The Best Laser Printer

After nearly 250 hours of research and testing over the past few years, we’ve found that the best choice for an affordable laser printer right now is the Brother HL-L2340DW. Among the dozens of laser printers we’ve looked at, the L2340DW is one of the most economical and least frustrating printers you can buy. The HL-L2340DW is among the cheapest printers to operate that we’ve tested, with a cost per page of only 2.3 cents, including wear on the drum. It’s also easy to set up, and it works reliably on most simple wireless networks and almost any modern laptop, smartphone, or tablet (yes, including Chromebooks). Since it’s a laser printer, it’s well suited to running every day, sitting idle for weeks at a time, or anything in between. It can do automatic two-sided printing, too, and print speeds are quick. No printer is perfect—the L2340 struggles on some networks (we’ll share some workarounds later on) and its default print quality could be better, though it’s fine on higher-quality settings. Despite the shortcomings, the L2340 is the most sensible choice for most people who need to make hard copies of term papers, tax forms, concert tickets, or other text-based documents from their home, home…

The Best Lumbar-Support Pillow

After researching dozens of lumbar-support pillows, interviewing physical-therapy experts, and testing nine models with eight office workers, we think the LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion gives the best back support and feels the most comfortable over long periods in an office chair. It’s also easy to set up and adjust, and you can quickly remove it for cleaning or for occasional support when you’re traveling. Although personal preferences affect judgments about the feel of a lumbar-support pillow, a majority of our testers ranked the LoveHome as the most comfortable. They reported that it contoured nicely to their bodies, provided substantial support across a large area of the lower back, and stayed securely in place when strapped to a chair. If you prefer a slightly firmer feel for your lower back, or if our top pick is sold out, the Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion has a similar profile, though with firmer memory foam inside. Two straps secure it in place. Our testers consistently picked the Everlasting Comfort as their second choice, with those preferring a firmer cushion giving it high marks. The Tempur-Pedic LumbarCushion was the top choice for a few of our testers. The LumbarCushion is larger and firmer than either of…

The Best Wireless Headset for the Office

After spending more than 50 hours researching 30 headsets and testing nine of them, we’ve found the wireless Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is the best headset for people who make frequent calls and listen to music at a desk. The wireless headset connects to your computer and mobile phone at the same time via Bluetooth, making it easy to switch between the two to handle calls or music. Its softly padded earcups and unique suspended-cushion headband made it the most comfortable for all-day wear among the models we tested, and its battery performance was among the best, as it lasted a full 8-hour work day with juice to spare in our tests. In our audio tests, its voice, music, and podcast audio quality were among the clearest, and its active noise cancelling successfully blocked out ambient sounds, which is especially useful in a cubicle or open-office floor plan. The Voyager UC didn’t have the best outgoing audio quality—how you sound to others—of the models we tested, but you’ll still be easily understood, even with background noise, thanks to the three microphones inside the boom (to better capture your voice and identify and filter out ambient sounds) and noise-cancelling features. The headset’s controls…

The Best Voice Recorder

After doing 52 hours of research and testing 12 voice recorders over the past two years (adding four recent models for this update) in real-world settings—a college classroom, a noisy coffee shop, and a quiet office—we’ve determined that the best audio recorder for most people interested in capturing meetings, lectures, dictation, and in-person interviews is the Sony UX560. It recorded the most intelligible audio of all the recorders we tested and offers the most useful collection of features: It’s rechargeable via USB; it has a legible, backlit screen; and its menu system is the easiest to navigate. The UX560 is similar to our previous, now-discontinued pick, also from Sony. In a new round of testing in mid-2017, the UX560 received the highest overall ratings from our panel of test listeners. It produces clear, understandable audio in classroom, quiet office, and noisy coffee shop settings. It also offers a better collection of features than the other models we tested, with an easy-to-navigate menu system, a bright backlit screen, 39 hours of recording time (in MP3 format), 27-hour battery life, voice-activated recording to pause and restart after silences, and a pop-out USB 3.0 connector that lets you recharge the recorder and transfer files to a…

The Best LED Desk Lamp

After consulting experts in lighting design and optometry, and spending 24 hours researching more than two dozen desk lamps and testing eight, we think the Eufy Lumos A4 Desk Lamp is the best LED lamp for working at a desk in a home office or for any other task that requires good, focused light. The A4 is one of the brightest lamps we tested, with some of the best controls for dimming. Eye doctors recommend using cooler light for tasks during the day and warmer hues at night, and the A4’s range of color temperatures is generous enough for most people’s needs. Using focused, direct light while you work or read helps reduce eye strain, and its adjustability and lamp design lets you avoid glare no matter how you angle the lamp. And the A4’s superior combination of features comes at a budget-friendly price, making it by far the best value of all the lamps we tested. The Eufy Lumos A4 Desk Lamp provides 1,200 lumens of light at its maximum brightness setting, which is plenty of light for any task. Its five brightness and four color-temperature modes allow you to adjust lighting to your mood or the time of day with a touch-sensitive…

The Best Paper Shredders

After performing 45 hours of research, conducting extensive testing with a PhD physicist, and interviewing a guy who made his living stealing other people’s discarded personal information, we feel confident recommending either the AmazonBasics 12-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder or, if it’s unavailable, the AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder to most people who shred things a few times per month. The 12-sheet model was our pick when we originally published this guide, and after two new rounds of testing, we’ve confirmed that either that shredder or the smaller, eight-sheet version is the best choice for personal use or light duty in a home office. Based on our research, we believe that most people, given how seldom a shredder sees action, would prefer to spend less than $50 on a reliable machine that can get a basic job done, versus a model that costs two or three times as much. For most average folks, a shredder is a device that has to work well a few times a month—and for the occasional batch of paperwork, old bank cards, CDs, or DVDs, either AmazonBasics model is a very competent shredder at a reasonable price. While the AmazonBasics shredders weren’t the most powerful we could find, they are capable of…

Our Favorite Paper Planners

A paper planner can help you stay organized and get more accomplished each day, and it’s a more polite way to plan projects and take notes in meetings than using your cell phone or computer. There are so many good planners, made for so many purposes, that we couldn’t possibly recommend one for most people. But after putting in about 23 hours of research, conducting interviews with experts, considering dozens of options, and testing 19, we found nine planners we recommend. We focused on planners that cost $50 or less and that satisfy a range of planning styles—from strict scheduling to more artistic uses like journaling and sketching. Our picks include a highly customizable traveler’s notebook, a simple hardbound planner, a minimalist calendar, a refillable ring-bound organizer, an option for memory keeping, two planners designed for goal tracking, and a bullet journal. If you’re not sure which type of planner is for you, we also cover how to choose the right planner; you can also see how we made our picks. Wherever possible we’ve chosen options that are widely available and come in different sizes and colors.

The Best Standing Desk Mats

Standing desks should encourage you to stand up and move around while you work, and a standing desk mat should keep your feet and body comfortable while you stand. After testing nearly two dozen anti-fatigue mats, we think the Ergodriven Topo does the best job of accommodating most standing stances and habits. More than a year of use and direct testing against other mats found it best encourages movement and eases the switch between standing and sitting positions. The Topo’s flat portions are more comfortable for neutral standing positions than other mats with raised features, but its selling point is its contoured, topographic (get it?) surface, which lets you place your feet however you want—crossed, one foot forward, raised and apart, or in a flamingo-style perch. Whichever way you stand, the Topo relieves pressure on your heels, back, legs, and shoulders, and it feels far better than the floor. It’s also resistant to spills and punctures and easy to clean, and you can move it around with one foot instead of bending over to pull it out. It looks weird and seems unnatural, but after rotating this mat among five standing desks at a coworking space for more than a year, we found…

The Best Home-Office Furniture and Supplies

Your home office should be a place where you feel comfortable doing your best work day after day. A team of work-from-home veterans spent more than 150 hours researching and testing equipment for a variety of workspaces and picked out a selection of great gear, including things that many of us use daily in our own home offices. Wirecutter staffers work remotely, so we drew on our own experience to select these home-office essentials—some from our existing reviews, and many others exclusively for this guide. We also interviewed experts in ergonomics, productivity, and task lighting to learn the fundamentals of office setup. In this guide, whenever possible, we’re providing how-to knowledge along with our picks, since, for example, knowing how to pack items for shipping is more important than buying a particular packing paper. And we put even the most common office goods to the test, including hanging packages from the wall with packing tape, steaming open security envelopes, and loading 4,000 sheets of paper into a filing cabinet. Once you’ve furnished your office and set up your desk, check out “The Best Tech and Apps for Your Home Office” to get connected, equipped, and otherwise ready to be productive.

The Best Tech and Apps for Your Home Office

You don’t need the thinnest, lightest, or most elegantly designed items for your home office. In the space you make your living, you want reliable, comfortable, efficient tools—though it doesn’t hurt if they look nice, too. That’s why a team of three experienced remote workers spent more than 150 hours researching and testing new gear and apps, picking the most office-friendly items from The Wirecutter’s guides to find a selection of tools that we’re sure will earn their place in your workspace. To round out a work-optimized list of computer, phone, printing, and audio gear, we looked for the best software and apps that help remote workers get organized and connected. We tested apps for time tracking and task management, tax filing, web meetings, and project management, then compared and debated the merits of each to find the best fits for most people. Once we had our picks, we set them up on our ideal standing desk, took some photos, and then, inspired by the challenge, fixed up our own home offices, as did many other Wirecutter staffers and contributors. We hope this guide provides you with your own spark to make your home office a more efficient and less stressful…