2014 Smart Home Holiday Gift Guide
Home automation is hotter than ever this holiday season. If you are looking to surprise that special someone in your life with the latest technology to make her home smarter, AppMyHome is here to help with our smart home gift giving guide.
These suggestions are all devices that we own and use today. All of them are fine as stand-alone gifts — they do not require any special hubs or add-ons to use — just a smart phone or tablet and in most cases, Wi-fi. We are Apple people so if your gift recipient uses Android we recommend you do a little extra research to make sure his phone or tablet is supported. We have organized these by price based on what you are looking to spend on your gift (or on yourself!)
One of the very first of the new breed of smart home devices, the Nest is still one of our favorites. It’s fairly simple to install – just remove your dumb thermostat off the wall and replace it with the Nest. It has a companion app as well as the ability to control from the web.
Once it is installed, the Nest Thermostat learns your patterns automatically and starts heating/cooling your home based on when you are active and turns itself down automatically when you leave. It has saved us tons on our power bill since we got it and has more than paid for itself. It is a great gift for anyone looking to save money and energy and a great starter device for your smart home.
The Hue starter kit is a great gift for those creative folks in your life. There are a lot of light bulbs and switches out there but what makes the Hue so fun is the ability to change the color of the light. You can choose from the entire spectrum of color – to match your mood or the mood you are trying to create.
The lights are pretty easy to set up and the app gives you control to set the colors, the timing, etc – whether you are home or away. The bulbs come with their own hub to control them. Phillips sells many other gadgets including plain white only light bulbs. As a bonus, the LEDs save energy.
This is a great gift for friends and family that you visit often. The Bluetooth lock replaces a regular door lock and uses a smartphone as the key. Once it is paired, you keep your phone in your pocket or purse and just touch the lock to open. For guests or other visitors, you can create an electronic key that expires when the visit is over. It also includes a regular key and an electronic fob that unlocks the door the normal way.
The Kevo is a bit more complex to install and calibrate with the phones, and it only works with iPhone 4s or later. It is not connected to the Internet so you can’t unlock or lock remotely. We have had our two Kevo locks for about a year and they have steadily improved with updates along the way.
Have you ever driven away from your house and wondered if you closed your garage door? The Chamberlain MyQ solves this problem. It is a small box that connects to your existing garage door opener (most brands are compatible with some exceptions) and sends a notification to your phone when the garage is open or closed. It is simple to install and use and will save your lucky loved one hours of stress and panic and the gas he wastes when he drives back home to check the door. He can also open and close the door remotely from the app to open the door for guests or just freak out the neighbors.
The WeMo Wall Switch is a quick and easy way to make any plug in device controllable from your phone or tablet. Just plug it in to any wall outlet, plug your regular gadget into the socket, and you can control it using the WeMo app – televisons, lamps, stereos, fans, etc. It is simple to use and only limited by your imagination.