Smart devices continue delightful trend to become more accessible and capable every year. And 2021 is turning into a great year to add new smart features to your home, especially if you’ve pursued a certain smart capability.
For Apple fans and anyone who prefers to control their smart devices from a single central application (the Home app), it’s important to make sure that any new smart device you buy is HomeKit compatible.
We do this with a list of the best products to consider!
A smart plug turns almost anything you connect into a smart device, allowing you to set start or stop times, control it with voice commands, and even see how much electricity you use during the day. This Wemo mini socket is one of the best options. It’s very efficient, compatible with all voice assistants, and small enough not to prevent you from using nearby outlets when you plug it in (which isn’t true for all smart outlets).
However, smart plugs are no more useful if you have specific devices that connect to sockets that benefit from intelligent control. This includes plug-in lamps, instant-start coffee machines, fans, humidifiers and so on. If you don’t have many plug-in devices to control this mode, you may be more interested in other options.
It’s hard to know how useful a smart lock can be until you get one. These smart locks from August allow you to lock or unlock your home from an app wherever you are and see the current state of the door at any time. They can also unlock automatically when your personal phone approaches and then lock automatically when you leave again. You can even create temporary subscriptions for guests, housekeepers or pets to download to their phones and use for access at certain times of the day.
If you are curious, you can also check the activity flow to see exactly when your home was accessed! You can even add a keyboard for alternative input options if you prefer.
HomePod mini has introduced a much lower HomePod speaker at a much, much lower price for Apple fans. The speaker can sense and interact with nearby iPhones, allowing you to easily stream music / calls without interrupting your flow – and of course, it works with all Siri controls, allowing you to control the other smart devices in the house with just a few words.
The Intercom feature even lets you send messages across Apple devices throughout the house for an entire family message. This makes the mini an excellent personal speaker to keep in the office – although it’s the most valuable if you don’t already have a smart speaker.
Ecobee’s refurbished smart thermostat, now called the SmartThermostat, is one of the best in the field. In addition to all the normal application-based controls for setting temperatures and programming, it also includes a built-in Alexa, which means you don’t need an Echo to give Alexa commands or even play music directly from the thermostat. The information screen is also great for checking weather conditions, humidity, and temperature.
Like other smart thermostats, SmartThermostat can sense when there is activity in the house and can adjust the temperature cycles accordingly. However, unlike other options, the Ecobee version comes with a free satellite sensor that you can configure wherever you want, which is perfect if your thermostat is away from your living room or other areas where people tend to gather.
You don’t need to choose a smart outlet to control your lights. If there is nothing to connect, you can still use smart bulbs! These long-lasting LED bulbs are designed to be screwed into traditional incandescent sockets, but can be controlled and programmed from the Home application. You can also adjust the color to whatever you want (from about 16 million color options) and change the “color temperature” to make the light as warm as you want or to mimic daylight – something that not all light bulbs offer.
Think about the capabilities of a smart lock, but transferred to the garage door, and you will have a good idea of what this Meross device is. However, it does not replace the garage door mechanism, it simply connects and allows you to control it from your application or with voice commands. No extra hubs are required, no monthly fees and you can always be sure to close the garage door after you leave home.
There are also additional notifications that you can use to make sure the garage door is set exactly the way you want it. The only caveat is that this opener does not work with very old garage doors and may not be compatible with every model. Meross has a compatibility webpage that you can check for more information.