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15 Most Useful Gadgets for Your College Dorm Kitchen

15 Most Useful Gadgets for Your College Dorm Kitchen

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These simple, often overlooked gadgets can help make your dorm cooking surprisingly impressive


Set of multi-purpose, colorful Kuhn Rikon pairing knives

While anticipating the first semester away at school — the first time away from the parents, from having laundry folded, and most importantly, from home-cooked meals — most college freshmen have no idea how to prepare for living away from home, let alone using a communal kitchen.

Click here to see the 15 Most Useful Gadgets for Your College Dorm

If you’re like most, you don’t have to fear, because college food nightmares don’t have to be a given, and there’s ways to prepare for your departure so that you’re ready and able to cook up healthy, delicious meals. Your diet or love of cooking doesn’t have to fall by the wayside at college, and you’ll be happy to hear that the trip to Wal-Mart to stock up on things for your college dorm doesn’t involve as much ramen as you thought.

To help you prepare for a semester full of cooking, we’ve gathered a list of simple gadgets you can buy for college that can change the way you eat (and cook) at school. Whether you have a kitchenette in your dorm room or a communal kitchen shared amongst the floor, it’s easy to be well-prepared with kitchen items that help you cook up a mouthwatering meal that will satisfy your hunger and help you avoid the freshmen fifteen.

Though dorm restrictions and communal kitchens can propose road blocks, there are ways to get around these limitations, and ways to make sure you stay full and your diet stays regulated when you’re away at school for the first time this fall. Stock up on this kitchen-packing list and you’re sure to ace your culinary exam at school.

The 25 Coolest Gadgets for University Students

Life at college (or university) can be pretty hectic. In amongst the endless textbooks you need to read, the thousands of words you need to write and the infinite alcoholic beverages you will likely consume, finding some spare time to yourself can be a tricky task. Indeed, anything that can make academic life a little easier is not worth turning your nose up at.

Luckily, with this in mind, we’ve decided to help you out. We’ve scoured the web to find the best gadgets for students, from the latest electronic tech to the simplest rudimentary concepts. The result is a fine array of devices and accoutrements that would complement even the most sophisticated dormitory.

So, if you’re heading away for school anytime soon, don’t even think about packing without these 25 essential gems!

2. A tablet

You might wonder why you would need a tablet when you already have your laptop. Believe me you will love the portability of a table to watch Netflix in bed without bothering your roommate or just do assigned reading without trucking around your laptop. Our favorite is the Samsung Galaxy Tablet. It comes with a detachable keyboard, a stand, and the S Pen which is super easy and fun to use.

Thank you!

Write to Matt Peckham at [email protected]

There&rsquos nothing as back-busting as the first week of class book-buying ritual, when you have to lug dozens of books from the campus store back to your dorm room. Forget the heavy lifting and pick up a Kindle Paperwhite, which can store all the books you&rsquoll need for the semester at a mere 7-ish ounces. With highlighting and note-taking features, the Paperwhite is a great study buddy, too.

Whether at the gym or on your way to class, Apple’s AirPod wireless earbuds are reliable, comfortable and offer more than adequate audio fidelity for casual listening. There’s no need to dig into your iPhone’s settings menu to check whether they’re connected, because the AirPods automatically sync with your phone as soon as you pop open their case. They’re a breeze to use, too, since they can detect whether they’re in your ear and pause audio accordingly.

Buy now: Apple AirPods, $160, Apple

Everyone needs extra plugs, and surge protection can be a gadget-saver in case of split-second brownouts (minor dips in power) or unexpected electricity spikes. Belkin’s cordless SurgePlus USB Swivel Charger adds up to a cost-sensible mix of both with USB perks in the bargain. It offers 918 joules of device protection (you generally want above 600), two powered USB charge ports (2.1 AMP combined) for tablets or smartphones, a 360-degree rotatable plug with four lockable positions, plus it’s small enough to drop in a tote for on-the-go plug expansion and device safeguarding.

It used to be that in order to take DSLR-quality photos, you needed to lug around a bulky camera. That&rsquos no longer the case, thanks to the rise of high-end &ldquomirrorless&rdquo alternatives like the Canon EOS M6. Sporting a 24-megapixel sensor, dual pixel autofocus and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the M6 can deliver photos that&rsquoll blow your Instagram followers away, then comfortably disappear into a backpack or purse.

Smartphones may be replacing point-and-shoot cameras, but that doesn’t mean printed images are obsolete. Photo printers like the HP Sprocket turn your smartphone’s snaps into tangible glossies for decorating your dorm room or hanging on a fridge. HP’s Sprocket is light and portable enough to toss in your bag, and you can peel the back off to turn your photo into a sticker as well.

If you use your iPad to take notes, you’ll probably want a good keyboard case. Logitech’s Slim Folio is a great option for those who own a 2017-issue iPad, because it comes with a row of iOS keyboard shortcuts for features like Siri and search, and its replaceable coin cell battery should last up to four years. If you’re rocking the much larger iPad Pro, consider Logitech’s Create Backlit Keyboard Case&mdashit’s less cramped than Apple’s official accessory, and works with the iPad’s Smart Connector, so you don’t have to go through the Bluetooth pairing process.

Whether you’re using your phone to film video for a project or listen to Spotify at the library, you can never have enough power. Mophie’s Powerstation Mini packs an additional 3,000 mAh battery, which is the size of the battery found in smartphones like the Galaxy S8. That should be more than enough power to get you through the day, and it’s slim enough to discreetly stash in a backpack or purse.

The New Nintendo 2DS XL (see TIME’s review) offers everything the New 3DS XL does for less&mdashminus a dimension. If you’ve yet to tinker with a 3DS, the New 2DS XL is arguably the hardware in its best light, unencumbered by a feature it was never clear the handheld needed. If you want a games gizmo to fiddle with between classes that’s smaller than the Nintendo Switch, sports a vast library of acclaimed and deep games, and that has controls the envy of any smartphone, the New Nintendo 2DS XL is mobile gaming’s gold standard.

The only problem with Nintendo’s hybrid TV-handheld game system (see TIME’s review) is that it’s impossible to find five months out. If you’re able to beat those odds (or willing to pay scalper prices), there’s never been a better way to play serious games on-the-go or launch school-time smackdowns with friends. Drop the Switch in its cradle and it&rsquos on your TV. Pull it out and it&rsquos in your hands. Snap the removable controllers off its sides, pop the rear kickstand, and it&rsquos on a table. With its stable of superlative already-out games, plus a new sandbox Super Mario in October, it’s the most exciting console of 2017, bar none.

Keeping a frisbee around your dorm room can be the quickest way to make new friends. But ordinary discs are useless once the sun goes down. Not so with Nite Ize’s Flashflight, which uses LED lights to keep the fun going well after dark. Just watch out for ankle-destroying holes in the ground.

Between Apple, Amazon, Roku and Google, there are plenty of options if you want to cut the cord. But Roku’s streaming stick is affordable, dead simple to use and offers a wide variety of channels. It plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and works with a remote control, meaning you won’t have to keep your smartphone nearby in order to stream content as you would with a Chromecast.

Working for weeks on a final paper only to lose it to a computer malfunction can be devastating. Stave off that grim possibility by backing up your data early and often. Backup drives like the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB (there’s also a slightly less expensive 1TB alternative) are especially handy for multimedia projects with file sizes too big to easily store in the cloud. We&rsquore looking at you, video majors.

Plug expansions for wall outlets are handy, but what if you want to charge your smartphone or tablet on a dorm room desk? TaoTronics’ sleek desk lamp offers bright, flicker-free illumination, plus a USB port that lets you keep a device topped up without mucking around with floor-level cabling. Better yet, the lamp has touch controls and five color modes (from white to warm yellow) as well as dimming with seven brightness levels.

After a long week of hitting the books, it’s great to chill out on the campus quad, soaking up the sun with some of your favorite tunes. The UE Wonderboom is a great way to enjoy your music while you&rsquore out and about, complete with a clip that&rsquoll attach to your backpack or purse. It&rsquos also great for outdoor pursuits, given that it&rsquos waterproof, buoyant and shock-resistant.

It’s easy to find biggish backpacks for schlepping books and school supplies, but hard to find slimline ones nearly as capacious. Victorinox’s stylish Altmont 3.0 slimline laptop series lets you jam up to a 15.6-inch laptop into a discrete sleeve, then offers a second mid-compartment for stowing books, cable bags and other miscellany. A third nearly-as-big compartment on the front can be quick-accessed with two full-length zippers&mdashgreat for storing painkillers, hand sanitizer, eye drops and whatever else you need to get through the school day grind.

3. Blender

Okay, so you don’t actually cook anything in a blender, but this is your ticket to smoothies, dips, soups, and if you have a big enough freezer, even homemade nice cream, and parfaits. As a vegan in college, being able to make quick smoothies before class is important. As we all know, the NutriBullet is the best blender and food processor of all time. Easily blend up or puree your favorite dishes and on-the-go meals.

The NutriBullet has plenty of fantastic reviews on Amazon. Joshua Shea says, “This was a great purchase! It’s sturdy, well made and blends like a dream. I packed mine full of kale, cucumber, celery and pineapple chunks and the NutriBullet wasn’t even fazed. Can’t wait to try more recipes.” Get it for $55.60!

40 Dorm Room Essentials Every College Student Needs for a Communal Living Space

You only get a little bit of space in your dorm, so make every inch of it count!

When you get to college, you get once space: your dorm room That one little area becomes a kitchen, a bedroom, a dressing area, a gym, a study space and more &mdash and you probably have to share it. That's a lot of gear to pack into a small space. If it seems daunting, brush up on some organizing tips, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to make every inch of space you get count.

But what items on the college packing list are really dorm room essentials, and what can you live without? Because the worst thing would be giving over tons of your precious closet space to a bulky appliance you'll use a couple times in the first month and never look at again. (Ahem, iron and ironing board. That's why Downy made the wrinkle release spray.) Before you head off back to school, figure out what you'll truly need with this checklist. Many of the items &mdash including the bedding, bath and appliances &mdash were top picks from the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI), which is great because the last thing you want to do is pack, move and unpack something only to have it break. Others are editor favorites or Amazon bestsellers with stellar reviews. Stock up, and you'll be ready for school.

You could splurge on a cloud-soft duvet cover and the silkiest sheets, and we wouldn't blame you &mdash after all, when you're in college, you need a good night's sleep where you can get it. But if you want an affordable way to get a comforter, fitted sheet, flat sheet, dust ruffle, and pillowcases, just grab Wayfair's bed-in-a-bag set, which comes in many colors.

Those old college-issued twin XL mattresses have been around. If you're sensitive sleeper, you might want to add a mattress topper to make your bed firmer, less lumpy, and more comfy. Linenspa's tested well with the GHI and comes in that awkward dorm-room size.

Whether you're a side, back or stomach sleeper, you're going to need some extra pillows to prop you up when you're pulling an all-nighter on your bed with your laptop on your knees. These pillows tested well at the GHI and come in a pack of two.

50 Dorm Room Ideas to Help Kick Off Campus Life Right

While some colleges and universities are preparing for a remote fall semester, many are planning to gradually phase in their in-person coursework and campus activities. Dorm- and off-campus life will look very different this year, but it may resume in some aspect for many.

For incoming campus-bound freshmen, furnishing your dorm room is pretty much a crash course in small-space living. Make sure you've got the right organizational and decorative touches to make it feel instantly like home. We've rounded up 50 dorm room ideas to help you outfit your new digs and get you settled into college life.

Want to build your own stand-up desk? Learn how by joining Pop Mech Pro!

Every living space needs a full-length mirror. This over-the-door pick is worth going halfsies on with your roommate, as it's a simple, sleek, thin-frame design.

This genius dorm room idea from Urban Outfitters conveniently fits behind your twin-sized bed frame, offering two extra shelves of storage. Put anything from artwork to plants to books up here, adding even more personality to your space.

We like the aesthetic combination of the sculpted, brass-colored bars and mango wood.

When you have to make it to an 8 a.m. lab, leave nothing to chance. This reviewer-favorite, memory foam topper from Linenspa adds a generous 3 inches to your dorm-issued mattress, making it a much dreamier place to crash.

You and your roommate will be clamoring for the little space that you have, so make sure that you can safely share the outlets with a surge protector power strip. This circular model includes six outlets and four USB ports, and its cord extends up to 6 feet long.

Bella digital air fryer

With this little robot-looking oven, you can make all the fried favorites like wings, fries, tots, mozzarella sticks, empanadas and other frozen snacks without any oil. The 2-quart size is perfect for a dorm and the digital presets include a 60-minute automatic shut-off for safety. All I'll say is I sure wish I'd had one of these my freshman year. You kids have it so good nowadays.

u/JamiSings shouted out a particular find from Amazon, which comes in under $10. “Not only does my hair feel cleaner than ever since getting one, but my scalp doesn’t itch anymore,” they explained. Before buying the brush, their irritation was chronic. “I tried everything including prescription shampoos. I didn’t have dandruff or any other issue that should cause the itching, but all the same my head itched so bad all the time I wanted to shave my head and rub sandpaper on my scalp to get some relief. Got one of these to help scrub my head and now while I might get a tiny itch here and there, I no longer want to rip my scalp off to make the itching stop.” That’s a glowing review if ever I’ve heard one.

Whether you’re taking it with you on errands or simply want to track your water intake, investing in a sleek water bottle can make all the difference, u/moihvgvghtfyr swears. “It’s amazing how much of a difference there is in the amount of happiness you have when you just stay hydrated,” they wrote.

u/kickbackthisthat agreed. “Recently got a $30 water bottle and it’s so much nicer than drinking from the disposable soft plastic ones,” the thread-starter said.

20 Super-Practical (and Fun!) Gifts for Your Favorite Recent College Grad

Since the pandemic started, I feel like I have no concept of time. The days, weekends, weeks, and even holidays seem to kind of blend together. Which is why I was shocked when my sister casually mentioned that both her and her boyfriend would be graduating from their Master’s programs this month. (“What?! It feels like you guys just started those a couple of months ago,” I replied.)

Of course, graduation means graduation gifts. And because my sister and her boyfriend will soon be moving into their first apartment of their very own, they’re in need of most things. Outside of giving them cash for life and student loans (which, obviously, would be appreciated), my specialty is kitchen-related gifts. More specifically, things that are super useful and will be employed on a weekly basis. But still Fun with a capital F.

Here are 20 kitchen-related gift ideas I know my sister and her boyfriend would love. I think many other college grads would love them, too.