Since the dawn of this millennium, gadgets have played an increasingly larger role in making our lives easier. Recently, smart homes have become the newest must-haves as we continue to embrace a lifestyle integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, over 80 million U.S. households are planning to buy more smart home gadgets in 2021. This rapid adoption has been so successful that the global smart home market is expected to increase by another $65.95 billion by 2024.
While the average American household already has an estimated 10 internet-connected devices, if you’re one of the millions mentioned who are looking to expand your smart collection past Alexa and Siri, then here are some of the most helpful, practical, and user-friendly options to consider:
In a recent survey by Hippo, security was named one of the top reasons that homeowners enabled smart devices. Of these, automatic locks are ranked as the “most protective”. Smart locks can be enabled and controlled via Bluetooth, so you never have to worry about losing your keys again—though some systems like the August Smart Lock Pro can simply integrate with your existing deadbolt and key, should you prefer that.
When thinking about smart locks, though, what comes to mind first are keyless touchpads. These pads work by scanning your fingerprint to access your smart lock. These devices use touch sensors to reduce physical wear and waterproofing issues which mechanical locks are susceptible to. Touch sensors are also much more sensitive and intuitive, therefore making it more convenient for users to interact with. A smart lock enabled with a fingerprint scanner, Bluetooth compatibility, and responsiveness to voice commands is the Kwikset Halo Touch. This set is a little pricey but is easy to install and use.
According to the Department of Energy, a home’s heating and cooling systems account for 48% of energy consumption. While in 2019, the average cooling and heating bill was around $900 a year, with the past lockdowns, utility bills have spiked by 10%.
Thankfully, with a smart thermostat, your home is much more capable of accurately measuring the ambient temperature and adjusting it accordingly by monitoring your home’s consumption patterns. This is an improvement over traditional thermostats which have to be manually adjusted. They also do not account for various factors that can change temperature, therefore making your HVAC system work unnecessarily harder.
Some smart thermostats that you can use, and even install yourself, are Nest Thermostat E and Ecobee, both of which claim to lower energy costs by up to 15% and 23%, respectively. Both devices can be operated remotely, meaning you can keep tabs and switch them on/off from anywhere.
Depending on the age demographic, what is deemed an essential smart home device varies greatly. However, one smart device that is universally accepted and appreciated across the board is the smart plug, with a ZDNet survey finding that roughly 20% of every age group owned this type of tech. Since smart plugs essentially turn every appliance it’s used with into a smart device, it’s no surprise that the worldwide smart plug market is expected to grow by 79% in the next five years, as forecasted by 360 Research Reports.
Using a smart plug much like you would an adapter, you can monitor energy usage, remotely power appliances on and off, and schedule appliances like rice cookers, kettles, and remote heaters. An overall top pick to check out would be TP-Link’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug. This affordable option connects directly to your router, making it ideal for homes that may not have a smart hub yet. On top of this, the plug works with iOS and Android apps. Plus, it responds to Alexa and Google Assistant.
Of course, these are just a few of the many smart home devices in the market. Remember: when choosing your device, consider what you need most. For instance, as most of us shift to remote working, it’s important to design a home office that aids efficiency and reduces clutter. By determining what specific need or even room you want to make smart first, it’s easier to make an informed decision. If in doubt, though, these picks are the perfect way to slowly transform your home into a more energy-efficient, comfortable, and safe space.