If you're looking for some cool gifts this holiday, you've come to the right place! We have compiled a list of today's popular technology gifts for the home. Get some of these as gifts for others or buy them for your own home.
For Your Entryway
I posted an article this year about home security (the link to the post, with a video, is below this article). Home security systems are becoming commonplace, but not everyone has jumped on the trend. For those that are still on the fence, you might want to get them the gift of security.
Did you know that the inventor of Ring video doorbells was turned down on Shark Tank? They are kicking themselves now!
The Ring Smart Light System offers accessories that work in conjunction with the popular Ring Doorbell to enhance exterior lighting, which is an important aspect to deter potential thieves from choosing your place to attack. The system includes motion sensors, step lights, plus spotlights & path lights that can be activated using Alexa. You can choose to receive notifications and can even view live video.
A starter kit is on Amazon priced at $69.99, and there are many options for single lights, including pathway lights and floodlights.
We'll be moving soon and we will be installing some of these security items in our new home. The first thing will be a video doorbell. I love watching the videos of would-be thieves running away when a homeowner tells them to stop via the doorbell speaker. Sometimes I think I'd rather call 911 & let the police catch them in the act, but they can really cause damage to your entry doors, and if I was inside I'm not sure I'd want to wait for the cops to get there.
The Ring Video Doorbell was introduced in 2013, and now they're not the only sellers of these security-minded doorbells. The Nest Hello Video Doorbell has some unique features such as facial recognition, package detection, and pre-recorded quick responses. Retails for $229. You can purchase The Nest Video Doorbell from multiple online and brick and mortar stores. Once you go shopping, either in stores or online, you'll see a selection of different brands for these video doorbells.
Until working on this post, I wasn't aware of smart locks. When I first did some research, I wasn't sure if they were all that secure, but as I read more about them, I think it's something I would consider.
Check out the August Smart Lock Pro+ Connect. What was interesting to me is that it pairs with an existing deadbolt, so it sounds like it’s somewhat easy to install. What I love about the idea of the Smart Lock Pro is that it allows a homeowner/resident to use an app on their phone to lock or unlock the door remotely.
You can even set it up for others for either a one-time visit or repeat entries. This reminds me of the Sentrilock system we use in real estate, but those are only to access keys to the existing lock(s). Another use is for those of us wondering if we remembered to lock our door after leaving the house - you can do this remotely! Retails for $279.
Living Room Gadgets
I love technology, but I'm not sure the following would be something I'd want to shell out money for, but you or your family and friends might feel differently!
I used to have a lot of plants throughout my house, but it seems like I lost my green thumb. Maybe if I had the Dewplanter I could introduce plants again and keep them thriving.
These are real gadgets and I'm not sure I'd want a bunch of these in the house. At first, I thought they worked with multiple plants in a specific area, but I think they're a planter and will only work for the plants that are planted in the receptacle. The nicest thing is that for every Dewplanter purchased, the company will plant a tree! Retails for $69.50.
My brother and his wife are art aficionados. She has a studio where she creates her oil paintings. She also travels the world for lessons and to attend galleries and art museums. I have been introduced to fine art through them, although I prefer more eclectic art (which you could use with the following gadget).
The Meural Canvas, which kind of reminds me of the rotating photo frames that we've had access to for years, offers access to artwork from around the world to display digitally in your own home. Personal art work and photographs can also be showcased. Unlike the constantly refreshing photos from those digital photo frames, I believe you can keep one photo showing at all times and use hand gestures to change the pictures. Amazon sells this (19.2 x 1.6 x 29.5 in) for $445.00 but you also need to purchase an annual subscription for an additional $69.95.
I've always been intrigued by motorized house shades, but they were expensive! Although I couldn't find prices on their page, Motorized Shades from Somfy are supposedly more affordable. You have to contact a local dealer to get pricing.
You can use an app on your smartphone or tablet to control the shades remotely and can even use voice commands! This could potentially save money, especially in areas with extreme temps, like Arizona or Florida, for example, to quickly close those shades when the sun is streaming through the house. This could help save time and money. This might be more of a gift to yourself though.
I am a kitchen gadget junkie. I'm running out of counter space and my drawers are full! But I'm looking longingly at air fryers and:
The New Pressure Cookers
I still have one or two of the old fashioned pressure cookers from the old days. I think they have aluminum bodies and that whistle/steam thingy on the top that I was always kind of afraid of. And every time I used them, I thought the food had a weird taste to it. Based on those kinds of pressure cookers, I preferred using a slow cooker. However, those require advanced notice and one of the major benefits of a pressure cooker is last-minute cooking.
We've all heard of the Instant Pot (which I always thought was the Insta Pot). It's become a household word and we even call competitor products by the same name. It's the Kleenex of the new electronic pressure cookers, and the Instant Pot Duo is a pressure cooker, sauté pan, steamer, slow cooker, rice cooker, food warmer, and yogurt maker all-in-one. There is even one (or a competitor) that you can bake a cake in! Retails for $99.95.
Do You Dream of a Cocktail Machine?
This seems like a gift for the person that has everything - everything except a cocktail machine. Oprah had the Bartesian Premium Cocktail Machine as one of her "Favorite Things” for 2019. Who knew?
As it sounds, it is a machine (that kind of takes up the same amount of space as a coffee maker), that makes cocktail creating easy. Really? I would only think it would be easy if you're making a whole bunch of the same drinks. I rarely go to a party where everyone is drinking the same thing. To make different drinks, you have to change the "drink canisters." Sounds like more work to me.
I remember working as a waitress many years ago. The owner purchased a machine for the bartender to make cocktails with. This machine dispersed a precise shot glass amount of different alcohols and the bartender finished up the individual drinks. Patrons were complaining that it didn't seem like there was any alcohol in the drinks. Of course, the restaurant owner purchased this because of the salesman's promise that the liquor would last longer without a heavy-handed bartender pouring the booze. The customers didn't agree! Would you pay $349.00 for this?
Are you Smarter Than a Smart Refrigerator?
I have seen some digitized refrigerators over the years and although I think they're cool, I've never been tempted to pay so much for them. The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator can help busy families stay organized by featuring built-in cameras that allow owners to spy on their fridge no matter where they are (I guess they watched the talking food on Pee Wee's Playhouse).
The Family Board lets you have a digital messy fridge front with digitized photos and notes via a touchscreen. You can even stream Spotify or other apps and use it as a hub to control other smart home features. Someone has to figure out how to get the aforementioned Meural Canvas app to appear on the Family Board! The base model starts at a price of $3,099 and there are multiple styles to choose from.
Here are some gadgets for the bedroom for all ages. By the way, I was never able to find my sleep number...
Baby Sleep Soother
As a grandparent with the youngest grandchild at age 12, we didn't have the baby tech when my kids were tots as we do now. I'm a light sleeper so I never needed a baby monitor.
But maybe the Bubzi Co Soothing Owl would have helped me when I was younger with my little ones when they weren't sleeping well and keeping me up. This cute stuffed animal soothes babies with a selection of sounds and lights. For every purchase, Bubzi Co makes a donation to Postpartum Support International. Retails for $30.95.
Sunrise Alarm Clock
Alarm clocks - are they a love/hate relationship or mostly hate? The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light works in conjunction with the Sleepmapper app to help change your sleep patterns for the best so you can get to sleep and wake up refreshed.
There is so much tech in this alarm and app that I could write an entire page about it to explain everything. Check it out if you're prepared to spend $199.95 for an alarm/sleep system. It might be worth the investment if you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and/or getting up in the morning.
I actually have one of these for our 2nd home in Arizona. One time when we arrived in the winter it was getting pretty cold at night. When we arrived we had to use the fireplace (which I always thought was silly for Arizona until that trip) to warm us up. It took a day or two to actually warm the whole place up and we had to pile on the blankets.
At the time, the Nest Thermostat was the most popular provider of digital thermostats that were controlled by an app. We got a great deal (a price match at Home Depot) on a Honeywell smart thermostat and it's been wonderful. We can set the temperature a day or two before arriving at our place. If we forget to change the thermostat when leaving, we can easily do it later on using the app.
But it's not just for second homes. You can save time and money and be more comfortable by adjusting temps in your home while at work, vacation, etc. This could be one of those tech products that could end up paying for itself and more.
Fun Stuff for the Bathroom
I remember being fascinated the first time I saw a toilet seat that opened and closed automagically. I recently saw a TV screen in a bathroom mirror at a hotel we were staying at (I don't remember which hotel or where we were), but you can get your own - keep reading.
The Latest in Toilet Tech
And now there is the Omigo toilet seat that turns your toilet into a bidet. Imagine the savings on toilet paper! The bidet seats start at $399.00 and the bidet attachments start at $69.00.
I've seen different waterproof items for the shower, including radios and TV's. The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 is a waterproof Bluetooth speaker system that can be used in the shower and at the beach to get good sound for your favorite tunes. Prices start at $99.99.
Digital Smart Scale
Like alarm clocks, scales have a love/hate relationship with most people. Unless someone specifically asks for one, it's probably a gift best given to yourself. The Withings Body+. tracks weight, body water, fat, muscle, and bone mass for up to eight users, so most families can use it for their personal stats. But wait, there's more! It can display local weather and the previous day’s step count. Getting weather on your scale? What will they think of next? If that weren't enough, there are also pregnancy and baby modes - whatever that is. This beyond-smart scale sells for $99.95.
Vanity TV Mirror
Here is our last entry in our house tech list, and it's certainly a luxury item that you probably wouldn't purchase as a gift, unless you're rolling in the dough. The Seura TV Mirror allows you to watch TV in the bathroom mirror! It vanishes when turned off and you can add a frame or lighting.
With our bathrooms, the mirrors are next to the toilets, although one could possibly watch TV while in the jetted tub, but you'd have to keep your head sideways. There are different sizes to choose from and the 19" display starts at $3,099.00. So cool, but depending on your bathroom set-up, it could be pretty useless.
Here's Our Gift to You
If you're thinking of adding some of the more permanent technology items to your home, call us before you spend the money on anything. We can help you decide if your investment is worth it based on your location and style of house.
I have seen buyers get excited about digital thermostats and security doorbells and these are affordable upgrades. We will be selling our current home next year and will be saving these items for our next home, which might be our last (or second to last) home purchase. We plan on being there for a long time.
We hate to see home sellers spend money on items that we know buyers don't really care about, and are not willing to pay a premium for. It's not just tech, it is other upgrades sellers think of making with the expectation of getting most or all of their money back. Give us a call at 708-536-8200 so you don't spend on the wrong things.