Smart Home

Are These Smart Products Really Smart or Just a Gimmick?

Shay Meinecke 29-08-2016

The smart home craze is officially here How You Can Transform Your Apartment Into a Smart Home I'm here to tell you that it's possible to transform your apartment, duplex, or anywhere else you might live into a smart place, one that'll impress your friends and ease your life. Read More . And with that hundreds of ordinary products are slapped with the “smart” label, confusing shoppers into thinking they’re purchasing a high-tech piece of equipment capable of doing incredible things.


Sometimes those labels, if you can believe it, are meaningless. They don’t guarantee an intelligent product that can perform various tasks through automation, much like a smart item should. And worse yet, they’re often overpriced.

So be careful with your money and buy more confidently after you’ve read this article. And be sure to avoid gimmicks that promise one thing and deliver another, or fail to deliver anything at all.

Smart or a Gimmick?

If you’ve purchased one of these items, don’t worry, we’re sure it serves some value. But we’re not sure the smart label was tagged appropriately.

Overpriced Smart Toaster

smart toaster

This “smart” toaster comes in at over $350 on Amazon. $350 for a toaster!


Why so expensive, you might ask? Well according to the specs, it includes die-cast metal casing, bamboo toasting tongs, and an intelligent one-touch auto lowering function. If that’s not enough, the product also features LED progress lights so you don’t burn your bread. All very important, necessary elements.

Ok. I’ll stop being sarcastic.

This over-priced (in my world) smart toaster does everything a normal, lesser expensive toaster could do – it browns your bread. The added tech features, which aren’t necessary, are included for that smart tech label, which isn’t regulated or approved. It can literally be put on anything.

Though, it’s not all bad. According to reviewers on various online shopping sites, most people are happy with the product, which is great. I just fail to see what makes this a smart product. Surely it can’t be the one-touch auto lowering button or the LEDs?


Anyway, I’ll let you decide.

Smart Tool Case

Up next is a smart tool case brought to you by tool makers in Germany. Please excuse the German in the video below.

This smart case promises to do everything a normal case can do. It holds your tools, keeps them organized, and prevents against exposure from outdoor elements. All very nice.

But the smart label has also been tagged. Why? Because of marketing. The company here is selling a case that is smart in terms of organization and utility, not smart on tech, unintentionally catching the eyes of smart product shoppers. Not their problem. But it is a problem for buyers who want that next piece of high-end tech for their garage.


Speaking of garage, here’s another item that could confuse smart shoppers:

The Smart Light

This light seeks to change the way you use lights by being completely hands-free, which could be handy for many situations. It can be attached to any window or smooth surface, but is meant to be suctioned onto a car window for lockouts in low-light situations.

My beef with it? The labeling. Similar to the tool case, it does what it’s designed to do. But is it smart? Not in the tech sense.

It does, however, excel in its usefulness. It seems to be a decent product that serves a certain niche in helping people access their cars after being locked out.


Just don’t think you’re buying a light capable of completing automated tasks. If you do want a smart light, there are plenty to choose from How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don't Annoy Everyone Sometimes all you want is a smart bulb that does what it's suppose to do - turn on or off. Sometimes it can be downright difficult to get your smart light to work properly! Read More .

But what we don’t want you to choose is the:

Swiss + Tech Smart Clip

smart clip

Why? It’s obviously a gimmick.

The marketing on the package suggests that you’re purchasing a somewhat high-end piece of tech, and the price of nearly $12 seems way too high for a flashlight clip that can also hold your keys. Not only is the labeling deceptive, but the product itself is unnecessary, especially at that price point.

Not sold. I hope you’re not either.

Up next:

Robotic Vacuums

This vacuum, the Dyson 360 robot vacuum cleaner, and others like it are products you should avoid.

Why? Because robotic vacuums are a waste of money Robotic Vacuums Are a Waste of Money and Here's Why The appeal of smart vacuums is undeniable. But they’re not for everyone. You should think long and hard before buying one. Here’s why. Read More . They’re overpriced, have less suction, don’t do stairs, and require maintenance.

While the product is intelligent and can perform automated tasks, it’s not able to perform those tasks well enough. And for that reason, it’s labeled more as a gimmick.

How to Find Smart Products that are Actually Smart

So, now that we’ve gone through some gimmicks. Let’s take a look at how to find legitimate smart products.

The very first thing you should do is recognize the brand 9 Reputable Smart Home Brands With Products You Can Trust The modern world is moving toward all kinds of smart home automation, and the longer you hold out, the more difficult it's going to be when your day of conversion finally comes. Read More , of which there are plenty.

Nest logo

Next, consider from where you’re purchasing your smart product. Amazon’s smart home section (CA) is a great first step to finding items online. eBay’s home automation section is ok, though it’s more difficult to navigate. is also a nice online store. If you want to visit a brick and mortar shop, try visiting a place with a reputable name you recognize. You don’t want to make your first purchase without a return policy.

Lastly, don’t purchase on the premium. A lot of these smart products can be assembled at home, can be purchased for way less, or aren’t appropriately tagged with the smart label. Do your homework and buy with confidence. There are a lot of great smart products out there, if you know where and how to find them.

Down with Gimmicks

I love tech achievements, especially smart home tech. It’s exciting to see products evolve to help people and even save the environment 5 Ways Tech Will Save the Environment Technology is often seen as an anti-ecology villain - but did you know that advanced technology is being used, right now, in cutting-edge conservation? Read More . But I hate gimmicks, especially sold at a premium. And some of these products are no more than hyped goods.

If you’d like to find some great products from reputable brands, check out some more Smart Home articles here. We’ve got you covered to find what you want!

What do you look for when buying smart products? Have you been duped by the smart sticker that promises everything but delivers nothing intelligent? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below…

Related topics: Home Automation, Smart Appliance, Smart Lighting.

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

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  1. Anonymous
    August 30, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    As time goes by, more and more items will be marketed with "SMART'" as part of their name. It will be the same as happened with the word "NATURAL". At first it had a certain meaning but as more and more items used it as part of their name, "natural" lost its meaning.

    It's a smart decision by a company to use the word "smart" in the nae of their product(s). consumers will buy the product because of that little word, profits will go up, stock price will go up. Company makes more money.

    • Shay
      September 3, 2016 at 10:25 am

      this is exactly why I wrote this. It seems that the word smart could go down the same road natural went through, and for good reason. The consumer should be better informed

  2. Anonymous
    August 30, 2016 at 6:48 am

    The author writes as if tech sense is the only way to determine "smart"!

    • Shay Meinecke
      August 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Exactly ;) Automation is really the key to whether a product is smart or not