Smart home technology, when it’s done right, should make your life easier—not harder. You should be able to manage your household more efficiently and handle common tasks quicker than before. In some cases, smart home technology might even solve nagging issues that you’ve been struggling with at home for years.
Here are 10 problem-solving smart home gadgets that don’t cost much but can make your life easier.
Robot Vacuum. Anyone with kids or pets has likely established a love-hate relationship with the vacuum cleaner. It cleans up those messes, but operating it can be time consuming. A robot vacuum let you get on to better things while it scoots across hardwood and carpeting, sucking up pet hair, crumbs and anything else in its way. It can be programmed to start at a certain time—returning automatically to its charging dock with its chore is complete.
Video Doorbell. You’re occupied—wielding a wrench, screwing in a light bulb, washing dishes, whatever … when the doorbell rings. No need to scurry to the door. Just tap a button on a smartphone app to connect to a video doorbell mounted on the exterior of your house by the front door. You’ll be able to see who’s there and tell them to stay put for a minute or beat it.
Smart Sprinklers. Setting up a schedule for a sprinkler system to follow has never been easy…unless you spring for one that connects to the Internet and has a smartphone app. The app is much simpler to figure out than the timers on the sprinkler control box; plus, you’ll be able to turn on and off the system whenever you want, wherever you happen to be. For example, it starts raining while you’re at work, you can connect remotely with the irrigation system from your app and interrupt the watering cycle temporarily.
Motion Sensor. One of the most versatile of all smart home gadgets, a motion detector can be used to watch for trespassers, trigger on and off lights, monitor the whereabouts of family members and more.
Wireless Lighting Control System. How many times have you hopped into bed only to realize that you left the kitchen light on? Once you’re in bed it feels like pure torture to haul yourself up and out to the kitchen switch. With a wireless lighting control system you can tap a button on your smartphone or a remote on your nightstand to sweep through the entire house extinguishing any all lights in seconds.
Connected Plug. You left the coffeemaker on in your rush out the door. Don’t come home to the smell of crusty coffee. Instead invest in a little piece of hardware that plugs into an electrical outlet. Plug the coffeemaker into the smart plug and you’ll be able to turn off appliances from your smartphone. It also works for irons, box fans, lamps… and anything else that plugs into an AC outlet.
A Better Router. When everyone’s battling for bandwidth, someone ultimately loses. Don’t risk missing an important work deadline because your Internet connection is spotty. A router that sports multiple bands, multiple radios, and the ability to prioritize which devices gets the biggest chunk of bandwidth can minimize Wi-Fi congestion, extend range, and eradicate dead zones.
App-Controlled Smoke Detector. Cooking creates smoke…sometimes too much smoke … enough smoke to set off the smoke alarm. You can silence the screeching without jabbing the detector with a broomstick when you swap your existing smoke detector for one that can be controlled from a mobile app. You’ll get other benefits too, like receiving notifications when you’re away that it’s ringing and having it signal other smart home devices, like smart light switches, so that the lights flash whenever the alarm is set off.
Keyless Door Lock. It’s late and you’re tired. The house keys have found their way to the bottom of your briefcase. There’s no need to dig for keys when you have a smart door lock. This device, which replaces the existing lock on your door, can be unlocked by punching in a code or by picking up a signal from your smartphone.
Smart Night Light. A stubbed toe in the middle of the night can send you to your knees. Prevent bodily harm during your evening trips to the bathroom and kitchen by plugging a smart night light into an outlet in the hallway. It turns only the second it senses motion and off when you’ve reached your destination.