How to Get Your (Smart) Home Connected
14 smart electronic gadgets that help streamline your home and reduce energy costs
These 14 app-controlled gadgets can make life at home easier while cutting energy costs. Click through to learn how the technologies work for the Johnson family—Jason, Sue, son Jake, and dog Max—and how they can work for you, too.
Read more about how the Johnson's completed their smart-home upgrade.
(about $249 on pre-order) can stream a live video feed to your smartphone, sound a piercing alarm, and send you alerts triggered by any of its many sensors—like a sudden shift in temperature that could indicate a fire. If you want to review the video later, you'll need to fork over a monthly fee for cloud storage.
(about $249) automatically reduces heating or cooling while you're away by sensing motion and logging when you override the temperature, saving on energy costs. It also synchs with the app, which prompts you to toggle the thermostat's status—Home or Away—when the door is unlocked or locked.
's long-discontinued X10 Clock Radio talks directly to light switches to turn them off at bedtime. The Johnsons prefer the dated gadget to having screens in the bedroom—phones, tablets, and televisions.
(about $180) can answer questions about the weather forecast and ship you more smoothie straws, thanks to well-engineered sound-processing software.
(about $70) is just one of three streaming devices Jason uses to watch programming. The others include (about $90) and (unavailable).
(about $399) records free digital programming to a 1-terabyte hard drive while you watch another program—which you can locate on an integrated programming guide.