ADDITIONAL SMART DEVICES
While we’ve covered the main smart home products, there’s plenty of other kit out there that can make your home better
W e’ve covered the main products you’ll want in this feature, but a more well-rounded smart home benefits from a range of products. Here, we’re looking at some of the other kit you can buy, and how it ties into your home. We’ve also listed a few of the crazier products that are also vying for your attention but we think are best avoided.
YALE KEYLESS CONNECTED SMART DOOR LOCK
The Yale Keyless Connected Smart Door Lock (£125) attaches to your existing Nightlatch, but removes the need for keys. Instead, you can open your door with a security code or dedicated RFID tag. Upgrade to the Z-Wave module (£70) and the door lock can be controlled via a Z-Wave controller or SmartThings, so you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere in the world.
Remote sockets let you toggle the power to a plug-in device remotely. Most commonly, this is to toggle a lamp on and off, but you can run practically any other device, such as a humidifier, too.
There’s plenty of choice of sockets out there. The SmartThings Power Outlet (£45) is great if you have SmartThings, plus it also supports Google Home, Alexa and IFTTT. Alternatively, the Belkin Wemo Switch (£40) uses Wi-Fi, so doesn’t require a hub. It supports Alexa and IFTTT.
If you have any devices that use the Dyson Link, such as the Dyson 360 Eye robotic vacuum cleaner or the Pure Cool filtering fan, you can now hook them up to Alexa. Thanks to the new Skill (listed under Skills, not Smart Home), you can now control your devices using your voice. For the vacuum cleaner, that means starting a clean or stopping one; for fans, you can turn on auto and night modes, set a fan speed, toggle oscillation and turn them off.
If you want a device to give you quick control over your smart home devices, the Logitech POP could be for you. The starter kit (£80) nets you one button and a hub, with additional battery-powered buttons costing £35 each. The buttons work natively with Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, Sonos, SmartThings and others, although it also has an IFTTT channel for other devices.
Buttons can be programmed for up to three operations (click, double-click and long press), and can control multiple devices at once. So you could have a button at your front door that you tap to turn off everything when you leave the house, for example.
FOOBOT INDOOR AIR QUALITY MONITOR
With the Foobot Indoor Air Quality Monitor (£180), you can monitor your home’s air and get warned about any issues, including temperature, humidity, volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) and small particles (particulate matter). The warnings can help people with allergies and asthma clean up their home environment, and an IFTTT channel means you can automatically control other devices as well, such as turning on a humidifier automatically via a remote socket.
LOGITECH HARMONY HUB
The Logitech Harmony Hub (£99) lets you control your home entertainment devices through your smartphone. You can set up simple routines, such as one to turn on your TV, soundbar and Blu-ray player, all with the touch of a button. The Harmony Hub can also integrate with Philips Hue and SmartThings so you can control other smart home devices, too. Alexa and IFTTT support are both built in, giving you control over other smart home devices as well.
RING VIDEO DOORBELL
Being able to answer your doorbell from anywhere in the world is really useful for two reasons: you can deal with anything important, and you can fool people into thinking that you’re at home. The Ring Video Doorbell (£130) notifies you whenever someone rings your doorbell. From your smartphone, you can see who’s at the door and have a conversation with them. An IFTTT channel lets you control your other smart devices when motion is detected or someone rings the bell. An updated version has just been released (£180).
Smoke detectors are great lifesavers but have a nasty habit of going off when you least want them to. With the Nest Protect (£109), you get a smart detection system. When smoke is detected, all your installed alarms can tell you where the problem is, so you can deal with it before a piercing alarm goes off. And the system can tell the difference between smoke and carbon monoxide, so you know what you need to do. Alarms can be silenced from the app, which is far easier than trying to use a fiddly button located on the device.
Nest Protect integrates with the Nest Thermostat, automatically shutting down your heating when carbon monoxide is detected. Thanks to the IFTTT channel, you can do the same thing with other smart heating systems.
W1 WATER LEAK DETECTOR
Leaks can cost a fortune to fix, so knowing about them before they become a major issue can be a real boon. The Lyric W1 Water Leak Detector (£65) is an excellent choice. It’s battery powered, so is easy to position. Detection is via the attached sensor wire (extension cables are available to cover a greater distance), which you lie flat where you’re most likely to get a leak, such as underneath a dishwasher.
Alerts are sent to your phone via the app, and a full IFTTT channel means you can set other actions, such as cutting the power to a washing machine via a remote socket.