College is the time of all-nighters, parties, and the new-found freedom of finally being on your own. But it’s also the age of the casual “open-door” policy—making you vulnerable to theft.

You spend thousands on textbooks, a laptop, and other home essentials, so don’t let your guard down on protecting them. 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 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. Keep in mind, although these products are on the higher end price-wise, most of them will last years after your dorm room days—and you’ll want them just as much then too.

Best Safe for a Dorm Room

V5.0 Safe by Stealth
image of dorm room safe

As a general rule, you’ll want to keep your most prized possessions at home (like that Rolex watch you wear twice a year). But there are some things, like prescription medication, you need to have with you in college—and this is where a dorm room safe comes in.

Consistently ranked as the top dorm room safe on Amazon, the Best College Dorm Safe V5.0 ups the ante of dorm room security with its sleek, narrow design for small spaces.

What We Like

  • Super Secure
    An electronic lock with a PIN pad keeps your things safely tucked away, and a customized PIN grants you quick access.
  • Great for Charging Electronics
    With the Best College Dorm Safe, you don’t have to choose between locking up your laptop overnight or having it fully charged for class tomorrow. A small opening at the bottom of the safe lets you feed a cable through it to charge your electronics while they’re safe and sound.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive
    Although $250 may be pricey for your college budget, investing in a safe beats having to drop $500–$800 on buying a new laptop. Plus, it’ll last you years.

Best Security Cam for a Dorm Room

Wyze Security Cam

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 $20, 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.

What We Like

  • 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.  

What We Don’t Like

  • 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

Kensington Laptop Lock
image of Kensington laptop lock

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 $20, 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.

What We Like

  • Top-Rated
    A best-seller, the Kensington has great reviews and is “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.

What We Don’t Like

  • 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.

Pro Tip

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

More Ways to Secure Your Dorm Room

Although things like safes and laptop locks are obvious safeguards, there are some gadgets that aren’t as self-explanatory but are just as useful in protecting against campus theft and keeping you safe.

Tile Tags Tracking Gadget
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 Tile 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).  

WeMo Switch
If you ran off to class in a hurry and realized you left your curling iron plugged in, you can turn it off straight from your smartphone with a WeMo smart plug. For only $40, 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 be constantly saving and backing up important files and documents in case your laptop gets stolen (or it breaks).

Peeple Peephole
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 turns your standard peephole into a smart, Wi-Fi enabled camera which helps you screen visitors by sending you notifications anytime someone’s outside your door.

Power Surge Protectors
Power surge protectors are the best way to protect devices or appliances from surges or blowouts—which can be likely occurrences in some of those older, outdated dorms. Spend the extra $10 on a power surge protector so you don’t fry your $50 laptop charger.

FAQs

Do most residence halls have security cameras?
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.

 

If I’m good about keeping my room locked, do I still need a safe?
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 play things on the safe side.

 

What can I do if I can’t afford to buy products to keep my things safe?
If you can’t afford high-tech security products, there are many commonsense 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’ll be sound asleep, don’t leave the door unlocked for them—it’s much safer to wake up to let them in.

Our Methodology

We analyzed on-campus crime rates from Campus Safety and Security and researched the safest smart products for your dorm room. Find out more by checking out our methodology.
Which of these six devices are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!

 

Sources:

1. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts—College Crime

Written by Julia Campbell

Julia is a freelance writer and safety expert for SafeWise.com. She enjoys reading self-help books, loves being in the know on all things politics, and has never met a dog she hasn't liked. Learn more

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