CES 2021: Top Home Tech Products
It’s hard to imagine that at this time last year, we had just returned from a week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. It turned out to be one of our last plane trips of 2020.
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When CES announced it would be all virtual last summer, we weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we knew we had to be there. This year, our CES bed was a lot more comfortable and our commute to the show a lot easier, but there was significantly less energy and about half the exhibitors as usual.
But one thing 2020 taught us is that our homes are more important than ever, so there was no shortage of smart home, smart kitchen, health and entertainment technology to explore.
Many of these products are available to buy today, while others have crowdfunding campaigns in process or are coming later this year.
We hope to review several of these over the next several months, so make sure you sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you won’t miss any updates.
Here are our top home technology products to watch in 2021.
Smart Home Products
Ezlo Secure Smart Home Hub
More info: Ezlo.com
Before the dawn of voice assistants, smart home hubs were the only way to control all the different devices in your smart home, using specially-designed protocols like Zigbee and Z-Wave. Lately with all of the Wi-Fi smart home devices out there, we’ve thought that hubs are on their way out.
So we were happy to learn about the new Ezlo Secure smart home hub from Ezlo Innovation, makers of the popular Vera hubs. The new hub has a sleek, beautiful design with added features like a built-in siren, battery back-up, and always-on connectivity with 4G LTE if you add the Ezlo Protect optional service. With the very latest Z-Wave and Zigbee chips, and local control, it promises to run 2x faster than other leading consumer hubs.
But we’re most excited about Ezlo’s VOI, which will allow different voice assistants to work together. You will be able to ask Siri to run a scene that will turn off your Alexa and Google-enabled devices. We can’t wait to try this out with our own HomePods and Echoes.
The Ezlo Secure and its less powerful all-new sibling, the Ezlo Plus, are available for pre-order now and are expected to start shipping in February.
Swidget Modular Smart Switches and Sensors
More Info: Swidget.com
We first saw Swidget in Eureka Park in 2019 and their future-proof smart outlets made our list of favorite smart home products. We got a chance to test and review their outlets with Wi-Fi and Z-Wave inserts later that year.
Now Swidget expanded their product line to include both a standard smart switch and a dimmer and they will soon be releasing their temperature/humidity, motion sensor and air-quality monitoring inserts.
This way, you can easily add sensors around your house wherever there is an outlet and/or switch, and that sensor will never need a separate battery. And since they’re modular, you can always swap out the inserts and move them around the house as needed.
There’s lots of other inserts you can get today such as USB charging, night lights and power-out lights. Swidget Wi-Fi enabled inserts work with their companion app. Their Z-Wave and Zigbee versions work with many of the hubs on the market today.
Swidget outlets and select inserts are available on Amazon and the entire product line is available from their website.
Kew Labs Wireless Charger
More Info: Kewlabstech.com
The more devices we have, the more unsightly charging cables we have all over the house. Wireless charging is neat, but to use it, we still need to plug in little pads or if we’re lucky, a stylish stand.
The Kew Labs UTS-1 promises to clean up our cables with an invisible fast wireless charger you can install under your desk without drilling or destroying your table. Just use the small screws or double-sided tape and install the charger in minutes. It works with most household surfaces between 0.7 and 1 inch thick and it’s safe and discreet.
We have a UTS-1 on the way and we look forward to reviewing it here on our channel.
You can order the UTS-1 today from the Kew Labs site. If you have an iPhone 12, make sure you order the specific model that will better accommodate the new MagSafe-ready devices.
Arlo Essential Indoor Camera
More Info: Arlo.com
Since we started using indoor cameras, we’ve been uncomfortable having them on while we’re at home. For years, we’ve used them in combination with smart power outlets, and set up routines that automatically turn off the cameras when we arrive home. That works most of the time, but it’s still not perfect.
The new Arlo Essential Indoor Camera includes an automated privacy shield. If you forgot to close it (or open it when you’re gone), you can do it right from the app.
The new Essential Indoor Camera is expected to launch later this year.
Origin Wireless Hex Home Security
More Info: MyHexHome.com
Most of us have Wi-Fi all over our homes today but most of us are using it for connecting our devices and streaming content. Now there are companies who are taking advantage of Wi-Fi waves for new, innovative solutions, such as home security.
Origin Wireless has created Hex Home, an easy to use and extremely accurate DIY home security system. Just plug in the Hex Command and Hex Sense, and it will start monitoring your home.
As people move through the house, the Wi-Fi waves bounce, break and bend. The Hex Home uses these waves to calculate the changes to detect motion, and uses artificial intelligence to reduce false alarms by filtering out pets and other objects. One Hex Command and two Hex Senses can cover up to 1,500 square feet.
The Hex Home will be available starting this Spring and will be available on its own or with an optional monitoring service.
Owl Home Smoke/CO Detector
More Info: OwlHome
We were early adopters of the Nest Protect and have had them so long we recently replaced several of them because their carbon monoxide sensors wore out.
Since Nest first launched these products, we’ve been disappointed that there hasn’t been much innovation in this space. After all, if you’re going to install something in your ceiling hooked to power, there’s an opportunity to add other sensors. We know our Protects have motion sensors, microphones, and speakers but Google doesn’t let us do anything else with them or even get our own data.
Owl Home has created a new, beautifully designed device that includes smoke, carbon monoxide, sound, motion, temperature and humidity sensors. In addition to what you’d expect from a smart smoke/CO detector, you can also use the Owl for home security, since it can track motion in and around your home.
With the Owl Home app, you’ll be able to customize your device and control your alerts, and you’ll be able to use Owl triggers to automate other things in your house, like your lights or your coffee maker.
The Owl device is going through certification right now for the US and Canada and the team plans to ship by October of this year. You can pre-order it today through their website.
Vervet Portable Personal Security Device
More Info: Vervet
You have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at home, but what about when you’re traveling? You can take a chance in your hotel room, rental property or RV, or you can be sure to be safe with the Vervet personal security device.
The Vervet is a small, portable smoke, carbon monoxide and motion detector. Keep it with you and your belongings, hang it on a door, or put it on a bedside table and it will protect you from threats while you’re on the move. You can customize the alarms and get alerts with the companion app.
The Vervet is in testing today and the team hopes to ship it in the near future. You can sign up on their website for product updates.
Smart Kitchen and Cooking
Beermkr Home Brewing System
More Info: Beermkr.com
It’s long been possible to brew beer at home, and over the last few CES shows we’ve seen several attempts to create an in-home brewing machine. While they’ve been innovative, they’ve still been messy, complicated and too expensive for most beer lovers.
The Beermkr is the best we’ve seen so far. Add your ingredients, launch the app, and the Beermkr does the rest. In about a week you’ll have about a gallon of freshly-brewed beer ready to drink. The machine uses specially designed pouches to hold the beer and the waste to optimize the process and make clean-up easy.
You can start from an easy to use MkrKit with plenty of tasty options, or make your own concoction. You can buy it today from their website.
ColdSnap Rapid Freezing Appliance
More Info: ColdSnap.com
Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh soft-serve ice cream any time you’d like? Now you can with the Cold Snap. Just pop in an individual, shelf-stable pod and Cold Snap serves out a fresh dish in about 90 seconds.
Unlike traditional ice cream machines, there is no mess to clean up and everyone can have their own favorite flavor. The pods are recyclable so there’s minimal waste.
Right now the Cold Snap prototype just makes ice cream, but they’re also working on smoothies, frozen cocktails and non-dairy options. It’s expected to ship later this year.
CocoTerra Personal Chocolate Maker
More Info: CocoTerra.com
You can easily bake cookies, bread, cakes and all kinds of other sweet treats at home, but making chocolate is an art that’s usually out of reach for the average home chef.
The CocoTerra machine combines the multiple steps required to make chocolate: grinding, refining, conching, tempering and molding into one countertop appliance. With a few basic ingredients you can have chocolate bars in about two hours. The app makes it easy to use CocoTerra’s recipes or create your own.
If homemade chocolate bars are in your future, head over to the CocoTerra site and subscribe to their mailing list so you can find out as soon as it is ready to buy.
LG Electronics InstaView Range
More Info: LG.com
With the plethora of smart cooking devices on the market these days, you could easily lose all your counter space in your kitchen. With all the pressure cookers, air fryers, toasters and specialty ovens, where are you going to put your chocolate machine and beer maker?
LG has a solution with their new InstaView Range. Beyond being a beautifully-designed smart appliance, the InstaView incorporates two other features – an air fryer and waterless sous vide. Now we’re not so sure we’re ready to give up our sous vide machine, but the egg bites they cooked in the oven looked pretty amazing.
Like any smart appliance these days, the InstaView comes with a ThinQ companion app and lots of recipes to try. If you want to see how things are going inside, just knock twice on the screen to turn on the light.
The LG InstaView Range comes in both gas and electric versions and is available at major retailers.
Gardyn Vertical Indoor Garden
More Info: MyGardyn.com
We see home gardens every year at CES in all shapes and sizes, from desktop gardens to full-on walls of plants. The Gardyn is the first one we’ve seen that we would consider for our own kitchen.
It starts with a beautiful design, wood and silver in a 1 x 2 foot floor space, that will grow up to 5 feet tall. You buy up to 30 different varieties of plants from Gardyn or grow your own seeds, and the companion app, nicknamed Kelby, watches over your plants and tells you exactly when to harvest. Just clip off some veggies and cook them up whenever you need them. The plant keeps growing so you can eat again and again.
If you’re on vacation or need to slow down your harvest, the app takes care of it for you so you won’t be overwhelmed with food.
You can order a Gardyn today and get it in February. The Gardyn grows plants without a subscription, but you’ll need a membership to use the Kelby smart assistant.
Mastrad Paris Stor’eat Smart Connected Storage
More Info: Stor-Eat
Food Waste is a huge problem – in the US alone, one person typically throws away 290 pounds of food per year. We all try to keep on top of what’s in our fridge and pantry, but we often struggle to know if the leftovers are still good or forget about the veggies buried in the back of the drawer.
Stor’eat is a smart food storage system that uses smart containers and a connected app. Just scan the QR code on the reusable containers, let the app know what’s inside and it will keep track and remind you to use it before it spoils.
Stor’eat has both connected airtight containers and reusable vacuum-sealer bags, ideal for sous vide cooking. The new smart storage line is expected to ship in the US in early March.
SpoonTek Stimulating Spoon
More Info: Indiegogo
We saw the SpoonTek at FoodTech Live, usually one of our favorite evening events at CES that migrated online this year like everything else.
When we first saw the video, we thought an electrically-charged spoon sounded a little crazy, but after seeing the full presentation during the event, we can’t wait to try it.
The SpoonTEK uses galvic sensory technology to mildly-stimulate the taste buds on your tongue, enhancing the flavor and improving the aftertaste of foods. It’s designed to make low-calorie, low-salt foods taste better, hopefully helping to improve your diet.
The inventors believe the SpoonTek is best for foods like yogurt, soup, and ice cream. They had a successful Indiegogo campaign and are just starting mass production.
Health and Wellness Tech
Toto Wellness Toilet
More Info: Toto.com
We use so many external devices to help track our health and fitness these days – phones, bands, watches, heart rate monitors. Why not take advantage of something you have to use anyway to measure your everyday health?
Toto’s Wellness Toilet can tell a lot about you from just sitting. Evidently the right sensors and contact with the skin (yes, even on your butt) can track quite a bit about your health and well-being. Plus, the Wellness Toilet can also analyze your “output” and provide data within its companion app, even suggesting meals that might go down a little better.
The Wellness Toilet is still just a concept, but we fully expect it to come to market and hope to sit on it at a future CES.
Luple Olly Light Therapy
More Info: Luple.kr
We’re all indoors a lot more lately and not getting as much natural sunlight. The Olly is a personal light therapy product that can help give you energy when you need it or relax you enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Olly uses Human Centric Lighting LED and a personalized algorithm to give you the daylight you need, when you need it. It’s about the size of a coffee mug and battery-powered, so you can keep it next to your bed or take it with you.
We like the Olly because of its elegant design and the potential to help us beat jet lag naturally once we’re able to travel again. It comes in two versions, Olly Day and Olly Night.
Olly was developed by Samsung engineers and after a successful Kickstarter project this summer, they are hoping to bring Olly to mass production for North America this spring.
Aromeo Sense Multi-Sensory Wellness Device
The Aromeo is another smart wellness lighting product, but it adds both sound and scent, helping you create the best atmosphere to help you focus, relax and sleep better throughout the day.
You can start Aromeo right from the lamp to get what you need right away, or customize it with the included app. It has three slots for the scent pods so you can use the same or or combine them to create your own scent.
The Aromeo is also a smart light that works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.
You can back the Aromeo Sense today on Indiegogo and it’s expected to ship this March.
Lasso Home Recycling Appliance
More Info: LassoLoop.com
In our home, most of our waste can be recycled. We fill up our bin twice as quickly as our garbage and we constantly have plastic, cardboard and glass piled up in our kitchen waiting to go out.
While we dutifully separate our trash, we’ve been horrified to learn that not all of it actually gets recycled. If something is not sufficiently clean or is mixed with non-recyclable lids or other materials, it may go to the landfill instead.
The Lasso is an in-home unit that promises to let you take recycling into your own hands. It’s a large, elegant device that looks a bit like a shiny mailbox. Just drop in your recyclable containers and the Lasso automatically senses, separates, cleans and breaks them down into small, pure materials that are stored until it’s full.
The Lasso app keeps track of everything and when it’s ready, it will let you know it’s time to schedule a curbside collection.
The Lasso needs power and plumbed water to operate and weighs in at a hefty 265 pounds. We’re not sure we’ll be able to get one any time soon but we love the idea of closed-loop recycling and wish them success.
Lasso is offering a no-risk, no-deposit reservation from their website today.
Ampere Shower Power
More Info: Ampere
Shower speakers aren’t new. People have been putting speakers in their shower to sing along to their favorite tunes since the 20th century, and more recently these have gone Bluetooth and even started including Alexa.
The Ampere Shower Power brings high-quality music to your shower but with one big difference – it runs on water power. Just add the speaker to your shower head or wand and the water flow charges its internal battery. Ampere promises up to 20 hours of playback, even after the water has stopped running.
Not only does the Shower Power save energy, it’s made from sustainable materials. Each speaker is made from 100 percent recycled ocean plastic, harvested and specially engineered to work in the shower.
The Shower Power is available through Kickstarter, and scheduled to start shipping later this month.
GoSun Flow Portable Water Purification System
More Info: GoSun.com
When you’re outdoors it can be hard to find a reliable, clean water source. The GoSun flow is a portable water purification system that uses solar energy to filter 99.99% of the pathogens from any water.
The Flow uses a USB-powered pump to move water through the three-stage filter, pumping over 100 gallons of water on a single-charge. It includes a collapsible sink, faucet and switch, so you can also use it to wash dishes, wash off your pets or take a shower yourself. You can quickly recharge the pump with the included solar panel and even charge your phone.
The Flow weighs just 2.75 pounds so it’s easy to take anywhere. It’s available for pre-order now and is expected to ship in February.
Vaonis Vespera Personal Telescope
More Info: Vaonis.com
We’ve been using the Skygrid app for years to help us figure out what we’re seeing in the night sky. We point it at a bright star or constellation and Skygrid shows an overlay of what we’re seeing. It’s a great little tool, but if you really want to zoom in on a planet or find something specific, you need to get a telescope or visit an observatory.
Vaonis brings the phone technology to the next level with the Vespera personal telescope. Rather than restrict you to using an eyepiece to look at the stars, the Vespera works with your phone to automatically point to celestial objects then display them on your own screen. You will even be able to take your own incredible pictures of the stars to share with family and friends.
The Vespera is available for pre-order today and is expected to ship in the spring of 2022. If you love the idea and cannot wait, you can buy their bigger (and more expensive) Stellina personal observatory today.
I hate cat videos, said no one, ever. We loved watching the MeowMate promo video and we think you will too.
If you have cats and love to play with them, you might be interested in your own MeowMate. It’s a combination mobile cat toy and camera that will offer hours of fun for both you and your kitty, whether you’re home or away.
The MeowMate is built by Chinese AI and Robotics company Howenjoy. We’re not sure when it will be available for purchase.
While CES 2021 was definitely different, we are glad to see that so many companies small and large participated in the first ever virtual event. Did we miss anything? Please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.