Smart home gadgets aren’t just for spaceships or the ultra-modern home of the future. Today’s smart home technology is more affordable than ever, and better yet, most devices don’t require an advanced technical skillset to install and operate.
And if you think smart home products offer nothing but a cool factor, think again: smart home tech can save you money, and it’s also a huge selling point for potential homebuyers if you eventually sell your home.
Here are our picks for the best smart home products for a more high-tech, connected home.
1. iHome iSP6X SmartPlug
Perhaps you’re not entirely sold on smart home tech. If that’s the case, a smart plug is a low-cost way to test the waters. The iHome iSP6X SmartPlug instantly makes any device smarter, and using it is as straightforward as it gets:
• WiFi-enabled, so installation is as easy as plugging the SmartPlug into an existing outlet.
• Use the iHome Control app to remotely control lamps, fans, heaters, window A/C units, small kitchen appliances, holiday decorations and more.
• Safe to use with devices and appliances up to 1800 watts.
• Fits into any standard 120-volt outlet, leaving the second outlet accessible and able to fit a second SmartPlug.
• Create “scenes” to control multiple devices at the same time.
• Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and other smart home hubs.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fresh pot of coffee brewing every morning before you’re even out of bed? Or to doublecheck that your slow cooker is turned on while you’re at work? The iHome iSP6X SmartPlug is simple to set up, reliable and affordable. Who knew making your home so smart could be so easy?
The Ecobee4 is an Energy Star certified smart thermostat that keeps your home at a comfortable temperature and automatically adjusts to use energy more efficiently. The Ecobee saves customers up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs with the help of a few unique features:
• A room sensor monitors room occupancy to keep the temperature comfortable.
• Built-in Amazon Alexa enables the device to perform Alexa commands, like changing the temperature, setting a timer or updating your grocery list.
• Embedded microphones and a clear speaker ensure the thermostat can hear you from across the room, and vice versa.
• Hardwired design means you’ll never have to worry about charging or changing batteries.
• Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and more.
• Use the app to adjust temperature settings on-the-go, view energy reports and tell your device when you’re going on vacation.
Homeowners who don’t want to shell out for an Ecobee4 can spring for a less expensive, but just as high-tech Ecobee3 lite. It doesn’t have the Amazon Alexa integration, and room sensors must be purchased separately.
3. Lutron Caséta
Smart lighting is a practical foray into the smart home game. There are several Lutron Caséta starter kits on the market, but you’ll need to start with the Smart Bridge, which is required for the system to work. You can build on from there.
The Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch 2 Count Starter Kit provides smart lighting in up to two rooms and offers quite a few futuristic features:
• Wall plates turn lights on, off and control the dimmers.
• Wireless remotes allow you to control Lutron lighting, automated window treatments and audio systems.
• Geofencing capabilities enable you to turn lights on or off as you’re arriving home or after you leave.
• Lights automatically adjust with daylight saving time and changing seasons.
• Smart Away feature turns lights on and off randomly when you’re traveling.
• Scene settings allow you to change the lights to specific settings.
• Control multiple Lutron systems in your home through the same app.
Caséta is reliable and works well with other smart home apps and hardware. It’s also been tested and recommended for use with more than 1,000 dimmable LED, incandescent and halogen bulbs. Plus, once you’ve programmed your lights within the app, you can control them through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and several other smart home hubs.
4. Nest Hello
The Nest Hello is part doorbell, part surveillance camera and while it’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, you really get what you pay for. At just under 2 inches wide, its sleek, streamlined design fits nicely on slimmer doorframes.
Several features make this smart doorbell a standout:
• 24/7 live video feed can be viewed from your smartphone or computer.
• Receive push notifications or emails when the camera detects motion, sees a person or hears a loud sound.
• Two-way audio allows you to converse with your visitor.
• View up to 3 hours of archived video playback for free.
• Scheduling and geofencing will enable you to control when the camera is on and off.
• Nest Aware paid subscription uses facial recognition to tell you who is at your door and allows you to view older archived footage.
It’s also hardwired, so although you won’t have to worry about charging it, it could be challenging for DIY neophytes to install. Still, the Nest’s step-by-step setup instructions are pretty straightforward.
The Nest Hello is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Nest’s entire lineup of smart home gadgets. Add on the Nest x Yale Lock, and you can lock or unlock your door wherever you are, as long as your lock is connected to the internet.
5. Dyson Pure Cool Tower Air Purifier
Pollutants inside the home can be worse than those outside. Dyson’s Pure Cool Tower Air Purifier automatically senses and captures 99.97% of particle pollutants like pollen, odors and gases, and specifies which pollutants are detected. Sealed HEPA and carbon filter zap up pollutants, and the machine projects 77 gallons of purified air every second, reaching virtually every corner of a room.
The Pure Cool has a cooling setting that can be turned on or off, and Dyson also makes a Pure Hot + Cool air purifier that has heating and cooling settings. Night-time mode activates quiet settings and automatically dims the display.
Use the Dyson Link app to:
• Monitor indoor and outdoor pollution levels, as well as which pollutants are present.
• Set a schedule.
• Check the status of your filter.
• Control your Pure Cool whether you’re halfway around the world or across the room.
The Pure Cool is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and since it’s a smart device, it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa. If you want to increase fan speed, turn on the cooling setting or shift to night-time mode, all you have to do is ask.
6. Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed
The Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed looks like your average spring mattress, but it’s actually constructed with a motor and air tubes that adjust the bed’s firmness. It’s an extremely comfortable mattress, but that’s merely the tip of the iceberg.
The 360 Smart Bed and accompanying SleepIQ app come loaded with all the bells and whistles you need to sleep better. The SleepIQ app lets you:
• Set sleep goals and establish better sleep habits.
• Monitor your heart and breath rates.
• Track your personal sleep metrics.
• Adjust your Sleep Number.
• Toggle the Responsive Air feature, which automatically adjusts firmness based on your movements.
When you wake up, the SleepIQ app offers insight into how you slept that night, revealing how much restful sleep you got and how much time you spent tossing and turning. It also integrates with Apple Health, Fitbit, Nest and several other apps and devices. All in all, the 360 Smart Bed is a worthy investment if you struggle with getting quality sleep or experience neck or back pain.
7. Lutron Serena Smart Shades
Build on to your Lutron Caséta Smart Bridge with the Serena smart shades, which make any home feel more connected. With more than 150 fabrics to choose from, these motorized smart shades are sure to match your home’s style, but there’s more to the Serena shades than just looking good:
• Control shades with a remote or from anywhere in the world with the Lutron app.
• Battery-powered with store-bought batteries you’ll rarely have to replace.
• No wires, which means low maintenance and easy installation.
• Set scenes to control multiple shades and lights and schedule shades to adjust at certain times of day.
• Geofencing capabilities allow you to control shades based on your location.
Like other Lutron products, the Serena smart shades are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and other smart home hubs.
8. Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector
The Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector uses multi-sensor detection to detect water, humidity and temperature, preventing potential flooding or leaking under sinks, in basements and near plumbing, toilets, water heaters, dishwashers and other appliances.
The low-profile device blends into its surroundings and lasts more than 3 years with replaceable AAA batteries. You’ll receive a push notification to your smartphone if the device detects water, helping you prevent costly water damage. It can also detect freezing in cold climates.
9. Kwikset Kevo
Who needs a house key when you have a smartphone? The Kwikset Kevo deadbolt pairs with your smartphone and unlocks with a touch of your finger when it detects you within range. No more fumbling with your keys!
• Bluetooth Smart Lock recognizes you approaching the front door and will unlock when touched.
• App sends push notifications that track who is locking and unlocking the door.
• Send an eKey to give a friend, family member or house sitter access to your home if you’re at work, on vacation or away from home.
• Unlock with a traditional key or a Kevo fob, which can be purchased separately and offers the same touch access—smartphone not required.
Users can also pay a one-time fee to upgrade to the Kevo Plus, which enables remote access and monitoring from anywhere in the world all through the app.
SimpliSafe is an easy entry into smart home security systems. It keeps your home safe from intruders, fires and water damage, and there are no long-term contracts.
The Essentials is SimpliSafe’s most popular system, which comes with a base station, keypad, one motion sensor and three entry sensors to equip your home’s main entry points. SimpliSafe’s packages are convenient one-stop-shop security systems for a few reasons:
• Arm and disarm your system from your smartphone.
• Sensors and cameras are discreet and precise, able to differentiate pets from intruders.
• No long-term contracts or phone lines necessary.
• Six SimpliSafe monitoring centers and power outage protection keep your home protected 24/7, even in a blackout.
• System add-ons include a panic button, smoke detector, carbon monoxide sensor, water sensor, key fob and more.
You could also build your own SimpliSafe system or save money by going with a refurbished model.
Save on Homeowners Insurance With Protective Device Discounts
Smart home devices don’t just look cool—some of them can save you money! Outfitting your home with devices like a smart security system, water leak detector, fire alarm and other water and theft protection tech can earn you a protective device discount, reducing your rate.
Have questions about how your smart home devices could save you money on your homeowners insurance policy? Call 1-800-499-3612 or visit a Homegrown Pro in your neighborhood to learn more about how you could save.