One of my favorite things about our annual home and garden issue is that I get to research some of the coolest and newest gadgets that can make our lives a lot easier and definitely more luxurious. Last year I told you about smart thermostats and even an automated dog feeder. This year I’ve picked seven more fun gadgets that I’m sure you’ll love.
Not only is it a powerful Bluetooth-enhanced speaker, the Amazon Echo can be trained to operate quite a few appliances throughout your home, with the help of developers Belkin and Samsung. The crystal-clear voice-recognition software will allow the Echo to do so many things for you, such as read you an audiobook or even tell you the weather forecast. Then, of course, you can use it as a speaker for your TV or computer. (How novel!) ($179.99 exclusively at Amazon.com)
Nest Smoke + CO Alarm
Safety is everyone’s top priority, and with this nifty two-in-one device, you can monitor smoke and carbon monoxide levels in your house absolutely pain-free. Gone are the days of setting off the alarm while cooking; a spoken-word warning will alert you and let you decide whether or not to continue receiving alerts for the next hour. If there’s a problem when you’re not home, you will receive a text message. What a smart machine! ($114.98 via Amazon.com)
In Florida, not only do we demand a lot out of our air conditioners, we do it in a way that keeps us mindful of rising electricity costs. Instead of turning off your A/C when you leave home and turning it back on when you return, this 8,000 BTU unit can turn on the air at a low fan speed before you return, slowly cranking up the power in the minutes before you arrive. It can even learn your home A/C habits and regulate the temperature of the house on its own. Begone, high electric bills! This one’s a life-saver. ($249 at Home Depot and homedepot.com)
Belkin WeMo Smart Slow Cooker
WeMo has a whole line of products designed to make your home “smart,” allowing you to partake in creature comforts by just pressing a button on your phone. Now, pairing this technology with a Crock Pot allows you to enjoy slow-roasted dinners without having to wake up early in the morning to turn it on. With the WeMo app, you can start the Crock Pot, change its cooking temperature, check the status of your food, and turn the cooker off, all from your phone. Bon appétit! ($129.99 via Amazon.com)
TrekDesk has found a way to keep people productive and healthy all at once. It’s scientifically proven that walking at least 10,000 steps per day can reduce your cancer rates by as much as 70%. With TrekDesk’s patented treadmill desk, you can keep your laptop, papers, pens and supplies right in front of you — as you walk on your treadmill! Exercise has never been so fun. Answer a few e-mails and soon you’ll notice that you’ve walked a quarter of a mile! Work and exercise have never been so perfectly married. Treadmill not included. ($499 at trekdesk.com)
Egg and Muffin Toaster
Many of you out there, including me, love a good breakfast sandwich before the workday begins. Why pay every day for fast food when you can make the sandwiches yourself, all using one device? This four-slice toaster by West Bend can toast everything from English muffins to croissants, and can also hard or soft boil up to eight eggs. If you want your eggs poached or scrambled, the toaster can do that too (up to two eggs at a time). In less than five minutes, your breakfast will be ready! ($69.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond stores and bedbathandbeyond.com)
Electric Cocktail Shaker
Want your martinis stirred, not shaken? You can do that with the Metrokane Rabbit electric cocktail shaker. Place all of your drink’s ingredients in the stainless steel/plastic mixer and turn it on. In just fifteen seconds, you’ll find that your drink has been prepared perfectly. All you need to do is get a glass ready; after all, it’s five o’clock somewhere! Available in colors like red and stainless steel paired with black. ($19.99 at Macy’s Florida stores and macys.com)
Check out our past fun home gadgets.