Before you head back to campus, gear up with these products to help you ace dorm life.
1.) Countertop Microwave.
The essential college appliance, no dorm room or first apartment should be without a microwave. From reheating last night’s pizza to baking brownies in a mug, there’s little you can’t to cook in a microwave. This compact Whirlpool countertop microwave was made for dorm room duty, packing full cooking power into a unit narrower than just about any traditional microwave on the market. It will squeeze into spaces a standard unit won’t go, yet still fits a full-size dinner plate.
2. Garment Steamer
College may mean wearing t-shirts and leggings as often as possible, but on some occasions you’re going to want to look a bit more presentable. The typical campus laundry units are bound to leave your clothes looking not-too-fresh, and with space at a premium, who wants to deal with an iron and ironing board? A better solution is a portable garment steamer. This handheld device blasts your clothes with super-heated steam to release wrinkles, it works on basically anything your iron would, and it’s even better than ironing for your more delicate fabrics. Plus, it’s often quicker than ironing. And this magical device isn’t über-expensive, either—the Rowenta X-Cel handheld garment steamer costs just sixty bucks.
3.) Cold Brew Coffee Maker
From freshmen to post-doc students, most everyone would agree that caffeine is a crucial college companion. Those who can’t stomach the stuff—whether due to the taste or the acidity—have found a friend in cold brew coffee. It’s generally sweeter and less acidic than drip-brewed coffee while still delivering that buzz, and it makes for a great latte, too. Plus, no waiting for coffee to brew in the a.m. The KitchenAid cold brew coffee maker takes the hassle and guesswork out of cold-brewing, letting your brew, store, and serve from the same container. A must for any collegiate coffee connoisseur.
4.) Electric Tea Kettle
Cooking appliances with exposed heating elements are almost universally banned in college dorms. That means no hot plates, no cooktops, and even many coffee makers are out of bounds. One of the few appliances that does get a pass is the electric tea kettle. These simple devices house the heating element within a pitcher, so you can boil water without risk of catching your comforter on fire. And while you might say “but I don’t drink tea,” consider all of the other food and drink options that easy access to boiling water opens up, like ramen noodles, oatmeal, and pour-over or French-press coffee. At just over $50, this Cuisinart electric kettle provides a lot of convenience for not a lot of dough.
5.) Mini Fridge
And of course, the classic partner to the microwave is the mini fridge. Even the smallest fridge offers enough space to chill the critical dorm-room eats and drinks, like some fresh fruits, a gallon of milk, or a six-pack of, uh, sparkling water, all while fitting in a closet or under a desk. If you have a bit of room to spare, opt for a taller unit with a dedicated freezer to store a couple TV dinners or pints of ice cream.