Raise Your Apartment’s IQ With These Smart Home Gadgets

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Renter-Friendly Options to Bring Your Home Into the Technological Age

Apartment living is pretty great (especially here at Gramercy Row)…no yard work, no worries if the plumbing or electrical goes down, the security and camaraderie of communal living…. But do you ever envy your homeowner friends—just a little—because of all their state-of-the-art smart home gadgets?

It’s okay, we totally get it. Technology is pretty fun. And, you may be surprised to learn, creating a smart home environment is not completely out of reach of renters. There are several smart home options out there that don’t rely on rewiring or screwing and bolting to give you complete remote control of your apartment. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Smart Light Bulbs

No need to completely rewire your electrical system just to turn on a lamp before you get home from work. While they can get a bit pricey (a Phillips Hue starter kit can set you back anywhere from $65 to $200), there are several cheaper—and, in some cases, more durable—options on the market. Check out Cree smart bulbs for long-lasting, reliable, remotely-controlled light. Or, if you want to get super fancy, Twist bulbs will change color throughout the day to mimic the sun’s natural pattern. Oh, and you can stream your music through them, because they’re also mini speakers. Sign me up.

Smart Outlet Covers

This is probably the most convenient way to remotely control your electronics and appliances. Just plug the smart outlet into your standard wall outlet, then plug the device you want to control into the smart outlet. Voila! You’re smart. Just keep in mind that if your device or appliance has a digital on/off button, it will probably still need to be turned on manually. Most coffee makers, for example. But any lamps, stereos, space heaters, humidifiers, et cetera that have manual switches and can be left in the “on” position will work with this method quite nicely. Check out Belkin WeMo, Z-Wave, or Zigbee outlets and powerstrips.

Smart Security

As most in-home security cameras these days need just a power source and an internet connection, keeping your apartment safe is a snap. Use an accompanying smartphone app to see what’s going on at home while you’re away. Some models, like the Piper All-in-One Security System, will even send you real-time alerts if unusual activity or noise is detected. And it’s a great way to keep tabs on Fido, if you’re missing your pooch while you’re at the office. (If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, there’s also the Furbo Dog Camera, which will alert you when your pup starts barking, allow you to talk to him/her, and even dispense treats to particularly good boys and girls.)

Smart Smoke Alarm

While you can purchase an entire Wi-Fi smoke detector, we actually recommend the Roost Wi-Fi battery. It requires no installation, and at $35, it’s way cheaper than buying the whole shebang. Just pop it into your existing smoke alarm, and it will alert you (and your friends/family, if you’d like) when anything is amiss. It’ll also tell you when the battery is running low, so you don’t have to wake up at 3am to that obnoxious, high-pitched beeping.

Smart Convenience

We do like our creature comforts. You may not be surprised to learn that developers are working to make even the most surprising household objects “smart.” Want to take calls and listen to your tunes from the shower? There’s a showerhead for that. How about a smart vacuum? It’ll set you back some dough (the Dyson 360 Eye is a cool grand), but it exists! Our favorite, though, is Amazon’s Dash Button. Place the Wi-Fi-connected buttons around your home, near the products you use the most. When you’re out of toilet paper, for instance, all you need to do is push the button, and it will order your preferred brand and ship it right to you. Genius!

Smart Systems

Okay, so you’ve loaded up your apartment with every new-fangled smart gadget available. Now what? You could control each outlet, bulb, and camera with their respective individual apps. Or you could get a kit that allows you to access all your compatible devices from one single app. Samsung’s SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit works with products from Samsung, Amazon, Bose, Schlage, Yale, Cree, Osram Lightify, Honeywell, First Alert…the list goes on.

We hope this list gave you a few ideas to help dispel your smart home envy. And as Gramercy Row is wired with Cox’s G1GABLAST[sm] fiberoptics, you can be sure your gadgets have access to the fastest Wi-Fi connection in town—making YOU the envy of your home owning friends!