We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. Learn more

Tech Accessories

  • When DVDs debuted, they quickly came to replace CDs for optical storage given they provide much greater storage at the exact same size. As the hardware involved in writing data to DVDs became more affordable, a wide range of different DVD burners were released for use in computers. These internal drives became fairly standard, typically replacing CD drives in computers completely. External burners have also become increasingly common, providing the perks of easy data storage on DVDs with the extra portability of a separate device. However, as Blu-Ray discs have become more popular recently, these have become something of a niche product and will likely become even harder to find in the future. Check out the DVD burner buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick the best model for your computer setup.
    June 12, 2019
  • Although PC racing wheels may be something of a niche item, there are a decent number of them on the market to choose from. When considering different options, look for racing wheels which offer a realistic PC driving experience while checking it’s been manufactured with quality materials to ensure  long-term enjoyment. Different manufacturers offer a variety of accessories and features to enhance your gameplay. A basic racing wheel gives you a more realistic experience in a driving game, but the addition of pedals and shift sticks can really take your game to the next level.We’ve chosen these as the best PC racing wheels because of their minimum 900 degree rotation angles and variety of customizable buttons and shifting paddles for a more immersive driving experience. These wheels are also are built durably, with even the addition of metal and leather materials on some which help reduce the effects of wear and tear. While all of these are designed to work with a PC, some of these models also have functionality that works with a video game console, a level of flexibility which makes them a better overall value.
    May 15, 2019
  • A USB Bluetooth adapter lets you connect any supported computer or laptop to other wireless Bluetooth devices. They’re small units that plug into a USB port and then connect wirelessly to other devices through Bluetooth technology. This type of adapter is ideal if you don’t want to add new hardware within your computer system, but need to connect to one or more devices through Bluetooth. Although there’s a wide range of manufacturers, most of these devices are fairly similar in their size and design.We’ve chosen the following best USB Bluetooth adapters because they offer the fastest speeds possible thanks to support for the Bluetooth 4.0 specification. You get as much wireless range with these adapters as possible since all of them offer a minimum 20 foot range. All of these devices work with multiple versions of Windows and include encryption for data and hardware security, though some of them also work with computers running a Mac OS.
    April 04, 2016
  • There's a pretty wide range of video capture devices out there that cover a lot of different potential uses. If you want to capture video professionally, for web streaming content or converting analog video to a digital format, then you should consider a high-end model that gives you more input options and ensures high output. But there are also quite a few models that are very affordable and can be purchased for easy video capture at a very reasonable price. Consider the type of media you want to capture and the physical input and output connections you need for your existing hardware, before purchasing any device.These video capture devices offer the best picture quality thanks to HD video that supports up to 1080p 30 fps video quality. You get HDMI pass-through performance with all of these devices, which means they have HDMI output as well as input, so you can play or stream live in addition to recording gameplay with a single device. All of these video capture devices include great software that makes it easy to control how you stream or record video and audio, plus edit, save, and post video without the need for additional, expensive video-editing programs.
    April 01, 2016
  • There's a fair bit of debate among many laptop owners about whether coolers actually do anything in terms of laptop performance and longevity. However, lot of evidence supports the idea that a good cooler can reduce internal operating temperatures for a laptop, especially while running demanding software such as PC games. A good laptop cooler should provide a level surface for the laptop to keep ducts clear and move air to the bottom of the laptop to help promote heat transfer.We’ve chosen the following best laptop coolers because they have at least one very large fan or multiple smaller fans at least 80mm in size working together. More important than just the number of fans is how much air these fans can move which is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM, determined by the size and speed of the fan. All of these laptop coolers move at least 34CFM of air and their fans spin at a minimum of 1,000 rotations per minute (RPN) or higher.  They also offer great connectivity options with at least one USB port on each of these coolers (in addition to one needed for power) which keeps you from losing a port during use. Lastly, these picks are large enough to support at least a 15 inch laptop.
    April 01, 2016
  • Joysticks are game controllers designed with a single stick that (depending on the game of course) typically controls character aim or movement, with one or more buttons for additional input if required. These types of controllers were once extremely common because they can provide a great deal of control and flexibility. While other types of controllers have become popular, these are still great for some games.When considering a joystick for your PC games, you want to know how accurate its movements are as well as an options with a good number of buttons for interacting with a wide range of games without the need for additional peripherals. If you want incredibly realistic flight simulation controls you’ll want to consider a PC flight control option, although some of these joysticks featured here may work well for simpler flying games.We’ve chosen the following PC joysticks because of their accurate, sensitive control sticks for responsive gameplay. They’ve also been designed to have a minimum of 12 programmable buttons and a trigger, which are essential ideal for use in combat-oriented flight and “mecha” games. Stability is also important during play so all of these picks have large, solid bases which keep them in place while you’re are playing. Lastly, these joysticks are all plug-and-play devices which don’t require any software installation to use, although optional software provided with many of them will certainly give you more options for customized set ups.
    March 29, 2016
  • While many people prefer to use a mouse and keyboard when playing a wide range of PC games, there are certain titles that just lend themselves to using a gamepad instead. Most gamers swear by a mouse and keyboard for optimal precision in a first-person shooter, but for fighting games and platformers a gamepad can be easier to use and far more intuitive. Most gamepads can work with gaming consoles, but PC support is going to be the primary focus on this list.These PC gamepads are easy to use and great for a wide range of PC games thanks to their inclusion of least one thumb stick, a D-pad, and eight or more buttons. This has become a pretty standard setup that aligns with the controllers found on current-generation gaming consoles. All of these controllers feature programmable mapping options that let you set up your preferred controls, though you typically need to install software or a utility to do so. Lastly, these picks have great secondary features which give you a more immersive gameplay experience like vibration and feedback.
    March 28, 2016
  • Flight control devices are designed to let you control flight simulators and similar programs with as much realism as possible. In addition to these controllers, you can also purchase foot pedals, dashboard switches, and other hardware to complete the simulation experience. Initially, it’s best to focus on just the best control devices offering an overall realistic look and feel. The number of buttons and similar options are important, since these devices fully replace a mouse and keyboard while playing a game or enjoying a simulation. Yokes and sticks are the two primary types of flight controls available and you can find excellent examples of both designs from a variety of manufacturers.We’ve chosen the following best PC flight controls because they offer realistic flight simulation and gameplay thanks to designs which authentically mimic the controls of an actual airplane. Both yokes and flight sticks are included, and these models have at least nine programmable buttons and switches to give you the most authentic experience currently possible. All of these include throttle controls, although some of them are a bit easier and more realistic to use than others. The type of simulation or game you prefer typically determines if you’ll want a yoke or a stick, but in either case these models offer excellent responsiveness due to multi-axis controls and the ability to stay in place during long-term use.
    March 28, 2016
  • A scanner is a device that captures an image from a physical object or document to create a digital copy of it. They come in a wide range of designs and styles, but overall their purpose is to create a digital backup of a physical image or document. Some of the most common models on the market are flatbed designs that have a glass bed that you lay a document onto and then a light is used to scan the item and create a digital copy of it. These have become increasingly powerful, with high-resolution models often used for photographs and illustrations. There are also specialized scanners used to capture images from older photographic film and slides, as well as smaller versions that can quickly scan a business card. Pen scanners provide small options for scanning individual lines of text, while portable models can be used to scan any document at any location. Consider what types of items you have to scan, where you'll be doing most of your scanning, and take a look at the scanner buyer’s guide below to find the best model for your needs.
    March 20, 2016
  • A KVM switch (or keyboard/video/mouse) is a device that lets you easily swap input devices between two or more computer systems. The basic design of this type of switch has input for a keyboard and mouse as well as a connection to a single video display. This then connects to the keyboard/mouse ports and video output on multiple computers. With the press of a button on the switch (or hotkey if you prefer) you can then use one keyboard, mouse, and video display, easily swapping between the computers you have connected. While this certainly isn't necessary in every computer setup, a KVM switch makes multitasking easier between multiple workstations and using one setup for more than one system.We've chosen the following best KVM switches because they all provide the best functionality due to support for at least four different computers, though switches with even more ports are available. All of these are great options for the latest computers and displays, thanks to either DVI or VGA and USB support although they're not all ideal if say you need an old PS/2 connection for the mouse and keyboard. These picks also don't require additional software for their installation.
    March 08, 2016
  • While a surge protector might seem like little more than a fancy power strip, the protection they provide can be crucial for guarding your electronic devices. Their protection is usually rated in Joules, which is a measurement of energy and indicates how much of a surge they can protect against; generally a higher rating means more protection from one of these devices. It’s important that any power outlet in a house or similar building be properly grounded to ensure a surge has somewhere to go, even with a surge protector in place. The immense power of a bolt of lightning cannot be adequately handled by a surge protector, but good protection can deal with more common power issues like surges utility provider or other local sources. Read through the surge protector buyer’s guide below for information to help you pick the best model to safeguard your setup.
    January 29, 2016
  • When looking for the best uninterruptible Power Supply, or UPS, consider overall performance as the most important factor. Try to find hardware that is reliable and can provide as much time as possible in the event of any kind of power outage. While even a minute can be enough to maintain system integrity and data in the case of a brief power surge or flicker, you should try to find systems that can provide several minutes or more for you to react appropriately to a power outage. You might also look for hardware that includes utilities that you can use to set up safe power-down options in case there is a power outage when you are not at your computer.We've chosen these picks as the best UPS devices on the market because they can hold at least 1300 Volt Amps, or VA, which gives you as much output capacity as possible. Each of these picks also have an output watt capacity of at least 800W, which gives you enough power for quite a few different devices. With that in mind, each of these units has six or more outlets to connect to and they all offer some surge protection. While it's important to consider the available capacity, each of these picks are designed to give you at least two minutes of backup time under full load and nine minutes or more under half load.
    January 26, 2016
  • A good computer headset should provide you both functionality and comfort. Look for headsets which give you controls or extra features for easy and efficient use. This list of best computer headsets includes both wireless and wired headsets, so consider how much range of movement you want while wearing one. The headband and ear cups also need to be comfortable so that you can wear them for several hours at a time without any pain or irritation. Don’t bother with flashing lights or extra features as you can typically find those on gaming headsets and you pay a lot for those unnecessary options.We’ve chosen these as the best computer headsets because they offer excellent sound quality thanks to dual-speaker designs which deliver stereo sound. All of these picks also have an overhead band which rests comfortably with padding on the ear pads so that you can wear them for hours at a time without any irritation or discomfort. In addition to their sound quality and comfort, these headsets feature noise-cancelling microphones which helps give you the best audio quality possible during a conversation and most of them include adjustable booms on the microphone. You also get controls on each of these for sound volume and to mute the microphone, either on an earpiece or in-line through a controller.
    November 23, 2015
  • A USB hub lets you easily connect numerous USB cables to a single device which acts as part of a larger network. This lets you work around limitations you may have on the number of USB ports in your computer and can make it easy for multiple devices to be shared within a network. The best type of hub for you will depend primarily on two things, the first being what version of USB technology you need, and second, how many ports you need. Most models out there support USB 2.0 because so many devices still use that standard but the best performance comes from a USB 3.0 hub. While a wide range of different models are available, most of them have about half a dozen ports. If you need more connections, many manufacturers make larger versions.We’ve chosen these as the best USB hubs because they offer you support for at least USB 2.0 specification although USB 3.0 is even better if it will work with your hardware. You get at least four ports on these hubs which gives you a lot of options for connecting your devices and some of them also provide you with seven (or even 10) ports if you have a lot of devices to connect. All of these hubs include backwards compatibility so you can choose a model that’s a bit better than what you need but it will still work with older hardware.
    November 23, 2015
  • Webcams cover a wide range of devices designed to capture video images and send them to a computer or network. These cameras are usually pretty small, often designed to hook onto a monitor or sit next to a computer on your desktop. There are also webcams designed as part of other hardware, usually integrated into a computer monitor, tablet, or laptop. As internet streaming has become faster and more widely available, webcams have advanced to include high-definition video and other convenience features. With so many different models available (and a number of accompanying technical specifications) to consider, you should check out our webcam buyer’s guide below to determine which one is best for you.
    October 13, 2015
  • Devices that can burn to Blu-Ray discs have become the pinnacle of current optical media hardware. These drives are able to read from and write to Blu-Rays, DVDs, and CDs, giving you total freedom to handle whatever kind of media you prefer. Though these were once very expensive, they have become increasingly affordable in the last few years and should continue to become standard in many computers. Internal devices are often installed by computer manufacturers or can be placed into a system with just a little effort. External drives are quite handy and effective as a portable way to write to and read from various types of media. Keep in mind, however, that these are data drives, so if you want to watch your favorite new movie on a Blu-Ray, you'll need software on a computer or similar device to actually play the film. For more information to help you pick out the best Blu-Ray burner for your system, check out the Blu-Ray burner buyer’s guide below.
    October 12, 2015
  • While keyboards may seem simple and identical to one another, there are actually a wide range of different devices available from numerous manufacturers. From standard keyboards that don't have a lot of bells and whistles, to illuminated gamer keyboards with a dozen programmable hotkeys, to ergonomically-designed split keyboards, there’s a lot of types for you to choose from.If you're just looking for a basic input device, check out the best overall keyboard pick. But if you want something special, perhaps an edge in your favorite PC game or you’re seeking relief for aching wrists, there’s also a number of specialty keyboards available to users with unique needs. To help you better understand what is available to you and pick the right model for your needs, take a look at the computer keyboard buyer’s guide below for more information and recommendations.
    October 08, 2015
  • The computer mouse is easily one of the most commonly used input devices around, yet hardly any thought goes into selecting a decent one. Computer mice come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, ranging from the familiar flat mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel to ergonomic models designed to keep your wrist and forearm free from repetitive strain injuries. Gaming mice provide more programmable buttons, while laptop mice are designed to be compact and easy to travel with. With so many options available, we recommend taking a look at the computer mouse buyer’s guide below for more information to help you choose the right mouse for your needs.
    October 08, 2015
  • When mice primarily used the physical rotation of a ball to track movement, mouse pads were necessary to ensure a secure grip and accurate motion. However, as optical and laser mice have replaced the older designs, these pads have become much less necessary. Many people still prefer to use them though since they can provide a more comfortable workspace and improve performance under certain conditions. For example, gamers often use high-performance mouse pads to gain an edge over other players and even non-gamers can still benefit from mouse pads, since they can provide wrist support and a smooth surface. Be sure to check out the mouse pad buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick the best pad available.
    October 08, 2015
  • Computer speakers play the largest role in determining the quality of the audio from your system. Most basic computer speakers have two "satellites" which are often placed on either side of a computer monitor. This setup provides left and right channels for stereo sound, which is suitable for everyday use. Beyond that, 2.1 and 5.1 speaker systems are growing in popularity. These setups have multiple satellites and a dedicated subwoofer, and offer much higher performance than basic speaker systems. They have substantially better bass response, making them an ideal choice for PC gaming and watching movies. While a simple pair of speakers can be inexpensive and easy to choose, take a look at the PC speakers buyer’s guide below for more information to help you pick exactly the right speakers for your setup.
    October 07, 2015
  • Gaming headsets differ from standard headsets by the needs they must fulfill. While sound quality is an important consideration, the best gaming headsets must also be comfortable enough for prolonged wear; thankfully there are wired and wireless headsets that meet these requirements so gamers have plenty of options to choose from. Since gaming headsets can cost you quite a lot of money, it’s important to choose a model that works well for your needs while providing adequate value for the money you’re. Check out the gaming headset buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick just the right headset for your needs.
    October 05, 2015
  • Smartwatches are yet another way technology is becoming further integrated into our daily lives. While most current smartwatches are designed to work in tandem with your smartphone, others can function as standalone devices with their own data and calling capabilities. This market is still emerging, but competition is already heating up with new technologies and innovations constantly being released.Although these early devices aren’t fully polished yet, we've compiled a list of some of the best options currently available to consumers. While the Apple Watch has created big change in the market, there still remain only a select few options for iPhone users, with the majority of smartwatches being for Android devices only.When choosing the best smartwatches for this list, we looked at their design, both in terms of appearance and in terms of comfort. Since a watch is to be worn, it's important it fits the image you want to portray while being comfortable enough to keep on for many hours at a time.We looked at their battery life as well, an area where smartwatches are still lacking, with just about every single mainstream model requiring charging every one to two days. Fortunately, all of the following watches should last a minimum of one day of typical use before needing a recharge.We also chose to include smartwatches with full user functionality, as opposed to more fitness-oriented models; this means the ability to run a variety of apps and perform a range of functions beyond just fitness tracking. As features are currently fairly standard across most of the leading models, we've placed less emphasis on features than overall performance and user experience.
    May 29, 2015
  • Printers have evolved quite a bit in a short period of time. Inkjet printers used to be the low cost and quality solution to the more sophisticated laser printer option, but that's not the case anymore. Both types of printers can print quality pages, it just depends on what kind of printing you want to do. The difference between inkjet and laser is how the ink is applied and adheres to your page. Inkjets spray millions of tiny picoliter size dots onto the page, creating a vast color palette in the image. But there’s the risk the finished product might show slight bleed or a subtle pixelated effect if the printer is a low quality machine. Laser printers use toner, a powdered ink that heats ink to the page to produce an image. Unlike ink, toner doesn't have the risk of wet smudging, but you lose some of the color palette as toner lays down one color at a time and toner ink isn't as deep or thick as regular ink. Text documents and monochrome graphics look great with laser, but if you're looking to print lab-quality photos, ink presents a better color palette and deeper, richer photographic images. There’s a wide spectrum of printers suitable for every budget. Some have limited paper capacities for smaller jobs, making them better for home or personal use. Larger paper capacities are better for office environments, so you're not constantly replacing paper. Extra features like auto document feeders and duplex printing make large and complicated jobs easier to do as the machine does much of the work for you. One of the more resourceful and popular options at the moment is the "all-in-one" printer. These printers are capable of not only printing, but scanning, faxing and copying. These machines are one of the best options because they can do so many things in one easy-to-use unit. Plus, many of them offer the highest quality printed, scanned, and copied pages, with resolution of up to 9600 x 2400 dpi (dots per inch) for color prints. Wireless printers is a hot commodity now too. Printers can now print documents and photos directly from mobile devices and web-based cloud services. Many of them can also accept USB drives and memory cards to download your material directly to the printer's hard drive, eliminating the need for a PC or laptop altogether. Office environments may want a printer that multiple employees can use along a shared network and there are quite a few that offer this type of connectivity. Lastly, when choosing a printer, consider print speeds. Print speeds not only refers to the time it takes for a printer to finish printing a document (rated at pages per minute or ppm), but also to something called "first print out". This clocks the amount of time it takes for a printer to receive and process data from a printing source to when it starts the print job. Beware of the advertised print speeds from many manufacturers, however, they're not all accurate. Some manufacturers claim faster speeds but neglect to mention those are only attained at lower quality output, when the speed for high resolution prints is considerably slower.
    October 28, 2014
  • From working professionals to college students, laptops have become an essential item for many people. Due to our increasing reliance on being “connected” at any given time, many people carry their laptop around with them almost everywhere they go. Since this technology can be expensive to replace, it’s important to have adequate protection for your laptop and other electronic devices.No matter how careful you are, at some point the bag with your computer inside will end up banging too hard against a surface, fall to the ground, or otherwise risk damage to the contents inside. Because of this, the design of the laptop bag you choose is very important. Although the very best bags often tend to be expensive, there are budget-friendly options out there that will generally do a good enough job (but usually sacrificing somewhat on durability).Regardless of style, certain selection criteria must apply to any reliable laptop bag. The best laptop bags will have thick padding designed to protect your computer at all angles while keeping it snugly in place. There must also be plenty of space for additional items such as power cords, computer accessories, files and paperwork, as well as personal items such as a phone and/or wallet. A good laptop bag will also be durable and comfortable to wear, with adjustable straps and strong (preferably water-resistant) materials.
    August 15, 2014