Waking up and getting to work before the winter light hits is a drag. But with smart home devices, you can automate yourself into a better mood pronto, whether it’s by easily turning on your favorite tunes, lighting up the hallways, or getting the kettle going for a welcoming cup of hot tea that’s ready when you walk into the kitchen.
If you’re a tech enthusiast, you probably already have a few “smart” appliances. But even if you don’t have any, you likely know someone who does. A report published in October by Parks Associates, an emerging consumer technology research firm, surveyed 10,000 US households connected to the internet and found that 27% had bought a smart home device in the previous 12 months.
Even if you don’t have a smart thingamajig yet, you might be thinking about getting one. That same report found that 44% of American households plan to buy a smart home device in the next 12 months. And a recent analysis conducted by the Underfloor Heating Store, found that “smart home” is by far the most popular home renovation-related trend watched on TikTok, with roughly 4.2 billion views. In comparison, videos related to the second-most-popular home reno term (“enhanced outdoor spaces”) only garnered a relatively paltry 260,900 views.
But while smart home devices are popular, make sure to think about whether a particular device is right for you. Data privacy is something to think about, according to Angus Chen, certified cloud security professional. He points out that some of those devices could be listening to your conversations, taking note of your habits. To ensure privacy, seek out smart home devices that “allow opt-in or opt-out data collection, that allow you to configure security options,” Chen says.
And given the costs involved, it’s reasonable not to settle for anything short of revolutionary. But finding the right smart home device can also mean a lot of electronic waste, since not everything bought online and returned will be resold or ever used. That’s partially why TikTok creator Dani Marie of @danimariethatsme suggests interested buyers wait until their trusted channels review the products themselves to eliminate the wasteful guessing game. “If it’s something that you’re going to have in your house for a long time and use consistently every single day, then I would say it’s worth [the expense],” she says.
At the same time, smart home devices come with obvious perks. Chances are your shades won’t magically unfurl themselves just before you wake up each day, making smart blinds relatively more affordable than daily butler service (or bribing your housemate). Automating a task like double-checking that the front door is locked is another smart bonus.
Plus, it’s hard to put a price on customizing comfort in an instant. The ability to change the color temperature of light bulbs to match your mood is a whole new level of manifestation. And that’s not even considering the resource efficiency gains from some smart tools. For example, using a smart thermostat can result in savings of “approximately 8% of heating and cooling bills” depending on your climate, personal preferences, and heating/cooling equipment, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.