Five smart home devices you never knew you needed

Credit: Amazon

Credit: Amazon

As we spend an increasing amount of time in our domiciles, many of us will embark on quests for home — and self — improvement. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a minute and share a few of my favorite devices you should buy to make your home smarter.

1. Amazon Echo Flex

If you want all the convenience of a voice-activated smart home hub (without spending a ton of money) look no further than the Echo Flex. For $25, you can join the rest of the free world in welcoming Alexa into your home. While you may prefer a different device for streaming music, this is an inexpensive introduction to home automation.

2. Ring Video Doorbell

For those who aren’t aware, Ring is a subsidiary of Amazon — which means the Ring Video Doorbell is Alexa-compatible. So whether it’s the delivery guy with your Clorox wipes or that neighbor who is about to forget about social distancing, the Ring Video Doorbell lets you see your visitors before they see you. 

3. TP-Link Devices

I may be a bit biased here because I’m a big fan of TP Link’s smart plugs and switches. Not only are they hub-free and Alexa-enabled, but their native app is awesome. I’ve already written glowing reviews of the Wi-Fi Plug Mini and the HS200 Smart Switch, and I have purchased several of these for my own house. 

4. Samsung SmartThings Hub

The more smart home products you have, the more you will notice they use up a ton of Internet bandwidth. Enter Z-Wave technology and the Samsung SmartThings hub. Using this with Z-Wave compatible devices means your wireless router doesn’t have to work as hard. 

5. Kindle Paperwhite

With work-at-home orders currently in place, adventure books are my only form of escape. To this end, my trusty Kindle Paperwhite is an invaluable companion. In addition to paid titles, my Kindle affords me access to many free books — including classics from Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens. 

By the way, Amazon also offers Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited. Prime Reading is for Amazon Prime users and Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service for anyone that’s akin to a digital library. For only $10 a month, you can “check out” up to 10 books (including J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series). While everyone is binge-watching Netflix shows, I’ll be binge-reading Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book