Work, kids, pets – when you’ve got a lot on your plate, it can be tough to find the time to complete everyday chores around the house and garden. Fortunately there are devices on the market that will do much of the hard work for you so you can breathe a little easier – and maybe even squeeze in a bit of me-time.
Here’s a round-up of some of the best time-saving gadgets and appliances on the market. Better yet, none of them require any complicated installation or set-up – simply plug in or charge up the device and away you go.
Stress less about maintaining clean floors in a busy household, discover the wonders of a robot floor cleaner!
Robot floor cleaners
Imagine coming home to perfectly clean floors without having to lift a finger? Robot vacuums from brands such as iRobot and Ecovacs make it possible. The iRobot Roomba i7 Robot vacuum ($1,499, iRobot) can be programmed to remove dirt and debris from your carpeted and hard floors at specific times of day or you can switch it on remotely via an app on your smartphone or with a voice command. This nifty gadget even has an automatic dirt disposal system and will recharge itself when the battery runs low.
You’ll also find models designed to mop tiled, laminate and timber floors. Ecovacs Deebot T9+ ($1,299, The Good Guys) simultaneously sweeps, vacuums and mops floors on command, and will even dispense sweet-smelling air freshener into the room. Meanwhile, iRobot’s Brava Jet M6 Robot Mop ($1,149, iRobot) will tackle any sticky messes, grease and grime on your hard floors, all controlled from your smartphone.
Forget having to get up from the sofa to switch on the lights – with wireless smart lighting you can just tell them to come on. The biggest names in the sector are Philips Hue (from $31.77 for a 9W White Home Auto Bluetooth ES globe, Bunnings) and LIFX (from $29 for a White 800 E27 bulb, Bunnings), both of which offer energy-efficient, smart light bulbs that connect to your smart home device. You can then control lights individually or in groups (such as “outdoor lights”). Tell the lights to dim, switch on and off, or change the mood of the room with one of the many different colour options. With Philips Hue, you can also choose a ‘Vacation’ setting and lights will switch on at random times when you’re on holiday to make it look like someone is home.
Nanoleaf is another impressive name to look out for. Their Elements Wood Look Smarter Kit 7 ($429, JB Hi-Fi) is an art-like set-up consisting of smart light panels that hang on your wall. By day it looks like a timber wall sculpture and at night it can be illuminated to create a variety of different moods in a room, with presets such as cosy ‘Fireplace’ and ‘Calming Waterfall’.
Illuminate your walls with Nanoleaf; wall art and the ultimate mood-setting device in one! Featured here is the Elements Wood Look Smarter Kit 7.
If you’re looking to save time and streamline your life, consider splashing out on one of the many smart home devices on the market. There’s virtually no end to what these clever gadgets can do, and the technology is evolving constantly so you know they’ll only get smarter.
Use them to connect and control multiple smart devices in your home such as lighting, heating and cooling with voice command, play music, stream radio, get the weather report, set alarms and, on some models, even see who’s knocking at the front door.
Amazon Echo Show 10 3rd gen ($399) has a large 10.1-inch touchscreen and a 13-megapixel camera so you can make video calls, with technology that automatically tracks your face during the call. The compact Apple HomePod mini ($149) has an impressive-sounding speaker, access to Siri so you can set a timer or ask a question, and a handy intercom feature so you can speak to people in other rooms.
Google Nest Hub 2nd gen (from $149) allows you to stream your favourite shows, listen to music and even control the device with hand movements (which can be useful if your hands are dirty and you’re watching a cooking video and want to go back a step). From next year, you’ll also be able to use it to track the quality of your sleep.
Keep the smudge marks to a minimum with Google Nest’s touch-free device control.
Smart pet devices
Taking care of your furry friends has never been easier – even when you’re not at home. You’ll find automatic pet feeders such as the SKYMEE 12L Wifi Pet Feeder ($249, Amazon) that allow you to serve up doggie dinner remotely via an app on your smartphone, and self-cleaning kitty litter boxes such as the Automatic Litter Robot III ($895, Cat Evolution) that mean you’ll never have to handle messy kitty litter again.
Worried about what your pets are up to when you’re at work? Keep an eye on them with a doggie cam such as the Pettecc Dogness Smart Cam Treater with Full HD Camera ($198, Harvey Norman) – which even allows you to dole out treats remotely. Or consider the PetCube Play 2 Smart HD Pet Camera with Laser Toy ($298, Harvey Norman), which has a camera and a laser toy so you and your pet can play games together even when you’re hours away.
Keep an eye on your furry friends while you’re out of the house! You can even give them their favourite treats remotely with the click of a button.
An intelligent washing machine
Today’s premium washing machines take the hassle out of laundry day. Fisher & Paykel’s WH1160FT 11kg front loading washing machine (from $1,999, Harvey Norman), removes the guesswork by automatically assessing the size and soil level of the load and choosing the right amount of detergent and wash time for you. It also features auto-dosing functionality, which means you only have to fill up the detergent dispenser around once a month to get perfect results every wash. Short on time? It has a clever steam function, which refreshes and removes creases from lightly worn clothes in just 20 minutes.
A connected fridge
Today’s hi-tech fridges are no longer just for storing food – they can organise your family calendar, provide entertainment and even help you shop. Samsung’s wifi-connected has an interactive screen that lets you see what’s inside your fridge without opening the door or on your mobile phone when you’re at the shops, lets you access recipes, a family calendar, leave notes, watch television and control all your smart appliances in one spot. It will even send you alerts when products are nearing their use-by date so food doesn’t go to waste.
Samsung’s Smart Refrigerator can be a calendar, notepad, recipe book, interactive screen, or even your favourite artwork.
Robot lawn mower
Reclaim your precious weekends with a robotic lawnmower. Put your feet up and relax as you watch the get your lawns into shape on your smartphone. It ‘reads’ the height of your grass and will automatically choose the right cutting height, plus it works in all weather conditions, and can navigate tricky spaces such as under trampolines and the narrow parts of your garden. There are models for compact gardens and ones up to 750 square metres in size.
Smart sprinkler controller
The gives you control over up to 16 sprinkler zones in your backyard via your smartphone or smart home device. It is equipped with weather intelligence and won’t water when it’s raining in order to reduce water wastage, and you can switch it on with a simple voice command.
Smart smoke alarm
The is a next-level smoke alarm. It features advanced technology that detects smoke or carbon monoxide, special sensors that differentiate between smoke from fast-burning and smouldering fires, and it even checks its own battery. If there’s cause for concern, it will send alerts to your phone when you’re not home or change its ring colour to communicate with you. Burnt a piece of toast? No more trying to reach the alarm with a broom handle – you can quickly and easily silence the alarm from your smartphone.
It's time to expect more from your smoke alarm, and with Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm you can! Keep your home safe with superior technology that thinks, speaks and alerts your phone.
To learn more about smart home technology and how it can save you time, come and explore one of our many display homes located across Melbourne.