New Year, Smarter Home: The top five home tech devices in 2018

Whatever the world outside our doorstep brings this year, the world inside looks bright. Smart home devices are getting cheaper, wiser, and better at talking to each other. Want to turn on your lights automatically? Discover the weather without leaving your bed? Invent a totally new device? With growing ideas and shrinking price tags, the time is right to dip your toe into domestic tech. Here are a few of the highlights for 2018: 

Awair: Awair is a sleek, high-design sensor for the air in your home. The machine measures your indoor air quality hundreds of times every day, and tracks trends over time with a companion app. After assessing the temperature, humidity, CO2, chemicals, and dust, Awair will send you advice for improving the purity of your indoor air, which can be 5x more polluted than outside. If you’re raising children, prone to allergies, or have trouble sleeping, Awair is a game-changer.

Philips Hue: Live in a historic home where tinkering with the wires is a big project? Is there a room or two where you always meant to install a dimmer? What’s your party lightscape plan? With Philips Hue, setting the mood is effortless. You can dim and change colors from your phone or set your lights to turn on and off in your absence, scaring away would-be intruders. With a growing line of compatible products—from light strips to wireless, water-resistant glowing orbs—you’ll find the fun in customized lighting design. 

Google Home: If you’re like us, you might not have seen the point of Google Home-style hands-free assistants… until your friend hosted a brunch and her Google Home converted tablespoons to ounces… and announced the weather… and answered unexpected tableside questions without forcing anyone to break eye contact. These devices are getting so small, so ubiquitous, and so flexible, it’s hard not to see how they might improve your life in 2018. 

Toto Washlet: When it comes to bidet-style smart toilets, America is behind the times. But a growing global cult of enlightened toilet users—people who find wet-wipe toilets more hygienic and pleasant than old-school hardware—is making inroads into US soil. Now Toto’s beloved Washlet is meeting bolder competition: At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018, Kohler introduced an even smarter toilet, the Numi, which is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and offers built-in speakers. 

Little Bits Smart Home Inventor Kit: These modular, reusable, electronic building blocks come with open-source directions for creating all sorts of home improvements. Instead of buying new stuff, you can make the gadgets you already own smarter, from an automatic switch for your coffee maker, to an alarm that buzzes when you leave the refrigerator door open, to wireless lighting. This kit is both real-world useful and appropriate for kids 14+. 

Home tech isn’t always about prominence and flash. A new generation of gadgets is as discrete as it is utilitarian. CONLON/Christie’s International agents keep up with the latest trends and technologies, and they’re happy to lend their expertise. From auto-dimming lights to music-enabled toilets to DIY devices, 2018 presents a bold new world for progress at home. 

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