Consumer Reports: Absolutes for dorms before going to college

August 19, 2013 12:39:20 PM PDT
College students are gearing up to go back to school. And that means shopping for gear that can provide some of the comforts of home.

Consumer Reports has a bunch of products it's tested that are top grade for any dorm room or student apartment.

Headed back to campus? Navigating those back-to-school purchases can be overwhelming, but Jarred DiPaola and his dorm mates have it all figured out.

"Microwaveable food is delicious, so I recommend a microwave and mini-fridge, especially a minifridge with a freezer in it," he said.

Consumer Reports tests hundreds of appliances and can help.

"It's nice to have some of the comforts of home with you when you're on your own," said Celia Lehrman.

A mini-fridge is a must. However, Consumer Reports has found that some compact fridges have trouble keeping their cool. But not the $220 Frigidaire. It's got a decent-sized freezer, too

And then there's that must-have jolt of caffeine first thing in the morning.

How about a coffee pod machine? The Nescaf? Dolce Gusto from DeLonghi for $130 is top-rated.

"This machine was quick to brew that all important first cup, and pods are easier. There are no messy coffee grounds to clean up," adds Lehrman.

Nescaf? coffee pod machine And its compact size is a real "perk" for small spaces.

And this one's a little outside the box , a breakfast sandwich maker for hunger attacks, whenever they hit. Consumer Reports' Bernie Deitrick checked out this $30 Sandwich Maker from Hamilton Beach. All you do is build your ingredients, press a button, and minutes later, a nice egg sandwich.

"It's really convenient. It's a little slower than using a stove, but it makes a great breakfast sandwich," adds Deitrick.

Getting these small appliances can help get you set up like Jarred, so going away to college doesn't mean giving up all the comforts of home.

And don't forget the microwave. Consumer Reports recommends the 180-dollar Panasonic Genius Prestige, model NN-SD681S. But make sure you check the rules for your campus dorm to be sure they allow microwaves. Some colleges ban appliances or set wattage limits.


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