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7 dorm gadgets to make campus living a breeze

Heading off to college can be intimidating and thrilling at the same time. It’s hard to know exactly what you’ll need for this exciting new adventure, but it pays to be prepared, and the latest technology and gadgets can help make living, studying, and yes, even chilling out, fun and productive. We’ve picked out just the right gadgets with a student budget in mind.

Setting yourself up for success as you start on your journey of higher education is easy. Just make sure you have a comfortable, welcoming and fun home space for yourself with these tech and gadget picks.

Roku Express

Roku Express against a white background.

Just because you’re supposed to be focused on your studies doesn’t man you can’t keep up to date on your favorite shows. Packing a compact but mighty Roku Express streaming device means you can stay connected and stream TV and movies using Wi-Fi. You can connect it to any TV set, and because it installs in seconds, you can take it with you anywhere you need to, including dorm rooms, student apartments, a friend’s pad or a common area. Best of all, there are many options to choose from that cover the gamut.

Keurig K-Mini Single-serve Coffee Maker

Late nights and early mornings don’t mix and everyone knows that if you didn’t drink coffee before you started college, you need to start, stat. A convenient, inexpensive solution is a single-serve coffee maker like Keurig’s K-Mini. It’s got a super-narrow profile that means you can easily store it on a desk or night table.

Shark Wandvac

Shark Wandvac on a countertop.

Most college students don’t give any thought to cleaning their dorm room or shared apartment until someone’s mom comes for a visit. But the truth is, if you’re not going to start keeping your space tidy now, when will you? Plus, with a heightened focus on cleanliness over the past few years due to the pandemic, we all know keeping things clean is more important than ever. Shark Wandvac can be used as a compact hand vacuum or a full-size stick vac. In addition to being compact, it’s one of the most budget-friendly options out there. It also does a great job with an array of versatile attachments so you can keep the carpet dirt-free, and your keyboard devoid of crumbs.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen)

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with Clock side
John Velasco / Digital Trends

If you have a smart speaker at home, you know how versatile they can be: They’re your digital butler, know-it-all pal, and indispensable virtual assistant. They’re even more powerful when you’ve moved out of your parents’ home. Use Alexa to get recipes, check the weather, set your morning alarm (or a study timer), and listen to music. The Echo Dot with Clock can help keep you on time, too.

Govee Smart Lights

Two people singing next to Govee Lyra Lamp.

It won’t come as a surprise that dorm rooms and student housing can be a little … bland. When painting isn’t an option, smart lights should be your go-to decor. Using smart, color-changing LED lights can actually alter the look and feel of a room, making it seem warmer, cooler, or just more colorful.

The Govee StarPal and Aura smart table lamps are a great way to add fun and personality to an otherwise colorless box. Plus, plenty of smart lights can be combined with a wake-up alarm to gently brighten up the room ahead of your wake-up, making it more likely you can get to Economics 101 on time.

Anker SoundCore Life Active Noise canceling headphones

Anker Soundcore Life Tune XR.

Headphones are pretty much the number-one must-have for going away to school. They can pipe in sound from your laptop when you need to focus on a lab or virtual class, they can drown out a snoring roommate, and they can simply help you focus on reading or studying, particularly if you choose a pair with active noise canceling (ANC). ANC uses digital algorithms to listen for outside sound bleed and them masks it with an undetectable counter sound. ANC headphones can be priced from budget to wallet-busting, but this pair from Anker is extremely modestly priced. You can also surf our list of Best Headphones for Back to School for more affordable ideas.

Cuisinart EvolutionX portable wireless blender

Smoothie made with Cuisinart Blender.

If you can’t muster up the energy to visit the cafeteria for another bowl of oatmeal, or those danishes are contributing to your “freshman 15,” why not have the tools on hand to make your own healthy smoothies right in your room? Cuisinart’s ExolutionX line of cordless, rechargeable, and compact appliances means you can mix smoothies and then take the portable drinking cup to class.

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Erin Lawrence
Erin has over 20 years of experience as a journalist in the media and news industries, with time both on camera and behind…
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