Must Have Gadgets for the Home
In this high-tech age where the world is literally at our fingertips, or in our pockets, it makes sense that the wizards of gadgetry would find wonderful ways to make taking care of and managing our homes simpler, easier and whole lot cooler. Here are some of the gadgets we declare must-haves for any 21st century home.
Universal remote controls aren’t the only gadgets that can lay claim to “universal” fame any more – thanks to the Roku 2, which is a universal media streaming device for your television. This nifty, little box taps into your home’s Wi-Fi and opens the floodgates to all the free and subscription content you could ever want. Anything from Hulu to Netflix to last week’s episode of “Revenge” can be streamed straight from the internet for convenient viewing on your 60” flat-screen. And Roku 2 is a high-tech device that won’t break the bank – even if you upgrade to Roku 2 XS that features an Ethernet and USB port for music and movie playback. Ranging in price from $59 to $99, Roku 2 is a great way to make the neighbors jealous without stretching your wallet.
iRobot Roomba 790
Roomba is no longer the butt of jokes with their latest incarnation. The $700 iRobot Roomba 790 is everything its predecessor wasn’t, featuring a wireless command center that lets you schedule cleanings and control the little bugger from any room in the house. Roomba gets to work to make your carpets, hardwood, linoleum or tile floors look spic and span. The wireless control works like a remote control car, making cleaning the floors one chore the kids will be fighting for. And Roomba 790 isn’t a quitter – unlike many of us who are less than enamored of housework, it makes sure the room it’s cleaning is completely finished before either taking a break or moving on to the next. And you don’t even have to worry about running your Roomba to death – it it’s low on energy it will head straight back to home base to recharge before running out to tackle the next job.
Fighting over the climate control no longer has to be cause for World War III in your home, thanks to the Nest Thermostat. And this isn’t a case of sacrificing style for function. This elegantly-designed thermostat is as simple to use as an iPod and comes in a variety of shades that are designed to complement and blend in with your home décor. Nest has brains as well as beauty – this thermostat learns your patterns and adjusts itself to keep your tootsies warm in the morning and make sure you don’t overheat while you sleep. So, if you typically crank the heat after falling out of bed in the morning, Nest will store that info and surprise you with a nicely heated home to wake up to.
And this gadget earns its $249 price tag by saving you time and money. You can control it via Wi-Fi and get your air switched on during the drive home so you can walk into a nice, cool home. It’s also smart enough to figure out that you’re out of town – thanks to its motion sensors it will notice you haven’t walked by for a morning or two, and will automatically adjust to your absence.
Belkin WeMo Switch
You need look no further than the Belkin WeMo Switch to turn your regular house into an automated smart house. WeMo puts the power to control all your household electronics right into the palm of your hand. The WeMo switch, in conjunction with the WeMo app, turns your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad into a master control that lets you turn things on and off with a tap of your finger – or you can go one better and trigger your appliances to respond to motion or put your home on a schedule. Imagine fresh-brewed coffee waiting for you as you step out of bed or your living room lights twinkling on to welcome you home at the end of a long day. WeMo only costs $49 and the only support you need is an outlet to plug the switch into.
If you have longed for a robot butler that always brings you the perfect cup of coffee right when you need it, then Nespresso has fulfilled your futuristic fantasy. The Nespresso Maestira is the next big thing in single-serve coffee machines and it looks just as fantastic as its custom-brewed java tastes. The Maestira resembles a much cuter and sleeker version of Wall-E in a bright red (Rosso) or off-white (Crema) finish and uses a high-pressure pump along with a Thermoblock element to ensure a flawless cup of coffee every time.
And if you feel guilty making the “help” do all the work, you’ll simply adore the professional-style steam wand that lets you froth it up by hand to your own impeccable specifications. For $549 this little machine delivers far more than your basic Keurig, automatically testing water and making adjustments for hard or soft water, shutting itself off if you neglect it too long and the company even makes sure that if you have a question you can get right through to a live person.
What other gadgets do you feel are must-haves for your home?
About The Author
Justin is a sports, TV and technology writer for USDish, who is always on the lookout for cutting edge products for your home, internet and entertainment needs.