Buying computer accessories like keyboards, mice, or external speakers is as important as buying a computer. External hardware is necessary to get things done. For example, a mouse pad can’t do everything an external mouse does, especially if you are a graphics designer or a gamer.

Computer accessories also enhance already existing features of your desktop or laptop. Think about how much better music sounds with a pair of external speakers with bass as opposed to the built-in speaker of a laptop. We often keep on buying several accessories throughout the lifecycle of a computer. Though consumers normally buying things like headphones, most worry about the price, rather than the features on offer.

While price is important, there’s more to computer accessories than what is most affordable or is trending. The features are important, but so is the usability and compatibility of the accessories you buy. Consumers are most likely to make purchasing mistakes in these areas.

Read below to find out several important and useful tips for buying external computer hardware and accessories. You may find certain aspects you’ve never given much thought to the last time you purchased a gizmo for your computer:

Think about the Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a hefty topic that is all about the tools you use for work, and how efficiently and comfortably you can handle them. Ergonomics in the sense of computer accessories mean something similar. Specifically, ergonomic computer accessories are not just technical or functional, these are physically easy to use.

When you purchase computer accessories that need to be physically handled to execute a command, it’s important to think about how easily you can use that item. Sure, you don’t think of a mouse as something that is difficult to use. This is not about how operationally easy an accessory is, but how comfortable you are using it.

Ergonomic computer accessories like mice and keyboards are important to ensure your computer usage doesn’t result in health issues, such as muscle soreness. We spend most of the day on the computer, both at work and at home. As a result, there are a rising number of health complaints related to muscle soreness, stiffness, neck or back pain.

Let’s go back to that mouse; think about the last time you used it for more than three hours. Did your computer session end with your wrist hurting? If you are a gamer, you are likely to experience wrist soreness or pain because of monotonous mouse use. The same goes for accessories like keyboards.

Muscle pain associated with computer use stems largely from bad posture issues. But if you are using equipment that is uncomfortable for you to handle, it may exacerbate these conditions. That’s why it’s recommended to purchase ergonomic computer accessories maximized to reduce pain and improve comfort.

So, the next time you are purchasing a mouse, keyboard, or a pair of headphones, think about how comfortable it would be to actually touch and use them. Choose a model that’s ergonomically designed, or fits your needs well.

Prioritize Compatibility

When you are shopping around for a shiny new computer accessory, you may have a budget in mind, and you would probably spend the majority of the pre-purchase research time checking out the features on offer. While features are important, there’s something else that’s even more crucial: compatibility.

Compatibility refers to whether the machine you own can actually recognize the accessory you plug in. For example, an external optical driver designed for a Mac may not work on a Windows PC. Some compatibility issues are easy to spot like this, but there are others that are more difficult to pinpoint.

For example, you may purchase a feature-rich accessory that your computer can recognize. However, the signature features may consume more processing power than what’s recommended for that type of accessory. This may result in your computer slowing down or even crashing.

If you are purchasing an external computer gadget to use with a particular type of software, always make sure the program is compatible with the gadget. It’s possible that the gadget could be compatible with your machine, but not at all workable with the software you want to use it with.

Therefore, exercise scrutiny regarding compatibility when purchasing external hardware gadgets. Make sure the models and units match with your machine or a specific program. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to check with the manufacturer of the product and the maker of your computer.

Don’t Rush to Get Wireless Items

Wired or wireless, that is the question. Nowadays, you can find a diverse array of computer accessories that don’t require any wires at all. Headphones, speakers, mice, keyboards, and a host of other connecting devices are now conveniently wireless. It’s tempting to rush in and purchase a wireless product to avoid having to deal with tangles. But don’t be so hasty.

Wireless computer accessories offer several advantages in terms of convenience. They don’t cause cable messes on your workstation desk and you are no longer literally tethered to the computer when using an external hardware accessory. It should be noted, however, that there are several downsides too.

Wireless gadgets may not work as optimally or speedily as wired devices. For example, a wireless pair of headphones is not as good as a wired pair at recreating sound coming from the computer. Wired mice offer higher DPI than wireless mice, which is an important factor in gaming. Based on your needs, you may need a wired accessory rather than a wired one.

Therefore, think carefully whether you would be better off with a wired or a wireless accessory before spending. The convenience wireless accessories offer could be canceled out by subpar performance. You can avoid this rather common mistake by doing research into the item you want to buy.

Do You Really Need Future-Proof Accessories?

We all wish we could use the vast majority of computer gadgets we buy for years to come. Surely, you don’t want to discard the shiny new pair of earbuds you just purchased the following year because there’s something better available. Computer users who are worried about gadgets being outdated by technology prefer to invest in so-called “future proof” accessories. These items theoretically can be of use in the future even after technology improves.

But do you really need to spend extra money on future-proof computer accessories? These items often boast the latest features that could withstand rapid technological advancements. Whether you need these features or not would depend on your personal preferences and use. For example, if you are a gamer, you may benefit from an external mouse with a massive DPI listing. If not, it just might be a waste of money.

More importantly, don’t confuse future-proof with durability. Future-proof items denote gadgets that don’t become outdated too quickly as technology improves. Durability refers to the overall long-lasting nature of an accessory. Investing in durable items is definitely worthwhile while spending a lot of money on future-proof accessories is more dubious.

Essentially, double the “future proof” part of these items. No one really knows how technology may improve. So a futuristic feature advertised on a computer accessory may not necessarily be useful a year on from now.

On the other hand, avoid buying computer accessories that you know are becoming outdated even if the items tend to be durable. If you think you might need to buy the same items again to meet your needs, avoid purchasing it now. Instead, buy a product that already has the features you are looking for so that you can keep it for future use.

Some Budgeting Tips

It’s easy to make financial mistakes when purchasing external accessories. To prevent overspending, always shop with a budget in mind. Browse as many products online to get an idea of the price range for that item.

Also, make sure you spend money on features rather than on the brand name. Then decide which features are actually worth it and which are not. Doing plenty of research well in advance would certainly help you purchase the right computer accessories.

Assess Your Needs and Avoid the Hype

As with buying any product, ask yourself if you really need the computer accessory you’re going to purchase before you buy it. Don’t buy something just because it has a discount or is popular. If you don’t need it, you will only be wasting your money.

Assess your needs in relation to how you intend to use the product as well. As mentioned above, you may need an ergonomic computer accessory. If so, check out the different designs available and choose one that fits your usage style the most.

There is more to choosing external hardware for your computer than chasing the lowest price tag or a cool new brand. Pay attention to the aspects mentioned above such as compatibility, comfortable use, features on offer, and durability. Once you take these factors into consideration, you will be able to purchase the right product for your needs.