Long before I was forced to stay indoors earlier this spring, I spent most of my time … indoors. I built a PC back in college (with the help of some friends), and ever since then I’ve continued perfecting my home office setup—switching desks, keyboards, monitors, and more.
When many of my friends and colleagues were forced to quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic, I realized most people don’t have a home office setup like mine. With many states re-opening, more and more companies are considering permanent work from home solutions as well. So, my fellow folks privileged enough to work from home, below are some picks that might make that work more bearable. Most have been tested by WIRED’s Gear team, and we’re recommending others based on customer reviews across retailers, what other sites have to say, and our experience with the brands.
Updated for June 2020: I’ve added in several new items I tested, including Nomad’s cables, the X-Chair, some Aukey accessories, an Asus monitor, and the Lume Panel Mini. Prices and links have been updated throughout as well.
You’ll Need a Good Laptop or PC
We’re guessing you have a laptop or desktop of some kind, whether it’s your own personal device or the one you brought from work. If not, check out our Best Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, and Best MacBooks guides. 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 for a lot less.
Here are a few of our favorites:
MacBook Pro (2020) for $1,299: Apple’s newest MacBook Pro is the best for people that need a reliable and powerful laptop for work. If most of your usage revolves around a web browser, the base MacBook Air will suffice, and you can save a few hundred bucks. Need more power? Get the MacBook Pro with the 10th-gen Intel processor. You get more ports, too! We have a guide that breaks Apple’s laptops down.
Acer Swift 3 for $800: If you need a Windows machine, this laptop topped out our Best Cheap Laptops guide. It’s plenty fast with the Core i7 8th-gen Intel processor, plus the dedicated Nvidia graphics card will run some games decently. The screen is good, there’s great battery life, and you get plenty of varied ports.
Pixelbook Go for $849: If you can do all your work via a browser and that browser happens to be Chrome, then you should consider a Chromebook. You can find more affordable Chromebooks, but the Pixelbook Go (specifically the Core i5 model) doesn’t skimp on performance.