12 Smart Home Devices to Help You Live Your Best (and Laziest) Life

Amazon/Best Buy
Amazon/Best Buy

The days of having to get off the couch to change the channel or turn off the lights are long over, thanks to the seemingly never-ending flood of smart devices to hit the market. But setting up your smart home isn’t something you should jump right in to. First, you need to find the right hub for your needs, and then you'll need the correct devices that work with it. But once your setup is complete, your thermostat, slow cooker, refrigerator, vacuum, and pretty much anything else you can think of can be controlled by the push of a button or the sound of your voice. Here are some of the devices you may want to consider when making your home a bit smarter this year.

1. Google Home Smart Hub; $100

Best Buy

If you're ready to commit to Google's smart ecosystem, the Google Home is your starting point. This central hub includes a voice-activated helper (the aptly named Google Assistant) that acts as the central nervous system to your smart home. Once you pair it with your Wi-Fi, the Google Home can answer your questions, tell you the weather, set alarms, and, most importantly, control many of the different smart devices on the market through voice commands. Having all of your most important devices—like smart lights, TVs, and security systems—all going through one hub that you control with your voice is what living lazy is all about. As with any hub, though, do your research and make sure all of your desired smart devices are compatible with it.

Buy it: Best Buy

2. Amazon Echo Show 8; $90

Amazon

If you’re looking to go the Amazon route for your hub, start with the Echo Show. It has the Alexa-enabled capabilities of the Dot, but its built-in screen is a great catch-all for displaying photos, watching recipe tutorials in the kitchen, making video calls, and going through the news. Like the Google Home, you can control other smart devices through the Show, so you’ll always be connected to the gadgets around your home. Oh, and while those Show speakers certainly won’t replace a Bose setup anytime soon, they’re more than capable of filling the room with your favorite music.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sengled Smart Lights; $40

Sengled/Amazon

Smart lights are the necessity you never knew you needed. They’re energy-efficient, simple to set up, and even easier to use. And this offering from Sengled, complete with two bulbs and the smart hub, is as good a place to start as any. These lights screw into most sockets around your house, and once in, it’s all a matter of pairing them with the Sengled hub, downloading the app, and learning the ropes. You can control brightness either from your phone or through Alexa or Google voice controls, and there’s even an option to set a schedule, so your lights will turn off and on depending on your personalized timetable. The company also offers colored bulbs capable of millions of different shades and tones.

Buy it: Amazon

4. LG Smart Refrigerator; $1800

Best Buy

This refrigerator from LG is designed to keep your food fresh for longer. It all starts with its InstaView panel, which allows you to get a peek at what's inside without having to open the door over and over again, wasting energy and messing with the temperature in the process. This model also has a smart cooling system (controlled through Alexa or Google Assistant) that continually monitors its temperature and adjusts accordingly, along with two humidity-controlled drawers ideal for storing fruits and vegetables.

Buy it: Best Buy

5. Nest Thermostat; $213

Google/Amazon

This Nest thermostat learns your preferred temperatures and adjusts itself to fit your needs. You can set a schedule to have your home at the exact temperature you want, whenever you want it. And if you're at work and temperatures suddenly drop, you can hop on the app and adjust right from the office. To streamline the process, the thermostat comes with all the setup equipment in the box, and there's even a YouTube tutorial online to make installation even easier.

Buy it: Google

6. Pet Food Dispenser; $180

PetSafe/Amazon

If you have a dog or cat that insists on being fed the moment you sit down, then this food dispenser is for you. Without getting up, you can schedule feedings right on your phone, whether you're on an iPhone or Android device. Have an animal that eats too quickly? This machine even has a slow-feeder option, which will dispense food over a 15-minute period.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Samsung Smart Outlet; $18

Samsung/Amazon

If you don't want to invest too much money in smart devices, a smart outlet is a low-cost alternative. This option from Samsung allows you to control power to a non-smart device using the Samsung SmartThings app or through voice commands, via Alexa and Google Assistant. So instead of pulling a plug out of a hard-to-reach outlet every day, you can simply use this smart outlet to control the power from anywhere in the house (or out of the house). It works without needing a pricey hub, so there's far less setup than most smart gadgets. And Samsung's app also offers scheduling capabilities for more personalization. If you're dipping your toe into smarter water or are wary of throwing out your favorite non-smart devices, this is a great starting point.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Smart Instant Pot; $79

Instant Pot/Amazon

This Instant Pot does everything a standard model can do—it's a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and sauté pan all in one—but because it's, well, smarter, you can schedule and control cooking times from an app or through your Alexa device. This means you can start and monitor your BBQ pulled chicken from work, so it's perfectly timed when you get back home at night.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Ring Smart Doorbell; $170

Amazon/Ring

For Amazon customers in the market for a smart doorbell with a built-in security camera, there’s the Ring. This device lets you see, hear, and talk to anyone at your front door from your smartphone, Amazon Show, PC, and plenty of other devices, even if you’re not home. Other similar options include the Google Nest Hello if you’re a Google Home user—this one boasts similar features as the Ring, with some reviewers touting the Nest’s video quality as superior. And for those not looking to commit to either tech giant, there’s the Arlo smart doorbell, which currently sits at a four-star rating on Amazon.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Smart TV Sticks; Various

Roku/Amazon

When it comes to smart TVs, you don't necessarily need to spend big on the latest set. Instead, a streaming stick, like Roku ($46), Amazon's Fire Stick ($50), or Google's Chromecast ($34), is about as high-tech as you'll need to go. These low-cost options plug right into your non-smart TV's HDMI port and come equipped with streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. And depending on the device you get, most can be paired with Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands or an app, so you can control your binge-watching from your phone.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Eufy Robot Vacuum; $259

eufy/Amazon

It's 2020—if you don't want to spend your free time pushing a vacuum around the house, make a robot do it for you. Alongside having an app, the eufy robot vacuum is also compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to start and stop the cleaning process with a simple voice command. The eufy can also run on its own according to whatever schedule you program, so you can have your vacuum working for you while you enjoy a well-deserved weekend off.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Sensibo Smart Air Conditioner Control; $119

Sensibo/Amazon

Control your air conditioner from anywhere with this handy device from Sensibo. You can set a seven-day schedule, so your A/C will turn on and off at the right times on work days and weekends. And on days when temperatures rise quickly, your Sensibo will react on its own and cool things off for you. It's perfect for keeping a cool home for your pets while you're on vacation, and it can pair with your Google Home and Alexa devices to make your ideal temperature just a voice command away.

Buy it: Amazon

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The 10 Best Air Fryers on Amazon

Cosori/Amazon
Cosori/Amazon

When it comes to making food that’s delicious, quick, and easy, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer. They require only a fraction of the oil that traditional fryers do, so you get that same delicious, crispy texture of the fried foods you love while avoiding the extra calories and fat you don’t.

But with so many air fryers out there, it can be tough to choose the one that’ll work best for you. To make your life easier—and get you closer to that tasty piece of fried chicken—we’ve put together a list of some of Amazon’s top-rated air frying gadgets. Each of the products below has at least a 4.5-star rating and over 1200 user reviews, so you can stop dreaming about the perfect dinner and start eating it instead.

1. Ultrean Air Fryer; $76

Ultrean/Amazon

Around 84 percent of reviewers awarded the Ultrean Air Fryer five stars on Amazon, making it one of the most popular models on the site. This 4.2-quart oven doesn't just fry, either—it also grills, roasts, and bakes via its innovative rapid air technology heating system. It's available in four different colors (red, light blue, black, and white), making it the perfect accent piece for any kitchen.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Cosori Air Fryer; $120

Cosori/Amazon

This highly celebrated air fryer from Cosori will quickly become your favorite sous chef. With 11 one-touch presets for frying favorites, like bacon, veggies, and fries, you can take the guesswork out of cooking and let the Cosori do the work instead. One reviewer who “absolutely hates cooking” said, after using it, “I'm actually excited to cook for the first time ever.” You’ll feel the same way!

Buy it: Amazon

3. Innsky Air Fryer; $90

Innsky/Amazon

With its streamlined design and the ability to cook with little to no oil, the Innsky air fryer will make you feel like the picture of elegance as you chow down on a piece of fried shrimp. You can set a timer on the fryer so it starts cooking when you want it to, and it automatically shuts off when the cooking time is done (a great safety feature for chefs who get easily distracted).

Buy it: Amazon

4. Secura Air Fryer; $62

Secura/Amazon

This air fryer from Secura uses a combination of heating techniques—hot air and high-speed air circulation—for fast and easy food prep. And, as one reviewer remarked, with an extra-large 4.2-quart basket “[it’s] good for feeding a crowd, which makes it a great option for large families.” This fryer even comes with a toaster rack and skewers, making it a great addition to a neighborhood barbecue or family glamping trip.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Chefman Turbo Fry; $60

Chefman/Amazon

For those of you really looking to cut back, the Chefman Turbo Fry uses 98 percent less oil than traditional fryers, according to the manufacturer. And with its two-in-one tank basket that allows you to cook multiple items at the same time, you can finally stop using so many pots and pans when you’re making dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Ninja Air Fryer; $100

Ninja/Amazon

The Ninja Air Fryer is a multipurpose gadget that allows you to do far more than crisp up your favorite foods. This air fryer’s one-touch control panel lets you air fry, roast, reheat, or even dehydrate meats, fruits, and veggies, whether your ingredients are fresh or frozen. And the simple interface means that you're only a couple buttons away from a homemade dinner.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Instant Pot Air Fryer + Electronic Pressure Cooker; $180

Instant Pot/Amazon

Enjoy all the perks of an Instant Pot—the ability to serve as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and more—with a lid that turns the whole thing into an air fryer as well. The multi-level fryer basket has a broiling tray to ensure even crisping throughout, and it’s big enough to cook a meal for up to eight. If you’re more into a traditional air fryer, check out Instant Pot’s new Instant Vortex Pro ($140) air fryer, which gives you the ability to bake, proof, toast, and more.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Omorc Habor Air Fryer; $100

Omorc Habor/Amazon

With a 5.8-quart capacity, this air fryer from Omorc Habor is larger than most, giving you the flexibility of cooking dinner for two or a spread for a party. To give you a clearer picture of the size, its square fryer basket, built to maximize cooking capacity, can handle a five-pound chicken (or all the fries you could possibly eat). Plus, with a non-stick coating and dishwasher-safe basket and frying pot, this handy appliance practically cleans itself.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dash Deluxe Air Fryer; $100

Dash/Amazon

Dash’s air fryer might look retro, but its high-tech cooking ability is anything but. Its generously sized frying basket can fry up to two pounds of French fries or two dozen wings, and its cool touch handle makes it easy (and safe) to use. And if you're still stumped on what to actually cook once you get your Dash fryer, you'll get a free recipe guide in the box filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your meal.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Bella Air Fryer; $52

Bella/Amazon

This petite air fryer from Bella may be on the smaller side, but it still packs a powerful punch. Its 2.6-quart frying basket makes it an ideal choice for couples or smaller families—all you have to do is set the temperature and timer, and throw your food inside. Once the meal is ready, its indicator light will ding to let you know that it’s time to eat.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Fast Facts About Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph breaks the tape as she wins the Olympic 4 x 100 relay in 1960.
Wilma Rudolph breaks the tape as she wins the Olympic 4 x 100 relay in 1960.
Robert Riger/Getty Images

Wilma Rudolph made history as a Black female athlete at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy. The 20-year-old Tennessee State University sprinter was the first American woman to win three gold medals at one Olympics. Rudolph’s heroics in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4 x 100-meter events only lasted seconds, but her legend persists decades later, despite her untimely 1994 death from cancer at age 54. Here are some facts about this U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member.

1. Wilma Rudolph faced poverty and polio as a child.

When Rudolph was born prematurely on June 23, 1940, in Clarksville, Tennessee, she weighed just 4.5 pounds. Olympic dreams seemed impossible for Rudolph, whose impoverished family included 21 other siblings. Among other maladies, she had measles, mumps, and pneumonia by age 4. Most devastatingly, polio twisted her left leg, and she wore leg braces until she was 9.

2. Wilma Rudolph originally wanted to play basketball.

The Tennessee Tigerbelles. From left to right: Martha Hudson, Lucinda Williams, Wilma Rudolph, and Barbara Jones.Central Press/Getty Images

At Clarksville’s Burt High School, Rudolph flourished on the basketball court. Nearly 6 feet tall, she studied the game, and ran track to keep in shape. However, while competing in the state basketball championship in Nashville, the 14-year-old speedster met a referee named Ed Temple, who doubled as the acclaimed coach of the Tennessee State Tigerbelles track team. Temple, who would coach at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, recruited Rudolph.

3. Wilma Rudolph made her Olympic debut as a teenager.

Rudolph hit the limelight at 16, earning a bronze medal in the 4 x 100-meter relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. But that didn’t compare to the media hype when she won three gold medals in 1960. French journalists called her “The Black Pearl,” the Italian press hailed “The Black Gazelle,” and in America, Rudolph was “The Tornado.”

4. After her gold medals, Wilma Rudolph insisted on a racially integrated homecoming.

Tennessee governor Buford Ellington, who supported racial segregation, intended to oversee the Clarksville celebrations when Rudolph returned from Rome. However, she refused to attend her parade or victory banquet unless both were open to Black and white people. Rudolph got her wish, resulting in the first integrated events in the city’s history.

5. Muhammad Ali had a crush on Wilma Rudolph.

Ali—known as Cassius Clay when he won the 1960 Olympic light heavyweight boxing title—befriended Rudolph in Rome. That fall, the 18-year-old boxer invited Rudolph to his native Louisville, Kentucky. He drove her around in a pink Cadillac convertible.

6. John F. Kennedy literally fell over when he invited Wilma Rudolph to the White House.

President Kennedy, Wilma Rudolph, Rudolph’s mother Blanche Rudolph, and Vice President Johnson in the Oval Office.Abbie Rowe/White House Photographs/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum // Public Domain

In 1961, Rudolph met JFK in the Oval Office. After getting some photos taken together, the President attempted to sit down in his rocking chair and tumbled to the floor. Kennedy quipped: “It’s not every day that I get to meet an Olympic champion.” They chatted for about 30 minutes.

7. Wilma Rudolph held three world records when she retired.

Rudolph chose to go out on top and retired in 1962 at just 22 years old. Her 100-meter (11.2 seconds), 200-meter (22.9 seconds), and 4 x 100-meter relay (44.3 seconds) world records all lasted several years.

8. Wilma Rudolph visited West African countries as a goodwill ambassador.

The U.S. State Department sent Rudolph to the 1963 Friendship Games in Dakar, Senegal. According to Penn State professor Amira Rose Davis, while there, Rudolph independently met with future Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah’s Young Pioneers, a nationalist youth movement. She visited Mali, Guinea, and the Republic of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) as well.

9. Denzel Washington made his TV debut in a movie about Wilma Rudolph.

Before his Oscar-winning performances in Glory (1989) and Training Day (2001), a 22-year-old Denzel Washington portrayed Robert Eldridge, Rudolph’s second husband, in Wilma (1977). The film also starred Cicely Tyson as Rudolph’s mother Blanche.

10. Schools, stamps, and statues commemorate Wilma Rudolph’s legacy.

Berlin, Germany, has a high school named after Rudolph. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp celebrating her in 2004. Clarksville features a bronze statue by the Cumberland River, the 1000-capacity Wilma Rudolph Event Center, and Wilma Rudolph Boulevard. In Tennessee, June 23 is Wilma Rudolph Day.