smart dorm room tech

If you or someone you know is heading back to school this fall, you’ve probably got a dorm room essentials list. Sheets, pillows, blankets, small appliances for preparing or storing food, TV, laptop, and printer; all are pretty obvious must-haves. If you want to go beyond the basics and have the coolest dorm room on campus, you’ll need the gear to set up a smart dorm room.

What is a smart dorm room?

Smart display for smart dorm


Haven’t heard of a smart dorm room? It’s becoming a thing on all Canadian college and university campuses. This is the year you’ll start seeing smart sensors, Wi-Fi door locks, and smart lights pop up in more and more dorm rooms.

A smart dorm room is just like a smart home, but the devices you choose are based on size and the need you’re trying to fulfill. Students appreciate the fun, comfort, and convenience that these smart devices add to the room, and parents appreciate their child having an extra layer of security when staying away from home.

Smart dorm room security

A dorm room is a home away from home, and it’s important to feel safe and secure in the room while living on a big campus. There are a few different ways you can add security to the dorm room.

Add a smart lock to your smart dorm room

Nest Yale Lock for smart dorm


If you’re able, changing the lock on the dorm room door is one of the first things you should do when moving into a dorm room. A smart lock has a keypad you program instead of a place to insert a key, and because it’s connected to Wi-Fi, you’ll have an app connected to the lock to open the door, lock the door at night, and monitor who enters and exits.

With a smart lock, you can give passcodes to friends and roommates, or set a schedule to automatically lock the door every night before you go to sleep.

Wi-Fi cameras for dorm room security

If you want to have eyes and ears in your dorm room when you’re not there, a Wi-Fi-connected camera will be a device you rely on. You can find Wi-Fi security cameras from brands like Ring, Nest, Arlo, and more. They connect to your room’s Wi-Fi, send you alerts if motion or sound is detected, and keep a video/audio log of who is in your dorm room.

Smart devices that add convenience to your dorm room

Life can be pretty stressful when you’re living away from home, so it’s nice to have little things that make a dorm room cozy and welcoming after a long day of hitting the books.

Smart lights welcome you into your dorm room

smart dorm lights


Smart lights are a must-have for dorm rooms. They connect to an app that lets you program them to turn on and off on a schedule, turn on or off when you enter or leave the room, and create a welcoming atmosphere by changing into a different colour when the mood strikes.

There are smart lamps, smart bulbs, light bars, and portable smart lights that you can move around in your dorm room.

Wi-Fi router to give you the strongest signal possible

Bringing your own Wi-Fi router is a must when setting up a smart dorm room. You’ll want to have the strongest Wi-Fi signal possible so you can stream videos, control your smart devices, and upload your homework.

You can choose a mesh router that works as a repeater to blanket your room in Wi-Fi, a Wi-Fi repeater to amplify the main access point signal, or a dual-band router to let you set up and choose from a 2.4GHz or 5GHz stream.

Bluetooth item tracking for everything you’ve lost

key tracking device for college

When you’re stressed with the idea of term papers and tests, it’s really easy to lose your keys, phone, or wallet. By adding a Bluetooth item tracker to your most-used items, you’ll save yourself time and always know where your important stuff is.

Smart dorm room entertainment options

Not every day at university or college is about hitting the books. You need downtime too, and that’s why you’ll want to set your smart dorm room up to be an entertainment mecca for you and your friends.

Kicking back with your voice assistant

smart display alarm clock with charging

A stand-alone voice assistant is a great tool to control your other smart dorm devices, but when you choose an Alexa Hub or Google Nest Hub, you’ll have a smart, smart screen to access information, set a schedule, and even play a game or two. There are so many games available on Google and Alexa devices that you can play Jeopardy! with a crowd or have your fortune told on a chilly winter night.

You can also use your voice assistant to control your movies and music. They make great speakers for listening to your playlists, and if you have a connected TV, you can just ask it to open up a show on Netflix (or search for a video on YouTube) that you can watch without picking up the remote.

Add a smart garden to your dorm room

Imagine harvesting your own lavender or strawberries—right in your dorm room. Growing plants is a great way to relax, and if you’d like to grow your own vegetables as a way to de-stress while at school (and ensure you’re eating healthy!) you can add a smart garden to your dorm room.

garden for back to schoolSmart gardens are compact, indoor gardens with lights. They give you the optimal conditions to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers; And, because they have sensors, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to water them (or about killing off your plants). Having that touch of healthy greenery will improve your mood and how your dorm room feels.

Bring these devices with you when you head back to school, and you’ll make your dorm safe, comfortable, and one of the most welcoming spots on campus. Find everything you need for your smart dorm room now at Best Buy, and set yourself up before you head back to class this fall.

Shelly Wutke
Editor TV & Home Theatre
I'm a Vancouver freelancer and tech enthusiast. When I'm not writing you'll find me on my farm with my alpacas, chickens, and honeybees. Visit my website Survivemag