Chromebooks are fantastic for so many people, but in a few environments do they thrive better than schools. Between easy management and maintenance, enterprise-grade security, and drop-dead easy workflow — not to mention all those lovely, lovely keyboard shortcuts — Chromebooks are in most cases, quite literally, made for the classroom. Before you head back to class for another year of learning and making dope memes with your friends at lunch, here are some accessories that can make your Chromebook slicker and sweeter than ever.
Expand your space
Chromebooks tend to have less internal storage than traditional Windows or Mac laptops, and with microSD card so drop-dead affordable, I’m okay with that, as just about every Chromebook on the planet has a MicroSD slot. Available in sizes up to 512GB, you can expand your Chromebook’s storage as much as you want with a reliable UHS-1 card.
From $8 at Amazon
Spare storage sticks
JUANWE Metal Key 32GB Flash Drive 5 Pack
While Google Classroom allows you to upload most homework, there are still those inevitable times when you’ll need to hand in a project on a flash drive or share files with a classmate, or to backup your data at the end of the year before you give your Chromebook back to the school. And since flash drives are easy to lose, keep some spare around.
From $20 at Amazon
Keep it safe
WooTeck Rhinestone USB Flash Drive Necklace
When I was in high school, I wore a thumb drive on a necklace so I wouldn’t lose it. My thumb drive looked like a dog tag, but these rhinestone pendant models look much nicer, and are available in five colors and sizes, from 8-64GB. Just be warned, you might develop a lifelong tick of grabbing your necklace to make sure it’s still there.
From $7 at Amazon
Add up your ports
AUKEY 5-in-1 USB-C Hub
Most Chromebooks students will run across right now still keep at least one USB-A port around, but if yours doesn’t — or if you want to have a workstation-type setup to use at home with a wired mouse and keyboard — this affordable hub from AUKEY will add 3 USB-A ports to your Chromebook easily.
From $17 at Amazon
VicTsing MM057 2.4G Wireless Portable Mobile Mouse
Wireless mice almost always come with a receiver that can easily stow inside the mouse itself, but most store it under the battery cover, which can be hard to get off if you chew your nails like me. This mouse stows it in a slot that sits next to the battery slot, so you can pull it in and out quickly when going between classes at school.
From $11 at Amazon
Compact and cute
Usbkingdom Turtle USB Wired Mouse
If you prefer a wired mouse — that’s okay, I lose those wireless received all the time, too — then this little wired model is specially made for smaller hands and cheerier minds. There are some mice shaped like lions and tigers and bears, but this cute little turtle cheers me on as I crush my homework.
From $8 at Amazon
Travel friendly charger
iClever 45W USB-C Power Delivery Wall Charger
The power supply your Chromebook comes with is handy indeed, but it’s best suited to a stationary environment like your desk at home. When on the go, this charger is far less cumbersome to carry; it also has the benefit of being able to use a longer or shorter cable depending on your needs.
$14 at Amazon
Easy carry cable
Anker Powerline+ C to C 2.0 Cable
This is the USB-C cable I carry most often in my own backpack because it can charge a Chromebook at full speed and comes with a handy magnetic and velcro carrying wrap. This cable is flexible without just swinging everywhere, plugs in securely so it won’t go falling out at the slightest touch, and comes in two classic colors.
From $14 at Amazon
MOSISO Diamond Foam Neoprene Laptop Sleeve with Small Case
Laptop sleeves come in every style and color under the sun, but they’re not all as padded as this two-piece model from MOSISO. The diamond-stitched foam layer here should add extra crush-protection to your laptop, and I adore having a detached accessory case so that they’re both slimmer and easier to pack in your bag.
From $13 at Amazon
Stylish vertical sleeve
Kinmac Blue Canvas Waterproof Vertical Style Laptop Bag
While sleeves with horizontal zippers — across the fat side of the Chromebook — are the norm, I prefer having the zipper on the short size so that there’s less to zip up, less of the laptop exposed to the zipper’s metal teeth, and less zipper material that can break. The water-resistance is just icing on the stylish cake.
From $10 at Amazon
Himawari Laptop School Bag
Don’t let the cute exterior fool you; this backpack has more compartments than you can shake a snack at and is adaptable enough to fit your day whether you’ve just got two-morning lectures or a full-day marathon before midterms. It’s also available in dozens of colors, so you get that perfect look.
From $36 at Amazon
For the bed, couch, and car
LapGear MyDesk Lap Desk
Take it from someone who spends more time than she should using a Chromebook on the couch or on her bed: use a lap desk to elevate your Chromebook (so you’re not looking down at it awkwardly) and keep it stable on your lap (so it won’t fall over). This model even has cubbies for holding your phone and a snack!
From $15 at Amazon
Cover your keys!
Colorful Lenovo Chromebook Keyboard Cover
Even if your Chromebook has a spill-resistant keyboard, consider a cover. They make getting crumbs, dust, grime, and gunk off your keyboard a breeze, and they also add some flair. This cover is made for the Lenovo C330, 100e/300e/500e, and a few other models, but there are versions available for just about every Chromebook on the market.
$8 at Amazon
A clean screen is a happy screen
ZEISS Mobile Screen Wipes
Touchscreens work better when they’re clean, and between grime from the keyboard and sweaty, sticky handy, your Chromebook screen could get nasty surprisingly quick, which is why I like to keep one or two of these in my own backpack so I can easily clean my screen when things get gross.
From $8 at Amazon
Keep it clean
Microfiber Mitten Cute Hedgehog 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 Pink Green Blue (Set of 3)
Microfiber mitts are amazing at wiping off dust and clearing up smudged screens, and anything that makes cleaning more fun is a win-win in my book, which is why these little hedgehogs are aces in my book. The three-pack even means that one can live in the backpack and one can live at home!
$11 at Amazon
Elevate your Chromebook experience
There’s a lot of accessories here that can improve your Chromebook and its performance, but the easiest and biggest upgrades you can make here are to get it a microSD card like the uber-affordable SanDisk Ultra to add more storage and to keep a mouse handy for lengthy sessions.
Touchscreens are awesome, and trackpads are okay, but nothing beats a mouse when you’re doing a lot of scrolling or text editing, and the easy-stow receiver on the VicTsing is a bonus for students because you won’t have to go prying off the battery lid every time you take it out.
Keep it clean and safe
If you were issued a Chromebook by your school, you need to take extra-good care of it, especially when simple investments like keyboard covers and crush-resistant laptop sleeves are available for super-low prices. Screen wipes and microfiber mitts can also help keep things clean overall, just remember to resist the urge to use your handy-dandy Lysol wipes on a Chromebook, especially a Chromebook with a touchscreen. The chemicals in those wipes can degrade the coating on the screen over time.