Since it looks like we will all be working from home for an extended period of time here, I figured I would put together a guide for home office must-haves.
I am a big believer in investing in your tools. As knowledge workers, we only have a few tools so we may as well have the best. With the sheer number of hours you spend using these things, the price per use ends up being negligible.
I have spent a lot of time researching and purchasing office furniture in the past and these are my favorites for home or work.
Sitting all day is unnatural and horrible for your health. You need an adjustable desk so you can change positions throughout the day.
Uplift Adjustable Desk (my office desk) - The best standing desk. It is not only my opinion, Wirecutter also has it rated as their #1 desk. The desk is endlessly customizable, but the one in the link has all the best selections pre-made. The inch-thick curved front bamboo desktop has a premium look and ends up being one of the cheapest (and most durable) table materials.
The Uplift is notable for being much more stable than other desks, especially at its top height of 52”. I’m 6’7” and 52” is the perfect height for me when I am barefoot. 52" is just a little short if I am wearing shoes.
Steelcase Airtouch (my home desk) - The most beautiful standing desk. It is the iMac G4 of desks. This desk uses compressed air to move up and down weightlessly. I have always envied the design of them and was lucky enough to pick one up off Craigslist for $250. It is worth noting that they only go up to 43” so I had to put risers beneath the legs to lift it up.
There is a massive difference in quality between cheap and expensive office chairs. It is immediately obvious when you pick up expensive chairs. They are roughly 100x heavier than cheap chairs.
Even if you are on a budget, you don’t have to settle for cheap chairs. $1,000+ chairs can be had for $200-$400 in like-new condition from office resellers or even less if you search around on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Many businesses will buy these chairs new and then either return them or go out of business so there are tons of chairs in the used market. They also last forever.
Steelcase Leap v2 - This is the best value in office chairs today. You can get them cheaper on eBay with free shipping or sometimes locally. The Herman Miller Aeron is the most famous chair and the biggest competitor to the Leap. The Aeron is a great chair, but it is less forgiving for sitting in weird ways (on your foot for example) and for more extreme body types (too tall doesn’t fit well). Moving and sitting in different ways throughout the day is healthier so I give the edge to the Leap.
For material, I prefer cloth over leather. Cloth doesn’t get as hot and doesn’t show as much wear over time.
The ergonomics of a standing desk don’t work if you are staring down hunched over your laptop screen. You’ll want a monitor that brings your screen to eye level.
LG Ultrafine - This is the spiritual successor to Apple’s legendary thunderbolt display and a seamless experience with a Mac. I went with the 27” 5K version. If you want to save some money, the 4k version is quite a bit cheaper and not that much smaller. Just plug in a single USB-C cord and you’re good to go. If you have a Mac, there is no better monitor for you than this one. The retina screen is stunning in person.
If you have the money, Apple’s display is the best there is.
It is worth investing in something you are staring at 8 hours a day. The cheaper panels really don’t compare.
Bose QC35 II Headphones - The most comfortable noise-cancelling headphones in existence. I wear these most of the day. The AirPods Max have better noise cancellation, bluetooth connection, and build quality, but I find the Bose more comfortable for longer periods so I use them more often. Both are excellent though.
Apple Magic Trackpad 2 - I am dependent on all the MacBook trackpad swipe gestures and love being able to use them on a larger surface. A mouse feels so antiquated by comparison.
Apple Magic Keyboard - A must if you are used to the Mac keyboards.
Phillips Hue Lights - I use these bulbs throughout my house so I can dim them before bed (my sleep stack). If you need more lumens, these have the best CRI so that colors look natural and you avoid eye strain.
Anker Wireless Charger - There isn’t much of a difference in wireless chargers. Anker nails the things that matter (clean design, reliable, cheap). They are my go-to brand for accessories.
Working from home isn't complete without coffee. It is easy and cheap to make quality coffee at home. Back when people worked in offices, I would make my coffee and bring it into the office with a 25oz S'well bottle that would last me the whole morning (I try not to drink coffee after noon). This is way cheaper than buying coffee every day and the quality is far better.
The grinder is the most important piece of gear in making great coffee. Do not buy a cheap blade-style grinder that randomly pulverizes coffee beans into a muddy mess. The best beans will taste like junk if they aren’t ground evenly.
A conical burr grinder that reliably grinds beans into a consistent size is a must. The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is the gold-standard in grinders and is worth the investment. It is the top-rated Wirecutter pick as well. If you are looking for something cheaper, the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder is a solid <$100 option.
For brewing, there is no reason to go fancy. The Aeropress will make the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had for <$30.
If you don’t like throwing away a paper filter each time, you can pair it with a reusable metal disc filter.
If you are looking for a more traditional coffee maker, this one is my current favorite.