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The best appliances for student living: from coffee makers to air fryers

Included in this guide:

Students in kitchen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A new semester is here, and with it thousands of students are journeying across the country to their home away from home — some for the first time. 

Student life always presents its difficulties, especially for those who are new to living independently. Cooking our own meals and cleaning up after ourselves can be a real eye-opener! However, having the right appliances can make all the difference.

Owning a personal blender or air fryer, for instance, can produce delicious results quickly and with minimal effort. So, if you’re heading back to college, these are the best appliances for student living that you need in your life.

The best appliances for student living: Dash Compact Air Fryer

Dash Compact Air Fryer (Image credit: Dash)

1. Dash Compact Air Fryer

The best compact air fryer

Type: Digital
Size: 8.1 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches
Weight: 5.7 pounds
Capacity: 2 quarts
Dishwasher safe parts: Yes
Easy to clean: Yes
App control: No
Recipes: Booklet included
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Compact size+Baskets are dishwasher safe+Available in a range of colors+Great for chicken wings
Reasons to avoid
-Hot exterior-Can't fit a whole chicken

Every student needs an air fryer for fast, delicious and relatively healthy recipes. The Dash Compact Air Fryer is small, which makes it ideal for storage, and inexpensive. Its compact design doesn’t compromise on its performance however, as we found it was great at air-frying chicken wings when we put it to the test. It’s ideal for cooking for 1-2 people and comes in an array of attractive colors. It couldn’t be easier to control with two dials for temperature and time, and the basket is dishwasher-safe as well. You would use this appliance more often than you would think for fresh and crispy French fries. 

Read our full Dash Compact Air Fryer review

The best appliances for student living: Eureka RepidClean Pro Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka RepidClean Pro Cordless Vacuum Cleaner (Image credit: Eureka)

2. Eureka RepidClean Pro Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

The best cordless vacuum for a great price

Vacuum type: Bagless
Weight: 5.26 pounds
Battery: 40 minute runtime
Cordless: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great value for money+Lightweight+Can be used as a handheld
Reasons to avoid
-Can't stand upright on its own

A vacuum cleaner may not be at the top of your list for things to buy, but it's an important appliance, especially for those of us with long hair. Cordless is best for students as they’re convenient to whip out for spills and should have enough battery to cover the dorm when needed. The Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner won’t break the bank and will pick up all kinds of debris in one sweep. Plus it can be used as a handheld when needed too.  

The best appliances for student living: Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050

Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050 (Image credit: Braun)

3. Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050

The best coffee maker for taste and features

Cup capacity: 12 cups
Size: 14.2 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches
Programmable: Yes
Brew controls: No
Milk frother: No
Removable water resevoir: No
Auto shut off: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+Adjustable keep warm setting+Affordable+Glass carafe
Reasons to avoid
-Water tank and filter basket are difficult to access

For coffee-lovers, the Braun Brew Sense Drip Coffee Maker KF6050 is the best you can buy. It offers a great set of features at a reasonable price, including an adjustable keep warm setting. It can brew up to 12 cups of coffee in its glass carafe and comes with permanent filters and a 24 hour timer too. The only thing it’s missing is a milk frother, but for less than $100, you can’t ask for more. 

The best appliances for student living: George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Electric Indoor Grill and Panini Press

George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Electric Indoor Grill and Panini Press (Image credit: George Foreman)

4. George Foreman 2-Serving Classic Plate Electric Indoor Grill and Panini Press

Best value panini press

Material: Plastic
Servings: 2
Size: 9.38 x 5.12 x 10.25 inches
Accessories: Drip tray
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Easy to use+Nonstick coating 
Reasons to avoid
-Some found it too small and would opt for the 4 serving model instead

I relied a little too much on this appliance through college, but nothing is quite as satisfying as a fresh grilled cheese sandwich. It’s quick, delicious and easy to make with a panini press. This George Foreman model can prepare two servings and comes with a drip tray to collect any drained grease or fat, which is dishwasher safe. It’s very compact, measuring just 9.38 x 5.12 x 10.25 inches, and couldn’t be easier to use. There’s a four servings model available for $5 more if you like more than one sandwich at a time. 

The best appliances for student living: Hamilton Beach Personal Smoothie Blender

Hamilton Beach Personal Smoothie Blender  (Image credit: Hamilton Beach)

5. Hamilton Beach Personal Smoothie Blender

Great for smoothies and shakes

Size: 11.9 x 5.2 x 4.2 inches
Weight: 1.8 pounds
Output: 175 watts
Dishwasher safe: Travel cup and lid
Reasons to buy
+Budget-friendly+Compact, lightweight design+Great for on-the-go lifestyle+One-touch blending+Dishwasher safe cup and lid
Reasons to avoid
-Not very powerful

Blenders are a brilliant way to get more vitamins into your diet. Full-sized ones can be bulky and expensive though, that’s why we recommend the Hamilton Beach Personal Blender for students. It can prepare one serving of smoothie at a time and the jar doubles-up as a travel cup, so you just grab it and go. The cup and lid are dishwasher-safe too, so the design is as convenient as it gets. It’s available in five colors including black, blue, raspberry, red and white.

The best appliances for student living: Bella 2-Slice Extra-Wide/Self-Centering-Slot Toaster

Bella 2-Slice Extra-Wide/Self-Centering-Slot Toaster (Image credit: Bella)

6. Bella 2-Slice Extra-Wide/Self-Centering-Slot Toaster

The best value toaster for everyday use

Number of slots: 2
Browning settings: 6
Crumb tray: Yes
Alternate settings: Bagels, gluten free
Reasons to buy
+Very reasonably priced+Useful alternate settings+Good number of browning settings for added control
Reasons to avoid
-Plastic exterior

Toasters are a pretty essential appliance for most students. We chose this one because of its extra-wide slots and six browning settings. It also comes with dedicated settings for bagels and gluten free breads. It features a black, sophisticated finish and at $15, a toaster won’t come much cheaper. There’s the standard slide-out crumb tray as well for easy-cleaning.  

Cooluli Classic 0.1 Cu. Ft. Mini Fridge

(Image credit: Cooluli)

7. Cooluli Classic 0.1 Cu. Ft. Mini Fridge

A useful appliance for snacks

Size: 10.25 x 7.25 x 10.5 inches
Weight: 4 pounds
Capacity: 0.14 cubic feet
Colors available: 7
Reasons to buy
+Versatile+Compact in size+Available in a range of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Limited capacity

While this mini fridge is likely smaller than you would expect, it can still hold four cans and can sit neatly on a countertop rather than taking up precious floor space. It comes with two shelf levels as well as a thin compartment on the inside of the door, which is perfect for chocolate bars. It’s available in an array of colors as well, including a cow-pattern! It’s certainly as cute as a mini fridge can get and it’s a steal at $50.   

Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan

(Image credit: Honeywell)

8. Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan

Handy for cooling off

Speeds: 3
Size: 10.9 x 6.3 x 10.9 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Wall-mountable: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Small and portable+Great price+Three speed settings+Head pivots+Wall-mountable
Reasons to avoid
-Difficult to clean

If your dorm room gets overly hot, then a fan is a must-have. You don’t need to spend the big bucks to get a good one though, we recommend the Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan. It’s compact in size, so you can sit it on your desk, and it comes with three speeds and a 90 degree pivoting heat. It can even be mounted on a wall if necessary.  

Katie Mortram

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.