15 Smart Home Gifts That Make It Easier to Leave for Vacation
Tech-savvy travelers who are constantly on the road will love these high-tech gadgets. After all, they make it possible for homes to take care of themselves. Smart home products are one of the top tech gift categories — a slice of the market that has expanded well beyond the voice-controlled speaker devices and smart thermostats (though we love those, too).
Today, the latest gadgets can feed your pets, water your lawn, monitor your property, and — of course — control the temperature while you’re out of town. They make it easier than ever for road warriors to stop fretting about the house or apartment.
Related: The Best Gifts Under $10
Of course, the best smart home gifts can also be enjoyed while you’re, well, home. They help residents feel secure and comfortable, and they can also be quite a lot of fun.
That's why this gift list has a wide range of products, from the totally functional to the entertaining. And there are plenty that do both.
Even if you don’t think you can improve upon basic home necessities like door locks and vacuums, you’d be smart to reconsider. If nothing else, you (or the tech aficionado on your gift list) will be surprised just how much more self-sufficient homes can be.
Nest Thermostat E
One of the key players in the smart home market, Nest, has reimagined their connected thermostat with a white, ceramic-like ring and frosted display that feels both subtle and modern. This model comes with a basic, pre-set schedule, meaning lucky recipients can start saving between 10 and 15 percent on their energy bills right away.
To buy: macys.com, $169
Roku Streaming Stick Plus
Still one of the most egalitarian streaming tools on the market, Roku works with almost every major streaming service (with Apple iTunes being one of the most notable exceptions). And the price is hard to beat. The big difference between this Roku stick and earlier generations is that the device will now support most 4K streaming — perfect if the tech lover on your list has upgraded to a new 4K TV.
To buy: amazon.com, $59
Amazon Echo Show
If the person on your list loves Amazon Echo, they'll love that now, Alexa can show them things. The Echo Show's screen makes it possible to watch video content, see music lyrics, and monitor security cameras, while maintaining all the other functionalities that have made the Echo such a popular feature in smart homes.
To buy: amazon.com, $230
Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller
Compatible with Amazon Alexa and an exclusive mobile app, this sprinkler system will keep your property looking beautiful no matter how long you’re out of town. It even takes the guesswork out of watering the grass and plants when you input soil type, plant types, and sun exposure. Rachio can provide a tailored schedule that skips after a rain and adjusts with the seasons.
To buy: amazon.com, $153
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link Purifier
Keep the air you breathe clear and uncontaminated. This advanced Dyson purifier combats allergens, mold, bacteria, and odors with a HEPA filter, and delivers a live air quality report to a synchronized app. It doubles as a fan in the summer and a space heater in the winter. Because it can be remote-controlled with your phone, you can shut it off regardless of where you are in your travels.
To buy: amazon.com, $625
Apple TV 4K
Capable of streaming brilliant 4K and HDR movies and television, the latest Apple TV has a number of exciting new features. Now, favorite television shows and half-watched movies from all different apps and channels will be compiled in the Apple TV app, and a new remote with touchscreen capabilities and Siri makes the television-viewing experience even easier. "Siri, what should we watch next?"
To buy: apple.com, $179
Sensibo Sky Air Conditioner Controller
If you don’t have central air and heat, there are still ways to make standalone AC and heating units work smarter. Simply attach the Sensibo device to your air conditioner or heater, and use a dedicated app to control the temperature. If you're at the aiport but are worried you left the space heater on, simply turn it off from your phone.
To buy: amazon.com, $119
Xiaomi Robot Vacuum
This Japanese vacuum doesn’t just blindly roll around your home picking up crumbs until it gets stuck in a corner. Instead, Xiaomi scans the household, creating an intelligent path. It won't waste time and energy vacuuming the same spot twice (or, you know, getting stuck). And a mobile app makes it possible to direct Xiaomi from anywhere, making sure you always come home to a clean house.
To buy: amazon.com, $356
Google Home Mini
This donut-sized unit brings Google Assistant (and 360-degree sound) into your home without taking up too much space. Google Home can answer questions, make phone calls, play music — even book your next vacation. Best of all, it works with all of your new smart gadgets, including Nest devices, video cameras, and more.
To buy: google.com, $49
Ditch your dinosaur home printer, and you’ll be surprised how much you actually want to print. Canon’s premium system, the TS9120, is a three-in-one printer, scanner, and copier that can be connected using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, or the cloud. So you can print from anywhere in your home. Don’t underestimate its ability to produce beautiful, professional-quality photos, either. Pair this with a new Canon DSLR for a powerful duo.
To buy: canon.com, $150
LG ProBeam Laser Smart Home Theater Projector
At only 4.6 pounds, this lightweight LG projector is portable enough to travel with you on road trips or family getaways — and its wireless mirroring feature means it can seamlessly connect to your laptop, tablet, or smartphone for content. The HF80JA model can, of course, also turn the humble living room into a full-on movie theater.
To buy: amazon.com, $1,497
Logitech Circle 2 Security Camera
Added features like compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa make the Circle 2 a nice upgrade from the brand’s first generation camera. But what really stands out is its durability. This wireless, waterproof, indoor and outdoor HD home security camera (that even features night vision) can guard your home from anywhere.
To buy: amazon.com, $140
PetSafe Automatic Dispenser
Sometimes, all you need is a straightforward solution to a common problem. With the PetSafe automatic food dispenser, you can program up to 12 meals a day for your pet, and take lengthy trips without concern as a result. The number of adapters (like two and three-way splitters for multi-pet households) makes it a fit for any pet owner who wants to be able to take spontaneous trips without concern for their four-legged friends.
To buy: amazon.com, $130
This year, Nest expanded into the home security field. In addition to cameras and alarms, the brand introduced Detect: a device that recognizes two distinct types of motion. It can be placed on a wall to sense in-room motion, or on a window to determine if it’s opened or closed. On a door, it can manage both.
To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, $59
Eero Home Wi-Fi System
With all these smart gadgets at home, giving the gift of seamless, powerful Wi-Fi may be the best gift you can give. The new eero home Wi-Fi system replaces the old network of routers and range extenders with three to five access points (low-profile beacons that plug into existing outlets). With an added software component, users can also enjoy enhanced security features (think: parental controls).
To buy: amazon.com, $399