Top Home Products You Need
in Your Home Right Now

By Kalina MacKay

With new trends and technology coming out on a regular basis, it’s hard to keep your home up to the most modern standard. That’s why we put together this list of the latest and greatest home products you need in your home right now.

Doorbell camera 

If you’re a parent and your kids beat you home from work, you don’t want them waiting for you on the front porch. Additionally, if you’re traveling for work and someone arrives with a delivery, you want to be able to address them face to face. And as a homeowner, you want to prevent package theft, especially during the holiday season.

With a smart doorbell camera, you get to enjoy these perks from anywhere inside the house, the country, and—if connected by a network—the world.

Our pick is the Vivint Doorbell Camera. It uses high-quality technology to connect the doorbell camera to a cellular network and their central home security system, so you can track your front porch activity from the comfort of your living room or office, and talk in real-time with your friends, neighbors, or delivery person.

While some other doorbell camera options may be less expensive, here’s what we love about Vivint:

  • You don’t have to worry about setting up the camera yourself. Vivint Doorbell Camera installation is quick and stress-free for customers.
  • The device is connected through a wireless connection, which still works if there’s a power outage or if you’re traveling abroad and have access to WiFi.
  • The camera works day and night and has a wide-angle lens, giving you a clear view day or night.

Cellular shades 

Cellular shades improve the aesthetic appeal of your house and can save energy and keep utility bills low. These shades are made from spun lace and bonded polyester, materials similar to soft paper or cloth. With their unique shape and design, cellular shades filter light and insulate your living areas.

These benefits provide additional protection from thermal energy loss that occurs when interior air comes in contact with a windowpane. Cellular shades are an opportunity for huge savings, given how much energy loss occurs through windows. In fact, they can reduce heat loss by as much as 25%.

These shades vary in price—low-end models will cost $18–$30 per shade and high-end models can run between $100–$140 per shade. Price depends on the quality, design, and color of the shades. Some states still offer tax credits for installing cellular shades due to their energy efficiency.

Most varieties of cellular shades are simple to install on your windows. Always follow the instructions from the manufacturer. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour when installing a single cellular shade. Of course, you always have the option to call a handyman to help.

Shower filter

The best shower filter removes harmful elements from your water, eliminates odors, improves skin and health benefits, and leaves you with an overall better shower experience. Not only will a shower filter reduce itchiness, dryness, and irritation, it’s an inexpensive option that allows you to filter shower water without having to install a house-wide water filtration system. 

Before committing to a specific shower filter brand, ensure that you’ll be able to buy replacement filters for the product. If replacement filters aren’t available, you could end up paying for a brand new set every time the filter needs to be replaced.

Our pick for the best shower filter is the AquaBliss High Output 12-Stage Shower Filter (SF100). This shower filter is easy to install and can be set up in a matter of minutes. The filter doesn’t come with a shower head, but it can be attached directly to the one you’re currently using: the AquaBliss is a universal fit and can adapt to all shower head types. This shower filter also supports the pH balance of water, soothes dry, itchy skin, and reduces dandruff and eczema.

Here are some of our other favorite shower filters to consider:

  • Sprite High Output Shower Head with Chlorine Filter
  • Vitamin C Filter Inline Shower Assembly by Sonaki
  • AquaBliss High Output Universal Shower Filter with Replaceable Multi-Stage Filter Cartridge
  • Universal Shower Filter and Water Softener
  • Aquasana AQ-4100 Deluxe Shower Water Filter System
  • AquaHomeGroup Shower Water Filter
  • Culligan WSH-C125 Wall-Mounted Filtered Shower Head
  • Berkey Shower Filter without Shower Head

Spotlights

Nothing is more important than the safety of yourself and your loved ones. That’s what makes spotlights so important. From illuminating your backyard at night to guiding you as you hike, different spotlights perform different functions, but they’re all designed to help.

A spotlight, as the name implies, is a light that’s used to focus attention on a specific spot. This can be helpful during a theater production, for example, where moving spotlights are often positioned to follow actors as they move across the stage. It’s also often used in museums to help fully illuminate a specific exhibit in a way that helps it stand out from the others.

When purchasing a spotlight, you should consider its power, power source, size, and weight. These are the most important factors that differentiate spotlights from one another. 

Our team recommends the Stanley 10-Watt Lithium Ion LED Spotlight because of its strong light and compact design. We also recommend considering Cyclops, Brinkmann, Streamlight, and Black+Decker as alternative brands.

Smart home thermostat

While original thermostats contributed to the modern world of convenience and saved on time, labor, and some cost, today’s smart thermostats are saving users 10–15% on energy costs and greatly reducing fossil fuel use.

GLAS is a sleek, wall-mounted thermostat with an OLED touchscreen. GLAS allows you to remotely control temperature and will learn your temperature preferences and habits over time. It can be controlled from anywhere through its app, but it also comes equipped with Microsoft Cortana voice command and can integrate with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. 

GLAS monitors energy use as well. The thermostat reports 24-hour equipment run time in hours as well as estimated energy savings. And thanks to the Cortana integration, GLAS can also remind you to change your air filter or schedule HVAC maintenance visits, set a timer, tell you the weather and traffic, set an alarm or a timer, and take a note or make a list.

It also has a built-in indoor air quality monitoring feature, monitoring and reporting both indoor and outdoor air quality. Users can track tVOCs and carbon dioxide indoors, and monitor allergens, the UV index, and the air quality index outdoors.

Energy monitor

It’s estimated that Americans spend more than $100 billion every year on wasted energy (that’s about $1,000 per home), and that the average American home spends just shy of $2,000 on utility bills every year. A pilot program for Sense, an energy monitor, revealed that users saved an average of 8% on their energy costs. For those keeping track, that’s $160 every year.

The Sense app displays power used by devices in bubbles sized to relative energy consumption to give you a real sense of just how much power your oven is pulling on. Sense keeps a log of energy use as well, so you can know how much energy you expend running the dishwasher or watching TV over time.

The Sense monitor can also be used as a tool for identifying and predicting problems in your home. If your fridge is using more energy than normal, Sense can alert you to a potential coolant leak. If your spark ignition furnace is having to fire more than once to start, Sense will tell you so you can turn a mid-winter heating system failure into a routine service visit. 

At-home humidifier 

Dry air can cause scratchy throats, cracked skin, and chapped lips. The ideal humidity level for a home to feel comfortable falls around the 40% range. Anything less than 30% can cause respiratory problems, enhance allergies, and make you more susceptible to illness.

On top of health concerns, low humidity can damage your house; extremely dry air can soak up moisture from hardwood, making it separate at the seams; wallpaper can peel off the walls; and plants can shrivel up.

Humidifiers come in many forms: whole-house or room specific, cool mist vs. warm mist, etc. You should consider the tank size, runtime, noise, maintenance, and energy efficiency before selecting a humidifier.

We recommend the Honeywell HCM-6009. This evaporative home humidifier works well in large rooms and open floor plans. It’s the best home humidifier on the market for a whole-house treatment. Other great options include the TaoTronics Cool Mist Humidifier, Honeywell HCM-350, Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic, and Boneco Travel Cost Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier 7146. 

Electric bug zapper

Many insects are attracted to the UV spectrum of light. In electric models, the light source and the electric current grid work simultaneously. When a bug comes in the range of the electric grid, it gets zapped and falls into the collection plate at the bottom of the device.

The effectiveness of light-emitting zappers depends on the responsiveness of the insects to the light. Some insects find the light to be irresistible, while others aren’t attracted to it in the same way. To attract all types of bugs, many manufacturers offer specific insect attractants as add-ons. Mosquito attractants are a common add-on.

If you’re looking for a zapper that will cover acres of area, the Flowtron Diplomat is a good choice. It’s a powerful unit and has all the bells and whistles you’d expect with a bug zapper. If you need a smaller unit for outdoor use, the ½-acre range Flowtron BK-15D is a good option. 

Electric fireplace

The flicker and warmth of a fireplace can make a house feel like home. However, a “real” fireplace requires a lot of attention from homeowners. You have to clean it often, buy and store firewood, and take extensive safety precautions to protect your furniture, house, and family members. If you’re a renter, an open fire probably isn’t even an option for you.

Enter the electric fireplace. Faux flames are contained, adjustable, and safe and you can start heating your home in a matter of minutes—most electric fireplaces are remote-controlled.

There are two types of electric fireplaces: infrared heaters and forced fans. Infrared fireplaces produce heat via light that will warm any person or object directly in front of it. Forced fans take in cool air, heat it with a coil, and return it back into the room.

Electric fireplaces are much more cost- and energy-efficient than gas-powered or woodburning fireplaces. In fact, they are about 90% more efficient than gas fireplaces. On average, they cost about 18 cents per hour of runtime. Many models have adjustable brightness and heat as well a no-heat option that conserves even more energy.

Our top five brands for electric fireplaces are Touchstone, e-Flame USA, PuraFlame, Southern Enterprises, and Dimplex. Fireplace manufacturers may not be as well-known as other household names, so we relied on some other trust indicators, like verified customer reviews. The Touchstone Onyx electric fireplace has more than 400 customer reviews and 347 answered questions on Amazon alone. The PuraFlame electric fireplace insert is Amazon’s #1 best seller in the category. Meanwhile, Dimplex showed up seven times in the top 100.

Invisible fence 

Electric dog fences are a humane way to let your pet roam freely while still keeping them contained safely in your yard. Purchasing a pet fence is a more affordable, timely solution than building a physical barrier around your property.

Choosing an invisible dog fence can be difficult. Like any other purchase, you want to find a high-quality product within your budget, but now you must also consider the safety and wellbeing of your pet. You don’t want to skimp and risk an unreliable or unsafe product that could hurt your animal. 

These are some of our favorite options for an invisible fence:

  • SportDOG 100-Acre in-Ground Dog Fence
  • PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System
  • Perimeter Technologies Ultimate Electric Fence
  • Friendly Pet Products 
  • High Tech Pet Humane Contain 

Ice cream maker  

Ice cream makers certainly fall into the nice-to-have category. They’re by no means essential to daily life, but if you just want to sweeten a mundane meal plan, an ice cream maker might be worth it.

We like how high-tech and hands-off the Breville ice cream maker is. If you plan to use your ice cream maker every day (we don’t blame you), try the Yonanas Frozen Healthy Dessert Maker. You’ll save time, money, and calories with this versatile dessert maker.

If you only see yourself breaking the ice cream machine out once or twice a year, you can satisfy your cravings for ice cream and nostalgia with the Aroma Housewares Traditional Fir Wood Ice Cream Maker without breaking the bank.

Water monitoring system

Your plumbing system has a pulse, a rhythm, and a readable pattern. The EPA reports that household leaks can waste approximately nearly 900 billion gallons of water every year—that’s the annual household water use of 11 million homes. And the average home water damage insurance claim is just south of $7,000.

Phyn, a company launched by Belkin in 2016, launched their first consumer product: a smart home water leak detector and water use monitoring device that goes by the name of Phyn Plus. The device is designed to work with as many plumbing systems as possible, and funnels data into the Phyn app so you can monitor system health from anywhere.

Phyn Plus provides monthly, daily, and even hourly reporting of home water use with user-friendly water use charts. The device monitors temperature, flow, and pressure in your plumbing system 24/7.

Phyn Plus is a single device that is installed by a professional plumber on your main water line and measures the tiniest fluctuations in water pressure to detect leaks and measure water consumption. In the event of a major leak, Phyn Plus will automatically turn off the water with its built-in shut-off valve.

Convertible car seat

Buying for a baby can be nerve-racking, but even more so when you throw a two-ton vehicle, high-speed traffic, and happenstance into the mix. In general, cars are a lot safer than they used to be and so are car seats. However, both can be prone to possible recalls in potentially dangerous—and sometimes even fatal—malfunctions. 

The first step a customer should take when buying their car seat is registering it online. This one-time registration will opt you into regular updates and notices from the manufacturer.

The Britax Advocate ClickTight is not only the best convertible car seat in our opinion, but it’s also one of the most popular products across the internet. If you’re suffering from sticker shock, you’ll get the best bang for your buck with the Graco convertible car seat. Remember: what works for one baby, family, or vehicle may not work for another. Our best advice is to do your research and trust your gut. 

Sleep machine 

Not only can white noise help you sleep better, it can help you achieve mental clarity and a quiet mind. This can be a useful tool if you need to block out distracting background noises, or just have trouble drifting off at night.

Our favorite sleep machine is the Ecotones Sound + Sleep Machine. Though the Sound + Sleep is on the pricier end of white noise machines, it stands out from other products by detecting noises in your environment and adjusting its sounds to mask them.

There are 10 different soundscapes, including fireplace, waterfall, and white noise, with an additional richness feature that allows you to add more “detail” to each of the soundscapes. For example, if you set your machine to the ocean setting and choose the richness feature, you’ll hear birds and seals in addition to waves.

Smart scale 

Whether you’re deep in your fitness regimen or simply want to keep track of your healthy lifestyle, a smart scale is the new way to get useful data about yourself.

The QardioBase wireless scale is an easy-to-use smart scale with a sleek, minimalist design that measures your weight, BMI, and full body composition (water, muscle, body fat percentage, and bone mass). After taking these measurements, QardioBase uses haptic feedback (a gentle vibration) to let you know your measurements have been taken and that you may step off the scale—this is a great feature for those who are visually impaired. The scale automatically sends the collected data to your Qardio app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Great for families, the QardioBase allows multiple family members to create personal profiles and set long-term fitness goals. One of the best features of the QardioBase scale? It provides smart feedback using smiley faces instead of numbers so you don’t have to feel bad about not hitting your weight goal.

Sleep tracker 

Since sleep is one of the most important factors in helping the human body function, why not prioritize it every time you crawl into bed? A sleep tracker can give you comprehensive insights that you can use to improve your nightly slumber. 

One of our favorites is LYS, a tiny, wearable light tracker that accounts for your sleep-wake cycle, improves concentration and productivity, and boosts your energy and mood. This one-size-fits-all device is water- and dust-resistant and comes with a long battery life (it lasts for seven days on a single charge).

Pair LYS with your iPhone to track daily light levels against the recommended light exposure for your body. By clipping the LYS onto your everyday outfit, you’ll get a report that syncs to your phone to help you understand how light composition in your surroundings affects your sleep-wake cycle and overall wellbeing.

Robot vacuum 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had personal assistants to do our chores for us? Turns out you can with a robot vacuum. A robot vacuum takes the work out of housework by cleaning your floors automatically. 

The Neato Robotics D7 is one of the best robotic vacuums in the industry. This laser-guided vacuum runs in straight lines with overlapping passes, which means better coverage more quickly compared to other robotic vacuums.

The Neato D7’s CornerClever technology and D-shaped design means that it cleans corners better than most circular robotic vacuums. Our Reviews Editor’s take:

“If you’re tired of overpriced vacuums from other manufacturers, this is a great tidy solution. It has all the features you want, with advanced laser mapping and ‘no-go’ lines to keep it out of areas you don’t want it in.”

This tidy little robot is also smart enough to dock for a recharge mid-run if need be, and will even pick up right where it left off.

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