The Best Work from Home Gadgets

work from home gadgets

Introduction

Before the COVID 19 pandemic and lockdown, I was already very fortunate with my home computer setup. I had a great PC, two monitors, and an excellent compact desk. However, as the lockdown weeks turned into months and then years, it became apparent that I needed some new work from home gadgets. Both to improve my experience and so that others listening and watching me also had a great experience. So, over two years, I have purchased a lot of work from home gadgets and tech. Everything from headsets, cameras, networking gear, lights, and more.

As we enter year three, I thought it would be worth a few moments detailing the various work from home gadgets I purchased. I will describe the pros and cons of each purchase and document the price for each. I’m also going to give each item a subjective rating based on my experience and the value the gear provides. Then at the end of going to total up the combined cost. That might be a scary number!

My company did not purchase these work from home gadgets. Maybe I could have tried to expense some of these, but most were not essential. They were just about creating a better experience for myself and others that I was working with remotely. I’m not expecting this situation to change anytime soon, and I feel these are an investment for the medium-term future.

work from home gadgets

I think that this was one of my first work from home gadgets. Before the pandemic, my at-home headset was a Jabra Motion. Although the audio quality was generally good it had two issues. No noise cancelation and it wasn’t comfortable for wearing for multiple hours a day. I did some research and felt like this particular Bose balanced comfort, great audio for listening to music with a great microphone for voice pick up. Overall I have been mostly happy with this once I debugged some connectivity issues which I’ll address later.

When we first went into lockdown our previous apartment proved to be challenging because we had one large main room with limited walls and doors. So the three levels of noise cancellation were well needed for me and the wife. The battery life is great, I don’t have to worry about charging this every day even when I’m on back-to-back calls.  Very comfortable and lightweight. I don’t care about the Alexa functionality or the Bose AR so that didn’t factor in.  All in all a great purchase, so much so that I bought one for my wife after her other headset broke.  This might be in my ‘Best Work from Home Gadgets’ category.

Price I paid: $384.25

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: High

Best work from home gadgets

Logitech Brio 4K Webcam

My initial webcam was old. Prior to lockdown, it didn’t get hardly any use, however, as we all transferred to working over Zoom and Teams it became a key tool. I can’t remember when it started to fail, maybe 9 months in. It would just go blank while on a call. Although neither Zoom nor Teams supported 4k streams I thought it made sense to get one for maybe a day when they offer better video quality. After researching  I went for the Logitech Brio 4K.

The Brio 4k comes with an auto light adjustment feature that works in both low-light conditions as well as backlit situations. It also supports Windows Hello so I didn’t need to enter a password once it was set up. Even though the conferencing platforms don’t support 4k, co-workers on the other side of a video call would say that my picture was both clearer and sharper. Initially, I was super happy with my purchase, however, after several months, the video feed would start to jitter.  Then other times it would completely freeze. As the months went on this started to happen with each meeting. After trying a different USB port with no improvements, the camera was placed in the trash and I started to search for a replacement. This might be one of the worst work from home purchases that I have made. 

Price I paid: $163.72

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Poor

best work from home gadgets

I initially purchased the Sigsit stand for my webcam and it worked great for that in our previous apartment. It comes with a number of adapters for different gadgets. It feels super sturdy with its all-metal construction. The base is very solid and holds the scissors’ arms easily.  It was quick and easy to set up.  The spring suspension enables the arms to be placed in any perfect position. 

In general having your webcam slightly above your head, pointing down is a much better flatting angle. This stand is perfect and very affordable to give your viewers a better look at you. In our newer apartment for a number of different reasons, this didn’t work well for my webcam.  However, it did for my beauty light, so now it’s to the left of my desk and perfect for its new application. Overall the stand is a great work from home gadget and I would thoroughly recommend it for your desk. 

Price I paid: $32.74

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Good

Lume Cube Video Conference light

Great lighting is an essential factor for a video meeting. I have been on too many calls when the other person is either too dark or blown out from the window light. The Lume Cube video light can solve those poor lighting situations. The Lume Cube is a great light and is one of the best work from home gadgets. I call it my beauty light. 

The light is easy to use, and the setup is quick. It comes with a diffuser to have the ability to soften the light on your face. The color temperature of the light is completely adjustable so you can give yourself a warm glow or cool look. It comes with cables and a suction cup should you want to attach it to your laptop. That said, I would always use a stand so that you can position it above your head slightly. I would highly recommend this accessory. 

Price I paid: $77.01

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Great

best work from home gadgets

This was the section webcam stand that I purchased. When we moved into our new apartment I needed to mount the webcam on the wall that is directly behind the monitors. This new stand is very similar to the Sigsit stand. Its construction is very solid. The scissor arms are metal and feel very solid. The spring suspension is strong and allows you to position the stand however you want. 

The two different mounting options are what sets this apart and why my working from home gadget rating is higher than the other stand.  It’s also a little cheaper price. It comes with screws and wallplugs that I needed to mount to the wall. 

Price I paid: $28.52

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Great

TP-Link AX3000 PCIe Adaptor

A few months into the pandemic, even though I had my Bose headset, there were times that my calls were pretty bad, with my voice breaking up and at times I was overlapping with others speaking. Although I generally love my home PC, it is getting a little old, having purchased it some 5 years ago. My theory for my poor call quality was that maybe my Bluetooth connection from my onboard motherboard and the headset was failing. 

After doing some research I decided on the AX3000 adapter from TP-Link. This was an easy install and now with Bluetooth 5 my connection issues and voice problems went away. In addition to Bluetooth, it also supported WiFi 6 for 2.4Gbps speeds using the 5 GHz frequency. We are lucky enough to have a very fast internet connection, so making the most of that speed has been great.  For those of you that have a traditional PC and can install adaptors, I would highly recommend the TP-Link working from home gadgets. 

Price I paid: $104.57

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Great

APC BE600M1

We live in an apartment that suffers from frequent power outages. These power outages are a real problem when we are working from home. In the best-case scenario, you can’t work for a while. Worst, you are dropped from an important meeting. These problems seem to have gotten a lot worst in 2022. I needed a solution. Enter the APC BE600, one of the best work from home gadgets recently purchased. 

The UPS can keep my PC, two monitors, and lights running for ten minutes, great for my scenario. I have it set to power down the PC safely if power hasn’t returned after seven minutes. It provides five battery backup outlets. It also has two surge protectors and a USB charging port. The battery is replaceable, and it also has wall mounting slots. It’s a very simplistic device, but it’s perfect at its job. If you are interested, I wrote up a more detailed summary of this great work from the home backup battery.

Price I paid: $70.55

My Work from Home Gadgets Rating: Great

Round one completed. I think I’m about halfway through with my review of my work from home gadgets. 

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