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With each passing year, smart home technology is becoming less expensive and much easier to use. And as the market expands, there are a huge number of different devices to select from. That should make smart devices a popular gift under the tree this season.
To help you find that perfect gift, here are 10 inexpensive smart home ideas for anyone in your life. Of course, “inexpensive” in the realm of smart home can be a wide range. Are you replacing a light bulb or a vacuum? Creating a new smart home system or automating a single plug?
But whether you’re looking for a gift for a smart home wizard or someone just starting out, one of these gift ideas should definitely fit the bill.
Jumping into the world of smart television doesn’t mean you have to shell out big bucks on a completely new set. The Amazon Fire TV plugs into any free HDMI port and can use a Wi-Fi connection or an optional Ethernet adapter. Along with being able to stream up to 4K content at 60 frames per second, the streaming device can provide Dolby Atmos audio.
The Fire TV provides access to a huge stable of different streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube, and many more.
Using the Alexa Voice remote, a simple voice command can help you find, launch, and control content. The remote also opens up the world of Alexa including more than 20,000 different voice-control skills including ordering a pizza, playing music, and more. Alexa results are shown on the big screen, basically turning the Fire TV into a larger Echo Show.
2. Google Home
While Amazon’s Echo line continues to be a great way to bring a voice assistant into your home, anyone with numerous ties into the Google ecosystem needs to take a look at Google Home. The small speaker blends into any home decor, but users can purchase an optional base to provide a splash of color.
After the easy setup process, your voice is a door into a world of music, smart home control, and much more. Just say the wake word “OK, Google” and it’s time to ask your request. With far-field voice technology, you can even have a conversation from across a loud room without any issues.
On the music side, you can listen to tunes from Spotify, Pandora, YouTube Music, Google Play Music, and others. It can also interact with a Google Chromecast so you can say a command to play content on your television. But just like Amazon’s devices, the top use for the Google Home is to easily interact with different smart home devices. Even though it doesn’t offer a large number of different apps, the tie-ins with Google and Android services make the device an interesting choice.
It’s probably not high on anyone’s list this time of year, but once New Year’s Day arrives, many of us turn toward our waistlines in an effort to become more healthy and lose weight. While there are a plethora of different fitness tracking devices on the market (everything from the Apple Watch to Fitbit devices and more) the Garmin Vivofit 3 is a simple way to for anyone to track activity level to help make better lifestyles choices.
Thanks to a user-replaceable battery that lasts for up to one year, you don’t need to worry about constantly charging the device. Users can set a specific step goal each day while also counting calories and monitoring sleep at night. The backlit display provides a quick glance at progress, but all of the data is available through a companion iOS or Android app.
The special Move IQ feature can capture different activity automatically on the water-resistant device. There are also a number of interchangeable bands so users can pick their favorite, making it a perfect option for anyone who needs a simple tracker with a fitness focus.
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but creating a smart home means having to deal with a lot of different technology. But smart buttons, connected using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology, make controlling devices as easy as a button push.
The Logitech Pop Smart Button Kit comes with one bridge and one smart button. More can be added to a setup later as optional purchases. You can operate the button on a flat surface or hang it on a wall with mounting tape.
With the companion iOS or Android app, the bridge will automatically scan for any controllable products — including devices that support Apple’s HomeKit protocol. After that, assign a product to a specific button and one of three gestures to activate it. You can also group a number of devices together to control them with the button.
While everyone doesn’t need a smart button, they allow family members of all ages and abilities to control smart products.
Let’s face it, vacuuming is one of those chores no one likes to do, but that simply must be done from time to time. Robot vacuums, which make this tedious task as easy as pushing a button, were previously very expensive and weren’t particularly effective. But that has quickly changed.
One model that will get the job done and won’t break the bank is the iLife A6. Along with a battery that can provide up to 160 minutes of work on a single charge, the vacuum automatically adapts to different types of floors in your home including carpet and hardwood floors.
Operating the vacuum is quick and easy, using either the button on top of the device or an infrared remote control. Thanks to a virtual wall, you can make sure that the iLife A6 won’t venture into tough near a pet or child’s room. It’s a great gift choice for a tech novice or anyone never wants to pick up a traditional vacuum ever again.
A smart thermostat can be a cool, or hot, gift idea. The main draw of a connected thermostat is that anyone can create a schedule for their heating and air conditioning usage while being able to control the device from anywhere with an internet connection. The iDevices Thermostat is an easy-to-use and inexpensive way to jump into the popular smart home area.
Along with being able to control the thermostat through Amazon Alexa, the device is also compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, so it can be part of a complete smart home experience using automation, scenes, and more. And after just a bit of use and finding that perfect schedule, users should even begin to see savings on their monthly heating and air conditioning bills. It’s hard to go wrong with giving a gift that will save money.
Securing your home starts at the front door, and a smart lock can make that process much easier. The third-generation August Smart Lock features a number of advantages when compared to other options on the market. Most importantly, you’ll just need to attach the device on top of an existing deadbolt. That means you’ll get to keep any existing keys.
After installation, with an iOS or Android app, you can lock or unlock the door and control access from anywhere. For guests, you can provide a limited-time key through the app when needed. Special technology will also let you know for sure that the door is closed and locked. And with the Auto-Lock feature, the door will automatically lock after a customizable amount of time.
Another great way to start off with smart home technology is with a security camera. Like other technology on our list, you thankfully don’t need to spend a bundle to snag a nice option. The Tenvis HD Camera can both pan and tilt to provide a better overall picture of what’s happening in a home. Built-in night vision can provide up to 32 feet of coverage in complete darkness.
Even a lowly power strip can improve with a dose of smart technology. Conico’s Smart Power Strip features four power outlets and four USB plugs. After downloading the iOS or Android app, you can also control each power strip individually using an Amazon Alexa voice command. The USB ports can be controlled together. The app also allows users to create a specific schedule and timers for the outlets.
Along with surge protection, a five-foot power cord can help you find the perfect place for the strip.
C by GE is a simple way to bring smart lighting to any home. Instead of needing a hub to attach to a wireless router, the bulbs communicate using Bluetooth.
There are two types of bulbs included in the four-pack. C-Sleep is made for the bedroom and provides a warm and calm light before you head to bed and a crisp and vibrant hue when you wake up. During the day, it shows a soft white light. The other two bulbs (called C-Life) provide a constant optimal daytime light. Both bulb types can last for up to 20 years under normal usage.
As you can see, inexpensive and useful smart home technology has finally hit the mainstream. For just a little bit of cash, you can give the gift of technology that can truly make someone’s everyday life just a bit easier.
Are they any other inexpensive smart home gift ideas we missed? What would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.