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Sq. Feet of Lab Space

$150 at JBL.com

JBL Live Pro 2 earbuds and case

A budget-friendly way to escape background noise

JBL Live Pro 2 noise-canceling earbuds


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$16 at Amazon

shower caddy

A college classic: the shower

Portable shower caddy tote


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$178 at Amazon

victrola-portable-record-player

Play your vinyl collection anywhere

Victrola Revolution Go Record Player


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$30 at Amazon

Mengersi cow sheets

A comfy, trendy sheet set sized for dorm beds

Mengersi Cow twin XL sheets


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$23 at Amazon

woman holding Reef slides

Shower sandals are a dorm must-have

Reef Water Court sandals


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$35 at Amazon

Amazon Echo Dot 5th gen Amazon Echo Dot 5th gen

A smart speaker for a smart dorm

Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen) smart speaker


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$99 at Amazon

Ruggable absida sage rug Ruggable absida sage rug

A washable rug! Perfect for dorm life

Ruggable rug in Absida Sage


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$30 at Amazon

MCleanPin laundry hamper MCleanPin laundry hamper

Collect dirty clothes with ease

MCleanPin laundry hamper


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$32 at Amazon

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A practical bed-in-a-bag at a great price

Amazon Basics 5-piece bedding set


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$47 at Amazon

uberchill fridge uberchill fridge

Stash drinks, snacks or even skincare

Uber Appliance Mini fridge


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$179 at Amazon

big-blanket.png big-blanket.png

Snuggle up with friends

Big Blanket Co. giant throw blanket


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$189 at Amazon

blueair air purifier blueair air purifier

Clean, fresh air in a dorm? It’s possible!

Blueair Blue Pure 411 Auto air purifier


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$34 at Amazon

richards-underbed-storage.png richards-underbed-storage.png

Pro tip for dorm-dwellers: Use the space under the bed

Richards Homewares underbed storage


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$43 at Amazon

linenspa mattress topper linenspa mattress topper

For a better night’s sleep

Linenspa Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin XL


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$30 at Amazon

Jollyvogue pillows on a purple bckground Jollyvogue pillows on a purple bckground

Super-comfy pillows

JollyVogue Plush Pillows


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$37 at Amazon

woman using huanuo lap desk woman using huanuo lap desk

For working comfortably

Huanuo Lap Desk


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$50 at Amazon

Americanflat over-door hanging mirror Americanflat over-door hanging mirror

An easy-to-hang full-length mirror

Americanflat Over the Door Mirror


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$11 at Amazon

bedside caddy bedside caddy

Keep everything within reach

Bedside Storage Caddy


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$20 at Amazon

Homedics Sound Spa Homedics Sound Spa

A white noise machine

Homedics Sound Spa


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$50 at Amazon

vornado fan vornado fan

For keeping cool

Vornado VFAN Jr. Vintage Air Circulator Fan, Green


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$25 at Amazon

Hossejoy desk shelf Hossejoy desk shelf

For a tidy desk

Hossejoy Wood Adjustable Desktop Storage Organizer


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$44 at Amazon

pendleton-towel.png pendleton-towel.png

A big, plush towel in a colorful print

Pendleton Bath Towel


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$56 at Amazon

black+decker handheld vacuum black+decker handheld vacuum

For easy cleaning

Black+Decker cordless handheld vacuum


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$28 at Amazon

screenshot-2023-06-22-at-12-36-14-am.png screenshot-2023-06-22-at-12-36-14-am.png

Best for Filtering Water

Brita Water Filter Pitcher


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Moving into a dorm for the first time can be overwhelming. From sharing a space with roommates to deciding how many posters is too many to hang up, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to living in a dorm room. Out of all the things to stress about when it comes to college life, decorating your dorm should be the least of your worries. Whether you’re shopping on a budget or looking to splurge on new supplies, Amazon has some great dorm room essentials. 

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Some of these items are necessary — a laundry hamper and a shower caddy, for instance. But some are creature comforts, like a record player or a dorm smart speaker. We’ve got recommendations for décor (a washable rug! A USB lamp!) as well as smart basics including under-bed storage and noise-canceling headphones. Take a look and score some dorm essentials for cheap on Amazon. An online shopping spree could provide a first lesson on budgeting for the college student. 

Want even more options? CNET has partnered with Amazon to select more than 60 other dorm room essentials that we recommend. The list is a mixture of products we’ve reviewed or personally tested, along with some promising household basics with high user ratings.


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This hot AirPods Pro alternative will help students avoid the daily dorm racket with active noise cancellation technology. Bonus: A pair of JBL Live Pro 2 earbuds boasts a budget-friendly price. Read CNET’s guide to the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds for 2022 for more info on our picks. 

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The shower caddy is a small but mighty addition to the dorm room shopping list. Students can stock it with their favorite products and haul it to and fro. (OK, just to the bathroom and back.) This one has plenty of room for shampoo, lotion and other toiletries. Bonus: Color combos include teal and orange, navy and mustard, or the more subdued solid apricot or gray.

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A Bluetooth-enabled rechargeable record player that’s also portable? Perfect. Victrola’s Revolution Go record player is a great pick for college-bound kids. It’s compact enough for dorm life, and it can be set up anywhere with help from the removable carrying strap. No plugs necessary. Record collection not included.

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An inconvenient fact about dorm beds: they are generally twin XL size, which means normal twin sheets won’t fit. This cotton-blend set conforms to dorm sizing, and as an added bonus, it comes in a trendy cow print! Other prints, including plain gray and blue butterfly, are also available. The three-piece set includes a fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcase.

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A pair of shower sandals is a staple of dorm living. This Reef pair goes above and beyond — they’ve got traction to prevent slipping and they’re nice enough to wear outside the bathroom! Quality construction means your Water Court sandals will last beyond dorm life. Available in black, olive, pink and white on Amazon.

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The Amazon Echo Dot is a helpful addition to any dorm room. Students can ask Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa about the weather, create shopping lists, set alarms for class and more. The Echo Dot also boasts a quality speaker and connects to smart devices. 

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Even a 2×3-foot rug can work wonders in a dorm room, both for decor and comfort. Ruggable’s fun rainbow prints liven up even drab spaces. And even better, Ruggable rugs are stain- and water-resistant and can be washed in any laundry facility. Spills? No problem. Peel the top layer from the rug pad and just toss it in the wash.

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Spare future roommates from stumbling on your dirty socks! A clothes hamper is a must-buy when it comes to dorm living because everyone needs to collect their laundry. This one is great because it comes with two removable bags — genius for rotating out laundry loads. The handles and lid are helpful, too.

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This set from Amazon Basics contains everything needed to make up a dorm bed. Comforter, sheets, sham and pillowcase, conveniently sized in Twin XL. The coral medallion print is particularly nice, but if that’s not your style, there are 16 additional colors. Bonus: The set is Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, which means it meets environmental standards.

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A tiny fridge, how convenient! College students will love keeping beverages, food and skincare cool in their own fridge. This one from Uber Appliance has a removable shelf and holds up to six cans or four bottles of water. It comes in red, silver or black and comes with power cords for a car or home.

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This blanket has room for everyone! Big Blanket Co. makes huge blankets (100 square feet of blanket) so the whole crew can cozy up for movie night or picnics in the quad. Whatever the occasion, your college newbie will be ready for friends. Bonus: Despite its size, you can still toss this blanket in a standard washing machine.

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Blueair makes a dorm-size air filter that removes 99.97% of harmful particles, and the carbon filter helps trap nasty odors like smelly socks and stale pizza — a smart dorm room purchase. This Blue Pure 411 covers rooms up to 190 square feet (other models also available), filtering out smells, smoke, pollen, allergens and other irritants. It even has an indicator light that shows air quality status.

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Even if you have to raise your bed, maximizing dorm room space with under-bed storage is a great idea. This trio of drawers makes perfect use of that empty space. Each molded plastic drawer has a lid and slides out of the metal frame for convenient access. Also available in a two-drawer set.

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Dorm mattresses are unbearably uncomfortable, and this mattress topper is exactly what dorm dwellers need to transform a sleeping experience. Two inches of memory foam add extra cushioning and provide pressure relief. Plus, cooling gel beads help regulate body temperature at night.

Be sure to buy a Twin XL since that’s the standard size mattress for most dorm rooms and residence halls.

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College students need plenty of rest, which means a comfortable pillow (or two) is a must. Not only are these JollyVogue pillows budget-friendly, but they’re also incredibly fluffy, soft and supportive. A bonus is that they’re machine-washable too. CNET’s Dawnthea Price Lisco says, “After months of using these pillows, they’ve retained their fluffy shape and are still comfortable and comforting. I can’t recommend these pillows enough.”

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Most dorm rooms are have a limited amount of space for studying. While it’s great to be able to work from your desk, sometimes that can get old pretty quickly. Buying a laptop desk allows you to work from anywhere in your dorm.

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Getting ready for a night out and need to see the whole fit? Having a full-length mirror eliminates the struggle that comes along with not having a bathroom of your own.  A full-length mirror that hangs over your door is the best, most convenient way to test out different outfits and get ready for a night out. 

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Space is tight in most dorm rooms, and a night stand is a luxury only few are given. A storage caddy that hangs on the side of your bed allows you to use your laptop, read and snack before bed without the inconvenience of getting up and putting everything away. Now you can do it all without ever leaving your bed!

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Outlets can be a scarcity in dorm rooms and there’s nothing worse than not keeping your phone nearby while it’s charging. Speaking from personal experience, having to sit near the nearest outlet while your phone is charging, rather than comfortably scrolling in bed, is awful. Long phone chargers fix the obstacles that lofted dorm beds and limited outlets raise.

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Whether your roommate snores or your neighbors are late-night partiers, dorm life is loud. So if you don’t want to spend the night tossing and turning, a white noise machine can make all the difference in the world. The Homedics Sound Spa is our top pick for the best white noise machine overall — and for good reason: It’s inexpensive, portable and it plays six calming nature and sleep sounds.  

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Most dorms don’t have AC, which means they can get uncomfortably stuffy in the fall and spring. The solution? Vornado fans, which have a reputation for being powerful and reliable. This stylish table fan is small enough to stow away but big enough to circulate all the air in your room. Bonus points for the neat vintage vibe.

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Dorm rooms are notoriously narrow, which is why vertical storage is so important. This affordable desktop organizer will maximize your space and help keep your desk neat and tidy. It’s easy to assemble, and it can be set up in varying shapes and lengths, in case you’d rather use it on a dresser or countertop. It comes in both black and white.

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Pendleton’s towels are known for their quality — this one will outlast the college years and beyond. This 100% cotton towel is a generous 30×58-inch size and meets Made in Green by Oeko-Tex environmental standards. Plus, it just looks cool. Don’t let your roommate steal it! Coordinating sizes are also available.

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No one likes a filthy living space. Between high foot traffic and late-night snacking, a dorm room can get gross quickly. This Black+Decker handheld vacuum is affordable, reliable and easier to store away than an upright vacuum. Plus, it comes with a pull-out crevice tool for hard-to-reach places and icky crumbs.

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When you’re locked in your dorm studying (or coming back from a night out) there’s nothing better than a refreshing glass of water. Avoid drinking unfiltered potentially contaminated tap water by using a Brita. Simply fill your Brita with sink water and either put it in your fridge or leave it out on your desk and you’re set. 

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The most important thing to do when setting up your dorm is to be sure you’re making the most of an often small space. A desk vanity mirror was a lifesaver for me when I was living in my college dorm. A small vanity mirror is perfect for doing your makeup or hair without having to use a bathroom mirror. 

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