These Gadgets Make for an Easy Season
Whether you're hosting your entire family or just curling up on the couch this holiday season, here are some smart-home devices, from smart speakers to connected cooking gadgets, that will help see you through to the new year.
Credit: Anova Culinary
Amazon Echo Dot
Alexa can help you with everything from looking up recipes, checking the weather, ordering groceries and gifts, and much more. The Echo Dot is your least expensive way to get Amazon's voice assistant in your home.
Set the mood with the best-sounding Alexa speaker. The Sonos One has all the great streaming features and settings as Sonos' other speakers, and has Amazon's assistant built in, so you can use your voice to switch from carols to Mariah Carey.
iHome iSP100 outdoor smart plug
Planning to deck your halls, shrubs and trees with Christmas lights? The iHome iSP100 outdoor smart plug is Wi-Fi-connected and resistant to wind, rain, snow and ice. iHome's app lets you create schedules for the lights to turn on and off. Plus, it works with Apple HomeKit, Nest, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Alex and Google Assistant.
Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Lamp Dimmer Starter Kit
While pricey, Lutron’s Caseta smart plugs let you dim whatever lights are connected to them, something most smart plugs can't do. In addition, they come with a remote control, and can be scheduled to turn on at a given time before sunset — helpful as the days get shorter.
Credit: Lutron Caseta
You don't want that turkey or ham to get overcooked, do you? Although its name would suggest that it be used for barbeques, the iGrill Mini can also be handy indoors, too. Simply stick the probe into the bird, and it will connect to your phone via Bluetooth to let you know when the roast is ready.
Baking a lot of holiday cookies? The Drop scale will measure your ingredients precisely, and the app itself has dozens of recipes that guide you along each step. Even better: If you decide to double a recipe, the scale will automatically change the amount you need of each ingredient.
Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker
The best way to make a succulent roast is to start it off in a sous vide machine, which slowly cooks things in a water bath at low heat. You retain all the moisture, and all of the tenderness. We like Anova's machine the best for its easy-to-use controls, helpful app, and that it can work in fairly large containers.
Credit: Anova Culinary
Make sure your house is toasty warm when your guests arrive. We like Ecobee's newest Ecobee4 thermostat because you can pair it with remote sensors, which lets you monitor the temperature in multiple rooms. Plus, this thermostat has Alexa built in, and works with lots of other smart-home systems.
Insignia Roku TV
Our favorite 4K TV under $500, this 55-inch Insignia set nonetheless delivers a great picture for the price. Plus, Roku's interface — also our favorite streaming service — is built into this set, so it's great for cord-cutters, too.
Not only is this little console great for gaming, but it's also great at other forms of entertainment, too. That's because the Nvidia Shield has Android TV built in, so you can stream movies, shows and more from a variety of sources, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video. And, it serves as a Google Assistant hub, so you can use it to control smart- home devices.