If you’re looking for something a little more modern than potted plants and picture frames for a housewarming gift, here’s a list of gadgets that might appeal to today’s homeowner. Many of these gift ideas are designed for home security or home efficiency with a few entertainment-related choices for good measure. All are available from the manufacturer or through online retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy, and each would make a great housewarming or holiday gift for anyone, including you!
The Nest Learning Thermostat pays attention to how you adjust your temperature settings, and after about a week, it takes over for you. Once it learns which settings you prefer at various hours of the day, it adjusts itself according. An estimated 10-15% can be saved on heating and cooling costs by allowing Nest to tweak your thermostat settings automatically versus leaving it at one temperature all day. You can also manage it from your smart phone if, for instance, you’d like to warm up or cool down the house before returning home early from your holiday vacation. You can still get the Nest 2 for around $200, but it may be worthwhile to get the next generation Nest 3 for around $300.
The Echo is like a personal assistant for your home. Ask it just about anything and it will play music, tell you the news and sports scores, turn off you lights if integrated with tools from SmartThings, Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Insteon, and Wink, answer random questions, and even complete your shopping for you. It can hear you from anywhere in the house, and all you have to do is tell it what you need, or ask it a question. The Echo retails for about $180 through Amazon.
Roku streaming players are commonly used to stream movies and shows from services like Netflix and Hulu. You can also buy movies, stream content from hundreds of free, included channels, or rent TV shows. It’s useful for cable subscribers as well. If you have one digital cable box in the main TV viewing room in the house, you can hookup a Roku streamer in other rooms that don’t have cable to tap into your cable TV content. The Roku 2 ($70) is the most popular, Roku 3 ($100) adds voice control and gaming features, and Roku 4 ($130) is designed to maximize the advanced picture quality of 4K Ultra HD TVs.
Perfect for pool or patio, these wireless outdoor speakers provide everything you want in sound quality in an attractive design. Plug them in, or take advantage of the rechargeable feature to control and enjoy your music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet for up to 14 hours. The outdoor wireless speakers range from $180 – $120.
Most people do not live in a magical household where everyone likes the same TV shows and listens to the same music. Wireless headphones allow you to listen to your favorite shows or music without disturbing others who might be reading, working on the computer, or performing other activities nearby. And, because they’re wireless, you can grab a snack in the kitchen without missing a minute of your program. With the right set-up, wireless headphones can be used to increase the volume for those with hearing loss while maintaining a normal level for everyone else when the whole family is watching the same show. Sennheiser TV Headphones range in price from about $80 – $350.
Tired of squinting to see the time when your alarm goes off in the morning? The Sony projector clock lets you project the time onto a wall or ceiling. Wake up to five different nature sounds, radio or an alarm sound, and charge your devices through the USB port while you sleep. It includes typical alarm clock features like dual alarms, sleep timers, and gradual wake-up settings, and retails for around $80.
The SmartThings outlet is for anyone who has ever dashed home in a panic because they think they might have left the iron on or the curling iron plugged in. You can also program lights and small electronics to turn on and off according to a schedule – a great security feature when you’re traveling. The Samsung Smart Hub ($99) is required, and the SmartThings Outlet at $55 is just one of the components that work with the hub to build a smarter home.
Replace your standard doorbell with the Ring doorbell to receive instant alerts through your phone when anyone approaches your front door. The wide-angle, HD, night vision camera, and built-in motion sensor allow you to see and chat with visitors and delivery persons even when you’re not at home. Alerts are received via the free Ring™ app (iOS® and Android™) and allow you to judge whether it’s a good idea to open the door when you’re home, and provide instructions for visitors when you’re not. You can even record activity to watch later. The Ring doorbell retails for around $199.
The wireless Nest Camera produces high quality video at 1080p. It’s easy to set up in any indoors location and can also be used as an intercom with its built-in mic and speaker. With 24/7 streaming, and whole room night vision, you’ll always know what’s happening. When you can’t watch, set up alerts to notify you when motion or sound is detected. The camera retails for around $199 with optional monthly cloud service available.
Here’s another tool to attach to your Samsung Smart Hub. This sensor can be attached to windows or doors and send you an alert when they’re left open which makes it a great home efficiency tool while providing a measure of home security. Knowing when your patio door has been opened may alert you to a home invasion, or that your child has gone out to the pool area. The Multi-Purpose sensor retails for $39. Consider the SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit which includes the main Hub, 2 sensors, a motion sensor, and an Outlet for around $249.