The home of tomorrow is here now! Through the myriad of advances in the last few years, the home has grown to encompass a vast array of technologies that help to make our lives easier. While the idea of the smart connected home has been around for quite some time, it’s only recently we’ve seen it become a tangible thing – something we can experience and control.
With the holidays being right around the corner, there are plenty of gift ideas to think about. Then again, transforming the home to a smart home requires some investment, which at times can be considerable depending on what you’re after. For this piece, though, we’re going to go over several smart home gifts that won’t take a huge chunk of change out of your wallet.
That said, we’re going to specifically go over items around the $50 range – making them perfect for anyone on your list! From obvious things like connected speakers and lights, this list will cover the gamut and provide you with ideas on how you can get your home up-to-speed. And without having to spend a fortune on it in the process! So without further ado, let’s get started on this list.
Google Home Mini
Out of all the home-connected gadgets announced this year, the Google Home Mini is a standout offering mainly for the fact that they’ve taken everything we loved about the original Google Home speaker, but in a more mini-friendly package. Along with that, we have a $50 price point that makes it oh-so irresistible. From being able to play all your favorite songs, to leveraging the power of Google Assistant, the Google Home Mini is a smart home gift that keeps on constantly bringing joy. And you know what? It’s selling for $29 right now for a limited time, so you can’t beat the incredible value it has to offer!
Amazon Echo Dot
Alternatively, there’s also the 2nd generation Amazon Echo Dot, which improved upon its predecessor’s voice recognition. Functioning in the same capacity as the Google Home Mini, the Amazon Echo Dot leverages Amazon’s Alexa for its assistance features. So yeah, it’s there not only to entertain you through playing music, but its vast always-connected integration means you’ll be able to control a variety of your favorite smart home gadgets using your voice. This, undoubtedly, is one of the core foundations of building up the smart home. And best of all, you can pick one up now for $29.99 for a limited time – although, it’s still pretty valuable at its normal retail price of $49.99.
Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug
Sure, it’s neat that all of these smart home connected gadgets are constantly delivering new features, but what about all the other non-connected electronics gadgets and appliances that are lying around? That’s where the Belkin Wemo Mini Smart Plug comes to mind, as it delivers the “smart” element to all of our existing stuff around the house. Connected via Wi-Fi, users can control just about anything plugged into it! Whether it’s a fan to help cool down a room before you get home, or simply turning on the living room lamp at a specific time, you can just about add that “smart” element to almost anything in the home. You can pick one up for about $35 right now.
iHome Fusion Smart Camera
Most connected surveillance camera systems tend to come out to a premium, but the iHome Fusion Home Security Camera covers all of the basics and much more at a price point that won’t drain your pockets. This 720p connected camera will not only will provide users instant access to what’s going inside of the home, but it can also pan and tilt to give you more of a view of what’s going around – as opposed to being just a static camera. Additionally, it features two-way audio, live view footage using your smartphone, local storage via microSD card slot, alarm push notifications, motion detection and much more! For its $67 price point, it’s not too shabby for a security camera.
Google’s Chromecast has been one of the most popular entertainment streaming gadgets, thanks in part to its simplicity, ingenious design, and intuitive operation using your smartphone. With the latest version, the Chromecast Ultra, it provides all of the comforts we’re familiar with, but now with 4k streaming glory! That’s wonderful news given how 4K television sets are now widely available at reasonable prices, as well as the rise of more 4K content online. And if you’re looking to expand its functionality, it pairs nicely with Google’s connected speakers – so if you want to watch a specific clip or movie, all that’s needed now is to simply just speak it. The $69 price point is still reasonable enough for this discrete 4K streaming media device.
Amazon Fire TV
While using your smartphone to stream video to your television set is nice, there are some people who simply still prefer doing it using the old fashion way with a remote. That’s where the 2017 Edition of the Amazon Fire TV comes to mind, which comes with a remote to help users navigate around to access all of their favorite content. In addition to that, the Alexa Voice Remote means that you can find, launch, and control content by using voice actions. And when you have it paired with any of Amazon’s smart speakers, like the Echo Dot, you can control the Fire TV via the hands-free experience by just speaking. The $70 cost of the latest version of the device isn’t too shabby either, but it’s even better at $55 for a limited time.
Philips Hue Light Bulb (3rd generation)
When it comes down to smart bulbs for the home, there’s one that arguably comes to mind with most people. And that’s the 3rd generation Philips Hue Light Bulb! Beyond just being able to be remotely turned on using your smartphone, or even setting times for when it’ll turn on and off, the Philips Hue Light Bulbs offers accent colors like no other. From piercing blue, to T-Mobile magenta, this light bulb has a palette of colors to choose from. Even better, if you have multiple Philips Hue Light Bulbs, you can emulate scenes like a warm sunset, the cooler look of the northern lights, and much more! While it’s normally priced at around $50, there have been discounts and sales on it throughout this holiday season already.
Sylvania smart+ LED light strip
Light bulb might be great to fill entire rooms with light, but for those looking for something a bit more complementary, such as an accent, the Sylvania smart+ LED light strip is the perfect gift item. Much like the Philips Hue Light Bulb, the Sylvania smart+ LED light strip can be controlled remotely using your mobile device – allowing users to do things like adjusting its color. Perfect as an accent light, it helps to complement other light sources. The cool thing about this one is that the light strips can be cut in 6-inch increments and can be extended up to 20 feet by adding 2-foot extensions, which allows for an assortment of configurations to fit your specific customization. You can pick one up to accent a room for about $60.
Roost RSA-400 smoke/fire/CO/Natural Gas Alarm
Many of the items mentioned in this list are things we interact with on a daily basis, but this next one is meant to be more of a precautionary measure. The Roost RSA-400 is a smart smoke/fire/CO/Natural Gas Alarm. Even though it’s not something most people would interact on a continuous basis, but you can have peace in mind knowing that your home is being constantly monitored for these hidden dangers. Using your smartphone, you can quickly check out the conditions at your home. And in the event of an event, notifications will be sent to your smartphone alerting you to the dangers. The $60 cost is a stretch over traditional detectors, but given that this one encompasses a wide range of dangers, and is also connected, it’s a great addition to any household.
Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor
We sometime panic when we don’t know if we remembered to close this window or that door at home, but that’s where the Samsung SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor comes into play by providing you with an instant answer. This miniscule sized thing might now look like a whole lot, especially considering something that’s a home-connected product, but it’s meant to be more of a discrete thing. Essentially, it’s a sensor that allows you to know whether or not a door or window has been opened or closed. You’ll get notifications in the event something is triggered, which is valuable when you’re away or not there. Normally retailing for around $40, you can find it priced even lower at other sellers and online vendors.