Today’s technology is so astounding I sometimes suspect our homes may be smarter than we are. But, hey, if a gadget can help me save money and take a few chores off my plate, that’s fine by me. Working moms definitely deserve a break, so take advantage of the dizzying array of smart home devices designed to make your life easier. Here are some of our favorites:
Amazon Echo Dot, with Alexa
If you’re just diving into the wide world of smart home products, the Echo Dot is the perfect place to start. This nifty little device from Amazon uses the company’s Alexa technology to perform a jaw-dropping number of tasks—you can ask it to play music, make calls, answer questions, set timers and alarms. It also controls other smart home devices, like lights and thermostats ($50).
Amazon Echo Show, with Alexa
Part of the Echo family just like the Dot, this device can perform all the same functions plus one more: It has visuals. That means you can watch videos and security camera footage, as well as see photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists ($230).
Ring Wi-Fi Enabled Video Doorbell, with Alexa
See who’s on your front porch—from anywhere—with the Ring doorbell, which lets you watch footage of your door and communicate with guests from your phone, tablet or PC. The device even sends alerts once it detects motion or someone rings the doorbell, and its HD video with infrared night vision means you’ll have a good view no matter the time ($99).
August Smart Lock Pro + Connect, with Alexa
If you thought it was cool to see your guests at the front door on your phone or computer, then the August Smart Lock will blow your mind because you can actually let them in—from anywhere. It’s the perfect device if you’ve got a sitter, housekeeper, regular delivery person or latchkey kid and you’d like to monitor and control access to your home without handing out a dozen spare keys ($230).
SimpliSafe Home Security System, The Knox
You probably want a home security system but would rather not fork over big bucks for professionally installed one like ADT. Check out one of today’s DIY smart home security systems, like SimpliSafe. Most homes will get plenty of protection from the brand’s mid-priced package, The Knox, which includes one base station, one keypad, one key fob, six entry sensors, two motion sensors, one siren and one smoke detector. Basic monitoring is $15/month, but for an additional $10/month, you can arm and disarm the system via app ($380).
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat, with Alexa
Welcome to the world of voice-controlled comfort. Is it getting chilly in here? Tell Alexa to turn up the heat. Forgot to turn off the AC before you left for vacation? Just do it via app. Compatible with most HVAC systems, this thermostat also uses technology to learn your HVAC system and save you up to 23 percent on your heating and cooling bills ($228).
Ecovacs Deebot N79S, with Alexa
We’re guessing you don’t have time to vacuum, so splurge on a robotic one that will get the job done right. We recommend the Ecovacs Deebot N79S, which PCMag says “is relatively affordable, and offers more for the price than any other vacuum we’ve tested.” That includes a smart app and voice controls, so you can customize, schedule, direct and monitor cleaning—from the comfort of your office chair ($230).
iRobot Braava jet 240 Robot Mop
After you’ve let your robotic vacuum take one chore off your plate, may we suggest another? According to Popular Science, the iRobot Braava Jet 240 can mop a 200-square-foot room in one session. The mag calls it a “relatively inexpensive Swiffer replacement that should significantly prolong the time between the inevitable deep cleanings all hard floors require.” Sounds good to us ($170).
Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit (2 Count), with Alexa
Want to schedule your lights to come on before you arrive home? Want to dim them to a romantic glow with a simple voice command? Or to make them turn on at random while you’re away? These can do it all ($160).
Philips Hue White A19 2-Pack 60W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb, with Alexa
If you’d like the ability to control the lights in one room of your house (say, your teenage son’s bedroom, because he never remembers to turn them off), then it might be a better idea to invest in just a couple smart bulbs, versus a whole system ($30).