How smart is your home? We’re not talking about intelligence, because of course homes are not sentient and therefore have none.
But really, how advanced is it? Are you a tech genius who has smart devices and gadgets everywhere, or are you a novice who wouldn’t even know where to start?
If you are in the second group, part of the issue may be a fear of spending a ton of money to get some smart devices. But the thing is, that’s not always necessary. In fact, smart gadgets can be pretty cheap, depending of course on what you need.
Not surprisingly, whether you are looking to spend big or spend little, you can find it all on Amazon. To help, we have compiled a list of some useful smart gadgets you might be interested in, with a focus on the less-expensive stuff.
Smart light bulbs
Do you get tired of having to walk up to your light switch in order to dim your bulbs or turn them on and off? We don’t blame you.
One of the easiest ways to get into the smart gadget game is with smart bulbs, such as the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi LED Light Bulb by TP-Link. They can be controlled from anywhere with your smartphone by using the Kasa app, and can be controlled by your voice with Alexa if you have an Echo or device that has the digital assistant.
The bulbs can be plenty bright, with 600 lumens, but offer a dimmable white light. They can be set up to turn on and off with a schedule, thereby making your life that much easier.
Get that smart assistant
By now you are probably aware of the benefits of digital assistants like the Echo, and no doubt they can do plenty. Ask them for the weather, to play music, for information — really, they are impressive gadgets.
One of their best attributes is the ability to control other smart devices, so if you really want to have a smart home, you probably need one. Some are more expensive than others, offering features like video screens and other abilities.
But if you are shopping with a budget, the Echo Dot is the way to go. The 2nd Generation model comes in black or white, and can do it all. Along with the aforementioned things like weather, music and information, Alexa (the assistant) will also help run your smart home.
Furthermore, Alexa can learn more than 50,000 skills, with the assistant continually getting smarter.
Your outlets can be smart, too
You’ve heard of smart devices, sure, and at times may even roll your eyes over what kind of tech has earned the label. But did you ever realize your outlets could be smarter?
These EFUN SH33OW mini smart outlets require no hub and will work with Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control. Whatever appliance is plugged in, you can control it with the sound of your voice.
These outlets come with overload protection and are made of fireproof material, so you can feel safe using them. They can also be controlled from anywhere by using an app, and offer device-sharing functionality so multiple people can control them.
Home security can be smarter
When it comes to home security, it helps to know what is going on at all times. For that, a security camera is necessary.
Some can be quite expensive, but the YI Dome Camera is not. Yet, it provides everything you could want with 720p high-definition video and a 112-degree wide-angle advanced glass lens.
That combines with a 345-degree horizontal and 115-degree vertical rotation range, allowing it to record it all. The camera has advanced infrared night vision and can track subjects all over the room no matter how much light is in it.
Perhaps best of all, it can be monitored with your phone while sending you alerts in real time. It can be controlled with the YI app, which is user-friendly and intuitive in customizing your alerts, bookmarks, camera sharing and more.
This camera will also upload its video to the cloud, with seven days of free storage, so you do not need to worry about an SD card. All you need is reliable Wi-Fi and then with this camera, your home will be monitored in a smarter way.
The dimmer on the wall? It can be smart
Maybe your bulbs aren’t smart, even though they could be. If they aren’t, you could connect them to a smart dimmer, which will control them without you needing to get up.
The Leviton DW6HD-1BZ Decora Smart Wi-Fi dimmer requires no hub and will work with Alexa, Google assistant or a Nest device. As long as you have a Wi-Fi network, it will let you schedule your lights to turn on when you want them, including sunrise and sunset, and easily create fun lighting scenes.
The dimmer can control up to 20 residences, 99 smart devices, 50 rooms, 50 scenes, 50 activities and 50 schedules per account. It can also adjust fade rates, LED activity, preset brightness levels and more.
Better yet, your pre-set schedules live inside each device, so your schedules run as you expect them to. Just make sure it is powered by a 120 V AC, 60 Hz source only.
A smarter oil diffuser? Yep
For many, there is nothing like the feeling of aromatherapy. Using essential oils, some gadgets can diffuse them and permeate the air with a warmth that just makes you feel good.
The Renpho 300ml Wood Grain Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser will get the job done well, and it can be controlled with an app on your smartphone or with your Amazon Echo or Google Home (for now).
It can act as a diffuser, needing several drops of oil into the water in order to fill the room with a lovely fragrance. Without the oil, it will act as a humidifier, adding extra moisture into the room.
The diffuser can work for 6-8 hours with a water tank capacity of 300ml, and it has a wireless auto-off function, which will lead it to turn off automatically when water runs out.
Monitor your eggs smartly
Have any of us not bought eggs, kind of forgotten about them and then wondered if they were still good? The listed expiration date is not exactly set in stone, and it’s kind of a pain to do the trick where we put them inside a bowl filled with water to see if they float.
With the Quirky Egg Minder, you will never have to worry about that or if you even have enough eggs to do what you need. It syncs with your smartphone to tell you how many eggs are left as well as when they are going bad.
The Egg Minder has in-tray LED lights that will indicate which egg is your oldest, and you can have it set to send you push notifications for when you are running low.
Light up your life
Want to make your room look even better? Prefer to do it with minimal effort?
If so, this Wi-Fi light strip is for you. It can be controlled via a smart home device like a Google Home or Amazon Echo as well as your smartphone. It offers a timer mode, but you can also set them to light based on the rhythm of music in your smartphone.
The strip of lights can be turned on and off, yes, but also dimmed or brightened. With 16 million colors to choose from, the possibilities are endless, and they are a great addition to any room or backyard setup.
More security is never a bad thing
You may not be familiar with the brand, but in terms of features the Wyze Cam provides pretty much everything you could want. It films in 1080p HD and is great for your front door, kid’s room or anywhere else you may want to put it, as long as it’s inside.
The Wyze Cam works with Alexa, and it has night vision that works up to 30 feet away. It connects to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, and features a motion-tagging technology that detects and outlines motion in both live stream and playback video modes.
The motion and sound detection also comes with free rolling 14-day cloud storage, and through the Wyze App — which works for both iOS and Android — you can manage and share multiple cameras.
Control power remotely
Most of us have power strips in our homes, as they are an efficient way of plugging in multiple devices when outlets are scarce. Some act as surge protectors as well, though the best tend to be pretty pricey.
This one is not, though, and it does more than most power strips can even dream about. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home and IFTTT, allowing you to take further control over appliances that are plugged into it.
It also has USB ports, which will help you keep your devices charged, and has surge protection, overload protection, fire resistance and over 5,000 times plug resistance. The strip can support 110-240V, with a 10A maximum load and can have timers set to power electronics on or off as needed.