Gift Guide for the Perfect Smart Home
Smart home technology uses the internet creatively to bring your home goods online. It gives you more control over your home when you’re there and more peace of mind when you’re away. Here are some great gift ideas to make your house a (smart) home.
The hub for most smart homes is some sort of smart speaker, and Amazon’s Echo is a solid offering. In addition to voice commands, smart assistant Alexa, and a host of apps, the Echo comes in options like Echo Show, a tablet focused on home viewing options, or the small and affordable Echo Dot.
Echo Spot is noteworthy on its own. This upcoming Amazon product is an Echo with a screen. It has typical Alexa smart home functions–reading news, playing music, and more. But the screen allows for voice calls, baby monitoring, home security camera monitoring, and more.
Smart thermostats give you unprecedented control over your heating and air. That means more control over your energy bill. Beyond the inherent savings, many cities will incentivize the purchase of a smart thermostat. Nest was the first Energy Star thermostat, and it learns your habits and adjusts itself to save you money. It’s compatible with Alexa, and with Google Home–as well as phones, tablets, and laptops.
Another great smart thermostat option is Ecobee. It doesn’t seem to support Google Home, but it has built-in Alexa. Moreover, it’s compatible with numerous IoT integration systems like Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, IFTTT, and more. It comes with a sensor, and you can purchase additional sensors to place around your house so that it can deliver more air to the rooms that need it most.
Nest Security Cameras
Nest isn’t limited to thermostats. They also have a security camera system that–you guessed it–works with Alexa. They come in indoor and outdoor models. They’re on the expensive side, for sure. But they can let you communicate through a built-in speaker and microphone, and they can send alerts to your phone when they detect activity.
Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Another great way to protect your smart home is with the Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm. These things can send alerts to your phone when they’re low on battery and send warnings to (and be silenced from) your phone. They will also specify what they’re warning you about and where the problem is so you can take appropriate action quickly.
Leeo Smart Remote Monitor
If you want a smart smoke/CO detector without paying Nest prices, Leeo is a great option. It actually works by monitoring your existing alarms and alerting you if one of them goes off. That doesn’t provide the same insight as a Nest, for sure, but it can provide some peace of mind at much lower cost.
Of course, Alexa doesn’t have the market cornered on smart home assistants, and Google Home is also a strong contender. The general consensus is that it holds a conversation better than Alexa does, which makes sense. Google’s been working on AI much longer.
Awair Glow is…a lot of things all at once. It’s an air quality monitor that plugs into the wall. You can plug your fans or air conditioners into it, and if it detects that the air quality drops, it’ll turn the fan on. It also serves as a nightlight, and if you plug a lamp into it, it will turn the lamp on and off on a schedule.
There are several smart light bulbs, but Philips Hue has been in the game for a while and has established some strong credentials. Control light color and intensity from an Amazon, Apple, or Google device with ease, even if you aren’t home.
Fortress Home Security System
If your friend wants the security of a smart alarm system, but they (or you!) don’t want to shell out for cameras, Fortress makes a cool sensor system that detects forceful break-ins, emits a powerful alarm, and calls up to six numbers in the event of a breach.
Fitbit is geared a little more towards “quantified self” than “smart home,” but both ideas are about using tech to centralize information and control in your life. Fitbit measures your pulse, tracks your cardio fitness level, tracks your activities and sleep, reminds you to keep moving, and gives you alerts about texts and calls.
A smart doorbell offers light security features, as well as convenience. The Netvue doorbell includes an HD video camera, as well as two-way audio capabilities so you know who’s visiting–even when you’re not at home. It’s compatible with Apple, Android, and Alexa.
August Smart Lock
The August Smart Lock is another great way to have peace of mind on the go. This lock automatically locks and unlocks as you leave and return. You can allow and rescind visitor access. You can track who comes and goes, and you can give voice commands with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant.