If you’re in the middle of a home improvement drive, why not make your home smarter? With so many new Internet of Things (IoT) devices on the marketplace, you can do things like automate chores and control your entire home with voice commands or with your smartphone.
Make Your Regular Devices Smart with Smart Outlets
A smart outlet, such as the ConnectSense Smart Outlet 2 ($123) or the Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Outdoor Plug ($19.99), is a Wi-Fi connected device that fits over your regular outlets. Controlled with either a free app or with Alexa, you can discontinue power to the outlet with the tap of a button or your voice, turning whatever devices you have plugged into that outlet into pseudo-smart devices. Plug a fan into one in the summer and turn it on 15 minutes before you plan to arrive at home. Or use them to automate your Christmas lights next year. Or to shut down power devices when you’re not using them, cutting down on vampire power.
Another cool thing smart outlets can do is measure the actual power usage of the devices plugged into them, so you can easily track the biggest power users in your home. This can help you make choices about how to reduce your own power usage. Bonus tip: this kind of thing makes for a good science project for elementary school kids.
Beef Up Your Camera Game
We’ve already explained why a doorbell camera is a good investment. But you may also want to put cameras indoors, perhaps for security, perhaps just to monitor things while you’re out. The Wyze Cam V3 ($43.98) is an indoor/outdoor camera with night vision and two-way audio that can fulfil a variety of needs. But there are also camera systems with more specific uses. For example, the Nanit Pro Complete Monitoring System ($499) is the most comprehensive baby monitoring system out there, complete with a camera, breathing monitoring, and a bunch of other unique features. And the Furbo Dog Camera ($249) lets you monitor your dog while you’re out. It even lets you dispense treats.
Automate Yard Work
Automated sprinklers have been around for a long time, but the newest generation of smart sprinklers, such as the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler ($235), have plenty of features, including zone watering, control from your smartphone, and integration with the weather report (so your lawn doesn’t get watered when it’s going to rain anyway). You can also skip lawn mowing if you buy a robotic lawn mower, such as the WORX Landroid M 20V Cordless Robotic Lawn Mower ($1,832). It’s basically a Roomba for your lawn.
Heat and Cool Your Home Automatically
You can turn your thermostat into a smart thermostat and control everything from your phone. Google’s Nest ($329.99) or the EcoBee SmartThermostat ($329.99) will learn your household’s habits and adjust accordingly. You can also adjust things manually or set up a schedule. Or you can cool things off with a smart air conditioner, such as the Midea 8,000BTU U-Shaped Air Conditioner ($993.49), a window unit that can be controlled from your phone or with voice commands.
Monitor Your Water & Air
Leaks can quickly become disasters, so get alerted right away with a leak monitor such as the Flo by Moen ($49.99) or D-Link Leak Sensor ($109.65). These systems come with a number of sensors you place around the home where leaks are likely to develop. If this should happen, you get a notification.
If you’re more into monitoring air quality, consider the Laser Egg 2+ ($229.99) or the Temtop M10 ($114.99). Both devices do things like monitor the air for fine dust particles, formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, toluene, and benzene. They can also give you a reading for the temperature, humidity, and air quality index. Far from being expensive toys, these IoT devices prove that a smarter home can be a safer, more efficient, and healthier home.