Connected products for your house have stopped being the domain of geeks and the ultra-rich, and have finally become useful — far from being gimmicky toys, they can offer safety and peace of mind. We choose from the best.
We’re a long way from Jetsons-level automation just yet, but the connected home does give the opportunity to make your home safe as well as smart.
All of the products we liked used the smartphone or tablet that you probably already carry in your home, and many could be entirely automated so that once they were set up they would be easy to forget about. Cameras offer the opportunity to keep tabs on your house — offering peace of mind, a deterrent, and evidence if anything awful should happen. The other smart products we looked at either monitor your home to ensure you’re safe or automate processes that keep you secure.
Click on the gallery to see the IndyBest buys
7 best gadgets to keep your home safe
7 best gadgets to keep your home safe
1/7 BT Smart Home Cam
This is the one of the cheaper options available. That means leaving out some of the more exciting features, like cloud recording, but it does most of the basics: you can watch your home from anywhere, and the sound and audio quality’s good. It’s also black, in a sea of white competitors, which helps it blend in and stops it looking like too much like a threatening CCTV camera. £99.99, Amazon
2/7 Philips In.Sight
This is the perfect high tech replacement for a baby monitor, offering the option to play sound back through the camera, which is set in a small and tough case. You can buy cloud recording for an extra fee, and the app is easy to navigate. £130.90, Amazon
3/7 Dropcam Pro
This is as close to the top of the range as is needed for most uses, and is a neat little box that contains a good camera and can be mounted pretty much anywhere. Nest’s just bought Dropcam — most think that was for the cloud recording software, which is unrivalled. The cloud recording needs a subscription, but it can sense movement and save any footage for up to a week. £199, Amazon
4/7 Nest Protect
A smart smoke and carbon monoxide alarm might seem unnecessary, but the Protect looks after your home without being annoying. It chides you with its human voice if you’ve left something burning in the kitchen – but alerts you quickly and with information about where a fire is if something more dangerous breaks out. £89, Amazon
5/7 Nest Learning Thermostat
Nest made its name with its thermostat, which learns your habits and heats your home accordingly. Nest's thermostat syncs with the company's Protect, shutting down your boiler if it senses a carbon monoxide leak so that you can stay safe. £179, Amazon
Aside from their more exciting uses — such as remotely changing the colour of your lighting — smart lightbulbs can be used to give the impression of someone being home even when they’re not. The bulbs use a simple app so that you can control them from your phone. They also sync with the Nest smoke detector, and can flash red if it finds something amiss or switch into holiday mode when the thermostat detects that you’re away. £79.95 per bulb, Amazon
7/7 Belkin WeMo Switch
For the lamps and other devices that plug into the wall, you can use this to remotely turn them on and off. If you’re worried that you’ve forgot to turn the heater off, or want to disguise that you’re out of the house, you can control your devices from wherever, using a smartphone app or on a schedule. Belkin also offers a similar, motion-activated device. £34.99, Amazon
Nest’s products are seamless and stylish — they give important and slick technical features but also look good, so you won’t feel like you’re making any compromises to have the technology in your home. The company’s Protect, a powerful solution to a simple problem, is a perfect example of that. If you’re after a camera to keep tabs on your home, the Dropcam is the best solution — though which you opt for will depend on your budget.
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