What are the best smart home devices?

Posted by Janine Lam on

Futuristic Smart Home

This blog post was generously contributed by Jennifer Karami of Redfin.

The smart home used to be the stuff of science fiction. Moviegoers watched as Tony Stark controlled his mansion with nothing more than his voice, or wished they could have the type of technology that made Batman’s life so amazing. These days, you don’t have to be a billionaire business owner or an eccentric crime fighter to create the ultimate smart home – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and the Apple Home Kit have put home automation within reach of nearly anyone.

Home automation is not only cool, it’s practical, sustainable, and can even reduce your utility bill by saving energy costs. If you’re planning to sell your home, smart home technology can add value and make it look more upscale. There are plenty of smart home accessories on the market today to suit a variety of household functions, including entertainment, cooking, pets, security, energy conservation, and more.

Best smart home devices for entertainment

Since most modern TVs, stereos, and entertainment devices are already Wi-Fi enabled, your living room is a natural place to start building your smart home ecosystem. There are plenty of smart home devices to tie your home entertainment experience together, like the Sonos Soundbar, a smartphone-controlled speaker that sits right under your TV. Pair it with sub-woofers for a truly immersive home theater system.

Speaking of home theaters, Samsung offers surround sound systems that are Wi-Fi enabled. Roku players are streaming devices you connect to a TV with HDMI, enabling you to stream content from Hulu, Netflix, HBO, etc. Imagine walking into your living room and saying, “Alexa, play Game of Thrones,” and having your TV and surround sound turn on instantly to start streaming. Family movie nights just got better.

Best smart home devices for cooking

Smart home kitchen technology is a huge market, and for good reason. Imagine waking up to a pot of freshly brewed coffee every weekday, ready before you’re even out of bed. This dream can be reality with a smart coffee maker by WeMo. Just auto-program it to brew at the same time every morning and enjoy snoozing an extra 15 minutes.

Sure, Alexa can make you a grocery list on command, but there’s nothing worse than being at the store and not being able to remember if you’re out of eggs or milk. Enter the Smarter FridgeCam - a camera that lets you see the contents of your fridge from anywhere via an app on your smartphone. Smart technology at its finest.

Love cooking, but hate taking out all your measuring tools? The Drop Scale measures ingredients for you to make following recipes a breeze. If you’re more of a one-and-done person when it comes to meals, consider the smart crock pot that cooks your meal while you’re out at work. This device lets you change the settings on your crock pot from anywhere via a smartphone app.

Best smart home devices for pets

Smart technology isn’t just for humans. Self-cleaning litter boxes like Litter-Robot separate the waste from the litter and monitor your cat’s litter box usage through an app. Set automatic feeding schedules for your dog or cat with the Smart Feed, which you control through your phone (no Alexa integration yet).

Let your dog come and go with ease (and keep the cat in) with the Petsafe smart door, a doggy door that opens via a small “key” you attach to your dog’s collar. Smart collars like the LINK AKC are GPS-enabled to track your dogs location from an app, giving you ultimate peace of mind.

Best smart home devices for security

Protect your home, inside and out, with smart home security gadgets. Systems like Simpli Safe come equipped with motion sensors and alarms to scare off intruders. When the security system is triggered, it alerts you via a phone app and begins recording, catching criminals on camera. Burglars beware!

Speaking of cameras, the Logitech Circle camera helps you keep an eye on your front porch and make sure packages don’t get stolen. It can also be used indoors to make sure your small children, pets, etc. stay safe.

Forgot the keys? It’s no problem with a smart lock like the August, which lets you lock and unlock the door remotely, gain keyless entry, grant guest access, and more.

Best smart home devices for saving energy

Smart home technology makes it easier to be green at home. From light bulbs to thermostats, these energy-saving smart home devices keep you comfortable while saving money on your electric bill.

No more unplugging your appliances when you leave for the day - smart outlets turn on and off automatically, saving electricity when not in use.

A smart thermostat programs itself based on your schedule and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Downstairs always cold? It can heat and cool individual areas depending on where you spend your time. Smart thermostats are environmentally friendly and pay for themselves relatively quickly.

Turning off the lights when you leave a room is an easy way to conserve energy, but it’s hard to remember in practice. Enter the smart light switch, which controls the lights automatically. Similarly, smart bulbs like the Philips Hue light bulb make it easy to turn on all the lights at the same time, and can even change colors on command.

Automate your existing shades and blinds with the SOMA Smart Shades. This device is controlled through an app, where you slide your finger to the desired amount of coverage. Or, just use your voice to tell Siri to “Close the blinds.” Voila!

Basement prone to flooding? A smart water sensor like the GROHE detects water leaks early, preventing flooding and costly structural damage to your home.

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