30 Smart Home Products That Make Life Easier

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you just left for vacation and realized you forgot to turn the lights off or are dealing with a finicky thermostat as the height of summer approaches, there's a smart gadget out there that can solve just about any modern-day inconvenience. So to help make your life a little easier, we picked out some of our favorite smart products, ranging from TVs armed with all your favorite apps to doorbells that double as security cameras. And best of all, you can operate most of these right from your phone. Check out the list below.

1. Amazon Echo Show; $130

An Amazon Echo display.
Amazon

Amazon's Echo Show might seem like just another one of the company's countless smart devices—it's compatible with Alexa, responds to voice commands, and can control countless apps—but what sets it apart is the 8-inch HD screen, which is perfect for displaying your photos, making video calls, watching how-to videos, and much more. Far from redundant, there are countless ways that the Echo Show's display can make your life easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Nest Thermostat; $219

A Nest thermostat.
Google/Amazon

Simply connect this smart thermostat to your Wi-Fi and you’re all set to adjust your home's temperature from just about any of your devices. The Nest even keeps track of the weather outside and adjusts accordingly, so your home will always be at the ideal temperature. And the whole setup is DIY-friendly, meaning a pricey installation isn't completely necessary.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Smart Speaker with Google Assistant; $100

The Google Assistant.
Best Buy

If you're choosing to live in the Google ecosystem, this Google Assistant speaker is going to be your essential smart hub. Similar to Amazon's Echo, this device pairs to more than 1000 different smart products and apps, allowing you to control them with your voice. And instead of Googling questions on your phone, you can simply ask the speaker. This is basically the central nervous system for your smart home.

Buy it: Best Buy

4. TCL 4K Smart Roku TV; $270

A 50-inch smart tv.
TCL/Amazon

With several sizes available, this TV from TCL can turn any room into an entertainment center with its built-in Roku functionality. Stream your favorite movies and shows in HD from apps like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, and hook it up to your Alexa device to control the television with your voice.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Amazon Fire Stick; $50

An Amazon Fire Stick
Amazon

Just because you don’t have a smart TV doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of one. The Amazon Fire Stick plugs into your TV's HDMI port and allows you to watch all your shows and movies on Netflix, YouTube, Prime, Disney Plus, and most other major streaming services. And since it hooks up to a user's Amazon account, you can also make purchases right from the TV.

Buy it: Amazon

6. 55-Inch Toshiba Smart LED TV; $450

A Toshiba smart television from Amazon.
Toshiba/Amazon

This Toshiba smart TV has all the functions of an Amazon Fire Stick built directly into it, allowing you to access your favorite apps and subscription services through a remote or Alexa voice commands. And with the 4K video quality, the shows and movies you love have never looked better. No gadgets or add-ons necessary, everything you need for the perfect entertainment setup is in this television.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition; $230

Anker's Nebula Soundbar.
Anker/Amazon

Along with playing the audio from your television, this soundbar has all the Amazon Fire Stick capabilities built right into it. If you're already invested in Amazon's smart products, this is the ideal soundbar to complement it all.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Kasa Smart Plug; $25

Smart plugs from Amazon.
TP-Link/Amazon

These smart plugs operate through an app, so you can plug gadgets and appliances into them and control power from your phone. You can also have the plugs on a schedule that will power off the connected devices whenever you're not home. This is a low-cost way to control your favorite non-smart devices remotely, and can help cut down on energy waste.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Philips LED Smart Lights; $100

Philips Hue smart lightbulbs.
Philips Hue/Amazon

You'll never know true convenience until you've tried smart lights. Through the Philips Hue app, you can turn your lights on or off remotely, and you'll even be able to set schedules so your lights know when you leave the house and come home every day. Plus, smart bulbs consume far less electricity than traditional ones, which can help you save a little money, too.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Tile Pro; $60

Tile Pro GPS Tracker
Tile/Amazon

The Tile Pro will keep you from losing your keys, phones, and any other devices you just can’t live without. All you need to do is clip the device to whatever you want to keep track of and then download the app. You can learn more about the Tile by heading here.

Buy it: Amazon

11. LG Smart Refrigerator; $1800

An LG smart refrigerator.
Best Buy

This smart refrigerator from LG comes equipped with an InstaView panel, allowing you to look inside at what you've got to eat without opening the door and wasting electricity. It also comes with a smart cooling system, which can be controlled with either Alexa or Google Assistant. This monitors the temperature inside and makes any necessary adjustments.

Buy it: Best Buy

12. Smart Instant Pot; $125

A smart Instant Pot on Amazon.
Instant Pot/Amazon

Not only does this one appliance combine a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and four other devices into one, but you can operate all of those different settings through an app. Now, you can schedule cooking times, monitor your food's progress, and access recipes from wherever you are.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Corsori Smart Wi-Fi Air Fryer; $120

The smart Corsori air fryer.
Cosori/Amazon

Similar to the smart Instant Pot, you can schedule and monitor the progress of your hot wings and French fries all from the VeSync app. This device is as simple as it comes: just throw your ingredients in, schedule a time on your phone, and wait for the notification when it's all done. You can also find recipes on the app, so the instructions for the perfect crispy shrimp will only be a click away.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Perfect Drink Pro; $100

The Perfect Drink Pro.
Perfect Company/Amazon

Rise above amateur mixologist and start competing with the pros. All you have to do is select what drink you’re having in the app, put your glassware on the scale, and add the ingredients. The app will let you know in real time when you've added enough of each ingredient and which one to use next. It's a foolproof way to nail your favorite cocktail.

Buy it: Amazon

15. Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug; $80

A smart coffee mug that keeps your drink warm.
Ember/Amazon

Never let your coffee or tea go lukewarm again. This smart mug keeps your beverage hot and can last up to one hour on a single charge. When it's out of juice, simply throw it onto the charger, which doubles as a coaster. And through the app, you can choose your ideal temperature, receive notifications, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

16. Hamilton Beach Works Coffee Maker; $90

A smart Hamilton coffee maker
Hamilton/Amazon

Now you can make sure your coffee is ready to go before you get out of bed. The Hamilton Beach Works Coffee Maker connects to the Alexa app, so you can tell your coffee maker to start brewing, how you want it made, and more. And if you happen to leave the house without turning it off, you can simply take care of it from the app.

Buy it: Amazon

17. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Nano; $99

The Anova Cuisine Sous Vide Precision Cooker.
Anova Cuisine/Amazon

This tool takes all the guesswork out of the sous vide culinary method, which involves cooking meat slowly in water that's set to very specific temperatures. It's tricky to do manually, but through the Anova app, you can control the device down to granular details, including exact times and temperatures. You'll even get access to recipes, helping you learn exactly how to make the food as delicious as possible. Learn more about how it works by heading here.

Buy it: Amazon

18. Etekcity Digital Kitchen Scale; $30

A smart scale from Amazon.
Etekcity/Amazon

Eating healthy just got a lot easier. This scale has an app that will detail the calories and nutritional facts of all the food you weigh, while keeping track of your daily meals and snacks. You can also sync the information with your Fitbit or Apple Health app to get a clear picture of what you're really eating every day, and how many calories you're burning.

Buy it: Amazon

19. GE Smart Microwave; $145

A smart microwave.
Best Buy

If you're tired of heating up food only to have it hot on the outside and cold in the middle, you need this microwave. Its Scan-to-Cook technology enables you to send package cooking instructions from your smartphone to the microwave, so you'll always cook your food for the proper time.

Buy it: Best Buy

20. iDevices Kitchen Thermometer; $80

A smart thermometer for cooking.
iDevices/Amazon

With this smart thermometer, all you have to do is set up what your food's temperature should be on your app and stick the thermometer in the meat you're cooking. The app will monitor the rest, and when it reaches the right temperature, you'll get a notification.

Buy it: Amazon

21. Garage Door Opener; $36

A smart garage door opener.
Chamberlain/Amazon

If you want some more peace of mind, this smart device allows you to open and close your garage door from your phone, wherever you are. You'll also get alerts if the doors open without your consent or if you simply forget to close the door after heading out for work in the morning.

Buy it: Amazon

22. iRobot Roomba; $269

The iRobot vacuum cleaner.
iRobot/Amazon

The Roomba was among the first robot vacuums to hit the market, and the models have only gotten sleeker and better over time. This one can be controlled through its native Roomba app, or through the major smart hubs. Scheduling cleanings has never been easier, since all you're really doing is punching a few commands into your phone. The vacuum will then embark on its cleaning journey on its own, even if you're not home. And when the Roomba is out of juice, it will automatically head back to its charging station to power back up.

Buy it: Amazon

23. Ring Smart Doorbell; $169

a smart doorbell.
Ring/Amazon

The Ring Smart Doorbell connects to your smartphone, Echo Show, and other devices, allowing you to watch a live feed of your front door in real time. You can also speak to visitors through the app and keep tabs on the video stream even if you're away from home. This one is ideal for users already set up with Amazon's smart hub.

Buy it: Amazon

24. Rachio Three Smart Sprinkler Controller; $219

A Rachio smart sprinkler system.
Rachio/Amazon

The Rachio sprinkler system can help keep your lawn and garden lush and vibrant all through your smartphone. It allows you to schedule waterings, monitors your water usage, and keeps tabs on the weather to avoid turning on in the rain.

Buy it: Amazon

25. eufy Security Wi-Fi Video Doorbell; $160

A smart doorbell.
eufy/Amazon

The eufy smart doorbell, which is similar to the Ring, has two-way audio that allows you to communicate with anyone at the door, in addition to allowing you to pre-record messages while you're away. No matter where you are, you can see who's at your door through eufy’s app.

Buy it: Amazon

26. August Home Smart Lock; $194

A smart lock.
August Home/Amazon

We've all experienced the heart-dropping horror of locking the door behind us, only to remember the keys were still inside. With the August Home Smart Lock, you can unlock or lock your door from wherever you happen to be by using the company's app (don't worry, there's a walkthrough). Or, better yet, you can just use voice commands. For a little added security, there's also a feature that will send you notifications every time your door opens or closes when you're not around.

Buy it: Amazon

27. Sensibo Sky Smart Air Conditioner; $199

A smart air conditioning system.
Sensibo/Amazon

Along with being able to set weekly schedules for your air conditioner seven days in advance, you can use the Sensibo app to control the system from anywhere on a daily basis. And like the Nest Thermostat, the Sensibo keeps track of the temperature outside and adjusts accordingly. If you've got pets, it's the easiest way to make sure your home is at a comfortable temperature when you're not there.

Buy it: Amazon

28. Aromatherapy Smart Essential Oil Diffuser; $40

A smart essential oil diffuser.
Sierra Modern Home/Amazon

If your version of relaxation includes some essential oils, this smart diffuser can release those soothing scents without any real work involved. The app allows you to control the mist intensity and LED lights from your phone, and it can also be controlled with voice commands with the help of Alexa and Google Home.

Buy it: Amazon

29. PetSafe Food Dispenser; $180

A smart pet food dispenser.
Petsafe/Amazon

An automatic feeder is a lifesaver for a busy pet owner, but what about one that you can control with your phone? With the Petsafe, you can dispense food from anywhere and schedule up to 12 meals at a time, all from an app. It's perfect for the cat whose go-to meal is dry food.

Buy it: Amazon

30. Furbo Dog Camera; $199

The Furbo camera.
Furbo/Amazon

The Furbo also allows you to monitor your dog on video from wherever you may be. You can even remotely launch treats, so you can give your canine companion some love even when you're at work or on vacation.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

The 10 Best Memorial Day 2020 Sales

iRobot,GoWise,Funko via Wayfair, Entertainment Earth
iRobot,GoWise,Funko via Wayfair, Entertainment Earth

The Memorial Day sales have started early this year, and it's easy to find yourself drowning in offers for cheap mattresses, appliances, shoes, and grills. To help you cut through the noise and focus on the best deals around, we threw together some of our favorite Memorial Day sales going on right now. Take a look below.

1. Leesa

A Leesa Hybrid mattress.
A Leesa Hybrid mattress.
Leesa

Through May 31, you can save up to $400 on every mattress model Leesa has to offer, from the value-minded Studio by Leesa design to the premium Leesa Legend, which touts a combination of memory foam and micro-coil springs to keep you comfortable in any position you sleep in.

Find it: Leesa

2. Sur La Table

This one is labeled as simply a “summer sale,” but the deals are good only through Memorial Day, so you should get to it quickly. This sale takes up to 20 percent off outdoor grilling and dining essentials, like cast-iron shrimp pans ($32), a stainless steel burger-grilling basket ($16), and, of course, your choice of barbeque sauce to go along with it.

Find it: Sur la Table

3. Wayfair

KitchenAid Stand Mixer on Sale on Wayfair.
Wayfair/KitchenAid

Wayfair is cutting prices on all manner of appliances until May 28. Though you can pretty much find any home appliance imaginable at a low price, the sale is highlighted by $130 off a KitchenAid stand mixer and 62 percent off this eight-in-one GoWise air fryer.

And that’s only part of the brand’s multiple Memorial Day sales, which you can browse here. They’re also taking up to 40 percent off Samsung refrigerators and washing machines, up to 65 percent off living room furniture, and up to 60 percent off mattresses.

Find it: Wayfair

4. Blue Apron

If you sign up for a Blue Apron subscription before May 26, you’ll save $20 on each of your first three box deliveries, totaling $60 in savings. 

Find it: Blue Apron

5. The PBS Store

Score 20 percent off sitewide at Shop.PBS.org when you use the promo code TAKE20. This slashes prices on everything from documentaries like Ken Burns’s The Roosevelt: An Intimate History ($48) and The Civil War ($64) to a Pride & Prejudice tote bag ($27) and this precious heat-changing King Henry VIII mug ($11) that reveals the fates of his many wives when you pour your morning coffee.

Find it: The PBS Store

6. Amazon

eufy robot vacuum.
Amazon/eufy

While Amazon doesn’t have an official Memorial Day sale, the ecommerce giant still has plenty of ever-changing deals to pick from. Right now, you can take $100 off this outdoor grill from Weber, $70 off a eufy robot vacuum, and 22 percent off the ASUS gaming laptop. For more deals, just go to Amazon and have a look around.

7. Backcountry

You can save up to 50 percent on tents, hiking packs, outdoor wear, and more from brands like Patagonia, Marmot, and others during Backcountry's Memorial Day sale.

Find it: Backcountry

8. Entertainment Earth

Funko Pops on Sale on Entertainment Earth.
Entertainment Earth/Funko

From now until June 2, Entertainment Earth is having a buy one, get one half off sale on select Funko Pops. This includes stalwarts like the Star Wars and Batman lines, and more recent additions like the Schitt's Creek Funkos and the pre-orders for the upcoming X-Men movie line.

Find it: Entertainment Earth

9. Moosejaw

With the promo code SUNSCREEN, you can take 20 percent off one full-price item at Moosejaw, along with finding up to 30 percent off select items during the outdoor brand's summer sale. These deals include casual clothing, outdoor wear, trail sneakers, and more. 

Find it: Moosejaw

10. Osprey

Through May 25, you can save 25 percent on select summer items, and 40 percent off products from last season. This can include anything from hiking packs and luggage to outdoorsy socks and hats. So if you're planning on getting acquainted with the great outdoors this summer, now you can do it on the cheap.

Find it: Osprey

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

Swear Off Toilet Paper With This Bidet Toilet Seat That's Easy to Install and Costs Less Than $100

Tushy
Tushy

The recent coronavirus-related toilet paper shortage has put the spotlight on the TP-less alternative that Americans have yet to truly embrace: the bidet.

It's not exactly a secret that toilet paper is wasteful—it's estimated to cost 437 billion gallons of water and 15 million trees to produce our yearly supply of the stuff. But while the numbers are plain to see, bidets still aren't common in the United States.

Well, if price was ever the biggest barrier standing in the way of swearing off toilet paper for good, there's now a cost-effective way to make the switch. Right now, you can get the space-saving Tushy bidet for less than $100. And you'll be able to install it yourself in just 10 minutes.

What is a Bidet?

Before we go any further, let’s just go ahead and get the awkward technical details out of the way. Instead of using toilet paper after going to the bathroom, bidets get you clean by using a stream of concentrated water that comes out of a faucet or nozzle. Traditional bidets look like weird toilets without tanks or lids, and while they’re pretty uncommon in the United States, you’ve definitely seen one if you’ve ever been to Europe or Asia.

That said, bidets aren’t just good for your butt. When you reduce toilet paper usage, you also reduce the amount of chemicals and emissions required to produce it, which is good for the environment. At the same time, you’re also saving money. So this is a huge win-win.

Unfortunately, traditional bidets are not an option for most Americans because they take up a lot of bathroom space and require extra plumbing. That’s where Tushy comes in.

The Tushy Classic Bidet Toilet Seat.

Unlike traditional bidets, the Tushy bidet doesn’t take up any extra space in your bathroom. It’s an attachment for your existing toilet that places an adjustable self-cleaning nozzle at the back of the bowl, just underneath the seat. But it doesn’t require any additional plumbing or electricity. All you have to do is remove the seat from your toilet, connect the Tushy to the clean water supply behind the toilet, and replace the seat on top of the Tushy attachment.

The Tushy has a control panel that lets you adjust the angle and pressure of the water stream for a perfect custom clean. The nozzle lowers when the Tushy is activated and retracts into its housing when not in use, keeping it clean and sanitary.

Like all bidets, the Tushy system takes a little getting used to. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to use toilet paper again. In fact, Tushy is so sure you’ll love their product, they offer customers a 60-day risk-free guarantee. If you don’t love your Tushy, you can send it back for a full refund, minus shipping and handling.

Normally, the Tushy Classic retails for $109, but right now you can get the Tushy Classic for just $89. So if you’ve been thinking about going TP-free, now is definitely the time to do it.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.