Home technology is evolving so swiftly, it can feel like more trouble than it’s worth to keep up. But many of the newer devices are easy to use and can save you time, money, and worry.
Check out these smart home technology gadgets that you can install, right now, in your home.
Voice Controlled Assistants
The Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Apple HomePod are only the first few of what will likely be many smart-voice assistants designed for your home. Compact and powerful, they sit unobtrusively on a counter. Yet these devices, once integrated, can answer trivia queries, play your music, turn on lights in specific rooms, make phone calls, order pizza, and start playing TV shows of your choice, simply by making a verbal request.
Highly programmable thermostats, like those made by Ecobee, not only allow you to lower temperatures when you’re not home, but they can be connected to voice controlled assistants or phone apps so that you can make adjustments on the fly.
Wi-Fi Connected Electrical Outlets
Though it looks like a simple plug-in outlet extension, the Belkin WeMo Switch can be turned on and off through an app on your phone, allowing you to switch on your flattening iron ten minutes before you’re ready to use it, or turn the coffeemaker on so that the first cup is pouring just as you enter your kitchen in the morning.
Replace that old wired doorbell with one that has a high-definition camera that streams 24/7. It uses a fish eye type lens so you can see people from head to foot as well as any packages that may be lying on your doormat. You can even program it to send alerts to your phone when certain friends and family arrive.
The iRobot Roomba has been around for a while, but other automatic vacuums, like the Neato BotVac, can be connected to an app to allow remote control. Bonus for cat owners: If they aren’t terrified of it, cats love to chase it.
Garage Door Monitors
Ever get to work and realize you left your garage door wide open, displaying your titanium racing bike to the whole world? With certain smart monitors, you can check on your tablet or phone from wherever you are and shut the garage door without having to make the reverse commute home.
These new smart refrigerators aren’t your grandmother’s avocado-colored Frigidaire, that’s for sure. Often installed with built-in touch screens, these refrigerators take pictures of what’s inside, offer creative ways to keep shopping lists, allow coordination of family schedules, and even play music.
If you’re considering a home renovation, make sure to discuss with your designer your thoughts about home technology in order to integrate the best of what’s offered into your plans.