8 min read
Old-timer engineers are probably the hardest people to find gift ideas for. They tend to want things that are practical, functional and unique. Being an engineer myself, I wanted to help you by assembling what I think are the best retirement gifts for engineers.
I hope this gift guide helps you finish your gift shopping faster than ever and brings a smile to your engineer’s face. They’ve certainly earned it! Show them you understand their passion for engineering and take pride when they geek out over your perfect gift.
This list is a compilation of my favorites from around the internet. Some are our own Genius Lab Gear inventions and some we’re just jealous we didn’t think of first! Some external links in this page are from affiliates, which means that any purchase of the items after clicking the link will result in a small monetary referral fee paid back to Genius Lab Gear at no cost to you. We appreciate your support which allows us to continue inventing and testing the best tools for engineers on the planet!
The most practical and unique pocket tool for any retiring professional in engineering. It’s the size of a typical credit card and packed with functionality and information that a retiring engineer will use in hobbies and DIY projects, keeping their skills sharp. The laser-cut and laser-engraved stainless steel has a thick black enamel coating to prevent scratching and stand up to years of abuse. One of the best inexpensive gadget gifts that any engineer will treasure. You can order directly through our site or on Amazon with the links below.
You can also add a custom logo to this for events, networking, or promotional giveaways! Custom orders start at 100 pieces - just email us for more info.
The Pocket Engineer at Genius Lab Gear
We all know engineers love building things. This is the perfect gift for a retiring engineer about to have more time for hobby and DIY projects. It includes a great selection of screwdriver bits, precision screwdrivers, a hammer, tape measure, pliers, and utility knife to get the job done. It’s an excellent value for the money.
We recently launched a full line of science and engineering-themed word magnets and of course made a set of word magnets specifically for engineers! Each specialty pack comes with 144 tiles carefully designed by a PhD in that field for technical accuracy and tacit absurdity. These make for a funny gift idea for a retiring engineer that lets them express their technical side but isn't work-oriented.
Also now available on Amazon.
You can also bundle it from our site with our newest "Engineering is for Everyone" sticker and The Pocket Engineer above!
No more stress and long hours of work. Now that they are retired, they deserve some time to relax. Let this funny pillow cover remind them they don't have to wake up early on weekdays! It features brushed polyester microfiber fabric for a comfortable and cozy sleep. Bye-bye guilt naps!
As we mentioned earlier, engineers love to tinker and build! Their imagination and creativity have generated some of the coolest innovations around the world. What's a better gift than letting them bring their designs to life? For a retiring engineer, this 3D Printer gives them the freedom to create even though they may have lost access to their company’s toolsets. Now they can imagine and invent in the comfort of their home.
This Flashforge Adventurer 3 3D Printer features auto-leveling, a detachable nozzle, a filament detection function, and a silent operation. A camera is also installed inside the printer so that you can monitor the progress at any time. This is a highly rated brand with endless online forum support and user-generated files to get started!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's a drone! Flying drones are one of the most fun and useful gifts you can purchase. It's a toy for all ages especially for a retiring engineer who loves technology. Instead of sitting on the couch all day long, they can take up a new hobby exploring and tinkering that will make them feel younger than ever!
Ruko F11 Pro Drones are built with 4k cameras to perfectly capture your outdoor adventure. An extra battery is also provided for extra flight time and to capture more memorable moments.
This memorabilia shadow box is specifically made for an engineer. Now they can preserve their photos, memorabilia, awards, medals, certificates, and more to cherish an amazing engineering career. It’s made of high-quality wood and clear semi-reinforced glass to make sure that everything inside is well protected.
Now that they are retiring, they have so much more time to do whatever they want. With these books, they can just relax and dive into a book for pleasure. Below are a few of our favorite engineering and retirement-related books that will be an enjoyable read for any engineer.
First, If they haven’t figured out how to fill their new free time in a fulfilling way, they may yearn to go back to work. This book can help inspire them to live their best life in every way. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free offers inspirational advice on how to enjoy retired life to its fullest.
While international travel isn’t exactly easy these days, many people had planned to see the world during their retirement. Encourage them to start planning a domestic road trip with this highly rated book from National Geographic's travel experts. National parks, secluded beaches, dinosaur trails, open swamp tours—it's all in here! Every location contains detailed travel information to help you get the most out of every state!
A popular and highly-rated classic about the top secret “Skunk Works” engineering projects at Lockheed Martin that helped win the Cold War, written by the head of the division for two decades (after his retirement). It covers the pinnacle of high-pressure, high-stakes ultra-secretive engineering projects and the technological game of chess that the USA was playing with the Soviet Union in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It includes anecdotes and testimonials from high-ranking government officials and pilots on revolutionary projects like the SR-71 Blackbird, F-116 Stealth Fighter and U-2 spy plane.
I personally loved this book and laughed out loud in nearly every chapter. It's an enjoyable and inspiring read for any retiring engineer who has a true passion for problem solving and cutting-edge technology, written by an old-timer like them.
This isn’t necessarily a “fun” read, but a passionate engineer who loves to tinker will rabidly devour the contents in the name of mastering their new hobbies. It’s the “bible” of electrical work that will teach the fundamentals of hands-on work. It’s perfect for a hobbyist who loves to take things apart for fun, repair household items, or build new DIY gadgets like robotics, smart home tech, or novel devices.
Many people spend their retirement traveling and exploring new places around the world. If they are planning a journey, gifting them something functional for their trip would definitely mean a lot. A functional and durable duffel bag is a trusty companion for a new adventure.
This particular duffel bag is made out of high-quality canvas and genuine leather trim. If you think this color isn’t the perfect gift, you can check them out on Amazon for other options.
This is a working model of the classic Stirling external combustion engine that any mechanical or automotive engineer would appreciate. The engine works using energy from an external heat source (ethanol in this case). It's a wonderful present for anyone who appreciates the inner workings of an engine. The elegant craftsmanship makes it a perfect home decoration that will always remind them of their love for engineering.
A Raspberry Pi is a miniature bare-bones computer that is fully programmable using the Python language. There’s a whole ecosystem of “makers” sharing how-to guides and helping each other on special DIY projects using these. Electrical engineers have the skills and training to make electronics from scratch and often enjoy building and creating unique custom gadgets that the Raspberry Pi enables.
Most electrical engineers can easily handle the minimal Python coding necessary (following guides). Examples they would love include robotic cars, smart home hubs, and even a real magic mirror. I personally made this one and it was a ton of fun! See a full list of projects on the Adafruit projects page.
LEGOs are a gift for all ages. Puzzles are all the rage now, and this is basically a 3D version that will challenge an engineering-focused mind. LEGO will also bring out the inner child in any adult, so consider this Star Wars-themed LEGO as a fun way for them to spend their free time and maybe even get the grandkids involved. With 4,784 pieces and measuring 17 inches high and 43 inches long, it’s definitely a challenging building experience and a gift for all occasions!
For a retiring engineer who wants to spend more time with their grandkids and get them engaged in STEM, a great approach is working on small engineering projects together. KiwiCo came up with a line of project boxes for different age groups and subjects. You get a new project box every month and can pause or cancel any time. They are often made of laser-cut wood which you assemble with included electronics to make things like a trebuchet, an adjustable desk lamp, or an automatic pencil sharpener!
The Eureka Crate is targeted at ages 14+ (below), so it's perfect for high school students and can also be a ton of fun for a passionate engineer who loves hobby projects to tinker with. If these are too advanced, try the Tinker Crate instead!
Check the price on the KiwiCo website
Anything that's practical, functional or can help them show their love for engineering. Here are our favorites:
We've further curated several collections of our own inventions depending on the type of scientist or engineer you're looking for. See these more niche collections below for more ideas!
Gifts for Mechanical Engineers
Gifts for Electrical Engineers
Gifts for Professors and Grad School PIs
Unique Gifts for Graduate and PhD Students
Gifts for Chemists and Chemistry Students
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Environmental Engineering Gifts
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