1. Media Box

Unless your TV is 8 years or older, I don’t think you really need a new one unless you’re dying to watch things in 4K resolution. An easy way to breathe new life into your TV is by purchasing a media box.

A media box will connect your TV to the Internet and provide access to a variety of online video services, music programs, and even some games. You can use your phone or tablet as a remote and most media boxes have a pleasant interface. Unfortunately, not every media box supports every streaming video service, so you’ll have to do a little bit of research before selecting the one that’s right for you to binge-watch your favorite show.

2. Quality Headphones

Maybe the kids are sleeping or you have noise-sensitive neighbors, so you can’t always play things as loud as you’d like. A good pair of quality headphones can be extremely useful in the home, and it has the added bonus of being useful at the gym or the office, too. Spending a little bit more to treat your ears will make music sound better and podcasts a bit crisper, and it will be easier to concentrate on the videos you’re watching.

Unless you’re rolling in the dough or want to make a fashion statement, I’d stay away from the really expensive over-the-ear headphones. Besides, many of those are too bass-heavy for my liking and unless you’re an audiophile, you probably won’t notice the difference.

Wireless headphones are convenient, but you get more bang for your buck with the wired kind. You can search online for the best budget headphones but a good rule of thumb is: spend about $10-$50 more than you normally would to get a high-quality pair of headphones.

3. More Battery Life, Storage Space

Don’t despair if your phone is always dying or your computer is always running out of storage. Portable battery chargers and external hard drives will fix these problems.

Most portable battery chargers cost less than $20 and can charge your phone two or three times over. Yes, you have to remember to charge your battery charger but the best ones hold a charge for more than a month. Plus, portable battery chargers make for great gifts.

An external hard drive is the solution for the overcrowded computer because once you plug it into your computer, you’ll expand your storage space considerably. You can buy a reliable external hard drive with 1 terabyte of storage for about $50 and that’s enough space to hold 1,000 hours of videos.

4. A Better Vacuum

Cleaning can be a pain but it’s even more painful if you don’t have the proper tools. Upgrading your vacuum will help you keep your house spotless while taking away some of the associated hassles.

Modern vacuums are better than ever. They’re very effective, break down less often and can be lightweight. If you’re willing to pay for it, you can even buy robot vacuums that automatically sense dirt in your house and clean it up.

The most important thing when upgrading your vacuum is to figure out what your needs are. If it’s cleaning pet hair, really focus on models that do that well. If you need to get to multiple crevices, make sure your vacuum can handle that. Even if you buy one online, I suggest first going into a store to physically handle one so that you know you’re comfortable with the size and weight.

5. A New Smartphone

As we’re moving into an “Internet of Things” world where everything is online, your smartphone will increasingly serve as a remote control for everything in your house. So, you might as well have a good one. If your smartphone is two years or older, it may be time to get a new one.

You’re still going to shell out a pretty penny for certain, high-profile phones, but the exciting thing is you no longer have to spend more than $500 to get a great smartphone. There are some fantastic smartphones for $200-$400 that give you access to the latest apps, take good pictures, and handle all of your media, email and social networking needs. These come without necessarily having to sign a new, two-year contract, too.

These are my top 5 tech upgrades you should make now. Be sure that any tech upgrade you make will have a material improvement on your day-to-day life

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Marin Perez

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Marin Perez

Marin is passionate about how technology is changing the way we work and play. He's swimming in the startup waters now but formerly blogged about iPhones, Android and anything else that caught his attention for publications like CNET, InformationWeek and IntoMobile. When not working on his craft, Marin plans trips, practices yoga and watches too much professional basketball.

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