Make It A Smart Home For The Holidays

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We all like to think of ourselves as smart shoppers, but this holiday season the idea of smart shopping takes on a whole new meaning with the abundance of smart home products now available.

From a simple smart light switch to whole house automation systems, the array of smart home products on the market today can be overwhelming. But fear not! We’re here to help you cut through the technobabble and find the right smart home products for everyone on your list. Here are the products we think are the top 10 smart home products you can buy right now.

1. Samsung SmartThings Hub – For anybody with a wide variety of smart home gadgets (or plans to acquire them), the Samsung SmartThings Hub is an ideal way to integrate and control them all. It’s simple and intuitive to use, handles a broad range of devices, and allows you to control them from a single SmartThings app. What’s more, it has built-in battery back up so your smart home retains its smarts even if the power goes out!

2. Wink Hub 2 – Another great widely supported option for controlling a diverse collection of smart products is the Wink Hub 2. It connects wirelessly to your home’s router for placement flexibility and less cable clutter. It offers control over products in every smart home category through an easy-to-use smartphone app.

3. Yale Assure Lock SL – The newest member of our Assure series of locks is a touchscreen, key free design with a sleek, contemporary look that when purchased with a Yale Network Module integrates easily into a smart home system so you can control and monitor the lock from anywhere. Control it with your voice via Amazon Alexa and a SmartThings or Wink hub, or via Siri if you choose the iM1 Network Module!

4. Amazon Echo and Echo Plus – The Amazon Echo family keeps growing, but at their most basic, each is a Bluetooth speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant that will play music, read the news, find a restaurant and so much more, including order items through Amazon.com, of course. With the original Echo, Alexa works directly with a number of smart home devices. Add a hub, like those from SmartThings or Wink, and the roster of smart home products you can control with your voice via Alexa expands significantly. Or, opt for the recently introduced Echo Plus, which has a built-in smart home hub for simple, direct setup of compatible devices, including our own series of Assure smart locks!

5. Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat – The Ecobee4 relies on room sensors to monitor the temperature in your home, with the option to connect multiple sensors for optimum results. Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, it can be operated via a mobile app, web app or the touchscreen. It’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings and IFTTT (If This, Then That), a widely used platform for pairing smart devices. Better yet, the Ecobee4 is an Alexa speaker! So in addition to functioning as a thermostat, it can be used the same way as a freestanding Amazon Echo.

6. Nest Secure Starter Pack – Nest Secure is a DIY home security system that’s easy to set up and offers some truly innovative features. These include the system’s Tag fobs that make arming and disarming effortless, and individual door and window sensors that can be temporarily disarmed. And the Nest app allows you to always know what’s happening at home. Forget to set the alarm when you went out? No problem – you’ll get a reminder alert and can arm the system from your phone. The Starter Pack includes one Nest Guard hub, two Tag key fobs and two Detect door/window/motion sensors.

7. Philips Hue White Starter Kit – What makes the Philips Hue line of smart lighting such a great choice is that it works with just about every other smart home system available. Starter kits offer the option of two or four bulbs plus the Philips Hue Bridge, and allow you to control your lights from your smartphone, set timers, dim the lights, and even control them with your voice via Alexa, Apple HomeKit or Google Home.

8. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector – The newest version of Nest Protect tests itself automatically to ensure that the batteries are always good and its speaker and horn are functioning properly. If it’s just burning toast that’s triggered the alarm, it can be silenced from your smartphone, so no more dragging out the stepladder. In addition, when one Protect goes off they all go off and a voice feature tells you which room has smoke. And a nice additional feature is a nightlight that illuminates when you walk under it in the dark.

9. Apple TV 4th Gen – For the Apple enthusiast on your list nothing beats an Apple TV 4th Generation, which in addition to the entertainment options it offers, also provides control over HomeKit enabled products from anywhere via the Apple Home app. Control lighting, heating and cooling, security and more, including the Yale Assure Lock SL no matter where you are!

10. iHome Control Smart Plug – Probably the easiest way to make most any device in your home smart is to plug it into one of iHome Control’s Smart Plugs. These are Wi-Fi-enabled wall plugs, so no hub is required! Control home electronics, including lights, fans, heaters, music systems and more, all via the iHome Control app. Works with HomeKit, Alexa, Wink, Nest, and Google Assistant.

Now that you’re all set with what to buy others, what about something smart for yourself? Perhaps the smartest move you could make to help ease the stress of the holiday season is to treat yourself to Amazon Key, the new service for Amazon Prime members that enables in-home delivery and secure home access for guests. That way you’ll never miss delivery of gifts ordered from Amazon, and you can grant access to your home to holiday house guests even if you’re not home to let them in!

Happy holidays from all of us at Yale!