The top five must-have smart home devices right now – The Globe and Mail
David Pullara bought his first smart home device, an Amazon Echo smart home speaker, two years before they were available in Canada with help from a friend who lived on the other side of the border.
Seven years later, the marketing consultant says there is a smart speaker in every room of his house – except for bathrooms, which his wife has deemed off-limits. “The more you have these devices around and the more you use them, the more you become reliant on them,” he says.
Asking his smart home assistant to play a song, provide the weather forecast, find a recipe, settle an argument or help with his kid’s homework has become second nature over the years, Pullara explains.
While he’s added more smart home devices over the years – including smart TVs, light bulbs, a thermostat, doorbell, home security system and more – his favourite feature is still the one that attracted him to smart home technology in the first place, his Amazon Echo. “I can literally have any question answered immediately,” he says.
Today there is an internet-enabled “smart” version of practically every home appliance, ranging from stoves and washing machines to vacuums and kitchen faucets. While the list of smart home products is seemingly endless, some innovations are far more practical than others.
“Just because something can be ‘smart’ doesn’t mean it needs to be,” says Marc Saltzman, consumer technology journalist and host of the Tech It Out podcast. Instead, Saltzman says he judges smart home technology based on what he calls the “four Cs”: cost, convenience, connectivity and control.
With countless smart home products to choose from, here are five affordable smart home devices that can make a big impact.
1. Smart speakers
Smart home devices enable users to make the leap from tapping a button to simply asking for what they want. In the world of smart home assistants, speakers are the new screens, offering their own functionality while also serving as the control centre for other smart devices.
Saltzman adds that as far as smart home devices go, speakers tend to fall on the lower end of the price spectrum, with some even dipping below $35 during sales events. “It’s a relatively low price of admission for many of these devices, and the value proposition is huge.”
2. Smart thermostats
Another “no-brainer,” Saltzman says, is a smart thermostat, as the devices often pay for themselves by reducing heating and cooling costs. Smart thermostats can be programmed to use less energy at peak hours and turn off heating and cooling functions when nobody is home, while ensuring that the temperature is just right by the time you walk through the door.
“A smart thermostat …….