If you’re working from home, you need a comfortable, capable setup. Sure, you can spend all day slouched in a folding chair and banging out emails on your phone, but you get so much more done with the proper equipment at your fingertips.
We’re adjusting to the new normal of remote work here at PCWorld, just like so many others. But unlike most, we’re in a privileged position to put a lot of gear to the test to find out which truly deserves a spot in your home office. Our staff spent endless hours evaluating all manner of hardware to bring you this, the best WFH tech of 2022 and 2023—the hardware and software you should bug your boss to buy you.
And yes, we’re looking forward to next year, because until even newer products begin launching in 2023, many of the champions on this list will remain very relevant for months to come. Case in point? Some of these champions hit the streets months and months ago yet still earned a place on this list. Because when you’re great, you’re great.
Be sure to check out PCWorld’s 2022 hardware and software awards as well as our Full Nerd podcast’s enthusiast-grade gear favorites for even more all-stars!
Best work-from-home laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
When it comes to working from home, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 ticks off all the right boxes. It’s fast, quiet, and rugged. In other words, it’s designed for some serious productivity. This laptop is packing an Intel Core i7-1185G7, 16GB of RAM, and integrated Iris Xe graphics. It’s well-equipped to handle web browsing, Word processing, spreadsheet work, and so on. The spacious 16:10 display is the perfect size for scrolling through documents. The keyboard is stellar, too. It’s roomy and super comfortable, which is great for long typing sessions. For business-oriented tasks, you really can’t get much better than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. —Ashley Biancuzzo
Best work-from-home webcam: Logitech C920e Business Webcam
Zoom and Teams meetings are a big part of the WFH life, but most laptops ship with meh low-quality webcams. Adding a standalone one will help you stand out in a crowded call, and the best option is the Logitech C920e Business Webcam. The latest in a long lineup of legendary C920 webcams, this model includes 720p and 1080p resolution HD captures, a wide 78-degree field of view, autofocus and light correction, two omnidirectional microphones, an attachable privacy screen, and even a ¼” thread for mounting to a tripod if desired. It’ll give you a huge step up in videoconferencing quality for a price that won’t break the bank.
Best work-from-home Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a phenomenal convertible laptop for remote workers because of its zippy performance and versatile form factor. You can prop this laptop up like a tent for video conferencing or rotate the screen around and use it like a handheld tablet for note taking. It’s also lightweight at just over three pounds, which is perfect for those times when you need to commute into the office (or the coffee shop). Other features include a vibrant 2256×1504 touch-enabled display, all-day battery life, and a diverse selection of ports. So long as you don’t need Windows, the Spin 713 is a fantastic everyday laptop. —Ashley Biancuzzo
Best online backup service: iDrive Online Cloud Backup
When you are paying for an online backup service—and backup should be a crucial part of your WFH plan if your IT department isn’t already on it—you want it to be comprehensive and versatile. Out of all the best online backup services we have tested, none are more complete or feature-rich than iDrive Online Cloud Backup. It has you covered with online, local, sync, and snapshots. The company will even ship you backup drives with your stored data for quick recovery if something were to happen to your data locally.
iDrive also has a simple and easy to use interface that allows you to backup your important data with a minimum of fuss. Additionally, all of its most advanced features are included in the basic service level, making it a better value than it appears to be at first glance. It is a one-stop shop and likely to be the only online backup service you will ever need. —Sam Singleton
Best work-from-home Thunderbolt dock: Kensington SD5500T Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Docking Station
Laptops are made to be portable, and they excel in that task. When you’re spending all day hunkered down in your home office, expanding your laptop’s capabilities can not only help you get more done, it can help you feel comfortable—staring at a full-sized monitor and typing away on a proper keyboard does wonders for ergonomics. That’s where a Thunderbolt docking station can pay dividends, despite their high prices.
We’ve tested a slew of Thunderbolt docks in 2022 and our go-to recommendation is the Kensington SD5500T Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Docking Station, because of its smart compromises. It sticks to the tried-and-true Thunderbolt 3 standard and includes a pair of DisplayPort options for external monitor connectivity, which helps keep the price around $260 in a field where most options go for north of $300. With a smart mix of ports and 60W of laptop charging power, this is the best Thunderbolt dock for anyone living the WFH life.
Best work-from-home monitor: Asus ProArt PA348CGV
More screen space equals more productivity. But if you can’t have (or don’t want) a multi-monitor setup, an ultrawide monitor with abundant horizontal space to spread out apps is an enticing alternative. Most ultrawide displays focus on gaming, but our pick for the best WFH monitor of 2022, the 34-inch ultrawide Asus ProArt PA348CGV, works in features sure to make WFHers drool…while also including juicy gaming features for those after-hours play sessions.
“The Asus ProArt PA348CGV is a superb ultrawide monitor that manages to serve a huge range of users,” our reviewer said en route to handing out an Editors’ Choice Award. “It’s equally excellent for professional content creators, gamers, and prosumers who have basic needs but want a premium experience. It’s also a rare example of a monitor that’s equally suited to both content creation and gaming.”
Bottom line? While there are a ton of great monitors out there, you can’t go wrong with the Asus ProArt PA348CGV. It’s great no matter what you’re doing.
Best work-from-home mouse: Logitech Lift
When you’re working at your desk for eight-plus hours, you need to be comfortable. The device you touch all day plays a crucial role in that. Enter the Logitech Lift wireless ergonomic mouse, which easily earned our Editors’ Choice Award this year.
The Lift serves as a refinement of Logitech’s similarly excellent MX Vertical. What sets this ergonomic offering apart from the excellent MX Vertical is that this mouse is smaller (thus suited for small-to-medium hands), it can be had in a left-handed version, and it comes in fun duo-tone colors. It’s comfortable in the hand and can connect via Bluetooth or the included 2.4GHz wireless dongle. The buttons can be customized using the Logi Options+ software, so this mouse will meet your specific workflow demands as well as your demands for physical comfort.
We love the Logitech Lift, but if you don’t need or want an ergonomic mouse, our roundup of the best wireless mice includes scads of more excellent WFH options.
Best work-from-home keyboard: Keychron Q8
Likewise, you spend all day typing away on your keyboard, so you want it to offer the most pleasant experience possible. As someone who has worked from home for over a decade, I’ve found keyboards and mice to be the most vital components to a smooth WFH setup, and well worth spending up for. That’s why the $205 Keychron Q8 mechanical keyboard earns our nod as the best keyboard for working from home this year.
Mechanical keyboards deliver a superior typing experience thanks to their responsiveness and sublime key travel, but the Keychron Q8 takes things to the next level with a relentless focus on quality—and a curved ergonomic key layout that spares your aching wrists. “Keychron’s Q series is once again impressive for quality and customization, now coming in the much-loved Alice layout,” our reviewer said while crowning the Q8 with a rare Editors’ Choice Award. “It’s an easy buy if you want an ergonomic layout with amazing typing and lots of features.”
If you prefer a standard keyboard layout, however, cast your eyes to the Q8’s sibling, the similarly $205 Keychron Q5. “It will ruin other mechanical keyboards for you,” our headline crowed. This keyboard “packs excellent typing feel, parts, and customization at a price that’s about half as much as the customized designs it’s based on,” but lacks the Q8’s ergo-friendly setup.
Best work-from-home budget keyboard/mouse combo: Logitech MK540 Advanced
If you don’t want to spend up for a premium ergonomic mouse and keyboard, but still want to upgrade beyond the bland gear that came bundled with your desktop, you want the Logitech MK540 Advanced wireless mouse and keyboard combo. It came out a few years back but remains our go-to pick for WFH types on a budget thanks to its compelling blend of value and performance.
Our verdict nails why this combo should be on your radar, especially for $50: “Quiet yet snappy, roomy and programmable, the reasonably priced Logitech MK540 Advanced keyboard will appeal to typists looking for tactile typing experience without making too much of a racket, while the bundled mouse impresses with its smooth, solid scrolling and programmable gestures.”
Best PDF editor: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC
If you’re working from home, there’s a good chance PDFs will be part of your workflow. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC has been, and continues to be, the undisputed king of PDF Editors. Its combination of features for editing, creating, reviewing, and security are the industry standard and what most of its competitors can only attempt to emulate.
In the latest version, Adobe redesigned the interface to make it easier to navigate the robust toolset. Additionally it added a cloud subscription option and a mobile app for both iOS and Android—both great services for individuals and small businesses. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a subscription-based service, meaning that you will always have access to the latest version and don’t have to buy new software every year. —Sam Singleton
Best work-from-home USB-C hub: Yeolibo 9-in-1 USB-C Hub (RU9A)
Modern laptops tend to be pretty skimpy on the ports, and that doesn’t cut it if you’re working from home. If you don’t want to spend up on a Thunderbolt dock that can turn your laptop into a full-fledged desktop replacement, consider an inexpensive USB-C hub instead—specifically, the Yeolibo 9-in-1. At just a hair over $20, this hub offers a variety of USB Type A and USB-C ports, plus a microSD and SD slot for transferring photos. It’s also rated for up to 100W of input power, so you can connect your USB-C laptop charger to this hub, and from there to your PC. It’s not often that you can make your life easier for $20, but this is one of those times!