Here are the 12 best smart home devices including Amazon Echo, Philips Hue, WeMo, and smart lights.
There are more connected home gadgets to install than ever before, from locks to switches to speakers. What’s worth the trouble? We asked Fortune editor Stacey Higginbotham what’s in her house. Quite a bit, it turns out.
Where: Inside circuit-breaker panel in garage; outside house
Why: “It’s the smartest way to start because it gives you real-time energy consumption data for your entire home. An instant money saver.”
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Where: In upstairs and downstairs hallways
Why: “It’s another major system. It’s programmable and saves money. And it cools the room you’re in as opposed to Where the device is installed.”
Where: Kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, rooftop deck
Why: “If you like music, this wireless system is immersive. Play anything anywhere.”
Where: Throughout the house
Why: “LEDs save money, and they can change colors to mimic a sunrise or sunset. I programmed them so that when my boss sent me a text message, they all turned red.”
5. Amazon Echo
Why: “You can talk to it and control your Hue lights. My family asks it questions: ‘How long is The Land Before Time? Where can I stream it from?’ We use it all the time at dinner so that we don’t have to pull out our smartphones.”
Where: In a closet underneath the stairs
Why: “It allows true systemic automation. And you can set rules. I have one sensor on my second-floor washing machine to ensure that it’s not leaking and damaging the house.”
Where: Bathrooms, Kitchen
Why: “This is a Wi-Fi-connected electrical outlet. It’s useful for controlling the humidifier in a child’s bedroom—you can turn it on and off with your phone—or appliances like a curling iron or coffeemaker.”
Where: Dining room, entrance hallway
Why: “They work amazingly well. I replaced two switches in my house with these so I can dim a too-bright light and control an outdoor light, since there aren’t any weatherproof connected bulbs yet.”
Where: On the wrist of the homeowner
Why: “Counterintuitive to choose this, I know. But you can link it to your house, and that’s where it gets interesting. You can integrate with SmartThings so that when you wake up it will turn on the downstairs lights and start brewing coffee. I look at it as a personal trigger.”
Where: Outside doors
Why: “Lock and unlock doors with the tap of a finger. What more is there to say?”
Why: “This one is pretty straightforward. I can see if my garage door is open or closed from anywhere in the world using an app on my smartphone. With one swipe of my finger, I can open or close it. Pretty cool.”
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12. Jasco Z-Wave outdoor modules: Backyard, rooftop
Where: Backyard, rooftop
Why: “They’re outdoor-friendly outlets—great for controlling Christmas lights or fans with your smartphone.”
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This article appears in the August 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.