Home Office Setup Guide (2023): Webcams, Desks, Chairs, and More

Whether you’re working from home full-time or just a few days a week, it’s important to carve out a space that separates your work and personal lives. It’s equally vital that your workstation is kitted out with the right gear and accessories to make the day more bearable and comfortable. Since 2020, we’ve been testing standing desks, office chairs, monitors, USB docks, keyboards, and tons of other work-from-home gear in our own lives. These are our favorites.

Updated March 2023: We’ve added the Autonomous ErgoChair Pro, AOC ultrawide, LG DualUp monitor, the Duex Plus portable monitor, Anker’s Outlet Extender, Keychron’s Q1 Pro and K3 Pro, the TP-Link S4 router, Speks Supers, a Plugable Bluetooth adapter, and a color printer from Brother. 

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You’ll Need a Good Laptop or PC

We’re guessing you have a laptop or desktop PC of some kind, whether it’s your personal device or your company’s. If not, check out our guides to the Best Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, Best Chromebooks, and Best MacBooks. Our step-by-step laptop buying guide can also help. If you’re eyeing a desktop PC, we have recommendations and advice for prebuilt gaming PCs that might be handy, or you can build your own. Here are a few of our favorite laptops:

MacBook Air with M2

Photograph: Apple

Apple’s MacBook Air (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best option for most people. With the M2 processor, it can handle all but the most intensive tasks. And even with more demanding apps, it fares pretty well for its price. (You can usually find it for $1,099 or less at Amazon.) It’s completely silent due to the fanless design, and the battery life will get you through a workday. If your work needs are minimal, save money and go with the MacBook Air M1, but if you need a more powerful machine, look at the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. 

This is our favorite Windows laptop. The Ryzen 5 processor and 16 GB of RAM deliver plenty of power for the usual everyday tasks. Better yet, the excellent 14-inch IPS screen is paired with a 360-degree hinge, so you can convert it into tablet mode and interact with the touchscreen (with your finger or the included stylus). If you need more power, go for the Ryzen 7-powered model.

If you can do all your work via a browser, and that browser happens to be Google Chrome, consider a Chromebook. This Samsung Chromebook (8/10, WIRED Recommends) is one of the prettiest and most high-end models around. It has an aluminum frame, a nice 1080p QLED display, and a battery life that will last you a full workday if not more. This two-in-one easily moves from laptop to tablet to stand mode (great for Netflix), and you can use the touchscreen to interact with it like a tablet.

A workstation starts with a good desk, and sometimes that means one that can convert into a standing desk so you’re not sitting all day.

Fully Jarvis

Photograph: Amazon

This is our favorite standing desk. It has an adjustable height via the motor (up to four height presets). The eco-friendly bamboo top looks and feels nice, and there are also tons of ways to customize it to your liking. We’ve also tested and like Fully’s new Nolan Standing Desk, which has a more premium design and doesn’t scream “standing desk.” Unfortunately, it’s much more expensive, at $1,299. 

This desk took a bit of time to put together (the instructions can be a bit vague), but it offers everything you’ll want in a motorized standing desk at a more stomachable price. The single motor can go from a height of 28 to 48 inches—you can save three presets for quick switching—and it doesn’t wobble much. The surface is made from environmentally friendly chipboard, but it doesn’t feel cheap or low-quality. There’s usually a coupon you can clip to snag it at a much lower price. 

Elegant and smooth are the best words to describe Branch’s standing desk. It’s pricey, but dual motors shift the desk up and down quickly, quietly, and with zero wobbles. I love the company’s easy-to-follow instructions, and the whole thing looks gorgeous, especially in walnut or woodgrain styles. It has a range of 25 to 52 inches tall, and there’s a hole to route your cables. I tested the Executive version ($839), which has a massive and roomy 60-inch width. 

Secretlab Magnus

Photograph: Secretlab

Frustrated with all the cables around your desk? The Magnus might be up your alley. It’s a heavy, magnetic, metal desk with a trench at the back so you can neatly route your cables while hiding them from view. Secretlab sells a few magnetic accessories like cable sheaths and anchors to keep those wires down (and you won’t have to deal with crappy adhesives). Just make sure you snag Secretlab’s Desk Mat so you don’t scuff up the desk or your gear. I used it for more than a year, but I have now switched to the Magnus Pro ($848), a standing desk version of the original. It moves up and down smoothly, with a few different height presets, and it’s roomy. 

Why buy a whole new standing desk when you can just plop this on it? It can fit your monitor or laptop, a keyboard, and a mouse, so you can stand up and work at a moment’s whim—no motors required. You can adjust its height with the buttons on each side of the desktop. It’s lightweight and slim enough to stow away when you don’t need it. 

Flexispot Adjustable Table

Photograph: Flexispot

Want to work off the couch or bed? Instead of warming up your lap with your hot laptop, use this rollable table. The stand is situated on one side, so you can easily slot it next to your bed or couch without any annoying legs in the way. Its height is adjustable via the gas spring all the way up to 40.5 inches. and can hold a decent amount of weight. It was easy to assemble, just know that the packaging did not say Flexispot on the box, but the company assured me it’s a subsidiary.

The Need Computer Desk doesn’t go up or down. It’s a basic desk that can be put together in five minutes out of the box. There are a few size options (I have the 62-inch version of a similar model), and while it doesn’t have the highest-quality materials (it uses particleboard for the table), it has a sturdy frame, looks simple, and it’s affordable.

Relaxing Chairs (and a Seat Cushion)

No workstation is complete without a comfy chair to ease into. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below, but you can find more picks in our Best Office Chairs guide.

Branch Ergonomic Chair

Photograph: Branch

Of the more than 35 office chairs we tested in the past year, this one impressed us the most with its comfort, quality, adjustability, and price. At $329, it’s not jaw-droppingly expensive, but you get seven points of adjustment, giving you more options to tailor the chair to your body. Fair warning: Keep a lint roller close, as pet hair tends to cling. The fabric at the edge of the seat tends to pill quickly too. 

This is our favorite budget chair, though we do have some cheaper recommendations in our guide. It reclines and has neck support if you need it, and while the mesh has sagged a tiny bit after a few years of sitting, it still does the job very well. 

The above two chairs are great for most people, but if you tend to run hot in your seat, you should snag an all-mesh chair. This one from Nouhaus has exactly that and will help vent heat away from your body, though the mesh doesn’t leave the best feeling against bare skin (important if you often sit at the desk without, er, pants). I also like the X-Chair X2 K-Sport Mgmt ($970), which is a good deal more expensive but is comfier and better for people that need wider seats. 

AUtonomous ErgoChair Pro

Photograph: Autonomous

If your budget can stretch, this is a great mid-priced chair that has all the bells and whistles. The wide seat foam is comfy, the mesh back doesn’t trap your body heat, and there’s a nice headrest when you want to lean back. It’s adjustable in all the important ways and goes even further with a seat tilt option. It can be hard to figure out how to adjust the chair, so I recommend checking this helpful video out.

A stool? OK, hear me out. This compact seat comes from a trauma surgeon at the University of Vermont Medical Center. I was ready to dismiss it as one of those as-seen-on-TV phony products too, but after sitting in it for several months, I actually really like it. The base of the seat rocks around, meaning your body continually shifts a bit as you sit. It made me more mindful of my posture, and I found myself getting up and moving around frequently. That might sound like a bad thing, but any kind of movement is an excellent counter to a sedentary lifestyle. It will take some time to adjust to the Ariel, so make sure to follow the instructions and ease into it.

Don’t want to splurge on a new chair? If you’re a little unsatisfied with your existing seat, try using a cushion. I like this one from Cushion Lab. The memory foam is very comfortable, it doesn’t retain unpleasant odors, and there’s a washable cover.

A Laptop Stand Also Helps

The benefit of using a laptop is that you don’t need to be confined to a desk. When you work from home, sometimes a change of scenery feels necessary. A stand will help add stability, wherever you are. Check out our Best Laptop Stands guide for more.

Obvus Solutions Tower Stand

Photograph: ObVus Solutions 

This is the laptop stand most people should get. It’s lightweight and sturdy, but its spotlight feature is that you can raise it to various heights and positions. That means you can work off of it sitting or standing. 

Do you only work from home a few days a week? If you’re heading to the office occasionally, you might like the mBar Pro+. It folds down to a slim enough package that you can tote it around with you (and it weighs less than a pound). It’ll raise your laptop up about 5 inches at an angle, but you can’t change the height. 

The Moft Z is another great portable laptop stand you can take anywhere. It’s ultrathin, so you can pack it next to your laptop. Unfold it and you can configure it into five different positions—including a 10-inch-height option that’s suitable if you want to work while standing up. 

Nnewvante Bamboo Laptop Stand

Photograph: Nnewvante

I love the versatility of this laptop stand. It’s stable, whether I’m working on the couch or in bed, plus the angle is adjustable to suit however you’re lounging. That makes it great for after-work hours too, when I put the laptop away and use the stand as a sketching station. A part of the surface stays flat—great for holding that morning cup of coffee—and there’s a tiny drawer! It’s where I stash my laptop’s charging cable. It’s made from natural bamboo.

This is a beautiful laptop stand, and yes, it’s expensive, but I love every minute of using it. It’s best suited for a desk or table—to make room for a keyboard and mouse. There’s a stainless steel stop to keep your laptop from sliding off, and the feet are made of cork, so it doesn’t move around.

A monitor is one of those things that will dramatically improve your work experience at home. Read our guide on how to use a second screen with your laptop if you need convincing. You should also consider how many monitors you want and how you should place them on your desk. Our favorite setup? It’s one ultrawide monitor in the center and a vertically oriented display on the side. Our Best Monitors guide can help.

Asus VA24EHE

Photograph: Asus

I’ve used this monitor for three years, and it’s treated me well. It’s well-built and looks modern, and the screen is sharp and gets incredibly bright. It’s colorful too. (You might actually want to tone those colors down in the settings menu.) I wish the stand was more adjustable, but I solved that by putting the monitor on a VESA arm mount.

I bought this monitor to pair with a MacBook Pro a little more than a year ago, and it’s been really fantastic for the price. The 1080-pixel resolution can look a bit fuzzy if you sit up close to the large screen, but at a normal viewing distance, it looks great. I prefer having all that screen space to fit two browser windows side by side. The colors look great, and it’s just been plain reliable. It has built-in speakers, but I wouldn’t rely on them, because they don’t get very loud (and they don’t sound that great, like most monitor speakers). I VESA-mounted it to maximize my desk space.

WIRED senior editor Michael Calore says this BenQ is one of the best choices for creative professionals, like graphic designers, photographers, and video editors. It hits many of the creative industry’s color accuracy standards and delivers near-perfect accuracy out of the box, so you don’t have to do much calibration. It has some special modes for editing motion graphics, working with photos, or designing in CAD applications. Calore says the 27-inch screen is gorgeous, with a glare-free, slightly matte coating. The stand is height-adjustable, and you can swivel the screen into portrait mode. It’s VESA-mountable.

Monoprice 4K Monitor

Photograph: Monoprice

If you want as high a resolution as possible, this 4K Monoprice monitor has been treating me well. I’ve tried it with a MacBook and a Windows PC, and the 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution screen is tack-sharp. The IPS panel’s colors are also rich and vibrant without looking too saturated—I prefer using it for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom over any of the monitors above. It has two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort, and USB-C for video input. It’s dead simple to put it on and take it off of the fully articulating stand, and it works really well in portrait orientation too. My only gripe? It supports the VESA standard but the mount is recessed and doesn’t fit my arm mounts. You’ll need to get longer M4 screws to get it to work. It’s also restricted to 60 Hz. 

Photograph: LG

The best work-from-home monitor setup, in our humble opinion, is an ultrawide monitor with a second vertical monitor to the side. Nearly any monitor will do—just rotate it 90 degrees—but some content can look a bit too narrow and cut off. This LG DualUp solves this by offering a wider 16:18 aspect ratio. I saw the most immediate benefit in Gmail, where emails were no longer cut off or cramped. It also made nearly every other website and app look quite normal, giving them more room to breathe. It’s pricey, but the colors are great out of the box, you get an easy-to-set-up arm mount, and there are quite a few display options (even USB-C). It’s also available at B&H.

If you’re frequently in front of a monitor and find yourself craving more screen space, consider an ultrawide. This model from LG has a 2,560 x 1,080 resolution, HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, and a speedy response time (handy if you also play fast-paced games). Ultrawide monitors open up new worlds of multitasking, letting you run two full-size browser windows side by side (or another application). It’s why several Gear team members have one.

I’ve been using this ultrawide for several months and have been pleasantly surprised at how nice it is considering its price. (Note: The price is almost always $340 with some spikes, so wait for it to come down if it’s anything higher.) The screen is sharper than the LG above (3,440 x 1,440) and bright, there’s a 144-Hz screen refresh rate to help match the display with your video game’s frames, and it’s height adjustable. I’ve put it up on a VESA mount to save myself some desk space. The colors are a bit too strong, so I had to tone them down in the display’s settings. There are built-in speakers, but I would avoid using them.

Portable monitors are in vogue right now. These slim screens are an easy way to get more screen real estate anywhere—the coffee shop, office, or anywhere at home. None of the displays below require a power source, instead, they draw power from your laptop. (It’s a good idea to charge your laptop while using one.) 

Innocn OLED Monitor

Photograph: Innocn

An OLED portable monitor will net you excellent black levels and vivid colors, and this large 15.6-inch screen has been a reliable companion on my various coffee shop outings. It has a 1080p resolution, so it’s not terribly sharp at close distances, but I didn’t have any trouble reading it. I’ve paired it with my Nintendo Switch and my MacBook Air—it’s quite literally for work and play. You’ll want to make sure your backpack can fit what’s akin to a 16-inch laptop and your laptop. All you need is to plug in the USB-C to USB-C cable for it to work, but if you run power to the monitor, it will enable higher brightness and will charge your laptop at the same time. It feels a bit plasticky and the kickstand cover it comes with is poorly designed, but you can remedy that by snagging a stand like this one. It frequently dips to $200. 

If money is no object, this is the crème de la crème of portable displays. First off, the company claims it’s the world’s thinnest portable monitor. I can’t prove that, but this aluminum display is skinny as heck at 5.3 millimeters. It’s really lightweight, too, at 1.4 pounds. That said, I tested the 15-inch Touch version; you’ll want to make sure your backpack can fit a 15-inch laptop, as it can be a tight squeeze. The IPS screen’s colors are excellent and it gets bright enough to use outdoors. It has two USB-C ports for connectivity. Stand options aren’t included, sadly, but I strongly recommend the Espresso Stand ($69), a metal stand the display attaches to magnetically. It is a touchscreen, but I primarily used it with a MacBook and didn’t find this all that useful, since MacOS isn’t optimized for touch.

Photograph: Mobile Pixels

This is by far my favorite portable display. It sticks to the back of a laptop screen via magnets, which means that you do need to be comfortable with sticking and leaving adhesive magnets on the back of your machine. These are easy to install with the included assembly instructions. Pop the Duex Plus on the magnets and slide out the display so that it floats to the side of your laptop. Voilà! You have a second screen that doesn’t take up any desk space. Just connect the included USB-C to USB-C cable and you’re good to go. The 13.3-inch 1080p screen is best suited for 13- or 14-inch laptops, and it’s not a screen I’d rely on for color correction, but it’s great for leaving apps like Slack and another browser window for two-screen productivity. The downside is that it’s thick and adds bulk, but at least it’s easy to take the Duex Plus off when you don’t need it. I used it just fine on the plane and in a hotel when I needed to get some work done. 

The Lepow is plasticky, and its IPS display is the weakest of the ones on this list in terms of overall quality, but it’s surprisingly compact, despite the 15-inch screen size. It also has a built-in kickstand that’s far more stable than portable displays that rely on a kickstand case. There are a variety of connectivity options and speakers as well, and it gets decently bright. 

Monitor Mounts and Stands

If you’re working with limited desk space, a monitor arm mount is a great way to reclaim some room. Plus it helps hide pesky wires!

Workstream by Monoprice desk mount

Photograph: Monoprice 

I’ve been using this mount to hold up my 34-inch ultrawide monitor for years and it works like a charm. It can hold screens between 15 and 34 inches (up to 20 pounds). It’s adjustable, has built-in cable management, and doesn’t look hideous. The arm clamps to the desk. It uses the VESA mounting standard, so make sure the monitor you have supports it.

It’s somewhat heavy and bulky, but WIRED contributor Simon Hill says the Ergotron LX is built to last and offers a superb range of movement, making it easy to adjust the monitor’s position. (He uses it with his 34-inch Alienware display). It has been clamped onto a standing desk, and while lesser mounts will jiggle when he adjusts the height, this arm barely moves unless he wants it to. This VESA-compatible mount boasts built-in cable management and can accommodate displays of up to 34 inches and up to 25 pounds.

This arm mount supports up to 20 pounds and is just as adjustable as the Monoprice. It’s VESA compatible, has a five-year warranty, offers built-in cable management, and is made by the same company that makes the standing desk we recommend at the top of this guide.

Vivo Dual Monitor Desk Mount

Photograph: Vivo

Got two monitors side by side on your desk? It’s not the prettiest, but this Vivo dual mount is simple, easy to install, and sturdy. I have it working right now with two monitors of different sizes with no issues whatsoever. It can fit screen sizes between 13 and 30 inches (up to 22 pounds). There are cable management clips along the mount to keep your cords hidden away. I’ve also tried and like the single monitor arm version. 

Another way to reclaim some desk space is to use a monitor stand. I’ve been using this one from Oakywood for some time, and it can hold two monitors. You can choose between walnut or oak, and it takes mere seconds to assemble. There’s open space to store anything else on your desk underneath. I’ve also tested and like Grovemade’s Walnut Desk Shelf ($240), which has a tiny storage compartment made of merino wool to prevent any scratches if you stow an iPad or laptop.

If you’re plugging a laptop into a monitor, chances are you’ll need to plug in other items like a keyboard, mouse, charging cable, and maybe an SD card reader. That’s where an adapter comes in. Plug it into your laptop, and plug everything else into it. It’s so much simpler. Check out our Best Hubs and USB Docks guide for more.

Twelve South StayGo Mini USB-C Hub

Photograph: Twelve South

Positively tiny, this USB-C hub might be all you need. Plug the USB-C plug into your laptop and you’ll get an additional 4K HDMI port, a USB-A, an 85-watt USB-C port with pass-through charging (enough to recharge a MacBook Pro), and a headphone jack. Since it sits flush to your computer’s USB-C port, Twelve South includes a little female-to-male USB-C cable so it doesn’t block access to other ports. 

If your laptop or PC doesn’t have a USB-C port, this is the dock to get. I’ve hooked it up to my partner’s desktop via the USB-A cable, and it has provided her with so much more connectivity, including six USB-A ports, two HDMI, a gigabit Ethernet, and a headphone jack. It requires its own power source, like most docks, and if you eventually upgrade to a machine with USB-C, just use the adapter on the cable.  

You only get four ports in this hub, which is a little low considering its size. They include two USB-A jacks, a 100-watt USB-C that’s fit to power a MacBook Pro, and a 4K HDMI out. What makes this one special is the reason it’s so big: You can install an M.2 SATA solid-state storage drive inside. That means it’s combining dongle and external storage into a single device! This 1-terabyte card should work. Satechi’s hub does not support NVME M.2 cards.

Logitech Logi Dock

Photograph: Logitech

The Logi Dock has many hands, but my favorite use for it is how it lights up and alerts me exactly when I have a scheduled Zoom meeting. It knows this via access to my Google Calendar using Logitech’s Logi Tune software (you can see what services it supports here). All I need to do is tap the circle at the top when a meeting starts and it will automatically launch Zoom. Plus, there are physical buttons to turn my video and mic off. It works as a decent speaker—it doesn’t sound as robust as the Audioengine A1, but it does the job. You can also use it as a microphone and, as the name suggests, it acts as a dock too. There are two USB-A ports, three USB-C, an HDMI, DisplayPort, and a Kensington Lock, plus there’s Bluetooth support. It’s a shame there’s no Ethernet and the USB-C ports don’t support video. 

Anker products are reliable and inexpensive, and this dock recommended by WIRED contributing writer Boone Ashworth is no different. Plug the USB-C cable into the port on your laptop, and into the dock, you can plug two USB-A devices, an Ethernet cable, a 48-watt USB-C charger to juice up your laptop (enough for a MacBook Air), a MicroSD card, an SD card, and an HDMI cable to connect a monitor. Anker has a version specifically for certain MacBooks too; it takes up two USB-C ports. Make sure you check Anker’s compatibility list.

Juice Up With Cables, Chargers, and Power Strips

Good cables can go a long way. You’ll want to make sure they’re durable and can carry the necessary power your devices need. The same goes for charging adapters. Read our Best USB-C Cables guide for more recommendations.

Nimble PowerKnit USB-C cable

Photograph: Nimble

These cables support 60-watt charging, but the real draw is that they’re made from recycled plastic and aluminum. (They’re BPA- and PVC-free too.) They feel sturdy thanks to the flexible knit fabric design, and there are various lengths to choose from. They’re the prettiest cables I’ve had the pleasure of using. Seriously, I want to replace every cable in my home with ’em.

It’s only 3 feet long, but this cable supports 100-watt charging to power beefy devices like a MacBook Pro, and it also supports up to 10 Gbps of data transfer, making it a versatile USB-C cable for everything. 

The old USB-A port is still relevant and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If you need a reliable cable, this USB-A to USB-C will let you connect newer devices to the older port. The cable is braided and is more than six feet long. 

Sometimes you need super-long cables for things to work in your home setup. Maybe you have a PC in one room that you want to connect to a display in another. That was my situation, and that’s where the RuiPro came in. This 50-foot HDMI 2.1 cable supports the latest speeds and allows me to plug my PC into my TV. It’s been working with zero flaws for several months. Just get some adhesive cable clips to run it along the wall. 

Nimble 65-Watt Wally Wall Charger

Photograph: Nimble

If you just need a charging adapter to recharge your phone or tablet, this 30-watt Anker one will do the job. But it’s not enough power for a laptop. I like Nimble’s pricier 65-watt charger, which is made from certified recycled plastic and is BPA- and PVC-free. It has one 65-watt USB-C port and an 18-watt USB-A, so you can plug in multiple gadgets and have them recharge quickly. If you plug in two devices to both ports, they’ll charge at 45 and 18 watts, respectively. That should be plenty for most laptops like the MacBook Air, but not enough for power-hungry machines. 

Pay a little more and you can get three USB-C ports if all of your gadgets use the port. This one is bigger, but it’s much smaller than the laptop chargers you get from the likes of Apple. It can charge at 100 watts with just one port, which will satisfy even machines like the 16-inch MacBook Pro. If you plug in three devices, it’ll charge them at 45, 30, and 30, or 58, 30, and 20 depending on what kind of gadget. Either way, this is more than sufficient.  

This just might be overkill for most people, but if you’re charging multiple power-sucking machines, this is a really good solution. I’ve been using it for nearly a year with no issues. It has a three-prong power cord you plug into a wall outlet, and the charger itself can be rested on an included stand. There are four USB-C ports on the front, and if you use all of them at the same time, you’ll end up with a 60, 45, 30, and 30-watt split. (You can hit 100 watts on the first port if you don’t plug in anything else.) I wouldn’t call it lightweight, but it certainly beats carrying four other adapters around. 

Monoprice 8-Outlet Rotating Surge Strip

Photograph: Monoprice

Once you first use this surge strip, you’ll wonder where it’s been your whole life. Each outlet sits on a rotating wheel, meaning you won’t ever have to feel frustrated that your chunky plug won’t fit next to your other chunky plug. It’s ingenious. There’s an LED that indicates that the surge protector is indeed offering protection.

I bought three of these for my apartment at the start of the pandemic. Tripp Lite offers up to $25,000 of lifetime insurance for any damage to your equipment from a surge. If the LED goes out, it means it’s time to replace it, and Tripp Lite will give you a new one for free. There are also two USB-A ports, which is nice. Everything is relatively spaced out, allowing me to fit big adapters and even a smart plug on this thing.

Don’t want to fuss with a power strip laying about on the floor? This is a pretty nifty solution from Anker. It’ll block your whole wall outlet, but it’s slim and stays put, and nets you six outlets, plus a USB-C and USB-A port. I’ve been testing it in my kitchen to power my toaster oven and stand mixer, and juice up my spice grinder when it’s low on battery, and it works like a charm. There’s even a night light (you can turn it off).  

You type all day, so you need a good keyboard. Everyone’s preferences are different, and while we at WIRED love mechanical keyboards, we also have other options if you want something a little more subtle. Read our Best Keyboards guide for more.

Logitech MX Mechanical Mini

Photograph: Logitech

Logitech’s MX mechanical wireless keyboard series comes in a compact size (the Mini) or a full-size option for those who prefer to have a number pad. You can also choose between three types of mechanical switches: Clicky, Linear, or Tactile. I’m a Linear kinda guy, but I tried the Tactile and it was much quieter than you’d expect for a mechanical keyboard. The battery life barely dipped below 90 percent after using this keyboard for nearly two months with the backlighting off. It connects to your computer via a Logi Bolt USB-A dongle, which delivers an incredibly stable connection, but you can also use Bluetooth to connect it to multiple devices (or use the included USB-A to USB-C cable). It’s slim, lightweight, and all-around excellent. 

I really like this mini, simple, and cheap Bluetooth keyboard, but it requires two AAA batteries. If you must have a number pad, then check out Logitech’s K780 ($60) wireless keyboard. Did I mention it comes in pink?

If you want a Numpad, want a stable wireless connection, and don’t care for the clickety clacks of a mechanical keyboard, then the K650 might be for you—if you don’t mind how large it is. It takes up a lot of room, but I’ve had a pretty comfortable typing experience over the past two months. (I also have had no issues while gaming.) I connected it to my PC with the included USB-A receiver, but you can use Bluetooth if you’d like. Just make sure to enable the function keys—that way you won’t have to press the Fn button just to activate them. It uses two AA batteries that have yet to dip below 90 percent after two months of use. 

Keychron Q5

Photograph: Keychron

I used the Keychron Q3 and Keychron Q5 for several months. Both are excellent wired mechanical keyboards. They’re hefty, metal rectangles that won’t budge on your desk. The only difference between them is that the Q5 includes a number pad. Whichever you buy, I highly recommend snagging them in Navy Blue with the “Fully Assembled Knob,” which adds a wonderful volume knob on the top right side of the keyboard. You can also get a more customized keyboard if you know what you want. It’s a great clickety-clackety typing experience, and I love that it comes with a color-matching USB-C to USB-C cable (with a USB-A adapter).  

Keychron makes some of my favorite keyboards, and the Q1 Pro is my current daily driver. You can use it wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth, and there are several colors and switches to choose from. The red switches I have aren’t too loud but are still satisfying, and I love the knob for volume control. There’s RGB backlighting you can customize too. It’s hot-swappable, so you can change the switches whenever you like, and the PBT keycaps haven’t shown any wear after three months of rigorous use. If you’re feeling up for it, you can also use Via to create macros and layers to fully personalize your typing experience.   

This was my default keyboard for most of 2021. The linear switches aren’t too loud but feel wonderful when you type. It’s also very compact. There’s no number pad, but the Home, Page Up, and arrow keys have been condensed to the right edge. It’s wireless too. The Bluetooth connection is stable (you can connect up to five devices), though you might see some input lag now and then. It needs charging only once a week or so (more if you leave the RGB on all the time). Just remember to use a USB-A to USB-C cable to recharge (a USB-C to USB-C cable won’t work).

SteelSeries Apex Pro

Photograph: SteelSeries

My colleague has been using the Apex Pro for work and play for a couple of years and says it has a typical understated SteelSeries style that doesn’t look out of place in an office, and fits in as a gaming keyboard with its lighting effects at night. You can set up custom profiles and set the actuation point per key, which determines how hard you need to press for it to register. Set one profile for work and another for gaming, and you have a tailored keyboard experience to suit what you’re doing.

This is another good slim wireless mechanical keyboard. It connects via Bluetooth, and despite the low profile of the keys, you get a tactile click. It’s compact, has optional RGB lighting, and lasts around four to five days before I need to top it up again via the USB-C charging port. It also supports Via for additional software customization.

This is one of the cheapest mechanical keyboards I’ve tested that utilizes a USB-A dongle for connectivity (though you can use Bluetooth too). It’s compact and satisfying to type on, and I’ve primarily used it for gaming in the living room while having it connected via the receiver on my PC. Despite being a room away, the connection is strong, and I’ve been able to enjoy Red Dead Redemption 2 from the couch without having to use a controller. It comes with a nice case too. 

Find a Comfy Mouse (and Mouse Pad)

Working on a laptop can feel cramped. A mouse is just more ergonomic to use than a trackpad, and a gaming mouse, specifically, could help if you’re dealing with some wrist pain. We have several more recommendations in our Best Gaming Mice guide.

Logitech G305

Photograph: Amazon

I’ve used this wireless mouse for more than three years, and it has been problem-free. It’s a good size for people with smaller palms and has a smooth scroll wheel. It takes one AA battery, but it usually needs a swap only once every three to four months (and that’s with heavy use). You also need a spare USB-A port on your machine so you can plug in the mouse’s receiver. If you prefer a corded mouse, the Logitech G203 ($30) is nearly identical.

This is our favorite corded mouse at the moment. It’s super lightweight, ergonomic, and works well for both lefties and righties, as there are buttons on both sides. It has a built-in tracking sensor so that if you pick it up and move it, the cursor doesn’t lose its place on the screen. 

This is our favorite wireless gaming mouse and makes for an excellent work companion. The customizable lighting is subtle, and there aren’t a ton of superfluous buttons (just a pair of low-profile programmable buttons on your thumb). It is lightweight, supremely comfortable, and extremely responsive. It also glides smoothly, has a good wireless range, and comes with a lightweight cable to plug in when you need it.

Logitech MX Master 3S

Photograph: Logitech

There are three excellent reasons to spend $100 on this mouse. First, the left and right mouse buttons are arguably the quietest mouse buttons I have ever used in my life. I never want to go back. This is especially great if you’re frequently working around a lot of people. Second, it has an exceptionally smooth scroll wheel that just whirs by quickly. And third, it has two scroll wheels, so you can move vertically and horizontally. As someone who spends a lot of time in spreadsheets and Airtable, this has been a wonderful boon. (Yes, you can press shift to scroll horizontally on both Mac and Windows, but the MX Master 3S lets me just use one hand!) You can connect it via Bluetooth, but I recommend using the included Logi Bolt USB-A dongle for improved responsiveness. It’s been working well in games too. 

During the early months of the pandemic, I had wrist pain due to my prolonged time at the desk. Turns out I was resting the bottom of my palm on the desk, which pinches the nerves and can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. To avoid this, I invested in a better chair, adjusted my height, and made sure my palm never rested on my desk. But I wish I found this mouse back then. It takes some getting used to, but it automatically lifts my palm well away from the desk, and my wrist feels like it’s sitting in a more natural position. It clicks quietly, has two side buttons, and runs for months on a single AA battery. You can connect it via Bluetooth, but I recommend using the included USB-A dongle. This is technically the small version—if you have medium- to large-size hands (there’s a handy size chart here), go for the slightly older MX Vertical ($100). 

SteelSeries QcK mousepad

Photograph: Steelseries

We like this affordable mousepad. The medium size works for most desks, and it’s well made. The edges have yet to fray after a long period of testing. It also doesn’t slide around all that much. 

This mouse pad is a step up from the cloth one above (and eight times as expensive). It’s made from Horween vegetable-tanned leather that looks and feels great. My mouse slides smoothly across it, and I love how spacious it is. The rubber bottom helps keep it in place. It will attract scratches and will develop a patina over time, but that will only make it look better. I also have tested and like Grovemade’s Leather Mouse Pad ($120), which has a slot to store your pen. 

Laptop running out of storage? Or maybe you just tend to transfer a ton of files from device to device. We’ve picked out a few portable storage options from our Best Portable Storage and Best USB Flash Drive guides.

Crucial X6

Photograph: Crucial

This is our current favorite portable storage drive. It’s fairly priced for the amount of storage you get, and while it’s not the fastest we tested, it’s still speedy. It’s also lightweight, but it’s also a bit plasticky and might not survive many tumbles. 

This is the speediest portable solid-state storage drive we tested. It’s lightweight, IP55-rated for protection against light rain, and there’s a carabiner loop if you want to keep it hooked to your backpack. We also like the Samsung T7 if you’re looking for another alternative—it was our previous top pick for anyone looking for the fastest drive. 

This is the drive you want if you’re backing up your machine every day. Four terabytes is a lot of space, but there are tons of capacities to choose from, all the way up to a staggering 18 TB. The reason it’s so affordable? This is a hard drive, not a modern solid-state drive. That essentially means it’s much slower at transferring data. It’s best for overnight transfers.  

This is our top flash drive pick. It’s speedy, affordable, and durable. You plug the USB-A end into your machine to transfer files into its 128 gigs of space (storage options go up to 1 terabyte). If you need a USB-C flash drive, we recommend this Kingston one, and the SanDisk iXpand is your best bet if you need a drive with a Lightning and USB-C plug.  

Headphones Can Help You Focus

A good pair of headphones can tune the world out. We have a ton of recommendations in our Best Wireless Headphones, Best Cheap Headphones, Best Noise-Canceling Headphones, and Best Wirefree Earbuds guides. I’ve selected some of our top picks here.

Back Bay Audio Tempo 30

Photograph: Back Bay

WIRED editor Adrienne So says she feels bad recommending any other wireless workout buds after trying the Tempo 30 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). They’re inexpensive yet IPX7 sweatproof and durable, and they have pretty good battery life. They’re on the bassy side of the audio spectrum, and they’re not the best for phone calls, but they’re nearly impossible to beat for the price if you want to go wireless.

Cheap doesn’t have to mean bad, and these earbuds are a good example. They sound decent and come in a ton of fun colors. There’s a single button you can press to control music playback or answer calls.

These corded cans are a bit plasticky, but they’re simple and affordable, and they deliver surprisingly good sound. The bass isn’t too heavy, so music doesn’t sound muddled.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Photograph: Sony

Sony is back at it again with yet another pair of class-leading wireless headphones that are comfy, lightweight, and sleek and sound fantastic. The WH-1000XM5 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) have some of the best noise-canceling tech you’ll find for the money, not to mention 30-hour battery life with noise-canceling turned on. (The 2020 WH-1000XM4 is still a good deal if you see it for $250 or less.)

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro (8/10, WIRED Recommends) have been my everyday headphones for nearly a year now, and it’s hard to go back to anything else. They are irresistibly comfy—I rarely feel my ears heat up, even after long listening sessions—and they produce excellent sound, especially in games. I’ve connected them via the included GameDAC, which connects to your PC, but you can also hook them up via Bluetooth (and to multiple devices simultaneously). My favorite feature? I’ve never plugged ’em in to recharge. Instead, I just pop out the battery and pop in the spare that’s kept inside the GameDAC (usually once every four days), meaning I never have to wait when it’s dead. It’s awesome. The only downside? The retractable mic doesn’t sound great.

Beats Fit Pro

Photograph: Beats

It doesn’t matter if you have an Android phone or iPhone, these buds (9/10, WIRED Recommends) will work really well on either. (That includes Macs and Windows machines too.) They’re comfortable, deliver great sound and noise cancellation, and have great battery life. Best of all, they stay secure in your ears thanks to the built-in ear fins, so you can take them from your desk to the gym. They do work best with Apple devices; if you’re on Android, check out Google’s Pixel Buds Pro. 

Sometimes you can’t block the world out. Maybe you need to keep tabs on the kids in the next room or you’re waiting for a knock at the door. If that’s you, these comfortable corded headphones are the ones to buy. The open-back design lets sound in, allowing you to hear what’s going on in the real world without needing to raise a cup above your ear, but music still sounds great. 

Computer Speakers Also Work

If you’re alone at home frequently, you don’t necessarily need headphones. Speakers will let you blast tunes as you’re cranking out work. 

Presonus Eris E3.5 studio monitor speakers 

Photograph: Presonus

These will take up some room on your desk, but it’s a good trade-off. They sound great for the price and have powerful bass.

These speakers have been pumping out tunes on my desk for more than a year, and they’re absolutely fantastic. They can get scary loud, but they sound well-balanced, with satisfying bass that never gets too muddled. I’ve connected them via a cord, but you can also use Bluetooth to connect them to other devices. They’re not as massive as the Presonus, but they’ll still take up some room on your desk.

WIRED reviewer Eric Ravenscraft says these speakers (8/10, WIRED Recommends) sound incredible and are usable for home theaters. You have tons of connectivity options, from Bluetooth to optical, and you get two speakers and a subwoofer for that extra bass (which can be a bit too powerful sometimes). The built-in RGB lights are a nice touch if you like that kind of thing.

A Good Webcam Helps If You Zoom

The webcam in your laptop probably outputs potato quality. If you’re video-calling often, it might be better to get a dedicated webcam, especially if you’re on a desktop. Read our Best Webcams guide for all our top picks. For other ideas, check out our guides on how to turn your phone into a webcam and how to turn your camera into a webcam. 

Razer Kiyo X

Photograph: Razer

This is our favorite webcam for most people. Its automatic white balance and color saturation are excellent right out of the box, and the image quality is sharp. It focuses quickly too. You can affix it on top of your laptop or monitor with the included mount. Too bad it doesn’t come with a privacy cover.

I used this webcam for more than a year, and it never gave me any trouble. It looks dated, but it offers 1080p HD video quality and does a decent job exposing my face against a bright window. Unfortunately, there’s no privacy shutter, but since it can rotate 360 degrees, I turn the camera toward a wall when I’m not using it. 

Already got an iPhone? If you’ve updated it to iOS 16 and updated your MacBook to MacOS Ventura, then you don’t need a fancy webcam. You’ll be able to automatically choose your iPhone as a camera source and this Belkin mount will let you affix it to the top of your MacBook (provided you have a MagSafe iPhone). The picture quality will be leagues ahead of what’s in your MacBook. No wires needed. There’s even a version for Mac displays.

Obsbot Tiny 4K AI Webcam

Photograph: Obsbot

This is the main webcam I’ve been using for well more than a year, and I really like it. It’s a camera that can follow your face around, so it’s perfect for anyone who needs to make presentations in front of a whiteboard. A palm gesture to the camera will have it track you (pretty well!), and repeating the gesture will lock the camera in place. It has a really wide view, but you can use a gesture to zoom in on your face (or use Obsbot’s desktop app to control the zoom and gimbal). The best part? Video quality. Even when I crop in on myself, I still look sharp due to the 4K resolution. Colors are also nice, though you might need to turn off the auto white balance as it tends to run warm. Check out the Insta360 Link (8/10, WIRED Recommends) for another similarly great pan-tilt-zoom webcam with a bit more finesse.

Photograph: Lume Cube

Whether you’re video-calling a colleague on the other side of the world at night or you need to film a video for work, this compact light from Lume Cube can help brighten things up. It’s not a webcam but can work alongside one. You can also use it with DSLRs, as it comes with a cold shoe mount. But you can also attach it to almost any tripod or a desk mount like this one. It gets decently bright for such a small thing, but my top complaint is that the battery doesn’t last long—about an hour at full brightness. It recharges quickly via USB-C, and you can change the color temperature of the light. I also like the Panel Pro ($170), which gets brighter, has longer battery life, and can change colors.

A Microphone Is Useful for Video Chats

You don’t need a microphone, because the one in your laptop or wireless headphones should suffice, but if you’ve gotten comments on your microphone’s quality in video calls, then it’s a sound investment. Check out our Best Podcasting Gear guide for more recommendations.

Blue Snowball Ice USB Mic

Photograph: Blue

Blue microphones are notable for their quality and reliability. I’ve been using a Blue Yeti for more than six years, but it’s more than what most people need. Get the cheaper Snowball Ice instead. It will make a dramatic difference over your built-in microphones, and it’s a plug-and-play solution, no special software needed. The Jlab Talk Go USB Mic ($38) is also another good beginner option.

The Nano is a good upgrade over the Snowball if your budget can stretch. It’s my current default USB mic. You can use it in cardioid (directly in front of you) or omni (all directions) modes, and the quality is pretty darn clear. It’s relatively compact and lightweight, and it plugs into your computer via a USB-A cable. You can use the included stand or use the threads at the bottom to mount it to your desk via an arm mount.

This is spendy, but it’s very versatile, and I love the retro design. Plug it into your phone (with a dongle) and you can use it as a compact on-the-go mic. Or use it as a stand-alone recorder and record to its 8 gigabytes of internal storage. You can plug in earbuds to listen back. There are buttons for increasing the playback volume, pausing, skipping recordings, and to turn on a noise-canceling mode to silence ambient sounds when you record. It has a built-in stand, but you can easily take it off and attach it to a boom arm. 

HyperX Quadcast S

Photograph: HyperX

My colleague Eric Ravenscraft says the HyperX QuadCast (8/10, WIRED Recommends) dethrones the top-end Blue Yeti mics. There’s a touch-sensitive pad at the top that can mute the mic, and this turns off all the RGB lights to indicate it’s muted, in case you’re paranoid. It connects via USB-C, so you don’t need to use a dongle with most modern laptops, and most importantly, the mic quality is great out of the box. 

Rather than getting a dedicated microphone, you can get a headset like this one with a (detachable) built-in mic, recommended by WIRED Gear team members Jeffrey Van Camp and Jaina Grey. It comes in a wireless version too (8/10, WIRED Recommends).

VPNs, Password Managers, and Wi-Fi Routers

Your employer uses a myriad of tools to keep its digital business safe and speedy at the office. But how about at home? These will help. For more recommendations, check our many product guides, like the Best VPNs, Best Password Managers, Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers, and Best Wi-Fi Routers for more. Our How to Buy a Router guide may also be of use. 

Surfshark VPN

Courtesy of Surfshark

If your work doesn’t provide you with a virtual private network to keep your internet traffic away from prying eyes, it’s worth investing in one. This is our favorite VPN for most people. It doesn’t log any of your data, and there are apps for nearly every platform.

Look. We get it. Passwords are a horrible, broken concept. But you really should make sure you’re using strong, secure ones. A password manager can help you keep track of them, and our favorite is 1Password. It stores and encrypts your passwords so no one can access them. It can act as an authenticator, plus it has tight integration with Android, iPhone/iPad, web browsers, and other operating systems.

Having reliable Wi-Fi throughout your home is important. We prefer mesh Wi-Fi systems for most people because they’re incredibly easy to set up and maintain, and this model from TP-Link is one of the best for people on a budget. You get three nodes to set around your home for broad coverage, with two Ethernet ports per router, and there is a good number of parental controls.

This is the top pick in our Best Routers guide. It supports the Wi-Fi 6 standard and did a great job blanketing a 1,600-square-foot home in our tests (though connectivity slightly dropped in the garden). The network remains stable, it’s speedy, and it has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The TP-Links Tether app lets you view traffic, create a guest network, and split bands. It’s a feature-filled, reliable router for a good price. 

Why work in the dark? These WIRED-tested snazzy desk lamps will illuminate your workspace. 

BenQ ScreenBar Computer LED Lamp

Photograph: BenQ

I consider my life changed after I installed the ScreenBar. Having my workspace light up so clearly is something I never knew I needed. The light hangs on the top of your monitor and doesn’t interfere with the screen. You can have it automatically dim, but you’ll need to change the color temperature yourself with the touch-sensitive buttons at the top. It balances with a counterweight and works perfectly above my ultrawide monitor. 

This high-tech lamp lights up my desk pretty well, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve. There’s a wireless charger at the base, and I’ve tested it with iPhones and Android phones. Use it to top up your phone during the day, or use the USB-A port on the back to recharge another device. There are multiple temperature settings to match the LEDs to your room’s ambient lighting, a timer to have it automatically turn off, and six brightness levels so you don’t blast your eyes with bright white light. Oh, and the hinge is quite adjustable, so much so that you can pack the lamp flat when it’s not in use. I have also tested and like the clamp version of this lamp ($28), which doesn’t have a wireless charging base but takes up a lot less room. 

This Lume Cube light attaches to your desk via a clamp and functions similarly to the Humanscale Nova above, except its hinges don’t move as smoothly. It has some resistance so it can take a little more effort to move the light where you need it, but it gets bright and is effective. You can change the color temperature and brightness here, though there’s no motion sensor. At least it’s much more affordable. 

First dreamed up by the Norwegian textile magnate Jac Jacobsen and the British automotive designer George Carwardine, the L-1 lamp has achieved iconic status, selling in the tens of millions since its 1937 debut. The design is enduringly elegant: a jointed armature supported by a quartet of long springs. The tension of the springs is tuned so that the head of the lamp can be repositioned with very little effort, but it stays firmly place when you take your hand away. The L-1 is a favorite of architects, designers, and creative professionals everywhere, not only because its maneuverability allows light to be directed precisely where it’s needed, but also because the thing is just so lovely to look at. Luxo recently began fitting the L-1 with long-lasting LED bulbs, one of the only upgrades it’s ever needed. Choose between an edge-clamp base for work tables and standing desks, or a weighted base for larger tables or for use as an accent light. The L-1’s success has birthed a flood of imitators, so whether you’re shopping for a new or vintage model, take pains to make sure your Luxo is legit.

What helps me get into a good workflow is my desk. If it’s messy, my mind’s not right. If it’s too boring, I’ll stay up until 3 am reorganizing it until I like it. It’s important! From cable organizers to plants to headphone stands, these items may help you get into the right mood every morning.

Harber London Leather Desk Mat

Photograph: Harber London

For something a little smaller, this elegant full-grain leather mat is wonderfully supple and soft. There’s a cut-through hole for a cable, and wool felt on the underside to protect your desktop. It comes in a few different sizes and colors. 

It’s made of polyurethane leather, but this mat feels quite nice and comes in an array of fun colors. Uniquely, the colors are different on each side of the mat, so if you get bored with purple, flip it to have a pink desk mat. It’s attractive, smooth, and easy to clean, too.

I tried the extra-large version of this desk pad, which essentially covers the surface of your desk in this beautifully supple linoleum. It’s very easy to clean, doesn’t slide around thanks to the cork bottom, and just plain looks gorgeous. If this color doesn’t suit you, Grovemade has a ton of other desk pad options in different colors and materials.

You don’t need to spend so much just to get a nice desk mat. This Monoprice microfiber mat isn’t much to look at, but it’s soft, doubles as a mouse pad, and does the job just fine.  

Satechi Wireless Charging Headphone Stand

Photograph: Satechi

This aluminum headphone stand has a wireless charging base, giving you a two-in-one combo (who doesn’t love that?). It looks stylish and the wireless charger supports MagSafe, so it will work especially well with MagSafe iPhones. Got an Android phone? I’ve liked and tested Oakywood’s wireless charging headphone stand, which is just as attractive. 

You can plop your phone down on this wireless charging stand so you can still see the screen as you work. It’s plasticky but dirt cheap. We have tons of other options in our Best Wireless Chargers guide, from marble and wood chargers to leather and linen.

Need to clear up some space when you’re not working? This compact stand from Satechi will do the trick. It doesn’t slide around, nor does it tip over. The build quality is great. If you’re after a different aesthetic, I also like this solid wood dock from Oakywood. The steel base helps it stay in place, and the inner area is covered by felt to prevent scratches. There’s a single-slot version if you just have one laptop.

Woozoo Oscillating Vortex

Photograph: Iris USA

If your room runs hot, get a desk fan! This Woozoo has cooled my small office surprisingly well, and there are five speeds you can choose from. (It’s not terribly loud either.) It oscillates, has a nifty remote, and looks positively adorable, especially in pink. 

Chances are you’ll have a mix of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, beer, and many other beverages around your desk throughout the day. I really like using this sandstone coaster for them. It’s heavy, so it doesn’t randomly slide away, and the rough texture means your drink won’t drift off too easily. It’s attractive too!

Photograph: Speks

Much to the detriment of my partner, I’ve been cradling these magnetic balls (sorry) in my palms and they’re pretty dang satisfying to move around. Sure, you can use them as a paperweight, but they’re best used as a fidget spinner of sports. The problem is they’re quite loud when you’re shifting the balls around, so try not to disturb the folks that are around you. 

A candle can help make your space feel more relaxing. This brand is a favorite of several WIRED staffers, and you can get a sampler to try before you buy. Check out our Ways to Stay Calm guide for more options.

Satechi Aluminum Desktop Tablet Stand

Photograph: Satechi

Got a tablet? Why leave it lying flat on your desk when you could prop it up? I really like this stand from Satechi. It holds my 12.9-inch iPad Pro with no issues, and you can adjust it to various angles. It’s lightweight enough to take it from room to room too.

Once you stick these on your desk, you probably won’t be able to reuse them—they’re hard to pry off, and the adhesive won’t be as strong the second time you set it down—so pick your position carefully. Otherwise, they keep cables in place, just as promised. 

Plants are important. They can reduce stress and improve productivity. I’ve had a Gardenuity money tree in my home for more than two years, and it creates a vibe. It’s not tiny but medium-sized, though this can depend on the plant. Gardenuity gives you watering instructions and sunlight recommendations, and so far my plant hasn’t withered, which is a big step for me! 

Brother HL-L2350DW

Photograph: Adorama

If you frequently print documents at the office, here’s a home option. You can print wirelessly via Wi-Fi, but it prints only in black and white. I have a mesh router, so I had to connect it to my guest Wi-Fi, which runs on the 2.4-GHz band, for the printer to talk with my computer wirelessly (which means I need to switch to my guest Wi-Fi before I print). See below if you need to print in color.

It was remarkably easy to set up this Inkjet printer, even the Wi-Fi connectivity, but I’ve largely used the mobile app to print with it by tapping on the NFC sensor with the back of my phone. I can print documents in no time and the quality is great. 

Rollo Wireless Thermal Printer

Photograph: Rollo

The Rollo is spendy but it has Wi-Fi connectivity and lets you print directly from your phone or laptop. It also required zero driver installations or much setup on my part—just plug it into your computer and let it do its thing. You get a stack of thermal labels in the box, and you can use Rollo’s app to process all your shipping yourself. Lately, I’ve just sent pre-cropped labels from my phone to the printer and it auto-crops them, making things even simpler. 

The only things I ever really print are shipping labels. Rather than paying $2 at a print store, get this. With thermal labels there’s no fussing with ink—the printer uses heat to print. Make sure to grab the right driver from iDPRT’s website. Once you install it, you’ll need to crop your shipping label PDF to cut out the stuff that’s not needed (or you can try and download them in the 4 x 6-inch size). Follow the instructions to make sure your print settings match the size of the paper, and that should do it. Stick it on your package and send it away! If your labels are showing up as blank, flip the thermal paper over (the printing side matters). 

Other Helpful Accessories and Gadgets

These other miscellaneous items aren’t necessary but might help your workflow.

Skylight Calendar

Photograph: Skylight

This is essentially a mini-tablet that displays your calendar (it supports a variety, like Google and Outlook). It’s totally unnecessary—unless you’re like me and like to have a dedicated screen that always shows what’s next on the agenda. You can mount this on a wall or keep it propped up at your desk; it supports touchscreen input, but the interface is a little slow. I tend not to interact with it much and just use it as a way to quickly glance at my schedule. You can add your entire family’s calendar accounts here, and you can add calendar events on the display itself, but these won’t sync to your other devices unless you use Skylight’s companion Android or iOS app.  

If you need a physical place to jot down your ideas (and you miss your office’s whiteboard), stick this sheet to your wall. It took me less than five minutes to install, and it’s easy to wipe off dry-erase or permanent markers with some water and a cloth. Use a straight edge to cut it, or you’ll end up with a crooked whiteboard. Alternatively, I’ve started to really enjoy using the ReMarkable 2 E-Ink tablet for jotting down my to-do list, but it’s egregiously expensive. We’ve also rounded up our favorite paper planners in case you prefer the old-school approach.

These rollerblade wheels are an easy upgrade to your office chair’s casters. They’ll glide across any surface without making scuffs, and they’re quiet. They fit most office chairs; just pop out the old casters and pop these in. 

Vitrazza Glass Desk Mat

Photograph: Vitrazza

Mats can help protect your floors from your chair’s wheels, but they can also help you move around if you’re sitting on the carpet. You don’t need an expensive glass mat, but I’ve been sitting on this one for several months and it’s great. It stays nice and cool, supports up to 1,000 pounds, and still looks pristine. Vitrazza has multiple sizes you can choose from, and various shapes.

WIRED reviewer Louryn Strampe recommends this height-adjustable footrest, saying it’s ideal for people who spend hours at a time at their desk. The plush cover is machine washable.

Don’t have Bluetooth on your PC? Worry not! This cheap adapter will do the trick. Just plug it into a free USB-A slot and you can pair up to seven Bluetooth devices, from your keyboard and mouse to headphones. It’s worked reliably for me ever since my Bluetooth card stopped working in my gaming PC, just don’t take your Bluetooth devices too far from the machine as the range isn’t all that great.  

Kingsmith WalkingPad A1 Pro

Photograph: Walking Pad

If the under-desk bike takes up too much room, then give this under-desk treadmill a try. It’s much more expensive, but WIRED’s Arielle Pardes liked it so much she wrote about it. She logged 8 miles walking on it on the very first day, all while responding to Slacks, emails, and more.

The worst part of working from home is losing access to the office coffee machine. Unless it was a crappy Keurig. Then yay! But if you miss the coffees you regularly grabbed on your way to work, it’s worth investing in a decent system at home. This affordable pick in our Best Espresso Machines guide makes pretty great espresso for the money. There’s even a steam wand to make lattes and cappuccino. Remember, fresh coffee beans are the first step to improving your coffee at home. You can get fresh beans delivered to your door through subscription services like Trade Coffee or one of the many we’ve rounded up here. Don’t forget a grinder!

Make sure you set clear boundaries for when you start and stop working. Get dressed in the morning so you feel ready for work, make sure the TV is off so you’re not distracted, and, when you’re done for the day, turn off the computer if you can—or at least close your work-related tabs. Disable notifications at quitting time in work apps like Slack. iPhones and Android phones have special Focus modes you can use to keep out distractions.

If your eyes feel tired because you’ve been looking at a computer screen all day, don’t feel like you have to splurge on blue-light filtering glasses. The science on whether they work isn’t sound. Instead, follow the American Optometric Association’s 20-20-20 rule to prevent digital eye strain. Every 20 minutes you should take a 20-second break to look at something up to 20 feet away. You can also try software tools to reduce the amount of blue light emitted from screens at night to see if that helps you sleep. Windows, Macs, Android, and iOS devices—even some ebook readers—have this feature.

Sitting all day is not good for your health. Get up more often. Set a timer for every 30 minutes to stretch or walk around. A smartwatch is sufficient for delivering automatic alerts when you’ve been sedentary for too long. Something like the Cubii Pro, while expensive, might be a good way to get the legs moving. We’ve collected some advice here on setting up your desk ergonomically For exercise suggestions, check out our guide on how to work out from home.

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