Life can get complicated. Your home doesn’t have to be.
With smart products in every category, you can automate your life and your home. Products that work for you so that you don’t have to think about it. We’ve compiled a list of 7 compatible smart products we’ve reviewed that simplify your life.
Meet Alexa: Your Personal Assistant
The Amazon Echo and Dot are smart products that allow you to control your whole home using voice commands. If you’re an adult human, you probably have already heard of Alexa. Perhaps you even have a friend who’s constantly yelling at the air, “Alexa!” Maybe you’re that friend…
Amazon Echo is the housing unit of your new personal assistant. She delivers superb voice control, instant access to information, and – she works with almost everything. Alexa can simplify your life by allowing you to control your indoor and outdoor lights, thermostat, door locks, video doorbell and, of course, your home entertainment system.
Philips Hue 3rd Gen Smart Bulb
This is an RGBW smart light bulb by Philips Hue. Philips has been around for generations, making them a trusted brand, and their 3rd generation smart bulbs are quite wonderful. You can opt for a simple white light, or choose an infinite amount of colors to accent your home. The third generation bulbs have improved upon color – previously, they did horrendously on blues, greens, and cyans, according to Lisa Feierman, who reviewed them. Lisa says that this version of the bulb performs infinitely better.
You can get multiple bulbs to use with each other around the home, so you can consider these as a good option for your smart home system. They can be voice controlled with Alexa – “Alexa, turn on the lights” – making them a convenient choice to light your home.
Lightify GardenSpot Smart Outdoor Lights
The Lightify GardenSpot is a colored outdoor lighting system manufactured by Osram/Sylvania. These are a series of 9 pre-wired, RGB lights that have about a foot and a quarter of space between each light and the whole thing runs about 14 feet. More lights can be added to this configuration – three, to be exact.
There are Apple iOS and Android apps to control the lights, as well as an Alexa Skill. The system is controlled over WiFi, so you’ll want to make sure your signal can reach the outdoors, and get a signal repeater if it doesn’t. The Lightify GardenSpot is an inexpensive way to create a cool ambiance for your outdoor patio, lawn, walkway – whatever you like!
Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest has become a household name since it began trendsetting in 2011. The original smart thermostat, Nest is now on its 3rd generation and is still delivering the superb features and functionality that set it apart from the competition. It connects to your home’s WiFi and HVAC system to deliver a wide range of automated features to keep your comfort level high and your bill low.
Nest has expanded its reach with a huge “Works with Nest” movement. Their ever-growing list of compatible home automation products allows you to use a variety of products in your smart home system. Guess what works with the Nest Learning Thermostat? Alexa. Had to see that one coming.
Schlage Camelot 619 Smart Lock
The Schlage Camelot 619 is a Z-Wave-based lock that Art installed on the door of his Smart Dream Home Project. He has it automated so that every evening, between 8pm and 9pm, the Schlage is scheduled to automatically lock. The lock is also programmed to lock again at 11:30pm, just in case anyone is coming and going after 8:30pm and forgot to re-lock it. Pretty cool.
Worried about being locked out during a power outage? No problem. Schlage provides a key to use in case of emergencies, such as a blackout or if the lock stops working for any reason. The lock can be controlled with Alexa, although most smart locks do not allow you to unlock the door with the Echo, as this could provide potential problems with security. From what we can tell – they’re working on this.
Skybell HD Video Doorbell
The SkyBell HD is a video doorbell equipped with a motion sensor and HD camera. A great piece of home security tech, this video doorbell keeps a look out while you are at home or away. It offers free video hosting with no additional fees, which is awesome considering the file size of HD videos. The SkyBell HD’s motion sensor has different settings so that it doesn’t necessarily get triggered with every passing car. And, if it does – you can turn off the chime.
SkyBell Connect is what SkyBell is calling their compatibility initiative, and their partner list has a lot of top-notch names: Amazon Echo (of course), Nest, and iControl, to name a few. As an added bonus, if your SkyBell HD gets stolen, the good people at SkyBell will replace it for free. How’s that for peace of mind?
Wemo Insight Wall Outlet
The Wemo Insight is a wall outlet that plugs into your existing wall outlet, thereby making it a smart one. This is a great solution for renters or those who do not wish to replace their in-wall outlet but want to control their lights or other products remotely from their phone or via voice commands. The Wemo Insight can be used for anything with a standard plug, but we used it here for our entertainment system (before we switched to a projector and a screen).
We plugged the Wemo Insight into the wall, then a power strip into that. Our TV, speakers, and Playstation were all connected to that power strip. A simple command of “Alexa, turn on the entertainment system,” brought all of them to life. You can use it as a one-off plug, of course – this is just what we decided to do with it. The device has infinite possibilities.