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The Best Rental-Friendly Smart Home Products

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Echo Dot, Ring Camera, and Moen Flo in a collage
Amazon, Ring, Moen

Smart home products can range from super fun to incredibly useful. The problem is, a lot of them require drilling holes or wiring cables to work—probably not something you can do if you’re renting your current home. But no need to fear, as there are plenty of ways to make your home smarter that won’t tick off your landlord.

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Amazon Echo Dot: The original Echo showed off what a smart speaker could be, and even on the fourth generation of the smaller “Dot” version of the device, it’s still as great as ever. The new orb design makes way for a light-up bar so that it easier to tell when Alexa is listening, some volume controls, and a button to disable the microphone entirely. Utilizing Amazon Alexa—Amazon’s voice assistant—you can deeply customize and automate your various smart home devices using routines, which allows you to use complex voice commands either created by Amazon or yourself. Alexa is also a widely supported voice assistant among many smart home ecosystems, so finding products, whether they’re from Amazon itself or other companies, to integrate into your system is pretty easy. If you want to maximize automation in your home between a lot of different smart home products, the Echo Dot is the smart speaker for you.
  • Google Nest MiniIf you’re a heavy Android user, or like Google’s products in general, the Nest Mini is an easy choice to make—despite the unassuming exterior. It utilizes Google Assistant and has no trouble connecting to the wide range of Google and Nest products out there. For example, you can tell your speaker to play a Netflix show on the Chromecast or even play synchronous music throughout the home by connecting multiple Google Assistant speakers. Google Assistant, like Alexa, is also widely supported among other smart home ecosystems, so this speaker will still be highly versatile with third-party products. Of course, it still works best when surrounded by other Google and Nest products, so we recommend picking up those when possible.
  • Apple HomePod MiniApple is a relatively new player in the smart home world, but that doesn’t mean the HomePod isn’t a great smart speaker. For Apple fans, It’s easy to connect the HomePod to other Apple devices regardless of what they are, and you can even do some cool stuff with Siri like asking it to transfer a song you’re playing on your phone to the speaker. The nice-looking light-up top and built-in volume controls are also great additions. The HomePod Mini also doesn’t require an internet or cloud-connection to function—a unique feature compared to Google’s and Amazon’s offerings. However, you should be aware that when it comes to connecting to other smart home ecosystems, Apple is the most limited in this regard. Even then, if you’re a big Apple fan and primarily care about a simple connection to your phone and other devices, the HomePod is the way to go.
  • Google Nest Hub: When it comes to getting a central hub for all your favorite Google Assistant devices, there’s no better option than the Nest Hub. Access the Assistant itself, control your connected smart gadgets, and even view various things with the display like the weather, recipes, photos, and Netflix. It’s a great all-around smart hub that is particularly excellent if it’s surrounded by other Nest products. There’s also the more expensive Nest Hub Max, which has a larger screen (10 inches as opposed to the normal Hub’s 7) and a camera for video calls over Google Duo.
  • Echo Show 8While there may be a lot of devices that support Google Assistant, there’s a small army’s worth of Alexa-enabled devices. The Echo Show 8 can still manage other smart devices, handle video calls, view recipes, and much more, while also using the most widely supported voice assistant on the market. And just like with the Echo Dot, the fantastic automation potential of Alexa makes the Show 8 an even stronger candidate. As a general option, the Show 8 is a pretty safe bet to make, but if you own a lot of other Amazon products then it gets even better.
  • Wyze Bulbs: These are the quintessential smart bulbs—they’re relatively cheap and come with all the features you need with zero fluff. You can schedule times for lights to go on and off and adjust brightness levels through the Wyze app (Android/iOS), or voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Wyze is also releasing colored versions of these bulbs fairly soon, and if you preorder them now you’ll get a discounted price.
  • Phillips HueBut if you want to interject a bit more fun into your lighting setup right now, then look no further than Phillips Hue. Alongside the standard features you’d expect of a smart bulb—adjusting brightness levels, scheduled on/off times, and management through an app (Android/iOS) or voice assistants—Hue also includes the ability to set your bulbs to any color you want. This added feature makes these bulbs considerably more expensive than Wyze bulbs, but it makes up for that by being way cooler. Hue bulbs do require a hub for voice commands and routines, so we’ve linked to the basic starting kit which includes one and a few bulbs—you can buy the bulbs on their own as well though.
  • super easy to install. Of course, this product is only for rentals that have personal dryers, so if you rely on a shared laundromat it’s out of the question due to the installation requirements. You can configure the app to notify you how much time is left on the cycle as well, and even if the clothes are getting too hot. There’s also some compatibility with Amazon Alexa (and some limited functionality with Google Assistant speakers), so you can ask your voice assistant if the clothes are dry yet, instead of checking the app.

    A Smarter Dryer

    SmartDry

    An easy-to-install sensor that tells you when your clothes are dry so you never need to manually check again.

    Android/iOS) if it detects abnormal moisture or humidity, along with flashing lights and an alarm from the device itself. It’s an unobtrusive device that eases a lot of worries while also aiding you in preventing major damage to your home. The included “Leak Sensing” cable is also great for detecting damage in hard-to-reach spots.

    Android/iOS) as well as voice assistants including Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

    Lock it up

    August Smart Lock

    A simplistic but still feature-rich smart lock that doesn’t require an intrusive installation.

    Ring Security System: The Ring Security System will alert you to intruders with its wide range of motion sensors that can be attached to doors, windows, or inside of rooms. You can arm and disarm the system using the included keypad and receive notifications (along with configuring the security system) through the Ring app (Android/iOS). While not included with the base security package we’ve linked to here, Ring also has flood detectors, fire alarms, and a panic button for calling emergency services available as well, and they can all integrate into the security system.
  • Wyze Home MonitoringWyze is releasing a smart security system in March of this year and so far it’s looking fantastic and affordable—exactly what you’d expect from Wyze. The “Core Starter Kit” comes with motion sensors and a keypad for arming/disarming the system, and of course, this all works with the Wyze app (Android/iOS) as well. For the price, there’s nothing better, making this a great option for rentals.
  • Wyze Cam V2: The Wyze Cam V2 is an inexpensive solution to home monitoring with plenty of features to ensure it still does its job well. It records in 1080p, can detect motion, features night vision, and can be angled any way you need it. If you’re already invested in the Wyze ecosystem this is a no-brainer, but even if you’re not, the low price tag and great features make the Wyze Cam V2 a fantastic pick-up for almost anyone. There’s also the excellent Wyze Cam V3 that offers higher frame rates and can be put outdoors, but you might have to wait on it due to global resource shortages—it’s frequently out of stock, and even when it’s in stock, it requires a Cam Plus subscription (which costs $1.25 per month per camera and adds in some additional detection features) to purchase.
  • Ring Indoor CamWe’ve already talked about Ring’s great security system, but it will work even better if you have the cameras to match it. The Ring Indoor Cam features an extremely versatile mount, 1080p recording, night vision, and motion detection. Combine this with the Ring Security System previously mentioned and you’ll have one very secure home on your hands.
  • Nest Cam IndoorFeaturing motion detection, 1080p recording, and night vision, the Nest Cam Indoor may not seem that unique compared to the other cameras here. However, its excellent integration into the Nest ecosystem is what makes it worth considering. Through the Nest app (Android/iOS), you can view the security feed and receive notifications if something is detected, but you can also view and manage all your Nest Cams through the Nest Hub. So if you’re already invested in the Nest ecosystem, this is definitely the camera you want to pick up. There’s also the Nest Cam IQ, which has Google Assistant built into the camera among other improvements in video and audio quality—it’s much more expensive, though.

  • While living in a rental may limit you, it by no means stops you from having a smarter home. Whether it’s just sticking a few speakers throughout the home, or decking out your entrances with motion sensors, you’re sure to benefit from a few smart upgrades in your life.

    Tech

    Mophie’s New Battery Is an Air Compressor and Car or truck Jump Starter

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    Three Mophie rugged battery packs, one of which looks like a Flashlight.
    Mophie

    If you’ve ever left the lights in your vehicle and arrive back again to a useless battery, you know the agony of inquiring another person to help soar your motor vehicle. And that’s assuming any individual is close to. Mophie’s latest rugged battery packs solve that trouble, and a person can even inflate your tires.

    The new rugged batteries arrive in 4 varieties, the $99.94 Powerstation Go Rugged Compact, the $119.95 Powerstation Go Rugged Flashlight, the $149.95 Powerstation Go Rugged AC, and the $159.94 Powerstation Go Rugged with Air Compressor. Each and every will come with different functions, but the names need to give absent what all those are.

    The Powerstation Go Rugged Compact is an 8,100 mAh capability battery that costs as a result of USB-C. It has two USB-A ports and a floodlight so you can see what you’re undertaking. Many thanks to the USB-A ports, you can also cost smartphones and tablets. And in a natural way, you get the jumper cables to start your car.

    The Powerstation Go Rugged Flashlight is the oddest looking selection of the bunch. At first glance, it appears like a flashlight (for this reason the identify). But it has jumper cables and a 9,000 mAh battery to get your motor vehicle likely. In spite of the naming, it could be the most compact alternative in the mix, but it doesn’t demand other devices.

    As the name implies, the Powerstation Go Rugged AC appears to be a whole lot like the Compact possibility but will come with an AC port so you can plug in a laptop or other system. You however get the jumper cables and a 15,000 mAh battery. And you can demand other units with its two USB-A ports. 

    But the most effective deal of the bunch is likely the Powerstation Go Rugged with Air Compressor. Soon after all, the two matters most very likely to strand you on the facet of the road are a lifeless battery and a flat tire. It’s all the worse if your unused spare is flat much too. This battery pack has a created-in air compressor and incorporates interchangeable air nozzles to inflate automobile tires, air mattresses, and additional. It packs a 15,000 mAh battery, jumper cables, and two USB-A ports to cost your units. 

    You can buy any of the new rugged batteries from Mophie’s site today.

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