If you are among the parents packing college students off to school for the first time, you may be tempted to equip their dorm rooms with all the creature comforts of home, including small appliances to satisfy their needs. But before you do, check the university’s website for what to bring and what not to. Typically, small appliances with exposed coils, such as toasters, are prohibited. For example, the University of Indiana at Bloomington says not to bring toaster ovens but allows irons, while New York University permits the use of blenders, hand vacuums, and humidifiers, but not hot plates. Of course, students living off-campus can bring whatever they need. Here are some affordable, top-rated small appliances from Consumer Reports tests.
Students with early classes may not have time to eat breakfast in the dining hall. But with a personal blender, they can whip up a smoothie and drink it on-the-go. The Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender 51101, $20, was a good, not great, performer in our smoothie test. But it comes with a travel lid, which makes it easy to carry to class without spilling your drink.
Tip: Blend two cups of any kind of frozen fruit with a cup of skim milk, one banana, and two spoons of peanut butter for a quick and healthy breakfast.
Full blender Ratings and recommendations.
Toasters are typically forbidden in dorm rooms but allowed in common cooking areas and campus apartments with fully equipped kitchens. That and a box of Pop-Tarts and you’re good to go. Or choose some whole-grain toast with jelly. Our experts named the Hamilton Beach Digital 22502, $35, a CR Best Buy. It made evenly browned toast batch after batch. If you plan to cook frozen pizza or reheat leftovers, you'll want a good toaster oven like the Oster TSSTTVMNDG, $80, which was very good at baking and broiling.
Tip: Clean the crumb tray a few times a week to lessen the chance of the crumbs starting to smoke or smolder. Remember, the smoke alarms installed in student housing are very sensitive.
Full toaster Ratings and recommendations.