College Lifestyle and Product Blog for Dorm Room Living | DormSmart: Dorm Appliances

Showing posts with label Dorm Appliances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dorm Appliances. Show all posts

June 3, 2017

Be Safe! Always use surge protectors with overload protection in your dorm room...


Because college students operate or charge many small appliances and electronics in their dorm rooms such as a laptop, iPad, cell phone, mp4 player, TV/DVD combo, blow dryer, coffee maker, iron, vacuum... on a limited number of circuits, it's important to invest in quality UL listed surge protectors that provide 2-way protection:
  1. Protects their valuables from power surges; and
  2. Prevents students from overloading their circuits with an internal 15 Amp circuit breaker.
With overload protection, if a student operates too many small electronics or appliances at the same time, the surge protector will trip its internal 15 Amp circuit breaker letting them know they need to unplug something from the unit... turn something off. Once they reduce the overload, they just reset the surge protector and are good to go again!

University or college housing staff will love students who use surge protectors with overload protection because they didn’t trip the main circuit to their dorm room requiring a maintenance call or cause a fire resulting in property damage or loss of life by overloading a circuit.

Students will love surge protectors with overload protection because they won't have to go to class or out on date with wet hair or wrinkled clothes because maintenance couldn't get there on time! Live Dorm Smart!

Note: Always check the product manual and specifications before plugging a product into a surge protector or electrical outlet. Also, check your university or housing regulations regarding the use of surge protectors.

May 25, 2017

Shopping for Dorm Appliances Tip...

LIVE DORM SMART TIP:  The general rule of thumb students should use when buying appliances for their dorm room is this:

DO BUY appliances for your dorm room that are small in scale and can operate on a 110/120v plug. This information should be available on the products' packaging. Bottom line, buy dorm sized appliances.

DO NOT BUY any appliances with an open flame or open coil for your dorm room. Meaning, leave your hot plates and toasters at home. The majority of colleges and universities do not allow these appliances on campus as they consider them fire hazards. Additionally, electric skillets are generally frowned upon, anything where a piece of paper could touch it and catch fire. As for irons and coffeemakers, stick with quality auto shutoff products.

Always check your university or college housing regulations before buying dorm appliances. If you are confused, call DormSmart at 1-877-616-DORM and we'll contact them for you! You can also check our Housing Connector to see your school's policies.

Live Dorm Smart!

March 24, 2014

Should I rent or buy a Microfridge for my dorm room?

Just ask yourself:

  1. Does my school rental program have a good reputation?
  2. How old is the Microfridge that I am receiving?
If your school has a solid program and you are comfortable with the age and price of the unit then you may want to rent a microfridge.

However, if you are uncomfortable with a used Microfridge or your school's supplier does not have the best service record  then you may want to buy a Microfridge or comparable unit.

Just remember to consult your school housing policy before spending your hard earned dollars.

August 10, 2011


With campus move in day fast approaching for many college bound students, it’s important to prepare BEFORE leaving for college. Here’s a few quick tips from Team DormSmart to make campus move in day go a little more smoothly…

TIP #1: Shop before Campus Move In Weekend

Campus move in weekend is INSANE! Many colleges have mandatory orientation sessions scheduled for parents and students over move in weekend leaving little time to unpack, let alone shop. It is best to shop for dorm supplies prior to move in weekend and pack them so that they can be easily located and unpacked. Grab  a copy of our Dorm Supplies Checklist to help you prepare and pack.

TIP #2: Check University Housing Regulations

Before shopping, check your university housing regulations for your dorm room. Let’s face it, everyone is feeling the budget crunch so you don’t want to waste money buying non compliant dorm appliances … any dorm supplies that may be considered contraband and confiscated.

TIP #3: Measure Your Dorm Room 

Every inch counts when planning and organizing your dorm room. If you have access and can get actual measurements, be sure to measure the room at the floor level to account for any base moldings or trim; meaning it may not seem like much but floor moldings and trim can take inches off an already small dorm room.

TIP #4: Know What Furniture You Need to Bring

What furniture does your school provide? Are you able to bring your own or required to use theirs?

TIP #5: Know the Shape and Size of Your Dorm Bed Legs

The one recurring problem we hear about from college students at DormSmart… the bed risers they picked up at the discount store don’t fit! If you are planning to raise your dorm bed for additional storage know the size and shape of your dorm bed legs to ensure your bed risers will fit properly.

TIP #6: Count the Outlets

Know how many outlets are in your dorm room so that you can purchase the right amount of surge protector strips with overload protection; make all your electronics work.

TIP #7: Get Ready for Campus Networking 

Don’t forget networking cables! While wireless access generally works in most common areas in your residence hall, many dorm rooms require wired access… at times the signal strength inside your dorm room is just too weak.

TIP #8: Get Familiar with Your Closet Space

Does your dorm room have a closet? If so, check the configuration of your closet. How many closet shelves are there? Measure the distance between shelves to ensure your storage containers will fit easily.

TIP #9: Coordinate with Your Roommate

Some dorm room supplies such as an iron, ironing board, coffeemaker, dorm rug, television, and printer can be shared. Sharing sounds a little scary at first but remember if sharing isn’t working out, you can always bring your own supplies over a break OR have mom and dad bring them over parent weekend. Just remember to make a list of who brought what if you're sharing dorm supplies... you'd be surprised how many roomies forget by the end of the school year!

TIP #10: Pay Attention to the Little Details

You’d be surprised how annoying it can be to overlook a small detail when it comes to dorm living! For example… Do you have a sink in your dorm room? Does it need a plug? Is there a medicine cabinet for toiletries in your dorm room or do you need a storage caddy?

Just a few tips to help you prepare for your dorm move and live dorm smart! Good luck!

May 3, 2011

The Importance of Dorm Safe Appliances Versus Cheap Dorm Appliances...

At DormSmart, we are continually lecturing about the importance of buying dorm safe appliances when living on campus versus cheap dorm appliances, so I thought I'd back that up by sharing an article about one student's personal experience...

"...I was pounding on doors yelling fire, fire, wake up, everyone get out," said Christmas, who is credited with rousing sleeping students throughout her residence hall, despite serious burns on 60 percent of her body. But everyone in the residence hall was asleep or thought it was a false alarm. Suddenly, my scalp was burning, my hands and fingers were on fire. I didn't know what to do...

...Whether you live in a residence hall, Greek housing or an off-campus apartment, your living area is likely overfilled with books, paper, bedding, curtains and clothes that make your room a bon-fire waiting to happen," said John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs at Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), a not-for-profit organization that tests products for safety. "In this environment, even the smallest spark can be deadly..."

The Angel of Boland Hall, Dana Christmas, sharing her painful experience on YouTube in hopes of making students aware of the dangers of dorm fires:

Live Dorm Smart and take fire safety seriously!

April 23, 2011

When Buying a Dorm Fridge: What's the difference between a Separate True Zero Degree Freezer and a Separate True Freezer Compartment? Get the Dorm 411!

A dorm fridge with a "separate true zero degree freezer" such as the Absocold or Microfridge 2.9 cu. ft. models operates just like mom's refrigerator freezer at home... it keeps your food frozen.

A dorm fridge with a "separate true freezer compartment" such as the Haier Compact 2 Door Refrigerator / Freezer 3.3 cu. ft. model is NOT a true zero degree freezer. Here's a quote directly from the Haier Use and Care Manual that best describes the intended use of their separate true freezer compartment:
"...This compartment is designed for making ice cubes and for short-term food storage (a few days at most)..."
So if you are a dorm dweller who needs to freeze your food longer than a few days, our recommendation is to buy an Energy Star Qualified dorm fridge with a separate true zero degree freezer to ensure your food stays frozen and safe to eat while saving energy for the planet and utility costs for your school (helps keep tuition cost down).

Live Dorm Smart!

Shop Smart for Dorm Supplies...

Did you know that according to the  National Fire Protection Association... historically, cooking equipment has been involved in 75% of dormitory fires and those fires accounted for 62% of civilian deaths and 26% of civilian fire injuries?

LIVE DORM SMART TIP: Choose to be smart when you shop for dorm supplies, especially dorm appliances. Purchase smart dorm safe appliances that comply with your university's housing regulations versus non compliant appliances just because they're cheap in price.

Do & Do Not

Do check with your university housing office before purchasing appliances for your dorm room. Obviously you want to purchase appliances that your college considers dorm safe instead of confiscated contraband. How much money will you save if your cheap dorm appliance, meaning of lower quality or non compliant with your campus housing regulations, is confiscated and you have to buy another one?

Do not be swayed by any retailer or dorm supplies store that promotes dorm appliances by spreading propaganda "not facts" about your school (i.e. saying that schools are only pushing certain regulations or dorm appliances to make a buck for themselves...). The retailer should be focused on selling the features of their products versus selling assumptions about your school. At DormSmart, we consider this to be a desperate and unethical approach by a retailer to unload their inventory... sell non compliant dorm appliances to unsuspecting college students. Remember, your school is the final authority on what dorm appliances may be operated on their campus not the retailer.

Safety & Costs

Colleges and universities are responsible for their students' safety first and foremost. It only makes sense that they want to minimize the potential for loss of life or property damage. Building codes change over time and vary from state to state so your school housing officials probably know best what appliances will operate safely in their dorm rooms. In addition, if you purchase non compliant dorm appliances that continually trip your circuit breaker or cause damage to your building, then it only stands to reason that university maintenance costs will increase which ultimately results in increased tuition costs.

At DormSmart

At DormSmart, we would be the first to admit that we are big proponents of colleges and universities setting standards for students to apply when purchasing dorm appliances rather than setting brands that students must purchase. Doing so allows student shoppers to choose from a broader selection of appliances at different price points. (We've blogged about this topic a lot.) However, we are not proponents of retailers encouraging students to buy dorm appliances... any dorm supplies that they cannot legally use on "their" college campus (this varies from school to school). Exactly the reason we offer to contact your housing office for you, why we freely provide detailed information to you about the appliances we sell in our online dorm store, and also directly provide you with your school's dorm living guidelines through our Housing Connector.

We hope you will choose to shop smart & live Dorm Smart!,

April 12, 2011

Dorm Safe Appliances... what are they?

1 or 2 Cup Coffeemakers With Auto Shut Off 

What are dorm safe appliances?

In our opinion... Dorm Safe Appliances are:
  • Small in scale (dorm size)
  • Manufactured to operate on a standard 110/120v plug
  • UL Listed or ETL Listed (tested to nationally accepted safety standards)
  • Auto shut off (whenever available)
  • Free of open coils or hot plates
So... dorm safe appliances should not have an open flame or open coil... meaning no hot plates, coffee pots with warming plates, electric skillets, toasters, toaster ovens... Most colleges and universities consider these appliances a fire hazard, unsafe for your dorm room. As for irons and coffee makers... stick with quality auto shutoff appliances. A 1 or 2 cup coffeemaker that auto shuts off when brew cycle completes. A 3-way auto shut off iron that shuts off in the upright, down, or side positions ... in case you forget to turn it off or knock it over.

To prevent circuit overloads, consider purchasing a surge protector with overload protection (contains an internal 15 Amp Circuit Breaker to prevent students from overloading the circuit in their college or university dorm room). And most importantly... check with your college or university housing office rules and regulations before investing in appliances.

We are doing our best to help students with anything and everything dorm so if you have a question just leave it in the comments section below or check out our DormSmart Knowledge Base!

Live Dorm Smart!

April 10, 2011

Dorm Safe Ironing: 3-Way Auto Shut Off Irons...

I recently came across an advertisement promoting irons without auto shut off to college students as being dorm safe. I then noticed the advertiser is also selling an ironing accessory product, a silicone iron rest pad, touting it as a "smart dorm product." As a parent and the founder of and, it concerns me that students may develop a false sense of security...believing that a standard iron without any kind of auto shutoff feature is safe as long as it is used with a silicone iron rest pad...

What is a Silicone Iron Rest Pad?

A silicone iron rest pad is made of specially designed silicone with a raised surface for slip resistant protection that creates a safe place to rest your hot iron while ironing or allowing it to cool off... to protect surfaces from scorching or burning. A useful ironing accessory for someone who is ironing over an extended period of time such as a quilter or someone who needs a place to cool their shut off iron before putting it away. However, a silicone iron rest pad does not have a motion sensor... it cannot detect a falling iron or magically throw itself under a falling iron; an iron that may be knocked off by a busy college student heading out for a long day of classes or home for winter break. In addition, the iron rest pad can become very hot; causing burns if handled before cooling down.

What is considered Dorm Safe when ironing?

If you plan to iron in your college dorm room, it is our opinion that the safest option is to purchase an  iron with 3-way auto shut off; an iron that shuts off in the upright position, down position, and side position in the event you do forget to turn it off, unplug it, or it gets knocked over. A standard size iron is a high wattage appliance (typically 1200 to 1500 watts) so it is important to purchase an iron with the following features:
  • 3-way auto shut off (auto shuts off in the upright, down, and side positions);
  • operates on a standard 110/120v plug; and
  • is UL Listed or ETL Listed (tested to nationally accepted safety standards).

Avoid Circuit Overloads When Ironing...

Do not plug your iron into an outlet with other high wattage appliances. If you must plug your iron into a power strip, we recommend using a Multi Outlet Surge Protector with Overload Protection (protects your appliance purchase from power surges and contains an internal 15 Amp Circuit Breaker to prevent you from overloading the circuit to your dorm room).

3-Way Auto Shut Off Iron versus an External Auto Shut Off Outlet...

We do not recommend using an external auto shut off outlet in your dorm room to control a high wattage appliance like an iron that can be knocked over. It can be unsafe because the auto shut off outlet depends on the student remembering to use it and it does not auto shut off for at least 60 minutes. A quality iron with 3-way auto shut off typically turns off in 15 minutes or less (down to 30 seconds) depending upon the iron's position... definitely a dorm smart product!

Because we care...

At we care... so we CHOOSE to sell 3-Way Auto Shut Off Irons because we believe them to be the dorm smart option... the safer way to iron for college students so CHOOSE to live dorm smart! Add a 3-Way Auto Shut Off Iron to your dorm supplies checklist!

April 1, 2011

How to Shop for the Best Dorm Fridge...


When purchasing a refrigerator freezer for your dorm room, keep this in mind…

Invest in a compact refrigerator freezer manufactured to run on a standard 15 Amp Circuit, a dorm sized appliance that cools with a compressor and has a separate true zero degree freezer. While those cute little box minifridges may be a cheap alternative, many cool with a fan not a compressor. The fan models tend to burn out more quickly and do not cool as efficiently. Bottom line, you want to invest your money in the best dorm fridge, a micro version of mom’s fridge that is efficient and can hold up to dorm life!

In addition, when shopping for and selecting the best dorm fridge for your college dorm room, ignore ads from manufacturers touting their product as the only game in town or trying to scare you into purchasing their product. Do your homework... read the fine print on the product specification sheets and manuals. (Beware of retailers that do not make product information readily available to you...  just keep shopping!) You'll find that there is more than one brand on the market that:
  • operates safely on standard 15 Amp circuitry;
  • offers a **true zero degree freezer for ice cream, frozen pizzas, and frozen dinners;
  • holds 2 liter bottles of soda;
  • provides an ample warranty on the compressor;
  • respects the environment - Energy Star® Qualified (30% below the Federal Standard = CEE Tier 3); and
  • is UL Listed.

**NOTE: If you come across a dorm fridge that includes a "separate true freezer compartment" ... you may want to keep shopping. This is not  a true zero degree freezer so if you are planning to save money by storing frozen foods for more than a few days then this is probably not the best dorm fridge for you. Here's a quote directly from the Haier Compact 2 Door Refrigerator Freezer 3.3 cu. ft. model's Use and Care Manual that best describes the intended use of  Haier's separate true freezer compartment:
"...This compartment is designed for making ice cubes and for short-term food storage (a few days at most)..."
Happy dorm fridge shopping and live Dorm Smart!

September 4, 2010

August 8, 2010

Dorm Sized Appliances ... Get the Dorm 411!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of announces their Top 3 Picks for Must Have Dorm Sized Appliances for Students

Because space is at a premium in a dorm room, it is important to select the right dorm sized appliances to take to campus this fall. At, they have done the research for their student shoppers, naming their top 3 picks for this school year.

Prior to purchasing appliances to take to their dorm room, students should check their college or university campus housing regulations to see which appliances are approved for dorm living. In addition, they should buy dorm sized appliances such as coffee makers and irons that auto shutoff.

"It’s so easy for a busy student to walk away or get distracted and leave the iron or coffeemaker on in their dorm room. An auto shutoff feature will ensure their safety and the safety of their roommates. At DormSmart, we hand select appliances that we believe to be safe, affordable, and functional for the college student. In addition, we look for appliances that require minimal maintenance, such as bagless or filter free products,” stated Christi Leslie, Founder and CEO of

Dorm Sized Appliance Top Pick #1:

Absocold’s Cook N Cool Microwave Refrigerator Combo (Runs on One Plug)

The Cook N Cool is an affordable, space-saving, and environmentally-safe refrigerator, auto-defrost freezer, and microwave combination appliance for students to take to campus this fall. This compact unit is so loaded with features, it even has a full-width-see-thru vegetable / fruit crisper. As for quality, Absocold has been in business successfully supplying their products to hotels, the military, and universities since 1969 and has partnered with this dorm season to offer these dorm sized units to students and their families. DormSmart will even contact a student's housing department to ensure the unit meets their requirements.

Dorm Sized Appliance Top Pick #2:

Ergorapido EL1012A Cordless 2-in-1 Stick and Hand Vac by Electrolux

While cleaning the dorm room may not be the highlight of a busy college student’s week, it is a necessity to keep those germs from spreading throughout the dorms, maintaining student health! The powerful 12 volts of this Ergorapido EL1012A Cordless 2-in-1 Stick and Hand Vac by Electrolux will make cleaning a little easier. It is the perfect dorm sized lightweight stick and hand vac for cleaning their dorm room or even vacuuming their vehicle, saving budget challenged students a few dollars at the car wash.

Dorm Sized Appliance Top Pick #3:

Hamilton Beach 3-in-One Hot Beverage Center

The Hamilton Beach 3-in-One Hot Beverage Center is the perfect solution for space challenged students moving into the dorms this semester. Students can make coffee, tea or hot water in less than 2 minutes per cup. This dorm sized appliance even has auto shutoff to ensure the student’s safety and the safety of their fellow dorm dwellers.

For additional information on these dorm sized appliances or others, visit