14 Cool Tech Gadgets That Turn Your Home into a Smart House
We’ve culled the new crop of high-tech gadgets that promise to change your life and we found some products that are truly innovative and offer real benefits. Plus, we’ve included a few gadgets that are just plain cool. Here’s the roundup.
Monitor Your Grill From Your Smartphone or Tablet
Just download the app for your Apple or Android phone. Then insert the probes into the chow and route the cables so they won’t be exposed to flames. Set the app for the desired temperature and activate the alarm. Then walk away. Monitor the progress on your phone from up to 150 ft. The iGrill2 app will let you know when you’ve reached the set temperature. Buy the iGrill2 and accessories from the manufacturer, online stores and discount stores.
Know how to tune up your grill before you fire up.
Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router
The Nighthawk router also uses six antennas and Beamforming software to locate and direct the signal toward each device. Together with a fast dual-core processor and a powerful amplifier, this Wi-Fi router gets you the strongest signal at almost every spot in your house.
Find out other ways to get faster internet for your wireless network.
Watch this video to learn more about our favorite home tech products:
Control Your Tools With Your Phone
Let’s say you’re installing metal vent using self-drilling screws. Just use the Milwaukee app to find the setting for the gauge and type of metal and the size of the screw. Then program the drill or impact driver using your phone’s Bluetooth. When you squeeze the trigger, the tool will start at a low rpm to prevent the tip from walking across the metal. The electronic torque monitoring senses when the screw bites in and boosts the speed to drive the screw in. Then it’ll slow down and cut off power when the screw reaches the programmed torque—all with a single trigger pull.
The ONE-KEY system also has an inventory management and tool reporting feature for pros to keep track of tools and monitor their workers’ productivity.
Find some handy apps for DIY work.
Answer or Open the Door From Any Phone with Viking Electronics
Install the C-250 controller between the landline demarcation box and your home phones or between your router and your VoIP box. Connect the controller to the Viking E-40-BN-EWP door box. Then program the controller to dial up to five family cell phone numbers. When a visitor presses the button, the controller rings your home phone with a double ring so you know it’s a visitor at the door and not a regular phone call. Answer the door and open the door from any home phone.
When you leave the house, simply program the controller to forward the door box calls to your cell phone. If you don’t have land or VoIP service, leave the controller in call forwarding mode and it’ll send all door box calls to a portable phone. The forwarded call will show up on your portable phone’s screen as your front door. Answer the call and enter a code to activate your door strike or Wi-Fi-enabled dead bolt. The Viking units are a bit pricey, but they’re commercial-grade products, so they’ll last much longer than cheaper consumer-grade versions.
TrickleStar Motion-Sensor Power Strip Trims Your Electric Bill
Here’s how it works. When you turn on the TV or computer, the power strip immediately powers up three switched receptacles for your accessories/peripherals. When you turn the TV or computer off, it shuts off the switched receptacles. And, if the TV or computer is on, but you leave the room for 30 minutes or longer, the motion sensor shuts off the switched receptacles. Come back and it powers them back up. The unit has one control receptacle, three switched receptacles and three always-on receptacles, along with built-in surge protection (1080 joules) for all outlets.
Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back
Affordable Inspection Cameras
The model shown (the General Tools iBorescope) is unique: Instead of having a small video screen mounted on the tool, it sends a wireless signal to your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. Visit the manufacturer’s site to learn more, purchase it or check out other models. To shop for other brands, search for ‘borescope’ or ‘inspection camera.’
Investigate how to home inspect.
Digital Fence Gauge
WaterCop: Automatic Water Shutoff
Find you water main and gas shut off when you move in to a first home or new home.
Reduce Cord Clutter with a PowerTap Grommet
Save 10 Percent on Your AC Bill with QwikSEER+ WattSaver
You can install the unit yourself if you can follow an electrical schematic and feel comfortable cutting a small hole in the sheet metal plenum to mount a sensor on the evaporator coil. Don’t want to do it yourself? An HVAC pro can do it in less than an hour. The QwikSEER+ WattSaver pays for itself in about two years, depending on your AC usage and the electric rates in your area. For more information, visit the manufacturer’s site.
LED Retrofit for Recessed Lighting: Halo RL560
The Halo RL560, for example, fits most existing 5-in. and 6-in. housings. Just screw the threaded adapter into the existing socket, connect the ground wire and snap in the module. The RL560 uses 10 watts and provides 600 lumens (65-watt equivalent). Estimated life is 50,000 hours. It’s rated for damp and wet locations and is dimmable. Find the module at home centers, lighting showrooms and online. It’s available in white or a satin nickel finish.