The 5 smart gadgets that make transitioning to winter less miserable
Here's what you should buy before cold weather arrives.
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Frigid temperatures, piles of snow, and frosty mornings are headed to certain parts of the U.S. as the seasons change from fall to winter. Thankfully, there are a few smart home gadgets out there that will make the transition to winter easier on you—and your home.
Winter officially arrives on Sunday, Dec. 21, but many areas across the country, like Montana, have already seen inches of snow and chilly temps. If you live in a state that already experiences harsh winters, you might think you have everything you need to combat the ice and snow. However, upgrading to smart thermostats, cameras, leak detectors, and more can make the winter season a breeze, since you can control these products from your phone or smart speaker.
It’s never too early to get a head start on preparing for the coldest season of the year. These are the five smart home gadgets you need to make the transition to winter easier.
1. An energy-monitoring smart thermostat that you can control from your phone
Our favorite smart thermostat, the Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Thermostat, is perfect for those mornings when it's too cold to get out of bed. You can roll over and turn the heat on from your smartphone without leaving your warm blankets. Or, if you've got an Amazon Alexa-enabled device nearby, like our favorite Echo speaker, the Echo second-generation, you can say, “Alexa, set my thermostat to 72 degrees." It also works with Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, for those who don’t use Alexa. Additionally, the Emerson Sensi Touch WiFi Smart Thermostat generates energy usage, which can be pretty helpful when you're running the heat all winter long.
2. A smart camera to keep an eye on the weather outside
You might not want to go outside and play during a big snowstorm, but you can keep a watchful eye on what’s happening outside your home with the aid of a smart camera. Our top pick for a smart outdoor security camera is the Nest Cam Outdoor. Although it's one of the most expensive cameras we tested, we think it’s worth the money.
The camera comes with useful features, including notifications that differentiate between people and pets; customizable activity zones that prevent areas with frequent, benign motion from triggering alerts; and the ability to create clips that you can share with others. A Nest Aware subscription, starting at $5 a month, is required to access these features.
If you have a smart screen display like the Google Nest Hub Max, say, "Hey Google, show me the backyard [or name of your Nest Cam]" and the live video will immediately begin streaming on the screen. This way, you can monitor the weather and keep an eye on snow accumulation.
3. A smart humidifier to add moisture back to your home
During the winter, there is usually less humidity in the air, which can lead to chapped lips and itchy skin. To combat the problem, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a humidifier to help soothe dry skin. The Smart WiFi Essential Oil Diffuser and Humidifier is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can pump moisture into the air by telling your favorite smart speaker to "set the diffuser to 50 percent."
Mist settings can also be controlled by the click of a button in the eWeLink app. Within the app, you can also set schedules, change the color of the lights on the humidifier, and turn the humidifier on and off. The humidifier has a 400-milliliter water tank and lasts up to 12 hours, but it automatically turns off when the water is gone.
4. A smart water leak detector that can help you detect frozen pipes
Prepping your pipes for the winter can be an important step to avoiding expensive repairs. Since frozen pipes have the potential to cause damage to your home, using a smart freeze detector may help avoid future headaches. Our favorite detector is the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Water Leak and Freeze Detector. We love this water leak and freeze detector because it offers easy setup, a solid app, temperature and humidity readings, and an optional cord sensor attachment that expands the detection area up to 150 feet.
The sensor sends an alert to your smartphone if the temperature dips too low. You can set the temperature range when you set up the detector, or in the settings of the app. The detector works over WiFi for easy setup, doesn't need a hub, and should last up to three years on AA batteries.
5. A portable smart heater to keep you warm
If you're looking for a way to warm up a room, a portable space heater can do the trick. The Dyson Pure Hot and Cold Air Purifier is a WiFi-enabled heater and fan. It's compatible with Alexa, so you can ask her to turn the heater on and off, put it in auto mode, and get reports on the indoor air quality of your home. In the Dyson Link app, you can control the gadget from anywhere and create schedules to turn the heater on and off at certain times throughout the day.
From turning the heat on before you get home from work to shutting off your space heater from afar, controlling your home with smart products can make winter a lot easier. These are just some of the smart home gadgets that can help you this winter. But, don’t forget about prepping the rest of your home, and your car, for winter.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.