Five Great 2017 Holiday Smart Home Gifts
Smart Home technology was just coming into its own this time last year. Today, practically every aspect of your home can be modernized to communicate with a Smart Home hub. With that said, no one gives a smart refrigerator or washing machine as a gift. So, we've compiled a list of five easy smart home gifts! 1. Amazon Echo Plus Smart home technology allows users to control their home's appliances through their smart phone or voice commands. But you can't control your lights or thermostat without a "hub." This is a miniature computer that acts as the brain of the system that all other devices communicate with. The Amazon Echo Dot was one of the hottest gifts of 2016. However, they had a limited range of what smart devices they could control and didn't technically qualify as a hub. That is why Amazon released the Echo Plus. With a built-in ZigBee smart home hub, the Amazon Echo Plus is the first of its kind to have practically full smart home compatibility. The Amazon Echo Plus is available for $149 and for a limited time, also comes with a Philips Hue Bulb. 2. Samsung SmartThings Smart Home Hub If you already have an earlier generation Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, then the SmartThings hub is a great addition. You can use the voice activated features of Alexa with the intelligence of Samsung's smart home hub. With multiple different types of radios inside, the SmartThings hub will let you use practically any major smart home device on the market. And at just $49, this hub packs a serious punch in an affordable package. 3. Philips Hue Smart Bulbs Whether you are going to use a Alexa device or some other hub, smart bulbs are one of the first devices that people tend to upgrade to and the Philips Hue bulbs are the gold standard. With these smart light bulbs, you can not only remotely switch them on and off, but they are also dimmable. A four pack of 60W Philips Hue Smart Bulbs will set you back $50, but they are definitely worth it. 4. Nest Smart Thermostat A typical thermostat will set you back $20. The Nest Smart Thermostat costs $247. Yea, that is a pretty big difference, but they are truly night and day. A smart thermostat lets you remotely change the temperature in your home. Connect to Alexa and you can set your temperature using voice commands without ever even getting off the couch. Use a hub, and you'll be able to control the thermostat from anywhere in the world. While this is certainly a novelty, it also can be a serious cost-saver. Users estimate that they save around $20 a month on their heating and air conditioning bills, which means the Nest Smart Thermostat's pays for itself through energy savings in just two years. The new Nest thermostats also learn your patterns. After studying your habits for around a week, the Nest will learn exactly what temperatures you like and adjust itself before you even realize you want to. You can pick up a Nest Smart Thermostat here. 5. August Smart Lock Keys are so 20th century. With the August Smart Lock, you can lock and unlock your door without ever even using a key. Forget to lock the front door before bed? Pair the August Smart Lock with an Alexa system and you can lock your door with voice commands. You can keep your existing deadbolt too. The August Smart Lock installs right over your existing lock. Not only can you grant access to other people, but the system also keeps a 24/7 log of every time someone enters your home. And when you're coming back from the grocery store, you can unlock the door with your smartphone so when you walk up to it carrying bags, you never have to reach for your keys again. The August Smart Lock will set you back $163, but it is by far the most convenient smart home device on the market today and makes fumbling for your keys a thing of the past.