Back to School: The Best Gear for Your Dorm Room


For many students, a dorm room is their first true home away from home, a place to thrive, to feel safe and comfortable, to chart out a path all their own. Unfortunately, many dorms don’t reflect all that positivity and potential at the onset, instead resembling something between a camp bunk and a barracks. So, to help take your dorm from jail cell to sanctuary, we’ve put together a list of technological must-haves and gadget gimme-gimmes.

Must-Have Number One: A Computer

First things first: You need a computer. There are tons of great options out there for every price range and preference, but something we think works well for students’ dorms is a 2-in-1 laptop, such as the Microsoft Surface Book 2. One of the reasons we like the Surface Book 2 so much is because of its versatility. With four different modes—Studio, Laptop, View, and Tablet—the Surface Book 2 not only delivers the power and performance you need in your dorm, but also when you’re in the classroom and on the go. It’s available in multiple screen sizes, memory, and chip configurations, so you can pick the setup that works best for you. All variations of the Surface Book 2 come with Intel® dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for advanced connectivity performance and Windows 10 Pro, so you’ll have everything you need for doing homework, playing games, watching movies, artistic endeavors, and much more.

Microsoft 13.5" Surface Book 2 Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Notebook

Must-Have Number Two: Music Setup

One thing dorms do typically come with is a roommate, which means you might have to exercise some extra manners and consideration, especially when it comes to listening to music or other audio. A great way to rock out without bothering your roomie is with a good pair of headphones. One pair we really like is the Bose QuietComfort 35™ Series II. Not only do these over-ear Bluetooth headphones offer incredible wireless sound, they also feature advanced noise-canceling technology, so you can block out unwanted sounds in case your roommate isn’t as considerate as you. They even feature smart assistant support, so if you’re having trouble with your homework, you can page either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for a little help.

Bose QuietComfort 35™ Series II Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

Of course, if your roommate does have the same musical tastes as you, you might want to consider a nice wireless speaker, so you can rock out together. One of our favorites is the Sonos PLAY:1, which allows you to stream music from your personal digital libraries, online music services, or connected devices, such as phones and tablets. To deliver high-quality, room-rocking sound, the PLAY:1 utilizes employs a 3.5-inch mid-woofer and a tweeter, each powered by independent Class-D amplifiers. The result is warm, full-range sound with clear highs and powerful bass that everyone but your RA will enjoy.

Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Speaker

Must-Have Number Three: Gaming and Media Consoles

Having a TV in your dorm room is more of a nice-to-have than a survival requisite, but if you are lucky enough to have a television, you should definitely consider outfitting it with a gaming console. The Nintendo Switch, for example, is great for dorm rooms because it offers endless video-game thrills at home, plus, it’s portable, so you can take it with you on your way to class. If you’re looking for something with more entertainment functions, consider picking up either an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 Pro. Not only do these consoles offer some of the best gaming experiences in the world, they also have plenty of streaming options, so you watch your favorite shows and movies, play music, and more—all from a single console.

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Red Controllers

Must-Have Number Four: A Solid Router

If you do end up with some or all the gadgets on our list, odds are you’re going to have a significant amount of wireless traffic. The ASUS RT-AC68U Gigabit Router is a great solution for your networking needs. This fifth-generation 802.11ac router can deliver wireless speeds up to a combined 1900 Mb/s. It features three adjustable antennas, so you can specify signal direction to your devices, and it comes with 5 total Ethernet ports—4 BaseT Ethernet ports for LAN connections and 1 port for a WAN connection. Add in the two additional USB ports for even more connectivity options, and you’ve got a router that has you covered, no matter how much traffic you throw at it.

ASUS RT-AC68U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router

Must-Have Number Five: Reliable Power Solution

All of the above tech needs a reliable power solution to keep it juiced up and secure, that’s why we recommend a high-quality surge protector. There are tons of great, inexpensive options available. We recommend selecting one with enough outlets to handle all your gear, and something that has plenty of failsafes and protections against surges and overloads. You might also look for something that includes USB ports, so have additional charging options.

APC SurgeArrest 11-Outlet Surge Protector

Those are our dorm room must-haves. Did we forget anything? Let us know in the Comments section, below and, just for fun, tell us what one thing you think a dorm room must have.