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We’ve seen the range of available smart home gadgets expand rapidly over the last decade. Name an everyday appliance or gadget in your house, and there’s a good chance that there’s a smart version of it. If you’ve been thinking about turning your ordinary home into a smart one, there’s a range of essential smart home gadgets that make for an excellent starting point.
Not everything in your house is automatically smart – but an awful lot of things can be easily lost, and that’s’ where Tile’s versatile trackers can help, especially within the home. While Tile’s reputation was built on community crowdsourced finding of things – anything you can attach a tile tracker to, basically – the Tile Mate trackers can also work through Bluetooth within your home to beep when you need to find your keys, your TV remote, or anything else you’d care to place them on with ease.
This bundle includes two Tile Mates and two Tile Slims – the latter of which can fit neatly into your wallet.
Not every smart home gadget has to look like it fell off the back of a bad 1980s Sci-Fi flick, although plenty of them do. The Echo Wall Clock looks like… well, it’s the epitome of a standard looking wall clock, with that classic analogue style making it easy to keep the entire house and home to a schedule. But of course it does more than that, displaying any timer you name – or select via other Alexa-enabled devices – so you can limit your child’s game playing time, or make sure the scones don’t burn at a glance.
Why not start with the humble alarm clock? Strictly speaking that’s not the Echo Show 5’s only use, but its small size does lend itself to sitting beside your bed, making smart home control, room monitoring and more available with a simple call to Amazon’s Alexa assistant. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the least expensive smart home hubs you can buy, coming in at under $130 (but if you get in quick smart it’s on sale for $99 right now).
Your home is probably awash with Wi-Fi, but did you ever consider using that Wi-Fi to help you maintain a healthy body weight? That’s where the Withings Body Weight and BMI Wi-Fi scales step in – or more accurately, where you step onto them – to let you easily track a range of body statistics for not only your use, but also up to 7 other family members in total. It’s even capable of tracking pregnancy weight while you’re expecting – and of course then tracking your healthy weight management afterwards too.
Most smart home gadgets rely on Wi-Fi connectivity (although some will work with ethernet), but getting those Wi-Fi signals into the pokier areas of your home, or through brick extensions or other interference factors can be genuinely painful. That’s where the use of a solid mesh router system like the Linksys Velop can really help, making it easy to extend your network in a way that maximises throughput whether you’re streaming Netflix in the bedroom, playing video games in the living room or watching a recipe on your smart display in the kitchen. It helps that Linksys sells it in a three-pack, providing plenty of coverage and fallback for even the largest homes.
Smart lighting isn’t just about simple dimming – it can include coloured bulbs for that special occasion, security lighting within zones or just making it easier to get the lights on when you return home, or if you have to make that late night trip to the bathroom without the actual “trip” part. The Philips Hue system encompasses a central hub that talks to an ever-increasing array of light types, including coverage for Edison or Bayonet type lights, downlights and much more. It’s also superbly flexible, with support for every smart assistant going, so you’ll quickly forget where the actual light switches are.
August’s Smart Lock system stands out from the pack not only for its smart integration – this is literally a door lock that you can open with your voice alone thanks to Alexa support – but also its ease of installation, making it a decent choice even if you’re renting your property, because you don’t have to drill lots of holes or destroy existing lock supports to get it up and running. You can read more about the August Smart Lock in our US review here.