Published On: Mon, Dec 11th, 2017

The Best Smart Home Gadgets For Apartment Dwellers

2017 has seen plenty of trends, but one that seems to actually be sticking is the smart home. I’m not talking about Wi-Fi-connected kettles or Bluetooth water bottles; those are dumb, but believe it or not, there’s a handful of smart home devices that are actually good.

Marshall Stanmore Wi-Fi speaker

Unfortunately for avocado-eating millenials, the bulk of smart home devices still require some kind of modification your landlord won’t be wild about. A door lock with no key might jazz up your walk-up, but it probably violates about 20 rules in your lease. The same thing goes for doorbells that need wiring, showerheads that require holes in the wall, or speaker systems with miles of wire running everywhere.

Instead, this is a list of the best smart home gadgets I’ve tested that require no wiring, no holes, and nothing more than a screwdriver and an ability to read to install.

Installation is a breeze, provided your lock is compatible. It took about ten minutes (without instructions!) for me to get the lock installed. Once that’s in place, basic functionality is established: You can lock and unlock the door using the August app, and the door will auto-unlock when the app senses you coming home.

The best part is that each user gets their own unique code, so you can keep track of who’s coming and going. You can also generate one-time codes to let someone into your house on an odd occasion, or time-sensitive codes, say for a dog-walker who only comes between 12 and 2 every day.

Overall, I’ve loved the experience: it’s great to never have to carry keys, I can give visitors access without worrying about spares, and it functions as a basic security system for my apartment, since the front door is physically the only way in or out.

Marshall Stanmore Wi-Fi speaker

Speakers were one of the first home gadgets to get connected, and with good reason: music streaming services are all online now, and it’s much more convenient to stream from your stereo than it is to leave your phone plugged in with a wire.

Although the Stanmore is compatible with multiple-speaker setups, I think you’d be better off with one of the established systems like Raumfeld or Sonos if you’re planning on buying into a whole system. Not only are the UIs better, but both companies have a long and established track record with keeping up to date on the latest services and music streaming platforms.

Hue lights

If you want smart lighting, the best choice is the most well-known: Philips Hue. Most companies’ smart bulbs are priced around the same, but Philips’ system has been around for so long, it’s the obvious winner. The lights are compatible with a wide range of services like Google Home and Alexa, and there’s a truly ridiculous number of light bulbs, light strips, and table lamps that all work together.

BedJet

My final favorite smart-home gadget isn’t new, and it’s also not particularly smart, unless you count anything with a Bluetooth radio as part of the Internet of Things. But none of that matters, because what the BedJet does (and does rather well) is pre-heat your bed to a toasty 107 Fahrenheit before you ever come near it.

The benefits as an alternative to an electric blanket (or running a heating fan next to your bed) are obvious, and it works just as well as you’d imagine. The hidden secret is that it also blows cool air without the heating element, working like the world’s best (and most silent) fan to keep you cool.

For someone in an old apartment with inconsistent heating or not A/C, the BedJet’s price makes total sense. It’s as cheap as a bad window A/C unit, but costs far less to run and isn’t nearly as noisy. The fact that it’s a cinch to set up or move doesn’t hurt, either.