Table of Contents Hide
- Expert Reviews Remote Working Awards 2022
- Best Office Chair
- Best Webcam
- Best USB Microphone
- Best Home Working Laptop
- Best Chromebook
- Best PC Speakers
- Best Router
- Best-Value Router
- Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router
- Best Wi-Fi Extender
- Best Monitor
- Best-Value Monitor
- Best Printer
- Best External Hard Drive
- Best Mouse
- Best Keyboard
- Best Ergonomic Mouse
- Best Ergonomic Keyboard
- Best Laptop Stand
- Best Mouse Mat
- Best Conferencing Headset
- Best USB Hub
- Best Paper Shredder
Remote working is now a fact of life, with a huge tranche of the UK’s workforce operating from home offices or taking a hybrid approach. That comes with plenty of benefits, including saving money and time by not commuting, but also with the responsibility to make your home workspace as comfortable and productive as possible.
After all, no-one wants to strain their eyes, twinge their back or develop a knotty neck using sub-par kit. Similarly, a faulty connection, grainy webcam and lack of storage hardly scream “professional”. However, with so many different brands competing for your cash, finding the best devices for remote working can be tricky.
That’s where we come in. The Expert Reviews team tests hundreds of products – from laptops and printers to webcams and Wi-Fi extenders – in our home offices every year, putting each one through a challenging set of benchmarks to find the best for you.
Below, you’ll find our top choices across 15 different categories. In each, we’ve highlighted our pick of the products, along with a highly commended silver medallist. Read on to boost your home working productivity, whatever your budget.
Expert Reviews Remote Working Awards 2022
Best Office Chair
Winner | Herman Miller Sayl | £499
Although it’s easier to get excited about shiny laptops and jaw-dropping monitors, a good office chair is one of the most important elements of your home-working setup. Harman Miller’s name is synonymous with high-quality chairs and the Sayl is no exception: it’s phenomenally comfortable, very adjustable and the web-like unframed backrest is a beautiful thing to behold. If you want the best office chair that won’t break the bank, Sayl away.
Highly Commended | Herman Miller Aeron | £1,088
Herman Miller’s iconic Aeron is the perfect premium office chair. It first hit the market in 1994 and has been supremely supporting home office workers’ backsides ever since. As you’d expect from a chair that has a place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, its level of comfort has to be sat in to be believed, and it has a robust build and stunning looks.
Winner | Obsbot Tiny 4K PTZ | £239
A webcam is now an essential part of the remote worker’s arsenal, but many of the cameras built into laptops are disappointing, to say the least. That’s where the Obsbot Tiny 4K PTZ comes in, delivering a sharp 4K image with excellent microphones. It’s the innovative motorised tracking that steals the limelight, though – it will follow you around the room, ensuring you’re always in the centre of the frame.
Highly Commended | Jabra PanaCast 20 | £306
The Jabra PanaCast 20 gets you all of the same smarts in an eye-bogglingly small package that can hook onto the top of your screen. The 13MP sensor streams at up to 4K, while its colours are accurate, and the intelligent zoom feature keeps your face centre stage. It’s a great choice if you’re after a professional and portable camera for your home-working setup.
Best USB Microphone
Winner | HyperX QuadCast S | £109
Capturing rich, clear, professional-sounding audio, the HyperX QuadCast S can take the quality of your conference calls to the next level. It offers plug-and-play connectivity for both Mac and Windows systems, packs intuitive onboard controls – including a neat tap-to-mute function – and its audio is head and shoulders above built-in laptop and webcam mics. For those looking to cut through on Skype, Zoom or Teams, the QuadCast S is well worth the investment.
Highly Commended | Joby Wavo Pod | £90
The Joby Wavo Pod proves you don’t need to splash out for a decent USB microphone. For under £100, it captures crisp, detailed audio – minimising potentially distracting background sounds – and offers user-selectable microphone patterns for solo or group recordings. It’s solidly built, with a metal pop shield and sturdy stand, and it also includes mounting points for attaching accessories such as a smartphone or small light.
Best Home Working Laptop
Winner | Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED | £1,300
At one point, it was difficult to see an ultraportable Windows laptop ever being able to go toe-to-toe with the sublime M1 Apple MacBook Air. Those days are over, though: Asus’ speedy ZenBook S 13 OLED has one of the best displays we’ve ever seen on a laptop, packs a gaming punch, is lighter than the MacBook Air at 1kg versus 1.29kg and has a nifty touchpad that transforms into a number pad. It’s simply the best remote working laptop you can buy.
Highly Commended | Acer Swift 3 (2022) | £700
If you want a laptop that will get the job done at an affordable price, the Acer Swift 3 (2022) is our top choice. Its aluminium chassis is eye-catching, it comes with either a 13.5in or 14in display, includes a decent selection of ports and has more than enough power for everyday work tasks, as well as even a spot of gaming.
Winner | Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713) | £699
In a rare case of having your cake and eating it, the Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 offers a gorgeous, all-metal design, a crisp and bright QHD+ IPS display, well-rounded sound and enough performance grunt to keep tens of Chrome tabs open at the same time. All that for a price that substantially undercuts the competition. No wonder we declared the Spin 713 to be “exceptional value” and awarded it a coveted Expert Reviews Best Buy award.
Highly Commended | Asus Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500) | £600
Once upon a time, there was little call for big-screened Chromebooks – the emphasis was on portable machines for a spot of light work. Things have moved on, though, and Asus’ 15.6in Flip CX5 is at the vanguard of a range of everyday remote working machines with enough display real estate to have multiple windows open at the same time.
Best PC Speakers
Winner | Creative T60 | £70
Creative has a well-earned reputation for selling high-quality speakers at affordable prices, and the T60s are no exception. As well as having understated style, they deliver a full-bodied, expansive sound that belies their low price, a built-in DAC and even a USB-C port. They will handle any remote working task with aplomb – from an important Zoom meeting to staying focused with your favourite tunes – for a price that can’t be beaten.
Highly Commended | Edifier S351DB | £240
A speaker system for all occasions and circumstances, the Edifier S351DB 2.1 has a plethora of connectivity options including aptX Bluetooth, dual RCA line-in, coaxial and optical digital, while the whopping 150W RMS output means you’ll never want for volume. Overall sound quality is superb, with epic bass from the big sub, and Edifier even includes a handy little remote.
Winner | Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 | £340
It might have been designed with gamers in mind, but the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is a slick router that’s capable of providing blisteringly fast download and upload speeds around your home. In fact, it’s one of the quickest we’ve ever seen at short distances. Its parental controls are also genuinely useful and it has the neat party trick of supporting multiple VPNs. If you can stomach the price, it’s a home network game-changer.
Highly Commended | Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 | £550
Netgear’s Nighthawk RAXE500 isn’t for the faint-hearted. It looks like something Darth Vader would have in his Death Star office, but if you’re after screamingly rapid next-generation Wi-Fi 6E speeds, this is the router to buy. It demolished the Wi-Fi 6 competition in our tests.
Winner | D-Link R15 Eagle Pro AI AX1500 | £57
The best tech products are often those that conform to the Ronseal catchphrase and do exactly what they say on the box. The affordable D-Link R15 Eagle Pro AI is one such device: it’s a futuristic-looking router that provided decent speeds throughout our test house. Around the rear are four Gigabit Ethernet sockets and you get a lot of software features for the money, including Alexa support. The D-Link is a tailor-made and ultra-affordable solution for remote workers with more modest speed requirements.
Highly Commended | Linksys MR7350 | £102
Continuing the frill-free theme, the Linksys MR7350’s emphasis is on reliability and affordability. A couple of rabbit ear-like antennas dished up excellent Wi-Fi 6 download and upload speeds in our tests – even in the bathroom, which is usually a notspot. It’s the best sub-£200 Wi-Fi 6 router on the market and a great choice if you need faster speeds.
Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router
Winner | TP-Link Deco X90 | £427
Nobody should have to put up with a patchy signal while working from home in 2022. Luckily, TP-Link’s Deco X90 is here to help: it’s one of the fastest mesh systems we’ve ever used, serving up rapid Wi-Fi 6 speeds around our test home: we experienced an impressive download rate of 147Mbits/sec. The Deco X90 includes a handful of parental control and security features, as well as integrating with a wide range of smart home devices.
Highly Commended | Linksys Atlas Pro 6 | £311
The Linksys Atlas Pro 6 harnesses the more efficient bandwidth sharing of Wi-Fi 6 to deliver lightning-quick download speeds in every area of our test home. In fact, it out-punched mesh systems costing hundreds of pounds more. We were impressed by the Atlas Pro 6, but the great price makes it an absolute steal.
Best Wi-Fi Extender
Winner | TP-Link RE505X | £50
Do you have a pesky “notspot” in your home? The TP-Link RE505X is an affordable way of spreading your Wi-Fi 6 connection to every corner of your house. In our tests, we found that we got a signal in places (namely upstairs) where we previously had very little or even none at all. What’s more, it’s incredibly straightforward to set up, and a time-saving LED on the front lets you know where you’re getting the best signal.
Highly Commended | Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 | £338
Mesh systems have improved dramatically over the past few years, but there are still scenarios where they’re not the best solution. Devolo’s Magic 2 WiFi 6 takes a hybrid approach by combining a mesh system with a powerline backhaul that runs over your mains cabling. Its results were stellar in our tests, doubling the speeds in some areas of the house. If you’ve got an usually shaped home or very thick walls, there’s nothing better.
Winner | AOC Q27P2CA | £300
It’s rare that a monitor ticks every box, but the AOC Q27P2CA does exactly that. An adjustable stand that makes it easy to find the sweet spot? Check. A plethora of ports, including four USB-A, a USB-B, a USB-C and two HDMI connections? Check. A smart design? Check. A bright and accurate display that punches above its bargain price? Bingo. In fact, we couldn’t find anything negative to say: if you’re after a vivid, practical, ergonomic and affordable home office monitor, look no further.
Highly Commended | HP Z34c G3 | £893
The HP Z34c G3 is a 34in ultrawide monitor that’s tailor-made for home workers. Not only are you getting enough screen real estate to read at least two documents at the same time, but the HP also has plenty of ports – including USB-C – and a 5MP pop-up webcam that captures 1080p footage.
Winner | BenQ GW2785TC | £220
Proving that you can include premium features at a bargain price, the BenQ GW2785TC is a 27in IPS display with a few tricks up its sleeve. First, you can daisy-chain multiple monitors via a DisplayPort 1.2, reducing cable clutter on your desk. Second, the stand is fully adjustable, with plenty of pivot, swivel and tilt – without any annoying wobble. This is a stellar screen on a budget.
Highly Commended | Dell P2422HE | £250
If desk space is limited and you only need a monitor for work, the 24in Dell P2422HE packs a lot into its diminutive frame. With a DisplayPort that lets you connect a second monitor, a cornucopia of connections including USB-C and decent colour performance, this is a lean, mean productivity machine.
Winner | Canon Pixma G650 | £280
Think you have to compromise on quality to get low printing costs? Think again. Canon’s Pixma G560 is cheap to run, thanks to its refillable ink tanks, while producing colour-perfect graphics and, most impressively, vibrant photos. You get one bottle of each of the six colours of ink in the box, which should be enough for 3,700 mono or 8,000 colour prints, and with replacement bottles costing just £14, the Pixma G560 offers unbeatable value for money.
Highly Commended | Epson EcoTank ET-810 | £190
If you’re willing to forgo extras such as a screen and a copier in return for reasonable running costs, the Epson EcoTank ET-810 is the printer for you. The refillable ink tanks offer an eye-popping 4,500 mono or 7,500 colour prints, which works at 0.2p per mono page and 0.4p per colour page. That’s as cheap as you’re likely to find and, to sweeten the deal, the Epson is also relatively fast.
Best External Hard Drive
Winner | Crucial X8 | From £86 (1TB)
The Crucial X8 is a portable SSD that ticks all of the hybrid or remote working boxes. First, it’s tough, with Crucial claiming that it can withstand drops of up to 2m, as well as extreme temperatures and vibrations. Second, it’s incredibly quick at 1,050MB/sec, slashing the time you’ll have to wait for files to transfer. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s cost-effective in both the 1TB and 2TB flavours.
Highly Commended | Kingston XS2000 | From £83 (500GB)
The Kingston XS2000’s small size shouldn’t be underestimated. Recording lightning-fast sequential read/write speeds of up to 2,012MB/sec in our tests via a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connection, the XS2000 is an affordable, lightweight and supremely practical external storage solution.
Winner | SteelSeries Prime Wireless | £100
It’s fair to say we were blown away by the SteelSeries Prime Wireless when we first gave it a whirl. It’s incredibly comfortable to use and produces a satisfying click, while weighing just 80g. It also looks good on your desk at home, especially its LED-lit scroll wheel, and you can tweak the DPI sensitivity via a switch on the underside. For anything from perusing spreadsheets to zapping aliens to blow off steam, you can’t do better at this price.
Highly Commended | Logitech MX Anywhere 3 | £80
As you might have guessed from the name, the Logitech MX Anywhere 3’s focus is on portability and versatility, making it ideal for hybrid workers or those who like to get a change of scenery in a cafe. It combines a compact design with Bluetooth compatibility, and includes handy extras such as panning via the side buttons and a 70-day battery life. It won’t let you down, no matter where you set up camp.
Winner | Razer Pro Type Ultra | £170
We declared the Razer Pro Type UItra to be “the best keyboard you can buy” in our original review and it’s easy to see why: it looks drop-dead gorgeous with its combination of white and aluminium, it has a battery life of up to 207 hours, it’s Bluetooth-compatible and, most importantly, it’s an absolute dream to type on. There’s no better tool for remote writing.
Highly Commended | Cherry G80-3000N RGB | £70
The Cherry G80-3000N RGB is another exceptional keyboard at a great price. This series of keyboards has graced office desks for over three decades, and the 3000N RGB combines a pleasingly retro look with modern tech such as software to control the RGB lights. The typing action is positive and surprisingly quiet, too.
Best Ergonomic Mouse
Winner | Logitech MX Vertical | £90
As anyone who has suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome will tell you, finding the most comfortable mouse possible is imperative. The shark fin-shaped MX Vertical from Logitech supports your palm in a handshake grip, while your index and middle finger rest on the oversized buttons. Meanwhile, the forward and back buttons are within easy reach of your thumb. All of the buttons have a positive click, but it’s the tracking that steals the headlines: whether you’re exploring a vast Excel spreadsheet or editing an image in Photoshop, it’s incredibly precise. The MX Vertical is quite simply the best ergonomic mouse you can buy.
Highly Commended | Kensington Orbit Fusion | £53
It might bring to mind HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Kensington’s Orbit Fusion is a lot more accommodating. Rather than moving around like a traditional mouse, it sits still on your desk while your thumb and fingers manipulate the bright red, 40mm trackball to move the cursor. Another thoughtful touch is the rotating ring around the trackball that functions like a standard scroll wheel. If you want to take the pressure off your wrist, this is the best trackball mouse we’ve ever used.
Best Ergonomic Keyboard
Winner | Logitech Ergo K860 | £109
Even the most tap-happy workers shouldn’t have to put up with repetitive strain injury (RSI) in 2022, but cramped or makeshift home-working setups can hugely increase the risk. That’s where the Logitech Ergo K860 comes in: it combines an incredibly comfortable padded wristrest with a cleverly curved keyboard with a split in the middle for the most natural typing position possible. In our tests, it sorted out our reviewer’s painful right shoulder after a week of use, while the rest felt like an expensive memory foam mattress for their wrist. If you’re worried about potential aches, or are already experiencing them, the K860 is the best keyboard for the job.
Highly Commended | Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic | £82
Microsoft’s Sculpt Ergonomic delivers a lot of features at a great price. A wristrest big enough to play cricket on provides plenty of support, while the action of the keys themselves is superb and isn’t accompanied by irritating rattles. All of that adds up to a cost-effective, comfortable and highly commended alternative.
Best Laptop Stand
Winner | VonHaus Laptop Stand | £10
This laptop stand from VonHaus will be a godsend for hybrid workers or those working at home without a monitor. Suitable for laptops between 11in and 17in, it weighs a rucksack-friendly 500g and collapses down to under 2cm thick. That hasn’t come at the expense of ergonomics, though: it offers seven different angles, from 25 to 47 degrees, and there’s plenty of ventilation to keep your laptop cool.
Highly Commended | Oripura Laptop Stand | £20
Many of us want to make more sustainable tech purchases, but are often put off by the sky-high cost of entry. That isn’t the case with the Oripura stand, however: for an affordable price, you’re getting a home for your 11in to 16in laptop that’s constructed entirely from recycled materials. It folds flat and even has a nifty cable cutout.
Best Mouse Mat
Winner | Logitech Studio Series | £8
Many of us aren’t blessed with plenty of space on our remote working desks. Never fear, though: Logitech’s stylish Studio Series mouse mat is here to help. Entirely crafted from 100% recycled polyester, it comes in a choice of three attractive hues and provides a silky surface for your mouse to roll over. Even better, there’s a raised braid around the edge to stop your mouse going out of bounds, while the rubber base stops it from sliding around. You can’t do better for under a tenner.
Highly Commended | Kensington Duo Gel | £14
Most mouse mats will support your wrist, but Kensington’s Duo Gel takes comfort to a whole new level. A soft, black-and-blue gel pillow, which looks uncannily like a giant laundry pod, sits at the bottom of the mat and conforms to the shape of your wrist to reduce strain. Meanwhile, a vent in the middle keeps things cool and the rubber base will keep it affixed to your desk.
Best Conferencing Headset
Winner | Plantronics Voyager Focus UC | £150
If you want to come through loud and clear, no matter the background noise at home, you can’t go wrong with the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC. This Bluetooth headset has a crisp microphone that can rotate 180 degrees and a handy volume control on an earcup. It’s the active noise cancellation that really sets this headset apart, though: it will effectively dampen the sounds of your kids coming home from school or your dog barking for attention.
Highly Commended | Microsoft Modern USB | £35
This lightweight USB headset is a fine all-rounder, delivering clear audio through its comfortable padded earcups and capturing your voice, not background hubbub, through its noise-cancelling mic. The in-line controls give you instant access to volume, muting and call features, with a dedicated button for launching Microsoft Teams.
Best USB Hub
Winner | Anker PowerExpand 6-in-1 USB-C | £42
Anker’s USB-C hub certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s the ideal companion for your home office desk. You’re getting two USB-A (USB 3.1 Gen 2) ports, making it a better choice for hooking up a high-performance external hard drive or memory stick, as well as an HDMI output that supports 4K, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s even a 100W USB-PD passthrough so it will charge your laptop when connected. In short, it’s one of the best USB-C hubs we’ve tested.
Highly Commended | Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock | £320
The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock is astonishingly well equipped. It contains ten connections, including a quartet of Thurderbolt 4-powered USB-C ports, three USB-A (3.2 Gen 2) ports, an SD card reader and even a Gigabit Ethernet port. If you’re a tech-head with a desk burgeoning with massive monitors and the latest gadgets, this is the USB hub for you.
Best Paper Shredder
Winner | Bonsaii EverShred | £110
Bonsaii’s EverShred lives up to its name, chomping through reams of paperwork with barely a pause. In fact, it can devour 14 sheets at the same time for up to half an hour, thanks to a nifty cooling system that stops it from overheating. Even staples, CDs and credit cards aren’t safe – the Evershred minces them as if they were nothing. With this much pulverising power on offer, you might expect it to be loud, but Bonsaii has kept the noise down to under 60dB in operation, while a 17-litre bin means you won’t be emptying it all the time.
Highly Commended | Rexel 2101942UK | £30
If space is at a premium in your home office, this eminently affordable Rexel shredder is an excellent option. It weighs just 3.6kg and is small enough to fit in a cupboard, but that doesn’t mean you’re compromising on cutting ability: it can simultaneously shred five sheets of paper and makes short work of staples, paperclips and even bank cards. If you only occasionally need to destroy a few documents, look no further.