The Best Back-to-School Appliances and Devices

As September rapidly approaches, it’s time to start making a list and checking it twice. No, not a Christmas list, a back-to-school shopping list. Knowing what to pack for college, whether it’s your freshman or senior year can always be a challenge. Freshmen may need to limit their list to fit into a dorm room whereas seniors may be buying pots and pans for their first ever off-campus apartment. Whether you’re living in a tiny dorm room or nice apartment, there are some essential appliances and devices every college student should bring. 

From kitchen appliances to hair appliances I’ve narrowed down a list of the best back-to-school appliances and devices every college student should own. I made sure to include items in all price ranges so whether you’re balling on a budget or you’re a high roller, you’ll have options that suit you. Before you buy any of the products, make sure to check your college website for restricted items or items it may already supply.




Turn any old TV into a smart TV with the Roku Express. All you have to do is plug in your Roku to any TV, connect to Wi-Fi and then you can start streaming shows or movies on all of your favorite streaming services. The Roku Express streams faster than any Roku before. Included in the box is the Roku remote, streaming player, USB and HDMI cables, along with batteries. 



There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a brand new TV for a college dorm when you can get the Hisense 32-inch Roku Smart TV for as low as $120. I’ve owned my Roku Smart TV for three years now and have no complaints. The quality isn’t as good as a more expensive TV would be but it’s good enough for a dorm room or college apartment, and you’ll get access to all your favorite channels.

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One of my biggest regrets in college was not buying a printer. My school had printers for students but charged 25 cents a page — definitely not the most budget-friendly option when you have to print up a 30-page lab report. Luckily my roommate owned the wireless Canon Pixma MG3620 printer, which made our lives so much easier. The Canon printer allows you to print from anywhere and from any device. For only $49, the printer is definitely worth the investment. 




Spending $8 on a latte from the campus Starbucks may seem like a good idea but your bank account will beg to differ. In college all I wanted was an espresso machine but was never able to find an affordable but also high quality one.

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If operating a full espresso machine seems like too much work or just takes up too much space, the Illy Espresso and Coffee machine is what you need. It’s functionallly similar to a Keurig: All you need to do is put in an iperEspresso capsule of your choice and within minutes a shot of espresso will be ready. The machine is simple and very easy to use. Plus you can choose whether you want a shot of espresso or a nice cup of coffee to start your morning. 



The staple of every dorm room is the mini fridge. As a college student you mainly live off of microwaveable dinners, leftovers and food from the cafeteria so you’ll need a solid refrigerator to hold everything. Some universities include a mini fridge with their dorms so make sure to check for that but if yours doesn’t then I recommend checking out the Insignia Mini Fridge. Although the fridge takes up more space than other mini fridges, the freezer included with it brings it up to the top of my list. I used this fridge all throughout college and can confidently say I was able to fit all of my groceries and leftovers with some space to spare. 



A microwave is another college dorm room essential. As with the mini fridge, some colleges include a microwave in their dorm rooms so make sure to check for that. There’s no need to go and spend hundreds of dollars on a microwave when this $50 Insignia Microwave gets the job done. The microwave doesn’t take up a lot of space, making it able to easily sit on top of any desk or small countertop. 

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Best Buy

One rite of passage for nearly every college student is the “college plague” — the severe cold many freshmen develop due to exposure to new people, environments and stress. While you can’t control every environment you’re exposed to, you can try to control the air quality of your dorm room. An air purifier may help you avoid illness by keeping the air in your dorm room as fresh as possible. The Levoit Core air purifier has three fan speeds and a three stage filtration system, trapping 97% of airborne particles. 

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While I lucked out during my college years with a built-in air conditioning system, my sister did not. The sweltering heat can overtake college dorms, which is why a floor fan is necessary for every unlucky college student who doesn’t have AC in their rooms. The Uthfy standing floor fan is relatively quiet and can be controlled with a remote, allowing students to turn the fan on or off while not having to leave their beds. The fan has three different speeds along with three different modes so you can customize it to your liking throughout the day. 

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College rooms can get filthy, especially if you’re living in a frat or sorority house, so you need to make sure you have a vacuum for the job. The Dyson V8 vacuum is cordless, meaning you can easily clean the whole place without having to worry about annoying cords getting in the way. The vacuum reaches high places, allows you to switch between two different power modes. It can also shrink down to a smaller handheld vacuum, making it easy to clean smaller spaces.  




The Dyson Airwrap’s reputation for being one of the best all-in-one blow dryers precedes itself. The $600 price tag is frightening but if you’re looking to make a lifelong investment in your hair then I recommend investing your money in the Airwrap. I’ve always hated blowing out and styling my thick hair, but the Airwrap makes it easy to give yourself salon-quality blowouts. The Airwrap is a combination curling iron, hair straightener and blow dryer. The device allows you to control the temperature, speed and includes a cold shot button which immediately deactivates the heat, allowing your hair to cool. The different attachments that come with the appliance allows you to style all types of hair however you like. 


Foxy Bae

Maybe $600 is just a little too out of your budget for college shopping? I understand, which is why I added FoxyBae’s Super Styler to the list. The Super Styler, listed at $139, is the best Dyson Airwrap dupe on the market. The Super Styler includes a curling iron, blowout brush, drying cylinder and a diffuser: all pieces necessary for the perfect hair style. I rarely do my hair, and the super styler made blowing my hair out easy. 



If all you want is a simple blow dryer that also allows you to do a little bit of styling then the Revlon Brush Hair Dryer is the way to go. For only $40 you can blow and brush your hair right out of the shower. I’ve been using my Revoln brush for years and have never had any complaints. 

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