Electrical Engineers are tough to shop for. They lean toward gifts that are practical, functional and unique. Being an engineer myself, I wanted to assemble what I think are the best gifts for electrical engineers and electrical engineering students.
Whether it’s a graduation gift for a student, birthday present or Christmas gift, I hope this gift guide helps you finish your gift shopping faster than ever and brings a smile to an electrical engineer’s face. Show them you understand their passion for engineering and support them 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!
Gifts for Electrical Engineers under $50
1. The Pocket Engineer Wallet Ruler and Unit Conversion Reference
The most practical and unique pocket tool for any student or professional in electrical engineering. It’s the size of a credit card and packed with functionality and information that an electriical engineer will need on daily basis both in school and on the job.
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 cheap gadget gifts that any electrical engineer will geek out over. You can order directly through our site or on Amazon with the links below.
2. Precision electronics toolkit
Electrical engineers and students often need to insert and remove tiny screws and fasteners of all types without damaging nearby sensitive electronics. Regular screwdriver tips are usually not small enough to fit these screws. This 119-piece screwdriver kit has every tip an electrical engineer would ever need and is an inexpensive gift that would last a lifetime.
As a bonus, it also comes with some non-conductive tweezers and mini-crowbars which are essential for work where metal could short out a component if you touch the wrong area.
3. Funny Engineering-themed Word Magnets
We recently launched a full line of science and engineering-themed word magnets and of course made a set 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 electrical engineering gift for students for a dorm, lab or office that lets them express their technical side but isn't work-oriented.
4. Rocketbook Matrix cloud-connected reusable paper notebook
This is my favorite clever invention. It was inevitable. Rocketbook finally solved the problem of merging your hand-written notes into your favorite digital services. You simply use their app to take a photo of your pages of notes and the QR code and marked symbols on each page trigger the app to send the digitized page to any of the 9 pre-set digital destinations you choose. This includes OneNote, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox and even specific emails. Want a shortcut to send notes via email straight to your colleague or boss? This is what you’re looking for.
The Rocketbook Matrix is my personal favorite because it's designed for more technical work. It's got 30 pages of graphing paper and one regular lined page for taking notes, plus a built-in ruler on the inside cover. Did I mention they are reusable? Use their "Pilot Frixion" pens and then wipe the page with a damp cloth after uploading your notes to use it all over again (and win one for the environment!).
5. Helping Hands workstation for small electronics projects
Soldering electronics together takes about four hands - two to hold the soldering tools and two more to hold your workpieces together. Every electrical engineer workbench has a “helping hands” workstation and this American-made QuadHands rig is one of the best all-around ones on the market.
The QuadHands stands out for having a heavy-duty base to prevent movement, rubber feet to prevent sliding and electrically isolate the workbench from electrical shock and extremely flexible arms that include silicone sleeves for delicate work.
6. Books for electrical engineers to read for pleasure (not textbooks!)
Engineers often get stuck in a loop of always reading technical documents, textbooks and journal articles. It’s important to occasionally break that cycle and dive into a book for pleasure. Below are a few of our favorite engineering-related books that will be an enjoyable read for any scientist or engineer.
The Last Days of Night: A Novel
Most electrical engineering books are dense and technical - not exactly fun reads. This book is a rare combination of intriguing fiction based on historical events with an electrical engineering focus. It’s based on the true story of the colossal fight for the first electrical lighting technology between Thomas Edison and the Westinghouse-backed work of Nikola Tesla in 1888 New York City. It’s a mesmerizing story between the two original electrical engineering titans and is a rare “fun” read for an electrical engineer.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
This biography of Elon Musk quickly became a bestseller for its engaging look at the quintessential engineering hero. Biographies are often boring, but not this one. Musk’s life is a roller coaster of visionary undertakings, massive setbacks and outside-the-box thinking that will inspire any engineer to reach further in their own work.
How to Diagnose and Fix Everything Electronic (2nd Edition)
This isn’t necessarily a “fun” read, but a passionate electrical engineering student will rabidly devour the contents in the name of mastering their craft. It’s the “bible” of electrical work that will teach the fundamentals of hands-on work that they may not learn in school. 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.
More recommended books for Graduate Students:
If the person you have in mind is also a graduate student, take a look at our new list of The Best Books to Make You a Better Grad Student.
7. Magnetic wristband for hands-on building and repairs
This magnetic wristband is a cheap but extremely handy add-on that is universally loved by computer repair techs, electricians, and electrical engineers who like to work hands-on. Mine has helped stop my constant clumsiness dropping tiny screws or misplacing my drill bit heads.
Gifts for Electrical Engineers under $100
8. Raspberry Pi 4 kit for custom robotics and DIY projects
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.
9. Multimeter for small electronics repairs and DIY projects
A good multimeter is an electrical engineer’s best friend. It lets you measure current, voltage, capacitance, and resistance at different points in your circuit board to troubleshoot problems and find failed parts. This Greenlee multimeter is a great value (some are over $500!) and well-suited to small electronics projects or repairs. Get the auto-ranging 600V version. It even comes with probes so they can use it right away. Greenlee is a well-respected American brand, so you can’t go wrong with this model.
Ultimate gifts for Electrical Engineers (under $200)
10. Hakko digital soldering station
Any electrical engineer that deals with robotics, machinery, or circuit boards will need to solder components together, especially for “maker” DIY projects. I personally own this Hakko digital soldering station for these projects. Hakko isn’t the cheapest, but has consistently been the #1 recommended brand from all the “old-timer” engineers I’ve talked to and should last a lifetime.
If you’re going all-in get the full kit (what I have), but just the station is a great start that they can add to as needed. There are much cheaper options that will get you by but may not last as long as the Hakko kits.
11. FLIR thermal imaging camera for smartphones
If you have the budget, this FLIR thermal imaging camera is an amazing tool that any electrical engineer would find plenty of uses for. Primarily it can measure how hot components are running on a printed circuit board and identify hot spots with poor heat sinking before it causes damage. You can also just have a lot of fun around the house and in the kitchen exploring the thermals of your world. Many people buy this and make their money back in heating/AC bills by looking at their doors, windows, and walls for gaps or poor insulation.
Be sure to get the correct version (for Android or iPhone). If that’s out of your price range, a handheld infrared point-and-shoot thermometer is also extremely useful for finding hotspots, even though it doesn’t have the digital display or data collection.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is a good gift for an electrical engineer?
Anything that's practical, functional or can help them show their love for electrical engineering. Here are our favorites:
- The Pocket Engineer
- Precision electronics toolkit
- Engineering word magnets
- Cloud-connected Rocketbook reusable graphing notebook
- Raspberry Pi for custom robotics and DIY projects
- Helping Hands workstation
- FLIR thermal imaging camera
More gift collections for specific types of scientists and engineers:
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!