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Smart home devices have exploded in popularity over the past five years. Technology has improved rapidly, which has given rise to a wide array of devices that are very good at making our lives easier. This is especially true for the elderly, as innovative products are produced daily. Taking the manual drudge out of some common tasks is always a good thing, providing you are knowledgeable about what is available. Determining the best smart home devices for your situation can sometimes be a difficult task if you aren’t up-to-date with the latest technological improvements. As we all know, technology moves too fast for most people to keep up with the latest changes. Phones, home hubs, thermostats, or even vacuum cleaners are constantly appearing with new features that can make or break their usefulness to users, depending on the situation. Below, you will find a list of some of the best smart home devices currently available that can help you to greatly increase the “intelligence” of your home and make your life easier.
This is the smartest thermostat whose touchscreen display is very responsive and easy to use. Its sensor is proximal and works under remote temperature, thus it’s very easy to detect if someone is at home or away. You can also use this device to track rooms with cold or hot spots. It has web and mobile apps and it is integrated with an apple home kit. Since the purchase of Ecobee4 comes with PEK you can use it to add in the extra C-wire’s functionality without having to rewire the entire HVAC system. Furthermore, this device acts as an Amazon speaker thus it can play your favorite music while it simultaneously controls other devices. Some key features include;
• Far-field recognition technology
• In-built Alexa voice service
• In-built speakers and microphones
• Motion and temperature sensor
The Amazon Echo is one of the most common and affordable smart home devices you’ll find. This is a Bluetooth speaker that is designed to listen to voice commands through Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. The Echo can directly connect to other smart home devices via Alexa to work as a management hub of sorts. This device is unique since it can assist you in setting alarms, answering questions, making calls and even updating your grocery list. Some of the main features include;
• Bluetooth and Wifi connection
• Far-field voice control technology
• Input and output audio connector
• The woofer and a tweeter
• Compatibility with Android and Fire Operating System via Alexa
This is a security camera that can capture live video feeds at a 1080p resolution. Installation is very easy in any room for great real-time motion notifications and for free clip storage. This device can be set in order to monitor some specific motions and receive alerts. It comes with its own stand; therefore, you can place it anywhere in your house including the bookshelves. It consists of the following distinctive features:
• 120 degrees diagonal field view
• 1 RGB and 8 IR LEDs
• In-built speaker and microphone
• Light sensor
• BTLE and wifi connectivity
• The USB port for power
• Android and IOS connectivity via cloud cam app
The Phillips Hue lighting system offers smart lighting for your home and works seamlessly with Siri and Alexa to allow for commands by either your voice or an app to control the light’s intensity and colors. The smart bulbs can be set to give a certain brightness level or color. You can even sync these little beauties to your music for a psychedelic show. Maybe you need a little motivation in the morning to get out of bed? The Phillips Hue can integrate with your alarm to give you one more reason to start your day. Its important features include;
• 600 lumen (9.5W) brightness
• It is expandable up to fifty bulbs per bridge
• Hue bridge and 2 hue A19 single bulbs
• Works with Google Assistant, Alexa, and home kit ecosystems
• Compatible with Android and iOS
Did you know there are smart scales for measuring your weight? The QardioBase 2 is the 2nd generation of QardioBase, a very smart scale that analyzes your body by monitoring water, fat, bone composition, and muscle mass. For moms-to-be, there is even a Pregnancy Mode to allow for a weekly progress tracker and the ability to add pictures to their numbers. The information collected is sent to the smartphone app. This smart home device has a wider base in order to be able to fit people with larger feet. Its sensor system is enhanced for quicker and accurate readings. The QardioBase 2 screen is crisper and brighter for better display of digits and its battery is rechargeable and can last up to twelve months with every charge.
• Automatic detection of different users
• In-build led display of the name of the person and results
• Pacemaker and pregnancy modes
• Qardio App for tracking progress
• Compatible with fitness apps
This is one of the smart home hub devices that compete with Amazon Echo. Google Home incorporates many of the features that you’ll find on the Echo. Unlike the Echo, the Google Home Max focuses on providing better sound for your music and listening pleasure. The larger speaker and more attention to sound, it performs very well at replicating highs and lows. While it may not be up to par for true audiophiles, the sound it produces is impressive and gives the majority of us more than what we need. Moreover, Google assistant ensures you are able to easily issue voice commands, even while listening to tunes at high volume.
• Two high excursion woofers and two tweeters
• Dual-band wifi and Bluetooth connectivity
• Built-in Chromecast
• Light and orientation sensors
• Analog audio input
• Google assistant workings
You can use this device to combine standard wifi protocols or languages like Zigbee for flexibility of your wireless communication setup. You can also connect various Decora switches and dimmers at a time through Z-wave technology. The Samsung SmartThings hub allows you to control a number of devices throughout your home to give you seamless smart technology and efficiency.
• Connection via broadband internet and router
• 2 USB ports
• Ethernet connector
• 15-30m communication range
• One decora smart dimmer
• One decora smart switch
This is a surveillance camera that is designed for your home safety. It offers 1080p HD videos and a 4K sensor with HDR and imaging that is very intelligent for super sight vision. The Nest Cam IQ has a microphone system, speakers and uses invisible LEDs to illuminate your room for a clear vision, even during low-light conditions.
• A sensor with an 8MP camera
• 12 times digital zoom and close up tracking view
• 130 degrees diagonal field view
• In-built LEDs for night vision
• Connection to iOS and Android devices through the Nest app
• IP66-rated for outdoor use
• Bluetooth and wifi connectivity
The Honeywell SkyBell Trim is a smart doorbell that has a built-in camera that enables you to know who is ringing your doorbell without having to check through the windows or peephole. This device is able to integrate the microphones and speakers, so you can speak to that person. It is water resistant and can detect dust and motion. It is also able to connect to your smartphone via the wifi and the skybell app.
• 1080p video at fifteen fps
• 180 degrees field view
• Motion sensor
• 500MB video storage
• Live view and alerts via an app
• Compatible with Honeywell total connect 2.0
This router uses mesh networking technology in order to strengthen your wifi in your rooms. It also uses Google network assistant for faster wireless connection. The Google Wifi router is designed in a compact way so that you can hide it almost anywhere in your house such as shelves or desks. As long as there is a nearby power source, the sleek design allows for easy access to hidden areas. It is very easy to use and set up.
• Automatic security updates
• 2GB Ethernet ports
• Dual- band with high frequencies
• WPA2-PSK Encryption enabled
• Quad-core ARM CPU
• Compatibility with Android devices
There are a few crucial things that you should consider when searching for the best smart home devices in order to avoid purchasing one that won’t do what you need it to. Below are a few overall characteristics you should look out for when selecting the perfect smart home device to meet your needs.
When purchasing a smart home device, reputation is something to consider. You should buy your devices from companies that are fairly popular. Numerous less-reputable companies have emerged that do not have the experience or the manpower to make devices that are as high-quality as what you are used to. Poor security, poor construction, and fewer features are common amongst these devices. Furthermore, buying a variety of brands can often lead to integration issues. It is usually best to find your favorite brand and stick to it, if possible.
Pricing does vary from one outlet to another and therefore, you should pick your price point based on the importance of the device you are purchasing. We often can’t afford everything we want, but there are many devices that can fill a variety of roles. Do some research and you may find you don’t need device A, B, and C when device A does the same job as the others, just not as well. This is especially true for devices such as robot vacuums. While the Neato D7 robot is the cream of the crop, the Roborock E25 performs almost as well for a fraction of the price. They are both two of the best robovacs for cleaning pet hair throughout your house, but one gives you a lot more bang for your buck.
Some devices require a hub in order to connect to the internet while others just connect directly. However, hubs can create a situation of failure because if it goes down so do the other connected devices. Consider avoiding hubs unless that’s the only way your smart devices can connect to your internet. You can just use Bluetooth to connect locally.
Wired or Battery
Some devices use built-in rechargeable batteries while others use power outlets. Battery-powered devices mean that you must keep recharging them although you have much more freedom in where you can place them throughout the home. However, wired devices often work faster and offer more features. You should stick to battery powered if you really need to place your smart device where there is no power outlet, or you need the increased performance that wired devices normally offer.