Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 is the year of the home. Since we’re spending a lot of time in those four walls, they might as well be super smart.
So this year, we take special pleasure in presenting a list of the best smart home gadgets to automate your home. Some are simpler and less expensive than others: on the easier side are setting up a lamp to turn on and off, while advanced surveillance cameras require more time and money.
The following are perfect for gifting to friends and family or just boosting your spirits for that one more weekend hanging out at home.
Dog camera by Furbo
Dog owners, treat yourself and your best friend to this one. This camera doubles as a dog sitter and indoor home security camera with barking alerts and the ability to hear and talk to your pooch. Not only does this camera offer a 1080p livestream video you can use to watch your pet morning, afternoon, or night; it also lets you toss treats to your furry friend remotely.
Nest Hello Smart WiFi lets you see who is at your door without leaving the couch. By using an app on your phone, you can see who is outside your door 24/7, even if you’re not home.
RemoBell S is a slim device that gives you on-demand HD video, free cloud recording, support for Alexa and Google voice commands, and interoperability with some other smart home devices. While it uses your existing doorbell wiring, it is still relatively easy to install and priced right.
Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s handy voice assistant. You can use Alexa to control most of the gadgets in your house with the sound of your voice. If you want a touch screen to see search results and make video calls, check out the Echo Show 10, Echo Show 8, or Echo Show 5.
Nest Hub is Google’s line of speakers and smart displays. They range from the Google Home Max with big room sound to the smaller Nest Audio, Nest Mini, and Nest Hub. In a range of prices they put Google Assistant in every room of the house.
Sonos One supports both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The sound quality outshines the other speakers for the money and it connects with other Sonos speakers like the Arc, Beam, and Move to deliver superior sound quality and voice assistant access indoors and out.
Home security cameras
Arlo Ultra streams and records video in true 4K, or Ultra High Definition (UHD), and includes automatic zooming, motion tracking, color night vision, an integrated spotlight and siren, one-click 911 connectivity, and a 180-degree field of view. It’s also completely wireless and easy to install.
Wyze Cam Outdoor delivers sharp 1080p video for a lower price than many competitive models. It supports Alexa and Google voice commands, works with other smart devices using IFTTT applets, and interacts with other Wyze products.
SimCam 1S does all of the great stuff of other systems plus uses face recognition to tell you who is coming and going, and will send smart alerts that differentiate between people, cars, and pets.
SimpliSafe Home Security System is between a self-monitored DIY security system and a professionally installed and monitored solution. Easy to set up and use, the system lets you monitor remotely on your own or with an affordable monthly plan.
Useful and fun home gadgets
The Brava Oven cooks food in ten different ways, has lots of automatic cooking presets for both ingredients and meals, and features built-in cameras for watching your food cook on your smartphone.
The Wyze Scale connects with your smartphone so you can track your weight and more. It tracks 12 metrics, including your BMI, body fat percentage, body water percentage, heart rate, muscle mass, protein level, and weight up to 400 pounds.
ELAGO Charging Hub charges three Apple devices at once so you are ready to go and your space stays organized.
• With the rise of new home gadgets and the Internet of Things (IoT), here’s how to secure your smart devices:
• Dive into the details on some of these items at pcmag.com/news/the-best-smart-home-devices-for-2020.
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.