We’ve rounded up nine of the latest and greatest technological offerings that will make your life easier and help bring your home further into the 21st century.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could start your coffee maker just as soon as you hit snooze on your alarm? Well, with a smart coffee maker, that dream can very much become a reality—as can heating up the shower on the way home from the gym, preheating the oven as you checkout at the grocery store, or even seeing who’s at the door while you’re on vacation. In the name of a smart home, almost everything you can find around your house today is available as an upgraded, Wi-Fi-connected version you can control via your smartphone.
And as amazing as it seems, deciding which appliances and products to upgrade can be an overwhelming experience. Which items are actually worth the extra money to modernize? In search of an answer, we reached out to tech experts and influencers to find out which smart home products simplified their lives. Here, their favorites.
“These wireless security cameras run off batteries (which last for months) and have a clever magnetic mount, so it's a breeze to stick one near your door, above a garage, or other places where a camera that plugs into the wall would be impractical. When there's activity, you can check it out from anywhere using the Arlo smartphone app.” – Harry McCracken, technology editor at Fast Company and founder of Technologizer.
To buy: From $215 for a two-camera kit; amazon.com.
“I love our Alexa. Couldn't live without her when cooking, listening to music, or getting information. When I'm away and in a hotel, I often find myself asking Alexa what the weather is to an empty room. Sad.” – Sarah Chipps, co-founder of Girl Develop It and CEO of Jewelbots
To buy: $180; amazon.com.
Philips Hue Lighting System
June Intelligent Oven
“It is a connected oven that is crazy expensive, but awesome because it makes both my husband and I better cooks. The oven has sensors in its feet that act like a scale, and a temperature probe that goes into your food. It also has a camera that recognizes what food you put into the oven and then automatically takes the food's weight, temperature, and content into account and cooks it perfectly. It's awesome. Even our toast turns out better.” – Stacey Higgenbotham, creator of the Internet of Things Podcast.
To buy: $1,495; amazon.com.
MyQ Garage Door Sensor
“The product attaches to your existing garage door opener and requires that you place a sensor on your garage door. Total install takes about 10 minutes, and then you have the ability to see if your garage door is open or closed. You can use the app to remotely open and close the door, but the real value is that you can get alerts when you leave your garage door open for a set amount of time. I set mine to 15 minutes, so if I forget to close the garage door I get a notification on my phone and can then go to the app to close the door. For people worried about garage break-ins into their garage or if they enter their home using the garage, this product is great.” – Stacey Higginbotham
To buy: $85; amazon.com.
Viio Hi-Tech Mirrors
“I think that this smart mirror is the ultimate combination of geek and glam. It has a modern style that looks gorgeous in any room, and is also embedded with high-tech features including touch screen LED surround lights, anti-fog capability, speakers to listen to music or even take a phone call hands free. This is one home gadget that makes my NYC apartment feel like a glamorous hotel suite.” – Katie Linendoll, tech expert and contributor to the TODAY Show, CNN, and Huffington Post.
To buy: starting from $395; viiomirrors.com.
iRobot Roomba 980
“I'm a hardworking single lady, but this little vacuum robot is the hardest working member of my household. It's efficient, works smart, and is way less noisy than most vacuums. I love it so much I wish we could be pals. It's great for the everyday sweep of your apartment and in between deep cleanings.” — Aminatou Sow, digital strategist, co-host of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, and co-founder of Tech LadyMafia.
To buy: $898; amazon.com.
iHome Smart Plug
“As far as smart home products go, right now I like the smart switch. It plugs into any outlet and can make a 'dumb' appliance smart. I like it because it allows anyone to get into the whole smart home concept without investing a lot of money—plus, it's not super complicated if you don't consider yourself a techie. Using the companion app, a smart switch can do quite a bit! They can turn appliances (coffee makers, lamps, etc.) on or off, dim lights, and let you know which appliance is using the most energy in your home. It connects to Siri and Alexa as well, so you can use voice control.” — Stephanie Humphrey, tech expert and contributor to The Harry Show.
To buy: $38; amazon.com.