Give the gift of home automation this holiday season with any of these excellent options that will switch your home into smart mode.
Need some gift ideas for that special someone who's all about automating their home? Whether it's a smart thermostat, camera, door lock, or light bulbs, this comprehensive guide highlights some great products to consider that are user-friendly and fun to use. If you're interested in checking out some of our top picks that expand beyond the home automator, check out our extensive 2015 Holiday Gift Guide.
Since this smart-home tool is designed around your voice it's always on and ready to listen to your commands and questions even while music is playing. Echo uses 7 microphones and beam-forming technology to hear you, whether you're across the room or standing right next to the speaker. Amazon Echo connects to Alexa, a cloud-based voice series that can provide information, answer questions, play music, check the weather, and more. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns and vocabulary. It's a pretty sweet speaker, too — featuring dual downward facing drivers that produce 360-degree omni-directional audio. And, Amazon Echo works with your smart devices such as Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Wink, and WeMo.
Nest Cam Security Camera
Keep tabs on your home with this security camera that's capable of streaming live video in 1080p 24/7 straight to your Android or iOS device, also sending alerts if or when anything happens. With the Nest Cam's quick and easy setup process you can have everything ready to go in 10 minutes. It stores your video history in the cloud, allowing you access it at any time. Don't forget about night vision, because the Nest Cam can do that too using 8 infrared LEDs to help illuminate the room in the dark.
Philips Hue Starter Kit
Looking to give your your home some custom lighting to kick off the new year? The Philips Hue Starter Kit is a great way to break the ice. This kit includes three 800-lumen hue lightbulbs and a Hue bridge to set up unique lighting in your home, allowing you to adjust colors, timers, alerts, and more straight from your phone. Using Wi-Fi you're able to create mood-setting color schemes or an automatic schedule while you're out and about. The Philips Hue Starter kit is compatible with your HomeKit, Amazon Echo, and Wink setups as well in case you've already started automating your pad.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Start saving money and gain control of how you heat and cool your home like never before. The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat features a thinner design than previous models with a larger display that's easy to read even at a distance. The Farsight feature lights up when it recognizes you're nearby so you can get a quick glimpse at the temperature. Using the Nest app on your device you can adjust the temperature whether you're home or away, or you can let it automatically find an energy efficient setting that's ideal while the house is empty. You can even view your energy history through the app for a closer look at how you're saving on that bill.
Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit
Looking for a complete kit that provides the basics to get you started automating you home? Samsung's SmartThings Kit includes a hub, 2 multipurpose sensors, 1 motion sensor, and a single outlet you can control appliances, lights, and more through Samsung's SmartThings app. Set your lights to kick on when the sensor detect movement in your home or receive alerts straight to your device when doors and windows are opened. It's not just convenient, it's also great for security. Of course, the SmartThings Hub is capable of controlling hundreds of compatible devices to customize your smart home, too — just in case you want to pick some some extra accessories to expand your control.
Just because your home is automated doesn't mean you shouldn't have safety measures in place. That's where the Nest Protect comes into play. Whether you opt for the wired or battery-powered version this smart-home accessory is a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that send alerts straight to your smartphone. It utilizes a split-spectrum sensor that quickly detects fires and can identify where the danger is coming from. If you've simply burned dinner in the oven and the alarm goes off on your phone, you can silence it immediately.
August Smart Lock
This secure smart lock replaces the interior of your existing deadbolt quickly and easily allowing you keyless entry to your home using your Android or iOS device. It's powered by four AA batteries and using the August app you can create virtual keys for guests to keep track to who comes and goes. As you approach your door the August Smart Lock will automatically unlock for your convenience, also locking up after you leave.
ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat
An excellent alternative to Nest is the ecobee3. This Wi-Fi Thermostat is sold with 1 remote sensor or a 3 sensor bundle, allowing you not to only measure the temperature and occupancy of the room or hallway your thermostat is in, but also in every room with a sensor. As such, you get more granular control and better comfort and energy efficiency in your house. With the new HomeKit-enabled version of the ecobee3 hardware, you get full support for Siri control, including the ability to trigger actions, as well as Android compatibility.