Ever watched The Jetsons? This cartoon was imagined to be set up as the family of the future. Ever imagined how cool it would be to have a home that can do almost everything for you?

Now in this era of smart home, you can! With the help of these gadgets, appliances and tools, you can actually make use of them to help you with cooking, regulate your home temperature, and buy your pizza and so much more!

Now you might ask yourself, how do you do this? With the help of some cool gadgets of course! But before we dwell into the specifics and the what-not of how to shift your house into a Home Automated System, we need to learn first the very definition of a Smart Home or, a Home Automated System.

A Smart Home or a Home Automated System is the use of high technology control system and artificial intelligence technology that reduce the need for human work.

In a nutshell, Having a smart home helps you delegate simple home task to gadgets and appliances. With this, you have more time with your hands. You can use that time to spend time with you family, do homework, work on your spreadsheet reports or maybe at least enjoy binge watching the latest Netflix series at your couch.

Here we are going to reveal the best home automated equipment you can buy in 2017:


NameInstallationOur RatingPurpose 
Amazon Echo
(Editor’s Choice)
Easy9/10InfotainmentCheck Price
Philips Hue BloomEasy8.5/10SoundCheck Price
Nest Thermostat
(Editor’s Choice)
Hard9.5/10TemperatureCheck Price
Ring Video DoorbellMedium10/10SecurityCheck Price
Arlo Security System
(People's Choice)
Easy8.5/10SecurityCheck Price
Logitech HarmonyMedium/Hard8/10EntertainmentCheck Price
Nest Protect
Medium8.5/10Security
Check Price
August Smart LockMedium9/10SecurityCheck Price
Canary All-in-OneEasy9.5/10SecurityCheck Price
ChefSteps Joule or Easy9/10Kitchen
Check Price
Anova Precision CookerEasy9/10KitchenCheck Price

1: Amazon Echo – Voice Command King!

Just when you think Siri is amazing, another company comes up with a more bad-ass voice activated speaker that does not only play music but can also do tons of other cool stuff that your Apple Siri can’t.

Let me introduce to you, Amazon Echo. This cool device plays incredible 360 degrees omnidirectional audio sound. It can play pre-stored music or stream from Amazon music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify.  And to top that, it can listen, learn and do things for you. You just have to connect this device with a voice command application like Alexa. Once setup and activation is done. You can just mention Alexa’s name plus, the task that you want Alexa to complete. It’s that simple.

Having someone do things for you is a great way to find leverage and have more time in focusing on another task. Voice command, as we know is the use of your voice as a tool to create an action or a command. An intelligent system or a software entity will receive and recognize your voice, and act upon it. Then, this will then make the action to achieve the task that you want it to finish.

However, Amazon Echo’s voice command system does things with price of course. Not everything in life is free. You still have to pay for that pizza. Or that Uber or that new guitar that you bought right off of Amazon. Also with Amazon Echo, setup can be a bit of a learning curve if you are new to this kind of gadget or technology.  And if problems arise, it might take time for you to troubleshoot the system.

Once you have passed the hurdle of learning to setup and troubleshooting. Ordering online, changing your playlist or setting up your alarm becomes a breeze. The voice command feature by Amazon Echo can also be great for those who have problems with mobilization. If you are bedridden, have a medical problem that requires bed rest or, just too lazy to get up. Amazon Echo can help you with your work and errands by the use of Voice command.

Pros:

  •    You can connect this system with other smart home devices like WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, ecobee and Nest to help you control room temperature or lights
  •    Can do and learn thousands of skills like ordering pizza and calling an Uber
  •    Can read audiobooks, report weather and traffic, read newspapers or read TV schedules
  •    Can hear you from across the room even when the device is playing music

Cons:

  •    There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to setup and troubleshoots
  •    There is still confusion with some of the voice command tasks that you provide with Alexa
  •    Setting the alarm should be done every day. (You cannot set the alarm once for Monday to Friday at 5 AM, you have to give the alarm command every day)
  •    Simple and obvious things like loss of voice or changes in your voice due to a medical condition defers Amazon Echo from detecting your voice
  •    May promote laziness for some people—duh


2: Philips Hue Bloom – Total Audio Syncing Light Package

Philips Hue is a smart light that syncs with your music or movies. It  has a voice command component to it, plus added mood light. This smart light knows how to identify music, listen and show a lot of colors. This product boasts great light quality plus great build materials. This small lightweight item weighs around 14.9 ounces and is made of metal and glass.

The only downside of this product is that for the voice command to work, you need to buy a separate Philips hub device. You also need to download the Alexa application for voice commands. You can also try using Phillips app or OnSwitch for the lighting modifications. But between the two, OnSwitch is a much more versatile application and has more variations when it comes to color modifications. However, if you are using multiple applications, you must be careful to turn one application off and use one application at a time. The testing  room was a huge convoluted rainbow mess when the bulbs emitted different shades of light.

Philips Hue Bloom is great for small a space that requires multi-functional gadgets. It can help you declutter your home of bulky lights and lamps.

Pros:

  • Can use voice control commands if linked with the Alexa Application
  • Cool light variations can be controlled via tablet or phone
  • Can create and mimic lighting based on your video’s visuals
  • It can regulate up to 50 connected bulbs on a single bridge.
  • Voice command and mobile application can help you set your lighting mood depending on the time of day and occasion. It can even switch off when you are not home

Cons:

  • You need a separate Philipps Hub for the voice command function
  • Has large adapter, which can be a hassle since it is not compatible with other gadgets
  • Cord is non-replaceable, you have to purchase a new one in case it gets cut, burnt or if it does now work
  • Sometimes, the light spectrum does not reflect white and blue colors
  • Cannot change colors via voice control, you have to use the application and set a custom color tone for this
  • Once the LED bulb is broken, it may be cumbersome to replace


3: Nest Learning Thermostat – Save Energy with Automated Temperature Control

Part of a Smart Home is its ability to control and adjust the occupant’s surroundings. This includes lights, sound, the automatic use of appliances and also temperature control. Temperature is important in terms of making a home more comfortable. During the winter months, heat is one of the best comforts that one can have. Being able to stay warm and functional inside your home can do a lot. And during the summer months, air conditioner can help a lot in keeping a home cool. Another cool aspect of building a smart or an automated home is its ability to save energy and cost. A thermostat is one great player when it comes to this. Usually with the help of a self-regulating thermostat, 10-15% of energy can be saved.

With Nest Learning thermostat, you can set-up an automated, voice command self-regulating thermostat. The Nest thermostat works well with the help of the Nest application that comes free when you purchase the Nest thermostat device. The system can be connected to your mobile or tablet via wifi. The wifi thermostat system works with a wifi connection of at least 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz. It can connect wirelessly and uses low energy.

Installation may be too technical for some people. Although there is a great YouTube tutorial that explains how you can do it. If there are any problems, you may still need the help of an electrician to do this for you. You also need a strong internet wifi signal for the Nest Device to work.

Pros:

  •    Can be voice control activated with the help of Amazon Alexa
  •    The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your temperature activity and mimics it
  •    It can detect if no one is home. The thermostat automatically turns off if no one is around.
  •    You can control your temperature anywhere with the use of your tablet, phone or even laptop.
  •    The device can detect motion from across the room. Once it has detected someone, it lights up to show you the time, temperature or weather.
  •    You can check your energy usage history with the use of the Nest Application
  •    The Nest energy also guides you what best temperature to use to save energy
  •    Great customer support. You can also try visiting their support site to know more how this gadget works

Cons:

  •    Although there is a YouTube step by step guide for Nest Learning Kit’s installation, it may still be too technical for some.
  •    You may need to hire an electrician to help you with setup and installation
  •    For voice commands, you need to purchase a separate Amazon Echo and download a voice command application like Alexa
  •    The nest thermostat cannot be connected with high voltage wires such as 110V, 120V or 240V. It will not work with the system.
  •    You need to use the latest version of the application for it to function well


4: Ring Wifi Enabled Video Doorbell – Doorbell Security and Surveillance In One.

If it happens that you are not home and then suddenly, someone you know decided to stop by your house unannounced. It would be nice to at least know, or talk to that person. With the Ring wifi Enabled video doorbell. You can get notifications if someone is at your doorstep. You can even talk to them even if you are away from home with the help of an application that connects your Doorbell to your phone. With this device, you have the option to view if you would want to talk to the person at the door or not. Ring boast a lot of features like customized chimes and an amazing HD quality video of your front yard. It also has a built-in microphone so that you can talk to anyone who is at the door.

You need to have strong wifi for your Ring Video Doorbell to work. So if wifi signal is weak, the doorbell’s system may not be able to detect and record the people that are in front of your doorstep. Now Ring wifi can help you see and the view is someone is at the door. It sends a signal to your mobile device and lets you peek and talk to that person. Or, you can even ignore unwanted guest if you wish.

Ring wifi Enabled Video Doorbell is great for those who like to add smart security to their home. Ring lets you see and talk to anyone who is on your doorstep. You can also view and record any activities that the Ring’s camera can capture. Or, trick possible perpetrators by talking thru the doorbell speaker. So even if you are at work, you can still see and monitor your home.

Pros:

  •    Lifetime protection, if your Ring wifi doorbell gets stolen, the company can replace it for free
  •    Has cloud storage for video recording
  •    Has motion-activated alerts
  •    Has night vision and has a wide-angle HD vision
  •    Can be compatible with wifi and thru your phone or laptop via an app
  •    Made out of strong weather proof materials that does not easily corrode

Cons:

  •    Cloud storage for video recording is only free for 30 days, after that, you have to pay for $3 per month or $30 per year.
  •    Installation may be too technical for some people. You may need to hire an electrician for this
  •    Battery needs to be recharged once in a while


5: Arlo Security System – No cords. No wires. No worries

Arlow Security System is a wifi camera that is great if you do not have the time to set-up wires and do not have the luxury of hiring someone that can help you install a CCTV system into your home. Wireless security cameras give you the advantage of transferring that very camera and place it in different rooms or any area in your home. You can place Arlo the kitchen, your room, the backyard or the front yard. Arlow is a wireless wifi camera that is a great DIY security camera that is easy to install and set-up. Arlow has HD quality videos that can also record in the dark. Its night vision camera can still record in HD quality letting you see any intruders even if it is nighttime. Also, Arlo has motion activated cameras that give you notifications and screenshots if ever there are unsuspected activities happening in your home.

With the ease and convenience that comes with a wireless wifi camera, you need to keep in mind some things. Since this gadget is wireless, you may need to charge the camera once in a while. With this, there may be a thin line wherein you need to be careful that you have no security cameras around since you are charging them. It would be ideal to use a number of Arlo wireless cameras so that you can charge them one at a time without compromising your security setup. Arlo allows you to have at least five cameras for its security video system to work. Also, with Arlo, it would be important to store your weeks worth of videos into a hard drive since it only allows seven days of secure cloud storage.

But despite the minor setbacks, a wireless security camera that can monitor your home 24/7, gives you a sense of safety that you can still make your space a safe place even if you are outside or if you are in a different area at your home. One sample would be placing Arlow in your kid’s room while they are sleeping. Thanks to Arlow, you can still see them and monitor them from your own room. Or, if you are out of the house, you can place this wireless camera at your own living room so that you can still check on your kids while the sitter is looking after them.

Pros:

  • You can set the Arlow Security system in just minutes
  • You can live stream and connect it to your phone, tablet or laptop so that you can see what is going on anytime, anywhere
  • You get to receive push notifications via the app and via email in cases of sudden movement based on its motion sense detectors
  • Can support up to five cameras
  • ·You get to have seven days of cloud storage

Cons:

  • Arlo’s software program has a lot of flaws, it needs to be upgraded. A lot of the recording has lag time
  • The motion detection camera is sometimes lagging, thus not enabling the camera and the user to capture any important activity that needs recording
  • There are competing products that can do much better compared to Arlow
  • Since it is battery operated, it needs to be charged once in a while
  • Needs cloud storage for data keeping. This may be costly for some since you need to pay cloud storage fees.
  • Does not work if the wifi is down


6: Logitech Harmony – The True Universal Remote

With so many electronic gadgets that have an individual remote, you can get lost with what remote to use with what. There are even times that you lose one only to find out that it has dived under your couch. To eliminate remote control clutter, it would be nice to find all the remote function into one smart TV remote. With Logitech Harmony, you can control your smart home and entertainment devices all in one gadget. Plus, you can sync it up with your mobile device to let you monitor and connect all your gadgets. The Harmony Hub that comes with the device works by converting RF signals of your remote into IR or Bluetooth signals from your phone. With this, you can access entertainment systems that are behind closed doors and cabinets.

For Logitech Harmony, it may take a while to find the groove to make all your entertainment system to work. It also takes a while to figure out how to turn on the TV plus the Cable Box at the same time. Sometimes you have to revert to the application to turn on the device. This makes the physical remote sometimes useless.  Also, there are times that the remote freezes so it can be a bit of a hassle if you are watching Super Bowl and you are about to witness an epic touchdown only to find out that your TV freezes or want to increase the volume.

Pros:

  • Works with your phone using the Harmony Smartphone app
  • You can swipe and tap using the Harmony Smartphone app, it is easy to use plus you can link it to different devices
  • You can access devices behind closed doors and cabinets, this includes your PS4, Xbox 360 and Wii
  • Can work on cable TV boxes, Apple TV, Roku, Sonos, Amazon Fire TV, Phillips Hue and so much more

Cons:

  • Setup can be too complicated, you need to figure out a lot of things to make all appliances and gadgets work simultaneously
  • It is a bit of a learning curve to learn how to use this product together with the application
  • Troubleshooting may be a bit of a hassle but customer support is always readily available to help
  • TV may freeze up when being used
  • App is more useful compared to the physical remote


7: Nest Protect Smoke Alarm – The Smoke Alarm Other Alarms Look Up To

Nest Protect Alarm is an Intuitive Smoke Alarm System that lets you monitor and detect smoke, plus harmful substances in the air. Nest’s innovative Smoke alarm is made out of industrial grade materials. It can think, speak and send alerts for you. It can even specify what type of smoke it can detect so that you will know what the specific problem is.

One example would be carbon monoxide, usually, carbon monoxide is undetectable, but with Nest Protect Smoke Alarm, you can monitor and take action to eliminate hazardous toxic fumes from your home before it is too late.

This specific system allows you to change the settings and notifications via an application connected to your Smoke Alarm system. Setup may be tricky once you try to connect multiple smoke detector systems. This also has no interconnect option. This means that if you plan to use just one Nest Alarms Smoke Detector system, it only gives an alarm to that one single smoke detector. So if your home has other smoke detectors, the Nest will not bother to give notifications for it. And it can be costly to remove old smoke detectors and replace it with an all Nest System—unless you have the budget for it. It may be possible that you need to hire an electrician or figure it out yourself once this problem arises. Also, with the sensitivity of the Nest Protect Smoke Alarm, you may need to blow compressed air into the unit once in a while to remove dust since dust on the Nest Detector triggers an alarm even if there is nothing wrong.

Nest Protect Smoke alarm is perfect for homes that live with children and pets. Hazardous smoke, fumes or even an increase in carbon monoxide at home may cause serious health issues to your loved ones. The intuitive design of Nest Protect also helps, knowing that you can monitor the pattern of alarms, know what type of fumes are present and be notified if the gadget itself is working or not, is great for your peace of mind.

Pros:

  •    Made out of strong industrial grade materials
  •    Sends alerts to your phone in the event that there is smoke, fire, or hazardous fumes at home. It also sends notifications to your phone if the Nest Protect Smoke alarm goes off or, if the batteries run low.
  •    You can hush your alarm even if you are not at home with the use of the mobile application
  •    The Nest has a Split-Spectrum sensor that can detect heat in the event that there is fire
  •    Can detect and give alerts like a burning oven or a toaster
  •    Can detect carbon monoxide
  •    Works even if the wifi is down

Cons:

  •    If you are in a country that has no zip code, or, if your country is not included in the list of countries that should be registered on the mobile app, best to wait for an upgraded version of the application before buying this product. It might be a hassle for you to call customer support and be disappointed that you cannot use the product after you have purchased it.
  •    The product does not have an interconnect option, it does not give alerts on other smoke alarms in your home
  •    You have to purchase multiple products or replace your old smoke detection alarm system for it to flawlessly work with your app
  •    Customer service is respondent but needs to improve, they seem not to be able to answer technical and detailed questions
  •    Needs to change batteries often
  •    The company does not offer a replacement for defective units


8: August Smart Lock – Your Ultimate Smart Key and More

The August Smart Lock is a Smart Key system that can do more that the average automatic key system that is out there in the market. This cool smart lock can create specific virtual keys for guest and can keep you updated as to who goes in and out of your home. It also automatically locks and unlocks once it detects that you, the owner is coming in and out of your house. The system connects with your smartphone that lets you monitor and check who is coming in and out of your house. You can even unlock your door even if you are not at home with just a touch of a button through your phone.

The product works well with Apple HomeKit, this means that you can use the smart lock thru Siri. The downside of this is that if you are an Android user, you have to use and purchase August Connect for you to be able to control the August Smart Lock. Also, you have to make sure that your door is not crooked; the lock needs to be aligned well for the August Smart Lock to work. In cases like these, you still need to have that extra key under your rug or your flower pot just in case there are problems with the Smart Lock.

This device is best for those who want to be sure that their home is secure and safe. Much like any smart home, you can gain access to this device remotely via your mobile phone. At least, the paranoia of whether you have locked the door or not is removed once you know that you can check on it every now and then.

Pros:

  •    Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Cam, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech POP, IFTTT
  •    Your exterior door remains the same; you only need to replace the interior part of your standard deadbolt
  •    Easy to install, can be done within 15 minutes, no complicated wires and system
  •    You can connect this system with via the Apple TV 3rd generation or later with the help of Siri
  •    Check your door remotely via mobile application such as August Connect or, Apple HomeKit

Cons:

  •    Warranty only for US and Canada customers
  •    If you open your lock manually, the back plate tends to fall off
  •    Your door needs to be properly aligned or, you lock will fail
  •    Issues like a failing auto lock mistake means that you still have to open the door manually, this means that you still need your actual keys just in case
  •    There is an option to buy the remote lock but it only connects to wifi, so this might be an added unnecessary expense if you can have your phone to open your Auto Lock


9: Canary All-in-One Home Security – Smart Home Security for All

Canary All-in-One Home Security is a complete system packed into one device. You can control this via your smart phone. Canary is also easy to set up. You just need a flat surface to place your camera, plug it, download the app, connect the device to your wifi and you are ready to go. The Canary also has HD video and audio recording capabilities which mean that you can not only see but also hear anything happening at home. The Canary All-in-One Home Security also comes with a built-in 90+ dB siren which means you can alert the local police, fire or EMS via your app. The Canary also has great HD video, has a wide lens, digital zoom and night-vision.  

The product sends notifications once there are sudden movements or any unusual activities. But if you have a cat or a dog, expect a lot of push notifications photos and videos from home. The product’s application via Android seems to have issues if compared to how it flawlessly works well via the iPhone. For those who are very much faithful to their Android phones, this may come as a disappointment. Interestingly enough, since the Canary is flexible and movable, you can move it anywhere at home, you can even place it on crevices and on door entrances if you want to detect serious intruders.

Canary is great for those who want a hassle free security home video system. Usually, CCTV installation takes time and money. So you have to hire someone just to help you mount it at your home. But with Canary’s wireless security cameras, you do not need to go through that. So even if you are in the Bahamas, sipping your mojitos by the sunset, you literally throw your worries away knowing that you still get to check that your home is secure and safe.

Pros:

  •    Easy to setup, no wires required, just set the camera on a flat surface
  •    Free cloud storage for recent events
  •    Sends notifications once there are sudden movements or anything out of the ordinary
  •    Also great as a home recording system if you want to create fun and creative videos
  •    The company has great customer support service
  •    Made from solid and durable materials

Cons:

  •    Made only for indoors. You need to buy a separate weatherproof camera for outdoors
  •    You still need to download and make a separate copy for your video files, the only files that can be stored via Canary’s cloud storage is recent and current files
  •    The cloud only stores 24 videos, extended cloud storage comes with a fee
  •    There are still some flaws when it comes to alarms and notifications; there are sometimes delays when it comes to automatic notifications
  •    The Android app still has some bugs and issues


10: ChefSteps Joule Precision Sous Vide [versus] Anova Precision Cooker – The Future of Cooking Is Now

We have a tie for number 10. Sous Vide cooking is a French cooking technique that requires a sealed and vacuumed piece of meat or vegetable ( may it be chicken, beef, fish, etc) be submerged and cooked in a bath of constant temperature water to achieve the perfect cooking result. The meat appears to be more succulent and tastier because of this technique.

Machines for Sous Vide were once expensive and only top chefs with top restaurants are able to afford and acquire such a machine. But now, we at home can have the perfect steak via sous vide cooking thanks to technology. By purchasing a smart sous vide machine, you can cook, have the perfect poached eggs and the most succulent chicken in your own time.

There are a lot of products out there but there are two that are rated popular in the market and this is the ChefSteps Joule Precision Sous Vide and the Anova Precision Cooker. These two are considered almost as equal, but a point per point comparison could help us which sous vide is best.

 

Between the two, the Joule sous vide has a sleeker and compact design. Both of these sous vide machines has a mobile application that gives the current temperature, ideal cooking time and the number of hours or minutes that the food needs to be cooked. The digital display of the Anova sous vide gives it the advantage that it can still be operated without a mobile application. So if you are at home, it would still be okay to operate the Anova sous vide machine by not being too dependent on your phone. Since both are wifi enabled, you can always set this machine up before you leave the house and heat the water when you are on your way. But with both the differences, purchasing one would still boil down to what is your preference and what suits you best.

 Anova Precision CookerChefSteps Joule Precision Sous Vide
Price$199 for the wifi enabled model, $179 for the Bluetooth enabled model$199 for the regular price and $149 for the pre-ordered price if you have a ChefSteps Premium account
Weight2.5 lbs1.3 lbs
ClipAdjustable - is great in pots or plastic food container but may not hold well on irregularly shaped containersHas a simple wire form clip that fits with any container, has a magnet that can easily attach to steel
DisplayHas a digital display that gives you the current temperature, cooking time and has a small wheel that you can adjust even if you do not have the phone appNo digital display, just a light indicator which displays yellow for heating, green for cooking, red for problems. You need the app to control this device
Power800 Watts1100 Watts
Maximum Temperature210F or 99C194F or 90C
Maximum VolumeCan heat up to 19 liters of water20 liters in an open container, 40 in an insulated container
Immersion Depth2.5 inches to 7.25 inches1.5 inches to 8 inches
Wifi EnabledYes (for the wifi enabled device), you can even start heating your sous vide at a different location even if you are not at home.Yes.
Check PriceCheck Price

(Joule)

(Anova)

In conclusion, these are the best hand-picked gadgets in the market that can help your home be smart in 2017. We examine each and every product and see how each can help us transition our home into a smart one.


The common observation that we have seen in the gadgets mentioned above is that all of them can be connected to your mobile device. It is like bringing your home with you. Plus, with all of these gadgets, you still get to monitor your home and have greater peace of mind knowing that you can look at what is happening around it 24/7. Also, all of these gadgets work hand in hand. Making it one symbiotic system that helps you have a better place to live in. Having a smart home that works harmoniously makes a home be more comfortable, safer and be a great place to live.