Smart appliances on a budget

Key tips to remember

  • There are ways you can get some of the perks of smart appliances without replacing all appliances.
  • The easiest way to turn any appliance into a smart one is to connect it to a smart plug.
  • Smart batteries and light switches give you the ability to control other appliances over the internet.
DIY

It seems as if there are new “smart” things every year that the world thinks we need to buy. Whether it’s the newest video doorbell, the most recent Alexa-compatible TV or even a fridge with a big tablet screen, the smart home revolution has flooded the market with plenty of expensive appliances

And while plenty of Americans have jumped onboard the trend and enjoy the interconnectivity of their smart homes, there are also many who are wary of the cost to upgrade and wonder if it is really worth the investment.

All a device needs to become classified as “smart” is the ability to connect to the internet, so buying a completely new item is not always required. For those who have normal appliances in good condition and don’t yet want to spend the money on replacements, there are still a number of smaller investments and DIY options available to make appliances a bit “smarter.”

Smart plugs

The easiest way to turn any appliance into a smart one is to connect it to a smart plug. By simply adding one of these plugs as an adapter between the wall socket and the power cord of your appliance, you can easily smarten up your item. For as little as $25, you can get four plugs, giving you four new smart appliances for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

With smart plugs, you can turn your appliances on and off no matter where you are — either through an app on your smartphone or with your voice if you have an Alexa or Google Home. They can also save you money on your bills, as you can monitor and control their energy consumption.

Smart batteries

To avoid the annoying beeps of a smoke detector on its last legs, there is a smart battery called Roost that can solve all your problems. Without having to invest in a new smart smoke detector, you can get a notification on your phone when the battery is running low and never have to worry about the mysterious, middle-of-the-night beeping coming from it again.

Smart light switch

A smart light switch can give you the ability to control lights while you are away, as you can control it through your phone or a smart assistant, such as Alexa or Google Home. While a plug could accomplish the same thing for a standalone lamp, in order to access any built-in lights, you will need an inexpensive switch that you can control from anywhere.

Obviously, these hacks do not give you quite the same level of control as some fully equipped, expensive smart appliances would, but they do cover some of the most important functions.

Join the conversation on social media. Follow us on Facebook.