Late summer weather has arrived in much of the US, which means it's the ideal season to sit outside on the patio. As the heat and humidity of unforgiving midsummer give way to more temperate, crisp evenings in early fall, your patio becomes one of the most important areas of your home for gatherings. Whether you're hosting a Labor Day cookout or simply cuddling around your fire pit with your family, your patio will become a haven of peace and relaxation. Now is a great time to make your outdoor activities smarter while adding convenience, safety, and fun. Here are five easy ways to bring out your favorite smart home tech. (You can also check out our tips for growing your own herbs and veggies at home.)
1. Install a home security camera
Keep an eye on all your outdoor entertainment areas (and the valuables in them) with a smart outdoor camera, like the Arlo Pro 3. Want a camera that sheds light on your outdoor space for added security? Check out the Ring Floodlight Cam, which adds a lighting element and includes a siren and live camera feed in the Ring app. If you're on a budget, the Wyze Cam V3 is suitable for indoor or outdoor use and costs just $36. If you have a back door near your patio, consider a smart video doorbell camera like the Nest Doorbell or the Arlo Video Doorbell. Whichever camera style or feature you choose, adding a set of smart eyes to your patio makes it easy to keep an eye on your outdoor space. The Ring Floodlight Cam includes live video, automatic lighting, and a siren to deter intruders.
2. Create atmosphere with smart outdoor lighting
Outdoor lighting adds a special atmosphere to any terrace or entertainment area. Smart outdoor lighting has come a long way, and you have more options than ever before. Philips Hue has a collection of smart outdoor lamps, including garden path lighting and various wall fixtures. Ring's lineup is more affordable. You can, of course, always opt for smart lamps in your existing fixtures. The Wyze Bulb works well as a general bulb replacement. If your patio has a ceiling and is relatively protected from the elements, consider a smart fan. You get the climate-enhancing benefits of a fan with built-in smart lighting. Fan manufacturers like Hunter and Haiku make models that work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. For more lighting options, check out the best outdoor string lights and the best smart bulbs. Whether for convenience, security, or decoration, consider adding a skylight to the exterior of your home.
3. Schedule Your Devices With Smart Plugs
Patios have a lot of "dumb" devices waiting to be made smart. Whether it's patio string lights, a space heater, a mosquito trap, or an outdoor sound system, you can remotely control your outdoor devices, check their status, and even schedule them to go on and off using a smart plug that is specially made for the outdoors. Our favorite models from TP-Link and WeMo work with multiple voice assistants, include scheduling, and are rated for water and dust resistance. While we've put together our favorite outdoor smart plugs, we also have a list of our favorite indoor smart plugs too. Smart plugs can turn 'dumb' devices into smart ones.
4. Turn up the volume with outdoor-ready smart speakers
Adding music to your outdoor spaces is a no-brainer for any gathering. With the right smart speaker, you can also take your voice assistants outside the home. The Tribit MaxSound Plus is our favorite waterproof portable speaker under $100. If you want to add Alexa to the mix, the Ultimate Ears Megablast is a portable, fully waterproof Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker that has Amazon's voice assistant built right in. If you already want to take the Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker out and about, try a battery case. Connect your device, and you have a portable smart speaker with up to 12 hours of battery life.
5. Extend Your Wi-Fi Outside
Any smart home improvements to spruce up your patio need one thing: good Wi-Fi. If your home's signal doesn't reach every corner of your outdoor space, there are a few things you can try to extend your outdoor Wi-Fi. The Netgear Orbi Outdoor Extender takes your Wi-Fi signal further. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are one way to go. If you're already using Netgear's Orbi mesh network, the Orbi Outdoor can take your signal outside, and it's weatherproof, so you can rely on your outdoor Wi-Fi signal year-round. No matter what devices you add to your outdoor spaces, taking your smart home outside has never been easier. There are plenty of products available that allow you to enjoy the outdoors while staying connected to the rest of your home. To make the most of your time outdoors, make sure you know how to repel mosquitoes and grill like a pro. Even more outdoor tips and tricks.
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