Oct 22, 2023

The Best Home

Your home office should be a place where you feel comfortable doing your best work, day after day. Over the years, Wirecutter's writers and editors—many of whom work from home—have spent more than 200 hours researching and testing equipment for a variety of workspaces, and we’ve collected our picks to give you a comprehensive guide to the best of the best.

The Uplift V2 is the most customizable desk we’ve ever tested, and its wide height range works for people between 5-foot-4 and 7 feet.

The Uplift V2 Standing Desk offers the best mix of performance and features of the desks we’ve tested. Its controls are responsive, and it barely wobbles, even at tall heights.

It accommodates people of the average female and male seated and standing heights. But if you’re shorter than 5-foot-4, the desk likely wouldn't work for you while sitting without a footrest. In that case, we recommend the Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk (or the laminate version) with a three-stage low-range frame.

Uplift's walnut laminate and bamboo desktops are attractive, and you can get them in an optional curved design if you prefer. In addition to those finishes, Uplift offers nearly 30 more finish options, four frame colors, three grommet colors, and three keypad colors to choose from, as well as multiple add-on accessories, so you can truly make this desk your own.

For more, read our guide to the best standing desks.

Of the converters we’ve tried, this one is the most adjustable, which also makes it the most ergonomic choice. It's also stable, and it takes up less space than competing converters.

The Ergo Desktop Kangaroo Pro Junior makes the fewest ergonomic compromises without being too annoying to use, and crucially, it has the ability to control the height of your monitor and the keyboard platform separately.

Thanks to the monitor mount, your display is more stable and takes up less room than it would in its own stand. And the work platform can accommodate a keyboard, a mouse, and other tools while still fitting on even the smallest of desks.

For more, read our guide to the best standing desk converters.

This mat's varied terrain encourages movement, making standing less tedious and less achy. The Topo is also easy to move when you switch between standing and sitting.

You save $20 (20%)

You’ll need a comfortable place to stand while at your standing desk. The Ergodriven Topo's contoured surface lets you choose from a lot of different ways to place your feet, and our testers found it more comfortable than other mats with topographic features.

However you stand, the Topo relieves pressure on your heels, legs, back, and shoulders. It's also resistant to spills and punctures, and you can move it around with one foot instead of having to bend over to reposition it.

Several Wirecutter staffers have used this mat for years, and even desk mat skeptics have shared that they moved around more than they expected to on the Topo, which is where the real benefit of standing instead of sitting comes from.

For more, read our guide to the best standing desk mats.

An ergonomic workstation will help you sit comfortably at a computer, even over long stints. Just remember to take breaks.

This is one of the most adjustable chairs available—anyone can make the Gesture comfortable, regardless of their height or size—and it's built to last.

The Steelcase Gesture is expensive—around $1,400 at the time of publication—but if you sit for long periods, the expense is well worth it for the support, adjustability, and comfort that will last over a decade.

The Gesture is one of our longest-lasting picks, having been recommended since 2015, and it's one of the most comfortable, supportive, and durable office chairs we’ve ever tested. Everything from the back support to the quality fabric to the dependable adjustment knobs has stood the test of time.

The Gesture also comes in the widest range of fabrics and finishes of the office chairs we’ve tested, so you can customize its appearance for your workspace.

For more, read our guide to the best office chairs.

You can save hundreds of dollars on a high-end office chair if you know where to look and what to look for.

This is a firm, thick pillow that offers the best balance of support, comfort, and ease of use. It also has a lifetime replacement guarantee.

The Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Back Cushion is made of thick foam that's sturdy yet cushiony, and it has two adjustable, extendable straps that make the pillow easy to position so that it hits the right spot for your lower and middle back on most chairs.

Its easily removable cover and lifetime replacement guarantee are two other features that give it a notable edge over other pillows we’ve tested.

For more, read our guide to the best lumbar support pillows.

This footrest has a washable cover that's easy to remove and feels great on bare feet, and the high-density foam offers firm yet cushy support. It can be used as a foot rocker and is height-adjustable.

With clipped on-page coupon

If your feet don't touch the floor when you’re sitting all the way back in your desk chair, you should consider getting a footrest. In our testing, the ComfiLife Foot Rest outshone all of its competitors with firm, all-day comfort thanks to its foam construction, which provides a plush surface and soft give.

For added movement, you can even flip it over for rocking. The base is detachable, so you can use it at either a 3.9-inch or 5.9-inch height, and it stays in place on hard and carpeted floors alike.

We also love that the cover is easily removable for tossing in the washing machine (just remember to use the gentle cycle).

For more, read our guide to the best under-desk footrests.

The most-versatile cushion we tested, this has both firm and soft sides to suit personal preferences. It is supportive, breathes well, and fits on a variety of chairs.

For proper ergonomics when sitting at your desk, your legs should be at about a 90-degree angle to your hips. If your seat is too low and your knees are higher than 90 degrees, you should adjust your seat higher. If your chair doesn't have that feature, then we recommend the Purple Double Seat Cushion.

This cushion propped us up with a cushy springiness unlike any other we tested, offering firm support without being stiff. You can flip the cushion, so it’ll feel good whether you prefer soft or hard seats, and it doesn't run hot thanks to its unique gel honeycomb design.

Though you get a lot for your money, Purple's Double Seat Cushion is pricey. For cheaper options, read our guide to the best ergonomic seat cushions.

This safe is certified to withstand high-temperature fires for twice as long as the competition, but it weighs 42 pounds and has the footprint of a mini fridge.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $98.

The Honeywell 1114 Lightweight Fire and Waterproof Chest is independently verified by the safety organization Intertek to keep personal items safe during a fire for up to an hour—twice as long as the competition—in conditions as hot as 1,700 °F. Honeywell says the chest will keep floodwater out for 100 hours, too.

It's large enough to hold both letter- and legal-size sheets of paper without you having to fold them. The additional protection makes the Honeywell 1114 noticeably larger and heavier than other safes of similar capacities—it weighs 42 pounds and takes up the same amount of floor space as a mini fridge.

For more, read our guide to the best fireproof document safes.

This high-security shredder offers the best balance of ease of use, sheet capacity, and price. It can run jam-free for nearly 10 minutes without overheating.

The Amazon Basics 8-Sheet High-Security Micro-Cut Shredder with Pullout Basket is a little more expensive than other eight-sheet micro-cut shredders, but it's worth the investment.

While its rivals jammed or emitted a burning smell after a few minutes of shredding, the Amazon Basics ran without trouble well past its five-minute run time.

Like other micro-cut shredders, this one chomps documents into tiny shreds measuring around 0.16 by 0.47 inches, making any sensitive paperwork all but impossible to reassemble. It can handle old plastic credit cards and data DVDs, too.

Though it's slightly bigger than eight-sheet shredders with lift-up tops, it still fits under most desks, and the pullout bin and wheels are conveniences that make it easier to keep up a shredding habit.

For more, read our guide to the best paper shredders.

Desk lamps are a necessity for a productive workspace, and the best of them are highly adjustable in physical design and in their color temperature and brightness settings. But choosing the right lamp isn't only about functionality, it's also about aesthetics. That's why we recommend four lamps with drastically different looks.

The Uplift LED Desk Lamp E7 with Clamp provides a modern, utilitarian look with an exceptionally long reach.

If you prefer a slightly more stylish but still minimalist glow, the Humanscale Nova LED lamp provides a soft and uniform light without any distracting glare, flickering, or harsh shadows—making it our favorite lamp for working in front of a computer.

The budget-priced IKEA Forså comes in a timeless architect design, and it's one of the most physically adjustable lamps we tested, bested only by the Anglepoise 90 Mini Mini Desk Lamp, which is our top pick for anyone who has to make every bit of available surface space count.

For more, read our guide to the best desk lamps.

This sleek and sturdy monitor arm makes raising, lowering, and rotating a monitor easy, and it's backed by a 15-year warranty.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $90.

An adjustable monitor arm is the best option to keep your monitor at an ergonomic height (with your eye level 2 to 3 inches below the top of your monitor) so that you can maintain proper posture and avoid slouching or craning your neck. The Fully Jarvis Monitor Arm is the best for most people who want to save space on their desks.

It accommodates a wide range of positions and angles to improve workstation ergonomics, and it's adjustable, unobtrusive, and sturdy enough to support heavier monitors (up to 32 inches or 20 pounds). Fully covers it with a 15-year warranty, and it comes in three colors, too.

For more, read our guide to the best monitor arms.

This stand is made of anodized aluminum, making it exceptionally sturdy and stylish. It's also the easiest to adjust of all the models we’ve tested.

If you don't have the budget or space for a monitor at your desk, the next best thing for your posture and health is a laptop stand—one that puts your eye level 2 to 3 inches below the top of your screen and keeps you from slouching. In our tests, the Rain Design iLevel 2 was the clear winner.

It held 11-inch to 15-inch laptops without issue, and its design is simple, straightforward, and stylish. We loved its adjustment mechanism, too: The platform simply tilts up or down when you slide a knob left or right.

For more, read our guide to the best laptop stands.

In testing, this surge protector stopped nearly all excess voltage from reaching its outlets, and it cuts off all power once the protection wears out. It has 12 AC outlets plus coax and phone ports.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.

Plugging valuable equipment like computers and monitors into a surge protector helps protect them during power outages. But they don't last forever: Like a light bulb, surge protectors need to be replaced every few years when they burn out. After more than 100 hours of research and testing with an electrical engineer, we recommend the Tripp Lite Protect It 12-Outlet Surge Protector.

It offers enough space to satisfy most home-office needs, superior build quality compared with others we’ve tested, stellar surge-protection performance, and safety features.

It will actually stop working when its protection circuits wear out, too, as opposed to relying on an easily ignored indicator light. That way, you’ll know with certainty whether your expensive electronics are protected.

For more, read our guide to the best surge protectors.

With five outlets on battery backup and 10 total, this UPS can keep your Wi-Fi running for up to four hours in a blackout and gives you more than enough time to save your work and shut down.

May be out of stock

The CyberPower CP900AVR covers the basics for most people during common, short-term blackouts.

It provides enough power to keep a household modem and router running for four hours, so you can stay online while the power is off and get in touch with emergency services, follow news and weather changes, or just pass the time on your favorite websites.

It requires no setup and includes automatic voltage regulation—an important feature that some cheaper models lack. Five of its 10 outlets can be battery-powered, and its compact shape—about the size of a three-ring binder—and 6-foot cord make it easy to stow away.

For more, read our guide to the best uninterruptible power supply.

With its fast-drying ink, this is our go-to pen for everyday writing on any kind of paper.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $10.

If you need a pen to take notes during a teleconference or to hastily scribble down an idea, the one to grab is the Uni-ball Jetstream RT.

It's widely available, and it creates one of the smoothest, quickest-drying lines you can find. It doesn't bleed, it doesn't skip, it doesn't feather. It dries indelibly—and so quickly that left-handed people can use it without worrying about smudging.

The Jetstream RT also requires little pressure to write with, so once you get a feel for how to use it, you can write incredibly fast since it pretty much glides over the page, especially if you write in cursive.

It's available in sizes from 0.38 mm up to 1.0 mm, with a bunch of different bodies in different styles.

For more, read our guide to the best pens.

Its rotating lead keeps the tip sharp as you write, making for the cleanest and most consistent writing. This version also has a pocket-safe retractable tip.

The Uni Kuru Toga Pipe Slide mechanical pencil sets itself apart thanks to a unique ratcheting internal mechanism, so each time you lift the pencil from the page, the lead rotates a tiny amount.

What does that mean? The sharpest point of your lead will always touch the paper, and you won't constantly fidget to rotate the pencil in your hand. Because the point never gets blunt, your to-do list, diagrams, and mind map will look exactly as sharp when you finish the page as when you started it, and your lines will always have the same width.

It's like writing with a ballpoint pen, but with all the flexibility of a pencil.

For more, read our guide to the best mechanical pencils.

This notebook is a pleasure to use thanks to its sturdy yet lightweight cardstock cover, excellent paper quality, and lie-flat design.

After interviewing experts, researching over 80 notebooks, and testing 24, we recommend the Apica Premium CD Notebook (A5).

The smaller A5 size won't take up too much room on your desk, and its lie-flat design means you can easily write on both sides of each sheet. The paper is thick and smooth (but not plasticky), and it works well with a variety of pens including inky fountain pens with little feathering and minimal ghosting.

For more, read our guide to the best notebooks.

You can fill this cross between a simple calendar and a beautiful journal with a range of inserts for any type of planning. It's the most versatile planner we’ve found.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Of all the planners we considered, the Traveler's Company Traveler's Notebook was the most popular with our testers.

The simple leather folio holds thin notebooks (secured with an elastic band), and you can invest in whatever notebook inserts fit your planning needs. It's the only system we found that works for all types of planning.

This is the original Traveler's Notebook, a style of planner often interchangeably called the Midori (the company's name before 2015). You can find many other notebooks of this style inspired by the original (sometimes called fauxdoris), and some are great options if you like more colors and patterns.

For a variety of other styles we recommend, see our guide to the best paper planners.

This article was edited by Ben Keough and Erica Ogg.

Ben Keough

Ben Keough is the supervising editor for Wirecutter's working from home, powering, cameras, and hobbies and games coverage. He previously spent more than a decade writing about cameras, printers, and other office equipment for Wirecutter, Reviewed, USA Today, and Digital Camera HQ. After four years testing printers, he definitively confirmed that they all suck, but some suck less than others.

by Melanie Pinola

Your home-office chair is likely getting more use than ever before. Here are our most helpful tips on what you can do to keep it clean.

by Melanie Pinola

Working outside, even for just a little while, can be great for your health. Here's how to do it as comfortably and productively as possible.

by Jackie Reeve

With families spending more time at home, designating a special zone where kids can get creative (and messy) can be challenging—but rewarding.

by Doug Mahoney and Ellen Airhart

How to plan and protect yourself in areas at risk of hurricanes.