The tech-lovers in your life are sure to want home automation solutions this holiday season. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank to put them under the tree. In fact, there are many reasonably priced smart devices on the market, and we’ve highlighted ten of the very best.
If you’re buying for someone you know will love home automation, you’ll want to put these ten budget-friendly products at the top of your gift-giving list.
The WeMo Insight Switch is a smart outlet that uses Wi-Fi technology. Easy to use yet powerful, it’s a great gift for home automation beginners. Simply insert WeMo into a power outlet, download the free app, and plug in lights or small appliances. Use a phone or tablet to turn connected devices on or off.
Through the app, the WeMo Insight Switch also tracks appliance use, energy consumption, and energy costs—and allows users to set schedules that may reduce their electricity bills. The WeMo Insight Switch also has an “Away Mode” that will turn lights on and off randomly when the user is away from home to make it appear that the house is occupied.
WeMo Insight Switch works with a wide range of smart products, and does not require a hub or subscription. This smart plug can be controlled with Alexa voice commands through the Amazon Echo or Dot, and is compatible with any smartphone or tablet running iOS8 and later or Android 4.1 and later.
If you’re looking for a cool home entertainment gift, the Blumoo HomeBase is a fantastic pick. The Blumoo hub transforms a smartphone into a remote that can control all of a home’s entertainment devices. In fact, the Blumoo Mobile app is preloaded with over 250,000 different devices and receives monthly updates.
What’s more, the Blumoo app’s buttons are fully customizable. Users can even build personalized activity buttons that combine functions from multiple home entertainment devices. The app comes complete with an interactive TV guide and can save favorite channels and set reminders for shows. To take care of all a user’s home entertainment needs, Blumoo also stream music to a stereo and is compatible with Apple Watch and Amazon Echo.
At a great price point and full of desirable features, the Echo Dot is a can’t-miss gift for both veteran and newbie home automation users. It’s a hands-free device that uses Alexa, a voice-activated service, to do all kinds of helpful things—from controlling smart home products to reading the news.
The Echo Dot also connects to speakers via Bluetooth and plays music from sources like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Pandora. It can be enabled to do even more tasks, like request Uber rides, track Fitbit fitness, and order takeout.
Echo Dot’s microphones learn to recognize its user’s voice, even in loud environments, with beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. The Echo Dot is available in black and white, and the free Alexa App can be downloaded on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers.
Smarter and sleeker than its predecessor, the 2nd generation Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm is the perfect gift for new homeowners or anyone on your list who wants to upgrade their safety devices. Once connected to Wi-Fi, Nest Protect sends an alert to the user’s phone or tablet if it detects smoke, fire, or CO, and it will state where the trouble is coming from. Its “silence” feature can also remotely turn off alarms with through a phone or tablet.
Nest Protect integrates with IFTTT, Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Cam. The device comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty and is compatible with phones and tablets running iOS8 and later, or Android 4.1 and later.
Simple to set up and easy to use, iDevices Socket is a great introduction to home automation. It’s a Wi-Fi enabled lightbulb adapter that screws in to a light fixture socket. Once in place, lightbulbs screw in to the iDevices Socket.
The iDevices Connected app controls the user’s lightbulbs though Apple or Android devices, and Siri or Alexa voice commands. Customers can turn lights on and off, and adjust their brightness if bulbs support dimming. iDevices Socket also has a built-in, customizable LED night light, and is compatible with standard, incandescent, LED, CFL, and halogen lightbulbs. This device is sold individually, and in packs of two and three.
The Wink Hub 2 is a budget-priced smart home hub that doesn’t sacrifice features for savings. It’s compatible with a long list of smart devices, including door locks, security cameras, smoke detectors, thermostats, and irrigation controllers.
Compared to the original Wink Hub, Wink Hub 2 boasts a much more stylish design. It also comes with more memory (512 MB compared to 64 MB) and the option to connect with an Ethernet cable.
There are no monthly fees associated with the Wink Hub 2, and a feature in the hardware helps ensure only legitimate Wink software can run on the hub. Wink Hub 2 works with iOS, Apple Watch, Android, Android Wear, Alexa, and IFTTT.
Unable to provide more weather information than can be found online
Eve Weather is a wireless personal weather station that tracks the temperature, humidity, and air pressure outside. This device connects to an iPhone or iPad with iOS9.1 and later using Bluetooth. Once paired, users can check weather data manually from the device or use Siri commands to get the information they want.
In addition to providing detailed graphs of the weather conditions by hour, day, month, or year, the app has an “At a Glance” feature that retrieves current information on any Apple HomeKit devices. Eve Weather uses long-lasting batteries, is wireless, and doesn’t require a hub.
Coupling home safety with convenience, Dorbell is a video doorbell that lets users see and talk to the person at the door without opening it. The device’s Smart Guard function even sends mobile alerts and photos whenever someone nears the door. Plus, DorBell is equipped with a wide camera lens and night vision that works up to sixteen feet from the device.
Other features include volume adjustment, a touch screen, and thirty-six unique doorbell sounds. When the DorBell is connected to a smart electronic lock, users can unlock their door remotely from their phone or tablet. DorBell works with iOS7 and later and Android 4.2 and later, and it is backed by a 100%-satisfaction guarantee.
No ability to take temperature anywhere but the ear
Made for babies, kids, and adults, the Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer is an especially useful gift for families. It takes an accurate temperature reading in just one second, records the date and time of the reading, and pairs this data with any accompanying symptoms. From there, it offers real-time guidance on next steps. Kinsa’s free app even tracks diagnoses, medications, and other health data in a time-stamped log for each member of the family.
The Kinsa Ear Thermometer connects to a smartphone through Bluetooth, but it works whether or not it’s paired with a phone. It’s compatible with Android 4.4 and later and iOS8 and later.
Only able to accommodate phones with a 5.7-inch screen or smaller
The smart-home enthusiast on your shopping list is sure to be impressed with BEDDI, an app-controlled intelligent alarm clock and speaker that comes jam-packed with features. BEDDI offers a white noise generator, multi-color mood lights, and a sunrise-simulating wake-up light that makes getting out of bed a whole lot easier. It also integrates with Spotify for those who prefer to wake up to music.
BEDDI can give traffic updates and weather forecasts, plus it comes with two USB charging ports—one traditional and one rapid-charge—and a phone holder slot. Adding to its usefulness, BEDDI can integrate with multiple smart home products, like WeMo and Nest. BEDDI is available in black or white and is compatible with iOS8 and later and Android 4.3 and later.
Our list of home automation products offers something for everyone—whether they want to dive headfirst into smart home tech or just get their feet wet. With $100 or less, which devices would you most likely buy?
*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend products. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen products.
Written by Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more