In the present work-from-home scenario during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to keep your home office setup well-equipped and efficient. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to buy the lightest, thinnest, or most stylish items for this purpose. What you need is a set of functional, comfortable, and reliable tools in the space where you work. Of course, it is a nice bonus if they are visually appealing as well.
Whether you have a dedicated office space, a desk, or are left working in your bedroom, you should invest in certain items that will provide comfort. As a result, you will be able to focus more on your work and achieve better results. Even if you don’t have a lot of space available at home, you can still have an efficient and comfortable work-from-home setup.
For that purpose, I have compiled a list of the best home office tech and apps presently available in the market. Many people have tried and tested these products, and they are guaranteed to serve you well even in a cramped space. I hope this article helps you stay organized and work efficiently whether you are a freelancer or self-quarantining.
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A Standing Desk
A good desk is an essential component of an efficient home office. I recommend getting a standing desk because some studies have shown that sitting for more than eight hours a day can have adverse effects on one’s health. Moreover, modern standing desks are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for giving you a wholesome working experience.
Also see: Guide to Perfect Study Tables
Here are some great options for you to consider:
FlexiSpot’s E9 is an excellent standing desk that you can consider, as long as your budget allows. It allows you to adjust its height between 28.7 inches and 48.4 inches. Thus, you will be able to find the optimal level for your comfort. You can easily change its position with the help of the up and down buttons on the desk’s right-side panel. It also allows you to save height presets into this panel’s memory for easier access.
The FlexiSpot E9 is 48 inches long, 24 inches wide, and can readily hold a weight of up to 110 pounds. You won’t have any issues fitting your desktop and other accessories on top of the desk. It is very easy to assemble, taking no more than five minutes on average. You just need to insert the lifting columns into the factory-install crossbeam and attach the feet. The desk also comes with four anti-collision sensitivity levels, which you can adjust according to your requirements.
Several renowned experts and reviewers recommend this quality product from VertDesk. It is versatile and moves up and down smoothly. It can also hold a weight of up to 275 pounds, allowing you to keep several monitors on the top simultaneously. The desk is highly customizable; you can add items like power strips, casers, a monitor arm, a keyboard tray, and much more to it.
Most importantly, the desk comes with a highly advanced voice control feature. This allows you to adjust the desk’s height without having to press any button. With the help of the VertDesk app, you can program four one-touch preset heights and use a simple voice command to execute them. The desk also boasts of improved collision detection by virtue of VertDesk’s GyroSense technology.
A large, high-resolution monitor
If you want to improve your productivity, you should plug your computer into an external monitor. It significantly expands your digital workspace and considerably improves your work experience at home. However, choosing a good one from the various models out there might be hard.
I have listed some of the best computer monitors down below.
This simple 1080p monitor is one of the most economically priced models available in the market. Its generous 23.8” IPS display shows even the tiniest of details vividly and clearly. Also, you won’t notice any significant color difference from any viewing angle. Its brushed hairline finish stand will go well with any environment, and the zero frame design gives you a great visual experience without restrictions.
The monitor also supports DVI, HDMI, and VGA inputs, allowing you to connect it to your tablet or smartphone conveniently. Acer’s Flicker-less technology removes irritating flickering effects and protects your eyes using a blue light filter. The Acer EcoDisplay design has been specially constructed with environment-friendliness and energy efficiency in mind. However, the monitor is not compatible with the VESA mounting system. As a result, you cannot put it up on a wall or an arm mount.
This is another excellent 1080p IPS monitor that is available at a reasonable price. It comes with an ergonomic stand, inbuilt speakers, and a strikingly ultrathin design. It is an especially good choice for projects that need landscape and portrait mode rotation. The monitor also features 178 degrees positional viewing angle, which ensures quality regardless of your seating arrangement.
Unlike the Acer R240HY, this monitor is readily compatible with the VESA mounting system. You can easily mount the display on an arm bracket or wall using the 100m VESA mounting pattern present on the back of the monitor arm. Using the HDMI cord included with the monitor, you can connect it to your Windows, Mac, or any laptop. However, keep in mind that your computer’s video card should support 1920 × 1080 at 60 Hz. It also needs to include an HDMI or VGA output to drive the monitor in the required mode.
The Asus VA24EHE is a sleekly built and colorful IPS monitor with a remarkably sharp and bright screen. It features a 75 Hz refresh rate and 5 ms (GTG) response time, along with adaptive sync for eliminating choppy framerates and screen tearing. By virtue of its frameless design, the monitor has an impeccable multi-display setup view. Its 178-degree wide-viewing angle panel is paired with an ergonomic tilt. This gives the viewer a much better and immersive viewing experience.
Asus’ efficient Eye Care technology utilizes flicker-free and blue light filter technology to significantly reduce stress on your eyes. The monitor comes with D-Sub, DVI-D, and HDMI ports for optimal connectivity. It is also compatible with the VESA mounting system. As a bonus, you can have a great gaming experience with the help of Asus’ exclusive game plus crosshair and timer.
This product is much larger than the other monitors we’ve seen so far. It boasts of an ultrathin profile (6.5 mm at its thinnest) and a much higher resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 pixels, which gives 1.77 times more details than Full HD. It can be readily mounted and also supports HDR for optimal colors on certain apps. It is also readily adjustable; you can tilt, pivot, and swivel it to adjust the height according to your needs.
The Dell S2719 is a TUV Certified monitor with a flicker-free screen and ComfortView. The latter is a technology for reducing blue light emissions, optimizing eye comfort over an extended period. Its borderless design with InfinityEdge allows you to enjoy a flawless view of your content over several monitors. You can conveniently organize various applications using templates on the Dell Display Manager software.
Do you sit in front of your computer for long periods and find yourself wanting more screen space? If yes, then you should consider going for this ultrawide monitor from LG. It comes with a stunning 2,560 × 1,080 resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, DisplayPort and HDMI inputs, and a remarkably fast response time. It is also an excellent choice if you happen to be an avid gamer with a preference for fast-paced games.
Being an ultrawide monitor, the LG 34UM69G also opens up a plethora of possibilities when it comes to multitasking. It allows you to run two full-side browser widows alongside each other or another application. For this reason, it is one of the top preferences of many Gear team members. Its AMD FreeSync feature decreases the stuttering that takes place between the monitor’s refresh rate and your graphic card’s frame rate.
A mount for your monitor
If you have limited desk space available, a monitor arm mount can come in handy to save some of it. Moreover, it can help you reduce the cluttering that takes place because of wires.
This efficient gas-spring adjustable articulating monitor arm allows you to place your monitor wherever you want. With the help of the counterbalanced gas-spring arm, you can conveniently adjust the monitor to a comfortable position. Apart from reducing clutter on your desk, this also minimizes strain on your eyes, shoulders, and neck.
The monitor arm allows smooth movement in almost any direction, including extension or retraction forwards and backward, height up and down, and monitor rotation, swivel, and tilt. It can hold a weight of up to 20 pounds. Unlike most other models out there, it is compatible with larger-sized monitors (up to 34”). Thus, it is a perfect choice for your home office.
This is another efficient VESA-compatible mount available in the market. Although it is only rated to hold up to 11 pounds, many customers have successfully used it to hoist ultrawide monitors as well. Its flexible arm lets you tilt, swivel, extend and rotate your monitor effortlessly. You will be able to position your screen exactly where you want it, and adjust it easily whenever required.
The mount comes with a sturdy C-clamp and grommet mount bases, allowing you to install it in a jiffy. Apart from a suspended display that opens up your desktop, the F7 also comes with a cable management system. This organizes and conceals your wires to keep your desk clutter-free.
Like the Monoprice, this monitor arm can support a weight of up to 20 pounds. It is readily adjustable, VESA-compatible includes inbuilt cable management, and comes with a 5-year warranty. You can use it to elevate your monitor into your natural line of sight, restoring your spine to its natural alignment.
This mount from Amazon has received glowing reviews from the online community. It can hold a weight of up to 25 pounds and is compatible with monitors that are 32 inches or smaller (going by the VESA mount standard). You can extend or retract the arm, tilt to adjust reading angles, and rotate from landscape to portrait mode easily.
The monitor arm’s tilt range extends from 70 degrees back to 5 degrees forward. It features ergonomic positioning for minimizing strain. It is very easy to set up and VESA-compatible as well. You will avail of an AmazonBasics Limited warranty of one year upon purchasing this product.
This quality monitor stand from Grovemade provides an ergonomic lift and sufficient space to hold up to two monitors simultaneously. It is on the expensive side but is truly beautifully designed. It has been crafted from pristine 15-ply premium hardwood plywood, natural cork, and aluminum. The product’s build is sturdy, long-lasting, and suited to nearly all modern work configurations.
Working from home usually involves extensive typing work. This means that you need to have good quality and highly functional keyboard. People’s preferences tend to vary a lot in this regard. Although many people prefer wireless Bluetooth keyboards now, others tend to stay with traditional wired ones.
Nevertheless, here are my picks for the best keyboards for your home office:
This is a compact, simple, and economically priced Bluetooth keyboard. You will be able to connect up to 3 Bluetooth-enabled simultaneously, including your iPad, iPhone, iMac, MacBook, and so on. It also allows you to switch almost instantaneously between them. It automatically detects your device and, by virtue of its iOS shortcuts, offers a very familiar typing experience to Apple users in particular.
The keyboard requires two AAA batteries to use, but you get about two years of solid battery life. By virtue of the compact keyboard footprint, you will be able to keep a better body posture with less arm reaching. Its scooped, low-profile scissor keys allow you to type in a fluid and quiet manner, akin to typing on a laptop.
The Dell multimedia keyboard is a rather basic but good quality wired keyboard. It is an especially great option if you have a limited budget at hand. Its full-size layout with chiclet-style keys gives you a comfortable and efficient typing experience. With the help of the handy multimedia keys, you will be able to easily access functions like play, rewind, fast-forward, and pause.
The keyboard is sturdily built, composed of flexible materials, and resistant to spills. Moreover, it comes with volume control keys that allow you to adjust your device’s volume easily. It also has a palm rest that you can purchase separately if needed. This is an excellent keyboard for anyone working from their home office.
The Logitech G513 Carbon is a state-of-the-art RGB mechanical keyboard with a most elegant design. It is one of the quietest keyboards you will find in the market, something that contrasts intriguingly with its 16.8 M RGB lighting. Every individual key comes with Itspersonalized lighting. You can also customize lighting effects according to your preferences. You can use the FN-F keys to adjust volume, skip tracks, toggle lighting, play, and pause, mute, and perform various other functions.
The keyboard also features a memory foam palm rest to provide optimal comfort to your hand while typing. Its USB pass-through port makes it very easy to plug in your phone, flash drive, or mouse for charging or exchanging data. The G513’s aircraft-grade 5052 aluminum top case is exquisite in appearance and offers high durability.
This excellent wireless mechanical keyboard from Keychron promises optimal performance and high durability. It incorporates sophisticated hot-swappable optical switches to customize the per-key typing experience conveniently. By virtue of its Bluetooth 5.1 chipset, you will be able to connect it easily to your laptop, iPad, or smartphone. Its streamlined aluminum body is 40% slimmer than other conventional models.
The Keychron K3 is readily compatible with both Windows and macOS. It is one of the very few keyboards that feature a handy Mac multimedia keys layout for Mac users. It also comes with numerous RGB backlight settings and allows you to adjust the brightness as you wish. When you step away from your computer, the keyboard automatically goes into a sleep state to conserve power.
If you own an Apple computer or tablet, then this is a great wireless keyboard to go with it. It is slim, lightweight, and can connect to up to 3 compatible devices wirelessly using Bluetooth. You can readily switch between connected devices with the tap of a button.
It features an extensive QWERTY layout along with macOS keys. These keys are backlit, allowing you to use them easily in dimly lit settings as well. You can recharge the keyboard through its USB Type-C port. Once you do so, the charge usually lasts well over a week before you need to plug it in again.
You might’ve felt uneasy and cramped while working on your laptop. In that case, you should consider getting a computer mouse to make your work easier. A mouse is much more convenient to use than a trackpad. If you are suffering from wrist pain, you could try purchasing a gaming mouse. Of course, you cannot do without a mouse if you’re using a desktop.
I’ve listed some of my favorite computer mice down below.
The Logitech G305 is equipped with Lightspeed wireless technology for an amazingly fast, 1-millisecond response time that is on par with wired mice. It is just the right size to fit into your hand, feels comfortable, and comes with a smooth scroll wheel. It is remarkably power-efficient and, with a single AA battery, stays functional for up to 250 hours.
The mouse is highly portable and weighs only 99 grams. It comes with inbuilt storage for the included USB wireless receiver. You can use this mouse with G-Hub or the Logitech Gaming Software. Although it is mostly advertised as a gaming mouse, the G305 is a great choice for your home office setup as well.
The HyperX Pulsefire Surge is another high-precision gaming mouse that is an excellent option for working setups as well. Its pixel 3389 sensor offers to pinpoint accuracy, whole its unique light ring produces dazzling 360 RGB lighting effects. You can adjust your DPI settings up to 16,000 DPI for optimal precision. The mouse also comes with efficient Omron switches that allow your clicks to register as soon as you press the buttons.
You can personalize the Pulsefire using the HyperX Ingenuity software. It lets you set individual LED colors and select from a wide range of effects. You will be able to save up to three profiles and assign your macro keys using six programmable buttons. The mouse also possesses expansive skates, providing a controlled and smooth glide.
This extremely lightweight and ergonomic mouse is notable for its unique ambidextrous design, featuring buttons on both sides. As a result, it is a great choice for both left and right-handed people. It has long been considered to be one of the best gaming mice in existence. Its state-of-the-art TrueMove Pro sensor provides optimal tracking on all kinds of surfaces. Its build is highly durable and has been designed to withstand even the most stressful of forces.
Another notable feature of the SteelSeries Sensei is its tilt tracking. Even when you change your mouse’s position by picking it up and putting it down at tilted angles, its TrueMove Pro sensor remains consistent and removes tracking errors. Its durable dual-spring mechanism guarantees up to 60 million clicks. The mouse’s material is structurally firm and maintains a lightweight form factor to minimize hand fatigue.
If you are new to the concept of working from home, you might get distracted by unfamiliar sounds. Although speakers can drown out such sounds, they might disturb your family members or neighbors. A pair of good-quality noise-canceling headphones can tune the world out and help you focus better on your work.
Here are some of the best products for you to consider in this regard.
Shure’s AONIC 50 headphones are among the best-sounding pairs presently available in the market. They are undoubtedly expensive, but for a good reason. By virtue of their massive, 50 mm drivers, they are optimized to deliver pristine sound quality. Although over-ear headphones are much larger and heavier than earbuds, the AONIC 50’s come with plentiful padding around the band and on the ear cups.
The headphones come with two levels of noise cancellation (normal and max), and eleven levels of transparency. The latter lets you specify how many outside sounds you’d prefer to have filtered into the headphones through its microphones. It is a good option when you wear these headphones outside, whereas the noise cancellation modes will come in handy in your home office. Go for this product if you want a truly distraction-free working experience at home.
This new product from Sony is one of the most efficient noise-canceling headsets available in the market. It doesn’t matter whether you want to tune out the heavy construction noises outside your house or your family’s conversations while working; this set’s Dual Noise Sensor technology will do the job efficiently and give you pristine sound quality. They allow you to hear every word and note with crystal-clear clarity.
The WH-1000XM4 also features additional microphones that eliminate background noises when you’re talking on the phone. This gives you better call quality and does away with even more high and mid-frequency sounds. The set gives you up to 30 hours of battery life with fast charging capabilities – 10 minutes of charge for around 5 hours of playback. It also allows you to have conversations in hands-free mode with its speak-to-chat feature.
At times, you cannot afford to block out all the sounds from your surroundings. For example, you might be waiting for an important call or keeping an ear out for your kids in the house. In that case, the Sennheiser HDD 650 is the product you should go for. These comfortable corded headphones feature an open-back design, which allows you to hear sounds in the outside world without distracting from whatever you’re listening to.
The set boasts of a balanced midrange and very natural-sounding bass. It can be manually disassembled to its components parts, all of which are readily replaceable. If need be, you can also go for the optional 2.5 mm balanced cables to plug in your HD 650 headphones to 2.5 mm compatible digital audio players. It is a great choice for people working in a quieter office and home environment.
Most people looking for wireless earbuds are interested in buying Apple’s AirPods. If the same holds for you, then you should go for the AirPods Pro. Although they are on the expensive side, they come with outstanding noise-canceling facilities. They also come in three sizes of silicone tips to provide a comfortable fit. These tips come with vents to keep the pressure equalized on both sides of the earbuds.
The set comes with a high dynamic range amplifier, custom speaker driver, and H1 chip to produce exceptional sound quality. You can easily connect it to your iPhone and even have Siri announce your messages. The Wireless Charging Case provides over 24 hours of battery life and is compatible with Qi-certified chargers. This is a lightweight, in-ear set of headphones that readily works with all popular Apple devices.
These 100% wire-free earbuds are reasonably priced and offer much better sound quality, battery life, and comfort than their peers. Although they don’t come with noise-canceling features, they do block out noise like earplugs. The set’s special full-range armature offers higher sensitivity and details across the entire frequency range. Its streamlined ergonomic design provides a secure and comfortable fit that does not stick out from your ears.
These earbuds are also equipped with four microphones and cVc 8.0 environmental noise cancellation technology to give you crystal-clear voice calls. They come with a pocket-sized charging case to allow for optimal portability on the move. The inbuilt infrared sensors automatically pause audio when you remove the earbuds and resume when you put them back on. The earbuds are also resistant to water and sweat, making them a good choice for extended use.
If you happen to live alone, you don’t have to get headphones. A good set of speakers will do the job just fine for you. You can use them to listen to music while working and drown out unwanted sounds outside your house. Let’s take a look at some of the choicest models available in the market.
These desktop speakers have a classy contemporary look that will make your home office look more professional. They offer excellent sound quality and are a great choice for anyone who works remotely. The set comes with a 5-inch bass driver and a 1-inch tweeter, which provide a remarkable amount of depth.
You can use the EQ controls on the back to dial in the sound the way you want. The speakers are also equipped with two sets of line-in ports, Bluetooth support, and an optical out port. Thus, you can easily stream music and audio to them wirelessly. This is a great product for all kinds of home office setups.
The Audioengine A1 is a compact home audio system that produces high-quality stereo sound. You can wirelessly stream audio from any device or app using Bluetooth or directly connect from the aux audio input to your television or computer. This set is notable for its dynamically loud sound; as a matter of fact, you might not want to turn the volume higher than 20. However, the sound is well-balanced and the bass is simply pristine, never sounding muffled.
The A1 is modestly designed to adjust to space limitations. It also includes inbuilt power amps wrapped in hand-crafted cabinets. Considering its sound quality and features, it is quite reasonably priced. After all, you will be getting two high-quality speakers for what most one-box music systems will cost you. It has certainly raised the bar high as far as home audio systems are concerned.
Although this set from Presonus will take up a good amount of space on your desk, it is for a good reason. These are truly outstanding speakers that are used all across the world by professional audio engineers. They allow you to hear even the tiniest of details in recordings with crystal clear clarity. Remarkably, they are compact and you can easily fit them anywhere in your home office.
Eris E3.5’s 3.5-inch woofer reduces time-smearing and produces a much cleaner overall sound. It comes with a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter to produce a refined and smooth aural experience. Its active media monitors give you access to easily adjustable high-and-low frequency controls. The set has three different kinds of audio inputs, making it simple for you to feed audio to your Eris monitors from any line-level source.
Your laptop’s webcam likely produces the awful quality film. If your job requires you to make frequent video calls, you should try to get a dedicated webcam. That is one of the most important things you need to leave a good impression on your listener(s). Given below are some of the best webcams presently available to buy.
This quality product has everything that a good webcam needs to have. It records and streams video in 1080p, allowing people on the other end to see you. Its inbuilt microphones reduce background noise and capture stereo sound efficiently. You can fold the webcam over the front of your laptop’s display, or prop it up on a tripod if you don’t want your computer screen to get in the way.
AUKEY’s webcam readily connects to your device via the USB-A cable attached to the webcam itself. Thus, you needn’t fret about losing it. It is fully compatible with both Windows and macOS and works properly with all popular video conferencing services. You also do not require any additional software to run it on your computer. The only downside is that the colors are somewhat muted, and the camera doesn’t have a very wide angle.
This webcam is also notable for being one of the few readily available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Razer Kiyo has been designed and tested by leading streamers in the field. It is a desktop streaming camera with a robust ring light that you can brighten or dim on command. It maintains even and smooth lighting on you, doing away with harsh shadows. This webcam can stream at 60 fps at 720p and deliver optimal image quality. It comes with an accompanying camera and stand hinge, allowing you to position it on any tripod and monitor. When not using it, you can fold it for convenient storage.
By virtue of the Razer Kiyo’s accurate and fast autofocus feature, you don’t need to continuously worry about keeping steady in front of the webcam. It readily supports streaming on most popular platforms like Xsplit and Open Broadcaster Software. Thus, you can easily use your platform of choice to reach out to your audience. The cam is compact and highly portable, allowing you to take it along in your bag if needed.
This quality Skype-certified HD webcam from Logitech allows you to efficiently stay connected with the outside world in your home office. It features widescreen HD video in 1080p at 30fps and comes with autofocus to keep your conference calls on track. It provides visual clarity even when you are seated close to the webcam or are showing documents or objects to the viewers.
The camera comes with HD light correction and fine-tunes the lighting conditions to produce superior quality images. The inbuilt noise-reducing microphone allows your listeners to hear you even if there are intrusive sounds around you. This webcam can swivel full 360 degrees, giving you enhanced flexibility to get it at the correct angle.
It doesn’t matter whether you are presenting alone from your home office or as a group. The Anker PowerConf C300 comes with facial recognition and depth sensing to ensure that your professional side is kept in the spotlight. Its AI-powered color adjustment and auto white balancing features offer impeccable lighting in unfavorable conditions.
With this webcam, you don’t need to fret about finding the right drivers. You can simply clip the camera to your display or laptop, plug it in, and start streaming right away. It also comes with a privacy cover that you can snap into place and slide over the lens once your meeting is over. It has four different angles of adjustment and can be placed almost anywhere you want.
This isn’t exactly a webcam, but rather a compact light from Lumecube that can go well alongside one. It comes with a cold shoe mount, allowing you to use it with DSLRs as well. However, you can attach it to almost any tripod available in the market.
Considering its small size, it gets surprisingly bright. Unfortunately, its battery only lasts about an hour on full brightness. Nevertheless, it recharges quickly via USB-C and allows you to change the color temperature of the light.
USB adapters, cables, and AC adapters
When plugging your laptop into a monitor, you might have to plug in many more items as well. This could include a keyboard, mouse, SD card reader, or charging cable. In this situation, an adapter will prove to be very useful. You can simply plug it into your laptop and then plug all the other items into it. This makes the process much easier and faster.
I’ve covered some of the best AC adapters and cables down below.
The Symbus Q from Moshi is a compact and stylish hub that offers numerous effective connectivity options. It helps to turn your laptop into a robust workstation in itself. It is equipped with the following ports to help you adapt to various situations easily:
- 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C Power Delivery port
- 1 HDMI port with 4K support
- 1 Gigabit Ethernet port
- 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports
- SD and microSD card readers
You can readily charge this device while working, and quickly transfer images and videos with the SD and microSD card reader. The chassis of the hub secures the integrated USB Type-C connector and keeps it free from tangles. It is powerful enough to recharge power-hungry laptops like the 16-inch MacBook Pro as well.
Have you been bothered by the dongle sticking out of your laptop? If yes, then you can consider going for Plugable’s USB-C dock which can sit horizontally or vertically on your desk. It comes with five USB-A ports, a spot to connect an Ethernet cable, and a mic in and headphone jack. You can use the included USB-C to USB-C cable to hook it up to your laptop. It greatly increases the usability, functionality, and flexibility of supported USB-C systems like the Macs, Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15.
One of the most notable features of this product is its support for power delivery and alternate modes. The latter allows some non-USB protocols and data to be sent over a USB-C cable. On the other hand, power delivery lets you power and charge a supported system without using your laptop’s included charger. You can use the included stand to position the dock in a vertical orientation. This makes it much more flexible for use in your home office.
Anker products are known for their reliability and economic pricing. This dock possesses the same virtues and comes with a wide variety of useful features. You can plug in the USB-C cable into your laptop’s port, and then plug in any of the following:
- Two USB-A devices
- An Ethernet cable
- A USB-C charger for your laptop
- An SD card and microSD card
- An HDMI cable to connect a monitor
It allows you to transfer movies, music, and other files in mere seconds, with superfast data speeds of 5 Gbps.
This powerful cable from Nomad is a great option for people who are looking for cables to charge and connect their devices. It has been meticulously designed for power and is one of the fastest USB-C charging cables for the MacBook Pro and other USB-C devices. It is capable of charging at up to 100W of power and is reinforced with a double-braided Kevlar outer sheath.
The cable’s tough metal alloy connector housings offer additional durability and allow it to withstand the stress of everyday use. It is 1.5m in length, Apple MFi approved and comes with an integrated cable tie. However, you must keep in mind that it has not been designed for high-speed data transfer. It uses USB 2.0 data transfer speeds to allow for longer cable length.
This cable from Nimble is notable for its environment-friendly composition. It has been prepared from aluminum and certified recycled plastic and is BPA and PVC-free as well. However, thanks to its flexible knit fabric design, it is still appreciably sturdy enough. Its durability has been tested to effectively survive more than 10,000 bends.
The cable is available in sizes of one, two, and three meters. It is capable of 60W fast charging and is readily compatible with the iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, and all popular Android devices. It also allows you to transfer marge movie and music files between devices with ease. Its non-directional design allows for a swift and convenient connection. Like all other Nimble products, it comes with a 24-month guarantee as well.
Laptop and phone docks
If you own a smartphone that supports the Qi wireless charging standard, then buying a wireless charger is certainly on the cards. It is also a good option for people who prefer to charge their phones without plugging a cord into them. Using a Qi charger, you can power up your smartphone by simply resting it on the charging pad.
Here are some excellent laptop and phone docks for your consideration.
This model can charge the most popular laptops and even smartphones, such as the iPhone XR, from zero to around 50 percent in an hour. Unlike many other Qi chargers, it comes with a charging stand, wall plug, and cable. Thus, you don’t need anything else to charge your device. You must use the included wall charger because it doesn’t work when plugged into less powerful chargers or most computer USB ports.
The Kensington Laptop Riser with Qi Charging Pad features a modest power-indicator light that is not intrusively bright in a dark room. The charger is also relatively quiet and does not offer distractions of any sort. It is certified to be safe by the Wireless Power Consortium. If any issues do arise, you will have 18 months of warranty and an extra year of protection if you register the charger. The charging stand is minimalistic in design and available in black and white colors to easily blend into most working spaces.
A Thunderbolt dock allows you to connect several peripherals to your computer, as long as it has a Thunderbolt 3 port. CalDigit’s TS3 Plug is the best product in this regard because it comes with much more USB-A ports than its peers. It also offers USB-C ports and an SD card slot without compromising on other necessary inputs. It is one of the most compact models available in the market and takes up very little space on your desk.
The TS3 Plus can send a whipping 85 watts of power to a connected laptop. Thus, it can charge even a 15-inch Macbook Pro at full speed! Admittedly, it is much more expensive than the average dock you will find in the market. However, considering its efficiency and powerful features, it is more than worth the price. If you genuinely need a Thunderbolt 3 dock instead of a USB-C one, this product is a no-brainer.
Storage and backup
Data stored on your laptop, desktop, and other devices are highly volatile. You never know when something unexpected, such as a hard disk crash, happens and leads to partial or complete loss of your precious files. Considering how valuable data is, this can be an utterly devastating event. Data recovery is a highly tedious process that is not guaranteed to work. Thus, it is better that you invest in an efficient storage device for backing up your data beforehand.
Here are some of the best products for data storage presently available in the market.
The Western Digital WD MyBook is one of the best desktop external hard drives out there. It is highly reliable and, for its price, provides excellent speeds for transferring images, movies, music, and other files from your computer. It is available in capacities up to 18 TB and offers plenty of room to store all your important documents.
My Book is equipped with password protection and can be seamlessly paired with Apple Time Machine and WD backup. If this model happens to be out of stock, you can also consider going for the Western Digital Elements 4 TB. That is a reasonably good alternative that is as efficient as the My Book. The only difference is that it has a shorter warranty and doesn’t have the extra backup software included with the My Book.
This is a lightweight and slim portable hard drive that offers fast read and write times at an economic price. It is an excellent choice for backing up vital files and compact enough to take along on journeys. It is also extremely reliable; across 9,000 reviews, it only has a failure rate of 6.5 percent. Compared to other hard drives in this price range, it is remarkably faster and one of the least expensive drives per terabyte.
The Backup Plus Slim offers read and write speeds of 87.8 Mbps and 86.8 Mbps respectively. It also comes with useful backup software that makes it much easier for you to back up important files from your computer and smartphone. It offers 200 GB of free OneDrive storage for two years as well. The Backup Plus Slim’s long-term reliability is by far its strongest virtue and makes it a highly recommended option for data storage.
If you work from home, you should try to have offsite backup apart from a local backup on your external hard drive. Backblaze is one of the lowest-priced backup services you will find in the market. It has all the necessary features you’d expect from an offsite backup, apart from certain cool additional features. These include deduplication and the ability to back up external hard drives.
Backblaze is extremely easy and convenient to set up. Once the installation process is complete, you don’t need to interact with the app anymore. It makes for a very friendly experience, and the software works readily with both Windows and Mac. Backblaze then runs smoothly in the background, even with continuous backups. Unless you open the app to look at its progress, you might never even notice it.
Superfast network-attached storage (NAS) is of prime importance when you have limited time at hand. In this regard, the Synology DS220+ is one of the fastest NAS with transfer speeds between 62 and 110 Mbps. This is by virtue of its 2 GB of RAM (expandable up to 6 GB) and state-of-the-art dual-core 2.0 GHz Intel Celeron processor. Its interface, known as DiskStation Manager, is one of the most user-friendly NAS operating systems you will ever come across.
The DS200+ provides multimedia playback via its own apps, such as DS File, DS Photo, DS Audio, DS Video, DS Cloud, and many more. It supports multimedia streaming through Synology’s apps, iTunes, and Plex. You can use Synology’s Cloud Sync software to back up important folders or your entire NAS to popular cloud platforms like Dropbox. You can also schedule backups and encrypt them before uploading.
The 64 GB Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 is one of the most popular USB 3.0 flash drives among customers. It successfully addresses most of their cost and capacity requirements and offers excellent speeds and reliability. If you compare it to other similar products in the market, you will discover that it is relatively quite inexpensive per gigabyte.
The DataTraveler Elite G2 comes in a sturdy metal case and is equipped with a useful blinking activity light – features that many other flash drives don’t have. It has a five-year warranty, which should be sufficient for most people. The only downside is that the little cap that protects the USB plug is easily lost. However, since the USB-A connections are sturdy enough, the drive won’t be affected much by that.
Router and modem
In order to ensure optimal internet connectivity, you need a highly functional router and modem in your home office setup. There are so many models for both of these items available in the market that choosing one can be a daunting task. For your convenience, I have listed my picks for the best router and modem below.
A reliable router plays an important role in helping you keep up with the numerous connected devices in your home office. The TP-Link Archer AX3000 is arguably the best Wi-Fi router presently available out there. It creates a fast and responsive network even from across a medium-sized house. It handles multiple wireless devices gracefully and is as efficient as much more expensive routers in the market.
The Archer AX3000 is Wi-Fi 6 compatible and comes with several ports, including a dedicated USB 3.0 port for connecting an SSD. By virtue of its 256 MB of RAM and robust dual-core Intel processor, it is able to process your data with blinding speed. It also comes with HomeCare, which includes infected-device quarantine, intrusion prevention, and a malware filter.
The AX3000 is also remarkably easy to set up. You have the option of configuring or adjusting the router’s settings in two ways – through the TP-Link app on your smartphone or via the administration website on your desktop.
The Motorola MB7621 is readily compatible with almost every non-gigabit plan offered by every cable ISP in the US. It supports Internet plans up to 600 Mbps because it is a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that is designed to handle 24 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels. It also comes with a GigE Ethernet port to provide a high-speed wired connection to your computer, router, or any other internet-capable device.
The modem features a compact and beautiful design that improves cooling, reduces shelf space requirements, and extends the product’s life. It will also make your home office look more professional and sophisticated. Motorola offers a 2-year warranty, along with rugged lightning and power surge circuits to protect your device.
Printers, scanners, and fax services
Printed documents play a very important role in almost all modern jobs. To deal with them, every home office needs to be equipped with quality printers, scanners, and fax services. I have listed some of the best products in this regard below.
The HP Color LaserJet Pro M255dw is one of the most reliable and efficient laser printers presently available in the market. It is super fast and can print up to seventeen single-sided pages per minute. It is also flexible, powerful, and simple to set up and use. It also includes many other high-end features like auto-duplexing, several networking options, a bypass slot for odd-size media, and support for common mobile printing standards.
The print quality is outstanding, and you will also get reasonably large toner cartridges that are sufficient for over 3,000 pages. For making the printing process more economical, you can set the printer default to duplex printing and decrease toner usage. Being a laser printer, the M255dw is low-drama compared to inkjet printers. The cartridges last much longer and you don’t need to clean them extensively either.
Although it is advertised as a portable document scanner, the Brother ADS-1250W is the choicest tool for performing all your scanning work at your desk itself. It helps to keep your desk space clean and your documents well-organized. Many reviewers have observed that this device is much more convenient to use than other document scanners in the market.
The Brother ADS-1250W provides cleaner-looking scans, much more accurate text recognition, and highly reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. Admittedly, it is a bit heavier than other options available in the market. Also, it doesn’t come with a battery. However, considering its multitude of positives, these downsides are quite negligible.
Adobe Scan is hands down, the best app for creating clean-looking PDFs of professional documents for free. Compared to other apps like CamScanner and Scanbot, it has a rather simple interface and limited options. However, the irony is that this app’s simplicity makes it easier to get the results you want.
You can use Adobe Scan to get some of the most pristine-looking scans on everything from old photographs to text documents. It also offers quality text recognition and can fill in scanned forms with the help of other free apps in the Adobe ecosystem. As an added bonus, it can automatically store all your scans in Adobe’s cloud for free.
HelloFax is a recommendable online fax service for people who only fax documents occasionally. It has a clean, easy-to-use interface and allows you to send up to 5 pages for free. Beyond this limit, you will be able to send a fax for a flat 99₵ fee for the first ten pages, and 20₵ per page after that. It does not require you to sign up for a monthly subscription.
People with advanced, professional faxing requirements (such as sending HIPAA-compliant faxes) can consider using ### SRFax – one of the best online fax services available in the market. It is a powerful fax service loaded with excellent features and controls for optimal security and privacy. It doesn’t have free fax allotment like HelloFax but offers the best prices on a per-page basis for high-volume faxing.
Productivity and finance apps
Modern technology offers a plethora of useful apps for helping you keep track of your productivity at work and make efforts to improve it. There are also several apps to help you manage your finances more efficiently. Let us take a look at some of the choicest apps available in this regard.
Todoist is an excellent to-do list app with impeccable calendar integration, simple and structured project organization, and flexibility to fit into various workflows. Instead of forcing you to organize your work in a particular manner, it gives you free reigns to adjust your schedule as needed. Its sophisticated and uncluttered design is visually appealing and makes it easy to use.
Todoist’s support for natural language makes it easier for you to get your tasks from your brain directly into the app. Thus, it reduces the chances of you forgetting to do the same. The app is readily compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac operating systems.
Dealing with tax forms manually can be a stressful and tiring experience. If you have a lot of forms to report or feel that itemizing could lead to a lower tax bill or larger refund, then TurboTax Deluxe is an excellent paid option for online tax software. It is one of the most exquisitely designed tax apps presently available and comes with context-sensitive help and clear and concise explanations. It is efficient enough to detect obvious errors and suggest deductions that other software might not notice.
Financial experts and authors tend to discourage people from using budgeting apps because preparing a budget manually introduce you to the reality of money in an incomparable manner. Thus, automated spending trackers like Mint are inadequate on their own. However, You Need A Budget (YNAB) is much different in this regard. It takes you through the process and provides just enough guidance to make the task easier for you. It doesn’t actually do the work for you.
YNAB is easy to set up and readily syncs with your banks and credit cards, does helpful calculations, displays month-to-month trends, and provides a much better onboarding system than its peers. It then helps you follow your plan closely by offering accurate feedback on your budgets and making your account for everything. The mobile app of YNAB is loaded with useful features and is simple to use. It comes with much more comprehensive help sections than other apps of its kind.
If you aren’t working with an efficient time-tracking or invoice-generating service already, you should try going for Toggl. This is a great option for project management, time tracking, and helpful reports for producing invoices.
Toggl comes with powerful project management and time tracking features. It also ties in efficiently with other project management apps and offers reminders if you forget to start tracking your work.
In this article, I have listed a wide variety of devices, accessories, and apps for improving the efficiency of your home office. All of them are well-reviewed, efficient, and among the top options in their respective fields. I hope you are able to choose a good set of tech and apps to make your working experience more comfortable and rewarding.