We’ve always had a desire for a more futuristic way of life. Whether that desire was first sparked by cartoons in your youth like “The Jetsons” or the tech-influenced life of super hero Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” movies, these days it’s becoming more than just fantasy.
In the past few years, tech companies have released household products that not only help to ease certain duties around your home but also contain that smart tech cool factor.
Here are five of our top picks that you can use to make your home totally tech savvy.
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect
Keeping your house securely sealed by way of a smartphone might be a bit unnerving to folks, but newer homes and condo developments are implementing more smart lock technology. The Smart Lock Pro + Connect is the latest offering from the August company, which has been at the forefront of creating this tech.
This version uses a digital lock that you can open with an app on your smartphone. It can unlock your door automatically if it senses your approach, and you can control it remotely. The lock and accompanying base not only operates on Wi-Fi, but also via Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, Apple’s Siri and the upcoming HomeKit, and Google Home and Assistant.
More people are opting for video security cameras attached to their front door to protect themselves against would-be thieves trying to snatch Amazon packages or worse, to break in. The SkyBell HD is the crème de la crème of video doorbells. Video doorbells let you see who’s outside of your home and allows you to talk to them.
This version has a 1080p HD video camera with a 180-degree field of view, as well as a night vision mode that captures everything in full color as opposed to the usual black and white from most other cameras on the market. It also has a mobile app that allows you to check out live and recorded video and can be connected to other smart devices in your home, like Amazon’s Alexa.
Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer
As cheesy as it may be, one constant concern that pops up with most homeowners is wondering whether you’ve left the lights on. But the Caséta smart lighting dimmer kit looks to remove those worries by just the sound of your voice or through your smart device.
Created by Lutron, a leading home and business lighting company, the smart light dimmer kit can be set up throughout your home, and the wireless system can be configured to adjust the lights to correlate with the coming sunset no matter the season. It can be managed through voice assistants like Siri, Google Home and Alexa, among others, in conjunction with remotes. You can even select settings to create the appropriate mood lighting for date nights or game day parties.
Having a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector is a must for any household. Smart smoke detectors add an extra level of security, and Nest’s Protect stands out among others because of its features. For one thing, it automatically tests itself and its battery life repeatedly and without any loud chirping. Owners get updates on its performance, as well as the first hint of smoke, through its smartphone app. And if there’s a fire, it can send out alerts to you and everyone in your family as well as talk to you. Another feature? It can be linked to your other smart devices to turn on the lights in an emergency.
Wink Hub 2
By now you’ve probably asked yourself, “How am I going to keep all of these products working on the same page?” As smart home technology has advanced, it’s led to the creation of home automation hubs. These products can link many smart home products using software protocols. The Wink Hub 2 does that and more, supporting Z-Wave, Bluetooth and other protocols, which allows you to keep track of everything in one spot. It also has hefty Wi-Fi support and an ethernet port, as well as an auto-discovery feature that makes setup less of a pain.
With these five products, you’ll be well on your way to having a smarter, safer more comfortable home.
Christopher Smith is a freelance writer when he’s not sampling the best cuisine in his hometown of New York City. Prior to that, he worked in film and television post-production, and counts the honor of working with Eartha Kitt among his milestones.