If you've been looking for the perfect home assistant, something that reads the news, plays music, and even turns your lights off at the end of a hard day, then look no further than the Amazon Echo. With seven microphones that can pick up your voice from across the room and omnidirectional speakers that fill a space with immersive sound, this sleek system is worth it for the listening experience alone. Even better, it's paired with cloud-based technology—referred to as Alexa—that will relay the weather, traffic, and even your favorite sports scores whenever you ask, from anywhere in the room. It's also compatible with a variety of other smart-home devices, making this command center a must-have for any streamlined home. Available on Amazon; $180.
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Keen Home Smart Vent
If your house is like most, it has a few rooms that are consistently too cold and a few rooms that are always too warm. That's exactly the kind of scenario that the Smart Vent seeks to correct. Retrofit any of your home's existing vents with a Smart Vent, then connect them to your home wireless connection or programmable thermostat. The vents will communicate with each other to ensure that hot or cool air makes it into the rooms that need it most, keeping you and your family comfortable all year round. Available on Amazon; $85.
WallyHome Water Sensing System
Leak alarms aren't new, but in the past they were often expensive and rarely user-friendly. Enter the WallyHome Water Sensing System, a suite of gizmos that make leak detection more affordable and more effective. How? Traditional leak detectors just make noise (albeit a loud one) when triggered. The problem is that you may not be home every time a leak occurs. WallyHome keeps you in the loop: The instant one of its sensors detects an issue (either moisture or a dramatic change in temperature or humidity), Wally sends a notification right to your smartphone. Available on Amazon; $299.
Switch from iDevices
Though its looks are unassuming, the Switch from iDevices possesses remarkable abilities. Plug it into any outlet, and then use the corresponding app on your phone to control your lights, TV, coffeepot, and more. The convenience of control without having to lift a finger (or barely having to, at least) is one obvious benefit of this smart-home superpower. The real advantage, however, is that you can tailor the product to suit your schedule and your family's specific needs. Among other functions, it can be personalized to check in on your house remotely, or set zones that allow devices to work together for a truly collaborative home. Available on Amazon; $56.
Monitor your home wherever you are and whenever you need with the small-but-mighty Nest Cam. Its 24/7 live stream and 130-degree vision wide-angle view (with zoom!) are the technological equivalent of having eyes in the back of your head. You can even use it to listen and talk into the room with whoever might be home—like the kids who just got back from school, or the dog that's disobediently sitting on the couch. When you aren't tuned in, Nest's app will ping you to let you know of any unusual activity. Available on Amazon; $199.
MyQ Garage Door Opener
Some habits, such as grabbing your wallet and locking the door when you leave, are staples of your morning routine. But if you're naturally forgetful, you know all too well the icy panic that sets in when you can't remember if you unplugged the iron or turned off the stove. With Chamberlain's MyQ Garage Door Opener, you'll have one less thing to worry about in the morning. This sleek Wi-Fi-controlled unit is compatible with most garage doors made since 1993 and includes a free mounting bracket, door sensor, and an accompanying app. Connect MyQ to your home Wi-Fi, install the app, and you'll be able to open and close your garage door anywhere from your phone. You'll also receive alerts if the door is left open or if, say, the kids open it while you're away. Available on Amazon; $109.
Save yourself some of the headaches that accompany necessities like smoke alarms—like waking up at 2 a.m. to the unnerving intermittent chirp of a low-battery warning—when you make the switch to a smarter detector. Upgrading your smoke alarm takes only two steps: Replace the 9-volt battery in your existing smoke alarm with the Roost battery, then set up its corresponding app on your smartphone. This battery will notify you when your alarm goes off even if you aren't home, allow you to easily silence the beeping, and remind you when it's time to replace the battery. (That won't be anytime soon, though—they last for more than five years!) Available on Amazon; $65.
SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell
No matter where you are—on the couch or on the road—you can now answer the front door of your home via smartphone, thanks to the SkyBell Wi-Fi Video Doorbell. Here's how it works: When a guest pushes the button at the center of the circular, brushed-steel device, it sends a live video feed of the entryway directly to your phone. From there, you can see who's at the door, and if you want, video chat with your visitor. Available on Amazon; $150.
Robotic vacuum cleaners have been staples of smart homes for some time now, but the new and improved Neato BotVac leaves them all in the dust. Its Wi-Fi capabilities make it more advanced than its predecessors, so you can operate it remotely from Android or iPhone devices and receive real-time updates on its cleaning process. But is it a good housekeeper? The company maintains that its high-quality filter traps more dust and dirt than competing brands. Available on Amazon; $700.
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