I love new gadgets and gizmos, and I’m always on the lookout for helpful devices for the home.
Here are some of my favorite electronic purchases over the last year.
This is probably the favorite electronic of the year. It’s a small device that connects to your wifi router and it does two things.
First, it filters the Internet to any device. Sure, there are other solutions for this, but the Circle app makes it easy. You just add devices to your home or to a user (aka family member) and set them to kid, teen or adult.
Second, it manages usage. Set time limits for devices. Set time usage for individual apps or games (like Minecraft or Instagram). Set bedtimes for every user. Pause the whole Internet with one click.
There’s nothing better and there’s nothing simpler. Every family should have one. Order here.
It’s a powerful bluetooth speaker with the voice assistant Alexa built in. Just talk and it obeys your commands. I wish the kids would be as responsive!
Here are some things we repeatedly ask…
- Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?
- Alexa, set a timer for 60 minutes.
- Alexa, play classical music from Spotify.
- Alexa, how’s my commute looking?
- Alexa, what’s the weather?
- Alexa, how many quarts in a liter?
- Alexa, bedroom lights at 20%. 😃
The original Echo is perfect for the kitchen, but we actually have 5 Echo Dots placed all around the home. Start with one of those or opt for the larger Echo if you want a powerful speaker.
At first, this sounded like a superfluous device. After all, we already have a router and modem.
But this is a mesh system that promised better coverage throughout the home (especially the basement) and a faster signal to all devices. Since I do a lot of video calls and the kids download a lot of data, I decided to give me a try. It gives me a strong signal in every area of the house. If you have a really big home, you can expand it and get even better coverage.
It’s a little on the pricy side, but it’s worth it. Get one here.
After you connect a small device to your router, you can replace light bulbs with smart bulbs and control from your phone. The bulbs are great, and even though they are more expensive, they will last a really long time.
And you can control your lights from your phone. Or ask Siri or Alexa to do it for you.
We connected our lights to to Alexa so we could say things like “Alexa, turn off the living room lamp” or “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.” Slowly, we’ll add other rooms and set various scenes.
Those are four of my favorite home electronic devices. What are yours?