Have you begun turning your home into a “smart home” yet? I have the pleasure of living with someone who is very invested in the world of smart home products, and he's always looking to try something new to make us lazier and lazier. Newsflash: it's working. We no longer get up to turn off the lights, we don't pull our phones out to play music and we don't even reach for the remote to turn the TV off. Whether you're striving to enjoy your laziness or simply want to embrace the technology available to make your house an ecosystem of connected device, this list of the best smart home products is perfect for you.
Don't worry, it's not actually like that Disney movie Smart House that made me terrified my house was going to turn on me…at least not yet. When adding more products to your home's ecosystem, just make sure to use all of your privacy settings, and hopefully you won't have to worry about your technology turning on you, ha!
We are renters and use a variety of smart home products that we can easily install with minimal work. If you own your home, some of these products can help you take it a step further, and there are many more products out there designed to make your smart home run smoother. Plus, new products are being released all the time!
Now, let's talk shop.
1. Google Home – Our Google Home was our first step into the smart home world, and now we're slowly adding more and more to our ecosystem. Much like Amazon Echo, it's really helpful for making requests to play music, set reminders, ask for weather and directions and a lot more. These assistant devices pair with many other smart home products to create a true “ecosystem” so many things in your home become voice activated. I highly recommend it because we use ours constantly!
2. Nest Thermostat – Nest is a special smart thermostat that also makes your home more energy efficient. It connects with devices like Echo and with your home's Wi-Fi.
3. Harmony All-in-One Hub – If you're anything like us and have a variety of TV services, having a universal remote can be really useful. This Wi-Fi enabled device with a remote and an app help connect your different streaming devices so that you can navigate them with a single remote. We've used it to connect satellite TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick so that we control them all with one remote.
4. Philips Hue Bulbs – These smart light bulbs can be turned on with assistant voice control and must be managed with a hub device, but they allow you to change the color of your lights. Whether it's for a party or just for fun, you can create unique ambience by playing with your lighting.
5. Ring Video Doorbell – If you don't want to get up to look through a peephole when someone rings your doorbell (yes, I've been there!) then a video doorbell is a great solution. It's also great for security purposes because you can see who is at your door even when you're not home, taking the opportunity to scare away potential intruders.
6. iCamera Security Camera – This security device will monitor all activity with motion sensors, and you can access the video through an app on your phone. The next time you're already comfortable in bed and hear a noise outside, you can simply check the cameras right from a smartphone.
7. Kevo Smart Door Lock – Keys are, like, so three years ago. With a smart lock, you can unlock your door with a phone app!
8. PetCube – We got a treat-dispensing PetCube last year and love it! Not only can we check on our cats while we're out of town through the live video feed but we can give them treats. This also means we can give them treats without having to actually go to the cupboard…
9. Google Chromecast – We've had a Chromecast for years and still use it regularly to cast YouTube videos, our browser screen, streaming services or other apps to our TV from a phone or laptop. It pairs with our Harmony Hub so that we can control play/pause functions from our smart remote, and we can even use Google Home commands to cast things to our TV screen.
10. Samsung Smart Hub – Our Samsung SmartThings device helps link your smart home products. For us, it links our Google Home to our Harmony so that we can use Google commands to turn the TV on/off, etc. It can also connect your lights, thermostat, speakers and smart locks.
11. Nest Smoke Alarm – A Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm connects to many other smart home devices (including, of course, other Nest products) and alerts you via an alarm and your smartphone in an emergency or if the batteries are running low, so you don't have to be home to know what's going on.
12. Smart Plugs – Last but not least, there are many smart plugs out there you can use to turn any outlet into a smart device. When you don't want to get up, you can turn on a light or other device plugged into a specific outlet using smart plugs that are connected to a Google Home or Amazon Echo device.
Are you ready to do ALL the things using just your phone or your voice?!