When buying new technology for your home, it’s harder to buy something that doesn’t work with Android instead of something that does. Almost every new homebound gadget pairs with any Android device over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and in every case, it improves the experience. The only difference between each gadget is how much adding Android brings to the table.
Sometimes it’s as simple as giving you reminders every now and then about when to charge or replace a battery. Other times it’s as complex as controlling the gadget, and how it influences your household. That’s why I want to share some of my favorite household gadgets, and how Android makes them even better.
Tech and Gadgets Under $99
I want to start with a few small pieces of tech first to ease into the subject. These are gadgets that work just fine on their own, usually have a single and simple purpose, but will work much better with your Android.
There are more than a few inexpensive pieces of technology that fall under this umbrella, so let’s look at some of my favorites.
1. Wemo Mini Smart Plug ($34.99)
Let’s start with something small, but incredibly useful. The Wemo Mini Smart Plug controls any device plugged into it right from your Android. No matter the distance, as long as your Android is on, and the Smart Plug is set, anything plugged in is controllable from your screen with just a few taps.
I’m recommending the mini version which only has one outlet, but it’s still a good value to make your home a little smarter for a cheap price. This is perfect for lamps, or other small devices, and will get a lot of use in your home once you get used to having it around.
If you like the mini version, larger models are also available. If you’ve never used anything like this before, I recommend this version first. It’s inexpensive and explains everything to you out of the box.
2. Tile Mate & Slim Combo Pack ($89.99)
It’s pretty amazing how often I lose stuff in my own house, but with Android, and a little help from tile, that’s a thing of the past. With these tiny devices that you can stick on, or put in almost anything, it’s easy to track them with your Android to make sure you never lose them again.
These have uses outside of the home, but they’re easily a great addition to any household that is constantly misplacing things, like in my own. If each tile can still connect over bluetooth, you’re good to go, and can stop worrying about losing practically anything.
If this sounds like something you’d want for your household, I recommend the slim combo pack. You get a good number of tiles for the money, and each one guarantees you’ll never lose a thing again.
3. AKASO M8S 4K Android TV ($66.99)
I won’t spend too much time talking about Android TV since we’ve already covered it in full before, but I’ll at least recommend you a good box. The AKASO M8S has everything you’d want in affordable Android TV setup, and comes with all the pieces you’ll ever need for a viewing experience.
You don’t need a 4K TV to enjoy this box, but it can bring out the best of your viewing experience. If you want to learn more about Android TV, look at our thoughts on it to see if you should take the plunge.
4. JBL Flip 3 Splash proof Portable Bluetooth Speaker ($99.95)
I’m a big fan of portable speakers, mostly since I like listening to music outside or on the go without using headphones, but they work just as well inside as they do outside. These won’t replace a home entertainment system, but they make for a good set of kitchen speakers, or for listening in a small room.
Since they’re splash proof, they make for alright bathroom speakers, just don’t confuse that for waterproof. They’ll be fine with getting a little water on them but keep them away from the bathtub if you can help it.
They’re just barely qualified to be in this category because of the price, but I feel like they’re worth the cost. You can pick them up today, or try and wait for a sale.
5. Logitech Harmony Home Hub ($99.99)
Logitech Harmony is very aptly named, it tries its best to harmonize with up to eight different devices, and strives for better home automation. It even combines with devices like Amazon Echo to us Alexa commands. The Logitech Harmony Hub is a fantastic control center, and your Android makes for an even better controller.
However, since the Logitech Harmony Home Hub is just that, a hub, it won’t do much at all without some help from your other home devices. It may take a little while to pair all of the devices you have with the Logitech Harmony, but in the end, it’ll be well worth it to have all of your controls in one place.
The Harmony Home Hub is just under $100 and is a fantastic foundation for better home automation with your Android.
Tech and Gadgets Over $100
Let’s move onto the big guns; I’m talking about things like thermostat systems, home security, and large scale entertainment systems. Anything past this point is a gadget that’ll change your home for the better almost immediately, and even make your house feel like a brand-new home.
Related: 6 Best Android Smartwatch of 2016
Just like before, let’s look at what each piece of tech does, and then show you how Android makes it even better for your home experience.
6. Ring Stick Up Cam Outdoor Security Camera ($199.00)
Anyone home that’s connected deserves a security system that connects the same way. That’s where Ring’s take on a security camera comes in, and does a great job of being a useful security measure.
This camera uses two-way audio, so you can easily hear and speak with people outside while getting a visual aid from the camera. The only stretch for Ring’s camera is the Wi-Fi system, which requires a strong network to stream the video and audio flawlessly. If your home already has great Wi-Fi, then you’re golden.
For the price, it’s a great security tool that’s easy enough for any homeowner to use effectively.
7. Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation ($249.00)
Keeping your home at the perfect temperature is difficult, and even harder when you aren’t around. The Nest Learning Thermostat has systems in place to make this easier, and lets you control the whole thing with your Android.
With the Nest app, you’ll get more out of your thermostat than you ever could without it. However, it’s biggest feature requires very little control at all. As you set, tweak, and fiddle with your thermostat, the Nest system picks up on your habits, and adjust accordingly without needing input.
You can of course step in and change at any time still, but this feature is still a fantastic ability for a thermostat. Nest’s Amazon page has more information if you’re still on the fence about giving it a shot.
8. Amazon Echo ($179.99)
Most people have heard of Amazon Echo by now, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great product and service. Echo focuses on voice control, but by sharing a connection with your Android it becomes an even better home piece of tech.
It’s easier to explain what Echo can’t do than what it can, but it’s safe to say that almost every household can use one of these, or the smaller Echo Dots. As proof of Amazon Echo’s adaptability, it even pairs with many of the gadgets I’ve already mentioned.
If you’ve been holding out on getting one, there isn’t a better time to give Amazon Echo a try, and welcome Amazon Alexa into your home.
9. Samsung SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit ($249.00)
This next series of gadgets is a smart hub, home security system, and provides home automation all in one convenient package. What this hopes to be is an apt starting kit for anyone looking to convert their house into a smart home. For the price, it’s an accessible place to start with enough features to make the system worth it.
Some of the gadgets I’ve already mentioned thus far have one or two of the features that this kit has, but Samsung brings all those smart home features into one package. From controlling plugged in devices, detecting motion, and recording video; it’s a smart home package that’s great for someone new to this kind of tech.
If you don’t know where to start with your smart home conversion, look to Samsung’s Home Monitoring Kit if you want to focus on security, surveillance, and automation.
10. Google Wi-Fi system ($129.00)
When I mentioned before that you need a good Wi-Fi system to use the Ring security camera, you can easily boost your Wi-Fi capabilities with Google’s own Wi-Fi device. Replacing your normal router with this machine gives your Wi-Fi up to 1,500 sq. feet of range, letting it easily provide crystal clear connections to anyone inside the house.
This is great for fixing spotty reception, and if your house has multiple Wi-Fi hungry devices, which many smart homes have. In a smaller house, this practically guarantees your router will never cause you any problems, and for bigger homes a 3-pack can cover the entire grounds.
Add the fact that it’s all controlled by your Android, and you have an easy recipe for an amazing router for any smart home.
Transforming your house into a smart home isn’t as hard as it sounds, and there even starter kits out there to make the process even easier. Whether you’re concerned about automation or security, there’s always home technology that will work for you, and work even better along with your Android.
If you’re still on the fence about any of the tech above, or just have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.