5 dorm room appliances that you will and won't need

Boy carrying box upstairs
Boy carrying box upstairs (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Heading off to college can be a nerve-wracking yet exciting time for students. For many, it’s their first time leaving home and learning how to live on their own. While it’s tempting for college students to pack everything but the kitchen sink, there are certain dorm room appliances that you will or won’t need. This is especially the case if you’re sharing a room or lacking space, whereby these 7 tips to save space in a student dorm room will come in handy.

First things first, always check the university’s student policy and dorm regulations before taking any small appliances with you. These usually vary from campus to campus, so ensure you are meeting the correct guidelines. This will save students the hassle of buying or taking appliances they are not even allowed to use. If you are able to bring small appliances however, here are 5 dorm room appliances that you will and won't need to take to campus.

Finally, if you need to sort your own sleep setup, check out best mattress for college students guide for our top recommendations.

Appliances to bring to the dorm

1. Mini Fridge 

Mini Fridge

Mini Fridge (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Most student dorms will have a fridge supplied, but if not, a mini fridge is ideal for your chilled essentials. Mini fridges come in many different sizes and styles, so you’re bound to find one to suit any dorm room. Things to consider are the capacity, the dimension and number of shelves. You’ll want to make sure it’s durable and easy to maintain. If you’re tight on dorm space, however, you can also buy a neat-looking desk fridge such as this FRIGIDAIRE Portable 10L, 15-can Mini Fridge ($59, Amazon), which is also portable.  

2. Personal Blender

Woman putting fruit into a blender

Woman putting fruit into a blender (Image credit: Shutterstock)

For students always on the move, one of the best blenders can mix up a tasty smoothie to start the day. A good blender will power through favorite ingredients and produce delicious smoothies or milkshakes in no time. Top blenders come in all sizes to suit any space and budget. This compact KitchenAid K150 3 Speed Ice Crushing Blender ($199, Amazon), is ideal for small spaces, has an ice crush setting, and comes with two blender jars so you can make several drinks at one time. What’s more, it's a much healthier option than shop-bought drinks. 

3. Single Serve Coffee Maker 

Nespresso Vertuo Plus

(Image credit: Nespresso)

What student doesn’t need coffee to get them through college? While taking one of the best espresso machines may seem a little flashy, you can still invest in a single serve coffee maker to suit student living. This Nespresso BNV420IBL VertuoPlus Espresso Machine ($159, Amazon), is compact, affordable and takes a few minutes to make barista-style, tasting coffee. It’s easy to use at just a touch of a button, and powers off after 9 minutes. Plus, this is a great way to save students money on all those coffee shop trips. 

4. Microwave 


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A microwave is another must-have appliance for college students who want to cook or warm up leftover meals. The best microwaves offer the convenience of heating up foods or drinks in no time. They are simple to use, and easy to maintain, providing you know how to clean a microwave regularly. What’s more, the best microwaves come with all sorts of handy features, sizes and budgets to suit your lifestyle. We can recommend BLACK+DECKER EM720CB7 Digital Microwave Oven ($99, Amazon), for students on a budget. 

5. Electric Kettle 

Swan kettle on countertop

Swan kettle on countertop (Image credit: Amazon)

If you prefer drinking tea or rustling up a soup at mealtimes, you’ll need to take one of the best kettles. These days, kettles can do so much more than just boil up water. There are ones with variable temperatures, keep warm functions and other handy settings. For students on a budget though, this Swan Nordic Kettle ($79, Amazon), is ideal. Its rapid boil will heat water in just seconds, has an integrated spout for safe pouring and a stainless steel body to keep water warm for longer. What’s more, its modern and stylish design will look great in any dorm room. 

Appliances to leave behind: 

1. Toaster Ovens 

Toaster oven

Toaster oven (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Students may enjoy using one of the best toaster ovens when making their favourite sandwiches, but chances are, this probably won’t be utilized often enough. In addition, college dorms may not allow this appliance in the dorm to avoid a potential fire hazard.  

2. Air Fryer 

Salter air fryer

Salter air fryer (Image credit: Salter)

Similarly, the best air fryers are convenient for fried foods, and much safer than deep fat fryers. But, it’s probably best to leave this behind as these appliances can get very hot if not handled properly. And for a student dorm, it may not be so ideal! 

3.  Instant Pot 

Instant Pot Pro on kitchen counter

Instant Pot Pro on kitchen counter (Image credit: Instant Pot)

The best Instant Pots are well-known for its easy one-touch operation, and convenience to cook just about any dish. However, unless you’re a keen cook (and have time to experiment!), college students are less likely to make the most of all of its functions. Especially when they have busy social lives and frat parties to attend.

4. Rice Cooker 

Dishing out white rice from a rice cooker

Dishing out white rice from a rice cooker (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Unless they're in the habit of eating rice every day, college students are not likely to use a rice cooker very often. In addition, rice cookers are often bulky appliances, so can take up much needed dorm room space. What’s more, rice can easily be cooked in the microwave if students don't want the hassle of boiling it the traditional way. 

5. Deep Fat Fryer

Deep fat fryer cooking fries

Deep fat fryer cooking fries (Image credit: Amazon)

While there are compact deep fat fryers available, it’s advisable not to bring these with you to campus. These appliances use a lot of hot oil, which is not only dangerous if spilled, but could potentially cause a fire. 

Be sure to check out the best back to school sales and our back to school guide for some great deals on both classroom and dorm room essentials. 

If you want to make cleaning chores a breeze, check out these 7 cleaning hacks every student should know, or these 9 laundry tips for students. Also, don't make this one mistake when doing your laundry

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!