Smart Home

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You didn’t think Amazon was going to stay out of the streaming game, did you? The main reason to buy an Amazon Fire TV over the competitors? It integrates with Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant. So if she’s been running your house for a while, keep her happy by making sure this is your streaming device.

Roku was an early innovator in streaming devices, offering consumers a way to stream their Netflix account to their TVs way back in the barely-real year of 2008, and it’s still the most popular option because it’s affordable, easy to use, and it offers every channel you could ever need to scroll through before you decide there’s nothing on.

Taking home security into your own hands used to mean keeping a shotgun underneath the bed. Nowadays, technology offers more comprehensive solutions for the hardcore DIY-er. The SimpliSafe system provides a low-barrier, easily-configured home security system that stops the bad guys before you have to go Bruce Willis on them.

The perfect smart lock for the person who can’t decide which way they want to open their door today. Operates via keypad, traditional lock, or mobile app and integrates seamlessly into your smart home automation setup. Includes a built-in alarm to immediately notify you of any unexpected shenanigans.

This is the streaming media choice for the person who always loses the remote. Because there is none. It’s important we tell you this so you don’t spend a week looking for something you never had. Beam movies, TV shows, music, and whatever else you want straight from your laptop, tablet, or phone to your TV.

The original smart speaker and still the reigning king (or queen) of the market, the Amazon Echo invented a new category and has been dominating it ever since. The Echo’s virtual assistant, Alexa, is kind of like Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, except she’ll never kill your friends and lock you out of the house to die.

The Apple HomePod is a powerful smart home control center capable of running a wide array of household toys. It’s the perfect smart speaker for Apple addicts, since it uses Siri as its virtual assistant and naturally plays well with all of your other Apple devices. If MTV ever brings back Celebrity Deathmatch, we’re hoping for a Siri vs Alexa fight to settle this one for good.

Google is more or less the overlord of the world wide web, and now you can speak directly with your overlord through the Google Home smart speaker to turn off your lights, request directions to the proctologist’s office, or find out if it’s true that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo. While Amazon and Apple gave their virtual assistants sexy, mysterious names like Alexa and Siri, Google’s is simply Google Assistant. But what she lacks in Bond-girl sex appeal, she more than makes up for in smarts.

Once upon a time, speakers were for music. Back then, if you were talking to your speaker, everyone knew you were off your medicine. Well, here’s a company that still thinks like your grandpa: they believe that a speaker that doesn’t sound good is just a waste of space, no matter who lives inside it. This one is made to rock the house, and it comes equipped with Amazon’s Alexa to give it some serious brains to boot.

The Bose Soundtouch gives you dramatic, room-filling sound in a slim, compact design. Mount on the wall right underneath your TV for a speaker that gives you the illusion of side surround sound without the need for extra speakers. The perfect way to really bring a home theater to life.

The Sonos Playbar looks inconspicuous, but it packs a serious sonic punch. It will dazzle your ears with three dimensional sound without the need for extra speakers, though it can be expanded with wireless surround sound speakers for a true theater-like experience. Don’t let your ears get jealous of your eyes - your big screen TV needs a new best buddy.

The August Smart Lock Pro attaches right to your existing deadbolt to give you the ability to monitor and control your lock from anywhere in the world. Quell (or fuel) your paranoia with a real-time activity feed sent directly to your smartphone. Integrates easily with your existing smart home setup, and works directly with Amazon’s Alexa.

Smart home technology gives you the power to take matters into your own hands, programming and monitoring your home to a level previously unimaginable. Still, when it comes to security, sometimes it’s nice to know there’s a trained professional helping to keep the bogeyman out. This joint Samsung/ADT partnership brings the leaders in smart home tech and home security together to help you sleep better at night.

This versatile security camera is designed for indoor and outdoor use. Free 7-day cloud recordings let you go back up to a week in the past to see what kind of aliens abducted your dog. Also captures audio, so you can confirm your suspicion that raccoons talk to each other when no one’s looking.

Amazon’s indoor security camera includes night vision for around-the-clock surveillance and links up with Alexa right out of the box, so you can pull up your video feed with the sound of your voice anytime you want. Cloud cam subscription allows expanded clip storage and more sophisticated alert features. Two-way audio allows you to startle the crap out of unsuspecting guests.

Every new parent rests easier with a good baby monitor. Being able to check in by picking up your phone and pulling up an instant video feed is the ultimate in parental comfort. Whether you’re worried that you sleep too soundly to hear your new arrival crying (in which case, oh boy, you’re in for a surprise) or you’ve just seen The Omen too many times, this will surely put your mind at ease.

The Ring Video Doorbell is an invaluable tool for anyone looking to avoid unnecessary human contact. Because whether it’s a door-to-door salesman, that weird kleptomaniac kid from next door, or your Mother-in-Law, answering the front door in person can lead to all kinds of awkward encounters and sometimes even property damage. This is the electronic doorman you’ve always dreamed of.

Silent but deadly takes on a different meaning when you walk in the room, but in your defense, you haven’t actually left a trail of bodies in your wake. In fact, nobody has dared step in your wake for years. Here’s a smart appliance that will protect your family from a couple of other silent killers.

The Philips Hue system gives you complete control over your home lighting with every shade of white light you can imagine, 16 million different colors, and full integration with your smart home system so you can schedule your lights to do all kinds of tricks automatically. Instantly make your home as beautiful, soothing, or obnoxious as you want.

All the same colors and shades of white as the Philips Hue, but without the need for a hub. With a few of these bulbs, you can put that old swingers pad you had in the ‘70s to shame. But really, you should probably leave those days behind you. On second thought, no. Time to get it on.

If you could make dumb people smart by swapping out a few moving parts, the world would be a much better place. Well, you can’t. But you can make your dumb lights a little smarter by installing these smart switches, which can be controlled from afar by your smartphone. A great way to start automating your home without getting all new stuff.

With a little bit of electrical knowledge, you can bring your standard appliances under your control even from afar, sort of like a psychic zombie warlord. Okay, so it’s not that cool. But you can make a lamp turn on from the other room.

Replacing an existing wall outlet with a smart outlet is one way to make any of your normal appliances a little smarter. But some of us prefer not to mess around with things that can electrocute us or burn the house down. That’s where these come in. Don’t be afraid: just plug it into the wall. It won’t bite.

The idea that your home appliances are now studying and learning your habits might sound a little creepy. But this thing is really only trying to save you money. And no matter what you heard, it can’t read your thoughts. Unless you want it to.

No, those cold spots in the living room aren’t from evil spirits. Your thermostat just sucks. This one will optimize your heating and cooling in the rooms that matter most, and you’ll stop draining your bank account trying to get rid of Dracula’s ghost. A win-win.

Your poorly timed dad jokes aren’t the only thing sucking the energy out of the room. Inefficient appliance usage can be a major drag on your budget. The Sense Home Energy Monitor will help you figure out what you’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, it can’t make you funnier.

We were all grateful enough when robots started vacuuming our houses years ago. But these little androids were so generous that they went on evolving, because they just can’t help wanting to be more helpful. These days, you can integrate them with your smart home hub and monitor them from afar to make sure they’re not tormenting your pets or ordering any dirty movies that will show up on your credit card bill.

Many days, all you really need to get out of bed is a great cup of coffee. But before you can even make coffee, you have to get out of bed. It’s one of life’s great conundrums. With a coffee machine like this, you can schedule it to have a great cup of joe ready for you as soon as you wake up. So all you have to do is drag your sorry carcass out of the sack and your day is ready to hit overdrive.

A great piece of meat is only good if you cook it right. And unless you’re going to crawl in the oven with it, it’s going to be hard to monitor it second-by-second so that you know the right instant to take it out. The meater uses wireless communication to signal that dinner is ready. Just like your primitive ancestors.

What day does the milk expire? Who the hell knows the answer to a question like that off the top of their head? Actually, your refrigerator does, if you’ve got one of these. Interior cameras allow you to monitor food levels from your phone, and you can receive instant messages when the door is left open so you know which kid to beat. Just kidding. Don’t do that.

Lawn work is a thankless chore. Here is an expert mower that will never demand recognition, appreciation, or financial compensation. Just goes about its business with a level of dedication and consistency that are hard to find in the modern world. A real throwback.

Everyone knows that if you leave your lawn health up to the weather, you might as well just light it on fire. I mean, you might as well invite a herd of bison to graze unfettered. I mean really. So you bought a sprinkler system, but the stupid thing will turn on in the middle of a monsoon. A smart sprinkler controller will fix that so you can have a decent lawn for once.

Nobody wants to be forced to act responsibly at a barbecue. That defeats the purpose. Yet the grilltender holds everyone’s happiness hostage to his attention span. After five or six beers that doesn’t work so well. This wireless grill thermometer will send an alert to your phone that the steak you’re ignoring is ready for your mouth.

This is the centerpiece that ties all of your connected devices together. Automation is the name of the game with smart home equipment, and with a hub like the Samsung SmartThings you can get as sophisticated as you want. Use schedules and routines to make your smart home operation as hands off as you wish your relationship with your boss could be.

The original smart speaker and still the reigning champ of the category (in popularity at least). Alexa, the Echo’s tireless digital assistant, can do wonders for you: make your grocery list, play your favorite music on Spotify, or order more cashmere socks after a long night of mooning the paparazzi. Connect it to a fully functional hub and you can control your vast smart device kingdom with the sound of your voice.

The Wink Smart Home Hub is a major player in the smart home market. It’s easy to set up, a breeze to use, and cooperates with all kinds of smart devices from a wide range of manufacturers. If only the rest of life was this easy to navigate.

This is the smart TV for the price-conscious shopper who appreciates simplicity. With Roku’s streaming capabilities built in, you have instant access to all of your favorite online content. And it’s small enough to fit in the tiniest of dorms, so a college student you know can finally become the greasy-haired troll they always wanted to be, all without sacrificing entertainment.

No matter what garbage you watch, even if it’s the trashiest of reality TV, this screen is going to make it magnificent. Like gazing up at the Sistine Chapel on mushrooms. If you’re looking for a smart TV to make the neighbors hate you (except when you invite them over for the Super Bowl), look no further. This one is going to blow a hole right through your head.

It’s not the only streaming box on the market, but for die-hard Apple users it might as well be. Not only because it integrates with Siri and all of your other Apple devices, or because it’s the only streaming device that can play your iTunes collection right out of the box. That’s all true, but here’s the real reason: the one with the golden ticket houses the ghost of Steve Jobs.

The Roku Streaming Stick may be the Roku Ultra’s little brother, but it definitely punches above its weight. It features all the same channels, a voice activated remote, and a sleek design that remains hidden out of sight so no one has to look at your dongle while they watch TV.

The Fire TV Stick is an ultra-portable, ultra-affordable alternative to the full Amazon Fire TV setup. It may not deliver 4k UHD and it might not handle all of the video games that the big kahuna does, but you get all of the same TV shows and movies in full 1080p HD, at a price that makes it hard to beat.