You’ve hemmed and hawed for years (yep, it’s been that long) about jumping on the “smart” bandwagon when it comes to upgrading your home. You’ve debated whether making your home safer or more energy efficient is worth shelling out the cash for a new device or two. But here’s the good great news: Now is actually the easiest and cheapest time to make the digital switch, thanks to two companies who already have stellar reputations in the market offering less expensive versions of their top-rated products. Here, two pieces of brand-new smart technology worth investing in ASAP.
Nest Thermostat E
For the first time since 2011, Nest is introducing the Nest Thermostat E, a new smart thermostat that comes with a sleek new design and is about $70 cheaper than the original Nest Thermostat, too. But that’s not all: It also includes almost all the same features as it’s higher-priced sibling—everything from Internet connectivity that allows you to control the temp via an app to the ability to alert you when there’s a problem with your furnace, filters and more.
As for the design, the goal of the new look is to allow you to set it and forget it—something that’s easy to do now that the bright digital thermostat display is hidden behind a layer of frosted glass. This means you can still cash in on the energy savings (which Nest claims are as much as 12 to 15 percent annually) with a device that blends into the background more without the full-color display and time and temperature reminders.
The only caveat: The Nest Thermostat E is only compatible with 85 percent of homes as compared to the regular Nest Thermostat, which works with 95 percent of homes. Still, the chances are good that it will work for you and your home.
August Smart Lock
If you’ve been using a Hide-a-Key for years to grant guests access to your home, it might be time to consider a new (and much more secure) system, not to mention one you can operate using your smartphone. The August Smart Lock is designed to work with your existing single-cylinder deadbolt, which means you can install it in just about 15 minutes on the inside of your door.
The coolest part is that you can still use your existing lock and key to open the door, but you can also tap into the smart technology to utilize the auto-unlock feature, which you control using your smartphone. You can also create virtual keys for guests and keep track of who comes and goes, thanks to a 24/7 activity feed. But here’s the kicker: The new August Smart Lock even includes DoorSense technology that can alert you if your door is left open or closed.
The August Smart Lock is nearly half the cost of the August Smart Lock Pro + Connect bundle. When you spend the extra bucks, you get a cool cylindrical design (above left), the ability to control the lock from outside the home and beyond (the less expensive lock connects when you’re near the lock) and the ability to use voice control it with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. If you opt for the less expensive lock, however, you still get all the same safety features and technology that this highly rated lock is known for, in an attractive design you won’t mind adding to your home’s decor (above right).
I say setting of on the smart home journey is a no-brainer at this point.
Do you have questions about smart home stuff? Ready to take the plunge? Leave them for me in the comments!