As home improvement experts, our house managers spend a lot of time updating our clients’ homes with the latest and greatest gadgets, and we’ve learned a thing two in the process. So we pulled together a list of our favorite smart home products to help you find a present that is both unique and useful. These powerful gifts will help make your loved one’s home run more efficiently, improve security, and more.
#1. The Nest Family of Products: Thermostat ($249), Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm ($99), Indoor Nest Cam ($199), and Outdoor Nest Cam ($199)
We can’t say enough about Nest products, so we decided to recommend all of them. We even use the thermostat in our office. It learns your heating and cooling preferences to optimize the temperature in your home (or office) based on your behavior and location.
Second in line, the Nest Protect alarm actually tells you when and where there is smoke or CO in your home through an in-unit speaker and phone alerts. Rounding out the suite of products, the Nest Indoor and Outdoor Cams provide 24/7 video security with some added perks.
You can use the Nest Cams to have a two-way conversation with people at your home through the Nest app. You can also go back and pull video or still photos from parties when you were too busy having fun to grab your phone to capture the action. Using the Indoor Nest Cam can be especially helpful in capturing special moments with young children or checking in to make sure older kids made it home safely from school, when you aren’t there to greet them.
Plus, all of these devices communicate with the IoT (Internet of Things). For starters, they connect to your mobile phone so you can manage them remotely and receive timely updates. But they can also connect with a long list of other devices, some of which are included in our Smart Home Gift Guide such as: Alexa, Rachio, and WeMo.
#2. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller ($199.99)
Say goodbye to hard-to-program watering systems and over/under-watering your plants. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler is here to help you control your sprinklers and your water bill from your smart phone. Rachio makes your home smarter and saves you money on your water bill by reading local weather forecasts, sunlight levels, soil and plant types to create a custom watering schedule for your home. It will even send you alerts, when the schedule changes due to rain or freezing temps. Don’t forget to sync it with your Nest and Alexa for even greater control of your home’s systems.
#3. Amazon Echo with Alexa Voice Service ($179.99)
We’ve brought up Alexa twice in this post and we aren’t stopping here. Once again, this product can be found at Glasshouse headquarters, and we love it. The Amazon Echo with Alexa Voice Service helps you play music, answer questions, read books, check traffic and weather reports, access sports scores, and control smart home devices like Nest, Rachio, WeMo and more through voice commands. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish just by asking.
#4. Ring Video Doorbell ($199)
Worried about stolen packages or unwelcome guests? Ring will help you step up your security system with HD video. Similar to the Outdoor Nest Cam, the Ring Video Doorbell enables you to see and speak to visitors at your door, regardless of your physical location. The footage can be stored in their cloud service for a monthly fee or reviewed instantly on your phone or computer.
#5. WeMo Switch Smart Plug ($39.66)
The WeMo Switch Smart Plug doubles as both added security and an energy saver. It plugs into lights and appliances, so you can control them remotely from – you guessed it – your smart phone. No need to walk into a dark house or worry if you left the toaster oven on. You can use the WeMo Switch to set on and off times or sync your lights to the sunrise and sunset, improving energy efficiency. Pairing with Alexa and Nest, gives you added voice control and informs your lights and appliances when you’re not home, so it can activate “Away Mode”.
The “Away Mode” will make you toss out all of your mechanical timers the next time you travel. It randomly turns your lights on and off – making it look like someone is home to confuse intruders. Talk about a smart device.
#6. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator ($3,799.99)
While this gift is a definite splurge item, for those who can afford one, the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is a game changer. First of all you can order groceries from the touch screen on the refrigerator door. Or if you want to pick out your own veggies at the store, it will help you make a grocery list without opening the door using built-in cameras. Then, you can access these cameras on the go in case you forgot to make a list in the first place.
Once the food has arrived, you can use the touch-screen to pull up recipes and stream music while you cook. You can mirror your Smart TV and share photos on the touch-screen as well. As an added bonus, there is a “Flex Zone” in the bottom-right door that functions as a fridge or freezer depending on your needs.
#7. Grillbot Grill Cleaning Robot ($129.95)
You may have heard about the Grillbot Grill Cleaning Robot after CES this year. It got a ton of buzz for being the Roomba for grills. Simply place it on your grill, set the timer, close the lid, and walk away. The brushes go in the in the dishwasher when you’re done. No more scrubbing in the dark after dinner. The Grillbot handles the dirty work for you.
#8. BONUS: Instacart Express ($149/year)
While Instacart Express isn’t a smart device, we wanted to include it on our list because it’s a smart service for anyone short on time (i.e. all of us). The express membership gives you unlimited free grocery deliveries from local stores. Included on their list of recommended stores is Costco. So your recipient can ditch their Costco membership while stocking up on bulk goods.
For those who have it all, we’ve got one more suggestion. Give the gift of a healthier and safer home. Glasshouse subscription home maintenance plans and technology offer a unique way to help family, friends, and neighbors take better care of their homes. Learn more at glasshouse.com.