Smart Home Tech
From home hubs to savvy security, here are some of today’s greatest gadgets for homeowners
Everything is “smart” these days: smartphones, smart TVs, smart watches…and now, there are tons of gadgets on the market to help savvy homeowners make even their homes smarter and safer.
We scoured hundreds of reviews and blogs to find the top home gadgets out there in 2017. Here’s our best-of-the-best smart home tech list, broken down into 7 simple categories:
- smart hubs
- climate control
As your source for everything real estate, we’re happy to do the heavy lifting to help out with research. But if you’re not happy in your current home (smart or otherwise), well, we can help you sell. And, for around $114K – or 35% – more than your Zillow Zestimate too. Seriously.
Smart tech. Smart sales. Just smart. Get #MovingWithRoohan
OK, here’s our list of hottest home tech gadgets (as of Feb. 2017)!
A smart hub is the key component allowing homeowners to use a single app to control their thermostats, security, surveillance, smoke alarms, lights, sound systems, and any other smart home devices or appliances they may have. It’s basically the central system for all of your smart home tech gadgets (including the other ones on this list).
Probably the most popular smart hub is the Amazon Echo and its companion the Echo Dot. The Echo features a voice controlled personal assistant named Alexa. You can ask questions, play music, and now control appliances in your home through the voice control. The Echo Dot is a smaller companion device that can be placed in other rooms of the home to extend Alexa’s reach.
Google has a similar device called Google Home that is a little less expensive. There are many other options, but some other best-reviewed devices are the Wink Hub 2 and Samsung SmartThings. Some of these can do more than others, but if your home isn’t all that “smart” yet, it might be better to go with the simpler options (Google Home and Amazon Echo).
Amazon Echo: $179.99 on Amazon
Echo Dot: $49.99 on Amazon
Google Home: $129 at Best Buy
Wink Hub2: $99 at Home Depot
Samsung SmartThings: $99 on Amazon
Beyond making your home more convenient or more fun, the latest technology can keep you and your loved ones safe with surveillance and security gadgets. Some of the best surveillance options out there are Nest Cam, Kuna Toucan, and SkyBell. Nest Cam makes great indoor and outdoor cameras, but a few reviewers have reported that Kuna Toucan’s outdoor cameras are superior. SkyBell makes a doorbell with an HD camera, motion sensor and internet connectivity. In fact, it can hook up with Amazon Echo and Nest Cam.
There are also some great baby-monitoring surveillance systems to keep your little ones safe. There’s the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock’n Play Sleeper with SmartConnect and iBaby Monitor M6S. They’ve got long names, but they’re great options for anyone with young children.
These cameras give you 24/7 live video and some added peace of mind while you’re away. Super smart.
Nest Cam: $194 on Amazon
Kuna Toucan: $179.99 on Amazon
SkyBell: $190.90 on Amazon
Fisher-Price: $99.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond
Baby Monitor M6S: $177.95 on Amazon
Your home safety can go beyond the cameras to full-fledged security systems; some of which you can install yourself. Some of the popular DIY options are Scout Home Security System and SimpliSafe. As always, there are tradeoffs with these options, but they offer the basics: door and window sensors, motion sensors, and a camera (only in Scout). You can customize what features you like, so these are good DIY systems.
There are also companies that offer the added benefit of professional installation like Vivint (which also comes with all the bells and whistles like cameras, locks, motion sensors, thermostat, live video & more). The system’s seamless integration capabilities with other devices like Amazon Echo and your smartphone sweeten the deal even more if that’s what you’re looking for.
But regardless of which smart home security system you go with, you can customize your package to get the protection you want.
Like to shop local? Some Saratoga-area security companies to consider are Mahoney Alarms and Doyle Security. ADT also has an authorized provider in Saratoga Springs.
Scout: $319.99 on Amazon
SimpliSafe: $259.95 on SimpliSafe.com
Vivint: $49.99 at Vivint
Mahoney Alarms: See the site
Doyle Security: Check their site
No, not global climate change, the climate of your home. You can ditch your old thermostat for a new high tech one. The two best-reviewed devices are the Nest Learning Thermostat and Ecobee3. There a few advantages to upgrading your heating and cooling. For one, you can save energy because these smart systems know when to be on or off. Two, they know when you’re in a room or not and will determine the temperature accordingly. Both of these brands are wi-fi enabled and can be controlled from your phone. The Ecobee3 also conveniently works through Amazon Echo.
Nest: $249 on Amazon
Ecobee3: $247.99 on Amazon
Yes, even your light bulbs can be smarter! If you want more versatility than simply on or off, you can choose custom gradients with Phillips Hue. There are also bulbs can can change color from Phillips, and another brand, Lifx Color 1000. And you guessed it–they can be controlled with Amazon Echo. For a lighting/security hybrid there is BeOn security light bulbs; a high-tech and high-quality way to keep the outside of your home lit.
If you want a way to control the natural light in your home there’s Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades. You can set them on a timer and control them from an app even when you’re not home. Be warned, these are a luxury item, so be ready for an investment to install them.
Prices (starter pack of 2 bulbs)
Phillips Hue: $69.99 on Amazon
Lifx Color 1000: $89.98 on Lifx.com
BeOn: $129 (3 bulbs) on Amazon
Lutron Serena Shades: $469 at Home Depot
Just about everyone would like some help cleaning the house.Well, the future is now, and you can have a robot clean your floors for you. These aren’t necessarily a new product on the market, but they have gotten smarter and more effective.
There is no shortage of brands offering these robot vacuums, but we’re just going to include some of the best-reviewed options here. Whether you get the Deebot from Ecovacs or Neato’s Botvac these little suckers (literally) can navigate their way around objects and furniture and operate on a timer so they do the cleaning while you’re away. One advantage of the Botvac is it’s shape. Most robo-vacuums are round, but this one has a straight edge so it can get up close to walls. Want to give your uncarpeted floors an automatic clean? Check out the Braava Jet 240; it’ll mop up your floors for you.
Ecovacs Deebot: $273.99 on Wayfair
Neato Botvac: $499.99 at Best Buy
Braava Jet 240: $167.99 on Amazon
Your home can be smart inside and out! The last few devices on our list will make lawncare and landscaping easier than ever. Want do you keep your lawn green and lush? Make it easier with a smart sprinkler system! One option is Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller, which can be controlled with Amazon Echo’s Alexa. Skydrop links up to your local weather forecasts to assess the need for watering.
Want to light a walkway or path on your property? Make is easier with solar-powered garden lights. GardenBliss has an affordable offering that requires no wires and saves on your energy bill. If you like the idea of little robots doing all your dirty work, there’s a robotic lawn mower too. The Robomow RS622 is a big investment, but might be worth it! It can handle up to 23,000 square feet of lawn and mulches the cut grass into the soil, so there are no bags of grass to empty.
Smart Sprinkler Controller: $222.98 on Amazon
SkyDrop: $129.99 at Walmart
GardenBliss: $36.99 on Amazon
Robomow: $1,699 on Amazon
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