5 clever gadgets to help you kickstart your day
Time to rise and shine
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Creating and following a morning routine can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be if you’ve got the right tech gear to automate the start of your day.
From the moment you open your eyes, you can speak a few words to your phone or smart speaker to automatically brew up a pot of coffee, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, check the forecast, and more to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite smart products that can help make your mornings easier.
1. Excellent Echo speakers
Using one of our favorite Echo speakers, you can wake up in style with automated lights, a fresh pot of coffee, and the thermostat adjusted to the perfect temperature.
One of the easiest ways to put your mornings on autopilot is to use Alexa routines. Routines can be set up in the Amazon Alexa app by tapping Menu > Routines. Click the plus sign icon in the upper-righthand corner to create a new routine and add different actions.
Even if you don't keep an Echo speaker in your bedroom, you can use the Amazon Alexa app to kick off your morning by saying, "Hey Alexa, start my day." Alexa can do things like start your smart coffee maker, turn on the bedroom and living room lamps, and change the bedroom fan speed from high to low. She can also quickly share an interesting fact, tell you the forecast for the day ahead, and bring you up to speed on the news.
2. An Alexa-enabled coffee maker
Speaking of coffee, Hamilton Beach’s Smart Coffee Maker is here to make your mornings much easier. We’ve been testing this coffee maker since mid-March and it’s been a simple and convenient experience thus far. It’s easy to use, works well with Alexa, and most importantly, it makes a good cup of coffee (you can even control the brew strength in the Alexa app).
With Routines in the Amazon Alexa app, you can wake up to a fresh pot of java every morning (just remember to put the coffee grounds, filter, and water in the night before). Or, whenever you wake up, you can call out to your Echo speaker and say, "Alexa, turn on my coffee maker." You can use the Alexa app to give this command if there’s not an Echo speaker nearby.
3. A fantastic smart plug
With a smart plug, you can turn on your living room lamp and TV before you hop out of bed in the morning. Or, add it to the list of actions in your morning routine.
There are a lot of smart plugs on the market, but the Currant Smart Outlet is the best smart plug we've tested. It’s easy to set up and use, it controls and monitors two devices independently (more bang for your buck), and comes with energy monitoring capabilities. Additionally, thanks to its thoughtful design, it won't cover the top socket if plugged into the bottom outlet on your wall.
The Currant Smart Outlet works with either Alexa or Google Assistant, and it can also be controlled remotely using the companion app.
4. The best smart thermostat
The great thing about smart thermostats is that you can adjust the temperature of your home from anywhere—including your bed. For instance, if you live somewhere where even the evenings are warm and muggy the majority of the year, you can keep your smart thermostat set to 72 degrees Fahrenheit while sleeping and set it to automatically change to 75 degrees before you get out of bed.
Our favorite smart thermostat, the Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Thermostat, comes with scheduling features and integrates well with Alexa or Google Assistant routines for easy control.
5. Brilliant bulbs
While smart bulbs and smart switches technically accomplish the same thing, smart bulbs can be a better option for renters or those who don't want to fiddle with electrical wires. All you need to do is screw the smart bulb into the light socket and follow the setup instructions in the bulb’s app.
For easy installation and use, we recommend the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit for your smart bulb needs. The Philips Hue app offers a robust suite of features that allow you to set lighting schedules and routines to help gradually wake you up. There's even a sunset and sunrise routine so your lights will fade in and out depending on the time of day.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.