Cool Gadgets For Every Room In The House
Tech Tools For A Super Smart Home
Now that the holidays are a beautiful memory, are you finding yourself dreaming of all those gadgety tech gifts that you didn’t find under the Christmas tree or stuffed in your stocking? Why not kick off the new year by spoiling yourself with a few of those hot technology offerings that didn’t get checked off your holiday wish list? I’ve selected a few smart systems and devices that will add comfort, convenience, and a “cool factor” to every room in the house. (Please note this is not an advertisement or endorsement for these specific products, but rather just some of my personal favorites.)
Ensure safety with these smart security upgrades.
Smart Lighting: Ring, a company best known for its video doorbells, has added smart lights to its series of integrated devices. Their Smart Light System includes motion sensors, pathlights, spotlights, and even step lights, which can be turned on and off using voice commands when paired with an Amazon Alexa device. Users may opt to receive a notification when motion is detected on the premises, and – if integrated with Ring security cameras – access a live video stream for an added layer of security. Systems start at $69.99.
Video Doorbell: Video doorbells have become increasingly popular security enhancements for homes, and for good reason. Homeowners can detect activity at their front door while away, view visitors via video stream, and communicate without opening the door. Since Ring released its first smart doorbell in 2013, a number of competitors have entered the market. For instance, the Nest Hello Video Doorbell has some unique features – like facial recognition, package detection, and pre-recorded quick responses. Retails for $229.
Smart Lock: Smart locks are a great way to ensure your friends and family are never left out in the cold, and the August Smart Lock Pro+ Connect is among the most highly rated. One of the easiest models to install, it pairs with an existing deadbolt and enables users to lock and unlock their doors remotely with an app on their phone. And with the auto-lock/unlock feature, it can be set to open automatically upon approach and relock after entry. Retails for $279.
These fun and functional gadgets are perfect for anyone who is big on style, but short on time.
Automated Planter: Thanks to advancements in technology, caring for household plants is easier than ever. Perfect for frequent travelers or forgetful friends, the Dewplanter uses moisture in the air to water plants without manual intervention. Now nature lovers can enjoy the beauty and health benefits of houseplants without the hassle. Plus, for each unit sold, the company pledges to plant a tree somewhere it’s needed. Retails for $69.50. (Photo courtesy of Dewplanter.)
Smart Art: Instead of buying a single painting for your wall space, why not display 30,000? With the Meural Canvas, you can access an extensive collection of artwork from around the world to display digitally in your own home. Meural utilizes proprietary technology to deliver an anti-glare matte display that automatically adjusts to the lighting in the room. Personal artwork and photographs can be showcased, as well. Retails for $445 with annual membership.
Motorized Shades: Motorized window coverings aren’t new, but a lower price point and enhanced features have helped to boost their popularity. The latest motorized shades from Somfy can be pre-programmed to raise or lower at certain times of the day or controlled on-demand via a remote, smartphone app, or voice command when paired with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. They can also be set to operate automatically in response to the amount of sunlight or temperature of the room. Contact a dealer for pricing.
These kitchen gadgets make life a little easier, and a lot more enjoyable.
Pressure Cooker: Have you jumped on the multi-cooker bandwagon yet? If so, you know how fast and simple these multi-functional appliances make meal preparation. The InstantPot Duo is a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker all-in-one. It reduces cooking time and lowers energy consumption. Who wouldn’t love one of these versatile tools? With numerous cookbooks and blogs devoted to InstantPot recipes, the meal options are virtually endless. Retails for $99.95.
Cocktail Machine: Cocktail connoisseurs will appreciate the ease and convenience of the Bartesian Premium Cocktail Machine. Listed among “Oprah’s Favorite Things” for 2019, the Bartesian mixes drinks with the touch of a button. Simply fill the canisters with base spirits, choose a cocktail capsule, and the machine does the rest. Now you can mix a margarita, whiskey sour, cosmopolitan, and other favorites as easily as you brew a cup of coffee. Retails for $349.
Smart Refrigerator: Kitchens are often called the “heart of the home,” and a new refrigerator from Samsung aims to be the hub. The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator helps busy families stay organized. Grocery shopping becomes a breeze with built-in cameras that allow owners to peek inside their fridge from anywhere. The interactive touchscreen displays pictures, notes, and reminders for family members. And the integrated SmartThings app enables users to control smart devices and appliances from a central point. Base model starts at $3,099.
Wake up refreshed with these smart devices for the bedroom.
Baby Sleep Soother: As any parent knows, when your baby isn’t getting sleep, neither are you. Help everyone in the family catch some zzzzs with a Bubzi Co Soothing Owl. This cuddly creature plays lullabies while projecting a starry scene on the bedroom wall to calm young children and help them drift off to sleep. And for every purchase, Bubzi Co makes a donation to Postpartum Support International. Retails for $30.95.
Sunrise Alarm Clock: Hate getting up in the morning? Alarm clocks that utilize light instead of a noisy alarm can provide a more peaceful transition in and out of sleep. The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light includes customizable sunrise and sunset simulation, guided breathing exercises, and sensors that track room conditions like temperature, humidity, noise, and light. Retails for $199.95.
Smart Thermostat: Temperature fluctuations during the night can disrupt sleep. The Nest Learning Thermostat uses smart technology to track a user’s preferences and build a schedule around them. Place one of its integrated sensors in your bedroom to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the night. And Nest thermostats cut energy consumption, so you’ll rest easier knowing you’re saving the planet and money on utility bills. Retails for $249.
Bathrooms don’t have to be boring. Technology can add flair to your daily routine.
Waterproof Speaker: Music enthusiasts and podcast fans will enjoy streaming their favorites in the shower with a wireless waterproof speaker. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a mid-priced and versatile option that can go from the bath to the beach. It packs an impressive 13-hour battery life in a small, portable case that’s waterproof, dust-proof, and floatable. Retails for $99.99.
Digital Smart Scale: Diet and fitness enthusiasts may appreciate the high-tech features available with the Withings Body+. This scale tracks weight, body water, fat, muscle, and bone mass for up to eight users. It can also be set to display local weather and the previous day’s step count. Customized pregnancy and baby modes make this a suitable choice for a growing family, as well. Retails for $99.95.
Considering a permanent technology upgrade for your own home? Buyer expectations and preferences vary depending on price point, architectural style, and neighborhood. Consider contacting a realtor first, as he or she can help you determine how the enhancement will impact the value of your home before you make the investment.