When I was younger, I watched Sci-fi movies with vivid enthusiasm, imagining floating cities, flying cars, teleporting, and AI robots that look almost human, but most importantly, sleek, intelligent homes that adapt to everything one needs.
We may not have floating cities just yet, but the rest of these Sci-fi "dreams" are already here, and when it comes to homes, we have the technology to adapt them and make them smarter, cozier, and more functional.
Smart home technology devices make our lives easier, improve energy efficiency, and add a plus of peace of mind through increased security. If you want to be really pragmatic about it, they grab better selling prices shall you ever wish to relocate.
You can start the process of transforming your house with smart home technology devices that are relatively inexpensive compared to the advantages they deliver.
The following list serves as a template to inspire your future home improvement efforts shall you want to embrace the trends of the moment while cutting energy costs, reducing water consumption, improving home security, and, why not, wellness. You may want to take advantage of tomorrow's Black Friday deals to purchase some of these smart home technology devices at considerably discounted prices (where available).
Home improvement starts outside, in the front yard, where technology can help with peace of mind but also lighting and sprinklers control.
The Philips Hue Calla Outdoor Bollard features dimmable LED light in 16 million colors and various controllable effects via Hue Bridge and Hue app. In addition, it is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Nest, among other options. Use it to highlight objects, trees, or pathways, and set up special effects for parties, BBQ, and private events. The smart controls allow you to program the lights to turn on automatically when you arrive and off when you leave. You can order it online, at Amazon or Home Depot.
For peace of mind and outdoor monitoring of your front yard, back yard, or home entrance, Arlo Pro 4 Wireless Security Cameras are affordable, reliable, easy to install, energy-efficient (battery operated), and boast direct Wi-Fi connectivity without a SmartHub. You can monitor the cameras with your phone and receive live 2K HDR video and audio in real-time. With a 160° viewing angle, motion control, and ability to distinguish people, pets, packages, and vehicles, every Pro 4 ensures exceptional security for your property. In addition, the cameras work with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.
A wire-free, battery-operated video doorbell from Arlo will give you peace of mind and a sense of security as you can see who comes in front of your door (180° full view), even when they don't ring the bell. The camera is motion-activated, and you will receive instant alerts on your phone when it detects any activity in its vicinity. You can power the system with a rechargeable battery or connect it to existing wiring. The intelligent system can distinguish between people, animals, vehicles, and packages. It works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Wyze Locks work well with most single-cylinder deadbolts with a keyhole on only one side. You can keep your deadbolt and install the smart door lock as an extra security feature. It has a Wi-Fi adapter for remote access and smartphone notifications. With the Wyze app, you can unlock or lock your door from anywhere in the world. The intelligent system recognizes you (and family members) as you approach the door, unlocking automatically. It has hands-free controls and works with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Smart TVs and speakers are already a norm for indoor technology that improves the quality of life, with entertainment options that help you relax and unwind. But you can add other devices to make your home even cozier. Nevertheless, if you don't already have smart speakers, you will find them within the recommended indoor smart home technology devices listed below. Of course, you will not need smart speakers if you have a smart display unless you want to set up a smart sound system in every room of your house.
The Sonos One speaker has built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa controls, enabling you to play music, check the news, set alarms, ask questions, search, and more, completely hands-free. It also works with Apple AirPlay 2 on Apple devices iOS 11.4 and higher. When the Wi-Fi is unstable, you can connect it to an ethernet port. You can use the device in any room, including the bathroom, as it is humidity resistant.
Amazon's All-new Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021 release) is a powerful HD smart display with integrated Alexa Assistant, stereo speakers, and a 13 MP camera. You can use it for entertainment, play music, watch HD videos, make video calls, and control house appliances, like lights and security cameras. For example, use Alexa to search for and play music, audiobooks, and video (on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix). In addition, the smart display enables you to perform some quick "work from home" tasks, like checking your calendar and email and setting reminders.
Google's Nest Hub Max allows you to stream music from YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, and other services and view YouTube videos or Netflix movies on an exceptional 10-inch HD screen. The stereo speakers are powerful for the size of the display. With this display, you can make video calls, either one-on-one or group calls and even attend Zoom meetings. Furthermore, you can use the display to control compatible connected home devices, like thermostats, lights, security cameras, and more. It has a built-in Nest Cam you can use as a security camera to monitor your home. Google Nest Hub Max integrates Google Assistant for extended functionality, including checking emails, setting reminders, and more.
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance E26 smart out-of-the-box LED light bulbs feature millions of white and colored light shades, are dimmable, and are compatible with all kinds of lighting fixtures depending on the bulb's shape and size, and style you choose. To control the bulbs, you can use the Hue app, voice, or other smart accessories, including your smart displays or speakers. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
The Wyze Bulb Color is a color-changing, dimmable LED lightbulb with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for hub-free control with the Wyze app. In addition, it has both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support to use voice control. Use it to set up lighting routines - for example, dim out at night and gradually lighten in the morning to wake up in a pleasant wellbeing-inducing ambiance. Set up "vacation mode" when you are away, so it will appear that someone is home, discouraging intruders. Check out other smart products in the Wyze range, including the elegant Wyze Floor Lamp and Wyze Light Strip.
If you have smart LED light bulbs, you can control them with apps or voice via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or other compatible programs. However, you can use a smart light switch like Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch and Dimmer to control ordinary LED light bulbs. The smart switch allows you to control the room's brightness, set the ambiance for any mood (for example, fade off your lights gently when you go to sleep), and manage your lights from everywhere with your smartphone.
Google Nest Learning Thermostat has broad compatibility with various HVAC systems, and it is one of the best smart thermostats available on the market. According to Google, this intelligent home technology device saved people "an average of 10% to 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills." When you leave the house, it sets itself to an Eco Temperature to save you energy, and when you return, it automatically adapts to your preferred settings. You can also use it to monitor how much energy you use every day in Energy History and every month in your Home Report.
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, and other smart home ecosystems. According to the manufacturer, it can save up to 26% on annual energy costs. Use your iOS or Android device to control the lights at home or when you are away. Based on occupancy detection, the device manages the room temperature automatically. Moreover, if you leave a window open for more than five minutes, Ecobee will automatically turn off your AC and notify you.
Smart shades enhance your home's comfort and buyer appeal if you plan to sell. MySmartRollerShades by Smarterhome are an excellent choice: they are easy to install and Bluetooth-enabled for easy control. They feature sunrise/sunset automation, but you can also set the open and close schedule according to your preferences. In addition, an integrated solar charging panel ensures that you don't have to add to your electric bill by plugging the shades into a power outlet. Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Flo by Moen™ Smart Leak Detector protects your home from leaks and water damage. It has special sensors that detect any potential issues, including high pressure, freezing water, leaks, a burst pipe, or water running when you are not at home. The system will alert you when such problems occur, giving you time to apply the necessary fixes before it is too late. In addition, you can always check live water use, water flow rates, pressure, and even temperature with your Flo app. Install the Flo Smart Water Monitor & Shutoff, too: in the event of any problematic leaks or high pressure. In that case, the system will automatically turn off your home's water service.
Nest Protect by Google is one of the best smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarms currently available on the market. Instead of emitting a sound effect to let you know it detected smoke, a human voice will tell you where it was detected and what seems to be the problem (e.g., smoke, CO, Burned popcorn), giving you enough time to check before triggering the siren alarm. In addition, it has an integrated steam check, meaning that it will not activate when you shower. It also has an integrated split‑spectrum sensor that detects smoke from both fast-burning and smoldering fires. Last but not least, Nest Protect has the best carbon monoxide sensor available on the market. And, you no longer need to hush the alarm with a towel: the Nest app will do it for you with a simple screen tap.
SimpliSafe is a DIY security system with an excellent suite of smart devices, offering you protection against intruders for every window, room, and door. Add-ons include indoor and outdoor cameras and protection against monitor against leaks, floods, fires, and other hazards. You can customize the system according to your needs. All devices are wireless, and you don't need to sign any contract. The system is monitored by professionals ready to call the police in case of an emergency.
Place a smart display, a tablet, or your smartphone on your countertop to search for recipes or watch how-to videos on YouTube or Food Network Kitchen - this is how you could use technology in your kitchen right now. But there are other ways to enhance this space in your home. For example, smart appliances, including ovens, coffee makers, and more, can add a plus of functionality to your kitchen.
Anova Precision Oven fits on your countertop and allows you to steam, air fry, convection bake, bake, dehydrate, broil, defrost, toast, reheat, and cook sous vide with the precision of a trained chef. You can use the Anova Oven App to set and monitor your cooking progress from anywhere remotely.
The VeSync Pro Smart 5.8-Quart Air Fryer by Cosori boasts a powerful convection fan that cooks twice faster than a traditional oven while using 85% less oil than typical ovens and fryers. Connect it with the VeSync app to monitor the cooking progress from anywhere and receive notifications when your food is ready. In addition, it is compatible with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant if you want to activate voice controls.
The GE Profile™ 30" Smart Built-In Convection Double Wall Oven with In-Oven Camera and No Preheat Air Fry is pricey, but it is a good investment. Connect it with the SmartHQ App, and you can control your oven from anywhere with your smartphone. You can even watch a live streaming video of your food cooking as the oven has a built-in camera. It is extremely precise, helping you prepare roasts, chicken, turkey, and other special-occasion favorites like a pro.
A nifty feature of the LG SIGNATURE 31 cu. ft. Smart Wi-Fi Enabled InstaView™ Door-in-Door® Refrigerator is that you can see what is inside without opening the door. Even better: the door opens automatically when you have your hands full, just as soon as you step on the "Door Open" light projection on the floor in front of the refrigerator. It has voice controls, and the ThinQ® proprietary algorithm optimizes cooling performance and ice-making during peak times and conserves energy during periods of inactivity.
Intelligent devices can even enhance and improve your bathroom. You can use smart lighting, smart speakers, smart displays, dimmers, and so on. If you want to go a step further, here are a couple of options:
Kohler Veil™ Comfort Height™ is an ADA-compliant dual-flush one-piece toilet with intelligent functionality. It has integrated personal cleansing with front and rear wash modes and warm water. In addition, UV light and electrolyzed water systems sanitize the bowl. You will also enjoy sitting on a heated seat and adjusting its temperature as you please. You can either opt for the hands-free opening/closing and automatic flush or use the LCD remote. At night, the bowl is illuminated by LED lighting.
U by Moen is a smart shower system that allows you to personalize and control (voice - with Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant - smartphone, or wall controller) your showering experience. For example, you can set up shower length and preferred temperature, and you will enjoy your shower without water temperature fluctuations (too cold, too hot). With the Moen app, you can create up to 12 personalized presets, including name, greeting, outlets, temperature, shower timer, and notifications. You can find U by Moen on Amazon.
Depending on where you live, you may need air conditioning, air purifiers, and other smart gadgets that make your life easier, enabling you to enjoy coziness and wellbeing. Here are seven suggestions you could consider:
Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifiers are more affordable than other brands and offer excellent functionality for the price. They are compatible with most HVAC filter brands in the US and integrate with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and other connected systems. In addition, you can control your intelligent air purifiers with the Filtrete™ Smart App from anywhere. Each has a HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of airborne particles like allergens, dust, lint, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and pet dander.
It's OK to open the window for some fresh air while the Midea 8,000BTU U-shaped Air Conditioner is in use. The U-shaped design blocks the compressor noise outside, and you can enjoy the cool air without the annoying noise of traditional air conditioners. It has built-in Wi-Fi and support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you prefer voice commands, but you can also install the MideaAir app to control it from anywhere. According to the manufacturer, another advantage is that it consumes 35% less energy than traditional air conditioners.
Chores like vacuuming and mopping are time-consuming and not so pleasant, especially when all you want is to relax reading a good book or watching a movie. Neabot NoMo N1 Plus 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum Mop with Self-Emptying Dustbin makes your life easier: it automatically vacuums and mops while you are busy doing something else or nothing at all. You can set up the hands-free robot to sweep, mop, or sweep and mop synchronously and forget about it. You can program it via remote or with the Neabot Home app. In addition, it works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant if you want to activate voice commands.
These smart technology devices are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are many other things you could choose to make your home smarter: smart beds, smart coffee makers, smart sprinkler controllers for your garden, smart garage door controllers, smart mirrors, and even smart BBQ gadgets. When you opt for a smart device, try to find one that can integrate within a connected home system. As you note, most of the devices in our list work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Affordability is another criterion considered when compiling this list. In addition, most of these devices are available on Amazon.com right now at discounted prices. As a bonus, many of them will make fantastic Christmas presents this year and remain trendy and functional in the years to come.