You can spend your money on all kinds of weird gadgets, from toothbrushes with Bluetooth to toasters that print a selfie for breakfast. But there are only a handful of tech accessories that we really can’t do without.
Here is the list of 20 types of TIME gadgets that almost everyone should have. We’ve also included some designs in each category that we’ve used and love.
Good wireless headphones
Wireless headphones are finally affordable, while providing quality sound and comfortable to wear. Check out Apple’s new BeatsX or Jaybird Freedom Wireless, both solid options suitable for training. If you like earphones, try Jabra Move Wireless.
An inexpensive headset
Even if you have a good pair of headphones, it’s a good idea to pack a cheap, high-quality pair of headphones in your bag and take them with you when you need them. We love these Xiaomi dolls, which offer excellent sound and sound insulation at an extraordinarily affordable price.
Newer smartphones can produce pretty good sound, but they can’t match the sound quality of a Bluetooth speaker. We like the tough UE Roll 2 for the beach and pool, but the Bose SoundLink Mini II offers better sound for your living room or kitchen. If sound quality isn’t that important to you, you might as well consider using the Amazon Echo, which doubles as a music speaker and voice assistant that connects to the internet.
Portable smartphone charger
It’s a terrible feeling to walk out the door without knowing if your smartphone’s battery will last all night. Get rid of “distance anxiety” with a portable charger like the Mophie Powerstation Mini. It gives you all the extra juice you need without having to pour it from the outlet.
Streaming Sticks, which allow you to send video content from your phone or computer to your TV, are one of the most useful new gadgets in recent years. Google Chromecast started the trend, but you should also consider the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Roku Streaming Stick, both of which come with handy remotes. Apple fans can opt for an AirPlay-enabled Apple TV, even if it’s more expensive than these options.
Yes, your smartphone camera is probably good enough. But it’s still worth having a separate digital camera, as I mentioned. The Sony RX100 is an incredible little point and shoot, even though it’s expensive enough to consider it just as good as an entry-level DSLR. If you want something cheaper, try the Canon PowerShot 350 HS.
The latest GoPro Hero5 models are great little cameras that are even more comfortable thanks to voice control. I particularly like the smaller, cube-shaped Session, which produces great results despite its small size. If you don’t need the latest and greatest video quality and other bells and whistles, the entry-level Hero + is also a great option. Many users reported that the Chinese Yi 4K action camera is also a good choice.
Joke about it if you want, but nothing on this side of a drone can take high-quality group photos like a selfie stick. I like this design, but it doesn’t connect, so you have to use the phone’s self-timer. If it sounds like too much work, try this.
Do you want to keep track of how many steps you take, how many kilometers you walk or how many stairs you climb on a given day? Try a fitness tracker like Fitbit Charge 2, Fitbit Alta, or Samsung Gear Fit2. More serious athletes should consider high-performance GPS and waterproof models like the Garmin Vivoactive HR. Meanwhile, Apple fans should check out the Apple Watch, which works well as a fitness tracker.
There is something magical about e-readers like the Amazon Kindle that can hold hundreds of books the weight of a magazine. I particularly like mine after a long day of looking at a computer screen, because the e-ink screen is more like reading a regular book than a tablet screen.
If you work on your computer all day, it’s great to have a small phone holder to keep it charged during the workday. We like the Native Union DOCK + for iPhone, while Android users should consider this Belkin dock.
USB adapter for cigarette lighter
If you travel frequently, one of these cigarette lighter to USB adapters is a really useful tool to keep in your car. This model doubles as a Bluetooth receiver and FM transmitter, which means you can play music in older cars without USB or aux-in cables.
USB pen drive
Despite the rise of cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, it is sometimes necessary to transfer large files from one computer to another. So it’s great to have a flash drive that keeps getting smaller and cheaper. This SanDisk model is the gold standard, but you might as well try something like that that attaches to your keychain so you always have it with you. There is also a Swiss Army Knife with a USB stick attached.
Any hard drive will eventually fail, including the one that currently contains all your files, photos and videos. For complete peace of mind, invest in a backup drive like a Western Digital My Passport and remember to back up regularly (at least once a month). Buy a model with more storage space than your computer so you can create a full backup.
Small power cord
If you often work in cafes or airport terminals while waiting for a flight, you know that fighting for an open store can be nothing more than a Darwinian battle. Be the powerful peacemaker by packing a small power cord like this one that can transform an open outlet into multiple outlets. (Bonus: Also includes USB charging ports.)
Seeker of lost things
Do you tend to lose things all the time? Grab Tile Mate and keep it in plain sight, with your phone or in your wallet. Then you can track the location of that item on the map. If you are nearby, you can emit a directional beep to help you locate your stray objects.
Amazon Echo or Google Home
If you’ve ever dreamed of having a voice-activated Star Trek computer in your kitchen or living room, you’re in luck: Amazon Echo and Google Home can answer basic questions, tell you the weather forecast and sports scores, and even get you’re an Uber or Lyft. . If you’re interested in the Echo, you should also consider its smaller, cheaper cousin, the Echo Dot. (Be sure to read our definitive Amazon Echo guide as well.)
Super- comfy Mouse
If you’re updating your keyboard, you might as well get a nice, comfortable mouse. You can’t go wrong with the Logitech Performance Mouse MX, which I’ve been using for years. It fits perfectly in my hand and you can hide the Bluetooth receiver in the battery compartment so you can easily take it with you when working remotely.
Convenient VR Viewer
The world is suddenly filled with virtual reality and 360 ° video content. But unless you’re an avid gamer, it’s probably still not worth investing in a high-end VR headset. Instead, dip your toes (or eyes) into the water with Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream View, both of which are convenient options from your smartphone.
Home security camera
Do you want to keep an eye on your kingdom while you are in the office or traveling abroad? Choose an internet connection like Nest Cam or Logitech Logi Circle, which work with a smartphone app to let your eyes and ears see when you’re not home.