The average home is slowly becoming smarter and smarter as our technology-driven world slowly becomes more integrated into our homes. This could be anything from smart lights to advanced cookers and slowly simple appliances are becoming full of new innovative features. We take a look at some of the most popular and useful home gadgets available today which you should consider from your home.
Nest’s first product, the learning thermostat, looks sensational and works like a dream. Twist the dial to turn the heating up or down and click the screen to adjust settings. Or do it all from the Android or iPhone app. If you have Alexa or Google Home, you can tell it what to do from there, too. It connects to your boiler, for instance, and controls heating and hot water.
You can have it installed professionally for an extra £60, ordered when you buy the thermostat. Nest claims the thermostat saves you money on energy bills by controlling when it’s used and its regular messages telling you how much energy you saved this month compared to last. This is great for better budgeting and understanding where you could save on future bills.
Philips was the first company to create smart lighting and remains at the forefront of the technology. A starter kit gives you a bridge unit that connects to your router and three bulbs which are white only or have white and millions of colours. You can set schedules or turn the lights up gently in the morning to wake up to a sunrise effect, for instance.
The video bell attaches to your door and when the button is pressed it can trigger your existing doorbell or link wirelessly to the Ring Chime bell inside the house. When someone rings the bell, it notifies your phone instantly, and a speaker and microphone mean you can speak to whoever’s there directly.
It has an easily removed rechargeable battery and two choices of metallic faceplate. A video recording plan is available which stores video recordings for up to 60 days (£2.50 a month).
The current king of the smart revolution. The Amazon Echo series of devices have changed the way we interact with our home. From turning on the lights though to playing music the Echo is the ultimate smartphone gadget.
You could argue Amazon helped kickstart the smart home revolution with its Echo, an unassuming talking speaker that has since inspired rival products from Apple, Google, Samsung and just about everyone else.
Those competitors have their uses, but the Amazon Echo remains the top dog – especially given its refresh in 2017 (the standard, smaller Echo remains the best value for money in our opinion). You get tens of thousands of voice commands to play with, compatibility with a whole host of other gadgets, and even a choice of tasteful colours. This is a must have for anyone looking to start their smart home journey.
This is the most elegant smoke and carbon monoxide alarm you’re likely to see. It’s a smart sensor, too, as it can tell the difference between smoke and steam. And instead of the shrill and unpleasant noise most smoke alarms make, this one speaks a warning before the alarm proper goes off. It alerts your phone, too. It comes in two versions, wired and battery-powered.
There are now a host of robot vacuum cleaners to pick from, from the likes of Neato, Dyson, Eufy and more, but iRobot’s Roomba range remains our favourite from the ones we’ve tested: in both the quality of the cleaning and the quality of the companion app.
The Roomba 980 is the top of the range, which means you have to pay the most money but you also get the best clean and the smartest mapping. It’s compact, low-profile design means it can slide under cabinets and sofas, and unlike a lot of robot vacuum cleaners, it actually copes pretty well with carpets as well as harder surfaces.