Smart Home

14 Ridiculous Smart Home Products You Don’t Need

Tim Brookes 03-03-2017

By now, you’ve probably noticed the unstoppable craze of slapping the word “smart” in front of a product name and adding wireless connectivity. Not only are many of these products a waste of money 4 Smart Reasons to Avoid the Smart Home Trend A lot of smart home products seem cool at first glance, but there are issues and downsides that you should be aware of -- problems that might turn you off from the whole concept altogether. Read More , they can cause privacy and security issues, and make you look foolish too.


Welcome to the Internet of Things That Should Never Be Connected to The Internet.

1. Smarter iKettle

Remember the guy who spent 11 hours trying to make tea using his new internet-connected kettle? He eventually turned to port scanning his network after he couldn’t find the Wi-Fi base station. While his story might be an exception to the rule, there are better ways of spending $120 that don’t involve controlling a kettle with a smartphone.

Smarter claims that “hanging around the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil is a thing of the past” and includes features like remote water level monitoring. You’ll still need to be present to fill the kettle in the first place though, and return shortly after to make your tea.

2. Ring Smart Doorbell

The concept behind Ring has some merit, but it’s essentially just a glorified VoIP device that costs $200.


Ring talks up the convenience of telling the mail man to leave your package in the porch, but ignores the fact that many couriers still require a signature. A TV advert I saw recently showed a mother and two children arriving home, using Ring to let dad know they’re safe, when they could just call, Skype, or FaceTime using their smartphones instead.

Furthermore, Ring fell victim to a major vulnerability in January 2016. Though no hacks are said to have taken place, Ring and other such products (SkyBell, DoorBird) could still be vulnerable to other attacks Home Security Systems May Not Be As Secure As You Think Here we take a look at some of the most notable smart home security hacks – exploring what happened and why it happened. Read More in the future, and offer very few benefits to the user that justify $200 of expense. Combine Ring with smart locks to make your home even more vulnerable to attack.

3. Touchscreen Connected Fridges

At Berlin’s IFA consumer electronics show in September 2016, LG showed off a fridge that featured a 29-inch touchscreen and Windows 10. It uses an Intel Atom processor and 2 GB of RAM, with LG’s own Windows 10 apps alongside Microsoft mainstays like Paint.

Samsung isn’t innocent in this department either, having unveiled a 1080p fridge that uses the Tizen operating system earlier in the year. Smart fridges have already been hacked and used in DDoS attacks 5 Domestic Smart Devices That Are Spying On You Right Now As more and more electical items are released with Internet of Things connectivity, so online privacy and security becomes weaker. Our look at five domestic appliances currently spying on you should emphasise the problem. Read More , and many of their top features (e.g. calendars, reminders, music playback) can already be found on smartphones, tablets, and other dedicated devices.


If you’re desperate for a fridge with a touchscreen, why not use something like the FridgePad and your existing tablet instead?

4. Laurastar Smart Iron [No Longer Available]

Laurastar is a Swiss company that specializes in high-end ironing systems, and their contribution to last year’s IFA electronics show was a new smart iron with an entry price of $1,400. The “smart” component uses an app to provide tutorials and real-time guides to improve your ironing technique, and provide detailes about your equipment.

With such an eye-watering price tag it’s clear that Laurastar don’t make average consumer-grade irons, and that’s reflected in the rest of their line up: their current most expensive “ironing system” retails at $3,699. Depressingly though, smart irons are now a thing, so expect to see more of them in the future.


5. PetNet SmartFeeder

In July 2016 dogs and cats around the world went hungry when their PetNet smart feeders didn’t actually do any feeding. That’s right, you too can starve your feline friend for only $150.

Rather than buffering feeding data for a sensible period of time and querying servers for changes to said schedule, PetNet decided to rely solely on the network to trigger feeding times. When the service stopped working, dinner never arrived. It’s not clear whether PetNet’s methodology has been changed to avoid future issues, but it’s also not hard to feed your dog “manually” instead.

6. Prepd “Smart” Lunch Box

The Prepd lunchbox isn’t technically a smart device, save for the accompanying recipe app which provides meal plans designed to fit in the included containers. Beyond being a lunchbox with magnetic containers that can be arranged in a few different ways, Prepd doesn’t really do anything new.

I’d probably have left it off this list were it not for the nauseating level of Kickstarter-speak, like the claim that it “redefines the whole experience of taking lunch.”


7. So Many Smart Buttons

We don’t have Amazon in Australia, so maybe I’m just bitter about the arrival of Dash buttons. Is this a step too far in simplifying online shopping? Maybe. I doubt the house of the future is covered in buttons with name brand labels on every surface.

14 Ridiculous Smart Home Products You Don't Need nerf dash button

At least Amazon’s buttons are cheap. Logitech’s POP home switch will cost you $99 for a starter pack that includes two buttons. You can use them to perform revolutionary tasks like control lights, play music, and other things that would take 10 seconds longer to complete if you hadn’t wasted one-hundo on a smart switch system.

If you experienced a momentary lapse in judgement and actually bought some Amazon Dash buttons, you might be pleased to know you can hack them to do other things instead What Is Amazon Dash? And 6 of the Best Hacks You Should Know Wondering what Amazon Dash Buttons do, and looking for the best Dash Button hacks? Here's an introduction to these devices, plus the best hacks for them. Read More .

8. Juicero

The Juicero is an internet-connected juicer that is designed to prop-up its own subscription-based business model. It doesn’t juice regular old fruit and vegetables like a standard juicer, instead it relies on sachets of prepared flavors like a Keurig or Nespresso coffee machine.

Unlike a Keurig, the juicer will only work with sachets that use Juicero’s own QR code. It’s always connected to the internet, and the use of sachets instead of raw organic material generates additional unnecessary waste. In case you weren’t completely convinced, juice packs cost a further $5–8 each on top of the $700 initial expenditure.

9. Toasteroid Smart Toaster

Finally! A toaster that prints the day’s weather on your breakfast, removing the need to glance out of the window or swipe right on your phone. You can also use the Toasteroid app to burn messages or drawings onto bread, allowing you to literally eat your own words.

I feel like I should cut Toasteroid some slack for at least being fun, but that $85 price tag is likely to go up once it leaves the crowdfunding stage.

10. Bowflex ST560 Smart Dumbbells

Regardless of how useful Bowflex’s product is, I’m docking points for missing the opportunity to call its Bluetooth-connected weights “smartbells.” And the system does have some merit: select your weight and the ST560 will configure itself to your preferences.

But at $499 (not including the weight rack) for a pair, the entry price is eye-wateringly steep. Unless you’re made of money you might as well pay for a regular gym membership, and use all of the equipment you want.

11. Tangram Smart Skipping Rope

When a regular skipping rope just won’t do, try Tangram’s smart rope. It monitors your progress and displays it in mid-air as you workout, provided you can keep skipping long enough to make it worthwhile.

While it might not be the most expensive smart exercise accessory, it’s still a needlessly connected device. The accompanying app collects all your skipping data, allowing you to compete against others on leaderboards — quite the revolution in skipping rope technology.

12. Febreze Home Smart Air Freshener

This product probably makes sense if you’re meticulous about the way your house smells, but I’m an open-the-windows, “Oh God there’s cat hair everywhere” kinda guy. I’m also depressingly cynical about these (and many other) things, so I see this product as more of a gimmick to get you to buy more Febreeze than anything else.

14 Ridiculous Smart Home Products You Don't Need febreze home

Using the remote spray you can add fragrance to rooms, monitor “freshness” levels (whatever that means) and get notifications when its time to buy more. You can then order more with your Febreeze-branded Amazon Dash button, because you’re just so-damn-connected.

13. Mark One Pryme Vessyl Smart Cup

The Pryme Vessyl is a smart water container, designed to help you stay hydrated by tracking what you drink. The problem is that we already have a device for this: our bodies. The idea that you need eight glasses of water a day is outdated, with much of our daily H2O coming from the food we eat — something Vessyl doesn’t track.

Vessyl also can’t tell the difference between the different liquids you may place in it. Many reviews suggest the product leaks and often loses connection. Needless connectivity, dubious hydration marketing, and leaky product means you’ll likely want to avoid this one.

14. LVL Hydration Monitor [Broken URL Removed]

Hot on the heels of Vessyl is LVL, a wearable hydration monitor and fitness tracker that gives you an at-a-glance look at your current thirst. I can maybe see a valid use for LVL for athletes or those exercising in hot climates, but among such professionals the importance of replacing fluids is well understood.

The real market for LVL is consumers drawn in by the science of hydration, and while staying hydrated is good for you, you don’t need to spend $200 and wear this thing to do so. Just drink water often and send me your $200 instead.

Do You Own Any of These?

What’s the worst smart device you’ve ever come across? How many of these would you put in your home? Is privacy and security something that concerns you about the internet of Things 7 Reasons Why The Internet of Things Should Scare You The potential benefits of the Internet of Things grow bright, while the dangers are cast into the quiet shadows. It's time to draw attention to these dangers with seven terrifying promises of the IoT. Read More ?

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Related topics: Home Security, Pets, Security Breach, Smart Appliance, Wearable Technology.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Jim
    January 22, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    The worst "smart" device I have ever come across is the automobile. In truth, I don't want my car vulnerable to anyone hacking it, or a virus getting in its computer, when I'm barreling down the road at highway speeds.

    If I need a software update, which is not likely, I can download it to a flash drive and install it manually, or go to the dealer and get it installed for me. My guess, however, is that software updates for a car are kind of like tolls you pay to cross the bridge -- much of the toll money goes to pay the salaries of the toll collectors. And my guess is that these software updates are needed only to update all of the "smart" stuff in the car; they aren't needed to actually operate the car.

    I might consider getting a smart car IF the car's internal network was totally isolated and disconnected from the wireless entry points - the tire pressure sensors, the stereo system, the bluetooth interface, etc. But as long as it's all interconnected, there is a huge risk of being hacked.

    • Gary
      February 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Yes, after the novelty has worn off, the gadgets in cars are a waste of money. They’re there to justify the price of the vehicle. Just something else to go wrong, as I have personal experience of.

  2. Julio Laker
    March 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

    This article is borderline luddite in its naysaying. Connected fridges will take off, grocery stores are prepared to pay a hell of a lot of money to know how many beers you have left in your fridge.

    • Tim Brookes
      March 14, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Well the term "luddite" would suggest I'm against new technology in general, which is clearly not true or I wouldn't have written the article. I'm just against putting the word "smart" in front of something, connecting it to the internet, and selling it for 100% markup.

    • Evan
      February 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      What’s a smart fridge going to do, order everything individually so there’s a delivery arriving everyday? How does it know you wish to reorder a particular item? Did the homeowner simply buy that item because it was on offer, and this week will look to see what else is on offer?

      They’re a great idea if you’re the kind of person who wastes their money on every new item someone markets as the next must-have. Those who stop and think will quickly realise the simple weekly shop is actually an incredibly complex experience for a fridge to get right. One would spend more time double-checking orders, prices, that had been automatically placed to ensure they’re acceptable, than would be spent simply placing the orders oneself. I’d have to ensure all deliveries had actually arrived, for example. It’s not without its administration.

      All this to save oneself the time of ordering the contents of the refridgerator - I’d still have to shop to fill cupboards.

      However, fools and their money are easily parted. There are plenty of idiots out there. They could perhaps purchase a smart door lock at the same time, only to find out when they’re burgled the theft insurance defaults as the lock isn’t acceptable to the insurance company, as I doubt they would be.

  3. Luke Stark
    March 4, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    The Amazon dash buttons are super convenient. I use one for my breakfast bars and one for my laundry detergent. Don't have to think or plan and it's at the door before I run out or forget to buy more.

    • James
      February 15, 2018 at 4:30 pm

      Yes they’re convenient. They have a market though, which is limited to those who order things without checking prices. Personally, I couldn’t order something without knowing what I’m being charged.

  4. DntBTaken
    March 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    TrackR bravo. Total garbage.

  5. M
    March 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    TrackR garbage

  6. M
    March 4, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    TrackR bravo. Total garbage.

  7. KT
    March 4, 2017 at 1:54 am

    That was one of the best articles I've read in a long time and the first paragraph really summed it all up. While reading about these devices (some I've heard of, others I haven't) I didn't know whether to laugh at or weep for humanity. I am really dreading the day I can't buy a used car with no internet of things. I don't even like power windows and seats!

    • James
      February 15, 2018 at 4:34 pm

      “ I didn't know whether to laugh at or weep for humanity” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  8. likefunbutnot
    March 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I actually like the Amazon Dash buttons. I have a live in friend whose income. I have a PIN to keep my Alexa devices from making purchases , but have several Dash buttons to let my roommate buy household goods like Dish detergent. Sometimes these "smart" devices have niche but entirely valid uses; laundry machines that tell someone to come and empty them might be really handy for someone with sensory impairments, for example.