Ever since the computer made its way to people’s homes, technophiles have found ways to improve their experience using computer accessories. Need a faster computer? There’s an accessory for it. Clear audio for conferencing? There’s something for it.
Sorting through the piles of different gadgets and accessories available nowadays can seem like an endless task, but we’re right here behind you. No stress, because we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the most commonly used accessories on the market today.
We hope that by the end of this guide, you’ll have knowledge of most add-on accessories that are available on the market today. Keep in mind that there are many more options nowadays that this list cannot possibly cover. These are just the most popular.
Basic Computer Accessories
Even if you aren’t doing much with your device, there are still a few accessories that you’re bound to get. Most computer shops sell the setup with these basics already part of the package. So what are the basic computer accessories?
We’ll go over some of the basics in this section, before moving on to more specific and niche computer accessories in the following sections.
You got it—a keyboard is the most basic of all accessories, and practically every computer already comes with one. You may be wondering what the point of changing your keyboard would be. Well, there are a few reasons:
- You want a more comfortable keyboard
- You want a keyboard that responds better/functions better
- You want a keyboard that includes special keys.
Those are just a few of the many reasons that one would consider changing the standard keyboard they have for something more expensive. Not to mention the aesthetic appeal of some keyboards, such as the one we found below. Now THAT looks cool.
Mouse and Mouse Pad
Unless you’re a typist or a writer, you’re probably using your mouse a lot more than your keyboard. As such, it’s best to get a high-quality mouse so you can avoid cramping your hands as you work.
We highly suggest you get an ergonomic mouse, along with a great mouse pad. It seriously makes a huge difference in your productivity to be comfortable at your workstation. This tip is even more important if you’re doing heavy work on your computer—such as graphic design. Here’s a mouse pad we thought was worth a look-see.
Portable Hard Drive
Data. Data. Data. That’s what the world runs on nowadays, so it isn’t surprising that practically everyone owns a portable hard drive. If you want to keep your data safe and portable, or simply need to back up those photos from last year’s vacation to Hawaii, a portable hard drive is an accessory you need.
What exactly is a portable hard drive? You probably already know about USB flash drives—those thumb-sized computer accessories used to store information. A portable hard drive is pretty much the same thing, only much bigger.
Here’s an excellent option, that allows you to carry around 2 Terabytes of data wherever you want.
Controlling your computer is all about how you interact with it. Input devices help you do just that. What are input devices? They’re basically any type of computer accessories that allow you to input data into your computer beyond a mouse/keyboard. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Ever thought about how graphic designers get their drawings and works of art onto their computers? Well, they sure as hell aren’t scanning everything! A stylus pen (in addition to a graphics tablet) helps input drawings directly into a computer using specific software.
This is one of those accessories that are useful to only a handful of people, yet we felt it was worth mentioning them.
Laptops generally come with built-in touchpads nowadays. They have become so normalized, that many of us prefer to scroll the web using them instead of using a mouse. Even graphics designers are using touchpads now!
Getting yourself an external touchpad can help you use your personal computer without missing out on the convenience of using a touchpad. Here’s one we liked:
Let’s be honest here. Most people nowadays are using a laptop, unless their requirements exceed what you’d get from one. Gaming is one of those things that requires a heavy-duty PC setup, and usually a whole lot of computer accessories.
Generally speaking, the point of these accessories is to make the gaming experience better somehow. Faster gameplay, better response time, more comfortable gaming, etc. Those are just a few of the many advantages you can get when you add gaming accessories to your setup.
Many of them come in an RGB lighting style, which has become an iconic aesthetic of gaming accessories. In any case, here are a few things you may need if you’re gaming on a computer.
Anyone and everyone who has ever spent the weekend gaming off their mom’s couch will tell you that they ended with a sore back and crampy fingers. To make the best of the gaming experience, your best bet would be to get ergonomic accessories such as:
- Mouse: The shape of the mouse in your hand will help you control the game better, and play for hours on end without risking carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Keyboard: Big hands, small hands—everyone has a different pair, and not all keyboards will be comfortable when gaming for long periods. Ergonomic gaming keyboards aren’t that hard to find, so go get one.
- Ergonomic gaming chair: So maybe this is more of a gaming accessory, but it still makes the cut. For non-gaming purposes, you’ll want to get an ergonomic desk chair anyway. A gaming chair gives you lumbar support (that’s supporting your back, in layman’s terms), and keeps you at the right angle so you aren’t straining your neck to see the screen.
So, what makes something ergonomic? That’s a broad question with a long answer we can summarize like this:
Ergonomic computer accessories are those which improve the experience of using a computer by preventing injuries from repetitive computer use.
There are many more gadgets and accessories that are designed with ergonomics in mind, but we won’t cover them in this guide.
For the most part, games nowadays are infinitely better when played using headphones. Extra points if you play with noise-canceling headphones (like the ones we’ll link below). You’ll be able to fully immerse yourself into a game and even play slightly better.
That’s not to say the headphones will make you the best player, but why not try improving?
Originally designed for use in conference calls over the internet, microphones have come a long way. These days people use them for everything from podcasting to gaming. So if you want to make sure your friends hear you dissing them on GTA clearly—get yourself a good mic. Here’s one we found perfect for gaming:
You can also use more high-quality microphones to record a podcast from the comfort of your own home. Even some cheaper microphones nowadays are made with noise-cancellation features that block out ambient sound.
So computers have come a long, long way since the days when they were only used in multi-million dollar projects like putting a man on the moon. Our entire lives can be lived and run through a computer, the pandemic taught us as much.
There are a few computer accessories that are required for specific uses, and we’ll go over them in this section. These are entirely optional because they are limited to a particular need.
Yes, your laptop is likely to already come with a built-in camera, but your PC may not. In any case, buying a webcam is useful because you can get much better quality than the run-of-the-mill camera you have pre-installed. This is great for gaming, live streaming, video conferences, and much more.
Check this one out, it comes with its backlight!
Even if you get the best laptop or standard computer package available, you might find that you will need more processing power to perform the tasks you need. For heavy tasks like digital currency mining, gaming, graphics design, and many more— you’ll need an external GPU.
For those unfamiliar with the term, GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. Getting one will help your computer perform large tasks much faster and run much smoother. Tired of rendering images only to find your computer crashed? This is the solution for you.
We found this unit more than satisfactory, and it comes with great reviews! It’s great for handling larger tasks, although you might want more than one unit for bitcoin mining (legalities aside).
All computers tend to heat up—especially when you over-work them. And we all know that most of us tend to use our computer way too much, for way too long. The solution? A cooling system,
They come in many forms, the most basic is just a fan that draws power from your laptop via the USB port and runs under the laptop to keep it cool by ventilation. There are many cheap options available, and some higher-priced fans are basically the same unit with a few visual addons.
Need something more complex to keep your setup cool and running smoothly? You’ll need something more robust like this option below.
Whether you’re using your PC for work or pleasure, keeping it clean and tidy is a game-changer. A clear screen will help you focus more, and it’s always best to use a dedicated cleaning cloth to clean your screen.
We know more than a few people who use regular ol’ window cleaner and any cloth for this task, but a high-quality microfiber cloth that is designed for use on computer screens means no more streaking! You can wipe down the dust and get on with watching your favorite movie online. Here’s our favorite set:
More and more of our devices and accessories are run via USB ports. However, because the minimalist aesthetic is in style, many laptops and/or computers have fewer USB ports than most of us need.
The solution? Simple—a USB hub. These are like extension cords for your USB port. You simply plug it into your computer’s USB port and you’ve got instant access to more ports. The one below gives you four ports instead of one, and its sleek design means you won’t mess up that aesthetic.
Computer Accessories: Are They Necessary?
We’ve gone over most of the different computer accessories you may or may not want to get for your device. You’re probably wondering now, do I really need to get those computer accessories?
At the end of the day, it depends on what you intend to do with your device. Is it for fun? For work? Is your workload light? It’s all subjective. There are endless options on the market today and armed with the right knowledge you can customize your computer accordingly.
Following our recommendations is a great way to start sorting through what to toss and what to keep, and we hope our article helps you with your purchasing decisions.