Nov 19, 2018

Top Ranked Smart Home Devices to Gift This Year

Smart Home Devices for gifts!

2018 is the year of smart homes.  We’ve seen some incredible advances in technology for the home, and we’ll continue to see that grow.  Smart homes feature interconnected devices and home appliances that save time, energy and money to the homeowner. Combine that with escalating technology for safety and convenience, and it’s no wonder we’re so excited about the prospect of adding devices to our homes! According to Statista, an estimated 90 million smart home devices will have been shipped worldwide to households by the completion of 2018.  28% of U.S. homes will be smart homes by 2021.

Here at Fixd, we’ve discussed the best of smart home thermostats, solar home technology, smart home appliances, smart security systems, and even the future of smart home technology. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to smart home devices and the benefits that they offer to homes of any size.

So what makes a great holiday gift this year? Technology! Here are some top ranked smart home devices to gift this year:

  • Amazon Alexa – We start with the basics!  There are several smart home speakers on the market, but Amazon Alexa rules in popularity.  11% of homes own an Amazon Alexa device (only 4% have a Google Home product). In the U.S. market, this tallies up to a sweet 29% of Americans owning Amazon Alexa in their home.  This device is affordable (only about $99), Alexa, or the smaller, newer, “Echo,” is a voice-activated speaker that can play music, make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audiobooks, give real-time information like news, traffic and weather, and be connected to other smart home devices in the house. This inexpensive gadget really packs a punch with features and convenience, making it a great gift. Everyone from the college student in a tiny dorm room to the multi-family home can enjoy Amazon Alexa.
  • Ecobee4 – This smart home device is a must have for any house!  The Ecobbe4 smart thermostat features a responsive touchscreen display, mobile and web apps, integration with Amazon Alexa and other smart speakers, remote temperature and proximity sensor and more!  In fact, the Ecobee4 doesn’t just allow connection to Amazon Alexa, it is an Amazon speaker itself! The quick-response display and remote sensor are two of our favorite features.  These sensors allow it to determine if someone is home, adjusting the thermostat accordingly for optimum comfort. It can even track rooms with it’s accessory, to not cold or hot spots in the home.  This smart home device is the energy-efficient homeowners best friend because it will help save up to 23% on heating and cooling energy bills!  You’ll pay about $160 for the Ecobbee4. 
  • August Smart Lock – Let’s talk home security!  Whether you’re worried about elderly parents or want your kids living on their own to be safer, a smart lock makes sense as a great gift. This smart home devices work with your existing deadbolt (Baldwin, Kwikset, Schlage and other standard brands in most homes). It’s discrete, because it’s installed on the inside of your door, and your original keyhole and house keys work in the same way as normal.  That means from the outside of the home, it looks exactly the same.  But on the inside, you have added security. There’s an auto-unlock and timer-based auto-lock feature. The August Smart Lock will automatically lock the door from a preset time – 30 seconds to five minutes after you unlock the door.  You’ll control this from the Android or iPhone August app.  This is the perfect gift anyone that might forget to lock their doors, and needs some added safety.  This will run you about $160.
  • Nest Hello – Continuing with home security, because a home can never have too much!  There are plenty of great video doorbell systems on the market – one of the more familiar brands being Ring.  However, the Nest Hello is constantly rated higher than the ring for several reasons.  It features an HD live streaming camera-buzzer combo, which is pretty standard on smart doorbells.  You are able to view the video feed from your computer or phone and get notifications when it senses motion or noise. It will also save 3 hours of video, and you can remotely control when the camera is on or off.  The coolest thing  (and most unique feature) is that it can scan faces.  Yes – it lets you know who is at your front door! You can create your own face-scanning database to include relatives, friends, your mail delivery person, paper boy or anyone that frequently visits. The downside-  you have to pay extra (starting at $5/month) to subscribe to the Nest Aware service. You can ask Alexa or Google Assistant to pull up the live feed on your device, so you are able to see what’s going on from anywhere. All of these features make the Nest Hello an awesome gift this year.  You’ll pay a bit more – around $230, but when it comes to security of your home and loved ones, that seems worth it.
  • Nest Protect – Another amazing Nest product!  We don’t often think about our smoke detector, until the batteries are low and it begins to chirp.  Although they seem more like a nuisance most of the time, when it really counts, you’ll be thankful for it.  The Nest Protect is a smart home device centered around smoke and carbon monoxide detection.  The colorful ring of LED lights around it let you know the status.  Blue is testing/setup. Green means everything is fine.  White is a nightlight that will activate and illuminate when someone walks under it.  Yellow warns you that there’s a potential smoke or carbon monoxide issue.  And it lights up red when there’s a real smoke or CO event happening in your home. This runs on AND off Wi-Fi (which is great should you lose connectivity for any reason). Not only will it glow red around the ring, you’ll get a loud warning from the device, should there be an emergency.  It tests itself for low batteries, and can connect with other Protect devices. For added security, the Nest Protect is a smoke and CO alarm you can depend on.
  • Neato Botvac Connected – A smart, robotic vacuum!  This is on the more expensive side of smart home devices, but if you have the extra cash to spend and really want to spoil someone this year – this is the device to gift!  Control via your smartphone or Amazon Alexa, and kick your feet up while you vacuum.  This newest version of the Neato offers an amazing app that helps you control the vacuum. You can start, schedule and steer the robot floor cleaner from your phone, which can make a huge difference for busy families!  There are different cleaning modes, as well. The best is “Turbo,” which is the full-powered mode that takes detailed vacuuming to a new level.  “Eco” mode saves battery life, and is quieter, but suction is less, as well.  You pick the mode depending on what you need!  It uses lasers to assist it in navigating every room, and when it’s done, it will automatically return the the dock for a recharge. Plus, you’ll get a notification on your phone, letting you know it’s done!  This is a fun, yet functional gift idea for those that need a bit more cleaning help, without the time.

Whether you’re looking to bring your family and friends into the tech-age of smart home devices, or just want to amp up their existing setup, these top ranked suggestions should be considered. From the starter smart home device like Amazon Alexa to the upgraded Neato Botvac, there’s something for every home.  Check off some gifts from your list this year and give the gift of smart home devices!