Home Holidays & Travelling An Honest Review of the Best Smart Home Gadgets • The Blonde Abroad

An Honest Review of the Best Smart Home Gadgets • The Blonde Abroad

by kyngsam

As we’ve been adorning our home and becoming it out with issues to make life simpler and extra comfy, we’ve put in quite a few good house devices.

When you’re excited by optimizing issues in your house, I’m delving into a few of my favourite expertise for the house—that’s value shopping for!

You’ll discover I clearly love a little bit of expertise and automating issues wherever I can.

We’ve gotten some actually cool issues for our home — a few of them I’m actually impressed with, a few of them are simply “alright.”

Whether or not you’re a beginner to good house expertise or want to add to your good arsenal, I cowl every little thing I personally have and use in my very own home.

From house safety to automating the blinds to controlling the lights and even a bidet — I’m sharing my trustworthy overview of the perfect good house expertise on the market!


NAME: Video Doorbell

Ring Doorbell

In my view, the Ring Doorbell is the least costly funding you may make to your house that’s really value it.

The Ring Doorbell is such an easy-to-use safety software. Each time there may be somebody on the door the digicam begins recording so your entrance door is at all times protected. I can see who’s there from my cellphone and even reply verbally with the built-in speaker.

It syncs with all different Ring units for additional comfort and safety.

Score: 5/5

Discover the Ring Doorbell right here!

Ring Dwelling Safety System

We went all out with our Ring setup — from the doorbell to the safety system! Our total property has “eyes” and is protected with Ring. Right here’s an inventory of our setup and I’ll go into extra particulars beneath.

Our Ring Setup

Ring 10-Piece Dwelling Safety System

Don’t let “10-piece” overwhelm or intimidate you — it’s tremendous simple to arrange! Heads up, the 10-Piece Home Security System was a gifted product, however I used to be going to get it anyway. 🙂

Professionals: We caught up our keypads with Command strips they usually’re wi-fi (no ugly cords or having to drill holes into your partitions!).

There are three settings — off, “at house” (for if you’re house however sleeping), and away. You’ll be able to customise every setting in order that sure cameras and sensors are activated or de-activated. It comes with these actually cool sensors you possibly can put as much as be notified when one thing is opened, like doorways or home windows.

For instance, after we go to mattress, all of our exterior cameras, motion-sensor lights, and door and window sensors are activated. After we are away, our inside movement sensor is activated. And when the system is off, we nonetheless have our exterior movement sensors on to alert us of anybody approaching our property.

It’s very cool, tremendous simple to make use of, and inexpensive.

Cons: Whereas this is without doubt one of the most inexpensive techniques on the market, you do should take the additional time to set your customization up. However that’s just about the case with all good house expertise!

Additionally, since every little thing is motion-activated, your cameras aren’t recording 24/7. So, there’s an opportunity you may miss some issues. Personally, it really works nice and supplies sufficient safety for us!

Score: 4/5

Discover the 10-Piece Home Security System right here!

BRAND: Schlage

NAME: Good Keypad + Door Deal with

Schlage Good Keypad

We wished a smart keypad that match our design and this one is ideal! The numbers are virtually hidden so it seems like an vintage bronze deadbolt from afar.

It’s additionally the perfect companion to the Ring Doorbell!

Professionals: We will entry our house with out keys, use Alexa to voice lock the entrance door from wherever in the home, and we’re capable of give our family and friends their very own distinctive code to get in—which is ideal for after we’re on journeys and we want somebody to cease by to water the crops.

The good a part of this keypad is it additionally works with Amazon Key, so you possibly can permit deliveries to be put inside your house as a substitute of being left on the doorstep if you end up away.

Tremendous useful!

Cons: There actually isn’t any draw back with the keypad for me, however it’s a bit expensive in the event you get it with the matching deal with!

Score: 5/5

Discover the Schlage Smart Keypad Deadbolt and Handleset here!

samsung frame tv art

Samsung Body TV

I’m obsessive about our 65″ Samsung Frame TV! I liked it after we bought it and I nonetheless find it irresistible months later. We’re at all times switching up the artwork, and for the vacations, we had been capable of make it festive. It really seems like a murals, particularly since we paired it with the sunshine wooden body.

It’s so satisfying to not have an enormous black plastic display screen on the wall.

Professionals: Actually, aesthetic is extra vital than the efficiency of a TV for me. I do know that’s not the identical for everybody. I discover the standard to be superior, the birch body seems stunning and the artwork function seems very reasonable and I really like that I can add my very own information.

I additionally love that it has apps for just about each subscription service (Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and so on.) so you possibly can add your login and management every little thing instantly from the TV and a single distant.

Cons: Some critiques on-line state that the image high quality isn’t “nice” however I’ve zero complaints. I can also’t touch upon the built-in sound as a result of I’d advocate a soundbar (developing subsequent!).

Score: 5/5

Discover the Samsung Frame TV right here!

Sonos Beam Soundbar

We bought the Sonos Beam Soundbar to pair with our Samsung Body and I completely find it irresistible. The sound is superb and it’s aesthetically pleasing (there are only a few soundbars which are white).

Professionals: It has Alexa built-in, so I can sync it and use voice command to manage my different Alexa units. One in all my favourite Alexa options is with the ability to create speaker teams, so you possibly can play music from a number of Echo audio system all through the home.

Plus, I can voice command from it, too!

Cons: Once more, I don’t have any for the Sonos. It’s superior.

Score: 5/5

Discover the Sonos Beam Soundbar right here!

BRAND: Furbo

NAME: Canine Digicam


If in case you have a canine and have been contemplating getting one among these, right here’s my scoop. I purchased this considering I’d be actually enthusiastic about it…and whereas I nonetheless prefer it, it’s positively bought some professionals and cons.

Professionals: If in case you have a canine with excessive separation anxiousness, like me, the nanny service (a paid subscription) makes this value it. If you activate the Furbo, it detects if Bailey is howling or crying with particular warning notifications, so the expertise of their nanny-cam service makes it value it.

We additionally do like the way in which it seems and blends with decor. (However that’s not motive sufficient to purchase it…)

In any other case, I feel the system is somewhat mediocre.

Cons: The digicam high quality isn’t nice. It has the potential of throwing canine treats and speaking via a speaker…however we don’t personally use these options with Bailey as a result of it simply makes him extra anxious.

Score: 3/5

Discover the Furbo right here!

Roborock Vacuum and Mop

The Roborock Robot Vacuum and Mop is one among my favourite items of expertise in the home! It’s positively a splurge however now we have fully hardwood flooring and low pile rugs all through the home, so I actually wished one which each vacuums and mops.

Professionals: As soon as it does a full spherical round your own home, it is aware of the precise structure of your house and you’ll create no-go zones for vacuuming and totally different ones for mopping.

I’ve it arrange so it doesn’t vacuum in our closet (for concern of sucking up my clothes). We’ve it vacuum our rugs however have no-go zones for mopping so it doesn’t moist the rugs.

When you can have another person vacuum and mop your flooring day-after-day that’s fairly darn candy.

It’s so cool! Our home stays actually clear. You’ll be able to have it run robotically day-after-day (or manually run it from the system or the app) and it returns to the dock when it’s accomplished. You’ll be able to even create cleansing areas so you possibly can have it clear sure rooms as a substitute of the complete home at particular instances.

Cons: The vacuum particles container is considerably small so I’ve to empty it 2-Three instances per full house cycle. So it’s not utterly senseless, nevertheless it’s nonetheless simpler than doing the complete factor myself!

Score: 4.5/5

Discover the Roborock Vacuum and Mop right here!

Good Feeder and Water Fountain

This may occasionally appear a bit extreme…however once more, I’m all about automation!

Professionals: Bailey will get one cup of meals within the morning and one cup within the afternoon. In case your canine eats dry kibble, the meals dispenser is de facto superb. The entire tower is storage for the meals — with a desiccant so it stays contemporary for weeks. I schedule his meals to dispense robotically twice a day and I can management it from my cellphone through the app!

The water fountain holds fairly a bit so I’m not at all times refilling it both. It’s technically a cat fountain, nevertheless it’s good to not always be refilling a bowl. 🙂

Cons: No complaints right here!

Score: 5/5

Discover the Petkit Automatic Pet Feeder and Water Fountain right here!

smart home blinds

Good Curler Shades

I used to be very excited to get good shade for our home and I’d seen quite a few Instagram adverts for these.

Professionals & Cons: We bought the Tilt Smart Roller Shades and it’s a type of love-hate relationship. They’ve had some annoying issues; Three out of the 5 motors had to get replaced. However, their customer support was very fast in sending me replacements.

They do work with voice management through Alexa however it’s a big ache within the rear to arrange.

Nevertheless, regardless of all this, with the ability to automate them and use voice management remains to be value it to me.

I’m protecting them as a result of I really like automation they usually work with any curler shade—so it’s essentially the most customizable possibility on the market. You may as well arrange automation.

For instance, day-after-day at dawn they open utterly, at Four pm they shut midway, after which they shut utterly at round Eight pm. You’ll be able to arrange schedules for every window, or teams of home windows, in order that they robotically shut or open to any top — which is what we use 99% of the time.

Score: 3/5

Discover the Tilt Smart Roller Shades right here!

Echo Present

Echo Dot

  My Favorite Echo Devices

I’m a big fan of Alexa-enabled devices and we have them all around the house!

The key to smart-i-fying your home is to have an Echo device in all areas of your home so you can speak and control your devices from anywhere. Here’s a breakdown of ours:

Echo Show 8 – In the Kitchen

We have the Echo Show in the kitchen, it’s the older model and I got it on sale and it’s been a hit!

Pros: I love that it has a really good quality speaker for playing music while I cook! It’s also got a touchscreen which makes it nice to switch between voice control and manual interaction. It also syncs with my Ring devices so when someone rings the doorbell, it automatically opens the camera so I can see and interact with whoever is at the door.

Cons: The device can’t display PDFs or browse the internet, so it is limiting when you want to pull up specific recipes if they are on a blog or a PDF.

Rating: 4/5

Find the Echo Show 8 right here!

Echo Dot – All Bedrooms

It is a speaker, alarm clock, a method to examine the information, climate, and management different units inside your house. It does all of it. 🙂

Score: 5/5

Discover the Echo Dot right here!

Alexa for Current Audio system – within the Eating Room

Have already got audio system however want Alexa voice management? Sadly, Alexa discontinued the Echo Enter, which is what we used to show our fairly Marshall Acton II Speaker right into a voice-controlled system.

The great factor is, all Echo units have a 3.5mm audio output, so I’d advocate shopping for the most affordable possibility (just like the Echo Flex) and a 3.5mm audio cable to attach it to your speaker.

Discover the Echo Flex right here!

Dyson Air purifier

We love all issues Dyson, however their purifiers and followers are second to none.

We use our air purifier and fan every day and love that we are able to management it with the Echo Dot in our room just by saying issues like “Alexa, flip the Dyson to 4.”

We preserve or Dyson Purifier in our room and one among my favourite routines that I at present have is “Winter Morning.” I’ve it programmed in order that at 5 am, our Nest (you’ll be taught extra about that later), turns up the warmth to 68 after which turns off our in-room Dyson Air purifier. We wish to sleep with the fan on — even when it’s chilly, notably for white noise — however I don’t wish to get up with air blowing on me.

Anyway, I really like that the air purifier is Alexa-enabled!

Score: 5/5

Discover the Alexa-enabled Dyson Purified right here!

Useful Tip: Alexa Routine Settings We Love

If this seems like loads of tech to you and you haven’t any thought learn how to use it — no worries! We’ve fairly a number of units as so lots of our issues are Alexa-enabled, like our lights and now we have loads of routines put in place to automate and optimize.

Learn up on learn how to add abilities and create routines here.

As soon as your whole good units are arrange within the Alexa app, the quantity of routines you possibly can create is countless! We’ve some automated by the point of day however most are voice instructions.

Listed here are a number of examples:

  • “Alexa, loosen up in mattress”: Dims all lights in our bed room to 10%, turns off all different lights all through the home, locks the entrance door, performs a Claude Debussy playlist on Spotify at quantity 2, and turns our Dyson air purifier to setting 4.
  • At Sundown and at 1 am: Flip the patio gentle on and off.
  • “Alexa, play ____ in every single place”: Performs my selection of music from Spotify on the three Echo units within the entrance of the home (not bedrooms).
  • “Alexa, film night time”: Turns all lights in the home off, units lounge lights to eight%, closes the lounge shades.

You might be actually solely restricted by your creativeness!

Good Plug

Professionals: These are actually cool as I could make a customized schedule to show them on and off. My buddy bought me a wax melter and I’ve it plugged in to go off 3 times a day (7-Eight am, 12-1 pm, 5-6 pm) for an hour, so the home smells very nice.

These are additionally tremendous inexpensive (about $25 for Four plugs)!

Through the holidays, I plug in our Christmas tree and mantel garland lights to those plugs, group them, and create a schedule to automate them to activate and off at sure instances!

Cons: There isn’t something I’d complain about, they simply have primary on/off performance. So in the event you’re searching for a product that may dim lights, these wouldn’t work.

Score: 5/5

Discover the Smart Plugs right here!

Good Dimmable Switches for Lights

We used to have the Phillips Hue Lightbulbs, that are actually cool in the event you’re solely going to do a number of lights in the home.

Professionals: In order for you the entire home to have good lighting, I positively advocate Smart Dimmable Switches as they work off your Wi-Fi. You may want an electrician to return out and set up them, however this ended up being cheaper in the long run to do the entire house.

You should buy a four-pack and we solely wanted 10 for our total house. You’ll be able to then use any regular dimmable lightbulb, so it really works out to be less expensive than shopping for good lightbulbs for each gentle fixture.

They work like a traditional dimmer swap, however they’re additionally Alexa-enabled so you possibly can management them with voice command or set routines and schedules.

For instance, in the lounge, I’ve arrange an Alexa routine known as “Film Evening,” which dims the lights within the dwelling and turns off all of the lights all through the home. Since our total home is ready up with these dimmer switches, we are able to management all of them as a gaggle.

It additionally works with generic voice instructions like, “Alexa, flip the eating room lights to 50%.”

Cons: Once more, not a lot to complain about right here. I’ll say it does take a little bit of effort to create routines for each swap and room with Alexa, nevertheless it’s actually enjoyable to automate all this stuff.

They make our house a lot extra purposeful!

Score: 5/5

Discover the Smart Switches right here!

Toto Bidet

Guess ya didn’t suppose I’d take you into our toilet!

Having traveled the world fairly extensively, Toto is the perfect bidet model on the market. We initially bought a Tushy bidet — which is a brilliant entry-level bidet and quite simple.

To be completely trustworthy, I assumed it was a waste of cash, and I wasn’t an enormous fan.

Professionals: The Toto Washlet Seat comes with a distant, and it’s a completely working bidet. However it additionally has a heated seat and a drier to your bum, and you’ll preset preferences for 2 individuals (that is tremendous cool!). It plugs in, is tremendous low-energy, and also you don’t want a scorching water supply — it heats the water for you.

It additionally self cleans, has a deodorizing fan, and a gentle shut seat and lid.

Whereas it’s very pointless, it’s one among my favourite issues!

Cons: We preserve ours on an Vitality Saving mode which is perhaps why this occurs, however even when protecting the lid closed, the seat isn’t at all times heat after we go to make use of it. Nevertheless, as quickly as you sit down it begins to warmth up.

Score: 5/5

Discover the Toto Washlet Seat Bidet right here!

Pura Good Diffuser

These are actually cool as I can create a schedule for the wall diffusers to go off they usually work off the Wi-Fi. So I can management them on my cellphone once I’m in a single room and set them to start out diffusing a scent in one other.

Professionals: Every Pura system holds two totally different scent pods at one time, so you possibly can combine and match in the event you like one thing citrusy and brilliant within the morning and one thing softer like sandalwood or lavender to loosen up within the night.

Cons: The one factor that I’m not a fan of although is the packaging the plastic scent pods are available in. It’s loads of extra plastic…nonetheless, I’ve learn that in the event you take away the wick they’re recyclable.

Score: 4/5

Discover the Pura Smart Diffuser right here!

Digital Image Body

Whereas this isn’t “technically” good, a digital image body might be as cool to you as it’s to me! I bought our Polaroid 8″ Body from Goal and you’ll add your photographs through a USB or SD card so it at all times has totally different photographs to play in a slideshow.

I’ve about 10 of my favourite household photographs they usually change each 5 minutes. You’ll be able to regulate the slideshow velocity from each few seconds to each hour. You may as well set a timer so the body shuts off at a sure time and turns again on at a sure time.

Ours turns off at midnight and again on at 7 am to preserve power.

I don’t know if that is essentially the *finest* digital image body on the market, nevertheless it’s $60, so the value is true.

Score: 3/5

Discover the Polaroid Digital Picture Frame right here!


NAME: Dwelling Thermostat


The Nest is an unbelievable system for protecting the home constantly at a very good temperature with out having to always fiddle with the thermostat.

Professionals: It’s good by itself and there’s an app you should use to create schedules, flip it on or off if you’re not house, and it really works with Alexa!

Whereas many houses in San Diego don’t have central air, it’s a fantastic system for locations with excessive climates because it has an Eco Mode, which can work out that candy spot in your own home the place the temp is sweet, however you don’t should preserve operating the air or warmth, so it finally ends up saving you cash.

Cons: I’m nonetheless studying learn how to finest use our Nest, however as a way to use it with Alexa routines, you must preserve it on the Warmth+Cool mode. I’d preserve my settings tremendous excessive so it wouldn’t activate with out my voice command or an Alexa setting, however I’m nonetheless having points with it robotically altering the temperature.

In all probability consumer error although!

Score: 5/5

Get the Nest right here!

Have you ever ventured into the world of good house expertise? What issues do you like? Or are there stuff you’ve bought that disillusioned? I’d love to listen to all about your expertise within the feedback beneath!

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