Back to school is almost here. If you want to get your work done inside and outside the classroom, you’ll need one of the best laptops for students. Additionally, you will also need laptop accessories to help you get the most out of your device. This is where we come in to help you.
Below, we’ve listed nine of the most essential accessories for your laptop. This includes items such as carrying cases, chargers, external storage and more. We made sure to select affordable products that won’t break the bank but are still high quality.
For other back-to-school products you might want to consider, check out our ultimate back-to-school buying guide.
Without further ado, here are the nine best laptop accessories for back to school.
Laptop Screen Privacy Filter
The main reason to buy a laptop is to be able to work from anywhere. Although getting out of the dorm is necessary, you might not want people looking over your shoulder to see what you’re doing. If you plan to use your laptop outside, you’ll need a reliable privacy screen.
Since laptops come with a wide range of screen sizes, you’ll need to find a privacy filter that fits your specific screen. Companies like SightPro (opens in a new tab) have highly rated filters for 13-inch MacBooks while 3M (opens in a new tab) offers filters in different sizes for almost all laptops. Choosing the best screen privacy filter can be difficult, so we suggest checking out user reviews to help you out.
External hard drive
If most of your schoolwork involves writing, you might be able to get by with a laptop with as little as 256GB of storage, especially if you save your work to cloud services like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. However, if you are working on video or audio projects, you will need additional storage, even if your laptop has 1TB or more.
That’s why the best external hard drives are a crucial accessory for your laptop. An external hard drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD) makes it easy to transfer large files between your laptop and external storage. Another advantage of external drives is that you can find ones small enough to easily carry in your backpack.
One of our recommendations is the WD My Book. It offers 256-bit AES hardware encryption and WD backup software, and it gets you 4TB of hard drive space for around $100. Additionally, capacities of up to 18 TB are available.
Noise canceling headphones
Let’s face it, college dorms and campuses can get really noisy. Even the library is not completely devoid of noise. If you want to work quietly, it’s worth investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
The best noise-canceling headphones allow you to shut out the world around you almost entirely. They can also have ambient noise settings for when you want to hear your surroundings.
We recommend the Sony WH-1000XM5. It has two processors controlling eight microphones, whereas the XM4 before it only had one processor controlling four, and the result, in our tests, is nearly seamless ANC (ambient noise cancellation). But Sony’s overall quality would make the XM5 our #1 option even if it wasn’t.
Although laptops let you work from anywhere, they’re not always great for your back because you’re usually bent over when using them. If you want to maintain good posture, a laptop stand is an essential. Laptop stands also help keep your device cool because they elevate it off the surface you’ve placed it on.
The Soundance laptop stand (opens in a new tab) is a popular product on Amazon. It fits laptops from 10 to 16 inches and elevates your machine six inches. As it is made of aluminum, the frame is sturdy and durable. Additionally, the product can be taken apart and reassembled in case you need to take it on a trip.
If you plan to do a lot of work outdoors, it’s important to make sure your laptop is protected in the event of loss or theft. To that end, investing in a reliable laptop lock is a wise move.
The Kensington K64637WW ClickSafe Keyed Laptop Lock (opens in a new tab) is a relatively affordable product that is favorably rated on Amazon. This lock has a carbon steel cable that prevents someone from cutting it. Its durable lock is designed to withstand blunt force and resists picking.
You obviously need a backpack for school, but you’ll want one that’s suitable for carrying a laptop in addition to your books. There are many “tech” backpacks that are meant to carry electronic devices and electronic peripherals. It’s what you’ll want to keep your items, electronic or otherwise, safe.
The Matein Travel Laptop Backpack is a product you always see popping up on Amazon. That’s because this bag can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop and has plenty of compartments for whatever you’re carrying. A nice feature is a built-in USB charger on the outside and a built-in charging cable inside the backpack, so you can easily charge your electronics when you’re on the go. The backpack is also water resistant and made of durable polyester fabric.
Laptop carrying case
Even if you mainly carry your laptop in a book bag, it’s still worth buying a carrying case for it. Not only does a carrying case protect your laptop from dust and debris when you’re not using it, it also keeps it from being scratched by things you have in your briefcase.
The Incase Designs Slim Carrying Case is marketed for laptops like the top MacBooks, but can fit any 13-inch laptop. Not only is this sleeve slim and sleek, but its soft padding and fur-lined interior should protect your laptop from bumps and scratches.
Even if your laptop has long-lasting all-day battery life, you’ll still want to have a portable charger on hand in case you run out of battery. There are thousands of chargers out there, but generally you want one with at least 10,000 mAh and plenty of ports.
We recommend the INIU 20W 20000 mAh power bank. Not only does it have a capacity of 20,000 mAh, but it also has two USB-A ports and one USB-C port. Even some of the best portable chargers and power banks don’t have a USB-C port, but many modern devices require one.
Many modern laptops like the MacBook Air M2 and Dell XPS Plus don’t tend to have an abundance of ports. This is no good if you want to use additional wired devices like keyboards, mice, external hard drives or even chargers. You’ll need a USB-C hub to ensure you have extra ports when you need them.
The EZQuest USB-C Media Hub is a great product to consider. This device has a 100W power supply and a bunch of ports. This includes three USB-A ports, as well as USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet ports. There are also SDHC and Micro SDHC card readers. Plus, this USB-C hub is small and light enough to carry in a backpack.
These are our main recommendations! With a few accessories like these in your backpack, you’ll be ready for whatever the school year throws at you.