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5 helpful smart home gadgets to buy for back-to-school

"Alexa, remind me to leave for class in 10 minutes."

Google Nest Audio Smart Speaker Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

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Summer is winding down, which means it’s back to school for students across the country. While you’re out there shopping for headphones, laptops, and other must-have back to school tech, don’t forget to pick up a few of the best smart home devices items to make this academic year a breeze. Connected gadgets like smart plugs, colorful light strips, and more can be added to dorm rooms and student apartments for modern convenience via voice control with smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Not sure where to start? We rounded up five smart home products to help you have the best school year yet.

1. A smart speaker to be your personal assistant

Echo Dot with Clock
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

The Echo Dot with Clock can also display time left on your Alexa timers.

If you’re living in a dorm or apartment this semester, an entry-level smart speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock or Google’s Nest Audio is a great option to control your connected devices by voice. Most smart devices play nice with both Google Assistant and Alexa—just make sure to give the product’s packaging a look to be sure it’s compatible. For Siri voice control, the HomePod Mini is your only option since the HomePod was discontinued earlier this year. Smart speakers are like personal digital assistants—you can use them to set reminders and timers, give you directions, order you a pizza during a late-night study session, call home, and more.

2. A smart plug to control the lights from anywhere

Wyze Smart Plug
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The Wyze Smart Plug is the best smart plug you can use for voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Smart plugs are the easiest and most convenient way to transform your run-of-the-mill dorm room into a voice-controlled wonderland. You can use them with hair tools in the bathroom, TVs, lamps, standing fans, and more. There are a lot of smart plugs out there, however, so don’t waste your time with anything but the Wyze Smart Plug. It maintains a reliable connection for 24/7 access, offers remote control via the Wyze app, and supports voice control with Alexa and Google Assistant.

Get the Wyze Smart Plug on Amazon for $11.89

3. A smart light strip to match your mood

LIFX Lightstrip with Color Zones
Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

We fell in love with the LIFX Lightstrip with Color Zones for their incredibly simple set up, ease of use, and variety of awesome features.

Smart light strips are a fun way to personalize your back-to-school space with a pop of color. With 16 million colors and tunable whites to choose from, the Lifx Smart Light Strip is the one you want. There are plenty of awesome preset lighting settings to choose from or you can create your own mesmerizing pattern. The adhesive strip works with Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can ask either one to turn the lights on, adjust the brightness, and change the color for complete hands-free control while you're busy with homework.

Get the Lifx Lightstrip Starter Kit for $59.50

4. A smart robot vacuum to do the cleaning for you

Eufy's Robovac 30C
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Eufy's Robovac 30C is a value-packed smart robot vacuum that can clean the floors for you.

You can get your cleaning done in between classes with the help of the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C. Ranked as the best smart robot vacuum for the money, Eufy’s voice-controlled vacuum offers good dirt pickup and stellar performance. It works with Alexa and Google Assistant, and you can also control it remotely using the companion app (which means there’s no excuse for dirty floors before your extended family comes for a visit).

Get the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30C on Amazon for $189.99 (Save $30 with on-page coupon)

5. A Tile tracker to help you find your lost stuff

Apple AirTags in wallet
Credit: Reviewed/Jordan McMahon

A tracking device like Tile Trackers or Apple's AirTags (pictured) can help you locate your missing keys, wallet, phone, backpack, and more.

With a Tile tracker, you can easily and quickly find your missing items. You can use the companion app or ask Alexa or Google Assistant to locate the items in question. The trackers come in several sizes to fit your wallet, keyring, backpack, and more. If you’re all-in on iOS, check outApple’s AirTags, a similar alternative to Tile trackers that can help you find your stuff using Siri.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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