Best Home Tech for 2019

By: Matilda Davies Smart home

No fewer than 39 million smart home devices and controllers were sold in the United States last year, and we’re predicted to well outpace that in 2019. A 2018 survey revealed that Americans are looking more and more to smart devices and AI to help with or perform everyday tasks around the home. Seventy-three percent of Americans say they would let an AI-powered robot clean their house, and half say they would let a robot prepare their food.

In 2019, expect to see smart home devices become even more ubiquitous and even more affordable, with plenty of smart home hubs coming to market to seamlessly connect all of those devices. While we can’t recommend any robot chefs (yet), there are plenty of excellent home tech devices on the market for 2019 that are definitely worth your money. These are our favorites.

Brilliant

Brilliant replaces any light switch with smart controls, activated by voice or touch. Brilliant can also be your intercom, light switch, music controls, doorbell, and front door key—it’s the ultimate hub for the fully connected smart home.

Video chat between rooms, control your home lights, thermostat, smart locks, voice assistant, and more. Brilliant works with Sonos, Nest, Ring, Philips Hue, and Honeywell smart home devices. It also integrates with Google Assistant and comes with Alexa built in.

And when you’re not home, use the Brilliant app to control all of these devices remotely.

Sense

Take control of your home’s energy use with the simple device called Sense. This small orange box that connects to your home’s electrical panel not only observes and logs your energy use, but also lets you keep a pulse on what’s happening in your home even when you’re not there. 

The Sense monitoring system will alert you in real time to what’s happening with your home’s systems and appliances. You can set an alert to let you know when the garage door opens, when the dryer is finished, and how long the TV has been on. You can even check to see if you’re left the oven on after you’ve left the house.

Sense can also be used to detect problems before they become disasters. For example, if your furnace is having to fire more than once to start, Sense will alert you to the problem—preempting a potential heating system failure.

Neato Robotics D7 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum

The House Method reviews team named the Neato Robotics D7 the best Neato vacuum of the year and one of the best robot vacuums overall. 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 a 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.

Mui

It’s easy to love the beauty and simplicity of this “calm design device.” The mui smart home control hub is made from a natural wood plank—something totally different in the age of flashy home tech. This device is, in fact, meant to stand out among attention-grabbing smart devices and is intended to facilitate a distraction-free digital environment.

Mui’s simple light display appears with the swipe of a hand (and can also be voice activated), but disappears when not in use. Send and receive messages, check news and weather, and control smart lights, thermostats, and other smart devices from this perfectly simple interface. Mui also integrates with Google Assistant, so you can also use this sleek panel as a speaker.

SkyBell HD

The SkyBell HD is a smart home doorbell that’s also camera-equipped to allow you to see, hear, and speak to whoever is at your door.

Use the SkyBell app to manage visitors at your front whether your at home or out: get alerts to your phone when someone rings your doorbell, and even when a visitor to doesn’t ring the doorbell. The SkyBell HD doorbell can also be used in quiet mode, so instead of a ringing doorbell, you can get an alert to your smartphone, so sleeping little ones can stay asleep. The recording feature also allows you to see who showed up at your door even if you couldn’t get to the alert in real time.

Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug

Control any device plugged into the WeMo Mini Smart Plug right from your phone—no hub or voice assistant required (though the WeMo is compatible with Apple HomeKit/HomePod, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant).

We like the Wemo because it’s one of the most device agnostic smart plugs on the market, is horizontally oriented so the rest of the outlet is not, offers device scheduling (so you can turn on a lamp before you get home, a fan at three o’clock), and features an away mode—so you can randomize your lights when you’re away from home.

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