There's plenty of home tech these days, but not everyone finds it all that useful. Where do you stand?
Smart home accessories are becoming more ubiquitous every year, and these days you can find them everywhere from specialized stores like Best Buy to more broad locations like Target and Walmart. Some home tech, like connected security cameras and smart thermostats, offer immediately obvious benefits for home security and automation. Other gadgets like smart lightbulbs seem a bit unnecessary to some, but can help achieve certain aesthetics in a room.
The one smart home gadget that almost everyone has sitting around is an assistant-powered speaker. Whether it's an Amazon Echo, a Google Home, or even an Apple HomePod, smart speakers are a great addition to any home that can do anything from playing music and podcasts to controlling other smart home devices, all with a simple voice command. Smaller speakers like the Google Home Mini are often bundled in for free with phones and tablets, making them a great, easily accessible first smart home device for general consumers.
For those more concerned about security than voice commands, a connected camera or doorbell can be a great addition to the home. Nest is one of the biggest players in this realm, with excellent products like the Cam IQ and the Hello doorbell, but there are plenty of other great alternatives from brands like Ring and Canary. A security camera is only useful as long as you can see the feed, and smart cameras let you see what's going on directly from your phone — most products in this category even let you hold conversations with people on the other end.
Then there are the more aesthetically focused products. Smart lights from brands like LIFX and Philips Hue have become extremely popular lately, with the ability to set specific colors and color temperatures for each individual bulb. Some can even be set up to flash different colors to notify you of new messages on your phone or incoming weather alerts.
Of course, we can't leave out home monitoring and automation tools. This is where Nest got its start, with products like smart thermostats and smoke alarms. Ecobee has also gained some traction with its own line of thermostats. The focus of all of these products is to save you money and, in the case of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, potentially save lives.
This only scratches the surface of the unending selection of smart home tech, and whether you've equipped your home with a full range of cameras, lights, thermostats, and more, or you're only just now dabbling in smart speakers, we want to know.
What are some of your favorite smart home gadgets? If you could only keep one smart device around, which would it be?
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