By Kelly Schwarze
New superhero movies are being released at lightning speeds, and when we’re sitting in the theater watching these films, it’s the gadgets and gizmos in the heroes’ high-tech houses that leave us drooling at the screen more than powers like telepathy or superhuman strength. Fortunately, we’ve got some great news for you: You don’t have to be a billionaire entrepreneur with a secret hobby of saving the world to achieve a house filled with cutting-edge technologies! These days, if you have a smartphone or computer at home, you can bring your house into the world of smart automation without spending a fortune. Here, we outline five smart gadgets that won’t require a blockbuster-sized budget to add to your home.
1. Security Camera
With so many companies wanting to offer customers a piece of the future, it’s not too difficult to find all sorts of Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets that won’t require months of saving and scrimping. Always dreamed of having a home security system? For as little as $80, you can find cameras that work on your home’s wireless system and can be operated through a computer, smartphone or tablet. Look for cameras with a night vision mode so that you’re tuned in to your home’s happenings whether or not the lights are on.
2. High Tech Lighting
While a billionaire superhero might go all out with a lighting system so advanced it practically reads minds, the average person can add smarts to their home by adding a few connected LED bulbs throughout the house. Though sometimes Wi-Fi-connected bulbs can quickly add up in cost, there are bulbs that cost as little as $15 each. Like pricier alternatives, these bulbs can be controlled via an app so that the house is illuminated before you even step in the door at night.
3. Smart TV
If your eyes get big at the words “home entertainment system,” we don’t blame you. Traditionally, replicating something close to a movie theater experience within the comfort of your living room and couch doesn’t come cheap. However, many TVs these days offer smart streaming capabilities. The TV connects to the internet, allowing you to log in to your favorite video streaming services or watch YouTube videos so you never run out of entertainment. Because these features are now so ubiquitous among televisions, the price of a smart TV has plummeted far below $400—good for you and your checking account!
4. Wireless Speakers
When relaxing with music at home, put the cords away and opt for Bluetooth technology, of one of the most prevalent forms of smart home automation. Bluetooth speakers, which can connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices across short distances, are affordable options for home entertainment. Ultra-portable speakers can be purchased for as little as $15, though sound quality will generally increase as the price goes up.
5. Wi-Fi Thermostat
Take smart control of the one part of your home life that can make or break your overall sense of comfort: the thermostat. Sure, it’s not the coolest gadget to talk about, but it is worth mentioning. In years past, figuring out the perfect heating levels in winter and cooling levels in summer was a surprisingly difficult task. Now, Wi-Fi-powered thermostats give people the ability to not only control their home’s temperature from an app or website, but also to control the amount of energy used in their homes. Many of these smartphone-powered thermostats cost under $150, and the savings in your utility bill will pay for it within the year.
What smart home gadgets have you found to be surprisingly affordable? Share your favorite life-changing products in the comments!
Kelly Schwarze provides great technology advice. She writes on smart home products with the most bang for your buck and saving money on your energy bills by switching out your old devices for home automation. Visit The Home Depot to find a wide selection of smart home systems.