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Top Home Tech Products You Need to Add

Homes are getting smarter all the time, thanks to great advances in technology. Check out our favorite home tech products and add a little brains to your abode!

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Ecobee Smart Thermostat

Ecobee Smart Thermostat

Amazon

The Ecobee smart thermostat does everything but the dishes around the house it seems. It works well with Amazon’s Alexa and claims to save homeowners an average of 23 percent annually. It can tell when someone’s home and which rooms are occupied. Find out if a WiFi thermostat is right for you. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

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Nest Protect carbon monoxide detectorAmazon

Nest Protect

Nest has got it right with the second-generation model of its Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It integrates with Nest’s Learning Thermostat and Nest Cam. It will test for low batteries and communicate with other Nest devices in a home. It can tell you where the problem is and uses two wavelengths of light to look for both fast and slow burning fires.

Find out how to maintain smoke alarms in your home.

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Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades

Lutron Serena Remote Controlled Shades

Lutron

Let Lutron handle the hassle of opening and closing shades with its remote-controlled shades. The insulated honeycomb model has a R rating for insulation of 4.3 whereas a typical double-pane window has an R-value of 2. The shades can be controlled anywhere through the Luton App and Smart Bridge. It can even compensate for battery voltage like if one shade has new batteries and the shade next to it has older batteries they will still move at the same speed. Find out how to stop window drafts in your home. Photo: Courtesy of Lutron

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Sonos Wireless Speaker System

Sonos Wireless Speaker System

Amazon

Sonos wireless speakers allow you to stream music in any room with these speakers and works great with Amazon’s Alexa. The set is fairly simple: just plug it in, download the free app and connect it to your WiFi network. It makes entertaining easier and doesn’t require a bunch of wiring work in your ceiling. If you like the challenge of a DIY project like installing audio in every room, learn how to do it. Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

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electroluxelectricoven_12 smart ovenCourtesy of Electrolux

Electrolux IQ Touch Electric Range

Those in search of that modern house feel will want to upgrade to the Electrolux IQ Touch Electric Range. The front control design, Flex-2-Fit heating elements and Perfect Taste Dual Convection will make cooking everything from the weeknight meal to holiday dinners easier. The easy-to-clean cooktop surface and seven cooking modes will help even the most novice chefs prepare marvelous meals.

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Crock-Pot WeMo Enabled Smart Slow CookerCourtesy of Crock-Pot

Crock-Pot WeMo Enabled Smart Slow Cooker

Give your oven a break and control your dinner from anywhere with the WeMo Crock-Pot slow cooker. Just use your smart device and the WeMo App (free) to adjust or schedule cooking time and temperature. Dinner will be ready when you are!

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hapiforkCourtesy of HAPIfork

HAPIfork

The HAPIfork is an electric fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you’re eating that grilled steak too fast. The information is then uploaded via USB or Bluetooth to your online dashboard on HAPILabs.com to track your progress.

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GeniCan

GeniCan

Photo: Courtesy of GeniCan

Get organized in the kitchen with the GeniCan, which easily installs into your existing garbage can or recycle bin and allows you to add items to your grocery list automatically as you dispose of them. You'll never forget to add items to your list again.

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perfect drink provia Amazon

Perfect Drink Pro

You’ll make the perfect drink every time with the Perfect Drink Pro. Great for your home bar, tell the Perfect Drink Pro via the app what you have in your liquor cabinet. Choose a recipe and this bar-top appliance will help you measure out just the right proportions for your drink. Then shake or stir.

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behmorcoffeemaker_06via Amazon

Behmor Brazen Plus Coffee Maker

The Brazen Plus Coffee Maker features adjustable settings for water brewing temperature and pre-soak, and guarantees brewing temperature to within 1 degree of your setting. The oversize shower head and pulsed water flow ensures complete coffee bed saturation for the perfect cup every time. And use a permanent filter or paper filters, and don’t forget to use those leftover grounds for pest control.

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Neato Botvac Vacuum

Neato Botvac Vacuum

Tired of vacuum repair? The Botvac Wi-Fi connected robot vacuum from neato lets you control the vacuum from wherever you are. Have last-minute company coming over for dinner? Start the robot vacuum before you leave work. And, it has two cleaning modes and includes an ultra-performance filter which makes it easy-to-clean.

Photo: Courtesy of Neato Robotics

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Faber Hood T-Light

Faber Hood T-Light

A new vent hood can quickly transform a kitchen and the T-Light from Faber stands out with clean lines and bright LED light. With five models, smart appliances powerful Evo Motor guarantees better results in terms of energy efficiency and reduced noise.

Photo: Courtesy of Faber

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Anova Sous Vide with Bluetooth

Anova Sous Vide with Bluetooth

Anova Culinary

If it's too cool outside to grill, try cooking in the Anova Sous Vide with Bluetooth. And this sous vide (a method of cooking food slowly in a vacuum-sealed pouch at a low temperature so as to retain most of the juice and aroma) precision cooking device will cook that roast or steak to the perfect temperature every time, and you can keep track of the cooking process via its Bluetooth system. Buy it now.

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Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

Photo: Courtesy of Samsung

According to Samsung, the company's new Family Hub Refrigerator lets you "find what you need, faster." If your kitchen needs a makeover, this fridge will certainly make it smarter. It features a touchscreen system and apps that are easy-to-use, and has a camera feed to help you track contents. The refrigerator comes in three unique designs.

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Bluetooth Headphones

Bluetooth Headphones

Family Handyman

Protective headphones equipped with a radio have been around for a while. Some models offer an auxiliary jack so you can plug in your phone or MP3 player, but good luck keeping that irritating cord plugged in for more than five minutes at a time. ION has solved that little problem with its Tough Sounds Hearing Protection Headphones with Bluetooth & Radio. Now, while mowing the lawn or running a chain saw, you can tap into your Bluetooth-equipped device and listen to your own tunes or a podcast. These headphones have a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 20 hours per charge.

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Surge Protection is Cheap Insurance

Surge Protection is Cheap Insurance

Family Handyman

There's a bunch of surge protectors to choose from at home centers these days, and they're more affordable than ever. The six-outlet model shown here, made by Defiant, is available at The Home Depot. It's so inexpensive, there's no reason not to install them throughout the whole house. And don't forget about your larger appliances. Today's washers, dryers and refrigerators have electronic circuit boards that can be destroyed by surges.

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Power, Cubed: E-More Cube

Power, Cubed: E-More Cube

Family Handyman

Long power strips are a great invention, but some electrical plugs are such space hogs that you can't use all the available outlets. And what about your phone, tablet and other USB devices? The E-More Cube has four three-prong power outlets as well as two USB charging ports. The outlets are configured so there's no competition for charging space. The Cube is power-surge protected and takes up less space than a strip on a workshop or countertop. Plus, it looks cool! You can get one for about $23 at many online retail sites—just search for "power cube." — Marcia Roepke, Art Director

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Best Night-Light in History: SnapRays Guidelight

Best Night-Light in History: SnapRays Guidelight

Family Handyman

About once a year here at the office, we encounter 'The Perfect Product." This year the title winner has to be the SnapRays Guidelight. Even though it's just a lowly night-light, it's practically perfect in every way. Here's why:
  • Everyone needs it: If the sun goes down where you live, you need a few night-lights, right?
  • Anyone can install it: It takes all of 60 seconds. Remove the single screw on the old cover plate, snap in the Guidelight and reinstall the screw. That's it.
  • It's inexpensive to operate: The three tiny LEDs come on only when it's dark, thanks to the light sensor built into the cover.
  • It's not an ugly plug-in. It looks exactly like an ordinary cover plate. The LEDs at the bottom light up the floor right where you need it.
  • The price is reasonable and they cost even less per light if you buy a bunch.
The Guidelight is powered by two little prongs that snap over the terminal screws on the receptacle. Brilliant! No batteries, no wiring, no nuthin! You have a choice of two outlet cover types in ivory, almond or white.

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World's Coolest Hose Reel: RoboReel Water Hose Reel

World's Coolest Hose Reel: RoboReel Water Hose Reel

Family Handyman

It's crazy-expensive, but if you're a serious gardener, it's crazy-cool, too. Frankly, there's nothing like the RoboReel Water Hose Reel. Its looks may be otherworldly, but its function is totally down to earth. Here are the neatest features. One hundred feet of high-quality 5/8-in. hose (or 150 ft. of 1/2-in. hose) retracts with the push of a button either on the top of the cover or on the remote. So, no cranking?a big onboard rechargeable battery does the heavy lifting. The remote switch snaps onto the end of the hose (it features quick-disconnects on all the accessories), and that allows you to turn the water off or on from wherever you are. Attach it to a handheld sprinkler for hand watering, or use it separately to control the lawn sprinkler. No more running back and forth to the spigot. The water shuts off automatically after one hour, so you never have to worry about it running all night if you forget to shut it off. The RoboReel system has lots more features that are worth checking out if you think this awesome hose reel might be for you. Believe it?if you're a hard-core gardener with money to spend on your passion, you'll absolutely love this thing. Learn more, find a dealer and watch the videos at the manufacturer's website.

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Soil Testing Made Easy: General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter

Soil Testing Made Easy: General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter

Family Handyman

For the aspiring gardener or a lawn enthusiast, check out the General 4-in-1 Soil Condition Meter. Stick it in the ground and you can measure soil pH, moisture content and temperature. Plus, it'll tell you how much sunlight falls on any particular spot in the course of a day. The pH meter isn't as reliable as having samples tested in a lab, but General claims an accuracy rate of within .5 percent, which is close enough for most plants and grass. Serious gardeners and turf lovers use that information to get the most out of their gardens and lawns. This little tool might add a bit more green to your thumb too.

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Prevent Port Damage to Your Smartphone or Laptop

Prevent Port Damage to Your Smartphone or Laptop

Family Handyman

My 3-year-old granddaughter thought the USB ports on my son's laptop would be a great place to hide her hairclips. It was powered up at the time, and the clips shorted out the $800 main board (he had to remind himself how precious she is).

The service guy said port damage is common, and not just from little gremlins jamming hairclips in them. Dust, dirt and metal fragments can accumulate in the ports and cause damage when you jam the plug in. So my son sealed his smartphone and laptop ports with silicone anti-dust stoppers. It's really cheap insurance against costly repairs.

Rick Muscoplat, Contributing Editor

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See Inside your Walls with the General iBorescope

See Inside your Walls with the General iBorescope

Family Handyman

Unless you have X-ray vision, it can be tough to figure out what's inside a wall. That's where a 'borescope' comes in handy. It's basically a small camera on the end of a snake. You just fish it through a hole or tight space to view what's inside on a video monitor. Several companies make borescopes, but the General iBorescope line is a little different in that it lets you use the display on your smartphone or tablet as a wireless video monitor. The borescope acts as a Wi-Fi hot spot, letting you connect your mobile device to it without a Wi-Fi router or Internet access. A free app lets you snap photos and record video, and the camera is waterproof so you can safely use it in areas that may be wet. Before removing a all, you need to know what's inside.

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More Than A Garage Door Opener

More Than A Garage Door Opener

Family Handyman

This game-changing garage hub from Ryobi has a powerful 2-hp motor under the hood, instead of a 1/2-hp like most other openers. It features a super-quiet, steel-reinforced belt drive rather than a noisy chain or screw drive. It also has an LED light, which should last as long as the opener itself. The light is activated by a motion detector and turns on whenever you enter the garage. But what really sets this unit apart are the seven ports. Each port receives a module of your choosing, including a fan, a CO and temperature sensor, a Bluetooth speaker that broadcasts and receives music or phone calls from your smartphone, a retractable electrical cord, a battery backup, and even a laser system that tells you when your car is parked in exactly the right spot.

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Gift Ideas for New Homeowners: Smarter Smart Bulbs: GE's C Light Bulbs

Gift Ideas for New Homeowners: Smarter Smart Bulbs: GE's C Light Bulbs

Family Handyman

The new line of LED lightbulbs from GE, simply called "C," can be directly controlled with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth — no central hub necessary. There are two types of bulbs in the "C" line: The "C Life" is an all-purpose light perfect for the kitchen, living room or office. The "C Sleep" bulb has been designed to support the body's natural circadian rhythms, which can help you sleep more soundly. It emits a traditional soft light for the day; a warm, calming light before bedtime; and a crisp, energizing light in the morning. Using an app, the lights can be dimmed and set to a timer as a group or individually. When run for three hours a day, the bulbs should last 20 years! You can start thinking about replacing lights in your new workshop area with LED lights.

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Smartphone-friendly Garage Door Opener: Chamberlain HD950WF

Smartphone-friendly Garage Door Opener: Chamberlain HD950WF

Family Handyman

This Chamberlain garage door opener includes a few very useful 'bells and whistles.' It has a hefty 1-1/4-hp motor and a battery backup (so it'll work even if the power is out). The door starts out slowly, picks up speed, and then slows down before reaching the top or bottom. That, in conjunction with the belt drive, makes it super quiet. And, with the included smartphone app, you can open and close your garage door (or check it you left the door open) from nearly anywhere. Buy it now at The Home Depot.

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Hide TV Wires: Power Jumper kit

Hide TV Wires: Power Jumper kit

Family Handyman

A flat panel TV looks great on the wall, but all those wires leading to it don't. If there's an outlet near the TV, the Power Jumper kit (No. 22APJW-7R) lets you get power and digital cable up to your TV invisibly. The outlet and plug are prewired. Just cut a hole near the TV and another below it in the same stud cavity. Then drop the prewired unit and signal cables down from the top opening.

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LED Retrofit for Recessed Lighting: Halo RL560

LED Retrofit for Recessed Lighting: Halo RL560

Family Handyman

If you think you can pop an off-the-shelf LED bulb into a recessed fixture, think again. It may not survive the heat buildup in a small space. Plus, it may not provide the same beam pattern or color as your current bulb. So if you're serious about reducing your electric bill, look for a retrofit module made especially for recessed lights. The Halo RL560, for example, fits most existing 5-in. and 6-in. housings. Just screw the threaded adapter into the existing socket, connect the ground wire and snap in the module. The RL560 uses 10 watts and provides 600 lumens (65-watt equivalent). Estimated life is 50,000 hours. It's rated for damp and wet locations and is dimmable. Find the module at home centers, lighting showrooms and online. It's available in white or a satin nickel finish.

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Save 10 Percent on Your AC Bill with QwikSEER+ WattSaver

Save 10 Percent on Your AC Bill with QwikSEER+ WattSaver

Family Handyman

Most furnaces and heat pumps run the air-conditioning blower motor at a fixed speed regardless of the conditions inside your home. But the QwikSEER+ WattSaver add-on controller board makes your AC system more efficient by running the blower motor at the optimal speed to match the temperature and humidity levels in your home. It's proven to save at least 10 percent on your annual AC bill. You can install the unit yourself if you can follow an electrical schematic and feel comfortable cutting a small hole in the sheet metal plenum to mount a sensor on the evaporator coil. Don't want to do it yourself? An HVAC pro can do it in less than an hour. The QwikSEER+ WattSaver pays for itself in about two years, depending on your AC usage and the electric rates in your area. For more information, visit the manufacturer's site.

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Reduce Cord Clutter with a PowerTap Grommet

Reduce Cord Clutter with a PowerTap Grommet

Family Handyman

This power and data port is a neat, convenient way to provide a computer plug-in spot on you desk. The port rotates inside its housing. So you can instantly flip it open to plug in, or close it for a clean, uncluttered look. And no more reaching behind your desk to plug into a wall receptacle. The downside is that you have to cut a big hole (more than 4 in. in diameter) in your desktop. There are two versions: one with outlets and Ethernet ports, the other with outlets and USB ports. To browse or buy, search online for 'PowerTap Grommet.'

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WaterCop: Automatic Water Shutoff

WaterCop: Automatic Water Shutoff

Family Handyman

A little leak can lead to huge costs and headaches. That's why there are water shutoff systems like the WaterCop control valve. Install it right after your main shutoff valve, then locate water sensors (sold separately) near the most likely leaks (water heater, toilets, dishwasher, etc.). If a sensor detects water, it wirelessly signals the valve to shut off. You can also install a temperature sensor that shuts off the water when indoor temperatures fall to 38 degrees F. That won't prevent the pipes from bursting if they freeze, but it will prevent a flood. Visit the manufacturer's site for more information. Find you water main and gas shut off when you move in to a first home or new home.

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Gift Ideas for New Homeowners: Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back

Gift Ideas for New Homeowners: Vacuum Dustpan Saves Your Back

Family Handyman

You may think this Crowley Jones EV1850 Eye-Vac Pro Electric Dustpan represents the ultimate in laziness. But if you have back issues, this smart vacuum/dustpan is for you. Just set the unit to automatic mode and sweep the debris toward it. The motion sensor detects when your broom is within range and starts up the vacuum. Aim the dirt pile toward the suction port and the vacuum will suck it up. If you have pets, they may activate the motion detector when they walk by. That's why there's a switched manual mode to activate the vacuum. Discover vacuum attachment uses for dust collection in the workshop. Buy the Eye-Vac Pro now on Amazon.

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Answer or Open the Door From Any Phone with Viking Electronics

Answer or Open the Door From Any Phone with Viking Electronics

Family Handyman

You get packages and you don't want them sitting on your doorstep. Or, you need to open the door for housecleaners and contractors when you're not at home. Forget the spare keys. Forget the dead bolt codes. These two products from Viking Electronics allow you to answer the door, speak with the visitor from any phone anywhere, and even open the door remotely. Install the C-250 controller between the landline demarcation box and your home phones or between your router and your VoIP box. Connect the controller to the Viking E-40-BN-EWP door box. Then program the controller to dial up to five family cell phone numbers. When a visitor presses the button, the controller rings your home phone with a double ring so you know it's a visitor at the door and not a regular phone call. Answer the door and open the door from any home phone. When you leave the house, simply program the controller to forward the door box calls to your cell phone. If you don't have land or VoIP service, leave the controller in call forwarding mode and it'll send all door box calls to a portable phone. The forwarded call will show up on your portable phone's screen as your front door. Answer the call and enter a code to activate your door strike or Wi-Fi-enabled dead bolt. The Viking units are a bit pricey, but they're commercial-grade products, so they'll last much longer than cheaper consumer-grade versions.

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Control Your Tools With Your Phone

Control Your Tools With Your Phone

Family Handyman

Milwaukee's ONE-KEY line of tools is a new generation of 'connected tools' that can be programmed to suit the job. Let's say you're installing metal vent using self-drilling screws. Just use the Milwaukee app to find the setting for the gauge and type of metal and the size of the screw. Then program the drill or impact driver using your phone's Bluetooth. When you squeeze the trigger, the tool will start at a low rpm to prevent the tip from walking across the metal. The electronic torque monitoring senses when the screw bites in and boosts the speed to drive the screw in. Then it'll slow down and cut off power when the screw reaches the programmed torque—all with a single trigger pull. The ONE-KEY system also has an inventory management and tool reporting feature for pros to keep track of tools and monitor their workers' productivity. Find some handy apps for DIY work.

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Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router

Super-Fast Wi-Fi Router

Family Handyman

If you're into wireless home video streaming or gaming, or home automation, you need a Wi-Fi router with the best range and fastest speed. Most Wi-Fi routers have a hard time delivering all the available bandwidth when multiple users are online. That's because they deliver data to only one device at a time. So everyone's speed is based on the speed of the oldest and slowest device in use at the time. The Netgear Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wireless Router solves that problem by adding an extra traffic lane. When the router sees a slowpoke device come online, it diverts the faster devices to the new traffic lane, so everybody gets the fastest possible speed. The Nighthawk router also uses six antennas and Beamforming software to locate and direct the signal toward each device. Together with a fast dual-core processor and a powerful amplifier, this Wi-Fi router gets you the strongest signal at almost every spot in your house. Find out other ways to get faster internet for your wireless network.

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Electrical Tools with Onboard Voltage Tester

Electrical Tools with Onboard Voltage Tester

Family Handyman

Non-contact voltage testers are great for making sure the power is off before you start an electrical project. But the testers are easy to lose track of and misplace—which pocket is it in? Tool manufacturer Gardner Bender solves the problem of lost testers by incorporating a tester right into the handles of its wire stripper and screwdriver—tools you're bound to have on hand whenever you're doing electrical work. Simply press the button and move the tool handle near the wires to test before touching. Or, slide the tester off the tool handle to use it as a freestanding unit. Find the GST-70M Circuit Alert Voltage sensing stripper and SDT-10 screwdriver at home centers and online.

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Ring Doorbell

Ring Doorbell

Home Depot

It was only a matter of time before someone brought the traditional doorbell into the 21st century. With the Ring Video Doorbell you can enhance your home security and just make your life easier in general. The Ring Doorbell connects to your home Wi-Fi network and takes HD video of the area directly outside of your door. You can then access the camera's video feed through an app on your phone from anywhere in the world, whether you are in your backyard or in another country. The doorbell even has a two-way audio channel so you can have a full conversation with whoever is at your door. The Ring Doorbell can be set to send you a notification every time someone walks up to your house so you can check out any unwanted or surprise guests. In terms of design, the Ring Doorbell is not much bigger than other doorbells and comes in a variety of colors so that it works with any paint scheme. The Ring Video Doorbell is sold online and in stores starting at $179, with an upgraded "Pro" version available for $249.

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Bluetooth padlockFamily Handyman

Bluetooth Padlock

We had a problem with strangers disposing of their garbage in our dumpster here at work. On a few mornings, it was completely full of construction debris! We could either start locking the dumpster at night or keep paying the $80 early pickup fees. I bought a Master Lock Bluetooth padlock because I didn’t want to carry any more keys in my pockets or try to remember a combination.

The app on my phone lets me open the lock remotely (within Bluetooth range). I can also use the app to set combinations that my coworkers can use. If I give out individual codes, I can track who opened it and when—not that  I don’t trust my coworkers. I can give out single-use codes as well. I bought the heavy-duty outdoor model No. 4401DLH online. — Josh Risberg, Lead Carpenter

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Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit

Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit

Home Depot

Get your home on the path to automation with the Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit. Check out our Stuff We Love video on this product. Photo: Courtesy of Home Depot

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Weber iGrill 3Weber Grill

Weber iGrill 3

The Weber iGrill 3, which is compatible with the brand’s Genesis II and Genesis II LX gas grills, allows you to closely monitor your food so you get perfect results every time. The Bluetooth-enabled device supports up to four probes and sends information such as food temperature, cook time and even propane tank levels to your smartphone or tablet via the Weber iGrill app.

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Smartphone with thermal imagingFamily Handyman

Smartphone with Thermal Imaging

The CAT S60 Android smartphone is far more rugged than a consumer-grade phone. It’s shatterproof up to a 6-ft. drop onto concrete, dustproof, shockproof and waterproof down to 5 meters for up to an hour. This phone works in temps from minus 13 to 131 degrees F, and the touch screen has glove-on and wet-finger tracking ability, so it operates in any weather.

The CAT S60 has a 13-megapixel camera as well as an infrared (FLIR) camera. Use the FLIR camera throughout your house to measure surface temperatures and find air leaks and temperature differences behind walls, electrical problems and even beehives. The S60 works with AT&T and T-Mobile and affiliated GSM networks using a nano sim card. It comes with 32GB internal memory and accepts a microSD card for extended storage up to 128GB.

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Philips

Philips Hue Bulbs

Philips has finally provided an answer to whether the lights were left on at home with its Hue Bulbs. The Hue app connects to the lights, which you can turn on and off remotely. The app also allows users to set schedules for lights. Order these bulbs here.

Learn more about smart light switches and how to choose LED bulbs for the home.