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From complicated setups and access to wiring, a lot of smart home automation is simply off limits to renters. There are still lots of devices available that you can take when the time comes to pick up and move.

Voice-Operated Devices

The easiest place to start when it comes to making your rental a little smarter is with a voice command device. The two most obvious choices are the Amazon Echo and Google Home, with Amazon offering several devices Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? Amazon Echo vs. Dot vs. Tap: What Are the Key Differences? One common complaint against Amazon Echo was that it had too many features and cost too much. Amazon's response to that? Releasing two variations with smaller price tags: the Tap and the Echo Dot. Read More  at different price points.

The Amazon Echo has been around longer than the Google Home and appears to have a leg up. There are a ton of third-party services and smart devices that are Alexa-compatible.

If you’re a die-hard Google fan, it works seamlessly with your Google accounts. One cool feature you’ll get with the Google Home is the ability to search for and cast YouTube videos to your TV if you also have the Chromecast.

A significant difference between the two is the ability to create multiple profiles. With the Amazon Echo, each member of the family can create a personal profile and connect it to your calendar, shopping list, and more. With the Google Home, there is only one default profile connected to one Google account.

If that’s not a deal breaker, check out our Amazon Echo and Google Home showdown Amazon Echo vs. Google Home vs. Apple HomePod Amazon Echo vs. Google Home vs. Apple HomePod In this article, you'll learn the differences between the Amazon Echo and Google Home. We'll also take a look at what features an Apple speaker may include. Read More  to figure out which one is right for you.

Lighting

Setting up smart lights Brighten Your Home With Smart Lamps: Here Are Your Options Brighten Your Home With Smart Lamps: Here Are Your Options What exactly is a smart lamp, and what's out there? Read More in your rental can be very easy. Depending on the brand you choose, you will either need a set of smart bulbs Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It Philips Hue Alternatives That Are Actually Worth It The Philips Hue system is leading the charge when it comes to smart lighting, but there are some worthy alternatives. We've picked three that all offer the same basic feature set and hackability. Read More or a hub that lets you control your smart lights. Avoid dimmers and switches that come with these bulbs. A good place to start is with this list of cheap ways to control your lights with your phone How to Switch Lights On or Off With Your Phone on the Cheap How to Switch Lights On or Off With Your Phone on the Cheap In this article, you’ll learn about the many ways to control lights in your home with your phone. You’ll also see how each solution compares in terms of pricing. Read More .

Good options for renters include:

28+ Most Useful Home Automation Gadgets for Renters PhillipsHue

  • Misfit Bolt — Best known for personal fitness devices, Misfit Bolt also offers a smart bulb that doesn’t require a bridge. MSRP is $49.99, but you can find it on Amazon for $35.
  • GE Link — GE Link lightbulbs can be purchased for as little as $20, but also require an additional piece of hardware: the Wink Hub. More details on the Wink and GE Link bulbs can be found at the end of the article.
  • LIFX — LIFX doesn’t require additional hardware. All you need are the bulbs – but each bulb doesn’t come cheap. MSRP on LIFX bulbs is a minimum of $59.99 per bulb if bought separately, or $48.99 if bought in a pack of four. You can also find them at marginally cheaper prices on Amazon.

28+ Most Useful Home Automation Gadgets for Renters LIFX

Security & Ambient Sensors

Smart home security devices that don’t require an elaborate set up include smart security cameras, locks, and smart detectors 6 Smart Detectors That Protect Your Family and Property from Harm 6 Smart Detectors That Protect Your Family and Property from Harm A truly smart home does more than save money: it helps protect your family and house. These smart detectors will keep an eye on things so you feel safe when at home or away. Read More .

Devices that renters can use trouble-free include:

  • Canary — Costing a pricey minimum of $399, the Canary doesn’t come cheap. In addition to serving as a security camera and security notification system, the Canary also keep tabs on air quality, temperature, and humidity. Set up of the device takes place entirely through the iOS or Android app, and user feedback constantly improves the Canary experience. To find out more about the device, check out James’ in-depth review of the Canary Canary Home Security System Review and Competition Canary Home Security System Review and Competition Canary is finally here: "the first smart security device for everyone". Is it the last word in affordable home security and monitoring systems, or just another overpriced and glorified webcam? Read More . If you’re interested only in the security camera component, check out the all-weather Canary Flex for $199.99.

Entertainment

  • Chromecast — One of the most widespread options for smart entertainment is the Google Chromecast. Costing just $35, the device turns any TV with HDMI ports into a smart media center How To Make Chromecast Your Smart Media Centre How To Make Chromecast Your Smart Media Centre At just $18, the Chromecast is an unmistakably great way to make your TV "smart", but it can feel a bit of a one-trick pony once the initial euphoria wears off. Read More . You can beam content from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, HBO Now on your phone or laptop to your TV. If you’re more interested in audio, Chromecast Audio can turn your speakers into smart devices. If you purchase a Google Home, you can cast content to your TV or speakers using voice commands.

28+ Most Useful Home Automation Gadgets for Renters Chromecast 670x265

Kitchen

The kitchen is probably one of the best places to install some smart appliances Smart Kitchen Appliances You'll Wonder How You Lived Without Smart Kitchen Appliances You'll Wonder How You Lived Without No other part of the home is so perfectly set up for taking advantage of the advent of smart gadgets than the kitchen, where benefits can be brought to tech lovers and lazy people alike. Read More that make life a little easier for renters.

  • WeMo Crockpot — At $129 (CDN$140), the WeMo Crockpot is a lot more expensive than the standard crockpot. So what sets it apart? The WeMo is wifi enabled, so you can remotely start and stop the crockpot, adjust the temperature, and the cook time. The features might not warrant an upgrade from a standard crockpot, with the exception of the ability to turn it on and off remotely to conserve energy.
  • AppKettle — The AppKettle is a smart kettle AppKettle, The Smart Kettle Review AppKettle, The Smart Kettle Review It turns out that making a good cup of tea is a lot tougher than you thought. As a tea drinker of 30 years, I was surprised to learn I'd been doing it all wrong. Read More  which you control using your phone. So why would you even need a smart kettle that costs £129? It’s able to heat water to the optimum brewing temperature based on the tea or coffee you’re drinking. So if you’re really serious about your tea and coffee, this might be a perfect addition to your smart kitchen. (AppKettle is not currently available in the U.S.)
  • Nespresso Prodigio (CA/UK) — One of the most impressive smart devices in the kitchen category, the Prodigio brings internet connectivity to everything Nespresso users love about their coffee machines. With this $100 coffee maker, you can use an iOS or Android app to schedule when your coffee will be brewed, brew it before you even get out of bed or on your way home, and make sure you never run out of capsules.
  • Smart Instant Pot — The $179 Smart Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, and sauté pan. With the connected version of the pot, you can use downloadable, programmable recipes, and start and monitor your cooking from the iOS or Android app.

Sleep

  • Sense — While you can rely on wearable technology like the Fitbit to track your sleep cycle, it can be uncomfortable wearing the device to bed. There are several options when it comes to smart gadgets that will help you sleep better 6 Smart Gadgets to Help You Sleep Better 6 Smart Gadgets to Help You Sleep Better Not getting a good night's sleep is never a good way to begin a day. Luckily, there are plenty of home gadgets that can help you get a great night sleep. Read More . The $129.99 (£140) Sense sits by your bed, with another device that is kept under your pillow. It can track your sleep, and in the long run, you can use it to improve your sleep. The Sense also operates as an alarm clock.
  • Withings Aura — Costing slightly more at around $220 (£150), the Withings Aura emits sleeping hormones to give you a good night’s sleep. It also simulates a sunrise to wake you, a method said to get you out of bed feeling refreshed and energized. Like the Sense, it also tracks your sleep cycle.

28+ Most Useful Home Automation Gadgets for Renters WithingsAura 670x447

  • Philips HF3520 — If you’ve already invested in a Philips Hue system in your home, you can extend it to tracking your sleep cycle. The Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light costs around $100 (CDN$119/£121) and also simulates a sunrise to gently wake you. However, it does not have any tracking features so if your only concern is how you wake up rather than how you sleep, the Wake-Up Light is a perfect fit.

Smart Plugs

One of the easiest and cheapest places to start with converting your rental into a smart home is with smart plugs Which Smart Plug Is the Best One for You? Which Smart Plug Is the Best One for You? Even if you aren't into the whole smart home automation trend, you really should get yourself a few smart plugs. They're one of the easiest smart home products to use. Read More .

Devices plugged into these outlets can be controlled remotely. You can also connect these plugs to automate services like IFTTT to give you more control over your outlets.

Aside from lights, you can get creative with your smart plugs 10 Creative Uses For Smart Plugs That'll Make You Want One 10 Creative Uses For Smart Plugs That'll Make You Want One Smart plugs are the most basic element of any smart home. Forget Internet connectivity, home networks and gadgets enabling remote management - smart plugs are where it starts. Read More and use them with other devices like coffee machines and tumble dryers. Always be sure to use caution with the devices you choose to use with smart plugs.

If you need help choosing which smart plug is best for you Which Smart Plug Is the Best One for You? Which Smart Plug Is the Best One for You? Even if you aren't into the whole smart home automation trend, you really should get yourself a few smart plugs. They're one of the easiest smart home products to use. Read More , take a look out these six options 6 Smart Plugs That Aren't Belkin WeMo 6 Smart Plugs That Aren't Belkin WeMo Read More .

Smart Hubs

Another way you can connect your smart devices is with the use of a smart hub Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? Which Smart Hub for Home Automation Is Best for You? For a while, people thought of the idea as nothing more than a gimmick, but recent product releases have shown that smart home automation is starting to live up to its promises. Read More . The Wink Hub, for example, makes it easy to control lights, outlets, motion sensors, security cameras, and more from one app. Several products listed in this article are compatible with the Wink Hub, including the Ring Video Doorbell and Nest Cam.

The Samsung SmartThings Hub is also compatible with multiple devices The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The Coolest Smart Gadgets Compatible With a SmartThings Hub The SmartThings hub connects wirelessly with hundreds of compatible smart devices, allowing you to monitor, control, and secure your home from anywhere in the world. Read More  and easily bridges your lighting, security, sound, and smart devices. Samsung provides a wide array of compatible products including a water sensor that can detect leaks.

What gadgets would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. likefunbutnot
    January 26, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I'm lucky in that a Nest thermostat works in my place. I also use Philips Hue bulbs and a motion sensor/camera I made with a Pi to see who is coming and going from my home. I'd love to have an NFC lock on my door, but my land lord uses and odd keying system for her own reasons and doesn't want me to change it.

  2. Anthony
    January 25, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    XANDEM is a great solution for renters because it gives owners the ability to monitor the rental, without using cameras. Cameras are too invasive of renter's property.