Looking for some inexpensive ways to transform your home? You’re in luck as there are plenty of great deals to be had on Amazon Prime Day, including a few on some of the devices I’ve used for my own DIY projects.
Although you may be looking for the best Prime Day TV deals or even the best Prime Day laptop deals, there are plenty of great Prime Day deals under $50 that can really make a difference in your home.
If you have a bit more to spend but still don’t want to break the bank, each of these projects can all be completed for less than $200. They’ve really made things easier for me at home especially when it comes to dealing with the mail, keeping track of my family’s schedule and even decorating for the holidays.
While a fancy new TV or laptop may be cool, these DIY projects can be completed in an afternoon and even if you don’t have the time right now, Prime Day is the perfect time to pick up all of the supplies you’ll need to complete them on your own.
A smart display for the whole family
There are plenty of different options to choose from amongst the best smart displays, whether it's the Google Nest Hub Max or the Echo Show 8. However, there’s only one smart display you can easily mount to any wall in your home — that’s the Echo Show 15.
Although I personally have my own Echo Show 15 mounted vertically in my kitchen, you can also mount the smart display horizontally. This actually might be the better option since you can utilize Amazon’s new Fire TV Mode that lets you use your smart display like a TV to watch anything you want from the best streaming services using either an Alexa Voice Remote or the Alexa Voice Remote Pro.
Echo Show 15 with Remote: was $280 now $181 @ Amazon
The Echo Show 15 is not only the largest smart display you can buy, but it’s also the most versatile, as you can put it to use as a mini TV now that it has Amazon’s Fire TV built in. The device can be mounted vertically or horizontally, and you can customize the home screen with 31 different widgets. There’s also a privacy cover for the built-in webcam and a button to disable Alexa.
What I particularly like about having the Echo Show 15 mounted in my kitchen is that the entire family can use it as well. Each member of your household can set up their own personalized profile, and it’s easy to see what’s on everyone’s calendar at a glance. I even use the Echo Show 15 with one of the best baby monitors to check in on my little one at night.
Unlike Google’s Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, the Echo Show 15 comes with Amazon’s built-in Silk browser, which allows you to go to any website you want. For instance, if you want to watch YouTube or even check out the latest stories from Tom’s Guide on your smart display, you can with the Echo Show 15.
In the picture above, I used the Silk browser to access my digital dashboard, which looks really great on the display. That said, there isn’t an option to run the Echo Show 15’s browser in full screen mode.
These smart lights are perfect for any holiday
The best smart lights can help set the mood for any occasion — this is true whether you have them set up indoors or outdoors. If you spend a lot of time outdoors though, investing in some smart lights for your backyard or patio is well worth it.
As I have a patio on the side of my house that had some old broken string lights set up when I moved in, I decided to replace them with Govee’s Smart Outdoor String Lights. Available in 24-, 48- and 96=foot versions, these string lights are quite affordable when compared to Philips Hue lights. They also have a lifespan of 20,000 hours.
I installed the Govee Smart Outdoor String Lights using hooks instead of staples. That makes them easy to swap out for new lights when the time comes.
Govee Outdoor String Lights (96ft): was $110 now 100 @ Amazon
The Govee Outdoor String Lights let you bathe your backyard in color with 16 million color options and 47 built-in scenes. For the price, you get 30 lights with an IP65 rating, and each bulb offers 50 lumens of brightness. With the Govee app, you can change scenes or create your own, and you can also sync up your lights with any speaker by using your phone’s microphone.
Govee’s Smart Outdoor String Lights are waterproof as well as shatterproof, so they’re a great choice if you have curious children running around your backyard. With the Govee app installed on my smartphone, there are plenty of built-in scenes to choose from, including ones like “Fall,” “Summer” and “Christmas” for the holidays. However, you can also create your own or even use your smartphone’s microphone to have your string lights sync up with the best music streaming services.
It took almost 200 feet of string lights to cover my whole porch from one end to the other, but I’ve been very pleased with the results. I’ve now had my string lights up for an entire year, and I haven’t had any problems with them so far.
Never forget to check the mail again
If you’re anything like me, you likely dread checking your mailbox. For me, this is because my own mailbox is often filled with bills, junk mail and even mail from my home’s previous owners who forget to get their mail forwarded after they moved out.
After my son was born last year, things got pretty hectic around the house and while I thought my wife was checking the mail, she thought I was checking it. It turns out that nobody was checking the mail and it got so bad that USPS decided to stop delivering mail to our house. I knew there had to be a smart home device to solve this problem, which is when I stumbled upon the Ring Mailbox Sensor.
Ring Mailbox Sensor + Bridge: was $80 now $50 @ Amazon
The Ring Mailbox Sensor and Ring Bridge bundle lets you turn your boring old mailbox into a smart mailbox that can send an alert to your phone whenever the mail arrives. However, it also works with Amazon’s Echo devices which means you can set up an Alexa skill to alert your entire household when you’ve got mail.
As the name suggests, the Ring Mailbox Sensor is a smart sensor you place inside of your mailbox to alerts you when it detects motion. If you already have a Ring doorbell or Ring Smart Lights, you’ll be able to add the sensor without any fuss. However, if you don’t, you’ll also need to buy a Ring Bridge. Fortunately, you can get both devices together in a bundle at a discount.
If you have a plastic mailbox, you just need to install the Ring Mailbox Sensor at the back of your mailbox or on the front door. However, if you have a metal mailbox like the one pictured above, you’ll need to drill a hole in the back to run an antenna from the sensor. This way, your Ring Mailbox Sensor will be able to connect with your Ring Bridge without any interference.
I’ve had the Ring Mailbox Sensor installed in the mailbox pictured above for around a year and I recently transferred it to my new plastic mailbox without any hassle. My mail carrier now knows me since I check the mail as soon as it arrives and I’ve even set up an Alexa Skill that says “You’ve got mail!” on my Echo Show 15 whenever the sensor detects motion.
Getting the most out of Prime Day
Buying one or two big ticket items may seem like a smart idea during Prime Day, but if you plan accordingly, you can pick up everything you need for several household projects. Even if you don’t have the time to get to them all now, you can always stock up on all the necessary supplies so that you’ll be ready when you do finally get some free time.
I paid full price for all of the items above but if I had just waited until Prime Day, I could have saved quite a lot. Likewise, Black Friday and other big sales events provide a cheaper way to get your home upgrades at a discounted price. Whichever route you decide to go, take the time and plan out your next home improvement project before you head to checkout.
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Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.