The best gifts for the holiday season are car gifts – at least for the car guys and automotive enthusiasts in your life. Getting thoughtful gifts for your loved ones can be a stressful task, but it doesn’t have to be. Our product review team has scoured the web and the shelves of the testing lab looking for the right gifts in 2021.
Though other sources may claim your car guy or auto enthusiast wants a Porsche 911 keychain or a Ford Mustang t-shirt – our product review team promises there’s better options out there. We’ve reviewed, tested, and ranked the top five gifts for car lovers below.
In this article:
The Top 5 Gifts For Car Guys
What does the car guy or auto enthusiast in your life want for the holidays? Our team of experts did the research, and we’ve tested and reviewed a number of car accessories to help you find the perfect gift for the car lover in your life. Below is a list of our top five toys this holiday season.
Our Review Standards
- The gifts in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and price.
- The products that best met these standards were ordered by our team for testing, with at least five products tested in person per category. A team member tested these products on a car, taking note of how well the items did on a range of product-specific tests. Each gift was given a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.
Best Overall: Foxwell NT301 OBD2 Scanner
The Foxwell NT301 is as good as it gets in terms of OBD2 scanners for beginners. While the Foxwell NT301 may not have as many diagnostic capabilities as other products we tested in our best OBD2 scanner review, its affordable price sets it apart from the competition.
The OBD2 scanner is easy to use and will be ready to go within seconds of starting up the device. If your car guy or auto enthusiast is looking for a scanner to read engine codes that won’t break the bank, the Foxwell NT301 is a great choice.
|Our Rating||4 out of 5|
|Value||5 out of 5|
|Ease of Use||4 out of 5|
|Customer Satisfaction||4 out of 5|
|Data Collection Capabilities||3 out of 5|
- Diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) lookup capabilities
- USB port connection for software updates and downloadable reports
- Monitors fuel system, misfires, air conditioning, and oxygen sensors
- Three-stage LED test lights
- The OBD2 scanner works on all vehicles that were manufactured after 1996.
- It monitors the body, chassis, powertrain, and everything in between on your vehicle.
- It saves drivers money, since going to an auto repair shop can be expensive and sometimes unnecessary.
- It provides generic and manufacturer-specific codes so you can diagnose issues yourself.
- It can be used to turn off the check engine light and conduct emissions tests.
In our experience, we found the Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner to be a joy to work with. The 2.8-inch LCD color monitor is nice and bright, while data reports load surprisingly fast. Unless your car guy or auto enthusiast is planning on running their own repair shop out of his garage, the Foxwell NT301 provides all of the data and information they will need.
The Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner fit nicely in the hand and felt like a high-quality product throughout the testing process. We also felt that the cheap price is outstanding for what you get, as OBD2 scanners typically cost hundreds of dollars.
The Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner garnered an excellent Amazon customer review rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars, with 89 percent of reviewers rating the product 4.0 stars or higher. The product has over 17,000 Amazon reviews.
We’ve included a couple of reviews from customers below:
“I spent hours upon hours trying to find the mechanical issue, when this electronic tool took care of it in about 15 minutes. A no brainer, your time is worth way more than this costs, buy it. And I’m your average tree shade mechanic who works on his own cars.”
– RecentGrad via Amazon
“What an elegant design to interface with your vehicle to find out what issues it is having. No phone or Bluetooth required, just plug in, press and hold the read code button, and get not only the code but a description as well.”
– R. P. Wittig via Amazon
The Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner is easy to use and is a great OBD2 scanner for beginners in particular. The scanner can help car guys learn more about the inner workings of vehicles as well, and its software can be regularly updated to keep the information up to date.
The Foxwell NT301 OBD2 scanner is affordable, especially when compared to other OBD2 scanners. Plus, it might help save money in the long run by avoiding unnecessary trips to the mechanic. Whether the auto enthusiast in your life has a vehicle that’s prone to issues or he is especially attentive to his car’s maintenance needs, this OBD2 scanner is a useful tool that he’s sure to love.
Best For Everyday Use: Garmin Dash Cam 56
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 is a great gift for friends and family members who always seem to be going on a road trip. This dash cam may not have 4K resolution like some of the other products we tested in our guide to the best dash cams, but it is highly compact and very low-profile.
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 offers high-resolution video and a variety of added features, such as event detection and multi-camera network capabilities. If you’re looking to find a thoughtful gift for a car guy or auto enthusiast that won’t be left in a box a month after the holidays, the Garmin Dash Cam 56 might be the best option for you.
|Our Rating||4.5 out of 5|
|Ease of Installation||4.5 out of 5|
|Video Quality||4 out of 5|
|User Interface||5 out of 5|
|Extra Features||4 out of 5|
- Recording resolution of 1440p
- 140-degree field of view
- Frame rate of 60fps
- Can be used in temperatures ranging from -4°F to 131°F
- GPS capabilities
- Voice command
Car enthusiasts will appreciate the key features of the Garmin Dash Cam 56. Here’s how it works and how it can enhance the driving experience:
- The dash cam can be used to document collisions and other scenarios for your insurance provider or local law enforcement agency.
- It has a high enough resolution to record license plate numbers.
- It utilizes voice control so you don’t need to take your hands off the steering wheel to save videos.
- It has multi-camera network capabilities so you can monitor a fleet of vehicles.
- The dash cam will provide speed limit alerts as well as alerts for getting too close to a car and crossing lane boundaries.
During our product testing, we found the Garmin Dash Cam 56 to be an incredibly versatile dash cam. It was the easiest to install of the five products our team tested, and the adhesive magnet mount system was much more effective than other dash cam mounts that we tested.
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 can connect with your iPhone or Android and has a range of additional features that our team found useful. It has a 140-degree field of vision and excellent picture quality, all tucked into a highly compact framework.
The Garmin Dash Cam 56 has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars from over 4,000 reviews. Customers are pleased with the quality of the product, and 88 percent of reviewers give it a 4.0-star rating or higher.
We’ve highlighted some reviews from customers below:
“This camera is so small, you can tuck it neatly behind your rear view mirror and it hides it completely. From the outside, the black camera blends in. Friends and family were unaware I even had it until I told them!”
– Ryan via Amazon
“Couple months after getting this I was right behind an accident in a snowstorm where the driver at fault took off. Camera got it all and I sent it over to the troopers along with an earlier picture that saw his license plate better to be used against him in court.”
– KyleJEverett via Amazon
What separates the Garmin Dash Cam 56 from other gift ideas is its practicality and that it can be used over and over again. Unfortunately, some gifts that are given during the holiday season tend to be enjoyed for a short period of time and then forgotten about. However, the Garmin Dash Cam 56 should get a lot of use for a long time.
With its ease of setup, the dash cam can be mounted in any type of car, from a daily driver to a race car or muscle car. No matter what kind of vehicle your auto enthusiast drives, this dash cam is ready to be utilized every day and provide peace of mind on the road.
Best For Car Care: Milwaukee 0880-20 Vacuum
The Milwaukee 0880-20 vacuum might be the perfect gift for your car guy or auto enthusiast if they are into car care and car detailing. In our review of the best car vacuums, we liked the product’s lightweight and easy-to-use design. The Milwaukee 0880-20 was our product testing team’s favorite car vacuum to use, especially because it’s a cordless vacuum cleaner. The hose and various attachments are sleekly designed within the vacuum body, while the entire kit can be collapsed into the approximate size of a tool box.
|Our Rating||4.5 out of 5|
|Suction Power||4 out of 5|
|Maneuverability||4 out of 5|
|Ease of Maintenance||5 out of 5|
|Versatility||5 out of 5|
- Wet and dry vacuum capabilities
- Uses a rechargeable 18V lithium ion battery (not included with vacuum)
- 2.0-gallon tank capacity
- Crevice and wide nozzles
- Only weighs 2.2 lbs
The Milwaukee 0880-20 is a highly versatile vacuum, making it a great gift choice. Here’s what you can expect from the car vacuum:
- It can vacuum anything from wet spills to dry dust with its wet/dry capabilities.
- Because it uses a rechargeable battery (which is sold separately), you’ll never have to worry about whether the cord will reach.
- It can vacuum hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise be out of the question.
- You can take the vacuum anywhere due to its size and light weight.
- The vacuum is easy to store and maintain due to its design.
Throughout our team’s testing process, we couldn’t get over the design of the Milwaukee 0880-20. From the purposeful placement of the hose and nozzle options within the vacuum body to how lightweight the entire kit is, we believe this car vacuum is an incredibly unique gift.
The fact that the Milwaukee 0880-20 is cordless means that you won’t have the cord wrapped around your steering wheel as you vacuum. Additionally, we found the two nozzle options to be helpful as you attempt to get into hard-to-reach areas such as behind seat belt buckles and inside cup holders.
The Milwaukee 0880-20 vacuum has an Amazon customer review rating of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars. This car vacuum has received very positive customer feedback, with 92 percent of reviewers rating the product 4.0 stars or higher. Compared to other products in this article, the Milwaukee 0880-20 vacuum has a smaller number of reviews, with just over 120 Amazon reviews at the time of publication.
Positive reviews from customers highlight the convenience of the Milwaukee 0880-20:
“I have a small heating and air conditioning company and this is one of the best tools I have.”
– Wendell Wilson via Amazon
“This is exactly what [I] needed. It’s easy to manage, lightweight and does a great job.”
– Maurice Degler via Amazon
While a car vacuum may not seem like a classic car person gift, this product could be a great way to get started with car detailing and auto care as a whole. We think that the Milwaukee 0880-20 is so good that you shouldn’t have to wait until the holiday season to get your hands on this product.
With the Milwaukee 0880-20, car guys won’t have to worry about going to a car wash to use vacuums anymore. It’s a practical gift that can be used over and over again, and your friend or family member might even love it so much that you end up getting your car cleaned too.
Best For Road Trips: Loncaster Car Phone Holder
Out of all the different styles and brands of phone mounts that we tested, this was our product testing team’s favorite car phone holder. The Loncaster car phone holder was also the most stable holder that we tested in our review of the best car phone mounts.
The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t include instructions, so you’ll be left doing a bit of a DIY mounting job. However, if you’re looking for a car phone mount that’s easy to attach and remove your cell phone from, the Loncaster car phone holder is the mount for you.
|Our Rating||5 out of 5|
|Stability||5 out of 5|
|Ease of Installation||5 out of 5|
|Ease of Attachment||5 out of 5|
|Value||5 out of 5|
- Adhesive pad mount style
- Dashboard mount
Many car parts and accessories aren’t exactly the easiest products to get your head around if you’re not a gearhead. However, the Loncaster car phone holder is fairly straightforward in what it does. As the name suggests, it holds your phone in one secure location while you drive. This can make tasks like using your GPS easier while you’re on the road.
Based on our experience testing the Loncaster, we found that it doesn’t get much better in terms of stability. The job of a phone mount is simple and straightforward – to hold your phone in one place without the phone or the mount moving around. The Loncaster offers great stability, so you can trust that your phone is secure within the mount.
Our testing team found only two drawbacks to this product: the fact that it is a dashboard mount and that it will only hold your phone horizontally. We tested the Loncaster car phone holder in the heat of North Carolina’s summer and found the test phone was getting nearly too hot to touch.
The fact that this phone mount will only hold your phone horizontally is something to note, though our team believes that it’s more of a personal preference of whether you’d want your phone mounted vertically or horizontally.
The Loncaster car phone holder has a customer review rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon, with 79 percent of reviewers rating the product 4.0 stars or above. The Loncaster phone holder has over 21,000 reviews, which demonstrates the high number of customers this product has impressed.
“I like everything about this phone holder. I have a large, bulky, and heavy phone – Galaxy Note 9 with an Otterbox case… This is practically a miracle product for me. It stays put on my textured and sloping dash, it holds my phone securely without hard plastic grips, and I can reposition when needed.”
– Colleen via Amazon
“I have found that many types of mounts do not work well with most types of cars. This to me would [work pretty universally,] regardless of your car. You also can easily place it right where you want it rather than being limited to placing your phone near the vents or something like that.”
– Phillip Hoppe via Amazon
Car guys can be expensive to shop for. Many car accessories and parts can cost hundreds of dollars. If you’re shopping on a budget this holiday season, the Loncaster Car Phone Holder will make for a great gift or stocking stuffer. It’s a practical gift for everyday use, and your friend or family member can trust that their phone is secure with this phone mount.
Best For Pampering Your Ride: Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit
In our search for the best headlight restoration kit, we found that the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit provides the best clarity for headlights and is incredibly easy to use.
The Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit is the only headlight restoration kit we found that includes a lifetime warranty, which is a nice perk for a product that is generally sold for under $20.
|Our Rating||4.5 out of 5|
|Results||5 out of 5|
|Clarity of Instructions||5 out of 5|
|Value||4 out of 5|
- Lifetime warranty
- UV protection
- Surface activator, clarifying compound, three sheets of waterproof sandpaper, three applicator cloths, and one vinyl glove
- The kit provides clear instructions for how to go about the headlight restoration process.
- It includes all necessary materials for restoration. You only need water and you’ll be good to go.
- It removes yellowish hazing and oxidation on your headlights.
- The kit restores headlights to a nearly brand-new condition.
In our product testing team’s experience, we found the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit to be great to work with. Instructions were clearly spelled out, so there was no need for Googling questions or looking up how-to videos on YouTube.
Additionally, the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit was the most effective of the products we tested at clearing up heavily oxidized headlights with deep yellow hazing. The only mark against this headlight restoration kit is that there are only enough materials to restore two headlights. Competing kits include enough materials to restore several cars’ headlights.
The Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit holds a customer review rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars from over 15,500 reviews on Amazon. This headlight restoration kit is widely praised for its effectiveness, with 88 percent of reviewers rating the product 4.0 stars or higher.
Customers who left positive reviews were pleased with the kit’s results:
“I followed the instructions to the letter, and the headlight plastic turned out great! The final step is wiping on clear UV-protecting liquid, which creates a shiny finish and eliminates any sanding fog remaining after removing the yellowed surface plastic.”
– Edjumucated Eddy via Amazon
“After reading multiple reviews calling this one the best headlight [restorers], I have to say it is. Worked really well in restoring my Jeep Grand Cherokee’s starting to yellow headlights. They are now crystal clear again.”
– Chris via Amazon
The Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit is a gift that will keep on giving. With the help of this headlight restoration kit, you can give your car guy or auto enthusiast’s vehicle a face-lift. Plus, you can depend on the results due to the product’s lifetime warranty.