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Think about cost

Smart home tech isn’t cheap. Not only that, but costs have a sneaky way of adding up over time. You start with a bulb or two, and a year later you’re well into four figures.

There are two financial aspects I think worth considering at the outset:

Available budget

How much home automation is worth to you

If, realistically, the amount you can invest in smart home tech is very limited, then it’s particularly important to spend your money on the right things – the things that will make the biggest difference to your life.

But, ironically, it can be even more important to think about budget if you have more disposable income to play with – because there’s almost no limit to what you can do if you throw enough money at it. Which is where the second question becomes important. How much difference will a smart home make to your life?

Is waking up in the morning, saying ‘Hey Siri, Morning’ and seeing your home spring to life something that will bring you a frisson of pleasure each time you do it? Do you take the view that anything that can be automated should be automated? Do you love the thought that simply tapping a button on your iPhone when you go to bed saves you the trouble of wandering around your home switching off lights, closing blinds and ensuring the heating is off? If so, you can justify a significant spend, because it’s something from which you’ll get substantial value.

But if you think smart home tech is kind of neat but not that big a deal, you could end up investing a lot of cash in something that will make little lasting difference to your life, especially once the novelty has worn off. That money might be put to better use elsewhere.

Think too about time, effort and reliability

Take it from me: configuring and trouble-shooting a smart home is something that takes a significant amount of both time and effort. There will be swearing involved.

Smart home tech is still something I’d consider bleeding-edge technology. Neither set up nor reliability is at a level I’d yet say is ready for mass-market consumers. If you’re not willing to do battle with Wi-Fi connectivity, delay your plans to go to bed to work out why one of your blinds isn’t responding or find the ideal positioning for a motion sensor via an awful lot of trial-and-error, then you may want to wait a while.

HomeKit has gone a long way toward making things ready for prime-time, but Just Works is still some way off.

How patient are you?

The somewhat flakey reliability of smart home devices means you also need to ask yourself how patient you are in the face of things that don’t work as they should.

You will see devices report that they are unavailable. You will see things that show themselves as constantly updating and therefore unresponsive. You will find that one of the seven lights that should have turned off is still stubbornly on for no apparent reason. You will find there are times when you lose full control of something until you update its firmware.

If you are someone who will simply roll your eyes and get on with it, no problem. If, however, a piece of misbehaving technology turns you into an incandescent ball of concentrated fury, maybe now isn’t quite the right time to create a smart home.

Family considerations

Even if you’re the greatest technology fan in the world, and can think of nothing more interesting than the challenge of figuring out why your living-room lights don’t turn on when they should, you also need to consider the attitude of your partner and any kids or other household members.

If you have any technophobes in the home, they’re unlikely to be amused by swapping simple light switches for a Siri-controlled world that relies on you remembering the name of a particular light.

But even reasonably tech-savvy people may not share your enthusiasm for automating everything in sight. For example, my partner is more tech-aware than the average mass-market consumer out there, and she’s also reasonably embedded in the Apple world, with a Mac, an iPad and an iPhone. But she still wasn’t happy about having to use an iPhone to switch on lights.

That doesn’t mean you have to rein-in your plans, but you may have to adapt them. In our case, we added a bunch of Hue Dimmer Switches to the walls so that Steph had the option of using physical switches – even if they were Wi-Fi ones. That adds cost as well as effort.

Start by dipping a toe into the water

Ok, so you’ve decided you love gadgets and you can afford them; you’re willing to put in the work; you have a laid-back attitude to uncooperative technology; and your family is on-board. Even with all this in place, I’d still recommend dipping a toe into the smart home water first.

With this, you’ll get the experience of all the key aspects of configuring and using smart home tech:

Setting up a bridge (needed for many HomeKit devices)

Adding a device to its app

Setting up one or more rooms in the Home app

Controlling devices using the Home app

Controlling devices via Siri

By the time you’ve done this, you’ll have a good sense of the amount of effort involved, and the benefit you see from using it.

Buy the right thing once

Personally, I’d recommend sticking to major brands, for several reasons:

They are likely to work reliably (for smart home values of ‘reliably’)

The company is likely to stand by their products if they fail

They are likely to be around for a long time

Which includes HomeKit compatibility

HomeKit support makes such a big difference to usability that I’d say you want to almost view this as a must-have.

For example, if your lights, blinds and heating are all HomeKit-compatible, then a single Siri command or button tap like ‘Goodnight, home’ can take care of everything that needs to be done before going to bed. For non-HomeKit devices, you can’t use Siri, and you’ll have to go into each individual app in turn to control their respective devices.

I say ‘almost’ as you may find you have to make some exceptions – especially outside the USA, where compatible devices aren’t always available. And sometimes the price difference between the same thing with and without HomeKit support can be dramatic.

For example, our heating system uses electric radiators, which can’t be controlled by the Tado system we had before. There aren’t any HomeKit-compatible ones, but it’s really not a big deal because – for the most part – they operate on timers.

With blinds, we took a bit of chance, opting for ones that are iPhone-controlled but not yet HomeKit compatible – with later support promised. Since the company’s app already supports Scenes (one-button ways to set the positions of multiple blinds), then we’re reasonably confident that it is all set for HomeKit – and in the worst of cases, it’s not a massive convenience to tap two buttons rather than one in morning and evening. The reason we did that? HomeKit-compatible ones were literally twice the price.

Smart switches are likely to be cheaper than smart bulbs

Depending on how many lights you have in your home, and how they are configured, it will generally work out cheaper to replace dumb switches with smart ones than to replace dumb bulbs with smart ones.

For example, if you have a living-room switch that controls four lights, each with two bulbs, a single switch might cost you $50 rather than spending $200 or more on eight bulbs.

In the USA, there are quite a few brands to choose from now – but always check HomeKit compatibility for the specific switches.

However …

For light bulbs, consider color ones

Smart bulbs can do more than smart switches. For example, smart bulbs may allow you to select their color temperature, switching between bright white lighting when concentrating on something and a softer, yellower light when relaxing. They will also typically offer dimming – which smart switches do too, but don’t work with all bulb types.

However, the biggest benefit you get from opting for smart bulbs rather than smart switches is the option of color.

Attitudes to color bulbs vary. Some people are dismissive, seeing them as gimmicks that belong in nightclubs rather than homes. But many of us have come to love them.

For example, we often set the living-room floor lamps to blue or purple to provide enough light to see by without spoiling the view from the windows with bright reflections. In the bedroom, it’s nice to have the option of a warm and relaxing yellow-orange light.

The Philips Hue starter kit I recommended earlier gets you color bulbs, so you can then see how you get on with them and whether the added cost of color is worth it to you.

Philips Hue Light Strips are worth a special mention

I’m trying to keep the piece as general as possible, but I think Philips Hue Light Strips are worth a special mention, as they are so versatile.

These are long multi-color LED strips designed to provide mood lighting. You can use them for under-cabinet lighting in a kitchen, for example, setting them to white when you are cooking and a color when you just want accent lighting.

Other common uses are for TV consoles, desks and bookshelves. We even use them as wardrobe lights as a single strip provides both overhead and side lighting.

Smart plug sockets are another option

If you have floor or table lamps, another way to convert them to smart devices is to use a smart plug socket. Leave the lamp switched on, and then control the socket instead.

Elgato Eve Energy is the market leader here, and the app also monitors energy usage and costs into the bargain.

Smart thermostats save money as well as adding convenience

If you have a central heating system, a smart thermostat can be a great buy. Presence-detection means that when the system sees there is nobody home, it automatically turns down the heating to save money. With the Tado system I had before, for example, it reduced the heating bills by around 7%.

Nest, Tado and Ecobee are three big names here. This is one category where I’d say HomeKit compatibility is less important as mostly you’ll leave it to its own devices.

However, these probably only make sense if you’re staying put for a while. The payback time on a system saving 7% a year, for example, will be a number of years.

Smart locks are super-convenient but …

Walking up to your front door with your hands full and having the door automatically unlock when you approach it is undeniably convenient. Smart locks work by detecting your iPhone or Apple Watch via Bluetooth.

They also allow you to do things like allow timed access to specific individuals. For example, if your cleaner visits weekly on a Friday afternoon, the lock can be set to allow them in only between 1pm and 2pm on Fridays.

And if a friend is coming to stay and gets there before you do, you can grant them one-off access via a temporary code.

However, you do need to think about security. Even with HomeKit, which is designed to offer a very high level of security, there can be vulnerabilities – like the one we reported to Apple. You may consider smart locks to be one step too far.

Smart cameras too

The same applies to smart cameras. If you have young kids, for example, these can provide a great way to keep an eye on them wherever you are.

Cameras can also be set to send alerts when they detect motion, and some even have face-recognition so that they don’t bother alerting you to familiar faces.

Again, though, you have to be aware of the potential privacy risks of a camera feed that’s accessible via the Internet.

Smart speakers make a convenient interface

Finally, a smart speaker provides a really convenient way to control smart home technology. With this, you don’t need to have your iPhone or Watch with you as you wander around your home.

If everything you have is HomeKit-compatible, then a HomePod can control everything – but the cost only makes sense if you’re also looking for a decent speaker. Otherwise, an Amazon Echo Dot is a really low-cost device that will control most smart home devices – and is cheap enough that you could sprinkle a few around your home.

In summary …

Think about whether smart home tech makes sense for you, your budget and your family

Dip a toe in the water first

Adopt a ‘buy the right thing once’ approach

Buy HomeKit-compatible devices wherever possible

Think about whether smart switches or bulbs make most sense for you

If bulbs, try color ones to see whether they add value

A smart thermostat likely makes financial sense if you have no plans to move

Think about the potential security risks of smart locks and cameras

Consider a smart speaker (or three) as a convenient means of control

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Say Hello To A Smarter Home With Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0

What is Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0?

Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 is a new product that aims to turn your entire house into a smart home. It is designed to provide a seamless and integrated experience for users by connecting all smart devices in the home, including lights, appliances, security systems, and more. The system is controlled by a central hub, which allows users to manage all their smart devices from one place. The Whole House Smart 4.0 integrates the smart central control screen S2 as well as the Smart MINI. They come with much better and super fast control as well as a smart voice.

Huawei Smart MINI

Features of the Whole House Smart 4.0 Centralized Control

The central hub of Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 allows users to control all their smart devices from one place. This means that users can turn on/off lights, adjust the temperature, and even lock doors from their smartphone or tablet.

Voice Control Energy Efficiency

Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 is designed to be energy-efficient. The system can automatically adjust the temperature and lighting based on user preferences and occupancy, which can help reduce energy consumption and save money on utility bills.

Security

Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 also includes security features such as smart locks and cameras. Users can monitor their home from anywhere using their smartphone or tablet, which can provide peace of mind when away from home.

Benefits of the Whole House Smart 4.0 Convenience

One of the main benefits of Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 is convenience. With centralized control and voice commands, users can easily manage all their smart devices without having to switch between different apps or devices.

Energy Savings

Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 can help users save money on utility bills by reducing energy consumption. The system can automatically adjust the temperature and lighting based on user preferences and occupancy, which can help reduce energy waste.

Security

Huawei Whole House Smart 4.0 includes security features such as smart locks and cameras. This can provide peace of mind for users when away from home by allowing them to monitor their home from anywhere using their smartphone or tablet.

How does the Whole House Smart 4.0 differ from previous versions

Huawei has released several versions of its whole-house smart solution, with the latest being the Whole House Smart 4.0. Here are some differences between the Whole House Smart 4.0 and previous versions:

Whole House Smart 2.0: This version was launched in July 2023 and featured a lower price point of 19,999 yuan and a new after-installation solution.

Whole House Smart 3.0: This version was launched in November 2023 and brought a wired 

PLC

solution that could handle daily interference.

Whole House Smart 4.0: This is the latest version of this device was released on May 18, 2023. The company has made improvements to the functions and user experience compared to previous versions.

Conclusion

At the moment, Huawei has over 2300+ brand partners that have settled in the HarmonyOS home. It also has 5800+ smart items that can connect to the whole house smart. According to Huawei, as of early May, 214 Huawei whole house smart 4.0 stores are available in 115 cities across China.

The Best Smart Home Devices 2023

Best smart speaker: Google Nest Mini

£49 – View on Google

There are a number of smart speakers available, and they all do roughly the same thing. They’ll act as a virtual assistant, responding to your voice commands, queries and music requests and will also serve as a voice-controlled hub for your other smart gear.

The two biggest smart speakers right now are the Amazon Echo and the Nest Mini. 

In spite of the name change, the Nest Mini is far from an overhaul of the Home Mini – although you can think of it as the Home Mini 2. The audio has improved, making it a better choice if you want to use it as a standalone speaker, while a machine learning chip makes basic commands quicker to use.

The design is essentially unchanged, aside from a new Sky colour, but there is one welcome tweak: a small indentation on the back for wall-mounting, letting you easily hang the Nest Mini from any nail or screw.

Don’t rush out to grab a Nest Mini to replace an existing Home Mini. But for anyone looking to add Google to more rooms, or get the Google Assistant into their home for the first time, the Nest Mini is the new best, and cheapest, way to do it.

Read our full  Google Nest Mini review or find out more in our smart speaker comparison.

Best smart light: Philips Hue

£151/$179.99 –  View on Amazon

Smart lighting is one of the first things that comes to mind when people think of smart homes, and it’s easy to see why. Most modern smart lights let you set brightness, tone, and colour, control your bulbs with voice commands, and schedule them to turn on and off at certain times of day or when you enter or leave the house.

Philips Hue is one of the biggest names in smart lighting, and its starter kit is a great way to kick off – it includes three colour-changing bulbs along with the hub you need to control them. There are a variety of pre-set scenes, support for Google Home and Amazon Echo, and the ability to expand functionality even further with IFTTT. You can also buy individual bulbs to expand your set.

If Hue isn’t quite your thing, you can buy LIFX individual smart bulbs that work without any sort of hub, and we also love Nanoleaf’s interconnected Aurora light panels. 

Check out some of the other options in our guide to the best smart lights.

Best smart thermostat: Hive Active Heating

£149.99 –  View on Amazon

Smart heating may not be especially exciting, but if you’re looking for a great use of tech to help the environment and save you money, you can’t do better. By giving you precise control of how and when you heat your house – and data on your energy usage – you can potentially make a serious dent in your monthly bills.

The Hive Active Heating system is our top pick. The recent addition of multi-zone support is very useful, and the ability to boost heating and hot water is a great feature.

This second iteration of Hive is a giant leap forward from the solid (but somewhat dull) first-generation product. The interfaces of both the app and thermostat are intuitive and quick to use. There are clearly energy savings which Hive can help you make and you can quickly recoup your expenditure if you’re conservative with your temperatures and schedule. And it’s easy to add  Hive Active Light as well as smart plugs and switches, too. 

Read our full  Hive Active Heating 2 review

If you’re not sold on Hive, we’re also big fans of Nest and Honeywell Evohome, and you can find other alternatives in our dedicated smart heating round-up.

Best smart display: Google Nest Hub Max

£219/$229 – View on Google

Smart displays are one of the newer categories of smart devices. Essentially smart speakers with inbuilt screens, these don’t quite have the full functionality of a dedicated tablet, but instead, are simplified devices that offer all the benefits of a virtual assistant with some extra visual aids.

Our current favourite is the Google Nest Hub Max, which is compact enough to fit into most rooms, and offers most of the key features you’d hope for. If you want a slightly smaller display, consider the original Nest Hub, while Alexa die-hards might prefer the Echo Show.

Check out our best smart display guide for more options.

Best smart kettle: iKettle

£129.99/$129.99 – View on Amazon

If there’s a more beautiful vision of our connected future than being able to pop the kettle on from bed, we are too busy dreaming of our morning cuppa to have thought of it. And thanks to IFTTT and Alexa integration, you don’t even need to get your phone out to boil the iKettle; you just tell Alexa to turn it on.

Set-up is a bit of a pain and took us a few attempts – and IFTTT integration took a few more – but once you’re there you can set the iKettle to heat to whatever temperature you like, to stay warm once it gets there, and even to trigger to boil at set times or when you come home from work.

Smart kettles are a small but growing field. Expect to see a lot more of these over the next few years as the standard appliance manufacturers get in on the act. For more smart culinary appliances, see our pick of the best smart kitchen gadgets.

Best smart coffee machine: Nespresso Expert & Milk

£299.99 –  View on Amazon

If boiling the kettle from the bed is one half of the English dream, then surely brewing a coffee is the other half. Enter Nespresso’s app-connected Expert range.

This is essentially a standard Nespresso machine (admittedly a very fully-featured one) with the added benefit of being able to set a coffee to brew remotely, or on a schedule – so long as you’ve left a pod in the machine and a cup at the ready.

It’ll also let you know how many pods you have left, remind you to restock (and let you buy more within the app), and give you alerts when it’s time to clean or descale the machine. Handy.

If that’s a bit steep for you, you should check out the filter-style Smarter Coffee Machine, or check out our pick of the  best coffee machines – including ones without any smart stuff.

Best smart plug: Tapo P100 Mini Smart Wi-Fi Socket

£9.95 –  View on Amazon

Smart plugs are an easy way to give a bit of an intellect boost to non-smart tech, letting you remotely switch mains power on or off, set it to a schedule, or trigger it to turn on or shut off based on your location.

Tapo is a new sub-brand from TP-Link and the P100 Mini Smart Wi-Fi Socket is one of the best smart plugs we’ve tested – and one of the best-priced.

The simple, compact design means you’ll be able to fit it into even cramped spots and we’ve found it quick and easy to get set up on the app. Once it’s ready to use, the app allows you to do the usual things like schedules and timers.

There’s even an ‘away mode’ so you can turn a light on and off randomly to make it look like you’re still at home. There’s also a button on the plug if you want to use it manually.

The Tapo P100 supports both Google Assistant and Alexa, so you can control it with your home assistant – with no hub required.

It’s worth noting that you can’t use it with the Kasa app, so it isn’t ideal if you already have TP-Link smart plugs or other smart devices. But, unless you’re already locked into a different system, there’s no reason to spend more on another smart plug.

There are plenty of other great alternatives, including good options from Belkin and Elgato. Take a look at our smart plug roundup for some inspiration.

Best robot vacuum: Eufy RoboVac 30C

£199.99 –  View on Amazon

As with any robot vacuum cleaner, the RoboVac 30C will not eliminate the need for a traditional vacuum every so often, but it has sufficient suction power (1500Pa) to keep your floors and carpets clean on the days you’d rather put your feet up and chill.

The ability to connect it to your home Wi-Fi network for remote operation is cool, although nothing new, but we love the voice assistant integration for proper lazy boy cleaning.

Read our full  Eufy RoboVac 30C review. The Neato Botvac D7 Connected is another great option if you have a bit more to spend. Check out our guide to the best robot vacuum cleaners for more ideas.

Best smart security camera: Netatmo Presence

£249.99/$299.99 –  View on Amazon

Security is one of the most obvious areas where smart tech offers a real benefit, giving you access to live feeds from cameras, cloud storage of footage, and even the potential for smart locks to govern who gets in and out (as long as you trust your chosen company’s cyber-security, of course…).

Hive,  Ezviz and security camera buying guide.

Best smart scale: Withings Body Cardio

£149.95/$179.95 –  View on Amazon

Scales might seem like unlikely items to have smart capabilities but it makes sense when you begin to think of them in terms of data. A good smart scale will track more than just weight – it’ll include bodyfat percentage, BMI, lean mass, water weight, and more – and it’ll retain all that data for you and make it easy to understand.

The Body Cardio from Withings is our favourite right now thanks to support for up to eight users, syncing with Withings’ other health devices, and the fact that it measures pulse wave velocity – a first for the smart scale market.

You’ll also find great scales from Qardio and Fitbit – check out our full smart scale guide for more.

Best smart toothbrush: Oral-B Genius X

£339.99 –  View on Amazon

First up, don’t wince too much at that price tag. It’s currently available on Amazon for £129, so there’s no need to pay full price. What you’ll get is a brush that combines all the features of a high-end electric toothbrush with an app to show where you’re brushing in real-time, track your brushing habit, and keep your dental health on track.

Sure, this is one of those examples where smart functionality isn’t necessary, but it can help you to improve your brushing technique and remind you to brush for the recommended time, twice a day.

Philips Sonicare is the main alternative to Oral-B, but you can see other options in our best smart toothbrush comparison.

How To Choose The Best Smart Thermostat For Your Home

Smart thermostats make managing the temperature in your home as simple as setting up a schedule on an app. From quickly adjusting the temperature while you’re away to using your voice to make a change, you no longer have to wake up and deal with a manual thermostat if you’re cold. But with so many options, it’s worth figuring out which smart thermostat is perfect for your home and your needs.

Compatibility

Before you even look at features or pricing, check out your HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system to find out which thermostats will actually be compatible with it. While most modern systems are compatible with virtually all smart thermostats, certain systems may require an adapter. More complex systems may also require a professional to install it to ensure everything works correctly.

Image source: Amazon

Typically, HVAC systems made after 1975 are generally compatible with smart thermostats. You may still be able to use a smart thermostat with furnace or oil boiler systems, but you’ll need a special adapter, usually called a C-wire (common wire) adapter to make your current wiring compatible with the thermostat.

If you use in-wall heating, biofuels, or baseboard heating, you can’t use most smart thermostats on the market.

If you’re still not sure about HVAC compatibility, open your thermostat cover and check the wiring. Thick wires could mean it’s not compatible without an adapter. Smart thermostats use much thinner, low-voltage wires to provide more reliable and consistent power.

For homes with complex HVAC systems that have zones, multi-stage, or various speeds, you can upgrade to a smart system, but you’ll need to have it professionally installed.

Hubitat Elevation Home Automation Hub

Outside of your HVAC system, you also have to think about your smart home hub. A hub allows you to control groups of compatible devices – all from a single location. Some Wi-Fi connected smart devices, like speakers and certain bulbs, don’t require a hub. If you only have a few devices, you may not even have a hub yet, but if you do, it makes life easier if all of your devices work from the same hub.

Lastly, most smart thermostats work on standard Wi-Fi networks, but some work on different wireless protocols, so you want to ensure the thermostat is compatible with your network type. Outside of standard Wi-Fi routers and hubs, other wireless systems and smart home hubs may include Zigbee and Z-Wave. Some thermostats may only work with HomeKit systems.

Features to Look For

Smart thermostats are designed to automate heating and cooling in your home: from easy changes via an app to automatic adjustments based on whether you’re home, asleep, or out. These systems keep getting smarter, making it simpler than ever to heat and cool while saving money on your energy bill. While choosing a model, consider which features you really care about:

Voice control: Most thermostats allow you to control them using voice commands. While some support Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, some only support one of those voice assistants (like a couple of Ecobee models). Ensure your thermostat is compatible with the voice assistant you prefer.

App support: Every smart thermostat has an app to control it. It’s very rare that you’d find one that doesn’t support both iOS and Android. However, if you want to control your thermostat via your smart home hub’s app, ensure that the thermostat is compatible with your smart hub system.

Learning: Controlling your system from your phone is nice, but it’s the learning features that really make your thermostat “smart.” Check to see whether the thermostat is able to learn your routines and schedules to adapt the temperature to your needs.

Sensors: Sensors enable thermostats’ learning capabilities. There are several different kinds of sensors, including:

Motion – detects when you’re moving around, going to bed or leaving the house.

Proximity – automatically lights up the screen when it detects when you’re approaching the thermostat.

Temperature – checks for hot and cold spots throughout your home for more even heating and cooling.

Occupancy – detects foot traffic in a room to prompt the thermostat to provide more comfortable heating and cooling in areas with more people and can help decrease energy usage in rooms that aren’t occupied.

Geofencing: save energy while you’re away by letting your thermostat raise or lower the temperature based on the location of your phone. When you get close to home, the thermostat automatically changes to a more comfortable temperature for you.

Filter change alerts: it’s easy to forget to change your filters regularly. You can get alerts to change your filters, making your HVAC system work safely and more efficiently.

Zone heating: set different preferences for individual rooms or zones without the need for multiple thermostats.

Save on Energy Costs

Outside of convenience, one of the top reasons people switch to smart thermostats is to save on energy costs. For instance, you could save around $100 a year just by having your thermostat automatically lower the temperature several degrees in the winter when you’re at work.

While you could save money with just about any smart thermostat, the most energy efficient ones are ENERGY STAR certified. It’s a U.S. government-backed certification designed to help people pick the most efficient appliances. Read on to find a list of certified smart thermostats.

In addition to the features listed in the previous section, ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats give you details about your energy usage, explain how your current settings affect energy usage, and give you the option to join “demand-response” programs from your local utility company. These programs allow your utility company to automatically raise or lower your home’s temperature during peak usage times to reduce overall energy consumption. Of course, this can also help lower your energy bills.

As a bonus, utility companies may offer rebates on ENERGY STAR certified products, helping you save even more.

Understanding Pricing

Prices for smart thermostats vary greatly. The most basic models, like Amazon’s Smart Thermostat, start at around $60, while more feature-rich models are upwards of $300. Obviously, this all depends on the brand and features you choose. Remember, even the simplest model makes it easier and more convenient to control your home’s heating and cooling.

Another price consideration is installation costs. If you have a standard HVAC system with compatible wiring, you may be able to install your thermostat yourself. If a professional installation is necessary, this will add to the overall cost.

Best Smart Thermostats

While there are many options on the market, use the following options to help you narrow your search to find the right smart thermostat for you.

Amazon Smart Thermostat – Cheapest Overall

As the most affordable option we could find at just $60, the Amazon Smart Thermostat offers simple controls and is compatible with Amazon Alexa. There are automatic controls to sense when you’re not around, and you can set up schedules to automate temperature adjustments throughout the day.

Google Nest Thermostat – Most Affordable Google Thermostat

If you prefer Google Assistant, the Google Nest Thermostat auto-adjusts based on whether you’re home or not. Plus, you’ll receive alerts if the thermostat suspects you’re having issues with your HVAC system. A touch bar on the side makes it easy to adjust the temperature from the thermostat. It’s not bad for just $100.

Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat – Most Versatile Voice Controls

If you want a system that’ll work even if you change voice assistants, the Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat ($130) is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. It has an easy-to-use display and detailed scheduling.

Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat – Perfect for Multiple Room Control

Thanks to sensors you place in various rooms, the Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat ($199) is the best option for multi-room control. It can automatically sense when someone’s in the room to adjust temperatures accordingly. You can set up zones or individual room preferences using the backlit touchscreen.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat – Best for Learning Your Routines

If you want a smart thermostat that learns and adjust temperatures automatically, look no further than the Google Nest Learning Thermostat ($190). Advanced auto scheduling learns based on your settings during the first week as well as with seasonal changes. It’s designed to be intuitively controlled and blend in with your decor. Lastly, it works well with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

ecobee Smart Thermostat – Best Overall

The ecobee Smart Thermostat ($195) offers a perfect mix of the features most people want. From pausing temperature control if a window or door’s left open to making automatic adjustments based on the room’s hot and cold spots, it’s ideal for managing your home’s heating and cooling. You can easily control the it via the touchscreen, an app, or your voice (Siri and Alexa support). You can also add more sensors for additional rooms whenever you would like.

Frequently Asked Questions Will I need to install sensors in every room?

If your thermostat supports multi-zone settings, you’ll need to have separate sensors for different spaces across your home. For smart thermostats that use separate sensors, the sensors have a set range. For areas outside of this range, you’ll need additional sensors. Also, some sensors only work in a single room. Check the documentation with your thermostat to determine how and where to place your sensors.

Does my thermostat need to be close to my router?

Ideally, yes. Like most Wi-Fi enabled devices, your thermostat needs a strong signal to work well. However, if you can’t place it near your router for a stronger signal, try one of these methods for boosting your Wi-Fi signal. You can also use a second router and turn it into an access point or repeater.

How can I find which thermostats are compatible with Apple HomeKit?

If you’re shopping around, it may seem difficult to find thermostats compatible with HomeKit. Since Google and Amazon were already the two major players, more devices are compatible with them versus Apple. However, you can find a full list of compatible smart home devices, including thermostats, on Apple’s website.

Image credit: Sean D via Unsplash

Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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Smart Harvest: Introducing A 13 Multi

Due to the rise of Cryptocurrency adoption, people are now starting to look at how they can make extra money while holding their crypto. Of course, who does not want to generate passive income with their crypto holding? And, this is where Smart Harvest comes into play. It is the best Dapp in the Polygon, Binance chain & Tron networks, etc. which gives a high return on any network deposits.

With DeFi becoming the hot topic in the crypto space, people are finding attractive investment opportunities promising hefty returns. From crypto mining to yield farming, there is immense scope for increasing one’s crypto assets.

Yield farming is being recognized as a great way of constantly generating income by depositing crypto assets in different network Smart Contracts. Smart Harvest is on a mission to become one of the most profitable yielding farms Dapps on Polygon, Binance chain & Tron networks by yield farming on Smart Harvest, investors have the potential of earning profits every single day.

Smart Harvest is a secure & profitable yield farming Dapp on Polygon, Binance chain & Tron networks, which provides a high ROI on BNB, MATIC, TRX deposits. The returns can be as high as 255%, which is quite impressive. There are almost no Dapp in the market which provides such high returns WITH MULTIPLE SMART CONTRACTS.

Stable and profitable yield farming Dapp on multi-chain smart contracts

It has a simple, low risk, and high return investment model suitable for all users. A user can deposit as low as 100 USD and get the profit out of it without locking it for a long time. A user can deposit 14 cryptocurrencies for as low as forty days and withdraw the reward daily without any restriction.

To earn money from Smart Harvest, one needs to first deposit the desired amount of BNB,MATIC,TRX, and lock for the selected time from 40-100 days. It is a straightforward process and barely takes any time.

Features

       

Legalities:

SMART HARVEST legally registered in Estonia and Hongkong.

       

High security

: While serving as a means for users to increase their returns, Smart Harvest also keeps their funds secure and protected. They have been

audited by Auditwhale

and no vulnerabilities, backdoors, or scam scripts were found in the

SMART HARVEST Smart Contracts

.

       

Customer assistance

: If the users have any kind of questions or queries, Team Smart Harvest is available on Telegram 24×7 Telegram to help out.

       

Rewarding returns

: With a promising 119% to 250% ROI, Smart Harvest is aiming to become one of the highest rewarding Dapps on BSC. It is important to note that the longer the deposit period, the bigger the reward.

The Staking Plans

Each staking plan on Smart Harvest consists of a certain number of days the user will stake their BNB, MATIC, TRX, XRP, LITECOIN, PANCAKE, DOGE, SAFEMOON, AVALANCHE, CARDANO, POLKADOT, BUSD, CAKE, BTCB along with corresponding rewards.

Deposit Bonus

Smart Harvest deposit bonus will give you a pile of bonus money that you can use to increase your investment returns.

      First Deposit: Get a 10% deposit reward on your first investment

      Second Deposit: Get a 15% deposit reward on your second investment

      Third Deposit: Get a 20% deposit reward on your third investment

      Fourth Deposit: Get a 25% deposit reward on your fourth investment

      Fifth Deposit: Get a 30% deposit reward on your fifth investment

Referral Bonus

Smart Harvest implements a 3 tiered referral system that pays an 11.5% commission. The users can invite their friends by sharing their referral links. This way, they can earn additional rewards.

      Level 1: Initial invitee deposit reward: 5%

      Level 2: User invited by Level  4%

      Level 3: User invited by Level  3%

Our Contact address link

BNB CONTRACT: 0xEf2A1A8Ee8F1Ef5D1698caa68Bfd06CedA834231

MATIC CONTRACT: 0xf1f14A0fFF6AaBD137d937bCB149379aB2607EDA

TRX CONTRACT: TNpiyM5pxyTcKnPkUZiD2JWnKBYaoRcLaE

USDT CONTRACT: TSKrAwzTUMXinfn3BiUznv6oS6q65tcC73

LITECOIN: 0xe271E64EA234ABECc95E9d011d8082B49622A35F

DOT CONTRACT: 0xc4CC436226026Ca46b33B33848D92458e0b213f2

CAKE CONTRACT: 0x75d80ec47330d078368a064033DC273792146034

BUSD CONTRACT: 0x455276b87D33ee6Eb406DEfC59C8A43735D5993E

ADA CONTRACT: 0x846F8650eCb1cBeB7297AfCAbD9C349a366b56F5

DOGE CONTRACT: 0x9AEB96521D7ebB57Cd6872Cdc943aB89DF983889

XRP CONTRACT: 0xEbEd408192A4237b1dC1126535b7f0f0A5Bc3e15

BTCB CONTRACT: 0x8f61FC690742d540864dfA6a48877aa5253E52cc

AVAX CONTRACT: 0x9742f633041c64b8542A18A4036DDe64660b3257

SAFEMOON CONTRACT : 0x1Ec7734c0Ea88A1bD449B30F7b165E0328Fb04cd

Gululu Revives That Tamagotchi Life In A Smart Water Bottle

Gululu revives that Tamagotchi life in a smart water bottle

There’s a virtual pet living inside the water bottle we’ve been using over the past week. Made for children, they say, and “playful adults”, Gululu contains your water and encourages you to drink said water. You’ll interact with a digital cartoon pet via two touch-sensitive strips on the bottle’s sides while the bottle reports how much water is being consumed to whichever smartphone or tablet it’s wirelessly attached to. This water bottle connects to the internet.

This water bottle connects with your smartphone using Wi-fi. The bottle becomes connected to your local Wi-fi network whenever it’s placed on your wireless charging dock – it then syncs and updates firmware (if need be). If the water bottle stays within range of your smartphone, updates on the amount of water your child is drinking will come immediately.

Thus far, our experience with this water bottle has been very positive. It’s encouraging for my child to see the Glululu pet floating in the bottle and the imagery reacting to water being imbibed.

Of course she quickly figured out how to game the system by pouring water in and out of the bottle, but that’s beside the point. She’s a winner and she’s going to win.

In addition to acting as positive reinforcement for your child drinking large amounts of water, this digital pet-in-a-bottle can connect your child to their friends – without the need of a smartphone. They’re tiny kids, they don’t need smartphones yet. Give them a digital animal pet in a bottle. Done deal.

If this bottle becomes so incredibly popular that your child and their friends all have one, they’ll be able to connect bottle-to-bottle. Though we were unable to test this feature as we’ve got just one bottle at the moment, kids will be able to shake their Glululu bottles near one another to become friends in the Glululu app – their friends’ Glululu pets will appear in their bottle, and they compare scores through the future.

This bottle is waterproof and is charged with a wireless charging base that’s included in the box. A full charge will take around 1.5-2 hours to achieve, and the bottle has lasted us between 3 and 4 days on one charge. That’s WITH using the bottle all day long – we’re still not sure how long it’ll last in standby mode.

Apps for this bottle are available for both Android and iOS.

One thing that could be improved – though we’re not entirely sure how – is the rubbery outer surface of the bottle. It’s very, very attracted to dust and hair. One other thing is a bit of an oddity: because one of the ways you can interact with Glululu’s digital pet is to shake the whole water bottle, my 5-year-old is prone to do so. It’s easy to forget to screw the cap of this bottle back on before shaking the bottle – wetness ensues.

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