’s movement and combat feel imprecise at times. Enemy hitboxes and platform edges can be frustratingly hard to pinpoint, which distracts the game’s amazing humor and art style at times, but that still didn’t stop this one from becoming one of the most iconic and easily recognizable games from the Genesis era.

Buy it here.

Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

You don’t really need a lot of context for a good ninja game. Just give me some cool moves, sharp weapons, and a bunch of “evil” ninjas to fight and I’m a happy camper. Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master does all three of these things just about perfectly on top of silky-smooth gameplay overall. The move set and weapon arsenal for this game are pretty standard when it comes to stereotypical ninja-ing (e.g., shurikens, a sword, flips, and kicks) but it’s when you see them chained together that you really feel like a high-flying ninja badass. Taking things a little outside the realm of reality, players also have a handful of fancy ninjitsu techniques that do serious damage to anyone on the receiving end – the most powerful arguably being a self-sacrificing explosion move that literally involves detonating your entire frickin’ body at the cost of one of your reserve lives. Hell yes, please.

On top of the great combat, Shinobi III breaks the monotony of its standard side-scrolling levels with alternate playstyle sequences like surfing and fighting on horseback, which actually work surprisingly well instead of feeling gimmicky or tacked on. Plus, the game features one of the best soundtracks on the Genesis, if not in all of gaming. It’s a masterful title that provides that full ninja experience without being too punishing (looking at you, Ninja Gaiden).

Buy it here.

Comix Zone

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

A 2D side-scroller developed by Sega in 1995, Comix Zone puts players in the shoes of a starving artist (appropriately named Sketch Turner) who gets thrown into the pages of his own comic book by one of his own villainous creations. Armed with his fists, glorious ponytail, and extremely ’90s wardrobe, Sketch battles his way through an army of illustrated baddies while flipping through the panels and pages of an actual comic book. Yup, if you ever got in trouble for doodling in school, this is the game for you.

Even though the idea of seeing your drawings come to life is inherently fun as hell, Comix Zone can be brutally difficult at times. Barring a few rare occasions, there are no extra lives or 1-ups in this game. If you mistime a jump and fall into a pit or your health bar drains to zero, it’s game over. Title screen. Oh, and on top of it all, your health constantly depletes as you progress through the game. Yup, since Sketch is comprised of paper, doing damage to enemies and the environment (who also live on said paper) results in taking damage yourself. Not the most enjoyable game mechanic, but it doesn’t stop Comix Zone from being one of the most unique and visually appealing titles on the platform.

Buy it here.

Vectorman

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

Released in October 1995, Vectorman was an attempt to extend the lifespan and relevance of the Genesis, and thanks to its stunning visuals and non-stop explosive action, it worked. Like Donkey Kong Country a year prior on the SNES, Vectorman featured revolutionary graphics for its time. The titular hero alone is comprised of 23 individual sprites moving in tandem, which are also individually affected by nearby light sources – really cool, even by today’s standards. The stunning visuals are achieved largely in part to some clever design fakery rather than some previously hidden horsepower under the Genesis hood, but the results are still undeniable.

As for gameplay, it’s a novel game but there are probably better run-and-gun titles. The enemies are a bit generic and not the most exciting to fight and bosses tend to be big, boring bullet sponges. Also, while Vectorman is fun to look at, his movement feels a little slippery and may take some getting used to. Once you get over the initial hump, though, you’ll be running, gunning, and rocket boost jumping all over the place. Vectorman is not an easy title, though. Sure, you can tone down the difficulty settings or use cheat codes to give yourself a handicap, but the game makes sure you don’t forget it by either restricting the true ending of the game or, even worse, calling you “lame.” Harsh.

Buy it here.

Strider

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

One of the earliest hits for Genesis, Strider was released in the pre-Sonic days when a huge selling point of the console was its ability to house perfect ports of arcade games. It was the title that made your NES-owning friends green with envy, and for good reason. With its explosive colors and character animations, the game looks fantastic even when compared to games that came out years later. Sure, the NES had its own version of Strider, but it was a completely different title – only loosely based on the coin-operated version in the arcade and nothing close to this beauty on Genesis.

The game follows the exploits of Strider Hiryu as he flips and slashes his way through a futuristic version of Soviet Russia (not quite as topical nowadays, but this is 1989 we’re talking about). Hiryu is armed only with a sword that can be upgraded via power-up and, occasionally, a tiny drone that takes potshots at enemies from a distance. What really sets Hiryu apart, though, are his acrobatics. He can perform mid-air flips, cling to the sides of walls, and slash at enemies in any direction. While other games from this era might give you a single attack button, Strider offers a bevy of different ways to dispatch baddies, like hanging from a ledge until an enemy turns around and then hopping up to give him a quick slash in the back. It’s all very exciting and satisfying – I just wish there was more of it. With only five levels, players can easily beat the game in less than an hour, while vets have been known to breeze through it in under 15 minutes.

Buy it here.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

A good sequel keeps the aspects that worked for its predecessor and then builds on top of it to offer up a fresh new experience that still remains somewhat familiar. Sonic 2 is a near-perfect example of such a formula. It takes the characters, gameplay, and overall aesthetic of the original 1991 hit and then ramps them up into something truly special. I mean, the special stages that throw Sonic into a 3D half-pipe to find chaos emeralds were enough to completely blow my childhood mind at the time.

The game remains a fast-paced side-scroller with rolling hills and colorful surroundings, but instead of a solo mission, Sonic is now accompanied by his twin-tailed fox sidekick: Miles “Tails” Prower (a total dad-level pun based on “miles per hour,” if you didn’t catch it). Sonic 2 also introduces the Blue Blur’s iconic “spin dash” for the first time, allowing players to charge up speed in place rather than needing a long runway to accelerate. These additions—along with split-screen multiplayer—made this sequel an instant hit and even more proper than its predecessor.

Buy it here.

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

The SNES might have been a powerhouse when it came to RPGs with stellar titles like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and Final Fantasy IV and VI, but they were missing a huge game in the all-star RPG lineup: Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, only available on the Genesis. The universe created in the Phantasy Star series—an area of space dubbed the “Algo star system”—is rife with humans, aliens, and cyborgs, each with their own unique cultures that have been carefully developed over the course of four games and come to a satisfying climax in this fourth installment.

In true JRPG fashion, the game introduces players to new characters, teachers the general mechanics of the game, and then casually tosses in a mega-powerful villain bent on eradicating all life… pretty standard fare. The combat, while not revolutionary, includes intuitive and streamlined mechanics, like the inclusion of macros. This means you can set up systems for your entire party to execute each turn. Simply want everyone to attack? There’s a macro for that. Want one character to boost your team’s stats, three characters to attack, and then the last character to heal? That’s another macro. Where Phantasy Star IV truly shines, though, is its narrative. The game doesn’t talk down to players—characters in your party can definitely be killed permanently—and it neatly ties up loose ends from the previous games, crafting a sci-fi JRPG experience that’s truly special.

Buy it here.

Streets of Rage 2

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

What do you do when your pal gets kidnapped by a criminal mastermind? You go on a vigilante justice spree; punching, kicking and pipe-swinging your way through droves of henchmen to get him back, that’s what. Beat ’em up style games were a dime-a-dozen in the days of the Genesis, but Streets of Rage 2 stood out as one of the absolute best. On top of improved gameplay from the original SoR, the sequel also looked fantastic with colorful sprites the popped off the screen when contrasted against the grimy urban environment.

After choosing from a cast of four different characters, each with their own set of moves and combat styles, players bludgeoned their way through their crime-infested city to rescue their captured pal. And when things get tough, the adrenaline-pumping soundtrack full of killer house music will fuel you to keep fighting, just like the occasional rotisserie chicken dropped by defeated baddies. SoR2 remains not only one of the best beat ’em up titles on the Genesis, but of all time.

Buy it here.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

If you don’t know any better, you might think that Sonic 3 & Knuckles is a typo, but the awkward title is actually a result of being one of the most unique games in the world. You see, Sega was so eager to get Sonic 3 on store shelves that they shipped it out only half-finished. Thankfully, they didn’t just call it a day, but rather finished the rest of the intended game, polished it up, and released it as an add-on cartridge: Sonic & Knuckles. The new “lock-on” cartridge included the standalone Sonic & Knuckles game, but if you inserted Sonic 3 into the top of Sonic & Knuckles cart, gamers had access to Sonic 3 & Knuckles – separate storylines, game options, and access to Knuckles as a playable character in all the levels from Sonic 3. Basically, a physical version of DLC.

As for gameplay, the addition of Knuckles gives the game even more depth than its predecessors. Opposed to the Blue Blur, the red Echidna can soar through the sky with his glide technique and scale walls with this signature claws. Sure, he’s fast and can keep up with Sonic as they speed through stages, but the differences are significant enough that it feels like a relatively fresh experience. This is a game where story and gameplay are both handled superbly and it’s all wrapped up in one wonderfully polished package… well, as long as you have all of the necessary cartridges.

Buy it here.

Gunstar Heroes

10 Best Sega Genesis Games

By 1993, many Genesis owners had thought they’d seen everything there was to see regarding the run-and-gun genre made popular by games like Contra and Mercs, but Gunstar Heroes unapologetically shook things up with its high octane action and stunning visual style. The cartoonish art direction is similar to that of Metal Slug and both games share a love for intense, over-the-top boss battles that conclude each level. Oh, and speaking of the Gunstar Heroes’ levels, they vary constantly, keeping players guessing and preventing the game from ever really feeling stale (something that can’t be said for many other games in this genre).

The weapon load-outs are diverse and fun to use, including a rapid-fire machine gun, a flamethrower, and a homing shot. Plus, these weapons can be mixed-and-matched to create powerful weapon combos that would usually feel overpowered if it wasn’t for the hoards of enemies constantly filling your screen. Plus, when you get tired of fighting evil robots and beefy henchmen by yourself, you can boot up co-op mode with a friend. Gunstar Heroes truly pulls out all the stops and remains one of the most creative run-and-guns you’ll ever find.

Buy it here.

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.