6 smart gadgets to help you survive winter
Winter is here—here's how you can make the most of it.
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You may not be ready for it, but winter is here. Snow is falling all across the country, temperatures are dropping, and—don’t look now—but snow days are on the horizon for your kids.
Even the ski bunnies among us can agree that there are some less than enjoyable aspects of the winter season: issues like dry skin, cold toes, and muddy snow tracked through your living room by the dog you suddenly can’t remember wanting to adopt. We can’t help with all those problems (besides promising you will love Fido again soon), but we have rounded up some smart gadgets that make the winter months just a little more bearable.
1. A water leak detector to prevent frozen pipes
When temperatures dip below freezing, your plumbing is at risk. That’s because a single leak, or too much time spent without the water running, can cause your pipes to freeze. You won’t even know it’s happening until the water stops flowing in your home. But once the damage is done, locating and repairing those frozen pipes can be costly, time consuming, and incredibly frustrating, especially as you’re left without a hot shower while you await the repairs.
Why not save yourself that hassle up front by investing in a smart water leak detector? These handy tools monitor your pipes and send you an alert if there’s cause for alarm. We’ve done some testing and can recommend the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Water Leak and Freeze Detector because it's easy to setup, works over WiFi without a hub, and can last up to three years before needing a battery change.
2. A mug that maintains the perfect temp
There’s nothing quite like a hot drink to offer a little comfort on a cold winter’s day. But frigid temperatures tend to chill our drinks far sooner than we'd prefer. You can buy all the heat-saving mugs on the market, but most will still succumb to the cold eventually.
All, that is, except the Ember Travel Mug 2, which doesn’t just provide insulation from the cold, it also uses a built-in heating system to maintain your preferred coffee temperature through to the last drop—regardless of what the temperature may be outside. The Ember promises up to three hours of continued heating, which means it doesn’t really matter how many distractions your morning holds—your coffee will still be hot on your tongue the moment you return to it.
3. A smart thermostat to take the guesswork out of heating your house
Imagine if your thermostat just knew when you were home, and adjusted the temperature accordingly? Or what about one that could heat up a room with a simple voice command? Smart thermostats make that a reality.
Our favorite smart thermostat aims to do both, with geofencing in beta testing to recognize when your phone is home, and compatibility across multiple smart assistants. The Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Thermostat is simple to set up and allows you to control the temperatures in your home through voice commands, an app on your phone, or an ongoing schedule that works best for you. The options are limitless, the ability to remain cozy in your home priceless, and the energy savings potentially huge.
4. An all-in-one multicooker for cozy weeknight dinners
Between work, shoveling snow, and generally just trying to keep yourself warm, it can seem like your days are shorter than ever. That may have a little something to do with losing daylight as we get into the depths of winter, but that doesn't mean you should lose spending time with your family over a nice dinner.
The Instant Pot Smart WiFi, one of the best multicookers we've tested, aims to take the place of all your favorite kitchen gadgets with its ability to work as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, the Instant Pot comes complete with more than 1,000 scripted recipes and mobile alerts so you can easily make meals that will keep you and your family fed, warm, and happy.
5. A fire and carbon monoxide detector to keep you safe
The winter months are peak indoor fire season, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says January is the deadliest month for carbon monoxide poisoning. Now, more than ever, you need to make sure your house is equipped to warn you of each of these dangers.
The Nest Protect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, our favorite carbon monoxide detector, can help, monitoring for fires and providing push notifications to your cellphone for smoke and carbon monoxide—after the alarm has already gone off in your home, of course. You’ll also receive notifications for low-battery alerts, and the monitor tests itself every month. Best of all, it only takes five minutes to set up.
6. A smart diffuser to fill your home with pleasant scents
Look, there are certain scents that just make us feel at home in the winter months: cookies baking in the oven, a Christmas tree, cinnamon and vanilla. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until some of these scents are wafting through your home. But candles can increase fire dangers and plug-ins need to be changed too regularly.
That’s just one of the reasons we love the Pura smart diffuser. Not only can it house two different scents that you can switch between from morning to afternoon, you can also adjust the strength of the scent. And it doesn’t run all day, so you don't need to worry about aromas becoming overpowering. There’s even an optional subscription package that means you never have to worry about running out of these scents that keep your home smelling welcoming and fresh.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.