Finding that perfect gift for the engineer in your life can be quite a challenge. That is especially true if you don’t share their passion for STEM. There’s no need to worry, though: we’ve got you covered! We asked 30 different engineers (mechanical, electrical, industrial, chemical, and civil) and here are the 25 best gifts for engineers according to them.
1. “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla” by Marc J. Seifer
Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest inventors who ever lived and a source of inspiration for engineers around the world. Marc. J. Seifer’s definitive biography of Tesla covers everything from his early life in the Austrian Empire to his famous rivalry with Thomas Edison to his unfortunate mental health problems in his old age.
2. Coffee Mug With Code
It’s no secret that engineers tend to be coffee-fuelled night owls. This mug features an algorithm that says that you should drink coffee while working and brew a new pot if you run out of it. Whenever the engineer in your life picks up this mug, they will be reminded that you care about them.
3. “Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
In this book, Brain Christian and Tom Griffiths show how one can use the principles of computer science to making decisions in everyday life. They cover a broad spectrum of topics ranging from intuition to productivity to human relationships. This book is especially appealing to engineers because they appreciate the clarity that algorithmic thinking provides.
4. Da Vinci Construction Kit
Today Leonardo da Vinci is most well-known for his paintings such as the iconic Mona Lisa. However, he was also a talented engineer whose inventions were ahead of their time, including his war machines. These National Geographic construction kits allow you to construct a ballista, a batallion, a bombard, or a catapult based on da Vinci’s designs. They only take 1-3 hours to assemble and don’t require any special tools. Moreover, they actually work!
5. “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance
Elon Musk is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. His willingness to tackle extremely hard engineering problems and his ambition to colonize Mars is admired by engineers worldwide. In this biography, Ashlee Vance traces Musk’s journey from his rough South African childhood to his success in Silicon Valley to his seemingly crazy ventures into electric cars and space travel.
6. Travel Chess Set
Chess is an aristocratic board game that offers a unique combination of strategy and tactics. It’s probably safe to say that most engineers have at least dabbled in the “game of kings” because it appeals to a mind that is inclined to solve challenging problems. This travel chess set can be a great way to encourage the engineer in your life to get back into it. Be warned, though: this game is addictive!
7. Brainteaser Puzzles
Engineers love solving problems. They do it at work, they do it for fun, they just can’t get enough of it. Brainteaser puzzles can be a great way to relax while still challenging one’s mind. This 6-piece puzzle set includes three wooden puzzles and three iron puzzles that will keep any engineer entertained for quite a while.
8. Rubik’s Cube
Rubik’s cube is the ultimate brainteaser puzzle. It was invented back in 1974 by the Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik and quickly gained popularity among puzzle enthusiasts around the world. Rubik’s cube may seem like an unassuming toy, but don’t be fooled by appearances: solving it is a serious challenge!
9. “Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things” by Cy Tymony
Engineers often start out by tinkering with everyday objects as children. This fascinating book can help them see the mundane things around them with new eyes and experience that joy of tinkering again. It offers a variety of crazy projects, from making a working battery from simple household items to creating a DIY home security system, complete with easy-to-follow instructions.
10. Cutting Board “Engineer by Day, Chef by Night”
Does the engineer in your life love to cook? Then they will also love this cutting board that gives a nod to both of these passions. It’s made from 100% natural bamboo, is available in a rectangle shape and a paddle shape, and serves both as a home decor piece and a cooking tool.
11. Tesla Patents Wall Art
Nikola Tesla obtained around 300 patents throughout his life. Some of them are still missing, but there are at least 278 known patents issued in 26 countries. This beautiful wall art that features six of these patents can help rekindle the childhood dream of becoming an inventor.
12. “Engineer’s Brain” T-Shirt
Engineers usually don’t have much interest in fashion, but they do appreciate funny t-shirts! This t-shirt depicts an engineer’s brain with references to the traits common in this profession such as a tendency to argue, dislike of managerial BS, and more. It comes in five different colors and is available in men’s, women’s, and youth fits.
13. Robot Egg Mold
Eggs are the ultimate breakfast food: tasty, nutritious, and quick to make. And a funny egg mold is an easy way to brighten up one’s day with a little bit of humor. It’s hard not to smile when you sit down to eat breakfast and see an adorable robot staring at you!
14. Aurora Borealis Projector
Aurora Borealis is an amazing sight. Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy it whenever you want? That is exactly what this projector offers: it displays a realistic Aurora Borealis on one’s bedroom walls. It also has built-in speakers, so the engineer in your life can watch one of the eight light shows while listening to soothing music. It’s a great way to relax after a day of solving hard problems!
15. “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman was not only a great scientist and an amazing teacher but also an eccentric character who would get into all kinds of trouble. In this book, he shares various stories from his life through which you can learn more about one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. If the engineer in your life loves physics, they will appreciate this book. Don’t be surprised if after reading it they decide to become a physicist, though!
16. Roomba Vacuum Cleaner
Wouldn’t it be great if a robot would do your chores for you? Well, Roomba can take care of vacuum cleaning, which makes it much easier to maintain a clean and tidy living space. All you have to do is program it and then it moves around your home cleaning up all the dirt. The engineer in your life will definitely welcome this extra help!
17. Math Equation Clock
Having to solve a math equation every time you look at the clock may seem like a nightmare to you. However, engineers enjoy doing math, so the engineer in your life will almost certainly love the idea.
18. Engineering Coffee Mug
This is another mug that references the common coffee-fuelled approach to solving engineering problems. Do you know an engineer who is proud of their sarcastic sense of humor? They will appreciate this mug!
19. Nasa “I Need My Space” Tumbler
Who doesn’t love a nice cup of coffee on their way to work? The only problem is that those Starbucks lattes add up quickly. So why not make coffee at home and take it with you? The engineer in your life will definitely appreciate the practicality of this NASA tumbler!
20. “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas Hofstadter
When this book came out back in 1979, it quickly became a hit among STEM enthusiasts and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. Hofstadter explores the questions surrounding the nature of consciousness, artificial intelligence, and the future of technology. Sure, it’s a bit outdated, but it’s still a fascinating read that the engineer in your life will surely enjoy.
21. “I’m an Engineer” Notebook
This notebook helps engineers organize their lives, manage tasks, and achieve goals. Moreover, it supposedly increases creativity, improves memory, and evokes the state of mindfulness.
22. “Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat” Coffee Mug
Do you know a software engineer that works way too much? They may like this “Eat, Sleep, Code, Repeat” coffee mug!
23. “99 Bugs In the Code” Keychain
The text on this keychain won’t make much sense to most people. However, for a software engineer, this is basically the story of their life. They will certainly appreciate a humorous reference to wrestling with code!
24. Japanese Board Game Go
Go is a Japanese board game that is considered to be more complex than chess. This go set has everything one needs to start playing: the board, the pieces, and even the classic instruction manual “The Way to Go” by Karl Baker. Learning this game can be quite a challenge, but that’s exactly what makes it a great gift for an engineer.
25. “Zero to Sold” by Arvid Kahl
Does the engineer in your life have entrepreneurial ambitions? Then they will find this book extremely valuable. It’s written by a software engineer who co-founded, bootstrapped, and sold FeedbackPanda. He explains how to build a profitable software business without any outside investment.
Picking a gift for an engineer can be quite a challenge, but you can simplify the task by focusing on things that engineers like the most.
You can’t go wrong with:
- Everyday things with references to engineering.
- Intellectually stimulating books.
- Brainteaser puzzles.
It’s okay if you don’t quite get it. What matters is that they like it.
Good luck with finding that perfect gift!