18 House Functions You Didn’t Know You Could Control from Your Phone

The smart homes imagined in movies and shows from decades ago are essentially reality now thanks in large part to our phones. Ever-improving technology make it possible to connect our slim devices with, well, almost anything in the house. Smart gadgets and functions can offer better security, speed up tasks, and save energy. We rounded up 18 ways you can automate your house thanks to your smartphone.

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While it won’t chop the onions and marinate the roast for you, the GE Profile wall oven does have built-in Wi-Fi so you can remotely start preheating and set the timer from your phone or smart speaker device. On double ovens, you can even control each oven separately—a nice energy-saving feature that makes this appliance an especially fun and functional kitchen addition. Available from The Home Depot; $3,194.10.

Garage Door Opener


Know who’s coming and going from your house even if you aren’t home. The Chamberlain B750 garage door opener makes it easy to monitor your house with the MyQ App. You can open, close, and know the status of the door with the app, as well as receive alerts from it. Available from The Home Depot; $198.

Related:Buyer’s Guide: 6 Best Garage Door Openers

Washer & Dryer


With the GE Energy Star Washer and Dryer you don’t have to wonder how much longer until you can move on to the next load, so you can take care of other chores and work while you wait. From the GE Laundry app you have the ability to monitor the cycle status and time remaining, extend dryer cycle times, receive alerts when cycles are finished, and monitor levels of the detergent tank. Available from The Home Depot; prices vary by size and model.

Related: 8 Things You Need If You Hate Doing Laundry



A fridge might not seem like something that needs to be made “smart,” but you’d be surprised at all the improvements that have been made to this kitchen staple. A corresponding app for phone or tablet lets you put your LG smart refrigerator in energy-saving vacation mode, check the temperature of the fridge, or coordinate inventory and shopping lists to your phone. All this multitasking fridge can’t do is finish your shopping for you.

Hot Tub Control


When there’s a chill in the air, there’s nothing like a soak in a hot tub to warm you up. But venturing outdoors to raise the water temperature in advance of a soak isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Enter OnSpa. This wireless system allows you to use your smartphone to control your hot tub. You can operate the jets, set the temperature, and even stream music through the Bluetooth module. Just don’t get your phone too close to the water’s edge! Available from Arctic Spas; prices vary by size and model.

Sprinkler System


Take control of your in-ground sprinkler system with assistance from Rachio. The smart watering controller works with the sprinkler system you already have in your yard; it just replaces your current controller or timer. With the app you’re able to create and change watering schedules, test sprinklers, and enter data about your lawn and garden that will help the system offer improved watering sessions. The system syncs and adjusts waterings to local weather reports to provide adequate moisture and prevent overwatering. Available from
The Home Depot
; $134.10.

Related: The 10 Best Things You Can Do for Your Lawn

Baby Monitor


Whether you’re out on date night or just downstairs, keep an eye and an ear on the baby with a Wi-Fi monitor like the Safety 1st HD Wifi Baby Monitor available at Target. Thanks to the high-quality video and sound, you can see and hear how things are going even if you’re not there physically. Available from
; $199.99.



Don’t let its small size fool you, the Sonos Play:1 will fill the room with music. More than just your ordinary Bluetooth speaker, the Play:1 connects to your Wi-Fi network to play music, radio, and podcasts, and connects to other Sonos speakers in the house for an immersive sound experience. Available from
; $149.

Pet Feeder


Thanks to the Petnet SmartFeeder, you don’t have to sweat your pet’s meal plan if unforeseen events whisk you out of town in a hurry. Arrange feeding times through the corresponding smartphone app, and the SmartFeeder will dispense kibble for your dog or cat. The automatic feeder considers the breed, age, weight, and activity of your animal to determine the healthiest portion size, and will send you alerts when your pet eats or when food supplies are running low. Available from Amazon; $179.

For the Dogs: 11 Crazy Home Upgrades Made by Pet Owners

Air Conditioner


There’s no need to replace your air conditioner if you want to go “smart.” Sensibo connects with your current air conditioner to transform it into a smart AC unit by allowing you to turn your unit on or off, adjust the temperature, and set a seven-day schedule all from your smartphone or tablet. It can even turn the AC off when you leave and turn it back on right before you arrive. The potential for energy savings and increased comfort is undeniable. Available from Amazon; $119.

Related: 9 Ways to Lower Cooling Costs in Rising Heat

Instant Pot


The Instant Pot has earned a cult following for its ease of use and speedy cooking abilities. The multi-use appliance (that’s pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice/porridge cooker, yogurt maker, cake maker, sauté/searing, steamer, and warmer all in one) whips up delicious dishes with essentially the push of a button. Now the legendary brand takes things up a notch with the Smart Wi-Fi model. This version has all the same functions that made Instant Pot a hit, but with the added capability of controlling the device from your phone. You can schedule, monitor, and adjust the cooking settings using the app, and browse over 750 recipes. Available from 
; $149.95.

Related: 10 Gadgets for Every Lazy Cook’s Kitchen



See who’s at the door without getting up or even being at home. Ring Video Doorbell lets you see, hear, and talk with visitors through your phone, tablet, or computer. The smart doorbell sends alerts when motion is detected or when the doorbell is pressed, and you can view live video on-demand with its Live View. In an age when packages get swiped from the doorstep, Ring offers a sense of security that it will thwart or at least capture thieves on camera. Available from
; $199.



Feeling so cold that you can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed? Then reach for the phone on your nightstand and adjust the thermostat from an app. The Nest Learning Thermostat makes it easy to do this, as well as check your home’s energy use and history. If the temperature inside your house ever reaches dangerously high or low levels, Nest will send an alert to your phone. The learning thermostat is able to remember your preferred temperature settings and adjust to your favorite levels throughout the day. Available from The Home Depot; $249.

Light Switch


Smart bulbs allow you to turn lights on and off with your phone and set vacation timers from anywhere, but replacing every ordinary bulb in the house with a smart one is expensive and wasteful. Just because you forgo a full upgrade, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this technology. The C-Start Smart Switch, a wall switch that connects to any light in your home whether CFL, LED, or smart, allows you to turn lights on and off from an app or a smart speaker system or creating a lighting schedule to make it look like someone is always home, even when you’re not. Available from Best Buy; $49.99

Pet Camera


Curious about what your pup is up to while you’re not home? Check in on him with the Furbo Dog Camera. Not only can you view livestream video of your dog, but with two-way audio you can hear and speak to him. As an added treat, you can use the app to toss actual dog treats. Available from Amazon; $199.

Sous Vide Cooker


Sous vide is a technique that requires precise water temperatures for evenly cooked dishes, and the Anova Sous Vide Nano Precision Cooker is the device that will stir and heat a pot of water to maintain the exact temperature for proper cooking. This model connects to your phone through Bluetooth so you can start, stop, and monitor the process when you have to step out of the kitchen. You’ll soon be cooking like a pro thanks to this handy gadget and the 1,000 recipes included on the corresponding app. Available from Target; $99.99.



Wish there were even more things in the house that you could control from your phone? Well, with Wemo plugs you can. Stick the smart plug into any outlet and then plug in your lamp or appliance. Through the Wemo app you can now turn on, off, or monitor the appliance using your phone. Available from Amazon; $39.10 for a two pack.



SONTE Film is a remarkable window film that goes from clear to opaque simply by swiping in the corresponding smartphone app. The special film has a series of rod-like particles suspended in a fluid wedged between two plastic layers. When an electric current, controlled over Wi-Fi by a smartphone, passes through the particles, they align to let light pass through. Available at Sonte.com; prices vary by dimensions.

Automate Your Home


More than ever before, your world is at your fingertips.