When we’re not going on socially-distanced dates, most of us are probably spending a lot more times in our homes than in previous years these days. Which means that we’re looking for new ways to solve boredom. New ways to improve our quality of life. And – most of all – new ways to drive efficiencies in our homes.
Over the past few years, I’ve amassed an army of smart home devices and turned my house into the Smart House (in the eponymous movie). I have everything from a smart security system to a voice-activated RoboVac. Seriously. Everything in my house is “smart”, even my InstantPot!
Truth be told, not everything really needs to be that smart. I can use a regular InstantPot. While it’s obviously way cool, I don’t really need a voice-activated coffee maker.
However, in a few cases, investing in smart home devices has truly changed my life for the better. And since Amazon Prime Day starts TONIGHT, I wanted to share my favorite devices with you guys so you can stock up during the sale!
My Favorite Smart Home Devices
Amazon Echo Device
I have an Amazon Echo smart home device in almost every room of my house: my kitchen, my living room, my bedroom, and my guest room! Why do I have so many? Because they’re honestly life-changing. From my Amazon Echo device, I can have Alexa show me my front door (more on that in a second), read me my latest book on Audible, help me with measurement conversions while baking, or even start my vacuum for me. It’s seriously my favorite of all of my smart home devices and I don’t go a day without using it.
How I use my Amazon Echo device:
As an example of how frequently I use my Amazon Echo device, here’s a list of my interactions with Alexa in a given day:
8:00 AM Alexa acts as my alarm clock and wakes me up to my Amazon Music playlist.
8:15 AM I say “Alexa, good morning”. This triggers Alexa to tell me the news, forecast, and what’s on my to-do list for the day as I get ready for my morning walk.
10:30 AM I listen to music while I shower, using Alexa as my speaker system.
11:00 AM Alexa reminds me of my to-do list and calendar for the day as I settle into work on the blog.
2:30 PM Alexa allows me to communicate with people at my front door, dropping off packages or other deliveries for me and my roommate.
6:30 PM I start cooking dinner and use Alexa as my kitchen timer and speaker for music as I dance around the kitchen.
8:30 PM I ask Alexa to find my phone since I always manage to lose it around this time!
11:30 PM I tell Alexa “goodnight” and she arms my alarm system, turns on my vacuums, and plays white noise. Alexa will play white noise all night, until I tell her “Alexa, good morning” and that functionality turns off.
Whether you own a home or are renting, I highly recommend grabbing a Ring Doorbell during Amazon Prime Day (it’s already on sale for 30% off!). While the neighborhood alerts can get really annoying (just turn them off TBH), it’s great to be able to see who is at your door doing what at any time.
I pay for the subscription service, which saves doorbell activity for a few weeks. More importantly, it also allows me to automatically send video to the police in event of a theft.
The Ring Doorbell can operate with an Amazon Echo device or alone, connected to your smartphone. I recommend getting it with the Ring Chime, so you can hear the doorbell ring inside your home. Ya know, like a normal doorbell.
Okay, bear with me on this one. I know this is going to sound super weird, but this Wi-Fi router system might just be the most life-changing of all of the smart home devices on this list.
Don’t believe me? I have a few questions for you:
- Have you ever had crappy Wi-Fi connectivity during a meeting because somebody else in your house was streaming their favorite show at the same time? (Jerk)
- Would you want to have a separate Wi-Fi network for guests?
- Do you want to be able to control when your kids can access their devices? And, more importantly, what sites they can/can’t access?
Google Wifi can solve all of those!
At any moment, I can open up the Google Wifi app and test my internet connection speed and check out how many devices are connected to my network. Any devices I don’t recognize? They get kicked off and blocked. Am I on a video call for an interview while my roommate is streaming TV? Sorry, roomie. I’m going into the app and prioritizing my device for the duration of my call. But honestly that’s never been an issue since each Google Wifi point is fast enough to stream multiple 4k videos at a time!
While I’ve never used the Family Wi-Fi functionality, you can also go into the app and schedule Wi-Fi pauses on your kids’ devices and block adult sites you might not want your kiddos visiting. The app makes it super easy to set all of this up too!
Each Google Wifi device in the mesh network is good up to 1,500 feet, so I have one on each floor of the house. If there’s something wrong with one, I immediately get a notification on my phone. And it works from anywhere in the world. If I’m in London (gosh I miss London!) and my roommate texts me that there’s something wrong with the Wi-Fi, I can troubleshoot right then and there.
Oh and PS it’s currently $10 cheaper via Amazon!
What are your favorite smart home devices these days? Do you have any questions about any of the ones I mentioned above?
Let me know in the comments below!