26 Gadgets Every College Student Needs

A college student browses the internet on her laptop.
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Whether you’ve just started college or you’re knee-deep in a Master’s program, your life could always be a little easier. These gadgets will help you with your schoolwork, boost your entertainment, and make cooking less of a chore.

Don’t worry; we’re not just listing the best internet-connected pencils, or whatever. Most of these gadgets are technically “non-essential” items that exist solely for your comfort or entertainment. The thing is, it’s important to find a balance between work and relaxation in college. It’s better to have a few essentials for the sake of comfort than to burn yourself out with homework.

But hey, there’s no reason to drag things out. You’re probably procrastinating right now, anyway. Here are 26 gadgets that can help you get through college.

The Essential Gadgets for Students

The AmazonBasics surge protector and the BLACK+DECKER coffeemaker.
AmazonBasics, BLACK+DECKER

Every college student needs a few essentials. Of course, we’re not talking about toothbrushes and underwear (if you don’t have underwear, buy some). We’re talking about the essential devices that make it possible to survive the day-to-day of college life.

Here are the essential gadgets for all college students:

  • AmazonBasics 8-Outlet Surge Protector: Everybody needs a surge protector. Skip the $20 6-outlet surge protectors and grab this 8-outlet power strip for less.
  • VOOE 24800mAh Portable Charger: A long day on campus can drain your phone’s battery. If you want to make the most of it, you’ll need a good portable charger. This VOOE battery has a capacity of 24800mAh, and it should charge your phone about five or six times.
  • Extra Charging Cables: There’s nothing worse than losing your only phone cable. Grab a few extras—there are plenty of cheap LightningUSB-C, and Micro USB cables on Amazon.
  • BLACK+DECKER Coffee Maker: Skip Starbucks and save your money. A cheap coffee maker won’t make a fancy latte, but it’ll help you get through those late-night study sessions.

Seems pretty basic, right? There’s a good chance that you already have a coffeemaker, some charging cables, and a surge protector, so it’s time to move onto something more interesting.

A Good Laptop and External Storage

The Samsung Chromebook and the Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Samsung, Microsoft

Every college student needs a laptop. How else will you tackle your mountains of homework, or quietly browse the internet during class?

In all honesty, you should try to buy a laptop with your student discount. But if you’re in a rush, these laptops will get the job done just fine:

  • Samsung Chromebook 3: Chromebooks are inexpensive, wonderful little laptops. They’re super fast, and they work perfectly with Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, etc.). Just keep in mind that they can’t run professional software, like Photoshop.
  • HP EliteBook 840 G2: If you need a cheap Windows computer, just make sure it has some decent specs. The HP EliteBook 840 G2 has a decent CPU, an SSD, and 8GB of RAM, so you can trust it to be reliable and run relatively fast.
  • MacBook Air: Are you an Apple fan? The new MacBook Air is a wonderful little machine, and it’s perfect for light entertainment or time-consuming assignments.
  • Surface Pro 6: If you want a laptop that doubles as a tablet, get the Surface Pro. It runs Windows 10 and is fully capable of running professional software, like Photoshop or ProTools.

Since you’re using a laptop, it’s worth carrying around an external storage device. Your college may offer a cloud storage solution (like OneDrive or Dropbox) for free, but you can’t always trust cloud storage to quickly transfer important documents (especially if you’re on the go).

Here are a few cheap, high-capacity storage options:

  • PNY 32GB Flash Drive: This is a small flash drive that holds 32GB of data. It’s a USB 3.0 drive, so it’s capable of transferring files a lot faster than older flash drives or cloud storage solutions.
  • Western Digital 2TB Portable Hard Drive: This 2TB hard drive is practically a steal. It’s an excellent option for students who need to carry around (or back up) a ton of documents and photos.

Now that you’ve got your essential gadgets, your laptop, and an external storage device, it’s time to start thinking about entertainment.

TV Time and Gaming

The Nintendo Switch and the Google Chromecast.
Nintendo, Google

In college (or at any point in life) a TV is like a beacon of light in the dark. It offers entertainment, knowledge, comfort, and a destination for any social interaction.

But on its own, a TV is mostly useless. No, you need some extra gadgets to get the most from your television, namely a streaming stick and a good game console:

  • Toshiba 32″ Smart TV: If you need a cheap TV, grab this Toshiba smart TV from Amazon. And as affordable as it is, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better 32″ TV.
  • Google Chromecast: The Google Chromecast is great for streaming media directly from your phone or laptop. It’s controlled entirely over your phone (or through the Chrome browser), which is perfect for college kids that want to share YouTube videos or Netflix shows quickly.
  • Roku ExpressThe Roku Express is a more traditional streaming stick. It comes with a remote, and it effectively makes your “dumb” TV smart. It’s great for watching Netflix, Prime Video, or any other streaming service.
  • Nintendo Switch: The Switch is an excellent console for multiplayer games, like Smash Bros and Mario Kart. It’s still a bit pricey, but it’ll help you get through your four years of college.
  • PlayStation ClassicOf course, you could always grab the extremely inexpensive PlayStation Classic if a new game console seems a little overpriced.
  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Kit: If you’re technically adept, you can turn a Raspberry Pi computer into a media center or a miniature game console.

Once you’re comfortable with your media center, it’s time to focus on another wonderful form of entertainment: music.

Headphones and Speakers

The Anker Soundcore Bluetooth speaker and the COWIN E7 noise cancelling headphones.
COWIN, ANKER

Music is the lifeblood of college students, only second to coffee and a persistent fear of the future. While headphones and speakers may seem like expensive luxury goods, they can help get you in the zone or blow off some steam.

That said, there’s nothing better than a good, affordable speaker or pair of headphones. Here are a couple of good options:

  • COWIN E7 Noise Cancelling Headphones: Instead of waiting for your roommate to shut up so that you can start your homework, tune them out with a cheap pair of noise-canceling headphones.
  • JLab Wireless Earbuds: Why shell out a ton of money on a pair of wireless earbuds? The JLab wireless earbuds sound great, and they have built-in touch controls. (They work with Android and iOS devices).
  • Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker: Whether you’re hosting a party or cooking up a meal, you need a good speaker to spread some musical joy. The Anker Soundcore is a great, cheap, tried-and-true Bluetooth speaker that’ll get the job done right.

Now that you’re all set up with a good audio device, it’s time to start thinking about your physical comfort.

Gadgets for Your Kitchen

The Instant Pot and the Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker.
Instant Pot, Hamilton Beach

Cooking doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. With the right tools, even a novice can throw together a few tasty meals a week.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best kitchen gadgets for college students:

  • Instant Pot: The Instant Pot is a miracle machine. It’s an affordable pressure cooker than can easily replace your crockpot, rice maker, and even some of your pots and pans. It’s great for cooking potatoes, stews, or just about anything else you can think of. You can also use an instant pot for cooking frozen meats, like frozen chicken.
  • Oster DuraCeramic Griddle: Why cook everything on a tiny burner when you can make a feast on a cheap griddle? An electric griddle is great for cooking breakfast, meats, food for groups, or even a healthy spread of veggies.
  • Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker:– Save some cash by making your own breakfast sandwiches. This Hamilton Beach breakfast sandwich maker makes it pretty easy and gives you a few options to customize your breakfast sandwich experience.
  • BELLA Rotating Waffle Maker: Need a cheap, easy breakfast? This BELLA rotating waffle maker will serve you a lot better than the pre-made waffles that are tucked in your freezer.

These kitchen gadgets may seem a bit expensive, but they really pay for themselves. Plus, they make it easy to keep up a healthy diet, which is one of the first things that students lose track of when they start college.

Luxury Gadgets for Your Comfort

The URPOWER oil diffuser and the Eufy RoboVac 11S
URPOWER, Eufy

Looking for something special? These gadgets are hardly essential, but they can make your college life a whole lot easier:

This is a pretty big grocery list, packed with a decent mix of essential and non-essential college fare. While you shouldn’t worry about buying every neat gadget that you come across, it’s good to find a balance between comfort and usability. After all, college isn’t just work; it’s also a great opportunity to have some fun.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is a writer for Review Geek and its sister site, How-To Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers. Read Full Bio »

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