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This is the gear you need to work from home

"Flora Slade" (2020-04-14)

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As millions of people have shifted to working from home over the past several weeks, much of my go-to gear for remote work has now become impossible to buy online. (Good luck finding a decent webcam or USB mic, for example.) Still, there are plenty of super solid peripherals, accessories and services available -- and they can make a big difference. 

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The must-haves are pretty obvious; you need a full-size keyboard, a wireless mouse and an external monitor. But there's a handful of other gear -- from blue-light-blocking glasses to standing desks -- that can make your workday just as good, if not better, than if you were at the office. Our recommendations are below.

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Stand up for yourself

WorkEZ standing desk

Readydesk Whether you're in an office or working from home, sitting all day is not good, even if you have an ergonomic office chair. The WorkEZ is a small and lightweight conversion desk that can be easily installed or removed, but it's also highly adjustable and has a keyboard tray. And it's still in stock.

Need more choices? Check out our favorite standing desk converters.

$100 at Amazon

Turn your laptop into a desktop

Apple Magic keyboard (and Magic Mouse 2)

Sarah Tew/CNET I'm a dedicated Apple MacBook Air user, and when I'm working from home, I'm typing on Apple's roomy Magic Keyboard -- the one with the numeric extension. It has the old-school Mac keyboard design and space, with the pleasing scissor key mechanism, and it's wireless, connecting via Bluetooth. Best of all, the battery, which is rechargeable via USB, lasts for many months on a charge. (I also love Apple's Magic Mouse 2 for the same reasons.) 

$119 at Amazon

You can use Apple's peripherals with Windows machines, but if you're looking for an alternative Bluetooth keyboard that will work with anything from Windows PCs to Macs to iPads to phones, the Logitech K380 (about $30) is a great choice. Pair it with up to three devices, and toggle between each of them with the click of a button. 

See the K380 at Amazon

And if you're willing to shell out $130 for a more ergonomic solution, CNET's Josh Goldman strongly recommends the Logitech Ergo K860.

See the K860 at Amazon

Expand your screen real estate

27-inch HP Pavilion 27es LED monitor

Best Buy I've been using the HP Pavilion 27xw LED monitor for about five years but it's now sold out. This newer model appears to be quite similar, giving you a 27-inch display with Full HD resolution (1,920x1,080 pixels), all of the brightness that comes with LED backlighting and a super slim bezel. There are two HDMI inputs, and even a VGA input if you're keeping things old-school. 

There are no speakers and it's not height-adjustable. But that's easily addressed with a monitor stand (see our picks below) or thick book. If that's a deal breaker for you (or you don't have the space), check out the Dell UltraSharp U215, which is smaller and more expensive but comes equipped with a height-adjustable stand. Or you could get a second monitor specifically for your laptop.

$250 at Best Buy

Read more: 5 monitors to upgrade your home workspace

Take that laptop off your lap

AmazonBasics ventilated adjustable laptop stand

Amazon It's all about the ergonomics when it comes to office Furniture assembly service and accessories, and a good laptop stand will bring your display up to eye level and help you sit up straighter. CNET's Lori Grunin says she uses this adjustable laptop stand everywhere -- whether working from the couch, sitting at a desk or laying in bed. And the ventilated design has safety benefits, too. In her words: "When Windows wakes my system up in the middle of the night to force an update, and leaves it on afterward, I don't have to worry about the system overheating and setting the bed on fire or destroying the laptop." Better safe than sorry.

$21 at Amazon

And if you're looking for a laptop stand for your desktop workspace, we like this simple design from AmazonBasics that costs $20. 

Protect your eyes

Gunnar Optiks Intercept

Gunnar Optiks My wife swears by these. After clocking five to eight hours of Zoom meetings a day over the past several weeks, she had been suffering from fatigue, headaches and eye pain every night. Since she started wearing Gunnar Optiks' blue-light-blocking glasses -- the Cruz model, specifically -- she's been feeling none of that. The company offers a variety of models designed for computer work, gaming and reading -- with a prescription or not -- that start at $40. 

Gunnar Optiks company is currently offering 20% off when you use the code STAYHOME20.

See at Gunnar Optiks

Boost the production values of online meetings

Logitech C920S HD webcam

Joshua Goldman/CNET Yes, we love the Logitech C920S HD webcam and we're currently testing the company's StreamCam. But good luck finding either of those -- or any other webcam, for that matter -- at Amazon or other online retailers. At the moment, pretty much everything is sold out.

Until more inventory comes in, we recommend using a tripod and your phone's HD camera for video chatting. Here's how to do it.

$70 at Adorama

When you need to shut out the world

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Sarah Tew/CNET If you end up in a coffee shop or your kids invade your office and you really need to tune out distractions, noise-canceling headphones are a good way to maintain focus. Plantronics isn't as cool a brand as Beats or Bose, but the BackBeat Pro 2 provide excellent wireless noise canceling and they cost considerably less than comparable models from those other companies. They're also really comfortable to wear, sound great on phone calls and are smart enough to pause whatever you're listening to when you take them off. But if you need more options -- including AirPods-style true wireless models -- check out our list of best noise-canceling headphones.  Read our Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 review.

$144 at Amazon

Step up your coffee game

Bonavita Connoisseur

Chris Monroe/CNET
ED I T O R S ' C H O I C E Oct 2014
When you work from home, making coffee becomes a sacramental practice. Despite its snobby name, the Connoisseur from Bonavita is the best automatic drip coffee maker you can buy for the least amount of cash. It reliably brews full pots of great coffee that rival what you would get from your favorite coffee shop or barista, and it's a cinch to use. With easy, one-touch operation, the Bonavita has a 1,500-watt heating element that maintains optimal brewing temperature of 198 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

This perfect coffee maker also has a 1.3-liter water reservoir, works fast, and has all the bells and whistles including a stainless steel-lined thermal carafe. It's also a snap to keep clean, with a removable, dishwasher-safe filter basket and carafe lid. And it's all in the name of productivity, right? Read our Bonavita BV 1900TS review.

$150 at Amazon

Keep your coffee hot

The Ember Mug

Sarah Tew/CNET The Ember has become an essential part of my morning coffee ritual. The concept is simple: A porcelain mug that keeps your coffee at the perfect temperature -- technically, 130 degrees, though that's adjustable via the iOS- and Android-compatible app -- for a little more than an hour. It's expensive -- and not everyone thinks it's worth it -- but I use this thing every day. Read our Ember Ceramic Mug preview.

$90 at Walmart

Spend your commute time in the kitchen


Dinnerly When you're not commuting, there may be some more time for dinner prep. Dinnerly rolls out some pretty exciting-sounding and delicious meals such as summery chicken panzanella and risotto with asparagus and cannellini beans. But with no more than six ingredients per recipe, the damage done to your time and kitchen is minimized. Along with not overwhelming you with myriad ingredients and multiple steps, the price tag for Dinnerly puts it squarely in the budget-friendly category, clocking in with a cost per serving of around $5. The subscription options include a Two-Person Box for $30, or a Family Box for $60, each with three recipes for the week. Looking for more options? Check out our list of best mealkit services. 

See at Dinnerly

Stay home and watch movies

Disney Plus

Disney Plus Assuming you already have Netflix, this is a good time to explore other online streaming options. One of the biggest services to launch in some time, Disney has gathered a mix of movies, TV shows and exclusive content, including the Star Wars show The Mandalorian, for $6.99 a month. 

$7 at Disney Plus

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