Gadget used to be a word that described garbage sold on infomercials or by some guy barking in the mall. They seemed like the solution to all our problems. That is of course, until you go it home.
But you might not know about the following really useful gadgets for your home.
The Ambi Climate Smart Air Conditioner (AC) Control might just help you keep your cool this summer. It may even put some money back in your pocket. If you’ve got an AC unit or mini-split heat pump with remote control, you can use the Ambi to control them from your smartphone or tablet.
The iOS or Android app allows you to pre-cool your home during your evening commute, or adjust the temperature in your little one’s room without having to go in and wake them up. It will start to learn your patterns and over time, you’ll have to tell it what to do less and less. Since Ambi tracks usage and AC units can account for as much as 40% of your electric bill, you could end up saving money on your electric bill.
For only $180 you might not expect it to perform so well, but review after review praises Ambi.
One Amazon reviewer writes, “I love the fact that it works with any IR controlled remote. I am renting and I know that when I move somewhere else, I won’t have trouble continuing using it.”
Another reviewer who also gave it 5 stars suggests, “Before you buy one it’s probably good to check out their compatibility list (so that you can avoid any disappointment). If your air conditioner is not on their list, I’d recommend emailing them, as they might be already working on making it work.”
Some people say that doing your desk work standing is healthier for you. But not many people can jump into doing that for 8 hours, after sitting for years. Just like any other lifestyle change, it takes some training.
The Stir Kinetic Desk has a built-in touch-screen computer to help you get out of your chair. You can customize how high and low the desk goes, set intervals as long or as short as you like, and even create profiles for everyone who uses the desk.
The Stir has a unique way of letting you know when to stand. Instead of an annoying alarm, it will gently, and slightly, move up and down. The motion is described as being similar to how the chest moves when you breathe. Not jarring, but noticeable enough to nudge you to stand.
Of course, having a computer built-in, the Stir will also track data on how often you stand or sit, and the extra calories you burned by standing. You can even sync it up with your Fitbit.
EcoloBlue 30 Atmospheric Water Generator [No Longer Available]
The EcoloBlue Atmospheric Water Generator is a dehumidifier, water purifier, cooler, and heater rolled into one. Why suck all that water out of the air just to dump it into the sewer and then turn around and buy jugs of water for your cooler? The EcoloBlue 30 takes care of that!
If you live in a humid area, it can draw up to 8 gallons of water from the air, a day. Then it will clean the water through a 12-stage process including reverse osmosis. Of course, being an environmental product, there’s an option that will run on your solar power system too.
With clean drinking water becoming a serious issue, atmospheric water generators may have an important future. We also know how important humidity levels are for efficient heating and cooling of our homes. For all that it does, and how compact it really is, even at about $1,300 the EcoloBlue is a fairly affordable clean water option.
The long days of summer are a short distance away. As much as we all love the extra sunlight, leaving the curtains open can make your home unbearably hot. That will make your air conditioner, and your wallet, work overtime. Consider the Curtain Call Remote Controlled Drapery System.
At first glance, all you see is a remote controlled curtain. Cool, but not a big deal. There is a timer option, so you can have the curtains close during peak sun hours. A bit cooler, but still not seeing the need for it.
Now consider hooking this up to one of the many smart home control systems like 1X, Z-Wave, or Lutron. If you’re the kind of person to tackle a little home automation, you’ll find a way to have complete control over them. Think about hooking this up in your TV room so you can set the ambiance with just a few words. How cool would that be? Vanilla Ice cool, that’s how cool.
Speaking of Z-Wave home automation, check out these in-wall micro-controllers from Aeon Labs. You do have to have some electrical skills to make use of these, but if you’re doing your own home automation already this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re having an electrician automate your home, at least you’ll know this option is out there.
What makes these so great is that they fit inside the wall, in the gang box behind your switches.
Many other add-ons like this are wall mounted or go between an outlet and a plug. The optimized antenna gives it a 100-foot range for wireless control, so it should work no matter where you use them in your home. Invisible, and controllable from anywhere. It’s like magic and that’s how good technology should appear. All for under $40.
What’s better than barbecue? Smoked barbecue, that’s what. Yet smoking meats and veggies has been the world of only the most dedicated and patient BBQ artists. Green Mountain Grills may have just ended that, though.
The Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is WiFi enabled and smart. Using wood pellets ensures a consistent feed of quality smoke that’s intense and works more quickly to seal the flavor into the food. But it’s the smart controller and app that steal the show here.
The Green Mountain Grills app, for iOS and Android, allows you to, “Create grill profiles, monitor meat temps, set timers and alarms, and adjust grill temps…” all from the comfort of your easy chair, indoors. Great for mosquito and black fly season.
Once you have your times and temperatures perfected, you can create a special cooking profile for that exact recipe. Then the process becomes a one-click job. With the Davy Crockett version being the smallest of the Green Mountain Grills and able to run on AC or DC electricity, you can take this unit to your next tailgate party. Just set it up, tap the button in the grilling app, grab a few sodas, and be the belle of the parking lot ball. Look out, Bobby Flay.
What Will You Do?
Control your power, make the home comfortable year round, give your family ultra clean water and BBQ gourmet food, make desk work healthier…is there anything good gadgets can’t improve? If there is, we haven’t seen it yet. So which of these gadgets is going to make it into your shopping cart? Do you know of or use another gadget that’s become indispensable in your home?
We’d love to hear about it. Always up for another gadget…or twelve. Tell us about it in the comment section below.