Remember when we thought video phone calls were a thing of the distant future? Now technology is deeply ingrained in our lives.
Smart home products are ever-evolving to make life easier on the home front.
We’ve found the most useful smart home gadgets and smart home essentials to add high tech convenience to your home life.
Useful Smart Home Gadgets
iRobot Roomba 690
There’s one name that’s synonymous with cleaning robots, and that’s Roomba.
According to Consumer Reports, “robotic vacuums have finally transcended from being a novelty item in YouTube cat videos to a serious cleaning tool,” plus, there are seriously affordable options on the market now.
The entry-level Roomba 690 offers a lot of value for about half the price of iRobot’s high end models. Not only does it feature Wi-Fi connectivity and app control, it supports voice commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant as well.
If you want a Wi-Fi-connected vacuum you can control with your phone, the iRobot Roomba 690 is the best deal.
It has good suction power, an easy-to-use app, and voice control via Amazon or Google.
Pricier models like the Roomba 890, 960, and 980 offer the same voice control and app options, but stronger navigation skills and carpeting cleaning, among other features.
By the way, if app and voice control isn’t high on your list of priorities, it’s hard to beat the Eufy RoboVac 11. It costs less than the Roomba 690, handles dark flooring well, and is the quietest vacuum we’ve tested.
iRobot Braava Jet 240
Okay, so you love your Roomba but you would kill for a little robot that mopped your floor, too. Your wish is iRobot’s command: the Braava Jet can wet mop, damp sweep, and dry sweep all the hard floors in your home like a champ.
The Braava Jet 240 is a tiny robot that mops and sweeps floors. It’s also the least expensive option in iRobot’s lineup.
Meant for small spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, it sprays water and uses an assortment of different pads to clean effectively and quietly.
Unlike iRobot’s Braava 380t, which covers a wider surface area, the Jet has a built-in navigation system, and an additional cleaning mode (damp mopping).
It doesn’t have the muscle to get rid of deep-set stains, so it’s not a complete replacement for your Swiffer. But if you live in an apartment and want a robot to keep things neat and clean, the Braava Jet 240 is a good bet.
The Braava Jet 240 is small, quiet, relatively inexpensive, and does a nice job cleaning your floors. It lacks the power to take out really tough stains, so you’ll need to provide some manual assistance from time to time.
That said, it’s a solid buy for anyone who lives in a small space and wants to keep it clean while exerting minimal effort.
If you want to cover a wider range, the Braava 380t cleans up to five times as much surface area, though it does cost more.
Ember Smart Coffee Mug
Keep your brew the perfect temperature all day long with the Ember Ceramic Smart Coffee Mug. Although it looks like a typical mug, it’s far from it.
Coming with a connected coaster, you can even adjust the exact temperature of your beverage. The Ceramic Mug also connects to the app on your smartphone or smartwatch.
When you set the mug in place, the app will instantly alert you when it reaches your desired temperature.
In addition, you can also use the app to remotely adjust the temperature to perfection. In addition, you can change between Celsius and Fahrenheit for the ultimate precision.
The Ceramic Mug and app also let you save presets for all your favorite drinks. Finally, this intelligent mug holds a full ten ounces which is perfect for tea and coffee just as you like it.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Picture this: it’s 3 a.m. on a summer night, and you wake up in a sweat because you forgot to turn down the thermostat to a comfortable sleeping temperature. Instead of throwing off the covers and going to change it, having the Nest Thermostat E would prevent this problem in the first place.
It can be scheduled to adjust the home temperature from morning to night, saves energy by turning itself down when you’re out of the house, and you can change the temperature from your phone.
Back in 2012, the original Nest Learning Thermostat took the burgeoning smart home market by storm and earned excellent reviews for its ease of use, elegant design, and learning capabilities.
Since then Nest has been bought by Google, and the thermostat is now on its third generation. This latest iteration offers all of the cool learning and auto-scheduling features that made the earlier models so popular, and brings a few nice improvements, including a slimmer design, a larger LCD, Bluetooth support, and geofencing technology.
It still doesn’t offer remote room sensors, but it works with numerous third-party devices and supports voice commands via Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa voice service.
The Nest Learning Themostat (Third Generation) an excellent choice for smart thermostats.
iHome All In one Mirror
(Vanity Mirror, Hands-Free Bluetooth Speakerphone, Bluetooth Audio & Phone Charger)
The iHome All-In-One Makeup Mirror has everything you could want in a vanity mirror, including features you didn’t even know you wanted!
First of all, you want gorgeous lighting, and this mirror offers beautiful, full color lighting with both a high and low setting.
You’ll see everything up close and personal, with its distortion-free 7X magnification on one side and regular mirror on the other side.
Play your favorite music while you’re getting ready with the built-in Bluetooth audio, and chat on the built-in speakerphone and mic.
An auxiliary jack with included audio cable means you can connect to most audio devices, and the bright LEDs and audio work independently, operating on an internal rechargeable battery of AC adapter.
Fibaro Z-Wave Plus Smart Wall Plug With Charging Port
Smartly manage your devices with the FIBARO Z-Wave Plus Smart Wall Plug. Offering power metering for your electrical devices, this device comes with many useful features. FIBARO Wall Plug allows you to control power in more ways than one.
Complete with a crystal LED ring, the plug changes color to let you know how much power the plugged device is using.
FIBARO Wall Plug can be equipped with a built-in USB charger. This additional feature significantly increases the convenience of everyday use. You can connect a phone or tablet and a night light to one plug. Thanks to this feature, you have everything at your fingertips.
Offering endless possibilities, FIBARO Wall Plug transforms almost any connected household appliances into a smart device.
The FIBARO Wall Plug is one of the most universal smart home devices that converts almost any type of household appliance plugged into it to a smart device.
Using the mobile application, you can get the status of the connected device, see how much energy the connected device is using, and switch the devices on or off. This control is at your fingertips from anywhere around the world.
Limit access to electronics at your discretion! Connect the FIBARO Wall Plug to a game console or TV in the children’s room and remotely decide when your children can use the connected devices. You can permanently set the availability of the gaming console and / or TV, and remotely control their operation.
Peace of Mind
The FIBARO Wall Plug can recognize if the device is not working properly. It can react differently to various situations: automatically shut down the device or alert you about the faulty appliance. This way you won’t be surprised when you come home.
Ring Video Doorbell 2
Reviewers appreciate this Ring Video Doorbell 2, for its sleek aesthetics, sharp 1080p video, and easy installation.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 also offers good 1080p video and is even easier to install because it uses a rechargeable battery and doesn’t require any wiring. It also offers most of the features that you get with the Pro version including motion detection and support for Alexa voice commands and IFTTT applets.
If you’re looking for a video doorbell that is very easy to install and does not require any wiring, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is definitely worth considering.
It delivers colorful 1080p daytime video and relatively sharp black-and-white night video, and it offers multiple motion detection zones and support for Amazon devices using Alexa voice commands.
It can also control other smart home products using IFTTT applets and can be hard wired to your existing doorbell wiring if you don’t want to deal with recharging the battery.
Philips Hue Calla Smart Outdoor Pathway Light
Easily enhance any outdoor setting with the Philips Hue Calla Smart Outdoor Pathway Light.
Just plug in this light to play with its 16 million colors and light up garden parties, pathways, and more. Complete with millions of colors and all-white light shades, Hue Calla can create any effect you desire.
For example, you can use it to make pathways stand out or artistically light objects. You can be creative with your outdoor space – create color scenes and dynamic effects to add a magical touch to any moment.
Simply save your favorite light settings in the Hue app to reuse them at any time.
The app also makes it easy to control your lights straight from your smartphone or tablet.
Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, you can even control Hue Calla with just your voice.
Tea drinkers rejoice. There are already some smart coffee solutions on the market, but those of us that love tea have been pretty much forced to brew it the old-fashioned way—until now.
The iKettle is no ordinary tea kettle.
It uses integrated Wi-Fi to hook up with your Android or iOS device and deliver a host of helpful features.
For instance, it allows you to choose exact brewing temperatures, which is important, as any tea drinker knows that different teas require different temperatures to ensure the tea isn’t burnt.
The iKettle also allows you to start boiling water from anywhere in the house with the tap of the app, which is sort of par for the course with connected appliances.
What’s more helpful is that it can also remind you when the kettle is empty, so you’ll be sure it’s always ready to go, even before you get out of bed.
To that end, the iKettle also allows you to set an alarm to wake up when it’s ready. And thanks to connectivity with If This Then That (IFTTT), you can link the iKettle to many other smart products in your home.
The app is very attractive, with a clean, minimal Apple-esque design. And the Kettle itself is made from high-grade stainless steel, which gives it a cool, industrial look.
Amazon Echo Spot
It’s your favorite gal, Alexa, all-grown-up. The Amazon Echo Spot does all the things you love Alexa for (news, weather, music, lights, etc.) but with a the added bonus of a video screen that allows you to video call with other Echo Spot users.
Not only that, but you can “drop in” to the Spot from anywhere in the house to check on things, like the kids actually doing their homework.
Even with more Echo speakers to choose from than ever, the Amazon Echo Spot remains one of the very top picks – mixing portability, cute looks, and a dinky video screen, the Echo Spot stakes a good claim for a space on your desk.
Most of the key benefits of the Amazon Echo range in general apply to the Echo Spot: decent price, tons of functionality, and a voice interface easy enough for complete tech beginners to get a hold of.
It’s no wonder the Echos have become essentials in a smart home setup.
And so to the Amazon Echo Spot, perhaps one of the less well-known of the Echo smart speakers, but undoubtedly one of the best-looking of the bunch: this has the aesthetics to fit into any, ahem, spot… from your bedside table to office desk.
What Can You Do With Amazon Echo Spot?
Echo Spot is designed to fit anywhere in your home.
Use 2nd generation far-field voice recognition to watch video flash briefings, see music lyrics, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more.
All hands-free—just ask.
Echo Spot connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice service to play music, read the news, answer questions, set music alarms, control smart home, and more.
Just ask to play a song, artist, or genre, and see lyrics with Amazon Music. Also, stream music and books from Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Audible.
Use the built-in speaker or connect to speakers through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable. With multi-room music, you can play music on your Echo devices in different rooms. Adjust the treble, mid, and bass levels with your voice.
Ask Alexa to turn on your lights, show baby monitors and front door cameras, and lock your doors. Plus, control your thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, and more.
Call almost anyone hands-free, or make video calls to family and friends with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App. Instantly connect to other Echo devices around your home.
With tens of thousands of skills, Alexa is always getting smarter and adding new features. Just ask Alexa to control your TV, request an Uber, order a pizza, and more.
Caavo 4K UHD
These days, there’s a ton of different ways to watch TV – satellite, cable, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, and more – Caavo takes all these methods and combines them into one streamlined TV experience (you literally just plug all these things in and it does the rest).
You can search through all the apps and providers at once for the show or movie you’re looking for, and it of course connects to Alexa.
No More Multiple Remotes
Caavo Universal TV Remote and Control Center Home Theater Hub make everything connected to the TV—including the remote control—easy for the whole family to use.
The Caavo Control Center is the first truly universal TV remote control for your entire home theater including: Live TV and DVR, streaming media players, game consoles, soundbars, Audio Video Receiver (AVR), DVD/Blu-Ray players and more.
Connect up to 4 home theater devices—streaming media players, cable or satellite TV, DVD or Blu-Ray player, gaming console—plus a soundbar, AVR or sound system. Control Center automatically detects the devices in your home theater and walks you through set-up.
With Control Center’s True Universal Search you can say the name of any actor, movie, TV show, or video and Control Center will display relevant results across live TV, streaming subscriptions, even YouTube.
Caavo’s true universal search displays all available content options—paid and free.
Facebook Portal Plus Video Calling Device
Video calling has never been more fun and interactive thanks to the Facebook Portal+ Video Calling Device.
Complete with a versatile design, you can easily set this system in the portrait or landscape mode to capture the scene.
The speakers, as well as the camera, come with a smart, AI-friendly design. As a result, it can effortlessly follow your action and create the best setup for video calling accordingly.
For example, if you’re cooking in the kitchen and doing a call, the system will lower the noise from any machinery around you to make your call as smooth as possible.
Additionally, the system includes Amazon Alexa to make it the go-to hub for your everyday information such as your calendars, the weather, facts, meetings, and more.
When not in use, you can transform this system into a digital display for your photos, videos, and events.
Triby IO Smart Home Speaker Hub
Upgrade your entire home at once with the Triby IO Smart Home Speaker Hub. Looking like a modern sound system, this intelligent device offers much more.
The Triby IO can actually connect to all of the smart devices in your home.
It all begins in the morning. The device can find your perfect radio station and clue into your smart lamps to gently wake you. During your workout, Triby IO can manage the temperature to keep you focused. For a spot of food, the device can pair with smart cooking appliances to cook to perfection. Eaten too much and gained some weight? Triby IO can suggest healthful meals to get you back on track.
From your kids’ bedtime to your productivity, the Triby IO Smart Hub keeps you and your family connected like never before.
- Speaker with profound bass, clear treble, and 3D sound processing (patented)
- Provides up to 12 hours of continuous playback
- 5 preset keys to trigger up to 15 Homekit Scenes, start spotify playlist, play internet radio stations, and so more . Homekit-enabled temperature and humidity sensors
- Features voice control with Alexa to play music, provide information, news, weather and more – all you have to do is ask.
- WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Also supports Spotify Connect and AirPlay (iOS)
- Call anyone hands-free, or make calls to the Triby app. Instantly connect to other Triby around your home.
The sound of the smoke alarm when you just over-broiled some broccoli is enough to send your heart into overdrive, but Nest Protect speaks with a calm, human voice to direct you and your loved ones in case of emergency (or burnt food).
It intelligently detects where the smoke is in the house, can be silenced with your phone, tests itself daily, and won’t wake you up with a 2 am low-battery chirp.
The Protect is a combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) detector that uses a colored light ring and audible alerts to warn you of dangerous smoke and CO levels.
Among the Nest Protect’s many features are an early warning system, a motion detector that lets you silence the alarm with a few waves of your hand, a self-check mechanism that tells you if the batteries are getting low or if the sensors have failed, and iOS, Android, and Web browser support.
Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Protect is artfully designed and connects to your home’s Wi-Fi, allowing you to keep a virtual eye on things while you’re away.
The Nest Protect really takes smoke and carbon monoxide detection to a whole new level.
It doesn’t just alert you to dangerous smoke and CO levels with a series of piercing beeps, it warns you of developing situations so you can take action before things get out of hand.
Color coded lights, articulate voice alerts, and the Nest Wave all make the Nest Protect a top choice. Sure, there are plenty of good smoke/CO detectors out there for a fraction of the cost, but none of them offer all of the safety and monitoring features that you get with the Nest Protect.
Philips Air Purifier 200i
The Philips 200i Air Purifier is a true multi-tasker. It reduces allergens, pollen, pet dander, house dust mites, gases and odors.
This powerful air purifier captures up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns with its true HEPA and active carbon filters.
It’s professional-grade air quality sensor detects even the slightest change in indoor air quality, and adjusts the fan speed automatically to maintain clean air.
The Philips 200i features 5 purification settings, including an extra-sensitive “allergen mode,” and a high speed “bacteria and virus mode”.
Connect to its Air Matters app, and control your purifier from anywhere (WiFi and 4G LTE enabled).
Smart products can add safety, security and convenience to your home environment.
I hope you’ve picked up some interesting ideas from this article.
Let me know what you think!
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