Have a PC fanatic in your life but don’t know what they need? We bet these five accessories will make a great gift for even the hardest geek to shop for.
Update, 4/5/22: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still great PC accessories to buy.
A surge protector is a must-have for any PC, be it a laptop or a desktop. A surge protector guards your PC against a sudden jolt of electricity that could fry precious components. This is more common than you might realize, and the reality is that most PCs have little to protect them from these potential surges.
Surge protectors aren’t particularly expensive and are well worth the small investment they require. You don’t need something crazy. Just a wall wart like Addtam’s surge protector to plug into a regular power strip is enough.
Many power strips also come with surge protection built-in, so you may already have what you need. To be on the safe side, just make sure that your power strip has the protection of at least 2,000 joules.
A Wall Wart You’ll Love
Addtam Surge Protector
Addtam’s surge protector plugs right into the wall, and the design allows you to easily plug in all the PC components you need to.
A Strip Option
Bototek Power Strip
If you prefer a power strip, Superdanny’s offering is simple and built with large sized adapters in mind.
Chances are that you spend a good chunk of your PC time with headphones on. The trouble is, there’s never a great place for headphones to sit when they’re not in use. If you put them on the desk, they’re likely to fall off—and the same goes for when they rest on top of the PC tower.
One popular way to counter this is NZXT’s Puck. At first glance, it seems ridiculous to spend $20 on, but it’s money surprisingly well spent. In addition to providing a convenient spot to hang up your headphones, it can also gather up and hold any excess cables easily.
The Puck also doesn’t take up any extra space, but instead, makes use of a spot on your PC tower that typically has nothing on it, getting those cans out of the way when they’re not needed.
Another option is a more traditional headphone stand. It’s certainly cheaper, but it takes up some extra desk space.
A Home For Your Headset
NZXT Puck Headset Mount
The NZXT Puck is a convenient headset mount that attaches to your PC case with magnets. It has a place to store the cable, too.
If You Have the Desk Space
New Bee Headphone Stand
If you want to save a little money and have the desk space, a traditional headphone stand also works.
Even in the age of auto-saving desktop programs, you can still lose your work due to a power outage on a desktop PC. That’s where an uninterruptible power supply (or UPS) comes in. These units contain large batteries and are equipped with multiple standard power outlets for your desktop PC, monitor, printer, and other equipment.
A UPS is an often-overlooked piece of equipment that every desktop PC user needs. It’s one of those things that you won’t appreciate until that fateful storm hits or the demands of a hot summer day overload the local grid.
Not that these are not meant to act like power generators that keep you working for hours when the lights go out. The idea is for the battery to keep your PC running long enough to save your work and safely shut down in the event of a power outage.
Note that UPS manufacturers recommend against plugging a UPS unit into a surge protector. A UPS generally has built-in surge protection, so additional protection is not needed.
Backup Power for Your PC
Depending on how your PC is configured, a USB hub can be a very helpful addition. These are small, rectangular devices loaded with USB ports that connect to a single port on the PC, thereby turning one USB connection into many.
If you have a laptop that’s limited in its number of USB ports, or your desktop tower only has one or two on the front, a USB hub can be very useful. While desktops typically have a ton of USB ports on the back, they are a pain to access and use. A USB hub prevents you from having to fiddle with the ports on the rear of the machine except when it’s absolutely necessary.
You can also find USB hubs at quite a wide price range. Anker products tend to be good choices, and the brand provides a wide variety of options at affordable prices.
More USB Ports
Put this one in the luxury column, but there’s nothing like having an extended mouse mat (pad) under your keyboard and mouse. This gives you far more room to negotiate with your mouse and offers a nicer feel than that of the cold, hard desk underneath your keyboard. There’s even enough space for a coaster if you’d like to put your coffee mug on top of it, too.
Mouse mats come at various price points. If you want something with lighting around the edges, Razer has you covered. If RGB isn’t your thing, you can pick up Corsair’s extended mouse pad for just $30.
A Mousepad With LEDs
A Mousepad Without the Light Show
If you’re not interested in Razer’s RGB, Corsair also has a great, big mouse mat you can use to spruce up your desk space.
With the exception of the surge protector, none of these PC accessories are must-haves. They do, however, make your day-to-day experience better—whether that’s with extra power that prevents you from losing your work, or little luxuries that make life easier.