Energy efficient gadgets and energy savings devices in your home can lower your utility bills. Upgrading your smart home capabilities lets these energy saving gadgets control your HVAC, lighting, water, and security systems. Here’s our recommendation for the newest batch of 2021 and 2022 electricity saving devices for the home.
What is a Smart Home?
Before we get to the list, just what is a smart home? A smart home uses technology to make life easier. The end result of these energy savings devices should be energy efficiency and savings with less effort.
Some examples of energy efficient gadgets include:
- Smart Home Hubs & Controllers — like Amazon Echo or Google Home that allow you to control multiple smart devices with a simple command.
- Smart Thermostat — like Nest, Ecobee and Sensi, these thermostats automatically adjust based on your behavior, weather and your home.
- Smart Lightbulbs & Switches — like Ecobee Switch+, a smart light switch can allow you to control your lights from your smart phone, or Sengled light bulbs with integrated smart features.
- Monitoring devices — like SmartAC, which monitors your HVAC system to let you know if there are issues.
The biggest opportunity for energy efficient gadgets are those that focus on lowering your electricity consumption. And since approximately 60% of your electricity usage comes from heating and cooling, a smart thermostat is the best place to start.
Smart thermostats are better than just a standard programmable thermostat. That’s because they optimize heating and cooling on their own. That’s key. Because studies have revealed that 72% of programmable thermostat owners admit to not knowing how to set their thermostat. That pretty much eliminates the benefit.
A connected smart thermostat can optimize your home (Ecobee), or learn your behavior and automatically react (Nest). No programming required, just answer some simple questions on set-up.
Here’s our list of the 9 top smart home gadgets and electricity savings devices that you can add to your home.
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Smart Thermostats (all brands)
If you only install one new energy saving device this year, make it a smart thermostat. These gadgets take energy efficiency to a new level, preventing you from ever forgetting to adjust the temperature in your home.
Smart thermostats include brands like Google Nest WiFi progammable thermostat, Google Nest Learning Thermostat, Hive, and Ecobee. These thermostats have the ability to learn your habits and adjust your thermostat accordingly.
(Note: Electricity customers in Texas can even get an electricity plan with a free smart thermostat.)
Smart thermostats take programmable thermostats to the next level by learning how and when your family uses the heating and air-conditioning in your home. Smart thermostats can also be adjusted remotely from an app on your smartphone if you need to make adjustments on the fly. That’s perfect if you regularly forget to adjust the thermostat when you leave home or go on vacation.
They are the best energy efficiency gadget you can add to your home.
At the heart of most smart homes is a hub, and the Amazon Echo is our favorite choice. The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or the Echo Show with display screen is the personal assistant that instantly becomes a part of your life. It’s a voice-activated speaker, and so much more.
Connect the Amazon Echo to a number of supported smart gadgets and control your thermostat or light bulbs with the power of your voice. Add smart plugs and you can control your home electronics, lights and other devices from anywhere.
In addition to voice control, these smart hubs can all be controlled remotely, via your smart phone. And, you can link multiple devices to them for one centralized command and control site, simplifying how you manage your smart home. You can also program home hubs to run “routines” around your home, a set of pre-programmed actions that will activate at a pre-set time, or when you say a particular phrase.
For example, if you set up a bedtime routine, you can just say, “Alexa, time for bed.” Alexa would turn down the temperature to make it cool at night (so you can take advantage of a free nights electricity plan!), lock all the doors, and turn off the lights.
Filtrete Smart-Air Purifier
If you have pets or have someone in your home with allergies, you know the importance of an air purifier. The Filtrete Smart-Air Purifier is a HEPA filter system that can capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles passing through the filter. It also pairs directly with the Filtrete Smart App so you have access to air quality insights specific to their home – and, actionable steps you can take to improve it.
SmartAC HVAC Monitoring
Wondering if an issue is lurking in your HVAC system? A well-maintained HVAC system requires less energy to operate, saving you money on electricity bills.
SmartAC monitors your HVAC system to predict breakdowns before they happen. It can track air filter health, monitor air flow, and detect water leaks before there’s catastrophic damage. You’ll get alerts and recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your system. Plus you can connect to an A/C technician through the app if you have any issues.
Hardware is just $129 one time purchase (regularly $149) when you use this link to buy online. Monitoring fees are $5/month.
Smart Plugs (all brands)
Smart Plugs are one of the top smart home devices you can buy. These outlet adapters allow you to turn any appliance on and off from any distance from any internet-enabled device. Turn your lights off from your office, turn on the space heater from your bed, use it for anything you can plug into a wall outlet.
There are multiple brands of smart plugs, and they are super affordable and quick to install. Just plug them in and then plug your device into the smart plug. Use the app to create a list of smart-enabled devices in your home and turn them on and off from your phone. These are great to have if you will be traveling over the holidays, since you can use them to remotely control your lights.
Bond Controller for Fireplace and Ceiling Fan
We like to think that they named this product after James Bond. Because we can imagine the super sleuth walking into a room with his paramour and saying “Alexa, turn on the fireplace.”
While you are automating your home, don’t forget the ceiling fan and fireplace. The Bond controller let you integrate these devices with Alexa, Google Home or SmartThings Remote and control them from your smart phone.
Sengled LED Bulbs
Sengled LED bulbs are really high-tech appliances disguised as LED light bulbs. They offer LED bulbs with built-in bluetooth JBL speakers (shown below), LED bulbs with security cameras, an LED light with a built-in Wi-Fi repeater, and many more. Some are voice controlled with Alexa or Google Assistant, others are linked to a Sengled smart hub.
Sengled bulbs can be controlled from an app on your smartphone which also measures your energy savings from these appliances. The combined systems in all Sengled bulbs serve to simplify your smart home experience and help you save money.
Wyze Cam Smart Home Camera
Monitoring your home doesn’t help save on electricity, but it’s a big part of home automation. This is a simple way to watch what’s going on at home when you aren’t there. (We use ours to spy on our pups when we’re not home.) For inexpensive home monitoring, the Wyze Cam Smart Home Camera can’t be beat.
Netatmo Weather Station
Have a weather fanatic at home? The Netatmo Weather Station gives you info on indoor / outdoor temperature, humidity, air quality, indoor noise levels, and barometric pressure. Use the app to get real-time notifications on the weather at your home. (Then control your smart thermostat to make adjustments.)
For more information on smart home technology, check out Porch.com’s beginner’s guide to smart homes.