Every year tech companies come up with new gadgets with the aim of making our lives easier. Through technological innovations, these devices have undoubtedly made our homes smarter and more connected than ever before. And while some inventions (think: flammable hoverboards and exploding smartphones) were better left on the drawing board, there are a lot of products that genuinely add value to our lives. We’ve rounded up 7 gadgets we think you should prioritize adding to your home.
SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell, $199
There’s nothing worse than an unexpected knock on the door to interrupt a family dinner or a Netflix binge-watching session. But with the SkyBell HD Wi-Fi video doorbell, homeowners can now see who’s at their doorstep right from their smartphones. The app-enabled doorbell sends a live feed alert to your smartphone via a 1080p HD camera and even allows you to hear and speak to your visitors no matter where you are. Plus, it’s available in a brushed aluminium or oil-rubbed bronze finish to match any decor.
Neato Wi-Fi Botvac Connected from Best Buy, $999
Unless you’re Monica Gellar, vacuuming is probably a chore you’d want to leave for someone — or something — else to do. Well now you can thanks to the latest robo-vacuum technology. While there are a lot of options available from various manufacturers, Neato’s Botvac Connected ups the ante with its D-shaped design, laser range sensors and user-friendly app. Using the Neato app, you can set a schedule, create a cleaning path and even control it remotely — like an RC toy — to keep things fun.
PLAY:1 mini home speaker from SONOS, $249
Big things come in small packages. Take the Sonos Play:1 wireless home speaker, for example. At just over six inches tall and weighing only four pounds, the compact wireless speaker packs a big punch with a pair of Class-D amplifiers and custom-built drivers. Its sleek, minimalist design makes it a perfect fit for bookshelves, counters and any other small places in your home. And it’s even humidity resistant, which means it’s perfect for outdoor use or for long shower singing sessions. (Sponsored by SONOS)
Weiser Kevo Convert Smart Lock, $199
Almost everyone has been locked out of their home at one time or another. But with the Weiser Kevo Smart Lock, this anxiety-inducing event is a thing of the past. The innovative device uses your existing deadbolt and turns it into a smart lock in a matter of minutes without any modifications to the exterior hardware. Once installed, the lock can be controlled through the Kevo app on your smartphone. The app can also create and retract eKeys to allow temporary access to guests or service personnel!
Philips Hue Colour A19 Starter Kit from Home Depot, $180
With the advent of energy-saving bulbs like LEDs and CFLs, it’s safe to say that the days of the incandescent bulb are numbered. And while LED bulbs continue to grow in popularity in households across North America, companies like Philips have started introducing the next generation of lighting technology. The company’s A19 Hue Colour starter kit enables you to control your light environment from your smart device wherever you are. You can also customize your lights to turn on when you want, switch colours and even sync with your music for the ultimate weekend house party.
Belkin's WeMo Insight Smart Plug from Walmart, $70
The Belkin WeMo Insight Smart Plug is one of the easiest and least costly way to get into home automation and smart home technology. It simply connects to your existing home Wi-Fi network (no subscription or hub required) and allows wireless control of lamps, heaters, fans and small appliances. Using the WeMo app, you’ll have complete peace of mind knowing whether or not you’ve turned off the heater or unplugged the toaster oven. And, with real-time consumption reports, you can see which devices use the most electricity, allowing you to better track your energy usage leading to lower hydro bills.
Samsung 4-Door Flex™ Refrigerator with Family Hub™ from Best Buy, $5,999.95
The Samsung 4-Door Flex fridge proves that kitchen appliances can be cool. With its 21.5 inch Wi-Fi-enabled touchscreen, three built-in cameras and integrated Pandora-compatible speakers, this ain’t your grandmother’s refrigerator. At nearly $6,000 this one’s a bit of a splurge, but it does offer custom FlexZone technology which allows the bottom right door to be used as a fridge or freezer, as well as a premium triple cooling system with three evaporators since, after all, it is still a fridge.