By DC Rutherford
You’ve invested in your home—its aesthetic, its furnishings, even the car in the driveway—but have you brought it into the future?
Smart homes allow us to control our households from anywhere, giving us a sense of comfort and security that is inherently priceless. Smart home technology allows access to your home’s efficiencies and devices so you can exploit its every ounce of enjoyment and peace of mind. These Smart Home devices aren’t simply about adding more apps to your phone, or more tech to your life. They’re about controlling your life from anywhere so that you can enjoy it everywhere.
Below you’ll find the essential Smart Home devices that you need to install yesterday. (Sorry, there is no Smart Time Machine with Device Installer currently available.)
Your first step in making your home smarter is a Smart Home Hub from which to centralize your digitized household. Much of this decision will depend on which operating system you prefer or already use (Apple, Amazon, or Google). The Amazon Echo (4th generation) can connect to a number of devices using Bluetooth and WiFi, and integrates seamlessly with your Amazon’s Alexa voice-control, as well as Alexa Guard, which will listen for signs of a break-in or danger in your home and will turn on lights and notify homeowners in the event of an emergency.
The Apple HomePod Mini integrates with iOS devices and Apple’s HomeKit controls via Siri, which is compatible with many Smart Home devices like locks, security, lights, thermostats, and more. It’s also a smart speaker with a surprising range and connects to Apple TV 4K, to be used as an audio output for your TV. Add hubs and speakers as you need them throughout the home to provide access to your hub’s applications with ease.
Google’s Nest Home Max has a 10-inch screen where you can watch YouTube and Netflix, check out recipes and news, and enjoy its dual speakers, plus a 6.5MP camera for video calls. Google’s extensive list of Smart Home devices syncs up easily and provides great appeal for Android aficionados.
Our Top 5 Must-Have Smart Home Devices:
Not all Smart Home devices are about safety, security, and speaker. The Smart Vacuum is fast becoming an ubiquitous home appendage. Dyson has become synonymous with top-of-the-line vacuums and nothing beats the Dyson 360 Heurist. Run it from Dyson’s app and control it from anywhere; you can clean the house even when you’re not there.
2) Doorbells & Locks
A great upgrade for home security, and peace of mind, is the Smart Doorbell, which allows homeowners the comfort of a video camera and two-way communication so that they can be sure of who’s coming to the door, whether you’re home or not. There are countless options available, but we lean towards Google Nest’s options, the line of Ring products, and Arlo as well.
It’s best to pair your Smart Doorbell with a Smart Lock to fully integrate your Smart Home security. Google Nest’s Yale Smart Lock and the line of August and Schlage offerings allow for safe keyless entry and Smart Home integration.
A Smart Thermostat saves money, energy and anxiety. No more of those, “Whoops! I left the AC on while we went to Europe for the week” moments. Run the A/C before you get home or crank up the heat to come in from the cold. The Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control (Alexa enabled), the Honeywell Lyric T5 Smart Thermostat, and the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation top our list. Energy Star certified and compatible with multiple devices, these are sure to keep your house at the perfect temperature no matter where you are.
4) Garage Door Openers
Many of us use our garages as the portal to the home, especially in the midst of a Canadian winter, so a Smart Garage Door opener is a necessity for any Smart home. The Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub is our pick. Monitor and control who opens your garage door from anywhere with a cellphone signal and receive real-time notifications through the myQ app. No more dead batteries or garage door opener remotes lost somewhere in the backseat; just tap your phone and slide into your heated garage (also controlled with your Smart Thermostat) to avoid winter (or summer) altogether.
Energy, ecology, and environment are infinitely more important to homeowners in 2022 than ever before, and the ability to control your home’s lights remotely provides savings for you and the planet. Phillips’ Hue White and Color Ambiance smart lightbulbs are compatible with all three of our favourite OS hubs and provide 25,000 hours of light at 800 lumens.