Consumer Reports tests best budget appliances

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Consumer Reports tests best small appliances for your new apartment on a budget. (WPVI)

Whether you've got a college student living off-campus this fall or you're a recent grad settling into a first apartment, chances are you need to stock it with the comforts of home.

Consumer Reports has rounded up must-have appliances for your new pad. And they've kept your budget in mind.

Emerald Smith just moved into her first apartment off-campus. And she's coming to terms with everything she needs to buy for her new place.

"You never really know how much stuff it actually is until you get here," she said.

Not to worry! After doing some testing, Consumer Reports has your hand-picked recommendations.

First essential - a decent coffeemaker. Pods are convenient, but they have drawbacks.

"Pods can be pricey, and in our tests of popular pod brands none were as good as some ground coffees from specialty roasters you can use in, say, a drip coffeemaker," said Dan DiClerico from Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports recommends the Kalorik for $60. It's very easy to use and brews a good cup of coffee.

A toaster oven is perfect for cooking frozen pizza and other quick meals. The compact Panasonic FlashXpress is also a great stand-in for a regular toaster. And for $110, it costs half as much as other recommended toaster ovens.

Looking for a blender?

"You might have to shell out more than you'd expect for a really great blender. Our top-rated models can cost a few hundred dollars," said DiClerico.

A less expensive option - the $90 Nutri Ninja Pro Personal Blender. Its mixing container doubles as a travel mug, so you can whip up a smoothie and take it to class.

A stick vac is good to keep your place clean. This top-rated Dyson is a powerful cordless vacuum, but it's $300. For about half the price, the corded Shark Rocket gets the job done, too. It's excellent on carpets and very good on bare floors.

For a microwave, Consumer Reports recommends the Panasonic Inverter model NN H965BF for about $160.


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