The new school year has arrived, and students everywhere are heading back to campus for move-in day. Whether you’re a freshman who’s new to dorm life or a senior who’s an old pro, you’re no doubt eager to spruce up your room with a few creature comforts. And with all the incredible technology we have these days, living on campus has never been easier. Check out these 10 incredible gadgets that will help you make the most of your dorm room.
1. Three-in-one breakfast station
July 15: “I’m going to be so productive this year! I’m going to register for an early class so I can get a head start on my days!”
September 15: “Whyyyyyyyy did I register for an 8 a.m. class?!”
Make your mornings less dreadful with a space-saving three-in-one breakfast maker. You can find many models available on Amazon, most of which feature a coffeemaker, a toaster oven, and a griddle. And at around $30 to $60, they're surprisingly affordable. Genius!
2. Personal mini fridge
Keep a few cold sodas and snacks on hand with a personal mini fridge that fits easily on a desk or dresser. Best of all, they come in some surprisingly cool colors and designs, like this Dr. Who-themed mini fridge from ThinkGeek.
3. Robot vacuum
Though not quite as thorough as Rosie from The Jetsons, the many robot vacuums that are currently on the market can help you keep your dorm room spick-and-span with minimal effort on your part. They’re especially great for small spaces where using a full-size vacuum would be cumbersome. Plus, they’ll fit easily under your bed or in your closet (and for extra fun, you can even unleash your inner Tom Haverford).
4. Digital media player
After a long day of hitting the books, there’s nothing better than sitting down to catch up on your favorite shows and movies, and a digital media player will help you do just that. Apple TV works with any Mac or Windows computer that’s running iTunes on an enhanced-definition or HD widescreen TV. And Roku players give you access to more than 1,000 channels and connect easily to your TV and high-speed Internet service.
5. USB hub
You know that awkward moment when you look at all the electronics scattered on your desk and realize you’ve run out of USB ports in which to plug them in? A USB hub will prevent that problem from ever happening again. They come in a wide range of designs—including some pretty clever novelty USB hubs—so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your dorm.
6. External hard drive
“The dog ate my homework” isn’t going to fly with your college professors. If something tragic ever happens to your computer, make sure your work won’t be lost forever: back it up periodically with an external hard drive. They’ve come down in price quite a bit in the last few years, and you can find many models for less than $100—which is completely worth it, since all your notes and assignments are priceless.
7. Bluetooth speaker
Built-in computer and smartphone speakers often aren’t quite loud enough, but Bluetooth speakers will help you crank up the volume and bring your music with you—which is great for an impromptu party in the common room.
8. Flexible surge-protecting power strip
Obviously, power strips are great because they let you plug in multiple electronics in one spot (and your dorm room might be lacking in power outlets). But they can also help protect your devices from electrical surges, which can do super scary things like make your computer spark and die. These flexible surge-protecting power strips from Quirky are sleek and great for dorm rooms.
9. BHEESTIE Bag
Unless you went to some kind of 1950s finishing school where you learned how to glide across a ballroom while balancing a stack of encyclopedias on your head, odds are you’ve clumsily dropped your phone in liquid at some point (or you will in the near future). But you don’t have to fork over your precious money for a new phone. The ultra-absorbent beads in a reusable BHEESTIE bag will dry out your phone (or other small electronics such as digital cameras and MP3 players) overnight—no hairdryer or bowl of rice required.
10. Electronic safe
Even if you trust your fellow dorm residents implicitly and your building has an impenetrable security system, an electronic safe will give you peace of mind when you’re away from your room. Keep your jewelry, passport, important documents, extra cash, and other valuable or irreplaceable items tucked away in a safe so you don’t have to think twice about them. Many models ring in at less than $50, so do yourself a favor and make the investment.