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With more people spending time at home, video games-based internet traffic has exploded. If you’ve dug back into the gaming scene with a new gaming console to supplement your at-home entertainment and streaming, don’t stop there — a few add-ons could make your experience even better. I’ve been a gamer since I was a toddler (literally), and have been reviewing gaming peripherals for much of my 10-year career writing about consumer technology. To help guide you to an elevated gaming experience, we put together some of the best gaming accessories out right now for different consoles and at various price points.
External hard drives help you hold more games
If you’ve downloaded so many games that you’ve run out of space on your console’s hard drive, it may be time to upgrade. Technically, the PS4 and Xbox One allow you to buy an entirely new drive and swap it in yourself with a screwdriver—though the latest PS5 and Xbox Series X aren't quite as straightforward in this regard. For all consoles, though, it’s easiest to just grab a USB 3.0 drive like this 1TB My Passport model from Western Digital and plug it in. You’ll double your space with minimal hassle. If you have a bit more to spend, the 1TB My PassPort Go SSD is faster, which means shorter loading times.
And if you're using the latest Xbox Series X or S, you'll need a special expansion drive for storing those next-gen games, though the My Passport will still work for last-gen games running on the new system.
A great-sounding gaming headset can set your game apart
If you want every explosion to rock your skull without annoying your neighbors or whoever is stuck at home with you, a good gaming headset is a must. There are plenty of great options out there, but the wireless HyperX Cloud Flight S strikes a delicate balance between sound quality, features and price — plus, it’s so comfortable you’ll barely notice it’s there. It is, however, only compatible with PS4, PS5, and PC, so if you’re an Xbox player, you’ll need the Xbox version of the last-gen CloudX Flight.
True surround sound in your gaming space fills out your game
While most gaming headsets — including the Cloud Flight S — boast “7.1 surround sound,” it’s just a virtual processing mode that adds a feeling of spaciousness to the sound. I rarely find that it sounds better than traditional stereo, so I turn it off, but true surround sound — from multiple speakers placed around the room — can be amazing for games. We've previously put out a shopping guide to the best soundbars that has lots of surround options at different price points, but if you want something affordable that sounds great, this 5.1 Vizio soundbar will ensure you hear anything coming close to your game character.
An extra controller is a great bonus
The best gaming memories I have aren’t me sitting alone in a room — they involve battling my wife in Mario Kart or shooting for goals in Rocket League with a bunch of friends on a Saturday afternoon. If you still only have one controller, grab an extra and include your family in on the fun — you can grab them in all sorts of fun colors if the standard black is too boring or bleak for you.
Keep gaming controllers juiced up with a charging dock
Wireless controllers are a huge step up over the wired trip hazards of the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, Wireless controllers are a huge step up over the wired trip hazards of the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, though, you have to keep them charged — which is a lot easier to do with a multi-port charging station like this one for PlayStation 4 or this one for all modern Xbox consoles. If you have a PlayStation 5, Sony has an official DualSense charging dock, though it's sold out at the time of this writing—so thankfully, there are plenty of third-party options as well.
A gaming keyboard and a gaming mouse are the best PC gaming tools
PC gamers have long contended that a keyboard and mouse is a more precise video game control system than any gamepad, and both aren’t limited to PCs anymore. Both the Xbox One and PS4 support integration with a keyboard-and-mouse for certain games, and there are plenty of great wireless models to choose from. Check out our full guides to the best gaming keyboards and gaming mice for more options.
Game consoles benefit from vertical stands
I don’t know about you, but I’m just about out of room in my entertainment cabinet. The latest PS5 and Xbox Series X are designed to be used vertically, but if you have an older console and have run out of shelf space, a vertical stand can keep it upright.