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Best new home automation tool

Our increased time on site protection has many of us wondering why we no longer have home automation. Take a look at some of these innovative gadgets designed to make life a little easier during these darker days. Prices that follow are current from April 2020.

Power Up

At its most basic level, smart contacts and power strips provide ways to turn devices on and off, but today they have also added features such as WiFi, voice control , energy monitoring and integration with your smart home hub.

These powerful extensions can also support IFTTT applets, allowing your device to perform a function that it could not do on its own. With a variety of manufacturers making these products, prices range from under $ 20 for a simple plug to about $ 80 for a strip.

 automated smart power strip

Home Surveillance Cameras

This is not new technology, but there are some newer developments that do some better than others. Call Video Doorbell is one of the most popular with its easy to install and budget friendly products available. Other options like the Arlo Ultra may be more expensive, but offer some really cool features like color night vision monitoring, 911 single-click connectivity, auto zoom and an integrated spotlight and siren. Arlo Ultra is wireless and a snap to install, but don't forget to budget for the cost of the subscription that can run $ 100-150 per year.

One recent occurrence in the surveillance camera field is Wyze Cam Pan. Cam Pan, which is a cheap alternative to about $ 30, has the nice features of the predecessors of this series of products such as free cloud storage and time recording. This upgrade includes additional pan and tilt movements for better video monitoring, along with IFTTT applet support.

 home security camera lens

home security

Smart locks don & # 39; t run cheap, from $ 150 – $ 200, but isn't peace of mind worth it? These handy gadgets can be connected to WiFi, controlled by remote access via Google Assistant or Alexa, or with simple voice commands.

Security systems such as SimpliSafe offer the homeowner an intermediate plan between traditional, fully monitored systems that require professional installation, and a basic DIY system. Installation is simple and remote monitoring is available with a monthly plan.

Keep Cool / Stay Warm

Nest is a popular smart thermostat, but can run you up to $ 250. A slightly more budget-friendly option is the Ecobee Smart Thermostat with voice control that goes over $ 200. , a user-friendly app, lots of customer support and easy installation.

 smart thermostat in automated home with wooden stairs

Whole air conditioning in the home is a luxury not everyone can afford, and with a climate crisis at our doors this can be harmful for our health and well-being. Thankfully, GE makes a window air conditioner to keep at least one room in your house cool. Equipped with voice commands and remote access, it gets access to location services on the phone to decide when to turn on and off based on your proximity to home.

This feature prevents you from wasting energy when you are away from home, then turns on the AC before you get there for maximum comfort. At under $ 300, it is an expensive option, and installation may require some professional help, but when your comfort is at stake during increasingly hot summers, this can be a life-saving investment.


Smart light bulbs are energy efficient upgrades that can be programmed to follow a lighting scheme and even change colors via a user-friendly app. Instead of smart bulbs, a smart wall switch can be installed for similar benefits. Ecobee Switch + provides extra technology by integrating Amazon Alexa into its switch. It can be controlled using the app and features like Amazon Echo, so you can control other home devices, provide access to news, music and weather.

 automated light with home app on smart phone

Kitchen Convenience

Channel your inner chef with a precision cooker for sous vide cooking or a grill with WiFi connection. Or enjoy the little things by starting the day with your smart coffee maker and a little more in your smart fridge. The Amazon Basics microwave works with Amazon Echo to enable voice capabilities, and while not very powerful, this extra capacity offers more than some of the more expensive counterparts.

Cleaning Up

These little robotic vacuums have been around for a while and their prices seem to have remained in the $ 250- $ 400 range in the lower budget range, to $ 1400 for models with all watches and whistles. Costs can be a deterrent, but if you are determined to have one of these little miracles, shoot for one that will give you more tricks for your money, like the Ecovacs Deebot N79S.

It is compatible with Amazon Alexa, provides an app for control, and delivers powerful cleaning with long battery life. There are even models – robotic mops – for floors or tiles. IRobot Braava m6 can map rooms with carpets and can decide when to sweep or mop. At about $ 500, this convenience comes at a steep price.

 irobot roomba

Health and Fitness

With a variety of portable fitness trackers on the market, a smart scale is a unique device that helps you keep track of your BMI, muscle mass and bone composition. QardioBase2 has a rechargeable battery that lasts for a year, and the information it records can also be read on a phone app for added convenience. For this gadget, you pay about $ 150 to help keep your health under control.

In the Garden

A smart sprinkler control can help you save water by detecting the rain, signaling whether it should turn on or not. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and provides remote access via your phone.

Robotic lawnmowers are not cheap, often costing $ 1,000 and more, but they remove the dust from the lawn maintenance, giving you more time to do more desirable outdoor activities such as doing an edible garden or water feature. A mobile app lets you start and stop it remotely, monitor its movements, schedule when to cut, and even send status alerts that need to be addressed.

2020 has a chaotic start, but maybe a smart organization with these devices will help us feel that we can get things under control.

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