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Everything you need for your first apartment: The best TVs, lighting, vacuums, and more

Buying the tech you need for your new apartment can get pricey and overwhelming. To help, we rounded up all the best products that won't break the bank.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Reviewed by Allison Murray
TCL S4 S-Class 4K UHD HDR LED Smart TV | A smart TV
TCL - 55" Class S4 S-Class 4K UHD HDR LED Smart TV with Google TV
TCL S4 S-Class 4K UHD HDR LED Smart TV
A smart TV
View now View at Best Buy
Roku Smart Bulb SE | A smart light bulb
Roku smart bulb SE
Roku Smart Bulb SE
A smart light bulb
View now View at Amazon
Dreo 4 Quart Air Fryer | A versatile air fryer
Dreo 4 Quart Air Fryer
A versatile air fryer
View now View at Amazon
Shark ION AV751 | A robot vacuum
Shark ION AV751 vacuuming a rug.
Shark ION AV751
A robot vacuum
View now View at Amazon
Echo Show 8 | A smart speaker to help with tasks
Echo Show 8
Echo Show 8
A smart speaker to help with tasks
View now View at Amazon

Moving into your first apartment is both equally as exciting and daunting. Living somewhere you can call your own for the first time is very special, but converting the bare four walls of your apartment into a liveable space is a huge challenge. Only once you move out do you realize just how much you actually need to buy.

Also: Smart home starter pack: 5 devices that will make your life easier

When thinking of what tech to buy, the basics, such as a TV and lamp, might come to mind. However, the list quickly starts adding up when you include items such as kitchen appliances, security devices, smart home tech, and more. Not only are there a million options to choose from, but also, it can get expensive fast.

To help you avoid missing any essentials without breaking the bank, we rounded up the best picks for all the tech you need for your first apartment, coming from someone who just recently went through it. 


A TV is a staple of a home and the centerpiece of your everyday entertainment needs. Whether you're planning on hosting movie nights or binging Netflix at your new place, you'll want a TV that provides a great picture with full-bodied sound for entertainment you're sure to enjoy. I chose the one below because it does just that at an undeniably great price. However, if you are willing to splurge some more, check out other top TVs that are an upgrade. 

When shopping for TVs, you quickly learn just how expensive they can get. As someone who wanted to keep the price as low as possible without compromising the picture quality, I found the TCL S4 S-Class 4K UHD HDR LED Smart TV to be an amazing option. 

Despite its super low price point, this TV meets all of your basic needs with 4K (2160p) picture, two built-in speakers, and Google TV built right in. 

Also: The best TCL TVs you can buy

Will this TV offer the best picture and sound you have ever seen? No. However, if you are a standard TV watcher like myself who just wants a really descent picture and sound, you will be a happy customer. 

View at Best BuyView at Amazon

Smart lighting

Whether buying lightbulbs for the fixtures currently in place or adding additional lighting, you will need to make lots of lighting purchases when moving into your new place. A personal tip is, instead of buying your basic lightbulb, purchase a smart light with many added perks like changing colors and being managed from your phone. 

Even though a light bulb that can be managed from your phone sounds like it would be pricey, it can cost less than $10, like the Roku Smart Home Smart Bulb SE. This lightbulb has 16 million color options, can be integrated into your smart home, dimmed, and can reach up to 1100 lumens of brightness. 

Review: I tried Roku's new line of low-cost smart home products. There's only one minor drawback

ZDNET's smart home expert Maria Diaz wrote in her review: "This A19 smart bulb is a Wi-Fi-capable bulb that can reach up to 1100 lumens of brightness, equivalent to a 75W light bulb. I really loved that this smart bulb can stay bright even in rich colors, which is always a challenge for color-changing bulbs."

View at Best BuyView at Govee

Smart kitchen appliances

Your first apartment won't necessarily have your dream kitchen, but it doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice your cooking experience. The kitchen is the room where I purchased the most tech when I first moved in, and I am going to share my best finds with you to cover all of the grounds. 

An air fryer is possibly the most versatile tool you can have in your kitchen. It can do nearly every cooking task including toasting bread, reheating food, cooking meat, roasting veggies, and more. Therefore, if you get one kitchen gadget, make it a good quality air fryer, and the Dreo Air Fryer fits the bill. 

It has a sleek look with a touchscreen that displays nine cooking functions and temperature and time controls, supporting 100 degrees to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Its most useful feature is its compactness, one of the smallest four quart air fryers I have personally ever seen. You can comfortably make dinner for two without having to give up much counter space. 

View at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon

A vacuum 

When doing apartment shopping, you may quickly realize that vacuums are one of the most expensive items you will need. However, lucky for you, they range in prices, from the best cheap vacuums to more expensive robot vacuums, these are our top picks for cleaning your home. 

With some robot vacuums being priced in the four-digit range, this vacuum is by far on the more budget-friendly side. The Shark ION AV751 earned a place as ZDNET's best budget vacuum because of its great suction power,  impressive 120-minute run time, and tri-brush system. It also has smaller charger station making it a better fit for smaller apartments than most other robot vacs on the market. 

Review: Shark ION Robot Vacuum AV751: Great suction for a cheap vac

View at AmazonView at Amazon

A smart home speaker 

If you are questioning whether or not you should get a smart home device, I was just in the same boat, too. The best smart speakers are an easy way to get started building a smart home without it becoming too elaborate or expensive. A smart speaker has many functions in one little device, including the ability to play music, set reminders, make phone calls, answer questions, or act as a control hub for other smart devices in your apartment.

When choosing my first smart home device, I turned to ZDNET's own coverage and landed on the Echo Show 8. I am happy to report I have not been disappointed. This one device can do a wide range of tasks such as turning on your TV, displaying photos, telling you the weather, playing games, switching lights, and more. 

Review: The Echo Show 8 is the best smart display and speaker combo available

View at AmazonView at Best Buy

You might also need:

Let's be honest, this is only a small fraction of what you'll need in your first apartment. But here are a few other products that can upgrade your living experience. 

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