The 10 best smart home products to buy in 2018 gas and supply okc


Amazon Echo is the best smart digital assistant available—and probably the closest you’ll get to having a J.A.R.V.I.S. or Hal 9000 in your life. It’s an intelligent, WiFi-enabled, voice-operated speaker that uses Amazon’s Alexa voice service to play and control music. Even calls can be made and answered with this device.

More importantly, it can be used to automate your home, as it’s compatible with Belkin, WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee. It can also be used to control pretty much any app you can imagine, including Spotify, Uber, Domino’s, Pandora, IFTTT, Audible, and, of course, Amazon.

OK, so that’s lot of compatibility, but how does the Echo translate to real-world experiences? To give you an idea, here are a few voice commands Echo and Alexa can handle: “Alexa, re-order paper towels.” “Alexa, find me a Mexican restaurant.” “Alexa, set a timer for 20 minutes.” “Alexa, what’s my commute?” Alexa (the voice system used by the Echo) will respond in kind.

The newly released Ecobee3 smart thermostat is our second best pick for a smart thermostat, and it costs nearly half as much as the Nest. Ecobee expects owners to be able to save an average 23 percent on monthly heating and cooling costs. Adjusting temperature from the unit is a snap and can be done from any iPhone or Android device. The 3.5-inch QVGA touch screen display unit features the current temperature and a vertical slider for manual adjustments. A snowflake icon appears when the system is in cooling mode with a flame icon appearing when heating. Additionally, there are icons for the main menu, live weather (local weather outdoors) and quick changes, the latter of which lets you override your current settings without changing any pre-programmed schedule.

The Ecobee3 is compatible with most 1 and 2-stage HVAC systems and can control the dehumidifier, humidifier and ventilation devices. The main unit will offer alerts when it detects that maintenance is required, a filter needs replacement or when the temperatures are excessively high or low. The single remote temperature and motion sensor is placed in a separate room and calls “home” to ensure the room is heated or cooled to the main house temperature setting. This is perfect for a child or master bedroom.

Installation is fairly simple with the easy-to-follow guide. It requires a C (common) wire, which supplies power to the Ecobee3, but, in the event you don’t have one, there’s a power kit that can run the main unit. After setting up your temperature settings, schedule and connecting to WiFi, you’re off to the smart home races. Setup from start to finish should take around 30 minutes.

Ecobee takes integration to another level with the ability to connect with Apple’s HomeKit, which allows temperature control from any iOS device using Siri. The same type of integration also works with Amazon’s Echo, where you can ask Alexa to adjust thermostat settings. If you’re ready to move into a more technological future for your home, the Ecobee3 is a modern-looking, easy-to-use thermostat that will keep you warm at night.

To continue with the trend of home safety and security, Nest also offers the best Smart Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector: Nest Protect. Protect will vocally tell you exactly where a smoke or CO leak is detected. It also sends a message to your phone if the alarm sounds or the batteries are low, allowing you to turn the alarm off directly from your phone. Nest Protect performs routine self-tests, but you can also perform tests from the app and share access to any member of the household.

As expected, Protect works with other Nest products, including both the Cam and Learning Thermostat. This is especially critical with the Thermostat, because leaky heating systems are a common source of carbon monoxide, and the Thermostat can be set to automatically turn off the heat in the event the Protect detects a CO leak. It can also shut off fan-based environmental systems to prevent smoke from circulating, and the Cam can be set to capture video in the event of an emergency. While each of Nest’s smart home products can stand alone, they seem to work best as a team.

The Tado isn’t a smart air conditioner so much as a controller, but that’s the genius of it. When it comes to appliances, smart controls have a way of shortening the machine’s overall lifespan and complicating something that doesn’t really need to be that complicated. Isn’t it better to have a normal appliance that can be “made smart” through an external hub or service?

That’s what the Tado Smart Temperature Control does for air conditioners. This hub is placed next to your window AC unit and uses infrared commands to stand in for the machine’s remote control. This makes it compatible with 85 percent of the world’s air conditioners and allows you to control and monitor your machine from your smartphone. Set the Tado to automatically adjust the temperature based on your location, and use the intelligent controls to optimize energy use and save money on your energy bill. You can also customize the device to your own lifestyle and habits. It’s another example of what a smart home product should be: a solution, not an upgrade.

Smart Hubs are a confusing but vital component of the smart home, and may or may not be necessary depending on the extent of your home automation dreams. For example, if all you want is a smart lighting system, then Philips Hue will suffice. Similarly, if all you want is a thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat is all you need. But if you want the intelligence of your home to grow, adapt, and integrate with the huge variety of automation products available to you, you’ll need a hub.

With that said, the best smart home hub is the Samsung SmartThings. Hub connects to your router and is compatible with ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth products, and the SmartThings brand of smart outlets and sensors only enhances the possibilities for your home. So what can you do with all that connectivity? Depending on your catalog of smart home gadgets, you can set the Hub to turn on the lights when you get home, lock the doors when you leave, alert you if a door is left open, or sound an alarm when motion is detected. With IFTTT integration, the possibilities are near infinite.