I’ve previously explained what a smart home of the future might look like. Unfortunately, most of the technology I covered is still a few years away from being publicly available.
What can you do if you want to make your home feel futuristic right now? Don’t despair. You have options.
In this piece, I’m going to introduce you to seven inexpensive gadgets that’ll turn your abode into something resembling the Jetson’s household.
While American bathrooms still trail behind their hi-tech Japanese counterparts, the gap is slowly narrowing.
You can cut the gap further (and reduce cross contamination) by installing LAYKOR’s Touchless Automatic Sensor Faucet. It’ll make your washroom feel like the swankiest hotel in Midtown, NY.
The smart faucet won’t just help you fight off the germs. According to the manufacturer, it’ll even save you money on your water bill.
There is one drawback. The use of a sensor means the faucet has no hot/cold controls. You can either have cold water only or install a mixing valve below the sink.
Sticking with the theme of hotels, you know you’re in a fancy establishment when all the exterior paths and driveways have low-level mood lighting. It just feels luxurious.
Of course, you can connect similar lighting in your own home, but it lacks something. What will really set you apart from your neighbors is installing a system that comes complete with an accompanying mobile app.
The GE Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Outdoor Module does exactly that. When guests are leaving, you can wow them with a simple tap on your smart device.
The module is compatible with all the leading smart home hubs, including SmartThings, Pulse, Wink, Honeywell, Connect, and Iris.
Opinion is split on smart lighting. Is it an essential aspect of a smart home, or technology for the sake of it?
One of the criticisms smart lighting detractors frequently bring up is the price. The market-leading Philips Hue system is expensive and all you get is two lightbulbs and a hub. If you want to equip your entire home, you might need to spend more than $1,000.
Thankfully, there are cheaper products available. One option is the First Alert PIR725 Motion Sensing Light Socket. It will automatically sense when someone enters or leaves a room, and turn the lights on or off accordingly.
The sensor screws directly into your existing light sockets and works with your current bulbs. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to drag your property into the 21st century.
If you want to automate even more electrical items in your home, the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch is the way to go.
The switch plugs directly into your electric socket and connects to your Wi-Fi network. Your gadgets and appliances then plug into the switch. It allows you to control any connected device from your smartphone.
The uses are almost endless. You could turn on your kettle from your bed, surprise visitors with instant music through your hi-fi, or instantly activate your fans on a hot day.
The device’s capabilities extend beyond merely turning things on and off. You’ll get detailed reports about each plug’s electric usage, the ability to create schedules (you could make your kettle boil at the same time every morning), and even alerts when an appliance (such as your washing machine) turns itself off.
Let’s return to your bathroom. Aside from automated faucets, what’s another gadget that all expensive hotels and gyms have? A built-in shower speaker, of course!
But how can you get a built-in speaker without spending a fortune ripping open your walls and installing a new shower? If you buy the KOHLER K-9245-CP 2.5 GPM Moxie Showerhead and Wireless Speaker, it’s easy.
You don’t need any DIY skills. The device screws directly onto your existing shower arm.
The speaker uses Bluetooth to connect with devices up to 32 feet away. The speaker part of the unit can be disconnected from the rest of the showerhead for easy recharging.
By now, most of you will have heard of the Roomba floor cleaner. It can sweep, mop, and vacuum without any user input. You just place it on the floor and let it do its thing.
But how many of you have heard of the WINBOT W730 Window Cleaning Robot? The premise is the same as the Roomba, but instead of cleaning your floors, it cleans your windows.
It uses a suction system to attach itself to the glass, then uses sensors to clean every corner of the pane using its two cleaning pads and squeegee.
The robot is particularly useful if you have tall windows that are hard to reach or want to clean the exterior side of a window that’s not on the first floor.
To add the finishing touches to your (reasonably) inexpensive futuristic smart home, you should consider adding automated blinds and curtains.
The Curtain Call Electric Remote Controlled Drapery System will work with any existing curtains that weigh less than 100 pounds. It will also sync with all the most common smart home hubs.
This item is the most expensive on this list, but it’s money well-spent. You’ll look seriously cool when the lights automatically dim, the drapes automatically close, and a movie automatically starts playing, all thanks to a few taps on your phone.
If you’re considering buying this item, make sure your curtains are close to a power supply — you need to plug in the rail for it to operate.
I hope these seven smart home gadgets have made you realize it’s possible to have a futuristic home without breaking the bank.
Do you have any affordable smart home technology that’s revolutionized your life? I’d love to hear about it. You can leave your tips and recommendations in the comments box below.