We tend to think of new kitchen counters or a bathroom makeover when we talk about home improvement. But nowadays the term also means acquiring smart home devices that make life simpler and free up our time. Here are six very cool tech tools that can lighten your daily load.
Smart hub systems
Smart home automation systems can simplify your life by controlling your home’s internal infrastructure systems. With a smart hub system, you can use a phone app to change your house’s air temperature when you’re not there, activate and deactivate the alarm system, check home cameras for activity, lock and unlock doors remotely, even control some appliances. These smart home devices can monitor the chemicals in your pool remotely and notify you when an aging parent has fallen. Purchasing and installing a home automation system can start as low as $300 for a wireless system to a high of $3,200 for a hardwired one. If your smart hub system monitors home security, you’ll pay a monthly fee.
Robo floor sweeping
You can cross floor cleaning off your list of household chores with a robot vacuum. You’ve probably seen the flying saucer-like discs skittering around, scarfing up dirt as they sense walls and pivot around furniture. These smart home devices can handle hard-surface floors and short-pile carpets. A dock plugged into the wall charges the device when it’s not in use. Choose a vacuum with a strong motor and the ability to map your rooms for more thorough cleaning. One of the leaders in this technology is the iRobot Roomba series, which starts at around $250.
No-sweat lawn mowing
The tedium of cleaning your floor isn’t the only place a robot can relieve you. A robot lawn mower takes the sweat out of keeping the lawn manicured. The best models come with GPS that keeps the mower within the perimeter of your yard. They also have sensors that detect grass height and adjust the cutting blade as needed and the ability to dash to the base station if rain begins to fall. The top-of-the-line Husqvarna Robotic 430X looks like a race car and is smarter than you are. It costs around $2,700.
Chillin’ while grillin’
Avoid the sweat and tears from that smokey charcoal grill. Smart grills allow you to control temperature, sense when foods are done or need turning, and regulate fuel and airflow. These smart home devices control the supply of pellets or gas and air to control grill temperature to within one degree of your target while you’re on the lounge chair with a cool one in your hand. Smart grills run from $799 for the Char-Broil Smart Chef to a toasty $7,000 for the super-outfitted Lynx 30” Smart Grill.
Touch-free water flow
High-tech kitchen faucets operate one of two ways. Some have an infrared detector eye that turns the water on and off with a wave of your hand. Others run water when you lightly tap them. With both types, the faucet handle is used only to set your desired flow and temperature. Trusted brands like Moen, Delta and Kohler sell these smart home devices beginning around $145. Pair a smart faucet with a touch-free soap dispenser, and the only things your hands will touch are soap and water.
Smart speakers set the mood
You can fill your home with music without lifting a finger. Home audio leaders like Sonos offer voice-controlled wireless portable speakers that can fill each room of your house with the impressive sound of your favorite music. Speakers, sound bars and subwoofers cover the range of sound. Integrated with Google Assist and Apple AirPlay, these smart home devices make the world of music available at your command. Individual speakers start at less than $200, or you can build out your own design for thousands of dollars.
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