Whether you want to turn lights on and off with your iPhone or control your sprinklers with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you can join the “smart home” club without spending an arm and a leg.
Get the scoop on a Wi-Fi-enabled smart plug, a smoke alarm that sends alerts to your iPhone or Android phone, a smart thermostat that you can program using a touchscreen, a sprinkler system that adjusts its schedule according to the local forecast, and more.
Price: $20 on Amazon (43% off)
Here’s one of the easiest—and cheapest—ways to get smart with your home appliances. This “smart bulb” from TP-Link connects to your home Wi-Fi network and comes with its own smartphone app, perfect for programming an on/off schedule, a timer, or even dimming the light with your iPhone or Android phone. And like most of the products in this roundup, the TP-Link bulb is compatible with digital home assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, although neither are required to use the bulb.
Price: $30 on Amazon (40% off)
You can turn practically any home appliance—from a lamp to a fan—into a “smart” device with help from TP-Link’s Smart Plug Mini. Just plug the Smart Plug into any wall outlet, then connect it to your home Wi-Fi network. Once that’s done, you can control the plug using the included iPhone or Android app, perfect for turning your devices on and off remotely or putting them on a timer. You can even activate an “Away Mode” that switches your appliances on at random times to fool burglars.
Price: $50 on Amazon
Nope, you don’t have to spend north of $100 to control your home appliances with your voice. The compact Echo Dot connects to your Wi-Fi network and acts as a voice-activated digital assistant, letting you play music, get the news, set alarms, or control your “smart” lights, plugs and other devices, all without lifting a finger. Want more than one Echo Dot? If you act before April 27, you can get $20 off an order of three Dots; just use the code DOT3PACK at checkout.
Price: $99 on Amazon
Ever wish you could make sure everything’s OK at home while you’re on a far-flung vacation? This Wi-Fi-connected smart camera lets you do just that. Connect the AA battery-powered camera to your home Wi-Fi network, place it on a bookshelf, a wall, or anywhere else in your home, then keep an eye on things using the included iOS or Android app.
Price: $99 on Amazon
Your trusty smoke alarm won’t do much good if there’s no one around to hear it. The Wi-Fi-enabled Nest Protect smoke detector will send an alert to your iPhone or Android phone if it senses a dangerous smoke condition, and it’ll ping your phone if its batteries are running out. My favorite feature: a “heads-up” mode that’ll warn you if smoke is building up while you’re cooking.
Price: $129 on Amazon
Sick of fumbling with your thermostat’s clumsy controls? Thankfully, you can control the Sensi Smart Thermostat with your iPhone or Android phone, meaning you can set a heating or cooling schedule on your touchscreen rather than pressing teeny-tiny buttons. Winner of a J.D. Power “customer satisfaction” award, the Sensi Smart Thermostat is compatible with Amazon Alexa, and the app even comes with an installation guide for do-it-yourselfers.
Price: $197 on Amazon
Here’s a sprinkler system that won’t ever water the lawn during a downpour. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller connects to your iPhone or Android as well as Alexa and Google Assistant, and it also checks the weather forecast to determine the most efficient watering schedule. The Rachio sprinkler system is even eligible for the EPA’s WaterSense program, meaning you can get a big chunk of the Ranchio’s $197 sticker price back if you apply for a WaterSense rebate.
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