Student’s kitchens are usually small spaces, and their budgets are often even smaller. Don’t go overboard when furnishing your kitchen with the necessary appliances! Check out our list of the must-have appliances (and those you don’t need) to get started:

Must-Have Appliances:

  • Toaster or Toaster-Oven – This is the first thing you should buy. Toaster-ovens are glorious inventions! Not to say that toasters aren’t great, but if you have to choose between the two…it’s obvious which one wins out. You don’t, however, actually have to choose. There are pretty inexpensive composite toaster/toaster-oven appliances out there, which have a regular toaster on the top, and an oven on the bottom (there’s just a switch to cover the opening on the top for when you use the oven). Since counter space is probably a issue, consider getting yourself a composite appliance if you absolutely need to have both.
  • Kettle – A good kettle can easily be a $10 investment that lasts you years. From a simple cup of tea to a week of cup-of-ramen dinner, you’ll need a kettle. Do not get a stove-top kettle, as nice as they look. They’re clunkier and take longer, so it’s best to go with convenience!
  • Coffee Maker – If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll save a ton of money by making your own coffee. Get a single cup machine, or alternatively, consider getting a French press. If you already have a kettle, and you don’t mind buying ground beans (or getting a bean grinder for yourself), it’ll save you lots of counter space!
  • Blender – Blenders are multi-faceted machines. They’re not just for smoothies, but can be used to chop up certain vegetables or fruits, mash things, and make things like soup. Get yourself a small, light and easy to use blender (mind you don’t spend $40 on an infomercial blender, any kind will do the trick)!
  • Slow Cooker – A slow cookers can be a busy student’s best friend. There are plenty of recipes out there tailored for busy people who just don’t have the time to stand over the stove-top for a hour and half making a gourmet meal. A small, 1.5L slow cooker is perfect for cooking for one. You can also use a slow cooker as a rice cooker, just so you know!


  • Mini Fridge – Will you live with more than 3 or 4 people, who all cook? One fridge is not going to do it. In this situation, buy a mini fridgeIt’ll save you the headache of re-organizing the fridge every time you grocery shop. If you live in a dorm without an accessible kitchen, you might want a very small mini fridge for your room to store snacks and drinks. Be sure to check your residence guidelines before you purchase one, though! If you’re only going to live with one or two other people, don’t bother spending that extra cash.
  • Microwave – If you’re moving into a dorm room, check if they have accessible microwaves. Some residences have communal kitchens equipped with a microwave or two for use at any time, or even dorm rooms may have their own. Apartment-style residences will provide a microwave in the shared suite kitchen. Definitely get yourself a microwave if you will be living off-campus, or if there is not an accessible microwave in your dorm and you are allowed to bring your own.
  • Rice Cooker – This all depends on diet. If you eat a lot of rice, of course your’re going to need a rice cooker! Otherwise, don’t bother. It’s easy enough to make rice in a pot on the stove-top if you only have it once in a while, or if you opted to get a slow cooker instead, there are ways to make rice in that as well.


  • George Foreman Grill – Or any grill, for that matter. These space monsters will only be broken out once in a while, and are definitely not a necessity. Anything you can do on a grill, you can recreate on a stove-top.
  • Water Filter – While nice, a water filter is not a necessity. The city of Toronto tests its water quality and checks for trace of over 300 substances every four hours at the multiple water treatment facilities throughout the city. Drinking tap water is perfectly safe, and in the end using a water filter will cost you much more than necessary for replacement filters. If your water is cloudy or you are concerned about its safety and quality, don’t drink it and bring up your concerns with your residence, landlord, or the city of Toronto.
  • Waffle Maker, Cotton-Candy Machine, Air Popper, etc. – Basically if it makes something you buy at a carnival or movie theater, you don’t need it. Sure, they’re really fun to have and use, but they’ll take up a ton of space when you’re not using them the other 360 days of the year.

– Emily Hotton


Toronto Water Quality Assurance Program.