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15 Must Have Gadgets For Your Smart Home

by Lisa Hayden
home-automation 15 must have gadgets

​15 Must Have Gadgets For Your Smart Home (​That Wont Break The Bank)

When it comes to building a smart home it can be difficult to find the exact right devices for your house. There are so many options to choose from, so many brands to choose from, and a lot of devices seem to do the same things.

We understand, and that's why we've compiled a list of all of the best gadgets for your smart home. We've got you covered when it comes to lighting, heating, security, entertainment and more. We've even included a great router that will give your smart home enough bandwidth to keep up with all of your new gadgets while still allowing your family to browse, play, and watch.

So without further ado, let's get right into the 15 must-have gadgets for your smart home.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance bulbs

Philips, the company responsible for lighting the beautiful Empire State Building, has released a consumer lineup of premium, in-home lighting solutions that cover everything from standard bulbs to light strips, bloom lighting, floodlights and more.

Now, with just the tap of your smartphone, you can change the mood of your entire home by changing the color of individual bulbs, or by creating entire scenes that change the feeling of every room in the house.

With Philips Hue, you are able to utilize IFTTT to extend the functionality of your bulbs even further. Make your Hue bulbs flash the color of your Football team when you score a touchdown. Turn certain lights blue when it snows. Set your lights to turn on at sunrise or a certain time in the morning to help you wake up. With IFTTT the possibilities are literally endless.

Philips Hue light strips

Philips Hue bulbs add a lot of functionality to your home. They can be automated and can serve pretty much any function you can think of. There's only one problem. Bulbs are pretty much restricted to areas of your home that have light sockets.

Thankfully, one of the many products in the Hue ecosystem are light strips. Light strips are flat LED strips that can be placed under counters, behind TVs, and under couches. They can be used as hallway runners for when you need to go to the restroom but you don't want to blind yourself.

Along with all of this functionality, the Philips Hue light strip can be integrated with all of the other Philips Hue products so that your whole home comes alive with just the push of a button or even your voice with a compatible smart speaker.

Philips Hue Tap

Philips has so many connected lighting products that it's almost mind-numbing. Their catalog of lights are pages long. All of this is great for the consumer because it means that Philips Hue has a thriving ecosystem of interconnected lighting products that serve nearly any application. All of this is great but Philips Hue has one big flaw for people who might not have a smart speaker. In order to use the system, you have to either automate it or take out your smartphone every time you want to turn on a light.

This is a big problem because it eliminates the easiness of the whole system. Because of this, Philips made a couple different light controls that connect to Philips Hue and can be stuck or placed nearly anywhere. Probably the best of the bunch is the Philips Hue Tap, which has a number of different features.

Firstly, the Philips Hue Tap requires no batteries. That's right, this is truly a set and forget device. You never need to plug it in, it will never run out of juice. It works by generating just enough energy from being pressed to perform its function. As far as actual functionality goes, the Philips Hue Tap has three buttons that can be customized for any selection of lights and any function. They can be set to dim, brighten, change color, trigger a scene or just be turned off or on.

August Smart Lock

Controlling your lights is a great feature and essential for anyone serious about home automation. But what about security? A truly smart home should alert you when someone comes or goes and should let you in automatically when you get home while keeping those without permission out.

Thankfully August has the perfect product. The August Smart Lock does all of that and looks pretty stylish too. August supports keyless entry and it can be locked both with your voice and with your smartphone. Your August Smart Lock can also detect your arrival via the app and unlock automatically to let you in.

Samsung Connect Home Pro

Smart Home Gadgets

One big problem with having a smart home is that it can really bog down your WiFi. For a lot of routers, this means Netflix buffering, game lag and a bad time. Thankfully, mesh routers have been available for a while and Samsung offers a mesh system that doubles as a SmartThings Home Hub.

Samsung SmartThings is a hub that ties your Google Home or Amazon Echo into hundreds of other sensors and devices that allow you to create the ideal smart home setup. SmartThings supports over 200 devices including cameras, water sensors, arrival sensors and more.

SmartThings is also compatible with IFTTT so you can extend even more functionality and routines across devices.

SmartThings arrival sensor

The SmartThings arrival sensor is a multi-purpose sensor that allows your system to recognize when you are home. This works similar to the August Smart Lock app but you don't need your phone and it works with your whole system.

Simply attach it to your keys and you are ready to have your lights come on, AC turn on and anything else you wish to activate upon arriving home.

SmartThings motion detector

The SmartThings Motion Detector works exactly as advertised. Its sole function is to detect motion and then report back to your system. This adds a bit of security to your setup and allows you to trigger lights, sirens and more, all without any manual effort beyond the initial setup.

Google Home or Amazon Echo

What's the point of having a smart home if you can command it with your very voice? Having a smart speaker not only takes your whole smart home experience to the next level with voice controls but if you have a Google Home or an Amazon Echo it will act as the hub that all of your other devices connect with.

Smart speakers also allow you to perform calculations (Eg. "hey Google what's 25*197"), measurement conversions, set alarms and timers and even read you audiobooks and play music from a music app or even the radio. You can even call other people from them like an old landline with new tricks.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are both compatible with SmartThings as well as IFTTT so you will be able to get a whole lot of functionality out of either of these devices.

Arlo Pro

Arlo Pro is a wireless camera that lasts for a long time before needing to be charged and can be placed anywhere. They can alert you of motion and be viewed remotely.

Not only does Arlo Pro have excellent cloud features and cloud capability but you can also use a Chromecast and Google Home or Fire TV and Amazon Echo to display your camera onto the tv just by asking.

Samsung POWERbot

Robot vacuums have been around for a while now. They are capable of automatically roaming around your house, picking up lost crumbs and keeping your house looking like it was just cleaned.

The Samsung POWERbot takes this to the next level with SmartThings connectivity. Not only does the POWERbot do what it's supposed to do, it also can be configured with SmartThings routines so that setting the time that it runs and triggering it to activate during certain events is easier than ever.

Spy your Home

Logitech Harmony Elite

So not everybody wants to feel like they're always being listened to. It's understandable that there is a portion of the population that just isn't going to buy a smart speaker, and they shouldn't be left out of the fun!

The Logitech Harmony Elite is a smart remote for your smart home. It connects to your TV and also your smart home gadgets, such as Philips Hue. This do-everything, universal remote is designed to be the touch input version of a smart speaker in that it has lots of control functionality, just without the voice.

Chromecast

Are you tired of always using a remote for the TV? I mean c'mon. You can control your lights, door lock and cameras with your voice, why not your TV? Well with a Chromecast you can fix this problem.

With Chromecast you are able to turn your TV on and off with your voice, play Netflix and Pandora with your voice and even use your smartphone (iOS or Android), to control the volume, TV show and more. The beauty of Chromecast is that you can do all of this from the apps that you already use on a regular basis. Just open Netflix on your smartphone for, example, and press the cast button on the app to send the show to your TV. You can also minimize the app on your phone and do other things without the show stopping on your TV.

It should be noted that in order to turn your TV on and off it must support HDMI CEC. If you intend to use your voice to control your TV with Chromecast, you must own a Google Home. If you already own an Amazon Echo you will need to buy an Amazon Firestick.

Ring Doorbell

Ring Doorbell is a camera and a doorbell in one. If someone presses the doorbell you will be notified, you can also be notified of motion in front of the doorbell, as well as use your voice with a smart speaker to bring the camera up on your TV.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest thermostat is a thermostat that ties into your smart home and can be controlled remotely as well as set on a timer so that you can control the energy use in your home and always be comfy.

Nest isn't supported by SmartThings but it is compatible with IFTTT and can be controlled by voice and more!

Nest Protect

Nest Protect is a carbon monoxide and smoke detector that is compatible with IFTTT. It can turn your lights on and alert you if it detects some harmful substances in the air. You can also set it to react with all sorts of other commands.

So that's the list of 15 must-have gadgets for your smart home. Let us know what you think. Do you have personal experience with any of these gadgets? Have you thought about purchasing any of these? Let us know in the comments below!

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