There’s no doubt about it – engineers are a smart bunch! But their intellect, education level and (sometimes) offbeat sense of humor also makes them kind of hard to buy for.
If you’re looking for gift ideas for the engineer in your life, keep reading. From gadgets to tools to puzzles, here are great gift ideas for engineers of all types.
How to Choose a Gift for an Engineer (or an Engineering Student)
Before you can buy a great gift for an engineer or an engineering student, it’s important to know what type of engineer they are. Are they a mechanical engineer? An electrical or computer engineer? A civil engineer?
All engineers are skilled, to some degree, in math and science. But what they do on a day-to-day basis varies greatly depending on their specialty.
Most of the gift ideas on this list make great gifts for engineers of all types, but some are geared more towards engineers in certain areas than others. (We’ll be sure to point those out along the way!) Here are the 17 best gifts for any engineer in your life.
Featuring six different prints, this poster set highlights six of Tesla’s most important patents. Each design features a schematic blueprint format – something that every engineer can appreciate!
You can customize the size and color of your prints and add frames to make it an even more amazing gift.
Available at Etsy, $18.43 and up, based on size
There’s not an engineer (or math geek) anywhere who wouldn’t love these Mathematical Drinking Glasses—detailed with graphics that indicate Pi, the square root of two, Euler’s number and the golden ratio, each glass in the set measures 13 ounces.
But what really makes these cool is that each formula shows the precise measurement of where that number hits on the glass. For example, if you pour whiskey to Pi, you’ll have 3.14 ounces of booze in your glass.
Available at Uncommon Goods, $38
Related: The 23 Best Gifts for Couples
Simply perfect for a computer engineer, the Circuit Board Business Card Case offers a unique way to carry business cards or credit cards.
Crafted from wood, this card case features a slim design with a carved circuit board on top, high-quality hinges and stainless steel accents to protect against RFID scanners and identity theft.
This cool little case can hold up to 20 business cards or four thicker cards, such as your driver’s license, credit cards and debit cards.
Available at Etsy, $28
We can’t think of anyone – engineer or not – who wouldn’t love a 3D printer! That makes the FlashForge 3D Printer a great all-around gift for anyone and any occasion.
This printer can be connected via Wi-Fi or a USB cable, and the small shape makes it ideal for printing small parts. It’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t already have access to a 3D printer or anyone who wants to play around and make 3D objects for fun.
Keep in mind, this is not an alternative to a large, commercial-grade 3D printer (those cost thousands of dollars). But it is a cool little toy for someone looking to make small 3D items at home.
Available at Amazon, $299
Engineer…entrepreneur…innovator…Elon Musk is all of those things and more. If you know someone who loves Mr. Musk, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a book they need to read.
This New York Times bestseller tells the story of Musk and focuses on his technological advancements and visions. Not only will this book make you think about the future as Elon Musk envisions it, but it’s certain to make you think about your own.
Available at Barnes and Noble, $29.99
Engineers know math. And when they want to look spiffy and show off their smarts, the Math Formulas Necktie is the perfect way to do so.
This necktie is printed with numbers, symbols and equations related to MOSFET transistors. If you’re looking for a unique gift for an electrical engineer or a computer engineer, they’ll know exactly what that means.
The neutral blue color makes it easy to pair with almost any button-down shirt, suit or sport jacket.
Available at Uncommon Goods, $49
Need the perfect engineering gift for an architect? The Architectural Engineering Scale Ruler is it.
Designed for drafting and construction, this scale ruler set is a professional tool. It's made from anodized aluminum with laser-etched markings. It also includes an imperial and metric conversion table, making it perfect for a variety of different types of projects.
This scale ruler set includes three rulers in one bundle. One is a traditional architect scale ruler. One is an engineer scale ruler. The other is a standard metal ruler that anyone can use to measure anything.
Available at Amazon, $15.95
No matter how advanced software becomes, there will always be engineers who like to draft plans on computation paper. The Engineering Computation Pad features a 200 sheet paper pad with 5 squares per inch quad ruling on the back of the page.
Why does it matter that it’s printed on the back? For you non-engineers out there, it’s so that you can use the grid as guidance without the gridlines being prominent in your drawing or blueprint.
Available at Amazon, $13.58
Do you know a chemical engineer who likes to unwind after a long day with a cocktail or a shot? These Chemistry Shot Glasses are perfect for chemical engineers, chemistry students, and lovable nerds of all kinds!
This set of four shot glasses features two beakers, one conical flask, and one round flask. It’s the perfect housewarming gift or birthday gift for the chemist who already knows how to mix chemicals and is ready to learn more about mixing drinks.
Available at Amazon, $25.29
By the nature of their work, engineers are always solving brain teasers, which is exactly what makes this Metal Wire Puzzle Set an awesome gift.
From STEM students to seasoned professionals, puzzles make a great gift – and this one is tricky enough to keep you entertained for hours on end.
These games cause you to practice concentration and focus on the task at hand. They also help to improve creative thinking and boost your IQ. And we don’t know a single engineer in any discipline who wouldn’t want to do that!
Available at Amazon, $29.99
These coasters are made from durable plastic and feature cool, colorful circuit board graphics. Some of the components are even made from the waste of old materials. They’re eco-friendly, they’ll protect your tables and desktops from water rings, and they’re ideal for any engineer or computer expert.
Available at Amazon, $12.99
Civil engineers spend a fair amount of time outside and on job sites, making these Weatherproof Notebooks a must!
These spiral notebooks feature treated paper that won’t disintegrate and get destroyed under water, sweat, grease or mud. Engineers can jot down notes on the job, write down reminders or make observations in the rain. They’ll never have to worry that their important thoughts won’t withstand the elements.
The little notebooks make cool gifts for just about anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. Whether you’re shopping for an engineer, a writer or a hiker, these notebooks will definitely come in handy when you come up with genius ideas in the rain.
Available at Amazon, $12.99 (pack of 3)
Looking for awesome gifts that aren’t necessarily in the nerdy, quirky, scientific vein? We can’t think of a single engineer in any industry who wouldn’t love this Personalized Badass Engineer Survival Knife.
This versatile knife features an engraved rosewood handle, a three-inch stainless steel blade, and a thumb flip for one-handed use. It’s ideal for an engineer that also enjoys camping, hiking, hunting or other rugged activities.
It comes with a nylon pouch with a belt loop so you can attach it to your belt and keep it close at hand on your hip.
Available at Amazon, $34.95
Most electrical engineers and mechanical engineers will agree that a soldering iron is one of their go-to tools. But this isn’t just a soldering iron, this is a complete Soldering Iron Kit with all sorts of other useful tools inside.
Packed inside a convenient carry bag, you’ll also find five soldering iron tips, a stand and a desoldering pump. It also includes a magnifier, solder wire, anti-static tweezers and screwdrivers.
This kit includes everything needed to solder chipboards, mobile devices and small electronics. With 21 individual pieces in the kit, this gift can be used for all sorts of household projects, engineering and otherwise.
Available at Amazon, $26.66
It’s no secret that engineers love to put things together. And that’s just one reason why we love this Leonardo Da Vinci Model Kit from National Geographic.
From kids to professional engineers, anyone can find enjoyment in putting together these 3D wooden construction models. The set features not one but three individual models of Da Vinci’s famed ballista, bombard and catapult.
This battalion model set has everything you need to put together some of Da Vinci’s famous inventions. Inside you’ll find laser-cut wood, sandpaper, and the rubber bands needed for assembly.
It also includes 15 projectiles and 18 paper targets, so you can test your model once it’s all put together.
Available at Amazon, $34.99
Searching for a witty gift for an aerospace engineer? This funny Aerospace Engineering T-Shirt is a great way for them to show that they’re a little bit smarter than the average person.
This tee shirt features a blueprint and schematic print and comes in a comfortable short sleeve silhouette with a crew neckline. It’s available in sizes to fit women, men and kids, making it a great option for any professional engineer or aspiring one.
It also comes in a variety of neutral colors that are easy to pair with any jeans, pants or shorts.
Available at Amazon, $19.88
The MOMA Perpetual Calendar is a cool, eye-catching version of Gideon Dagan’s original perpetual calendar. This small desktop calendar features the use of small magnetic balls that indicate the date and month.
Most engineers will recognize the design. But even if they don’t, it makes for a truly unique addition to any office or at-home desk.
Available at Architects Gifts Plus, $32.00
What Are the Best Gifts for Engineers?
If you’re looking for awesome gifts for an engineer you know and love, make sure you know what their focus is. Mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, aerospace engineers… They all do different things! So if you really want to give an impressive gift, make sure you understand the nuances of what they do.
In general, you can’t go wrong with a mathematical gift. Almost all engineers know and understand math to an advanced degree, so math-inspired gifts are almost always a hit!
Just remember this:
Even though you may not know the difference between a differential equation and an aspect ratio, your engineer does.
You might also be interested in: 31 Long Distance Relationship Gifts [For Devoted Lovers]
The 17 Best Gifts for Engineers:
- Tesla Patent Prints
- Mathematical Drinking Glasses
- Circuit Board Business Card Case
- FlashForge 3D Printer
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Math Formulas Necktie
- Architectural Engineering Scale Ruler
- Engineering Computation Pad
- Chemistry Shot Glasses
- Metal Wire Puzzle Set
- Circuit Board Coasters
- Weatherproof Notebooks
- Engineer Survival Knife
- Soldering Iron Kit
- National Geographic Da Vinci Construction Model
- Funny Engineer T-Shirt
- MOMA Perpetual Calendar