The best gifts for men are often found in the electronics aisle.
But let’s face it: most technology gifts aren’t like Fig Newtons: 100 percent organic and all natural.
Until solar-powered laptops and other gadgets become the norm, we’ll have to balance our love of tech with our love of green.
That said, here are six of the best gifts for men (three eco-friendly ones and three tech-driven ones):
Helicopters are so yesterday; hello, Quadricopter
The Parrot AR.Drone ($300) has been getting a lot of hype. Be warned: it will revert most grown men back into drooling adolescents.
This flat indoor/outdoor use helicopter has four ring-shaped fans with two cameras, one facing forward and one facing down.
Using a free iPhone app, users can control the drone and watch the live feed from the helicopter's cameras. The Drone advertises itself as the “first quadricopter that can be controlled by an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad.”
We thought it was cool enough being just a quadricopter, but when factoring in its on-board Wi-Fi system, Linux-PC joystick and multiplayer compatibility, the Drone had to make this best gifts for men list.
The perfect man-cave fridge that doubles as a warmer
Know a guy who lives in a man cave or likes to roadtrip a lot? Get him the ThinkGeek Deluxe Mini Fridge-Warmer ($100), which is powered either by a 12-volt cigarette car lighter or a regular wall outlet and has a digital temperature display.
The fridge can hold up to 20 liters of beer, which, hopefully, should be enough for him for one night.
This capacity gives the fridge the distinction of being an oxymoron: the biggest mini-fridge around.
The fridge also can double as a food warmer, heating hot pockets up to 140 degrees—but that’s only if there’s no beer in the fridge.
Rekindling the no frills, reading-only Amazon Kindle
It’s hard to believe that there’s already been more than one generation of Amazon’s e-reader, Kindle. Actually, Amazon has recently released its third version ($140).
It’s likely to turn even some men who only read the sports section into avid novel readers.
The Kindle is a single purpose gadget, which is refreshing in these days when seemingly all our gizmos force us to be constantly connected by social media, email and phone.
The Kindle has no apps or web browsers whatsoever.
The latest Kindle incarnation beams 50 percent brighter contrast than the previous version.
With enough storage for about 3,500 books (less if War and Peace is in the mix), the new Kindle is rumored to be faster and lighter than its predecessors.
Rusted-out, greasy bike chains make great gifts
Every year, bike shops all over the United States send Portland, Oregon-based Resource Revival tons of greasy used bicycle parts.
The eco-company’s artists and tinkerers brainstorm on what to do with the discarded products.
Transforming bike parts into gifts is a process the company calls “Rebicycling.”
Take for example, this 4-by-6 picture frame ($37.95), made from recycled bicycle chain.
The founder of this company conceived the idea for “rebicycling” after getting a flat tire in Portland, way back in 1991.
Who says Republicans can’t listen to Rush and be eco-friendly?
Offering the choice of wind-up, solar and utility supplied electricity power, Freeplay’s EyeMax radio plays up to 25 hours when fully charged.
The wind-up mechanism, Freeplay contends, is the world's most efficient human energy conversion system.
When exposed to sufficient sunlight the EyeMax charges both the internal rechargeable NiMH battery and the radio at the same time.
It even stores solar energy when not in use.
An energy-efficient time piece powered by water
It’s time to ditch the potentially-harmful EMF-emitting digital alarm clock that’s next to the bed.
In its place, leave room for a much more energy-efficient time piece, powered by water ($39.95).
Requiring no batteries or AC plug, the reservoir holds up to 28 ounces of tap water and contains an internal electrolytic "engine" that converts the water's electrons into an electrical current. This ingeniously powers the clock for up to 12 weeks.
You’ll have to refill the reservoir from time to time, but time doesn’t stand still with this device.
An internal memory chip retains the clock's time during a refill.
While a water-powered clock sounds like something you’d see at a middle-school science fair, we think this ranks as one of the best gifts for men.