9 gadgets to transform your dorm from a cinder-block cell to a tech wonderland

We know, we can’t believe it either. It’s time to start thinking about the stuff you’ll need to start yet another school year. Don’t lose your head though — we’ve got you covered this year. Rather than boring you with a bunch of essentials you already have, we’ve compiled a list of all the gear that will elevate your collegiate experience to the next level. This isn’t stuff that you need, but it’s definitely stuff you want. Trust us, it’ll make dorm life considerably easier.

Studio Banana Things Ostrich Pillow ($100)

This thing was practically invented for college students. You’re going to be pulling a lot of all-nighters, and not all of them will be in your dorm room, so you never really know where you might need to take a nap. With this badboy, you can snooze anywhere. It’s essentially a 3D pillow that fits all around your head like a padded skull sock, so no matter what awkward position you fall asleep in at the library, you’ll be comfortable. Never mind the fact that it makes you look like a complete tool — you’ll be too blissfully unconscious to notice all the people laughing at you while you use it. Read more here.

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Swash express clothing care system ($500)

Swash is essentially a slim, ultra-compact steam closet that’s designed to clean and revitalize your clothes in just 10 minutes at the push of a button. Why? Because screw carrying your laundry down six flights of stairs just to wait in line behind 1,000 other dirty college kids trying to wash their clothes. Life is short, and you don’t have time for that, so you need something like Swash. It won’t completely save you from the laundromat, but it’ll extend the wearability of your clothes and elongate the period of time your garments can go between washings. Read more here.

Amazon Best Buy Macy’s Swash

Secura Duxtop Sensor Touch Portable Induction Cooktop ($70)

Don’t feel like choking down the horrible food at your school’s cafeteria? Get yourself an induction cooktop and make food in the comfort of your own room. You’ll want to check up on your university’s dorm policies before doing this, but in our experience most have very specific rules against hot plates, microwaves, and toaster ovens — but induction hobs aren’t mentioned. These cooktops are cool because they don’t actually heat up an element, and instead use electromagnetism to heat your pan directly, so they’re less likely to burn down your residence hall if something goes wrong.

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ErgoTron WorkFit-T standing desk converter ($400)

Standing desks are the bee’s knees, but chances are pretty good that your dorm room is already equipped with a desk that you can’t remove or replace. So what’s the remedy? Get yourself one of these nifty add-ons. Instead of replacing your desk entirely, these things act like transforming laptop pads that lift your computer/keyboard up a few feet, making it possible to stand up while you work. You wouldn’t believe what this does for your productivity — not to mention your overall health and wellbeing.

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Philips Wake-up Light ($70)

Waking up on time and making it to class is only half the battle. Showing up awake and alert is arguably just as important, which is precisely why you need a wake-up light. You might not realize it, but certain wavelengths of light help tell your brain to stop producing melatonin in the morning — which makes it drastically easier to wake up and get past that “zombie” phase before you head out to class. If used in conjunction with copious amounts of coffee, you might actually make the dean’s list this semester. Read more here.

Amazon Best Buy Walgreens Philips

Neato Botvac robot vacuum ($400 – $500)

Sure, you could probably save 400 bucks and just pick up a broom/dustpan combo at the nearest Walmart, but lets be real here — between all the organic chemistry exams, intramural volleyball games, keg stands, waking up at noon, and wearing pajamas to class; you’re not going to have the time, energy, or motivation to sweep your floor. Instead, you should just admit that you’re a slob and buy a robot that can pick up all the dirt, debris, and stray weed crumbs for you. This little bot from Neato is smarter, faster, and drastically cheaper than an entry-level Roomba, so we highly recommend it. Read our full review here.

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Philips Hue Connected Bulb Starter Pack ($200)

If you have the ability to swap out the lights in your dorm, put in some Hue bulbs. You won’t regret it. Not only will you be able to turn them on or off remotely, you’ll be able to adjust the lighting to different temperatures. Settings with more blue wavelengths will help you stay awake and alert during long study sessions, whereas warmer yellow light will help you relax and wind down. And of course, when you find yourself smack in the middle of an impromptu dorm-room dance party, the bulbs can be set to cycle through the entire spectrum of visible light, and even be synced to music with the help of the right smartphone apps. Read our full review here.

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Dyson AM07 Tower Fan ($320)

Truth be told, any old fan will do, but this one is awesome. Dyson has put a ridiculous amount of R&D into this this thing, so it works like a dream and will last your for years and years even under relentless use. Thanks to Dyson’s obsessive engineering, it’s fairly quiet for a fan, but it can still get loud enough to drown out the sound of your neighbors playing Madden at full volume at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, which is definitely something you want. White noise is a keystone of any successful shared living arrangement. Read more here.

Amazon Best Buy Walmart Home Depot

Honeywell HPA250B air purifier with Bluetooth smart controls ($250)


Dorm rooms are basically oversized Petri dishes with beds and power outlets. No matter who you room with or how clean you try to be, your room is pretty much guaranteed to be filled with odors, allergens, and communicable diseases over the course of your stay — which is exactly why you need a good, reliable air purifier. This one from Honeywell is equipped with a small Bluetooth radio, so it can communicate with your smartphone (available for iOS and Android) to gather data about pollen and other allergens, and then use it to adjust the fan/filter accordingly. This is a godsend when you’re in a new place and faced with a slew of new allergens you’ve never been exposed to before. Read more here.

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