The great thing about smart homes is that you can continue to expand them with exciting, new gadgets and gizmos, all of which can be controlled from the same app or voice commands. For anyone thinking of getting some smart home devices, or who could use some additions to their existing system, we have some great gift ideas.
Nest Learning Thermostat
The first thermostat to be Energy Star certified by the EPA, the Nest Learning Thermostat learns your habits over time, then adjusts the temperature to regulate based on your schedule. Use the app to set schedules, turn things up or down, and more, no matter where you are (yes, even while at the cottage or spending a month in Italy for a work-cation). Control it from a Nest device like the Nest Hub Max, Nest Hub Gen 2, or Nest Audio as well as from the mobile app. It comes in polished steel, stainless steel, white, or black. $329
Cync Direct Connect Light Strips
These are super simple and convenient peel-and-stick smart light strips with 16 million colours to choose from to set ambiance for a space. Perfect for the den, home office, living room, dining room, or wherever else you want customizable lighting, you can set schedules and create preset scenes, like workday or romantic evening dinner. It’s easy to install, with everything controlled by the Cync app, powered by Savant. MSRP US$75
Roku Smart Bulb SE Colour 2-Pack
Roku makes more than streaming sticks and players: the company also offers smart bulbs like this two-pack that is available for US$18. There are 16 million colour options, adjustable brightness and temperature, and the ability to save and schedule custom presets. With an Alexa or Google-Assistant enabled device, you can use just your voice to set the mood.
TP-Link Tapo Smart Wire-Free Security Camera System
This advanced indoor/outdoor home security camera is compatible with both Google Home and Alexa. It consists of a 2K QHD ultra-clear resolution 4MP camera with AI detection features. With a wire-free design, it runs for up to 180 days per charge of the removable battery. The weatherproof design means you can set it up both indoors and out. The sensitive starlight sensor and f/1.6 aperture allows for full-colour night vision, even in low light conditions. Additional features include dual integrated spotlights, two-way audio, a built-in alarm, free local storage and more.
JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam Soundbar
Selling for $600, the JBL Bar 5.0 Multibeam works with AirPlay and Alexa Multi-Room Music (MRM) for music streaming. There’s also Chromecast built-in. Enjoy immersive audio thanks to the JBL Multibeam technology and Virtual Dolby Atmos. Built-in Bluetooth means you can also play tunes wirelessly from your mobile device. It’s compact, easy to use, and can even be controlled using your existing TV remote. Additional features include HDMI eARC and Automatic Multibeam Calibration. It’s the perfect soundbar when you have limited space, or as a simple and affordable way to enhance the sound in your living room beyond what’s offered by the TV alone.
Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED Series
When it comes to the smart home, central to that should be a smart TV. You can go with one of the top display manufacturers, but for a secondary room, you might want to consider Amazon’s new Fire TV Omni QLED TV. Not surprisingly, it features hands-free Alexa voice control and ambient features that allow you to use it as an always-on smart device when not actively watching TV. With 4K Quantum Dot technology, full array local dimming, and support for Dolby Vision IQ, you can use Alexa to find apps, discover shows, manage playback, and more. Get it for $1,070 for the 65-inch size or $1,500 for the 75-incher.
Wemo Smart Dimmer With Thread Technology
Perfect to use with Siri, the Wemo Smart Dimmer with Thread technology makes it simple to control your lights from anywhere using the Home app, Wemo Stage, or by asking Siri. Thread technology offers a separate mesh network for connected devices. It works exclusively with HomeKit, allowing you to dim or turn lights on and off from anywhere through an iPhone, iPad, Wemo Stage, or by asking Siri; and set schedules in the Home app. By linking the Smart Dimmer to other HomeKit devices including the Wemo Smart Video Doorbell, you can also activate lights when motion is detected. US$60
TP-Link KD110 Kasa Smart 2K Video Doorbell
One of the hottest smart home products this year is the video doorbell, and the TP-Link HD110 Kasa Smart 2K is a good option to consider. It replaces existing wired doorbells providing a 24/7 live view of the entryway through the Kasa app. With motion detection and person detection, you receive push notifications when someone is at the door. Answer the door remotely with the push-to-talk two-way audio with video. The camera features 2K video with a 160-degree diagonal field-of-view and offers 30 feet of black and white night vision to view a standard walkway at night. The doorbell is weather-resistant with an IP64 rating, and a chime is included with purchase. Create custom activity zones for the most vulnerable areas, like the driveway. It’s fully compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant and can play video on supported displays with Amazon Echo Show and Google Chromecast. MSRP US$60 ea.
Moen Smart Leak Detector
One of many products in Moen’s smart water security system, the Moen Smart Leak Detector is a standalone sensor that can be placed anywhere in a home to alert you when and where it detects moisture to help prevent water damage and loss. Place the 3.5-inch sensor in high-risk areas like a basement, laundry room, attic or other areas that are susceptible to water damage. If the Smart Leak Detector senses the presence of water, extreme temperatures, or high humidity, it will alert you via the Moen Smart Water App, text, phone call or e-mail.
If you know someone who has Twinkly lights, consider adding Twinkly Music to the set-up. With the accurate BPM counter and smart mic, it listens to and interprets ambient sounds in your space. The USB-powered sound sensor then syncs any recorded or live music or sounds to the Twinkly smart LED lights. It’s a pretty cool way to liven up holiday lights, parties, gatherings, or even set the mood for date night, kids’ sleepovers, game night, and more. US$40
Ring Video Doorbell 4
Ring remains one of the top brands when it comes to video doorbells, and you can replace your old system with a great model like the Ring Video Doorbell 4. Selling for about $285, it operates on a rechargeable battery with a quick release so you can recharge as needed. (Keep in mind you may have to recharge more often than usual during the frigid Canadian winters if your doorbell is on a covered porch or door landing exposed to the elements.) Enjoy video previews, motion alerts, two-way talk, and even quick replies to advise that you can’t come to the door, or even spread some holiday cheer with various themed replies. The HD video with night vision provides a crystal clear look around your house. Then neat Pre-Roll feature will even show a few seconds before an event so you catch the delivery driver tossing the package onto the steps or the nuisance neighbour kid knocking and running to try and pull a prank.