We are now in the age of home automation, and that’s a good thing! Why? Because it leaves you more time to do the things you love doing, rather than tinkering with gadgets, tech and appliances.
Sound far-fetched? Well, it’s not. What if you could set up your AC so it drops the indoor climate to a comfortable temperature when you’re on the way home from work? What if you could set up your lights so they turn on every night at a certain time and then off again, long after you’re in bed? What if you never had to fumble in your pocket or bag for a physical key ever again?
All these scenarios can be solved through the use of modern smart home technology.
In fact, if you play your cards right and choose the appropriate setup, you can outfit every single room in your house with smart technology to make your life better.
Living Room or Kitchen
There are smart refrigerators and smart ovens. There are smart coffee makers and smart toasters. There’s even a smart egg holder that will alert you when you’re low on supply. Honestly, if we covered every single smart appliance or item for your kitchen, we’d be here all day. The same is true of your living room, starting with smart TVs and smart media streamers.
Not every smart speaker is created equal, that much is true, and they all rely on different services. Amazon Echo devices, for example, will order and facilitate shopping lists through Amazon. But for the most part, these devices are on par with one another in terms of functionality, and they do a lot.
You can use them to order new items or supplies, perform a web search, interface with other smart home products like lights or TVs and much more. At a basic level, they’re nothing more than Bluetooth speakers with a built-in personal AI assistant such as Alexa or Siri. So, while yes, you can use them to play your favorite Pandora or Spotify playlist, that’s not all they do. They can do a whole heck of a lot, and that means making your life much more convenient.
Some of the more common devices in this category include:
- Amazon Echo, including Tap, Dot, Plus, Look and Show
- Google Home and Google Home Mini
- Sonos Play:1
- Microsoft “Evoke” Cortana Speaker
- Lenovo Smart Assistant
Bathroom — Guest or Main
You could go with a smart soap dispenser or another Bluetooth speaker for entertainment in the shower, but we have a better idea. Why not opt for a heated toilet seat? That’s right — the LumaWarm can help keep your booty nice and toasty while you, well, sit. It even utilizes a Blue LED light to make your bathroom a little more glamorous. There are three different temperature settings to choose from, and it only takes a minute or so to warm up.
Just think, no more plopping down on a ridiculously cold toilet seat in the morning or late at night. Isn’t that worth the price tag on its own? Considering 35 percent of 2,000 males surveyed claim they sit while going pee, we’re guessing a toilet seat warmer would really improve a lot of people’s lives.
No one likes to cozy up in bed only to realize you need to climb out from under those wondrously comfortable covers to turn off a light or close the window blinds. It’s even worse in the winter or during cold weather when you have to freeze your butt off just to interact with a silly fixture.
Cue smart Wi-Fi lighting or smart window blinds and shades. Both are entirely possible to install and affordable to buy. In fact, there are many different kinds of lighting options to choose from, including bulbs all the way to full-featured lamps and light strips.
The C by GE Sol smart light is amazingly capable, with Alexa support, scheduling and voice controls and even a built-in sleep timer. Alternatively, you could opt for a Philips Hue bulb, which can even be controlled to display different colors like pink, orange, yellow and more.
MySmartBlinds, additionally, is a great way to automate those window shades.
Once again, there’s a lot you could set up in a home office, but we’re going to stick with one of the best and most useful products: smart plugs. They replace or plug into traditional electrical outlets and allow you to automate and remotely control — from a mobile app — any appliance, gadget, light or tech plugged into them.
You could, for instance, turn off your computer hundreds of miles away, after having forgotten you left it on before leaving for vacation. You can also schedule and automate the process, using it to turn on and off lamps or lights.
Spot Treatment — Any Room
Looking to spruce up different areas of your home, such as a particular room or device? Check out some of these ideas, which will boost your home to new, smarter heights!
- Smart Lock: Swap out your front or garage door deadbolt for a smart lock. Never use a physical key again, instead opting for a mobile app and your phone. You can even dole out temporary keys to guests and visitors.
- Smart Thermostat: Things like Nest or Ecobee allow you to liven up your temperature controls. They learn your habits over time and help you conserve energy and money. Some — like Nest — will even act as a central hub, working with other smart home products.
- Smart Video Doorbell: Tired of solicitors coming to your door? Peep hole not giving you enough leeway when answering? A smart video doorbell will allow you to not only see who’s at your door, but also talk with them. Pair it with a smart lock, and you can let them in, even if you’re not home. This is a great way to let guests in if you’re out back grilling or in the pool!
- Smart Remote: Believe it or not, there are super smart remotes too, like the Logitech Harmony Elite. They operate as a universal remote, so you can pair them with just about anything, from your TV to your smart home devices.
- Robot Vacuum: Ever heard of the Roomba? There are many devices like it that automate vacuuming and cleaning in your home. Some can even sweep, vacuum and mop!