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Home Tech

Are you smarter than your house?

No, Jeff Foxworthy is not launching a new television show, but it is a good question. There are so many smart devices and apps that it can be hard to keep up with home technology. The good news is that you can choose which technologies you need and want, and most are relatively easy to set up. Here are a few of our favorites for any technophile, from novice to nerd.


Save money

Thanks to an app and smart phone, you can monitor and turn off pretty much any device from wherever you are. For the biggest bang for your buck, the best money-saving smart home device is a smart thermostat. The bells and whistles vary, but most of the smart thermostats do what they need to do – help you manage your temperature settings for comfort and efficiency. For a novice or a nerd, Google’s Nest is very easy to use, looks sleek and does most of what you need a thermostat to do. It learns with you, knows when you are away, and adjusts the temperature and sends you a consumption report so you can adjust the settings to be even more efficient. If you are a bit more nerdie, you might like Honeywell’s Lyric. It uses geofencing so you can set a range, and it will automatically adjust the temperature when you are out of that range.

Our pick

Honeywell Home Lyric Controller
This elegant system can manage your home’s lights, locks, thermostats and more. It features built-in WiFi and an integrated camera. honeywellhome.com. $300


Save time

Vacuuming is called a chore for a reason. Even if you have a cleaning service, you will still need some mid-week touchups, so let a robot do the work for you. Robot quality has improved over the years, and prices have come down a bit. iRobot Roomba is a premium robot vacuum that even empties itself, but it will set you back over $1,000. Neato’s Botvac is almost as good and is about half the price. TIP: If you have pets, consider their disposition as they might find the robot vacuum either entertaining or frightening.

Our pick

Neato Botvac D4 Connected
LaserSmart technology intelligently navigates your home while no-go lines help your robot not get stuck. neatorobotics.com. $529


Stay safe

Please get a Ring doorbell. This is an actual screenshot of a LOCAL Life employee’s Ring alert from the Ring neighborhood group showing a neighbor’s Ring catching a random biker looking in their window. This feature alerts not only suspicious activity at your house but at other Ring-enabled homes. At just $100, you can put it on all your doors to monitor activity and stay safe.

Our pick

Ring Video Doorbell
This battery-powered video doorbell works on every home. You get instant alerts when visitors press the doorbell or trigger the built-in motion sensors. ring.com. $100


Need for speed

As you add smart devices, your internet speed needs to keep up. Hargray has a handy (and free) Speed Test at speedtest.hargray.net and calculator so you can determine just how much internet speed you need.