A gaming PC's LED-lit keyboard, headphones, mouse, and display on a desk.
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It’s finally done. You’ve got all the components you want in your PC, and you’re set for the next few years. Now what? It’s a good time to think about refining your setup with a few accessories that, while not strictly necessary, are excellent additions to any PC.

Only a few of these are what we’d call “must-have” items. But they all make your life just a little bit better.

Surge Protector

A gray power strip with power outlets, USB ports, and surge protection.

This is a must-have for any kind of 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 that they require. You don’t need something crazy. Just a wall wart 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.

Easy Surge Protection

NUOZHI USB Wall Outlet

Adds surge protection to any wall outlet without clutter. It also has USB ports!

Headphone Stand

A white NZXT magnetic square for hanging headphones.

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 like a ridiculous thing to spend $20 on, but in the end, 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 cable from them. 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 headphone stand, like this simple one on Amazon. It’s a little cheaper, but it takes up some extra desk space.

A Home For Your Headset

NZXT Puck Headset Mount

A convenient headset mount that attaches to your PC case with magnets. It has a place to store the cable, too.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

A black UPS with multiple power outlets.

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. They may also have USB ports for charging, and they often include surge protection. 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.

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 really appreciate until that fateful storm hits or the demands of a hot summer day overload the local grid.

There are all kinds of UPS devices out there, but popular choices are brands like APC and CyberPower. Many users also prefer to get the more expensive types that provide pure sinewave output.

Note that UPS manufacturers recommend against plugging a UPS unit into a surge protector. A UPS generally has built-in surge protection.

Backup Power for Your PC

APC UPS Battery Backup

When your power goes down, this will keep your desktop PC running.


A black Anker USB hub with multiple outlets.

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.

USB hubs can have a varying number of ports. Some will have USB-C, and others only USB 3.1. Some can be powered by a USB port, while others need an independent power supply.

You can also find USB hubs at quite a wide price range. Anker and Aukey products tend to be good choices, and the brands provide a wide variety of options at good prices.

More USB Ports

Anker 7-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub

This hub gives you seven easily accessed USB ports for plugging in peripherals and charging your gadgets.

Extended Mouse Mat

A black and grey elongated mouse mat with the Corsair logo.

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 not, you can easily pick up a good mouse mat for $20 or less.

A Mousepad With LEDs

Razer Goliathus Extended Mousepad

Yes, you can get an extended mousepad with built-in LED lighting. No, you don't have to. But you can!

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.

Ian Paul Ian Paul
Ian Paul is a freelance writer with over a decade of experiencing writing about tech. In addition to writing for How-To Geek, he regularly contributes to PCWorld as a critic, feature writer, reporter, deal hunter, and columnist. His work has also appeared online at The Washington Post, ABC News, MSNBC, Reuters, Macworld, Yahoo Tech, Tech.co, TechHive, The Huffington Post, and Lifewire. His articles are regularly syndicated across numerous IDG sites including CIO, Computerworld, GameStar, Macworld UK, Tech Advisor, and TechConnect.
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