Setting up your own home office doesn’t have to be a confusing, challenging task. By starting off with the right technology, you’ll get off to a great start. Jack Wallen offers his picks for the best home office tech.
If you’re new to remote work, or you’re looking to upgrade your at-home office equipment, here are my top picks for the best hardware you can find for the task.In many of these instances, these are the tools I use for my own home office, and considering I’ve been working from home for over a decade, I’ve had plenty of time to find just the right hardware for the job. Some of these entries might be a bit surprising, especially in the standing desk category, but I pretty much have the whole home office thing down to a science, and everything on this list serves me quite well.
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Although this list doesn’t include everything you’ll need to make up your home office, each of these pieces of tech will help you hit the ground running and will serve you for years to come.
Standing Desk: Gladiator Adjustable Workbench
When I was looking to replace my old standing desk, I did a lot of research and realized that most of the options available were either too pricey, too gimmicky or simply wouldn’t work for my application. To that end, I turned to a different kind of solution in the Gladiator 6 ft. Adjustable Height Workbench. In fact, I bought two of them and laid them out in an L-shape to give me the perfect standing corner desk.
The thing that I like most about these desks is that they are built like tanks. You will not damage these things. They can take abuse and not bat a metaphorical eye. The Gladiator workbench can support up to 3000 lbs and offers height adjustment increments of 1.25 inches so you can get it to the perfect height for your needs. And that they are aesthetically pleasing, in a modern, minimalist way, is a bonus. Each desk sells for $529.00 at Home Depot.
Desktop computer: System76 Thelio
If you asked me to come up with a better desktop computer than the System76 Thelio, I’d say that’s an impossible task. Not only is each incarnation of the Thelio very powerful, but they are a work of art. You can customize the wood veneer to match your decor, which means you probably won’t be tucking this desktop computer under a desk or in a cabinet. You’ll want to proudly display this hardware for everyone to see.
The Thelio lineup includes machines for daily usage (the Thelio) up to a model for massive number crunching (the Thelio Mega). Even better, the Thelio hardware is open-source and powered by System76’s own Pop!_OS Linux, so everything works together beautifully. I cannot recommend these desktop computers enough.
Speakers: AudioEngine A5+
I’ve been happily using the AudioEngine A5+ speakers for years. Anyone who hears them is immediately shocked at the amount of sound they produce given their tiny size. These powered speakers work wonders in a small home office and deliver a clarity you can’t imagine from a pair of speakers at this price point ($469.00 on Amazon).
To make these speakers even better, they are absolutely beautiful. The A5+ offers 150 watts of power and is perfectly matched with the AudioEngine S8 subwoofer which I also have. Seriously, if you want beautiful sound in a compact desktop speaker, you will not find a better option at this price than the AudioEngine A5+.
Microphone: CAD E100Sx
I’ve been using the CAD E100S for years, which delivers stunning clarity of sound and rich, full, accurate tones. That mic has an 80Hz high pass filter and the newer version (the E100Sx) has a 100 Hz high pass filter to help reduce even more noise. Although this microphone might be far more expensive than what you’re accustomed to using or buying, the sound quality you’ll get from this is unmatched in this price range ($299.99 on Amazon).
The one caveat to using the CAD E100Sx is that it’s an XLR connection only, so you’ll have to purchase an external interface (I use a Tascam US 4×4) to make it work with your computer. Trust me: It’s worth it.
Webcam: Anker PowerConf C200 2K Webcam
When you need to employ a webcam for video meetings, why depend on the built-in devices in your laptops and monitors? Those underachieving cameras aren’t generally capable of handling heavy usage with a clear enough resolution and low-light capabilities to help you look your best for important meetings. Instead of going the underwhelming route, why not purchase a dedicated webcam that can work in lower light situations and even help cancel extraneous noise?
For that, you might turn to the Anker PowerConf C200 webcam. This powerhouse includes noise-canceling stereo mics, an adjustable field of view, low-light correction, 2K resolution and a built-in privacy cover. For noise cancellation, the PowerConf C200 uses AI to pick out your voice and reduce background noise.
Keyboard: Ultimate Hacking Keyboard
The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard has a split design that is laid out to perfection. When purchasing this keyboard, you can select the key switch types from tactile, clicky and linear with different actuation forces. In fact, there are eight different key switches to choose from, one of which is certain to make for the perfect typing experience for you. To make the UHK keyboard even more enticing, there are also modules you can attach to the keyboard to add a trackpad, extra keys, trackback and a track pointer.
The only caveat to using the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is you have to get used to different key combinations, such as Mod+P for delete. But once you get accustomed to the combinations, you’ll find it all makes perfect sense. In the end, you’ll type faster, with more accuracy and considerably more comfort. The price of the UHK is a steep $320, but it’s worth every penny.