The kitchen, laundry, and living room aren’t always considered places to buy presents, but tech at home can be just as nice a gift, too.
You spend so much time at home, so sometimes, a present for the home can be just as great a present for someone living in it in general.
We don’t always think about upgrading the home, whether it’s the laundry, the kitchen, or even just a way to make the home better and more accessible, so if you’re struggling to come up with ideas this holiday season, you may want to consider something at home instead, like these ideas.
Laser Smart Lighting
Price: from $10
Smart light bulbs may well be the easiest way to get into making parts of your home controllable via an app, but it can also be expensive, especially given each light needs a special bulb.
One of the least expensive ways to jump into smart lighting at home may come from Australia’s Laser, which offers bulbs from $10 that can talk to either the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, working not so much with a Laser app, but with the standard smart home apps and smart speakers.
They’re inexpensive and quite varied in terms of where they can be used, ranging from regular lights to down lights to Christmas lights and more, making it possible to smarten up the home for a few bucks.
Google Nest Hub 2nd-gen
We’ve often said that one of the best ways to guide someone into the world of the smart home is to have a smart display, partly because there’s a screen and you don’t have to feel like you’re just talking to a speaker.
That’s true with the Nest Hub 2nd gen, which brings a screen, a decent little speaker, and many of the smarts you might be looking for to a kitchen counter, a bedside, a hall, or really anywhere you want to control smart lighting, smart speakers, and so on and so on.
It’s a remarkably easy system, and while Amazon’s Alexa-based Echo smart displays are also good, we’ve found the fact that Australians can turn their Google display into a constantly updated picture frame a big reason to consider a Google option over the Amazon equivalent.
Ring Video Doorbell 4
A video doorbell is easily one of our favourite gadgets for the home, even if it’s one not necessarily in one. It’s one of those things that helps act as sentry and protect the home, because clearly that matters, too.
Ring’s fourth-gen video doorbell includes some of the same stuff we saw in the original, only improved, with night vision video for when people come a-calling at night, two-way communication through the doorbell via your phone, and a battery pack you can easily take off, handy if you’re renting.
DeLonghi La Specialista Arte coffee machine
Not a smart device, but possibly a gadget if you want to be smart about your coffee habits, DeLonghi’s La Specialista Arte is a machine that takes a coffee variety in its bean form and whittles it down to a cup with pretty much no drama whatsoever.
The machine is about as easy to use as possible, and while you may want to keep the manual out, once it’s set up for your favourite blend of beans, it guide you into getting the right amount, tamping and flattening it, and then making the coffee with ease.
While a Nespresso or another encapsulated coffee pod machine will still be faster, the DeLonghi La Specialista Arte is about the fastest manual coffee machine we’ve ever reviewed.
Samsung Smart AI Washing Machines
Price: from $999
If you’ve always wondered how AI could be used to improve your home, you may be able to apply it to your laundry, or more specifically, about how much water and detergent needs to be used for washing your laundry.
That’s the idea with Samsung’s Smart AI range of laundry machines, which uses sensors to analyse and optimise the load in the washing machines, while sensors analyse the temperature and humidity inside a dryer to adjust the drying time based on how the heat is going inside the dryer. The laundry machines also comes with WiFi, because these days, you can find out how a load is going on your phone, and even synchronise the setting between both washer and dryer if you happen to have both.
Ecovacs Deebot T9+
If you find the idea of vacuuming a bit of a chore, and want nothing more for the future to well and truly get its backside here so you don’t need to do that anymore, you might want to look towards a robotic vacuum, an area that has felt a little slower lately.
The year’s high-end release from Ecovacs could be an option, with improved mapping and obstacle detection tech — so it doesn’t try to end its life by throwing itself off a patio like some other models — and not only manages to clean the floor, but also add a burst of fragrance at the same time.
Controllable by an app or able to let it do its own thing, Ecovacs’ Deebot T9+ is essentially a resident of your home specifically there for one thing: dealing with what’s on the floor. The only thing you probably need to do is keep it charged, occasionally stop it from getting caught on wires and cables, and regularly clean its auto-disposal dust tank in its base station.
Dyson V15 Detect Vacuum Cleaner
Dyson has launched a few things this year, but one of the most interesting has turned the chore of vacuuming into something that’s a little more fun, thanks in part to a laser head and a particle counter.
Both of those are two of the important features on the Dyson V15 Detect vacuum, another vac in this list that does something a little different: rather than automate the process, this is a regular manual vacuum, but one that counts the particles as they come into the vacuum and turns the whole thing into a bit of a video game. More than that, Dyson’s V15 can show you the rest of the job you need to do by lighting up the surface with a green laser found in its special floor head.
The Dyson V15 Detect is easily one of the more fun appliances we’ve reviewed, and while it commands a high price, it makes the chore of cleaning just that little bit more entertaining overall, while also doing a better job of cleaning every nook and cranny.
Panasonic BX421 Prime Fresh fridges
Price: from $1549
New fridges in 2021 have largely centred around the smart home, with a tablet built into the design. With Panasonic, there’s a slightly different approach being taken: food spoilage, or more specifically, trying to limit it.
If keeping food fresh is more important than adding another tablet your your kitchen, you may want to check out Panasonic’s upgrade to the area, with a technology that uses antibacterial filters to clean the recirculated air of a fridge, while Panasonic’s “Prime Fresh+” freezing concept uses an idea called “soft freezing” to hold the temperature at -3 C to stop food like meat from degrading by freezing as it’s chilled.
LG Signature Wine Cellar
Got a cool $9K to spend on something in the home for the holidays? You might want to give that wine cellar you’ve been building a more climate-controlled position in your kitchen, because that’s a thing.
LG’s “Signature” series is more or less known as its “best of the best” range, and this year, it offered up a special electric wine cellar, able to store up to 65 bottles of wine, with two temperature controlled shelves that also feature humidity control.
It’s not just your typical wine cooling appliance, mind you, because there’s a translucent door that can become transparent when you knock on it, a feature LG has brought over from its fridges so the wine inside can be protected from light, visible only when you want to see what’s inside, with that door also protecting the precious bottles inside from heat and UV light.
There’s even a small storage drawer underneath it all that can extend the fridge or freezer, because storing meat and cheese for an obvious platter can come from the same place as the rest of the wine.