Long before I was forced to stay indoors due to the pandemic, I spent most of my time … indoors. I built a PC in college (with the help of friends), and since then I’ve continued perfecting my home office setup—switching desks, keyboards, monitors, and more. But when everyone was asked to quarantine, I realized most people don’t have a home office setup like mine.
The pandemic isn’t over yet, but remote work is here to stay for many people. So, my fellow folks privileged enough to work from home, below are some picks that might make that work more bearable. Nearly every pick here has been tested by WIRED’s Gear team.
Updated November 2021: We’ve completely overhauled this guide, adding new products to every category.
Gear You May Need
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You’ll Need a Good Laptop or PC
MacBook Air with M1
We’re guessing you have a laptop or desktop of some kind, whether it’s your personal device or one you got from work. If not, check out our Best Laptops, Best Cheap Laptops, Best Chromebooks, and Best MacBooks guides. Our step-by-step laptop buying guide might help too. 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 favorites:
Apple’s MacBook Air (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the best option for most people. With the M1 processor, it can handle all but the most intensive tasks. And even with more demanding apps, it fares really well for its price. It’s completely silent due to the fanless design, and battery life is spectacular. It’ll last more than a full workday. Because you can’t upgrade the RAM after purchase, we suggest you pay for the 16 GB. If you need a more powerful machine, look at the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.
This is one of our favorite Windows laptops. The Ryzen 7 processor with 16 GB of RAM delivers more than enough 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 don’t need as much power, you can save a little by going for the Ryzen 5-powered model.
If you can do all your work via a browser, and that browser happens to be Google Chrome, consider a Chromebook. This Asus two-in-one easily moves from laptop to tablet to stand mode (great for YouTube), has a bright screen, and delivers solid performance and battery life. The Core M3 model should suffice, but if you frequently run more than 25 Chrome tabs, then upgrade to the i3 ($800).
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