If you're heading off to university for the first time, it can be hard to know what to pack. Some items are banned for safety reasons, so you don't want to cram the car full of things you won't be allowed to use. But there are a few small appliances and grooming devices that could make your life much easier and more comfortable. Here's our advice.
Read your university's rules
Depending on your university, your halls of residence will have different rules as to which appliances can be used in your room or kitchen. In fact, two different halls at the same university may have different rules. Your university will send you guidance or direct you to information online.
However, there are some rules that are pretty much universal.
Anything you bring should have a CE mark
If you’re going to university in the UK, any appliances you bring with you should have the CE mark, which looks like this.
The CE mark is a form of certification that guarantees a product meets the health, safety and environmental standards of the European Economic Area. Basically, it shows that your appliance is safe to use and that it won’t catch fire when you plug it in.
Your halls of residence may test appliances when you arrive or ask to see certification.
If you buy an appliance from a reputable retailer in the UK, for example John Lewis or Currys PC World, your products will definitely be CE certified. But be wary of buying from private sellers on Amazon, where items may be shipped from other parts of the world and are not always certified.
Pack an extension lead
Whatever you do, don't forget an extension lead. As you’ll have a few things to plug in, you’ll probably want at least one four-socket extension lead. It'll also give you a bit more scope when you arrange your room. If you're taking one from home, make sure it’s in good condition.
This one, from Amazon, costs £8.99.
Pack a shaver adapter
You may have a shared bathroom or one of your own. In either case, don’t count on having a two-pin shaving outlet. If you’re bringing in bathroom gadgets that charge at a shaving socket, like an electric toothbrush or shaver, you should bring a converter so you can charge them at a three-pin plug if you need to. This two-pack of converters costs £6.99 from Amazon UK.
Cross these items off your packing list right away
Your shared kitchen will have appliances that you can use while you live there, so you won't need to bring these items.
For cooking, there will be a fridge, oven, microwave, toaster and kettle. For cleaning, they’ll have a shared vacuum cleaner. For laundry, there will probably be a coin-operated washing machine and dryer, as well as an iron and ironing board.
Don’t bring any of these appliances along with you as they will probably be banned. (Obviously, you'd have a hard time getting a washing machine in your wheelie case anyway.)
Don't bring these small appliances
Anything that heats up (with the exception of hair styling tools) is likely to be banned as a fire hazard. Don't bring these items with you:
- Deep fat fryer
- Air fryer
- Portable heater
- Electric blanket
Small appliances you can take with you
Your halls of residence will have specific rules, so check before you invest but these are the appliances you’re likely to be able to take with you.
For your room
- Desk fan
- Mini fridge (with maximum permitted dimensions of approximately 515mm high by 500mm wide)
- Handheld clothes steamer
- Small pod coffee machine
- Bluetooth speaker
For the kitchen
There are other small appliances you can bring along but you’ll have to use them in your shared kitchen. Bear in mind that this means other people will probably use them as well, and in the case of a toastie maker, this means they may get left in a pretty gross state.
For personal grooming
For everything you need to get ready for the autumn, check out our complete back to school guide, with deals, tips and essential buys.