How to Secure Your Dorm Room

From cameras to surge protectors, we’ve narrowed down the six best gadgets to help you ramp up security for your dorm room life.
Best safe
Master Lock Personal Safe
Master Lock Personal Safe
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Secures valuables
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Customizable
Best security cam
Wyze Security Camera
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Watches valuables
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Affordable
Best laptop lock
Best for tracking
Tile Pro
Tile Mate
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Tracks valuables
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Inexpensive
Best smart helper
WeMo Mini Outlet
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Powers appliances
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Automatic

College is the time of all-nighters, parties, and the newfound freedom of finally being on your own. But the college casual “open-door” policy can leave you vulnerable to theft.

You spend thousands on textbooks, a laptop, and other home essentials, so they're worth protecting. As technology advances, home automation and smart security aren’t just for your parents’ house.

Up your college dorm game with these six items that score high marks for both campus safety and convenience.

Reinforce your room

From cameras to surge protectors, we’ve narrowed down the six best gadgets to help you ramp up security for your residential life.

We've specifically sought out budget-friendly tools and resources to help meet practically any college life budget.

Best safe for a dorm room

Best safe
Master Lock Personal Safe
Master Lock Personal Safe
$28.69
Pro Bullet Customizable combination
Pro Bullet Multiple color choices

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

As a general rule, you’ll want to keep your most prized possessions at home (like Grandma's pearls that you wear twice a year).

But there are some things, like prescription medication, you take with you in college—and this is where a dorm room safe comes in.

Specifically designed to meet the needs of dorm life, the Master Lock Personal Safe ups the ante of dorm room security with its sleek, narrow design for small spaces.

Pros

  • Super secure: This safe can be secured to just about anything using its integrated cable lock. Latch it to a table leg, your desk, or even your bedframe.
  • Designed for dorm life: This safe is good looking, and it comes with a cable access port so you can charge your phone while it's in the safe. There's room for cash, jewelry, documents like your passport, medication, and almost anything else you want to lock down.

Cons

  • Too small for a laptop: The small size means you'll have to buy an extra security tool to protect your computer. But this safe is under $40, so there's extra room in the budget for a laptop lock.

Best security cam for a dorm room

Best security camera
Wyze Security Cam
$35.98
Pro Bullet Small
Pro Bullet Affordable

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Between your roommate, your RA, and other people coming and going through your room, you’ll want to keep an eye on all that foot traffic.

For just under $40, you can outfit your dorm with this state-of-the-art smart security camera. Wyze’s live stream features, time-lapse recordings, and 8x digital zoom give you a visual on everything—all from your smartphone.

But first, check with a landlord or RA to ensure security cameras are allowed.

Pros

  • Convenient alerts: Wyze sends notifications to your smartphone when motion is detected. So if you and your roommate are at an off-campus party and aren’t expecting anybody to come through your room, you can be on top of something fishy in a matter of seconds.
  • Stylish design: Best of all? Its sleek, white design won’t disrupt the Pinterest-inspired aesthetic of your room.

Cons

  • Data security concerns: Wyze automatically uploads your videos to its secure cloud, but some reviewers report that their recordings have been sent through unauthorized servers.

Best laptop lock for a dorm room

Best laptop lock
image of Kensington laptop lock
Kensington Laptop Lock
$32.96
Pro Bullet High ratings
Pro Bullet 6-foot cable

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

There are some places you just don't want to take your laptop—like to the restroom.

With this Kensington Laptop Lock cable lock, you can secure your laptop anywhere—whether you're in the library or settling in for the night, but roomies keep a steady stream of visitors until the wee hours.

Pros

  • Top-rated: A best-seller, the Kensington has great reviews and is an “Amazon’s Choice” for laptop locks.
  • Practical: College students and traveling professionals alike rave about its sturdy 6-foot cable, which makes it easy to secure almost anywhere.

Cons

  • Incompatible with some laptops: FYI, this lock may not work with 2016 or newer Dell laptops and tablets, including some Latitude, Venue, XPS, and Chromebook 13 models. Depending on what kind of laptop you have, you may need an attachment device for the Kensington.
Thumbs Up
Register your gear

Most schools have free property registration programs where you can register the serial numbers of your electronics or other pricey belongings (like a bicycle). This way, if someone recovers a stolen item, you can easily identify it as yours.

More ways to secure your dorm room

Things like safes and laptop locks are obvious safeguards. Here are some surprising gadgets that help protect against campus theft and keep you safe.

Tracking gadget

Best for tracking
Tile Pro
Tile Mate
$24.40
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Small

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

With so many people passing through your dorm or hallway, you’ll want to keep track of your computer, tablet, or other valuables that might get lost in the bustle.

Simply attach a tag to the items you want to track, and the Tile tracker will use Bluetooth technology to keep track of everything from your keys to your phone. (This is also nice if you’re constantly on the go and often lose things.)

Smart plug

Best smart helper
WeMo Mini Outlet
Wemo Mini Smart Plug
$24.00
Pro Bullet Affordable
Pro Bullet Small

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

If you ran off to class in a hurry and realized you left your flat iron plugged in, you can turn it off straight from your smartphone with a Wemo Mini Smart Plug.

For around $20, the WeMo switch turns any electronic device into a smart device. It can be plugged into almost any outlet and controlled from anywhere you are.

As a student, you should constantly save and back up important files and documents in case your laptop gets stolen (or it breaks).

Power surge protectors

Best electronics saver
Amazon Basics Surge Protector
$16.99
Pro Bullet 8 outlets
Pro Bullet 4500 joule energy rating

*Amazon.com list price as of 08/02/2021 at 10:25 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Power surge protectors are the best way to protect devices or appliances from surges or blowouts—which can be likely occurrences in older, outdated dorms.

Spend the extra cash on a power surge protector so you don’t fry your expensive laptop charger.

FAQ

It depends, though most usually have some on the exterior. Whatever the case may be, having a security camera in your room can help you pinpoint who stole something in the event it happens—which can help you find it.

No matter how good you are at locking up after you leave, the people you live with may not be. Most schools offer safe rentals, but since keeping your belongings in a safe isn’t limited to just your time on campus, investing in a reliable safe for future years isn’t a bad idea.

Also, cleaning crews and maintenance workers often come through during winter/spring break, so it’s best to stay on the safe side.

If you can’t afford high-tech security products, there are many common-sense tactics you can use to protect yourself for free.

For starters, never give away your key or student ID card, and be sure to always lock the door to your room. If your roommate forgot their key but isn’t coming home until you’re sound asleep, don’t leave the door unlocked for them—it’s much safer to wake up to let them in.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Andrea Harvey
Written by
Andrea Harvey
Andréa is passionate about community advocacy. Before joining our team, she studied journalism at the University of Oregon and worked at local newspapers like Salt Lake City Weekly and the Ogden Standard-Examiner. As an Outreach Strategist, she helps SafeWise reach new communities nationwide with data-driven safety campaigns and educational resources.

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