Don't feel guilty—you're definitely not the only one who's yet to buy Father's Day gifts. These gas grills (watch the video buying guide, below), cordless drills, mowers and tractors, leaf blowers, and string trimmers will give the dads in your life the most bang for your hard-earned bucks and will come in handy during your summer staycation or paycation.—Gian Trotta | e-mail | Twitter | Forums | Facebook
The Brinkmann 810-8410S gas grill, $200, provides very good cooking performance, lots of shelf space and a five-year warranty on its burners. The Fiesta Blue Ember FG50069-U409 and the Char-Broil Red 463250509, each $450, beat out grills costing as much as $1,400. If you often cook for a crowd, consider the larger Char-Broil Commercial Quantum 463247209, $500, which offers a lifetime burner warranty. More details on these and other impressive performers and coverage of wow-factor features are available in our June 2009 report on gas grills (available to subscribers).
The top-rated Panasonic EY6432GQKW combines performance and light weight, but its $200 cost might bust your budget. Consider instead the Craftsman 11588; it's been marked down to $99 at Sears. Or you can further downsize to the Ryobi HJP001K, $80, a compact drill that's a good alternative to pricey cordless screwdrivers.
One of our tested cordless tool kits, the Ryobi P841, is on sale for $129 at Home Depot. The included drill and circular and reciprocating saw were only average performers but should be adequate for most household work; otherwise, consider the heavier duty DeWalt DC4PAKA, $433 at Amazon.com.
If dad needs storage space, this Kobalt 53" Stainless Steel Tool Chest, $1,700, might make an extravagant gift. It boasts a Pioneer sound system, an iPod jack, a 1.6-cubic-foot refrigerator, and other bells and whistles.
Lawn and Yard Care
If your yard is small, a corded electric mower like the Black & Decker MM875, $230, might be a good choice. Among gas-powered mowers, the self-propelled Toro Super Recycler 20092, $500, was easy to power up hilly lawns.
The Craftsman 28828, $1,750, John Deere LA115, $1,700, and Cub Cadet LTX1040 13RX90AR, $1,500, lawn tractors held their own against mowers costing $1,000 to $2,000 more. (Read this report and watch this video on lawn-tractor safety.)
The electric Black & Decker GH1000 string trimmer, $70, is easy to handle. The gas-powered Stihl HomeScaper Series FS45, $140, has dual cutting lines that made short work of tough weeds. The Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599, $70, blows away the competition in performance, and its metal impeller can handle debris that can damage other impellers.
Essential information: For Father's Day, try out these easy, delicious recipes for the grill. And check out these suggestions for electronics gifts, courtesy of our colleagues at the Consumer Reports Electronics blog.