Just like many other people who work in an office environment, I have been obsessed with USB powered devices for the past few years and saying that I have purchased and tested over 200 would be no exaggeration. In this article, we take a look at the ten most useful USB powered appliances that I have discovered.
Side note: I am not using affiliate links or accepting paid sponsorships for any of the items you see displayed on this page. I have linked the official websites when possible but please know that these items are likely available on alternative websites at much lower price points.
1. USB Mailbox – This gadget is incredibly useful for people that still want to receive email notifications without clogging up any of that all-important screen space. It lights up and produces a sound when a delivery is made to your inbox – compatible with all of the most popular mail providers including Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! and AOL. The light will remain lit until the email is either seen or deleted by the user, meaning if you pop out for a quick break, the notification will be there waiting for your return.
2. Miniature Desktop Vacuum – If you, like many people, snack on biscuits, fruit bars or chocolate throughout the day, you may have been left with a workspace covered in crumbs. Instead of sweeping them on to the carpet, you can use this handy USB vacuum to clean up your desk in seconds. Most of these products also come with a crevice tool which is perfect for accessing dust or anything else stuck in your keyboard.
3. USB Fan – A classic essential for keeping cool during those scorching hot summer days. When purchasing a USB fan, make sure you go for one that has metal blades as in my experience, all others tend to break after just a few uses. There are also noiseless alternatives so you won’t be distracted from your work.
4. Paper Shredder – Destroy documents and letters that have personal information on them from the comfort of your desk. These shredders plug straight into your computer or laptop via USB and can tear up paper that is A6 size or smaller.
5. Himalayan Salt Lamp – This one is honestly my favorite gadget on this entire list. Hand made with authentic pink salt and changeable bulbs – Great as a decorative piece but also helps me to stay focused when working later hours. There are also many claims that these lamps aid people with asthma and other breathing problems but I cannot confirm whether or not this is true.
6. Humidifier – Keep the air around you moist with a USB humidifier. Simply insert a regular water bottle into the device and start the timer for regular misting (Most of these products automatically turn off after 8 hours of use to conserve battery life). The result is a cooling atmosphere that will prevent dry skin and help you to breathe better. Not just suitable for offices, can also be placed in your bedroom for a great night’s sleep.
7. Aroma Diffuser – Very similar to the humidifier, however this product also accepts essential oils to emit a refreshing aroma. Ideal for any crowded space that doesn’t have an air freshener. You can choose virtually any aroma you want and the diffuser itself is incredibly portable just in case you are a frequent traveler.
8. USB Cup Cooler and Warmer – Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee when they get to work? Keep it warmer for longer with one of these USB heaters. The ones I’ve used in the past heat up significantly but not enough to scold the skin – just the right temperate to keep your cup warm. Many of these appliances also come with a cooling option that works best with cans of soft drink.
9. USB Fridge – If you’re in a shared office environment and the communal kitchen is just too far away (Or someone is always stealing your cans of lemonade), then this mini fridge is the solution! Keep one or two cans of drink inside this device to keep them cool without the need for batteries.
10. Rechargeable Hand Warmers – Sore hands that leave you struggling to type throughout winter? If so, a hand warmer is certainly a worthy investment. Don’t waste your money on disposable alternatives when you can pick up a rechargeable one for under a tenner! Ready to use in less than 10 seconds and comes with three preset heat levels, allowing you to find the perfect temperature.
That wraps up my list of the 10 most useful USB devices on the market today. Obviously, all of the products mentioned above should not be used at once – I would never recommend using more than 2 USB items simultaneously, this will help to keep your computer healthy and reduce the risk of any electrical faults.