With summer coming to a close, it’s time to head back to the dorm and hit the books once again. This year, though, don’t pack up just bedding, clothes, and tokens to remind you of home — include a few high-tech gadgets to make your move back to campus better than ever.
As technology advances, home automation and smart security aren’t just for your parents’ house anymore. You can up your dorm game with these nine items that score high marks for both safety and convenience.
1. Canary Security Camera
All you need to keep an eye on dorm room comings and goings is this handy all-in-one system and your smartphone. For under $200 you can outfit your dorm with state-of-the-art smart security. Simply plug in the Canary and download the app, and you’ll be able to check up on your room remotely, whether you’re taking in an early lecture or stuck in an all-night cram session at the library.
2. Philips Wake-Up Light
You can’t ace that big test if you sleep through your alarm. Make sure you never miss an important exam or sunrise study date with this innovative smart clock that takes its cues from the environment around it.
In nature, the world wakes with the sun; the Wake-Up Light uses a similar combination of light and sound to wake you up naturally, leaving you more refreshed and ready to start the day. For around $70, you can kick your old alarm clock to the curb and wake up with a sunnier perspective.
3. WeMo Switch
Keeping caffeine on tap becomes a top priority when you’re juggling classes and activities on limited sleep. Thankfully, with the WeMo Switch, you can turn any electronic device in your dorm into a smart device — even your coffee maker.
This simple WeMo device, which can be plugged into nearly any outlet, lets you control electronics and small appliances right from your smartphone. It’s compatible with both Android and iOS, and it won’t drain your bank account. Best of all, this gadget transforms your dorm room into a smart room for no more than $40.
4. Ikea Varv Lamp
Forget wrangling unruly cords and fighting your roommates for outlets. With the Varv lamp, you can study and wirelessly charge your phone without any drama. All you have to do is place your phone on the wireless charging pad and watch your battery power fill up. This lamp is the perfect blend of form and function — and it will only set you back about $190.
5. Barska Biometric Safe
Living in such close quarters with other students, you’ll likely end up sharing a lot of things — dishes, clothes, books. But for the few things you’d like to keep securely to yourself, invest in a small smart safe, like the Barska Biometric Top-Opening Safe.
Because the safe opens from the top, it can be discretely stored in a bedside table drawer or a small dresser. Plus, the biometric reader responds only to specifically programmed fingerprints, so for around $175 you can have a convenient and secure storage space for any small gadgets or accessories.
You have enough to worry about without having to stress about keeping your dorm room spic and span, so get a bit of help from one of iRobot’s robotic floor cleaners. A Roomba vacuuming robot takes care of dust and dirt while you’re at class, so you can focus on what really matters. Even if you have a roommate who tends to leave clutter on the floor, the Roomba is smart enough to navigate around obstacles.
Roombas start at just under $300 for certified refurbished models. If that’s pushing the boundaries of your back-to-school budget, don’t hesitate to drop the hint to Mom or Dad that this handy robot helper would make a great gift.
7. Nest Protect
Though most dorms prohibit the use of candles and toaster ovens, you may end up with a roommate who doesn’t abide by those restrictions. Fortunately, you can keep yourself — and your roommate — extra safe with the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm combo.
This smart alarm — which costs less than $100 — detects problems, identifies the severity of the issue, and alerts you with a calm voice or remote alert. You can then check in on the alarm and silence it from any connected mobile device.
With so many people passing through your dorm, it could be easy for a computer, tablet, or other valuable to get lost in the bustle. Eliminate those kinds of security concerns with Tile, a tracking gadget that uses Bluetooth technology to help you keep track of everything from keys to your phone.
Simply tag the items you want to track, and you’ll never frantically search for a lost item again. You can ring your missing items if they’re in a 100-foot radius or use GPS to find out where you last had the item. The manufacturer also has a special Community Find feature that piggybacks on other users’ apps to hone in on your lost belonging.
Tile tags run about $25 each, and batteries should last a whole year.
It’s impossible to know everyone on campus, so if you’re wary about opening the door to a stranger, you’ll want to pick up this smart device. Peeple converts your standard peephole into a smart, Wi-Fi enabled camera that helps you screen visitors and stay alert to any activity outside your door.
Peeple can track whenever your dorm door is opened or when someone knocks — even if you’re not at home, a mobile push notification will alert you to the activity. The device will be available this fall, and it can be preordered for around $150.
Even if you live in one of the safest college towns in the country, you can still trick out your dorm room with these smart devices. No matter where you’re pursuing your academic dreams, these gadgets will set you up for a successful year.
Which of these nine devices are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!
*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.