Sound-Off: 10 Best Smart Home Devices

Sep 11, 2018

Category: Tech

There’s never been a better time to be a homeowner — convenience wise that is. Because if we’re concerning ourselves with the costs of purchasing a new home, well that’s a different story altogether. Instead, we’re talking about streamlining the home’s basic functionality by voice activation, a double-tap, or swipe on a smartphone. And it’s all thanks to smart speakers. Yes, the future is here in a big way and we’re telling you there’s no better way to work smarter — not harder — than to have the perfect home fitted with smart home devices.

That’s where this roundup comes in handy, for we decided that in addition to a smart speaker system, it would benefit the great majority of us homeowners and renters out there if we upped the capabilities of our dwellings — no matter how large or small. What’s left are 10 great entry devices to get started outfitting the homestead in a more intelligent and efficient manner. Because, after all, isn’t that what living in the future is all about?

Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug

Speaking of futuristic hands-free living, Belkin’s Wemo Smart Plug is something every homeowner should now have at their fingertips. Meaning, this handy device grants you control over various electronics right from a smartphone or tablet through your home’s WiFi network. This works with heaters, lamps, fans, appliances, and more. Literally, just plug in and control remotely with ease. The device also pairs with Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control to top things off.

Purchase: $50

Phillips Hue White Smart Bulbs

Made right here in the USA, these smart speaker-compatible light bulbs allow for voice-activated mood-altering at a moment’s notice. With the starter kit, you can now set timers to dim and activate the lights accordingly depending on the time of day, control the settings via a smartphone, or ever request Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to dim the lights for you. Not a bad way to instantly enhance your home living experience.

Purchase: $70

Amazon Echo 2nd Gen

The nucleus of the whole operation. And while there are several smart speaker options out there, we’ve found that for most homeowners, Amazon’s Echo offers the most compatibility with smart home devices. Better yet, the 2nd Generation Echo now comes equipped with a new speaker with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and mighty fine bass response — making it ideal for playing music on demand. Other notable features on the 2nd Generation Echo include seven microphones, beamforming technology, noise cancellation, and thousands of skills for you to choose from.

Purchase: $99

Gogogate 2 Smart Garage Door Controller

For those of us who have a garage door, Gogogate is a highly utilitarian way to remotely control both garage doors and gates from a smartphone, tablet or PC. They’re also quite easy to install and feature several monitoring systems including door status, temperature, scheduling, and video monitoring integration with an existing IP camera. The Gogogate can also house up to 10 different user accounts for free.

Purchase: $100

Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm

Here’s an essential item no matter where you live. A smoke alarm is a life-saving device that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Luckily, Nest offers up their smart smoke alarm that comes complete with a display function to show you the temperature, weather, and time as well as hosting a speak function that tells you exactly where the smoke is coming from so the right decisions can be made. It’s also available in four colorways to help match any style or theme.

Purchase: $119

Nest Outdoor Security Camera

Say goodbye to unsightly and bulky security cameras for good. Thankfully, Nest’s Outdoor Security Camera helps set your mind at ease without creating an unsightly exterior. With the sleek option, enjoy notifications from its motion sensors and deter potential intruders via a built-in speaker and mic within the device. Best of all, the weatherproof system pairs seamlessly with Amazon Alexa and stores up to 30 days of continuous video history in the cloud for your reference.

Purchase: $166

Ring Video Doorbell 2

No longer will that doorbell ring present a mystery. Pair nifty and style-forward Ring Video Doorbell 2 device with Amazon Alexa to launch real-time video with your voice when the bell tolls. Once initiated, you’re then free to see, hear, and speak to your guest from a phone, tablet, or PC. Alerts are also sent when motion is detected, and the device features infrared night vision and lets you check in on your property at any time, even when you’re away on an outdoor adventure.

Purchase: $199

Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller

With the right equipment, the grass is actually always greener. And with the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller, it’s more efficient too. That’s because this easy-to-install system offers precise remote control to run, pause or skip a watering, a guided schedule to optimize use, automotive hyperlocal adjustments, and Weather Intelligence to adjust watering schedules based on your local forecast.

Purchase: $230

Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

Heating and cooling a home can really run up the electric bill. That’s where ecobee4’s Smart Thermostat comes in handy — claiming to save homeowner upward of 23% annually on their heating and cooling costs. And while the utility companies won’t like it, we find this smart thermostat to be a lifesaver thanks to room sensors that will control heating/cooling in the parts of the home that need it most. Additional features include remote control compatibility via tablets, phones, or even smartwatches and compatibility with Alexa — a thoughtful design to boot of course.

Purchase: $234

Bose Soundbar 500

For those looking for a state-of-the-art home theater experience, there’s Bose’s all-new Soundbar 500. Not only does this device live up to the Bose reputation, it features Amazon Alexa built right into the operating system. That, of course, peppered with Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, a thin design, superior voice pickup, HDMI connectivity, multi-room music capabilities, and a personalized Bose music app all make this soundbar an entertainment essential for the lounge area.

Purchase: $550

A Complete Guide To The Best Smart Speakers

Need a little help choosing the smart speaker that’s right for your home? Be sure to check out this guide to the best home smart speakers to determine where Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri fit into your life.

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