Best Tools and Products for College Students (My Recommendations)

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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchases made through my affiliate links provide a small commission for me at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I know/use.

There are a lot of questions about what you need for college and which tools and products are the best.

Below are my recommendations for the best tools for products for college students.

Must-haves for college students

Below are the only things that college students HAVE to have.

Good laptop—Macbook

All students must have a good laptop—that is the number one, most important thing for online students.

It has to be reliable, fast, and able to handle all the different programs you will use.

Check with your college to see what technical requirements they advise and what programs you will use. Make sure that you have/get a laptop that meets these requirements.

Check with your school’s bookstore to see what deals they offer on laptops.

I have, love, and recommend the Macbook AirOpens in a new tab.. It is lightweight, easy to use, and powerful. I can sync it with my other devices, and I never have to worry about tech problems. It is more than worth the extra cost.

Check out Apple Student DiscountsOpens in a new tab. to save on a Mac.

For a less expensive option, I recommend HP laptopsOpens in a new tab.. This is what I used during my time at my local community college, and it worked well.

Anti-virus software

Since you have a nice laptop, you have to make sure that you protect it with anti-virus software.

I recommend Malwarebytes. The free version is good if you remember to run the scans. If you don’t want to do that or just want better protection, opt for the premium subscriptionOpens in a new tab..


Students need good organizational and time management skills.

You will need a planner to track assignment deadlines, tests, and all your other responsibilities.

I recommend a physical plannerOpens in a new tab. so you can get into the habit of writing down the dates and not have it associated with all the distractions on your phone.

However, the important thing is that you use the planner, so if you like a digital calendar or apps like iPhone calendar or Google calendar, then use those. Just make sure you use some type of planner to stay organized.

Noise-canceling headphones

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All students need to invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. These can be used during video calls, video lectures, presentations, and, most of all, to help you read/study/do assignments when there is background noise.

I have used Bose earphonesOpens in a new tab. for over a decade, and I love them! I practically live in my earphones (I wear them more than I don’t) and have tried many different brands. Bose is by far the best brand at actually blocking out noise.


Grammarly is a must-have for writing essays. It even makes writing discussion posts or emails easier.

Grammarly has a free chrome extension and app that does a great job with basic spelling and grammar errors. All students should get that—it is free!

However, I recommend the premium versionOpens in a new tab.. It is amazing and completely worth the cost! With Grammarly, you will never have to worry about your spelling and grammar. It cuts the editing time down to practically nothing.

File storage

Everyone needs a way to back up their files, so they don’t lose all their files if something happens to their computer.

Learn from my mistake— I once lost all my files (a decade’s worth of pictures, videos, and things I had written). It was awful! Back up your files!

External drive

I have used SeagateOpens in a new tab. external hard drives for years. They are nice quality and have great customer support. 


If you want to back up everything to the cloud, you can use iCloud or Google Drive. Or, for more storage space, consider a Dropbox subscriptionOpens in a new tab..

It only costs a little more than an external hard drive and is super convenient.

Traditional school supplies

Make sure you have or get your traditional school supplies.

This includes:

Prime student

If you use Amazon, you should absolutely take advantage of Prime Student.

Prime Student comes with the same benefits as Prime but at half the price. Plus, they offer discounts and exclusive offers for students.

Click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out Prime Student.

To learn more about Prime Student, check out our post on Prime Student vs. Prime (Benefits of Prime Student)Opens in a new tab..

For your laptop

Here are some of the best products you can get to take care of your laptop and make it easier to use.

Lap desk

Lap desksOpens in a new tab. are great because they make it easier to work from anywhere, including your couch or bed.

Cleaning brush for electronics

You can use a brush to clean electronics to keep your laptop clean.

Protective laptop case

protective laptop case will protect your laptop when you are carrying it or traveling with it.

Backpack or laptop bag

A nice laptop backpackOpens in a new tab. or over-the-shoulder laptop bagOpens in a new tab. makes carrying around your laptop much safer and easier.

USB-C to USB adapter

If you have a more recent Mac, you will need a USB-C to USB adapterOpens in a new tab. to be able to plug in anything that is a USB.

Laptop cooling pad

Students that are using their laptops a lot can have problems with them overheating (especially if it is older), so a laptop cooling padOpens in a new tab. can help.

For video calls

Here are some products that can help make your video calls go smoothly.

Laptop stand

One of the best ways to look good on video calls is to have the camera at eye level. A stand used to adjust the angle of a laptopOpens in a new tab. is a great way to achieve this.


If you have a good laptop with a good webcam, then you don’t need to buy an additional webcam.

However, if your laptop doesn’t have a functioning webcam or the webcam is poor quality, you need to buy a webcamOpens in a new tab..

Webcam lighting

Look great on video calls with good lighting—a Lume cubeOpens in a new tab. that you can mount on your computer.

This will also ensure that you can be seen no matter where you are when you attend a video call.

For your student ID

Here are some of my favorite products for taking and carrying student IDs.

Lighting for taking student ID photos

Taking a good student ID photo can be hard, and you need good lighting. While natural light is best, this is not always possible, which is why a ring lightOpens in a new tab. can be useful.

Check out How to Take a Student ID Photo (Requirements and Tips)Opens in a new tab. for more information on taking a good student ID photo.

Card slots for carrying your student ID

I think the easiest way to carry your student ID is using card slots that are leatherOpens in a new tab. or siliconeOpens in a new tab.. They stick on the back of your phone so you will always have it with you and won’t lose it.

iPadOpens in a new tab.

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An iPadOpens in a new tab. or tablet is super convenient to use in college. You can read on it, do assignments, and take notes.

For an iPad

If you get an iPad, there are several helpful things to get with it.


If you have an iPad, you have to get a stylus to use with it. It makes taking notes so much easier.

I have and love this stylusOpens in a new tab. (and it’s half the price of an Apple pencil).

iPad case

An iPad caseOpens in a new tab. helps protect your iPad and makes it easier to carry around.


For taking notes, all you really need is paper and a pencil, but there are some things that will be nice to have.

Note-taking app

If you use an iPad or tablet to take notes, you need a good note-taking app. I use Goodnotes,Opens in a new tab. and I love it. It is super easy to use and only $8.99.

With Goodnotes, you can upload PDFs or pictures and write on them. It makes it super easy to take notes.

Do not disturb sign

A Do Not Disturb sign like this oneOpens in a new tab. that you can put out when you are doing schoolwork or taking a test and need to be left alone.


A printer is not required, but you will definitely use it.

You will want to print numerous things, such as your syllabus, study guides, and essays.

I use and recommend HP printersOpens in a new tab..

Blue light blocking glasses

Students spend countless hours looking at a computer screen which can cause eyestrain and headaches.

Blue light-blocking glassesOpens in a new tab. can help prevent this.

When I tried these, I did not notice any difference, but to be fair, I also have a chronic illness that causes headaches and migraines, so any headache from blue light probably pales in comparison.

Many people swear by these glasses, so if you suffer from eye strain or headaches after extended screen time, they are worth trying.

Now you know my recommendation for the best tools and products for college students. Bookmark this later and share it with a friend!

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