9 Ways to Turn Your House into a Smart Home

From self-programming thermostats to voice-activated television controls, here are 9 appliances, devices, and gadgets designed to increase your home's tech IQ.

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  1. August Smart Lock


    The August Smart Lock uses its keyless technology to keep your home safe, even when you're not around. From your smartphone, you can let guests in, check to make sure that you locked up before you left the house, keep a record of who's entered and exited, and unlock your door as you trudge up to your home after a long day's work. Convenient? Yes. Smart? You bet. Available on Amazon; $218. 

    Related: Toss Your Keys: 9 High-Tech Door Locks


  2. Home Automation Systems


    Insteon, a best-seller in wireless home-control networking technology, offers hardware and software for every residential need, from irrigation control and occupancy sensing to remote-control HVAC. If this all sounds a little daunting, consider easing into automation with the company's starter kit for lighting and appliance control. Available on Amazon; $126. 

    Related:  12 Gadgets to Lead Your Home into the Future


  3. Video Doorbell


    It's like caller ID for your front porch! The VTech video doorbell allows you to screen—and even video chat with—visitors before you answer the door. Not home? No worries. The system takes a snapshot each time the doorbell is pressed, so you'll always know who came knocking while you were away. Available on Amazon; $115.

    Related:  Entryway Blues? 5 Ways to Dress Up Your Front Door


  4. Philips Hue Smart Lighting


    What can Philips Hue do for you? For starters, the system can set your lights to brighten gradually in the morning to wake you up naturally. You can also re-create the quality of light from any photo on your smartphone by using a dropper tool to choose the palette. Or you can simply configure your lighting to turn on and off at set times. Starter Pack Available on Amazon; $199.

    Related: 7 Life-Changing New Home Technologies for 2015


  5. Smart TVs


    Navigate through movies, music, social media, apps, the Internet, and—last but not least—television channels, from the comfort of your living room couch. And, with Samsung Smart TV's voice-interaction capabilities, you don't even have to worry when the remote goes missing. Available on Amazon; $900.

    Related:  7 Must-Have Electronics for Game-Day


  6. Bosch Dishwasher


    Everything about the new Bosch 800 Plus Series Dishwasher is smart. Behind the door of this quiet genius is a flexible third rack for awkward items, a touch-screen control panel, and built-in water softener. A full-color text display screen gives cycle status and maintenance updates. Simply brilliant! Available on Amazon; $915. 

    Related: New & Notable: 10 High-Tech Gadgets to Make Housework Less Work 


  7. Steam-Powered Washer and Dryer


    LG's SmartThinQ washer and dryer perform a number of intelligent feats. They detect when power consumption in your area is at its lowest, so they can be operated during periods when energy rates are lower. You can change the start time of preset wash cycles from your smartphone. And, best of all, the dryer's steam settings minimize wrinkles and odors, and reduce the need for ironing. Available on Amazon; $1,400.

    Related: 13 Lazy Cleaning Tricks for a Spotless Home


  8. Water Pebble Water Saver


    By memorizing the length of your first shower and using it as a benchmark, the oh-so-clever Waterpebble indicates, via a series of traffic lights that flash from green through red, when you should finish up your showers. Each time you shower, Waterpebble reduces your shower time by a fraction, helping you to save water without ever having to think about it. Available on Amazon; $12.

    Related:  Wet Tech: 10 Waterproof Gadgets to Give Your Shower an Upgrade


  9. The Nest Learning Thermostat


    The Nest is the first of its kind, a design-savvy programmable thermostat that learns your schedule and programs itself. It can even be controlled from your phone. Teach it well and it could save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs. Available on Amazon; $247.

    Related:  Nest Learning Thermostat: Digital-Age Home Temperature Control


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