AARP Eye Center
If you thought your smart TV was the only gadget with brains in your home, wait until your next washing machine pings your phone when a load is done, LED lights turn off when you leave the room or a Wi-Fi thermostat knows whether someone is home.
While we're still a few years away from a domestic robot that can wash dishes and make our beds, today's smart home products can make your living space safer, more energy efficient and easier to maintain. Most are controlled through a free app or via your voice using a virtual assistant such as Amazon Echo, Apple's Siri or Google Nest.
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Best of all, these products range from $29 to $119.
1. Smart speakers in every room
You may already own a smart speaker because they're inexpensive — as low as $29 for an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini. But many people are placing them throughout their homes for added convenience.
You know the drill: Enable it by uttering its wake word, such as “Alexa” or “OK, Google,” followed with a question or command. Then you'll hear a pleasant humanlike voice dish up an answer.
For bigger sound, check out the latest Echo Dot (4th Gen) with clock + Amazon Smart Plug, $44. Along with its spherical shape and big sound, this smart speaker is ideal for your nightstand. You can see the time, alarms and timers on the LED display and tap the top to snooze.
As the name suggests, a second item is bundled with the smart speaker. The Amazon Smart Plug turns virtually anything you plug into the electric socket — such as a coffee maker — into a smart home product, so you can then use the app to turn it on, set schedules and more.
On a related note, check out the Wemo Mini Smart Plugs in AARP's 99 Ways to Save annual list that work with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant or through their own app.