If you’re of the opinion that smart home products are just a fad, think again, because they’re here to stay.
We’re moving towards a world where our fridges will be able to order products online for us before we even realize we’re running low, and we already have virtual personal assistants.
It may feel like the beginning of a sci-fi thriller where robots take over the world, but it’s also pretty neat to think that most of our boring, day-to-day tasks could be automated, or at least made slightly less painful.
To help you make sense of what is worth buying, and what devices will get you the most bang for your buck, we put together a list of some of the best ones on the market right now. Better yet, they’re all under £50.
Amazon Echo Dot
As far as smart-home devices go, the Echo Dot is by far the best value out there. This nifty little gadget works the same as its older brother, the Amazon Echo. The only difference between the two is that you’ll need to have a home-sound system (a simple wireless speaker should suffice) to take full use of the Echo Dot.
Not only will you be able to ask Alexa what the weather is like, but the virtual assistant is also capable of controlling your lights, heating your home, and even ordering you an Uber or takeout. You can read our full review of it here.
Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Generation), £49.99.
TP-Link Smart Plug
At first glance, the TP-Link smart plug isn’t all that impressive. It looks like a glorified plug, so some may not realize its potential.
The smart plug can remotely switch off any device plugged into it from anywhere at anytime, thanks to TP-Link’s mobile app, or Alexa, if you own an Echo device. It also has an “away mode,” which means that you can switch some appliances on or off to give the impression you’re home at different times.
Not only can it save energy, but this nifty little gadget will also monitor energy usage of any device plugged into it. The price may seem a bit steep for one plug, but it should pay for itself after just a couple of months if you use it frequently.
TP-Link Wi-Fi Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring, Works with Alexa, £40.27.
Philips Hue Intelligent Motion Sensor
Although not indispensable, this motion sensor makes for a nice complement to the Philips Hue bulbs. Gone are the times where you fumble around in the dark in search for a light switch; the lights will turn on automatically. If you have a big house, you can connect up to 10 through Hue Bridge so you’ll never need to touch a switch when going to get a glass of water ever again.
Philips Hue Intelligent Motion Sensor Smart Wireless Lighting Accessory, £34.99.
Panasonic Leak Sensor
This is the smart-home device anyone should invest in to avoid long-term damage to their houses in the event of a leak. Simply place the sensor on the wall, and place the probe on the floor behind a washing machine, sink, or anything at risk of causing a flood in your home.
Although practical, it doesn’t work with Alexa, so you’ll have to invest in the Panasonic Smart Home Hub, if you don’t already own one.
Panasonic Smart Home Indoor Water Leak Sensor, £39.95.