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Best smart home gadgets
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Best smart lights, clocks and other gadgets that don’t rely on voice control like Alexa

Smart homes save time and simplify basic daily tasks, but what if you want to automate your home without voice commands?

It turns out there’s more than one way to do that. You value your privacy, but tech companies don’t.

It’s time to automate your home without compromising what matters to you. Privacy. This list of smart home gadgets will help you without jeopardizing your peace of mind.

Sengled smart Wi-Fi light bulb

Wi-Fi lighting is convenient. Sengled’s four-pack of smart bulbs can replace any 60W bulb in your home while only drawing 8.7 watts of power, thanks to the LED design.

RELATED: How to build a smart home at any budget

Convenience is so much nicer when it means you also save money. Sengled included a scheduling feature that allows you to utilize the 16 million color range and set the mood for every room in your home.

Unfortunately, these bulbs only run on 2.4 GHz, limiting the number of smart home items you can connect via Wi-Fi. Devices that use 5 GHz give you more bandwidth for more devices.

You can use the Wake Up mode to gently turn up the brightness on one bulb or schedule them to dim at whatever bedtime you set with Sleep Mode. Everything is controlled from an app that connects to your Wi-Fi router with no smart hub required.

Sengled includes a three-year warranty with your purchase as well. Since most LED bulbs have a 25,000-hour life cycle, you would have to push this bulb to make it run out of usefulness. With scheduling, this is more than 10 years of automated lighting.

Kasa smart plug with remote control

Kasa allows you to use Alexa or Google Assistant, but it’s not required to operate these smart plugs. With four in a single package, you can automate the most-used outlets in your home in no time.

Designate timers to schedule when plugs turn on and off can help you save electricity and money. Use the included remote control to use your plugs whenever you want, or use the smartphone app to control them.

Whether you’re connected to your Wi-Fi network or on vacation, you can use your smartphone app to connect to your router directly and control these Kasa smart plugs.

These smart plugs have multiple safety features, including double contacts for the ground pin to reduce the chance of electric shock. These Kasa smart plugs use nickel-plated contacts and a flame-retardant shell as a failsafe against electric failure.

Once again, this runs on 2.4 GHz (as many smaller IoT devices do), so it will limit the bandwidth for more IoT devices on your router. Every plug is UL rated for safety. However, you have to be extra careful with toddlers, so they don’t pull these out of the wall.

UbiBot Wi-Fi temperature humidity sensor and smart temperature monitor

Controlling your indoor temperature without ever having to touch a thermostat is pretty wild. You can control UbiBot from your browser or smartphone app and it never requires you to use Alexa or other voice assistants.

UbiBot sends visual data charts and graphs to your phone. You can use this information to determine your most efficient heating and cooling times throughout the day. Apart from being convenient, UbiBot can help you save money with data.

This thermostat works in temperatures as cold as -4°F up to 140°F, thanks to Swiss-made sensors. If you live in very humid areas, UbiBot can help you find out the levels in your home, so you know whether to turn the dehumidifier on or not.

Last but not least, there’s no subscription model. All the functions you need are free, including your cloud storage and 24/7 remote monitoring. It’s the last smart thermostat you’ll ever need.

Geeni outdoor duo Wi-Fi weatherproof smart plug

Smart plugs are great, but if you brought most of them outdoors, they’d fry in the rain quickly. This weatherproof outdoor smart plug by Geeni costs less than standard indoor plug packs and allows you to control outdoor devices from your smartphone.

The included app is straightforward. You can set schedules for outdoor lights, on/off times and even turn on sprinklers when you’re not home. Everything connects through the 2.4 GHz connection in your Wi-Fi router.

Voice commands are included but entirely optional. Everything can be controlled through the app.

This plug has a unique issue: only one outlet works with voice commands, so it’s a good thing we’re not here for those in the first place. Be sure to place this plug as close to the router’s location as possible. With no 5 GHz option, you might run into range issues.

Sifely smart lock with keypad and remote access

Something is unnerving about house locks with voice activation. This smart lock by Sifely lets you connect with your app to allow remote access without worrying about Alexa or Siri Shortcuts listening in on you.

With this lock, you can enter your home in six different ways, including a wireless card fob, which is when you put your phone near the lock to open it. It’s an excellent way to enhance home security without losing your mind during installation. It’s very DIY-friendly and requires no drilling at all.

You can easily use the touchpad or the fingerprint scanner built into the handle. Sifely tries to sell you on an add-on called Sifely Wi-Fi Gateway, which is what lets you use remote access on your phone.

The sleek stainless steel design should look good with any front door. It’s one of the most functional and aesthetically pleasing upgrades you can make to your home in a short amount of time.

Wi-Fi door and window sensor magnets

Home security is something we should all take seriously. These inexpensive magnet sensors send information to your smartphone whether you’re home or not, so you can always know what’s going on.

That level of peace of mind is incredible. While they push Alexa and Assistant compatibility, you do not need a hub to use these. These are connected with double-sided tape (included in your purchase), but the tape isn’t great.

Remember that you might have to mount this better than the instructions suggest. Aligning the sensors and magnets can be finicky, so take your time during installation.

Like other IoT devices on this list, these sensors run on 2.4 GHz, so be sure to monitor your bandwidth or get a satellite router to help with the extra bandwidth.

You only need a AAA battery to run each sensor and activate 24/7 monitoring. This is peace of mind like you’ve never experienced before.

Geeni scope Wi-Fi indoor smart motion tracking camera

Monitoring your own home has privacy concerns, but without Alexa and Siri being able to send your data to whoever they want on a whim, this camera should be locked into your network with no outside access.

Utilize two-way audio to communicate with guests at the door through your phone app, or keep your eyes on your toddler while you work from your home office.

The included night vision feature has a 16-foot range, which paints the picture that this is better as an indoor camera than an outdoor camera, but the feature is still nice. Storing video is simple thanks to the microSD storage, which can take up to a 128 GB card.

With a wide 135-degree viewing angle, full HD recording and 24/7 accessibility, you can protect your family and manage your smart home easier than ever before.

Can you use smart lights without Alexa?

You can use smart lights without Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone or a wall switch. Everything connects to your router and never has to go through a smart hub to communicate with Alexa.

How do I automate my smart home without a smart hub?

Through Wi-Fi. Smart devices come with apps, and you can download universal apps to connect multiple devices simultaneously. Use your smartphone to control your large and small IoT devices by accessing them from your home screen. It’s incredibly simple.

What does “no hub required” mean for smart devices?

Smart hubs are devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home. These have unidirectional microphones which listen to voice commands and carry out actions based on your demands. Smart devices that don’t require a smart hub connect to your home router, which you can access from smart home wall panels or your smartphone.

Do I need a hub for smart lights?

No, you do not need a hub for smart lights. Smart hubs sell the idea of convenience, but they aren’t a necessity. Most smart light brands, like Philips, have their own apps to control your lights.

Some apps can connect to your individual apps (lights, devices, thermostat) like a master key so that you can control everything in your home from one app. No smart hub is required.

You may also like: 10 surprising smart home devices you didn’t know about

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