realsimple - 17 Available at Amazon
realsimple - 50 Available at Amazon
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realsimple - 20 Available at Amazon
realsimple - 34 Available at Amazon
Preparing for college can leave even the most organized students unnerved. Between choosing classes and managing tuition costs, it's easy to forget about the other to-dos that come with living on campus—namely, deciding what to bring on move-in day. A packing list full of high-tech appliances might seem like a good idea, but when you're jetting from lectures to club meetings to dinner with friends, you'll likely only make time for a handful of user-friendly items.
When I moved into a dorm in 2016, that's exactly what I found. By the end of the school year, the most-used device in my room wasn't a coffee maker or even a microwave. Instead, I found an unlikely hero in my roommate's simple electric kettle. It kept us both hydrated, caffeinated, and cozy without fail, all while taking up minimal space and costing less than $20.
When my roommate first told me she brought a kettle to our dorm, I assumed I'd never use it. I don't drink tea, and I assumed that was all it could be good for. Yet as the semester progressed and my schedule gained speed, I found myself turning to it repeatedly for everything from instant coffee (the Trader Joe's packets are the best) to cup noodles from the nearby corner store. Once final exams rolled around, I'd pour hot water onto washcloths to create a heating pad for my neck, which grew sore from hunching over textbooks.
Sure, I could have used our microwave to do the same things, but its beeping and whirring only added to the chaos of our already-noisy hall. It felt much more sensible to fill the kettle with water, flick on the boiler, and use its steaming contents for whatever I needed.
Every college student could stand to benefit from a great electric kettle. Below, we rounded up five great options on Amazon. Prices start at $17 for one almost exactly like my roommate's, complete with an auto-shutoff system, removable filter, and two-year warranty. If you're in the market for a splurge, consider this Willow & Everett gooseneck option, which features a warming base that'll keep your water at the perfect temperature all day.