All the Accessories You Need to Protect and Upgrade Your Chromebook
In recent years, Chromebooks have improved on netbooks of yore. They look just as good as — if not better than — their laptop competitors, often at a fraction of the cost. Chromebooks often have great displays, run fast, and boast some serious battery life.
But it's not all roses. Any Chromebook owner will tell you that Chrome OS and lack of built-in storage aren't the only trade-offs, especially with the most affordable options. There are less obvious features you miss out on, like a Caps Lock key, plus certain accessories flat out won't work with Chrome OS.
To fill in these gaps and protect your Chromebook without breaking the bank, we found the best accessories to get everything you need out of your machine.
Best Chromebook Case
Okay, so there isn't really any competition for mCover's iPearl cases. These hard cases come in different versions (colors too!) to fit most Chromebooks while other companies cater to a few models.
We recommend iPearl Hard Cases for Chromebooks because they're strong, allow for some color customization, and have feet kickstands to make typing easier. They most protect against scratches, but they provide some protection from small bumps.
- Sturdy construction
- Different colors
- Not very shock/drop-proof
- Colors are not completely opaque
Best Chromebook Sleeve
It might seem like there are too many sleeves to choose from, but people with smaller Chromebooks can have a tough time finding something suited for computers under 13 inches. We recommend Evecase because it has multiple size options, a soft lining, water-resistance, and geometric padding.
Some users report the zipper breaking easily, but most laud its quality compared to other sleeves. We recommend returning the sleeve if you immediately notice any issues out of the box.
For thinner padding, but more color choice, Arvok also makes good, water-resistant sleeves, but they have their own, more prevalent zipper issues.
- More padding
- Different sizes
- No interior or exterior pockets
- Some zipper issues
Best Chromebook Mouse
You probably aren't surprised to see a Logitech mouse here. The M310 is a full-sized, ambidextrous mouse which is comfortable for large and small hands alike. We recommend this mouse because it's affordable, ergonomic, and compatible with Chrome OS (and Linux!).
We went for a nano receiver mouse because Bluetooth performance varies widely from Chromebook to Chromebook. If you still want a Bluetooth mouse, Logitech M535 is another ambidextrous, Chrome-friendly model.
Unfortunately, the M310 doesn't work with Logitech's universal receiver, so you won't be able to pair it with a wireless Logitech keyboard (using just one USB port). Their other affordable mice with universal receiver compatibility are smaller, designed for right-handed people, and/or lacking rubber grips.
- Full-sized mouse
- Ergonomic, ambidextrous design
- Chrome compatibility
- Not compatible with Logitech's universal receiver
Best Chromebook Webcam
Newer Chromebooks tend to have better built-in cameras, but many models (even if they boast 720p video) produce grainy and/or non-HD quality video. If you rely on video calls for work or interpersonal relationships, we recommend getting a Logitech C920 HD Webcam because it captures 1080p video in Hangouts and Skype, has good autofocus, includes a microphone, and can be mounted in various ways.
- Full HD recording
- Flexible mounting options
- No zoom
- Average mic quality
Best Chromebook External Hard Drive
LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB Portable Hard Drive
|$70||See On Amazon|
|$90||See On Best Buy (USB 3.0)|
|$80||See On B&H Photo (USB-C)|
|$70||See On B&H Photo (USB 3.0)|
Chromebooks typically have 16–64 GB of storage, but they often have SD card slots and are bundled with 100 GB of Google Drive storage. For the Chromebooks lacking these slots and users who don't want to rely on the cloud or just want more space, an external hard drive is essential.
We recommend a LaCie Rugged Mini hard drive because they're reliable, tough, offer a USB and USB-C version, and are backed by excellent customer service. Every reputable hard drive out there has some reports of sudden failure, but LaCie has the most responsive and helpful customer support of the major brands.
All of the portable hard drives we came across need to be reformatted to work seamlessly with Chrome OS, and this LaCie drive is no exception. Once it's set up, the Rugged Mini is fast and easy to use.
- Two years of data protection
- USB 3.0 and USB-C versions
- Occasional loose cable connection
- Potential drive failure
Best Chromebook Speakers
Some Chromebooks have comparable speakers to high-end laptops, but many are tinny or excessively bassy. For a portable, affordable bump in sound quality, we recommend getting a Rokono BASS+ Mini Speaker.
Though the name focuses on bass, the overall levels are clear and balanced. This speaker charges by an included USB cable, providing at least 10 hours of playback, and connects to your Chromebook via the 3mm jack. Having a hard connection allows for a more reliable audio connection than the temperamental Bluetooth available on many Chromebooks.
- Great sound
- 10 hours of playback
- Hard to open
- Matte black version gets dirty easily
Best Chromebook Lapdesk
Need to keep your Chromebook steady? Or maybe you just want a cooler lap? Stylish lap desks are plentiful, but they don't have the versatility or cooling ability of the PWR+ Laptop Stand.
We recommend this stand because it can be adjusted to suit various angles and seating, fits Chromebooks up to 17 inches, and vents complete with (optional) USB-powered fans. The locking legs can also allow for some clearance between your legs and the desk, plus, you get a little mouse stand too!
Don't need fans or a mouse stand? AmazonBasics has an adjustable, mesh laptop stand that has a cord organizer for about half the price.
- Adjusts to several sitting and standing positions
- Vents also have small fans
- Fits larger Chromebooks
- Can be difficult to adjust
- Small mouse stand
Best USB-C to USB Adapter for Chromebooks
If you have a new Chromebook that's went all-in on USB-C, but you occasionally need a USB 3.0/2.0 port, you need an adapter. We recommend this Anker adapter because it's well-built, transfers data quickly, and durable.
Aukey has a cheaper two-pack of similar adapters, but they don't look as nice and several users report the adapter failing within a few months.
- Fast data transfer speed
- Small; easy to lose
Best USB-C Hub for Chromebooks
If you have a USB-C centric Chromebook, get your ports back with the Lenovo USB-C Hub. We recommend this hub because it has the major ports you need, allows for passthrough charging of your Chromebook, and it's a plug and play product.
The hub offers two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI port, a power delivery USB-C port, and most importantly, an ethernet port for a reliable internet connection.
- Six ports, including ethernet
- Passthrough charging
- Chromebook compatible; no software
- Can run hot
- USB-C port sometimes doesn't work
Best Ethernet Adapter for Chromebooks
Just want reliable connection? Anker offers a USB 3.0 and USB-C ethernet adapter to make sure you have a hard line to your internet.
We recommend these adapters because they're well-made, fast, compatible, and they have a few LED lights for quick glance notifications of your connection strength. Many other ethernet adapters require software — which is almost always Windows/Mac-only — in order to run.
- Chromebook compatible
- LED network connection lights
- Sometimes only works with USB 2.0 ports
- Marginal connection issues
Best Keyboard Light for Chromebooks
There. Are. So many. USB. Lights. We are intimately familiar with the struggle of using a non-backlit Chromebook keyboard in the dark, so we dove headfirst into this crowded market to find a great external light.
We recommend the Kikkerland USB Tap Light because it's well-made, can be dimmed, and isn't as glaringly bright as competitors. The flexible arm easily supports the light which easily illuminates the keyboard.
You can tap the light to turn it on, off, and to adjust the brightness or you can long press the top of the light.
- Strong, flexible arm
- Soft, diffused light
- Need to tap specific spot
Best Wired Keyboard for Chromebooks
This AmazonBasics keyboard does two very crucial things: it gives you a Caps Lock key (!) and you get a number pad. If nothing else, the internet was made for yelling and now your Chromebook can help you be your enthusiastic self and/or defend whatever hill you choose.
We recommend this keyboard because it's wired, works seamlessly with Chrome OS, and offers traditional keys. Even if a keyboard is Chrome OS compatible, they generally rely on Bluetooth — which is unreliable on many Chromebooks.
Dell makes a great Chrome-specific, wired keyboard, but you miss out the Caps Lock and number pad keys.
- Reliable wired connection
- Caps Lock
- Loud and clicky
- Keys stick over time
Close, But No Cigar
We also looked into an external disc drive so you could play your Blu-Rays, DVDs, and CDs, but all of the high quality ones we found would need Linux instead of Chrome OS. Even then, there's no guarantee that you would be able to play CDs.
How We Chose
We considered the pain points of our multi-year experience with Chromebooks and determined new ones based on the changing port layouts. We scoured user reviews on Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo and Video, and more to make sure we recommended the most reliable, affordable options.