When the Disney Channel Original Movie Smart House came out in 1999, every aspect of the house seemed fantastical. Less than 20 years later, though, more and more American families are living in smart houses themselves. We’re using technology to make it easier to turn off the lights or keep our homes at comfortable temperatures. But like all tech, smart home technology is showing no signs of slowing down. Sure, you might have Alexa helping you power down your home at night, but don’t stop there.
If you want to keep your home on the cutting edge, we’ve rounded up a handful of 2018’s best smart home technology. Check out the latest ways to make your home smarter.
Use your window coverings to keep your home comfortable – without all the work – with smart blinds. Image: MySmartBlinds
See the light (when you want to) with smart blinds
Whether your home or apartment doesn’t have air conditioning or you’re just looking for a way to scale back your utility bills, your window coverings can help. Open blinds during sunlight hours help keep a room comfortably warm during the cooler months. Closed shades when the sun comes over the horizon helps keep your space cooler during summer. But managing all of your windows at all hours of the day can get tiring.
That’s where smart blinds come in. You can automate these motorized window coverings. They open when you’re ready to greet the day with sunlight, close when you want to keep a space cooler, open when you return home from work, close when you head to bed — you get the idea. Smart blinds make your windows a powerful tool your home can use for better temperature control and ambiance. The best part is that you don’t have to lift a finger doing it.
Your smart fridge may become a hub for your entire family. Image: Samsung
Save on groceries with a smart fridge
How many times have you been at the store unable to remember if you need eggs? Unsure, you grab a carton, only to come home and find that you already had a dozen. A smart fridge can eliminate this small but recurring annoyance, plus a multitude of others. These fridges come equipped with an interior camera (so you can check the status of items while you’re at the store) and a front-panel tablet. That tablet can do a lot, from reminding you about food that’s about to expire to reading you recipes as you cook. Some smart fridge tablets can even serve as a hub for your family, running a schedule from which everyone can coordinate or serving as a whiteboard so you can leave messages as needed. If you’ve been looking to upgrade your fridge, choose smart home technology for lower grocery bills and better kitchen (and family) efficiency.
Use your fan that way it’s intended with smart technology. Image: Hunter
Chill out with a smart fan
Wi-Fi-connected ceiling fans are here. And thank goodness, because we’re probably all overusing our fans. Did you know that fans cool people, not rooms? The wind chill effect they create makes you feel cooler, but it doesn’t actually bring down the temperature. When you leave a fan running when you leave the room, you’re just wasting energy. Smart fans allow you to schedule when your fans turn on and put them on a timer so you don’t leave them on indefinitely. Some even have location-based triggers, so they know to power up when you’re close to home. Your fans can do their job, but your energy bills stay low.
Let your faucet measure out water for you. Image: Delta Faucet
Cook cleaner and faster with a smart faucet
We’ve had the power to turn on motion-sensing faucets in public restrooms for years. Finally, this hands-free tech is making its way into our homes. No more getting the faucet dirty when trying to wash your hands after prepping raw meat. Now you can turn on your kitchen sink with a wave of the hand or a touch of the wrist.
And smart faucet technology is evolving even further, thanks to voice activation. Tell your faucet to turn on hot water as you bring your dirty dishes over. Ask it to give you three cups of water for your pasta. You don’t have to get out your measuring cups; your faucet can do it for you. Upgrading to a new faucet is a prime example of using smart home technology to make your day-to-day life easier.
A smart mug keeps your coffee warm during even the longest meetings. Image: Ember
Sip safely all day with a smart mug
If you’re really ready to get on board with smart tech that makes your life easier, why not invest in some you can take outside the house? A smart mug can serve you on cozy Sunday mornings at home, during your commute and throughout your workday. These compact devices keep your coffee or tea at a consistent temperature as long as you want. That cup you forgot to bring to your meeting? It will still be steaming when you come back to it. Smart mugs can also warn you that a drink is too hot (bye, scalded tongues!) and track your fluid intake, pushing reminders to get in your daily water requirement.