Home is where we relax after a long day at work. Even when we take off for a fun-filled vacation, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home. Everywhere else is foreign and hostile, but one place will always welcome us.
And so it sucks when there are problems at home. This place of rest and comfort can quickly become a place that instills us with stress and frustration. But with the aid of certain smart devices, some of these issues can be lessened or even eliminated.
You have a teenager who often sneaks out or comes home late. Or you have a locked-away firearm and want to make sure nobody ever accesses it without your permission. Or you often leave your garage door open overnight.
Solution: The Iris Contact Sensor. This small and affordable sensor will tell you when something is opened or closed, and is flexible enough to be installed anywhere for any purpose. It does require a ZigBee-compatible smart hub to work, such as the Iris Smart Hub or second-generation SmartThings Hub.
You want to grant someone temporary access to your home during times when you aren’t there to let them in (e.g. babysitters and maintenance workers). You also hate the five seconds it takes to lock and unlock your door.
Solution: The August Smart Lock. This thing replaces your regular door lock, unlocks when you approach it, and locks when you leave — the smartphone app acts as a key. You can also assign virtual keys to others and the lock will sense them as authorized to enter. Virtual keys can expire over time.
The August isn’t the only smart door lock on the market. Others are available, but many of them lack the proximity lock feature.
You want to know when people come knocking on your door even when you aren’t home. You want to give verbal directions to package deliverers. You want to know who keeps playing “ding dong ditch” at 2am.
Solution: The Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. Why peek out your peephole when you can just open a smartphone app and see an HD video feed with two-way audio? No matter where you are, you can converse with any person at your door. It also has visitor alerts based on a built-in motion sensor.
The Ring is the most popular of its kind, but you can find several other smart doorbells on the market. Some offer better video quality while others offer fewer features at a more affordable price.
You want to know ASAP when your basement floods (yet again), whether from excessive rain, a burst pipe, or a malfunctioning washing machine.
Solution: The SmartThings Water Leak Sensor. It’s a small device that you tuck away in a leak-prone area. As soon as it makes physical contact with water, its alarm goes off and sends you a smartphone alert. Requires a SmartThings Hub!
If you don’t have a smart hub, you can opt for the D-Link Wi-Fi Water Sensor instead. It only requires a smartphone for pairing and can be fully controlled through the provided mobile app. In fact, the whole D-Link Connected Home Lineup is very good (see our review of it for details).
You want to stream Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and all kinds of other channels directly on your TV without hooking up a laptop (or dealing with the horrible interfaces of most smart TVs).
Problem: Solution: The Roku Express, Roku Streaming Stick, or Roku Premiere. These devices are so easy to use: just plug them into your TV. The Express is a portable stick akin to a USB drive, the Streaming Stick is a more powerful version of it, and the Premiere is a true set-top box with even more power. We recommend the Streaming Stick (read our review of it).
Other Roku models exist but they are more expensive and/or serve more niche purposes. For more on that, check our guide to picking the right Roku device.
You have trouble falling or staying asleep, but you don’t really know what the problem is. You want to know more about your sleeping habits.
Solution: The ResMed S+ Sleep Sensor. Place it on your nightstand and it will analyze your sleeping patterns and your sleeping environment (e.g. light and sound levels, temperature, etc.). Based on that, it can recommend ways to improve your sleep quality. Comes with apps for Android and iOS.
The ResMed S+ is just one of many smart products designed to solve sleep-related issues. For more, check out our favorite devices for sleeping smarter.
You just can’t get up even after a good night’s sleep. You want to make your morning cup of joe without ever getting out of bed. You’re also a coffee snob (I mean, connoisseur).
Solution: The Behmor Connected Coffee Maker. Not only is this a high-quality brewing machine, it lets you set the exact temperature for your brews — perfect for anyone who takes their coffee seriously. You can control it through a mobile app and even create different brewing profiles (e.g. for different beans).
You can’t sleep at night because you constantly worry about a carbon monoxide leak. It is, after all, one of the most silent of killers. You also hate dealing with false smoke alarms!
Solution: The Nest Protect Alarm. This device is a two-in-one Wi-Fi-connected smoke and carbon monoxide detector that sends you mobile alerts when either is present (read our positive review). In the case of a false alarm, you can silence it from your phone. Battery and wired options are both available.
If you can’t use the Nest Protect, or if it’s unavailable for some reason, there are plenty of alternative smart detectors worth checking out.
You wish your lights weren’t so dumb. Why can’t they respond to voice commands? You also wish you weren’t so dumb. Why can’t you ever remember to turn off lights around the house?
Solution: The Philips Hue Starter Kit. The kit comes with a Hue Bridge, which acts as the brain, and two A19 LED bulbs that connect to the bridge. You can then control each bulb individually through the Philips Hue mobile app, which pairs with the bridge (see how awesome it is in our review).
You love having a healthy garden and/or lawn, but you can’t be bothered to get up every time you need to turn the sprinklers on and off. You also hate water waste, but forget to turn them off when it rains.
Solution: The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. It’s just a controller so you’ll need your own sprinkler system ready to go. Once it’s ready, you can turn it on and off and create sprinkler schedules right from your phone. But the coolest part? It has built-in weather data and will skip the sprinklers with forecasted rain. It also automatically adjusts with seasonal changes.
With these smart home solutions, you can wipe away many of your day-to-day frustrations and turn your home back into a place for relaxation and rest. It’s amazing what you can do with just a smartphone, isn’t it?
What are your favorite smart home solutions? Did we miss any good ones? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: AndreyPopov/Depositphotos