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The first remote control was invented in 1894 when a radio signal made a mirror galvanometer move a beam of light. Just over a century later, you can use a remote control to automate almost any task imaginable around your home.
In 2017, you can remotely control more than radio players and televisions. Many of these don’t need a standalone remote control. Instead, you can essentially use your smartphone as an all-purpose remote to program ceiling fans, automated lawnmowers, and much more. However, if you’re interested in a more traditional remote control option, a universal remote may be more your style!
In this article, you’ll learn more about remote control devices available for the home. Some on this list are sure to surprise you!
1. The Modern Day Remote Control
Logitech remains the market leader when it comes to all-in-one remote control solutions. Its lineup of Harmony controls is often marketed as a remote control television solution, although these products do a lot more than help you change your TV from one channel to another.
The top-of-the-line Harmony Elite, for example, can control entertainment devices, plus lighting, blinds, locks, and more. It works with some of the hottest smart home products on the market, including Philips Hue, August, Roku, and PlayStation.
There are a lot of everyday tasks you can perform with your Harmony remote. For example, when it’s connected to the Nest Learning Thermostat, the remote control (or Harmony app) can change the temperature in your home. You can also use Harmony to detect and change Nest Away Mood.
What’s even better is setting pre-defined Nest thermostat temperatures for each of your Harmony Activities. For example, automatically warming up your home when launching a TV show or turning off your A/C when listening to music.
Are you more into mood lighting? If you connect Harmony to your Philips Hue system, changing the color and brightness of light bulbs or a scene is as simple as pushing a button.
Maintaining Your Home
Many of the remote control products on the market are intended to make your home more comfortable to clean and maintain. These include vacuum cleaners, window cleaners, and robotic lawnmowers.
2. Vacuum Cleaners
One of the hottest vacuum robot companies lately has been ILIFE, which found much success with the A4. The more powerful A6 model launched earlier this year and has received mostly praise. Both models are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to most of the vacuum robots from market leader Roomba. Each ILIFE device ships with a remote control.
Roomba remains the leading producer of automated vacuum cleaners. The company’s current offerings range in price from $375 to $900. The seventh-generation iRobot Roomba 980 remains the company’s current flagship device. The 980 is the first Roomba to feature Wi-Fi and smart home capabilities.
Priced at around $900, the Roomba 980 is one expensive robot. For the price, you get adaptive navigation with visual localization, which allows the robot to clean an entire level of your home, even if it needs recharging. When the battery becomes depleted, the robot automatically goes back to its charging dock. When fully charged, the robot goes back to work to complete the job.
Are you looking for something different? Companies like Neato, Bissel, and Ecovacs also make vacuum robots.
3. Mopping Cleaners
Some surfaces in the home require more than vacuum care. This is where floor mopping and scrubbing robots come into play. Not surprisingly, iRobot also dominates this small market with its Braava series of floor moppers.
The company’s floor moppers include the Braava 380t and Braava jet 240. The main differences between the two are the size of the coverage area and the number of cleaning modes (wet mop, damp sweep, dry sweep). You can use the free iRobot Home app to control these floor moppers.
4. Window Cleaners
Yes, there are robots to clean your windows. For now, most are Winbots that come from Ecovacs Robotics.
Winbots feature vacuum technology that cleans vertical and horizontal glass, framed or frameless, either clear, frosted, or colored. Ecovacs notes that operating a Winbot is as “simple as one, two, three.” First, you spray the device’s cleaning pad with the provided solution, switch the power on, and then place the Winbot on the glass and press start. Automatically, the Winbot measures the glass, cleans it, then returns to its starting position. If you want a little more control? Winbots come with handy remote controls included in their price.
Other Remote Control Products
The world of remote control household products goes far beyond cleaning, however! Here are some of our out-of-the-box favorites.
5. Smart Ceiling Fans
Companies like Hunter Fan Company and Haiku are now making smart ceiling fans that work through Wi-Fi and, in some cases, Apple’s HomeKit. You control these type of fans are inside a home with an included handheld remote or from anywhere in the world through mobile devices.
If you’re not in the market for a new ceiling fan, but still want to control your existing fans remotely, you’re in luck. You can add smart ceiling fan control to your current set up using smart lighting switches and controllers.
Most of these solutions come with remote controls, or you can use a free app for iOS or Android to control their settings.
6. Remote Control Pet Feeders
Automated pet feeders have been all the rage in recent years. CleverPet is perhaps the most interesting to date. The device engages dogs throughout the day using puzzles made with sounds, lights, and touchpads.
CleverPet, which looks a lot like an upside down food bowl, adapts to your dog’s routine and skill level. You can update it with new games using a Wi-Fi-connected hub. Example game types include Chase-the-Squirrel, which uses lights that move across the device’s pads and Word Learn, which teaches your dog to respond to certain words through commands using your voice. When your dog solves a puzzle, reward them immediately with a piece or two of kibble.
A CleverPet app allows you to download new games to the Hub. You can also use it to monitor your dog’s progress throughout the day. The app also lets you remotely schedule when the CleverPet is operational, or you can leave it on all day. The device disengages once it disperses your dog’s daily allotment of food, meaning that your pet only eats the amount of food you choose.
You can control CleverPet’s features using a free app.
There are several other remote control pet feeders on the market. They are available at various price points, which is excellent news if you don’t want to break your budget.
7. Super Lawnmowers
Like iRobots, automated lawnmowers are controlled remotely using smart devices. For now, these machines are still costly, including the top-of-the-line Husqvarna 430X.
The Husqvarna Automower 450x is ideally suited for large and complex lawns. Large course-treaded wheels provide traction even if the surface is slippery, with the mower handling slopes up to 45 percent. The device cuts using sharp razor-like blades made of carbon steel mounted on a cutting disc system. These blades provide efficient operation and low energy consumption.
Weighing 31 pounds, the Husqvarna Automower 450x cuts a 9.45-inch wide path, up to 0.25 acres. The cutting blade is adjustable up to 2.4 inches. It runs 260 minutes on one charge, with charging time of 75 minutes.
The Husqvarna Automower features an integrated alarm system that tells you if it’s off your property. You can also add a PIN code that must be activated before it can run.
An app offers basic remote controls for the lawnmower such as stop, start, or park. Additional controls are accessible on a built-in display.
Are you’re looking for something less expensive? There are other robotic lawn mowers that are less than $2,000. These offer fewer features than the Husqvarna Automower 450X. Nonetheless, these are ideal for homeowners with smaller yards.
8. Remote Control Window Blinds
Automated window blinds come with a variety of remote control options. As a buyer, you can usually select the type of remote control to ship with your shades, as some choices are more expensive than others.
A one-channel remote (or one-channel wall switch) is ideal for a single window or a group of windows you want to control at the same time. A multi-channel remote allows up to five programmable channels at once. These remotes work best in homes that have multiple rooms with groups of shades. Finally, a programmer timer allows you to schedule shade movements, according to the time of day.
For example, you can program your shades to open at sunrise and close during sunny times and at sunset. Besides the convenience this type of remote control provides, it also adds a level of security to your home since it gives the appearance that someone is around even when you’re away.
Increasingly, vendors are also offering smartphone apps that control window treatments. At the minimum, these apps provide the same features as a programmable timer, but several provide additional features.
As you can see, there are a lot of different home products you can now control remotely. Yes, these include televisions but also cleaning devices, pet feeders, lawnmowers, and much more.
Which products do you use in your home using remote controls? Let us know in the comments below.