The affordable Belkin WeMo Switch promises to add remote control and automation capabilities to anything with a plug coming out of it. That makes it a great entry point for home automation, but you can take things to the next level by pairing it with the Automatic smart driving assistant. Plug it into your vehicle’s data port, and you’ll be able to trigger your switches automatically whenever your car comes and goes, thanks to a little help from the free online automation service IFTTT. Want to know more? Here’s a handy video showing you how it’s done.
Of the current crop of plant sensors, we probably wouldn’t call the Parrot Flower Power our favorite -- but it does offer one key advantage that the competition lacks, and that’s IFTTT integration (sensing a pattern here?) Use a Parrot to monitor the light levels of your indoor garden, and you’ll be able to set up IFTTT to automatically turn on your Philips Hue lighting whenever things get too dim. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, consider the soon-to-be-released Philips Hue Lux LEDs, which offer all of the IFTTT-friendly smarts without the color-changing novelty factor.
The iDevices iGrill Mini is a Bluetooth-powered, app-enabled meat thermometer capable of keeping a close eye on whatever it is you’re serving up for your Labor Day barbecue. Add in the ultra-affordable Quirky Refuel, which lets you monitor your grill’s propane levels on your smart phone, and you’ll be the most connected grill master in the neighborhood.
iDevices Kitchen Thermometer and the Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker
For smarter cooking in the kitchen, you’ve got a growing number of options, both large and small. We say pass on spending thousands of dollars on a smart oven, and go instead with the one two punch of an iDevices Kitchen Thermometer and a Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker. Between the two of them, you’ll be able to monitor the cooking progress of an entire holiday feast right from your phone.
SimpliSafe won our Editor’s Choice distinction for its outstanding DIY security offerings, but the lack of cameras gives it a bit of a blind spot. Why not fix that by installing a camera of your own to help cover the bases? You’ve got plenty of options to choose from, but we’d recommend Dropcam Pro, which offers excellent image quality, two-way talk, and no service fee for basic live viewing.
Piper and the Yale Real Living Touchscreen Deadbolt
Piper is an attractive little all-in-one security gadget packed with smart sensors and a camera to help you keep tabs on the goings-on at home. One of its more subtle features, though, is the fact that it uses Z-Wave to act as a control device for third party gizmos. Since you’re already interested in security, why not pair it with the Z-Wave-ready Yale Real Living Touchscreen Deadbolt, or the less expensive but equally smart push button models?
Ever since Google spent $3.2 billion to acquire Nest earlier this year, the popular “learning thermostat” has worked hard to position itself squarely at the center of the smart home. That means playing nice with other smart home gadgets, like the LIFX color-changing smart bulb. Pair it with the Nest, and your bulbs will simulate occupancy whenever the thermostat detects you’re away. You can even set them to turn bright red whenever the Nest Protect smoke detector goes off.