Family HandymanSWL: Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Hub
Retrofit Your Garage Door Opener for Smart Technology
You don’t have to run out and buy a whole new garage door opener if you want to be able to open your garage from your phone. Instead pick up the Chamberlain myQ.
You can add the Chamberlain myQ on to your existing garage door and most brands dating back to 1993. The hub is easy to install and connects to your Wi-Fi. Just download the myQ app to your phone and viola, you can always know if you left the garage door open. The app also allows you to open the door and will let you know if it opens and closes.
myQ works with Nest and can control your lighting if you’d like. Check out what other Wi-Fi garage door openers are out there.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The 100 Best Home Tech Products of 2018
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Pull Power, Light and Compressed Air From Your Ceiling
When auto mechanics need a trouble light, receptacle or compressed air, they just reach for the ceiling and pull down whatever hose or cord they need. Now you can too. The Chamberlain Garage Power Station mounts on your ceiling and has a 25-ft. multifunction pull-down/retractable “hose” to provide light, power and compressed air.
The base unit plugs into a nearby receptacle and houses an air compressor capable of putting out 100 psi (great for bike tires). Pop two MR16 halogen bulbs into the ceiling unit to get 100 watts of area lighting in addition to the LED work light on the retractable hose. Find the Garage Power Station at home centers and online.
Neato Botvac Vacuum
Tired of vacuum repair? The Botvac Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum from Neato lets you control the vacuum from wherever you are. Have last-minute company coming over for dinner? Start the robot vacuum before you leave work. And, it has two cleaning modes and includes an ultra-performance filter which makes it easy-to-clean.
Get this vacuum now.
Anova Sous Vide with Bluetooth
If it’s too cool outside to grill, try cooking in the Anova Sous Vide with Bluetooth. And this sous vide (a method of cooking food slowly in a vacuum-sealed pouch at a low temperature so as to retain most of the juice and aroma) precision cooking device will cook that roast or steak to the perfect temperature every time, and you can keep track of the cooking process via its Bluetooth system.
Find it on Amazon here.
BleepBleeps Sammy Screamer Motion Alarm
Finally something to determine who took the last cookie. No more false accusations flying around or flimsy evidence being served as fact, the offending party will be caught red-handed right at home. You can go ahead and figure out that punishment but BleepBleeps’ Sammy Screamer Motion Alarm (that might make a case for a such thing as too much alliteration) can prevent social disgrace. Take a look at some handy cookies for handy people.
Netatmo Healthy Home Coach
Netatmo’s smart indoor air quality monitor might just be what your house needs in order to determine what’s floating around in the air. It will show the best noise levels for sleeping or the right humidity levels for a child with asthma. If you feel like your air quality could improve, try these 12 natural ways to improve air quality.
Order it today.
Some say “Bose or bust” thanks to the brand’s incredible reputation in home audio. The Bose SoundTouch is a classic space-saving audio device. Along with dedicated remotes featuring assignable shortcut buttons, the SoundTouch supports Bluetooth streaming in addition to WiFi, allowing it to stream audio beyond built-in music sources like Sirius XM and Spotify. The entry-level SoundTouch 10 is a great deal, offering full, rich sound that fills the room. You can also choose from the SoundTouch 20 and 30. If you want a powerfully compact speaker to fill larger rooms, go with the 30! The new Bose Skill for Alexa also allows you to enjoy hands-free voice control of your SoundTouch using an Alexa-enabled device. You should also check out the Bose SoundLink Revolve+.
Luxe Bidet Neo 120
Even your tush needs a little luxury, which is why people are going crazy for this trending bidet toilet attachment. Rather than purchasing a bidet, you can save a lot of money with this small accessory. It’s a single nozzle, non-electric mechanical bidet attachment that uses fresh water for ultimate self-cleaning without the overuse of toilet paper. Here’s what you need to know about an actual bidet.
Order this for your home today.
OxyLED Motion Sensor Light
The nice thing about the OxyLED motion sensor light is that it only turns on when you need it and will only stay on for as long as you need it. It can be mounted just about anywhere and give light where you need it. It’s battery operated, which means it’s one less thing to have to worry about it being an energy vampire.
Neurio Home Energy Monitor
Take a peek at what’s zapping up all the juice at home with the Neurio Home Energy Monitor. It will provide a real time display of the energy consumption in your home and can help you reduce your energy costs. See what the most important things are to look at when trying to save on energy costs.
Smarter Electric iKettle
If tea time is one of the most important times of the day for you, the Smarter Electric iKettle might be the perfect addition to the kitchen. There’s a mode to set the kettle to boil when you wake up and for when you return home. You’ll feel like you’re living inside one of the royal residences when you have tea made on your command.
iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop
Maybe having the robots taking over isn’t such a bad thing if it means they can clean the floors like the iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop. The robotic mope will tackle dirt and stains like dried coffee and soda with a vibrating cleaning head. Pick up these 100 essential cleaning hacks to make the rest of the chores easier, too.
Garden indoors without having to worry about not having enough light with Gartenzwerg. It’s a self-contained garden that comes with grow lights, a temperature and humidity sensor, along with an app that monitors pH levels. Try these tips to get seeds started indoors ahead of planting season.
Tesla Solar Roof
Work continues on Tesla’s solar roof design but it’ll be a sleek way to incorporate solar panels into a home’s design without losing any aesthetic appeal. You might be able to reserve them at Home Depot, though it’s getting phased out.
Never leave your bed with this fix that will retrofit any device at home into a smart device. The MicroBot Push can attach to devices that are push buttons and the user can remotely deploy the MicroBot Push to press the button. It’s pretty great for coffee machines, garage doors, fans and intercoms.
Friday Lock from Friday Labs Is Advertised As the Smallest Smart Lock in the World
Friday Labs says its Friday Lock is the smallest smart door lock in the world. Friday is also one of the locks from smaller companies that offer the “unlock automatically and interaction-free” feature. And Friday lock is quick and easy to install and comes with several shell covers to match any home décor. Unlike any of the previous offerings, Friday also has a rechargeable battery, however, at $249 it’s one of the more expensive locks here.
Keen Home Smart Vent
Keen’s Home Smart Vent will work to coordinate the temperatures in each room of your house. It will redirect air between rooms to balance the temperature for smarter HVAC. See how an old house can save big money with an HVAC update.
Sense8 Home Security
Sense8 Home Security offers a robust security system that does not have a monthly service charge. It provides a 1080p HD camera with night vision, motion detection and a 95-decibel alarm and speaker. It even monitors the heat and humidity and will send an alert if detects an unusual change. If you’re away from home, you can still communicate with someone at home through video. You can also try these DIY home security tricks, too.
August Smart Lock Pro
The August Smart Door Lock Pro is a full-featured but discrete smart deadbolt. And means is that you only replace the portion of the deadbolt on the inside of the door and leave the existing keyway on the outside. You can then lock and unlock the deadbolt by twisting it from the inside, using the phone app, or vocally using Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri. And other home automation systems work like Nest, Airbnb and HomeAway. August also allows you to integrate it with a keypad and/or a doorbell camera for added convenience and security. The Smart Lock Pro also unlocks as you approach the door and locks again when you close the door after yourself. The small size of this product means that it requires the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge for the home automation connectivity.
VTOSEN Otoscope Camera
Haven’t you heard you’re not supposed to clean your ears with Q-Tips?! Now you can clean them the safe way with this intriguing otoscope camera. While people might think twice when they see this device in your bathroom, it’s the ultimate hygiene machine, allowing you to clean your ear wax or ear mite more completely and safely under this guidance, while checking on the health of your ear with the display appearing on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Speaking of ear safety, here’s how to make your own ear buds using little earplugs.
Find it on Amazon.
Digital Bottle Locking Cap
Ever wished it took a password to let people into your private stock? Whether you have an expensive bottle of wine you want kept sacred or you’d like to secure certain medicines from reaching your little one’s hands, this digital bottle locking cap will keep everyone away from your items. Using a digital lock, only the person with the combination can open it! You may also be interested in these DIY simple window locks to keep your home safe.
Order it today.
Woof Washer 360
Love to go on hikes with your pup, but hate the grime they come home with? Before you spend one more moment on your hands and knees, scrubbing them down between vigorous shakes, try this weirdly efficient tool. This trending dog washer gently cleans your canine’s coat in one clean sweep. If you love your pup, you may want to gift them one of these incredible dog houses.
Buy one for your pet now.
The Barisieur Alarm Clock
If you’re going to have to wake up by an alarm, it should at least be one that smells like freshly brewed coffee, right? You can set the Barisieur Alarm Clock to wake you up at a certain time by brewing you a fresh cup of coffee or tea. If mornings are tough for you, consider these essential kitchen gadgets to get you up on the right side of the bed.
Photo: Courtesy of Barisieur
Smartphone With Thermal Imaging
The CAT S60 Android smartphone (catphones.com) is far more rugged than a consumer-grade phone. It’s shatterproof up to a 6-ft. drop onto concrete, dust-proof, shockproof and waterproof down to 5 meters for up to an hour. This phone works in temps from minus 13 to 131 degrees F, and the touch screen has glove-on and wet-finger tracking ability, so it operates in any weather.
The CAT S60 has a 13-megapixel camera as well as an infrared (FLIR) camera. Use the FLIR camera throughout your house to measure surface temperatures and find air leaks and temperature differences behind walls, electrical problems and even beehives. The S60 works with AT&T and T-Mobile and affiliated GSM networks using a nano sim card. It comes with 32GB internal memory and accepts a microSD card for extended storage up to 128GB.
Weber iGrill 3
The Weber iGrill 3, which is compatible with the brand’s Genesis II and Genesis II LX gas grills, allows you to closely monitor your food so you get perfect results every time. The Bluetooth-enabled device supports up to four probes and sends information such as food temperature, cook time and even propane tank levels to your smartphone or tablet via the Weber iGrill app.
Photo: Via Weber
Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit
Get your home on the path to automation with the Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit.
Check out our Stuff We Love video on this product.
We had a problem with strangers disposing of their garbage in our dumpster here at work. On a few mornings, it was completely full of construction debris! We could either start locking the dumpster at night or keep paying the $80 early pickup fees. I bought a Master Lock Bluetooth padlock because I didn’t want to carry any more keys in my pockets or try to remember a combination.
The app on my phone lets me open the lock remotely (within Bluetooth range). I can also use the app to set combinations that my coworkers can use. If I give out individual codes, I can track who opened it and when—not that I don’t trust my coworkers. I can give out single-use codes as well. I bought the heavy-duty outdoor model No. 4401DLH online. — Josh Risberg
It was only a matter of time before someone brought the traditional doorbell into the 21st century. With the Ring Video Doorbell you can enhance your home security and just make your life easier in general. The Ring Doorbell connects to your home Wi-Fi network and takes HD video of the area directly outside of your door. You can then access the camera’s video feed through an app on your phone from anywhere in the world, whether you are in your backyard or in another country. The doorbell even has a two-way audio channel so you can have a full conversation with whoever is at your door. The Ring Doorbell can be set to send you a notification every time someone walks up to your house so you can check out any unwanted or surprise guests. In terms of design, the Ring Doorbell is not much bigger than other doorbells and comes in a variety of colors so that it works with any paint scheme. The Ring Video Doorbell is sold online and in stores starting at $179, with an upgraded “Pro” version available for $249.
Electrical Tools With Onboard Voltage Tester
Non-contact voltage testers are great for making sure the power is off before you start an electrical project. But the testers are easy to lose track of and misplace—which pocket is it in?
Tool manufacturer Gardner Bender solves the problem of lost testers by incorporating a tester right into the handles of its wire stripper and screwdriver—tools you’re bound to have on hand whenever you’re doing electrical work. Simply press the button and move the tool handle near the wires to test before touching. Or, slide the tester off the tool handle to use it as a freestanding unit.
Find the GST-70M Circuit Alert Voltage sensing stripper and SDT-10 screwdriver at home centers and online.
Smartphone Inspection Camera
This Distianert Endoscope Inspection Camera has a 13-ft. cable that lets you snake behind walls and peek inside appliances—even grab wires or retrieve nuts and bolts from tight quarters. Just download the app and plug the 2.0-megapixel inspection camera into any on-the-go (OTG) compatible Android smartphone or tablet or into a USB port on a Mac laptop. Move the camera into position and adjust the light intensity switch to get the proper illumination. Watch your screen to get the camera into the right spot. Then snap a still shot or shoot video.
For long runs, tape the cable to a stick to feed and aim the camera head. The unit comes with a cloth storage bag and three attachments: a 90-degree mirror, a hook and a magnetic tip. The video quality is good enough to get the job done; just don’t expect 1080 resolution for this price. You can find the camera for about $29 at amazon.com.
Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router
If you’re into wireless home video streaming or gaming, or home automation, you need a Wi-Fi router with the best range and fastest speed. Most Wi-Fi routers have a hard time delivering all the available bandwidth when multiple users are online. That’s because they deliver data to only one device at a time. So everyone’s speed is based on the speed of the oldest and slowest device in use at the time. The Netgear Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wireless Router solves that problem by adding an extra traffic lane. When the router sees a slowpoke device come online, it diverts the faster devices to the new traffic lane, so everybody gets the fastest possible speed.
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.
Control Your Tools With Your Phone
Milwaukee’s ONE-KEY line of tools is a new generation of ‘connected tools’ that can be programmed to suit the job.
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
You get packages and you don’t want them sitting on your doorstep. Or, you need to open the door for housecleaners and contractors when you’re not at home. Forget the spare keys. Forget the dead bolt codes. These two products from Viking Electronics allow you to answer the door, speak with the visitor from any phone anywhere, and even open the door remotely.
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
Your cable/satellite box, Blu-ray player, TV sound system and streaming devices all draw power 24/7, even when the TV is off. It’s the same with your computer and its attached printer, scanner and accessory speakers. The TrickleStar Motion Sensor PowerStrip shuts off those power-sucking devices when they’re not being used. It takes its cues from whatever device (TV or computer) is plugged into the ‘control’ receptacle, along with input from the attached motion sensor.
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
You may think this Crowley Jones EV1850 Eye-Vac Pro Electric Dustpan represents the ultimate in laziness. But if you have back issues, this smart vacuum/dustpan is for you. Just set the unit to automatic mode and sweep the debris toward it. The motion sensor detects when your broom is within range and starts up the vacuum. Aim the dirt pile toward the suction port and the vacuum will suck it up. If you have pets, they may activate the motion detector when they walk by. That’s why there’s a switched manual mode to activate the vacuum.
Digital Fence Gauge
This digital height gauge (Wixey WR25 Mini Digital Height Gauge) lets you set your table saw blade to a precise height. But we found another great use for it: It’s the perfect tool for setting the fence on your router table. Zero the meter and pull the gauge until the depth you want shows on the screen. Then lock the fence in place, precisely where you want it.
WaterCop: Automatic Water Shutoff
A little leak can lead to huge costs and headaches. That’s why there are water shutoff systems like the WaterCop control valve. Install it right after your main shutoff valve, then locate water sensors (sold separately) near the most likely leaks (water heater, toilets, dishwasher, etc.). If a sensor detects water, it wirelessly signals the valve to shut off. You can also install a temperature sensor that shuts off the water when indoor temperatures fall to 38 degrees F. That won’t prevent the pipes from bursting if they freeze, but it will prevent a flood. Visit the manufacturer’s site for more information.
Find you water main and gas shut off when you move in to a first home or new home.
Save 10 Percent on Your AC Bill with QwikSEER+ WattSaver
Most furnaces and heat pumps run the air-conditioning blower motor at a fixed speed regardless of the conditions inside your home. But the QwikSEER+ WattSaver add-on controller board makes your AC system more efficient by running the blower motor at the optimal speed to match the temperature and humidity levels in your home. It’s proven to save at least 10 percent on your annual AC bill.
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.
Conair Therma Luxe Towel Warmer
We’ve seen a towel warmer as a cheap bathroom upgrade with wow factor but here comes Conair with a really cool towel warmer. It takes 20 minutes to warm up, which you can make coincide with your morning routine, no problem.
Chromo H2OVibe Rain Shower with Wireless Speaker
Feel free to sing along with your favorite tune with this rain showerhead with wireless speaker from H20Vibe. The showerhead includes a rain-style showerhead and the little water holes surround a Bluetooth speaker. It can connect to your music source up to 33 ft. away. Turn your bathroom into a studio with these tips on how to make a small bathroom feel bigger.
Bonus: Reviewers not only liked the wireless capabilities, but said the showerhead offered strong water flow.
Bose 151 SE Environmental Speakers
Deck out your deck with these environmental speakers from Bose, featuring a full stereo sound over a wide listening area. The weather-resistant speakers have been tested to withstand snow, rain, salt and extreme temperatures, and can be mounted horizontally or vertically with included brackets/hardware. The small and sleek look keeps them out of sight, blending easily into your environment. Inside each speaker you’ll find 2-1/2-inch full-range drivers that promise full stereo sound across a much wider area than conventional outdoor speakers. Check out this tutorial on how to build speaker stands.
Buy it now on Amazon.
Samsung HW-K950 Soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Another soundbar that can’t be missed is this topnotch option from Samsung. The sleek design doesn’t sacrifice quality, thanks to the multiple built-in speakers (is 15 enough for you?!) that point up and out, allowing you to feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of a symphony, or beneath a rain storm. The Dolby Atmos-equipped device is designed to bring out even the most subtle sounds, and thanks to the side-firing speakers built in, you’re able to hear crisp audio no matter where you are in the room. What’s especially enticing about the soundbar is that it comes in a curved or straight design, which is ideal for ensuring the product fits with the design of your TV—making it true to the minimal look that doesn’t take away from the appearance of your living room. You can connect to powerful wireless subwoofers as well, making for the ultimate customizable home theater system. Built-in Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stream and play music wirelessly from your phone, laptop or other Blutetooth-enabled device. You can expect a system that offers nine channels (5.1.4), including the five standard surround channels, four “overhead” channels (via speakers designed to bounce sound off the ceiling) and a bass channel. If you love Samsung, you should check out their smart watch!
Buy this soundbar now.
Smartphone-friendly Garage Door Opener: Chamberlain MyQ-Garage
This Chamberlain MyQ-Garage includes a few very useful “bells and whistles.” It has a hefty 1-1/4-hp motor and a battery backup (so it’ll work even if the power is out). The door starts out slowly, picks up speed, and then slows down before reaching the top or bottom. That, in conjunction with the belt drive, makes it super quiet. And, with the included smartphone app, you can open and close your garage door (or check it you left the door open) from nearly anywhere.
Smarter Smart Bulbs: GE’s C Light Bulbs
The new line of LED lightbulbs from GE, simply called “C,” can be directly controlled with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth — no central hub necessary. There are two types of bulbs in the “C” line: The “C Life” is an all-purpose light perfect for the kitchen, living room or office. The “C Sleep” bulb has been designed to support the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which can help you sleep more soundly. It emits a traditional soft light for the day; a warm, calming light before bedtime; and a crisp, energizing light in the morning. Using an app, the lights can be dimmed and set to a timer as a group or individually. When run for three hours a day, the bulbs should last 20 years!
You can start thinking about replacing lights in your new workshop area with LED lights.
Robotic Lawn Mower: Automower
The Automower from Husqvarna works great. The guide wire that runs around the perimeter of your yard is held down with stakes, so no trenching was necessary, and programming is simple. The whole setup took less than 90 minutes. What makes this machine excel is the retractable, razor-like cutting blades. They’re just a fraction of the size of thick steel blades, which results in clean cuts, longer run-times and super-quiet operation.
More Than A Garage Door Opener: Ryobi GD200
This game-changing garage hub is called the Ryobi GD200. It has a powerful 2-hp motor under the hood, instead of a 1/2-hp like most other openers. It features a super-quiet, steel-reinforced belt drive rather than a noisy chain or screw drive. It also has an LED light, which should last as long as the opener itself. The light is activated by a motion detector and turns on whenever you enter the garage.
But what really sets this unit apart are the seven ports. Each port receives a module of your choosing, including a fan, a CO and temperature sensor, a Bluetooth speaker that broadcasts and receives music or phone calls from your smartphone, a retractable electrical cord, a battery backup, and even a laser system that tells you when your car is parked in exactly the right spot.
See Inside your Walls with the General iBorescope
Unless you have X-ray vision, it can be tough to figure out what’s inside a wall. That’s where a ‘borescope’ comes in handy. It’s basically a small camera on the end of a snake. You just fish it through a hole or tight space to view what’s inside on a video monitor.
Several companies make borescopes, but the General iBorescope line is a little different in that it lets you use the display on your smartphone or tablet as a wireless video monitor. The borescope acts as a Wi-Fi hot spot, letting you connect your mobile device to it without a Wi-Fi router or Internet access. A free app lets you snap photos and record video, and the camera is waterproof so you can safely use it in areas that may be wet. Before removing a all, you need to know what’s inside.
Prevent Port Damage to Your Smartphone or Laptop
My 3-year-old granddaughter thought the USB ports on my son’s laptop would be a great place to hide her hairclips. It was powered up at the time, and the clips shorted out the $800 main board (he had to remind himself how precious she is).
The service guy said port damage is common, and not just from little gremlins jamming hairclips in them. Dust, dirt and metal fragments can accumulate in the ports and cause damage when you jam the plug in. So my son sealed his smartphone and laptop ports with silicone anti-dust stoppers. It’s really cheap insurance against costly repairs. — Rick Muscoplat, Contributing Editor
Soil Testing Made Easy: General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter
For the aspiring gardener or a lawn enthusiast, check out the General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter. Stick it in the ground and you can measure soil pH, moisture content and temperature. Plus, it’ll tell you how much sunlight falls on any particular spot in the course of a day. The pH meter isn’t as reliable as having samples tested in a lab, but General claims an accuracy rate of within .5 percent, which is close enough for most plants and grass. Serious gardeners and turf lovers use that information to get the most out of their gardens and lawns. This little tool might add a bit more green to your thumb too.
World’s Coolest Hose Reel: RoboReel Water Hose Reel
It’s crazy-expensive, but if you’re a serious gardener, it’s crazy-cool, too. Frankly, there’s nothing like the RoboReel Water Hose Reel. Its looks may be otherworldly, but its function is totally down to earth.
Here are the neatest features. One hundred feet of high-quality 5/8-in. hose (or 150 ft. of 1/2-in. hose) retracts with the push of a button either on the top of the cover or on the remote. So, no cranking—a big onboard rechargeable battery does the heavy lifting. The remote switch snaps onto the end of the hose (it features quick-disconnects on all the accessories), and that allows you to turn the water off or on from wherever you are. Attach it to a handheld sprinkler for hand watering, or use it separately to control the lawn sprinkler. No more running back and forth to the spigot.
The water shuts off automatically after one hour, so you never have to worry about it running all night if you forget to shut it off. The RoboReel system has lots more features that are worth checking out if you think this awesome hose reel might be for you. Believe it?if you’re a hard-core gardener with money to spend on your passion, you’ll absolutely love this thing. Learn more, find a dealer and watch the videos at the manufacturer’s website.
Best Night-Light in History: SnapRays Guidelight
Event though SnapRays Guidelight is just a lowly night-light, it’s practically perfect in every way. Here’s why:
Everyone needs it: If the sun goes down where you live, you need a few night-lights, right?
Anyone can install it: It takes all of 60 seconds. Remove the single screw on the old cover plate, snap in the Guidelight and reinstall the screw. That’s it.
It’s inexpensive to operate: The three tiny LEDs come on only when it’s dark, thanks to the light sensor built into the cover.
It’s not an ugly plug-in. It looks exactly like an ordinary cover plate. The LEDs at the bottom light up the floor right where you need it.
The price is reasonable and they cost even less per light if you buy a bunch.
The Guidelight is powered by two little prongs that snap over the terminal screws on the receptacle. Brilliant! No batteries, no wiring, no nuthin! You have a choice of two outlet cover types in ivory, almond or white.
Power, Cubed: E-More Cube
Long power strips are a great invention, but some electrical plugs are such space hogs that you can’t use all the available outlets. And what about your phone, tablet and other USB devices?
The E-More Cube has four three-prong power outlets as well as two USB charging ports. The outlets are configured so there’s no competition for charging space. The Cube is power-surge protected and takes up less space than a strip on a workshop or countertop. Plus, it looks cool! You can get one for about $23 at many online retail sites—just search for “power cube.” — Marcia Roepke, Art Director
Surge Protection is Cheap Insurance
There’s a bunch of surge protectors to choose from at home centers these days, and they’re more affordable than ever. The six-outlet model shown here, made by Defiant, is available at The Home Depot. It’s so inexpensive, there’s no reason not to install them throughout the whole house. And don’t forget about your larger appliances. Today’s washers, dryers and refrigerators have electronic circuit boards that can be destroyed by surges.
Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
According to Samsung, the company’s new Family Hub Refrigerator lets you “find what you need, faster.” If your kitchen needs a makeover, this fridge will certainly make it smarter. It features a touchscreen system and apps that are easy-to-use, and has a camera feed to help you track contents. The refrigerator comes in three unique designs.
Faber Hood T-Light
A new vent hood can quickly transform a kitchen and the T-Light from Faber stands out with clean lines and bright LED light. With five models, smart appliances powerful Evo Motor guarantees better results in terms of energy efficiency and reduced noise.
Moen Magnetix Six-Function Handheld Showerhead
Moen’s Magnetix showerhead eliminates that annoying problem of trying to reattach the showerhead to the slidebar, or where ever the showerhead reattaches, by magnetizing the whole operation. Wrap your head around these 10 other showerheads that will make for a better experience.
Pantelligent Frying Pan
Want perfectly cooked burgers, fish fillets and steaks every time? The Pantelligent Frying Pan has a temperature sensor inside and connects to an app which will tell you when to flip the food, stir the ingredients or adjust the heat on your stove. And when you’re not cooking, just store it with the rest of your pots and pans.
June Intelligent Oven
Make cooking a breeze with the June Intelligent Oven. The countertop convention oven comes with a built-in camera that recognizes more than 20 foods and cooks them automatically. And the oven also boasts that it’s easy to clean.
Perfect Drink Pro
You’ll make the perfect drink every time with the Perfect Drink Pro. Great for your home bar, tell the Perfect Drink Pro via the app what you have in your liquor cabinet. Choose a recipe and this bar-top appliance will help you measure out just the right proportions for your drink. Then shake or stir.
Get organized in the kitchen with the GeniCan, which easily installs into your existing garbage can or recycle bin and allows you to add items to your grocery list automatically as you dispose of them. You’ll never forget to add items to your list again.
The HAPIfork is an electric fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you’re eating that grilled steak too fast. The information is then uploaded via USB or Bluetooth to your online dashboard on HAPI.com to track your progress.
Crock-Pot WeMo Enabled Smart Slow Cooker
Give your oven a break and control your dinner from anywhere with the WeMo Crock-Pot slow cooker. Just use your smart device and the WeMo App (free) to adjust or schedule cooking time and temperature. Dinner will be ready when you are!
Electrolux IQ Touch Electric Range
Those in search of that modern house feel will want to upgrade to the Electrolux IQ Touch Electric Range. The front control design, Flex-2-Fit heating elements and Perfect Taste Dual Convection will make cooking everything from the weeknight meal to holiday dinners easier. The easy-to-clean cooktop surface and seven cooking modes will help even the most novice chefs prepare marvelous meals.
Sonos Wireless Speaker System
Sonos wireless speakers allow you to stream music in any room with these speakers and works great with Amazon’s Alexa. The set is fairly simple: just plug it in, download the free app and connect it to your WiFi network. It makes entertaining easier and doesn’t require a bunch of wiring work in your ceiling.
If you like the challenge of a DIY project like installing audio in every room, learn how to do it.
Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades
Let Lutron handle the hassle of opening and closing shades with its remote-controlled shades. The insulated honeycomb model has a R rating for insulation of 4.3 whereas a typical double-pane window has an R-value of 2. The shades can be controlled anywhere through the Luton App and Smart Bridge.
It can even compensate for battery voltage like if one shade has new batteries and the shade next to it has older batteries they will still move at the same speed.
Nest has got it right with the second-generation model of its Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It integrates with Nest’s Learning Thermostat and Nest Cam. It will test for low batteries and communicate with other Nest devices in a home. It can tell you where the problem is and uses two wavelengths of light to look for both fast and slow burning fires.
Find out how to maintain smoke alarms in your home.
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
The Ecobee smart thermostat does everything but the dishes around the house it seems. It works well with Amazon’s Alexa and claims to save homeowners an average of 23 percent annually. It can tell when someone’s home and which rooms are occupied.
Find out if a Wi-Fi thermostat is right for you.
Get it on Amazon now.
Google Home Max
Google took high fidelity to the max with its Google Home Max sound system. The device uses Smart Sound to adjust to the acoustics of a room. Users get a library of 40 million songs to choose from through YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora and more. Users can stream music through it or plug it into a record player.
Wink Hub 2
The Wink Hub 2 offers more memory, Bluetooth support and better network support than the original. It improves connectivity between devices and supports Z-Wave products, Apple products and Alexa. It retails for $199.
Logitech Harmony Elite
Don’t get overburdened home tech items and check out Logitech’s Harmony Elite system. It includes a remote that can access all smart home devices to lower the blinds, dim lights, lock the doors and other functions. It works with Alexa, Lutron, Roku, Hue, Sonos, Apple TV, Nest and Sony, among others. It’s available for $299.99.
Netgear Arlo Pro 2
The Arlo Pro 2 captures 1080p HD quality video and has an option to keep nonstop recordings saved in the cloud. It also comes with a rechargeable battery, is weather resistant and has night vision. It will keep a rolling seven days of motion and sound-triggered recording for free. It is compatible with Alexa, IFTTT and Stringify.
ADT has teamed with Amazon Alexa to allow homeowners to voice control their home security. Owners can tell Alexa to tell ADT to turn off a lamp or close a garage door.
Abode Home Security Starter Kit
Abode has provided total home security in one kit. The starter kit includes sensors for the mini door/window, a remote KeyFob and a motion sensor. It will send alerts to a phone anytime a door gets opened, if so desired. The gateway, abode’s central hub that connects all of the devices in the home, has a built-in 93-decibel siren and doors automatically lock when you leave. Also, an added camera can allow homeowners to see what tripped an alarm. It also works with Nest’s Camera and Thermostat to provide total security.
Hisense 10,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner With Wi-Fi
The Hisense portable air conditioner will cool down rooms up to 300 square feet and can be done with a mobile app. It won’t make a ton of noise either when cooling down a room. It does come with a steep price tag of $369.
Philips Hue Bulbs
Philips has finally provided an answer to whether the lights were left on at home with its Hue Bulbs. The Hue app connects to the lights, which you can turn on and off remotely. The app also allows users to set schedules for lights.
Perfect Bake Pro
The Perfect Bake Pro comes equipped with Bluetooth, three color-coded bowls, an oven thermometer, stainless steel scale and a LCD display to make baking easy. Use the recipe app to find out what you can make with what’s in your pantry. Perfect Bake will scale recipes to what you have available like if a recipe calls for a square pan but all you have is a round pan, the app will do the math for you. Once you begin mixing the device will tell you when to stop pouring each ingredient.
Make sure you don’t have any kitchen mishaps.
Eufy RoboVac 11
The RoboVac 11 provides a quiet vacuum option for users. It does not have Wi-Fi but comes with a high-performance filter fit for finding pet hair. It can cover hard floors and thin carpet as well through the use of a remote or it will run automatically. It has a run time of 1 ½ hours on its batteries.
iRobot Roomba 690
The Roomba 690 has added connectivity with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to provide a more complete integration of smart devices in the home. It also comes with the iRobot HOME app so you can clean and schedule cleaning from your phone.
Try a lo-fi vacuum cleaner fix to reach the tough spots at home and see what you’re not doing to keep your carpet long-lasting.
Polaris 9650iQ Pool Cleaner Robot
Polaris Pool has launched a robotic pool cleaner that can be controlled from a phone. A regular cleaning schedule can be set and the iAquaLink Control app will allow users to monitor the status of the canister.
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 2
Simply having an automatic sprinkler system is fine but it isn’t as comprehensive and environmentally conscious as Rachio’s Smart Sprinkler Controller. Rachio’s device will automatically calculate watering cycles based on the specifics of a yard. It will even set up custom zones all in an effort to minimize water usage and decrease runoff.
Not worried about upgrading, find what to do when an automatic sprinkler system breaks.
Flow Air Quality Wearable device
Plume Labs has developed a device that reveals air quality in any space. Flow tracks four pollutants: particulate matter (PM2.5), which is fine dust and solid aerosol, PM10, nitrogen dioxide, which is emissions from diesel or power generation, and volatile organic compounds, which are chemicals found indoors or in the home.
Viio Bluetooth LED Mirrors
You can finally say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall …” without looking like a lunatic. Actually, the Viio Bluetooth LED Mirror can go in any room and all users to take phones calls while getting ready for the day or play music while showering.
The Kohler shower is connected through a DTV+ showering system, which can create presents for your shower routine. Enjoy listening to classical music while you wash off? That’s a preset! You can preset sounds, water, steam, and lighting for the best shower experience. Once everything is set, just let the system know when to “start my morning shower.”
Laundroid Laundry Folding Robot
No more folding laundry? Where do you sign up? The Laundroid will fold your laundry, for $16,000. Seven Dreamers, a tech company, created the Laundroid, which uses artificial intelligence to recognize a piece of clothing, folds it and has it ready for you to wear.
Make doing laundry fun for kids with a laundry chute and find out why putting jeans in the freezer isn’t that crazy.
Nanoleaf Square Color-Changing Light Panels
Nanoleaf introduced its light panels a little less than two years ago and they provide a level of creativity in interior design that hasn’t been seen before. The 12-sided panels can be arranged in any manner and emit any color so desired. It runs with Wi-Fi and is compatible smart devices like the Apple HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa. The lights can be automated to simulate a sunrise with just your voice.
Onelink Safe & Sound Smart Smoke Alarm
This smart smoke alarm from Onelink will send alerts to mobile devices and even pinpoint where the smoke is coming. The device also works with Alexa. It sells for $249.99. Stay safe by maintaining a smoke detector and learning safety tips for using alert devices.
GE Appliances Family Hub Kitchen Tablet
GE’s Family Hub Tablet isn’t so much a tablet as it is say, a 27-inch touchscreen, called a tablet. A 27-inch TV used to be considered a fairly big TV. GE’s tablet is supposed to be located above the stove and it will control as many devices as you want. It will also have a camera to allow for video chats. GE released plans for it at CES in Las Vegas though it hasn’t revealed any pricing.
Catolet Smart Automatic Litter Box
Catolet is the business of solving what to do with you cat’s business. Catolet has developed a device that connects to the water supply and sewage so a cat can go as they please without leaving a mess. The Catolet conveyor system removes the waste and cleans after itself. You might just have to see it for yourself.
Arable Mark Crop Sensor
Arable Labs has created a tool designed to collect data around a farm like air temperature to soil moisture. It can help calculate crop yields and crop health, along with providing consumers with information on how the food was produced.
Nomad USB Hub
Charge five devices all at once with this USB hub. It has four USB ports hidden underneath and the wireless charger sits on top for a versatile device.
See some other easy home tech additions.
Smartclean Vision.5 Eyewear Ultrasonic Cleaner
The ultrasonic cleaning power of Smartclean’s eyeglass cleaner is appealing because the device can travel anywhere. Just add a little water and let the cleaning power shine up those shades. It runs $78 and cleans in just a few minutes.
Scentee Machina Smart Room Diffuser
Now you can control the smell of your home through your phone, which isn’t really a bad thing. Instead of rushing to clean for house guests and letting loose a jet stream of air freshener, the Scentee Machina Smart Room Diffuser can release snippets of scent throughout the day. There are 14 fragrances to choose from and the technology uses artificial intelligence to analyze your favorite smell. The company plans its first release for sometime in late spring.
Drone Remote Starter
Wish you could start your car from your office on a cold day before you leave work? DroneMobile has you covered. The technology connects your car to your smartphone for a remote start. DroneMobile offers two devices, the DR-5400 module, which is $199.99 and the DR-3400, which is $159.99.
Autoslide Smart Tag Pet Door Kit
If you let your dog out through a sliding glass door, then the Autoslide Smart Tag Pet Door Kit is worth checking out. The kit works through RFID technology located inside of a Smart Pet Tag. As the dog approaches, the door opens. The sensor has a range of up to 10 feet. An app allows users to turn the sensor on and off. Convenience is expensive, this product retails for $890.
Satechi Type-C 75W Multiport Travel Charger
This multiport charger from Satechi will power up MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, a Nintendo Switch and a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 among other devices. The multiport allows users to keep wall plug-ins a little clearer. It runs $64.99. Find other cool tools like this at Lowe’s.
FoodCycler Eco Friendly Food Recycler
The FoodCycler Eco Friendly Food Recycler eliminates much of the hassle of composting. Food scraps can be placed into the device and turned into a nutrient rich soil additive. The whole process takes three hours and can be especially helpful for eco-conscious apartment dwellers or those who don’t have time to maintain a compost pile. It can reduce kitchen scraps up to 90 percent and doesn’t require any additives. The carbon filtration system eliminates any odor and agitators break down the food while it’s heated.
CHFUN Rechargeable Bike Tail Light
Bicyclists who use hand signals for their turns are great but those hand signals aren’t so visible at night. CHFUN has that problem solved with a rechargeable bike light that will signal a turn when a bicyclist leans one way or the other as they make a turn. It will hold a charge for around six hours.
Ring Beams Home Security Lights
Ring, a home security tech company, recently acquired LED light company Mr. Beams and announced the launch of several new security products that combine technology from both companies. One of the first collaborative efforts is Ring Beams Home Security Lights. The Mr. Beams lights will illuminate any motion they detect and work in conjunction with Ring’s security cameras and doorbells. An alert will be sent to any connected device when movement is detected so you can see from the camera what’s going on outside.
Methven Aio Modern Hi-Tech Design Bathroom Handheld Shower Handset
Discover one of the most unique showerheads available with the Methven Aio showerhead. Its halo design generates up to 25 percent more spray force than traditional showerheads. The water flows at 2.3 GPM and it’s limescale resistant. Perfect for avoiding any nasty showerhead cleaning. Not your style? Check out some other amazing showerheads.
Buy it on Amazon today.
Innovation knows no bound and the ZeNa Attachment shores up a mild inconvenience in the bathroom — the toilet roll holder. The last thing you need is that thing rolling around on the bathroom floor. ZeNa erases the issue with it’s toilet paper roll holder. While you’re seeking innovation in the bathroom, try some inspiration, too, with these 13 unique toilet paper and bathroom reading material storage hacks.
Photo: Via ZeNa Attachment
SpinX Self-Cleaning Toilet
Cleaning the toilet is always one of those despised chores but it might not have to be that way anymore with SpinX’s self-cleaning toilet. Not only with a robotic arm drop down into the bowl and clean it at the push of a button, the SpinX will also clean the toilet seat. SpinX has an anticipated delivery date of September. While you wait, check out how to make a toilet cleaning bomb.
Photo: Via SpinX
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