Even though New Home Tricks is not a review site, I wanted to put together a gift guide. The reason for this is that whilst buying Smart Home technology as a gift might seem a great thing to do, there can be a few pit-falls to look out for. Read on for my guide on what to look out for when buying Smart Home tech as a gift!
So, first off - I'm not going to 'review' a range of different market products. That's not my goal. I'll still focus on the products that I know, and have experience of having installed them in the New Home Tricks house. I'll be avoiding deviating from that here.
The idea here is to think about a few things. First - if you're buying Smart Home tech for someone, will it be easy for them to setup and use? Second, will it actually work in their home? Finally -as a Christmas present- will it be something they can get up and running on Christmas day, or does it need a bit of work?
Smart Lighting: In the New Home Tricks house, we use Philips Hue. It's a good choice. It's fairly easy to setup and use, and there are lots of 'Starter Kits' from Philips you can choose from. From a compatibility perspective, make sure you choose a starter kit with the right bulbs included. There are a variety of different light fittings, so try to figure out what the right ones will be. Finally - Philips Hue is pretty simple to install, so your gift recipient should have no trouble getting it up and running on Christmas Day!
Smart Entertainment: For the music lover in your life, you can't go too far wrong with Sonos. It's easy to setup and use, and works with a whole range of different music services. It's probably not the option to go for though, for anyone who prefers vinyl over streaming! Will your gift recipient have this setup on Christmas Day? Absolutely, they'll be streaming Christmas tunes long before the Turkey's on the table!
Voice Assistants: Another great choice. We've got an Amazon Echo dot and it works well, especially with other smart home kit. It's easy to setup and use, and the only requirement to satisfy is that you have a wireless signal. It's certainly going to be easy to setup on the day - so your gift recipient will be barking orders at Alexa in no time!
There are other Echo choices such as the full size Echo, Echo Plus, or Echo show, and the new Sonos One has Alexa built in. I've had enough experience of Google Home at other people's houses to know this would be a great choice too.
Smart Security: Our Ring Video Doorbell Pro has been a great addition to our Smart Home setup. Once installed, the system is easy to use, but the installation did require us to be fairly handy at DIY. If the person you're buying for is not, then consider the wireless and battery operated Ring Video Doorbell 2. In any case, it's unlikely to be up and running on Christmas Day.
Also, take note that with the Ring Video Doorbell, you need good WiFi coverage to the location where the doorbell will be installed. So, you might want to throw in a 'Chime Pro' to help boost coverage to avoid any disappointment.
Smart Heating: We've only recently installed our Tado system (post and video coming soon), but I'll mention it here anyway. It's easy to use, but as with Ring, there's some installation work to do. Again if the person you're buying for is DIY-savvy, then they'll likely get on OK self-installing Tado. If not, they'll definitely need to get a professional to do this - likely at extra cost.
Compatibility wise, you'll need to be pretty sure that the kit you get is the right fit for the gift recipients home. This could be a tricky one to get right. It's also highly unlikely it's going to be an easy one to setup on Christmas day. It might be better off avoiding buying Smart Heating as a Christmas gift.
So, there you have it - my notes on what to consider when buying Smart Home technology as a gift. I think there are some great choices in there, but let me know your thoughts in the comments! Merry Christmas!