What’s the smartest room in your home? What if your rooms staged a competition to earn the title of “the smart one,” like genius kids on a sibling rivalry bender?
In the future, we’ll probably take a standard set of smart home features for granted. In the meantime, we’re happy to experiment, rewarding the truly brilliant … and sending those less-than-sharp ideas back to school for a lesson in “can vs. should.”
Ready to check out some of the best and brightest smart home gadgets? Here are seven with the goods to supercharge your residential IQ, or look to our Home category for more brilliant ideas.
1. Gate: Your robot doorman
Add Gate to your deadbolt’s key slot to lock and unlock your door from anywhere, any time. Featuring a keypad, motion-activated camera, and call button, Gate is easy to connect to your home wifi network.
Gate keeps a record of everyone’s comings and goings, and each entrant can be assigned a unique code with custom parameters (including date and time ranges to limit access)—which makes it perfect for small businesses that receive off-hours deliveries, as well as guest lodgings and Airbnb-style short-term rentals.
2. Switch Bot: Become master of all you survey (as long as it has an on/off button)
Switch Bot brings programmability to formerly “dumb” home controls. Just affix the small plastic box next to any switch—light switch, tech power switch, coffee maker start button; the options are almost endless. Program your Switch Bots from any smart device. At the time you designate, out pops a tiny, adorable plastic finger that flips the switch. Let there be light—or even better, coffee.
But what if the switch in question turns something on AND off (like the power button on your computer)? Or what if you want to raise the blinds, turn on the TV, feed the cat, and make coffee, without getting out of bed—at home or on vacation? That’s where multiple Switch Bots come in handy, all of them at the beck and call of your iPhone or Apple Watch.
3. Clarity: If a boombox and a tablet had a baby…
Clarity is a bit like a smart boombox that can also play movies and make video calls. Combining an Internet radio, high-quality wireless speaker, and Android touchscreen, it also responds to Alexa or OK Google voice commands, has Internet connectivity, and works with your home’s other smart devices for a veritable symphony of productivity. Use it as a portable smart home command center, all in a sleek, adorable form factor that brings to mind Eve from Wall-E.
4. Moodo: The scents that surround you
Leave the essential oils to the hippies. Moodo brings scent into the 21st century with a pod-based system that lets you mix, match, and blend to enhance the scent of any room, creating up to 400,000 different variations, dialed in with app on your phone. Enjoy suggested blends or create your own, then name and share your favorites. Summer Rain or Cabin in the Woods? Power Breakfast or Hipster Beardwax? The choice is yours.
5. The Orb: Danish-designed intelligent lighting
Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and fondue was cutting edge, people got fancy with the mood lighting by adjusting manual dimmers. Take your lighting game to the next level with The Orb, a so-retro-it’s futuristic smart light that lets you create presets—say, “dinner party,” “reading nook,” or “work mode”—and change your environment with a single tap. Apart from its beauty and super-smart features, The Orb is the first lamp to let you control the intensity, color, and direction of its light. That alone is pretty smart.
6. Sobro: The ultimate cooler/stereo/coffee table for bros—and, OK, the rest of us
The envy of all other coffee tables, the Sobro has it all for connoisseurs of the couch-centric lifestyle: a refrigerator drawer (no more getting up for beer), Bluetooth speakers, charging ports, and LED mood lights. It’s a party in your living room, plus serious street cred for proponents of the connected lifestyle. The only thing left for you to do, bro: discreetly hide the power cable under a tasteful throw rug.
7. Oco2: The smarter security camera that also protects your privacy
The latest evolution of the home security camera, the Oco2 features a combination of SD card and cloud storage to keep the device working—and storing footage—whether or not your wifi goes down. The HD camera includes night vision and wide-angle modes, plus two-way talk (so you can whisper “Get out!” whenever you want). No monthly fees, and the company promises greater privacy than similar devices from competitors, reducing your likelihood of embarrassment whatever it is you do in the comfort of your own home.