Ah man, it is that time again. 2022 has zipped back so far and now we are rushing head first into the holidays. Well, one of my beats has been the Smart Home. It all started with one simple device back when I was still an apartment dwelling, and my landlord let me install the Nest Thermostat (talked about that here), and I’ve been a lover of smart home tech ever since. I started with lights, and motion sensors in our apartment, and when I purchased my own home…..oh man things took off. Nowadays, my phone has smart stuff for everyone, and I really do need to do a video or post to update about it, but that is for another day. Today let’s talk about my top picks on what to add to your home, or gift to someone this season!

Google Nest Cam with Floodlight

One of the more recent additions to my home has been the Nest Cam with Floodlight. You might remember from previous recommendations or posts I use to use Ring, but as I’m primarily a Google home, switching over to this just made sense. Last year I recommended these and I was waiting to get the, now they are apart of my smart home system! These are meant to replace your existing floodlights and are wired. So you’ll end up being able to have smart floodlight controls, and a camera to watch your various area. You can view the cameras from your smartphone using the Google Home app, from any Google Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max, from your TV if you use a Google Chromecast with a Google TV device, and not also from your computer browser via Home.Google.com. These have come along and I truly enjoy having them as part of my home. They run $279.99 normally, but as of the time of this writing, if you catch the Black Friday deals from the Google Store or Amazon, you can get them for only $189.99. Damn, wish I got that deal when I was replacing all my Ring devices!

WebsiteGoogle Store / Amazon

Price – $279.99 ($189.99 currently)

Yale Assure Lock 2 with WiFi module

Now this one is literally the latest addition to the smart home! I’ve been a diehard Kwikset Kevo user for years but figured it was time to try something new. Yale was nice enough to send this over for us to review and it has been definitely a welcome addition to the home. With the Yale Assure Lock 2 with the WiFi module, you really don’t need a physical key to get into your home (but with the model we have, you do still have that just in case). Can enter your home in a variety of ways including using the app on the phone, entering a code you can determine into the keypad, with the WiFi module, remotely letting someone in, and they have this feature called auto unlock that will unlock the door as you are about to walk in. Additionally, if you need to have guests or others come in and maybe need to access your home for a temporary period, you can also send them a code to use and limit how long that code is valid. We are still fully in our review period for it but feel based on current usage, this is a lock we would recommend for anyone looking for the convenience of simply entering their home without the giggling around with keys. The Yale Assure Lock 2 runs anywhere from $239 – $293 depending on which model you get, and you can find them on Amazon or other retailers.


Price – $239 – $293

Sense Energy Monitor

Another recent addition to the home, and one I’m peculiarly obsessed with is the Sense energy monitor. As you can see from the pictures, this one really gets to the heart of the smart home. All smart home tech uses electricity and the Sense energy monitor can in real time show you how much electricity you are consuming. I added this to the house as I recently installed solar panels in my home. While the provider of those panels had an app to show me how much power I was generating, this would normally show me what I generated on the following day. I wanted something where in real time I could see both how much power I was generating from the sun and consuming at the same time, so I could work to lower our consumption to a point where we were using less than we generate and thus have all our needs (or a very high percentage of it) cover by the sun. This led me to Sense and this is one device that works in the background, but I really love this thing. One of the perks over time is the ability for it to detect the different devices in your home so you see what is using electricity and how much it is using. For now, I’m happy just seeing in real-time an overall picture of what I generate and consume. Now, this isn’t an inexpensive unit, costing $299 for a base unit, to $349 for its Sense Solar (the one I have) which provides additional sensors specifically for your solar monitoring. As of this writing, holiday sales are providing $80 off each unit. This is perfect for someone who loves their tech but wants to be conscious about their electric use as well.

WebsiteSense / Amazon

Price – $299 – $349

Roku Smart Home Suite of Products

For this one, it isn’t really about one product, but an introduction of a new player in the smart home arena. While Roku isn’t a new company by any means, its entry into the smart home field is interesting. What we like about this and why we think you should take a look, is both their price point which is very approachable from their light bulbs to doorbells, to smart cameras (even a floodlight in the lineup). And the fact that they aren’t exactly starting from scratch here. Roku worked with the company Wyze to take their line-up of products and rework them in a way that works with Roku’s ecosystem. Wyze is already a company that makes good products at an affordable cost, and we’re glad to see Roku keeping that going. Products range from color light bulbs as a 2-pack for $17.99 to a smart home starter kit that includes two color bulbs, two smart plugs, and an indoor camera that only costs $58.97; Roku provides someone who already uses their device to stream TV a way to expand into the smart home arena without breaking the bank!

Website Roku

Price – $17.99 and up

APC UPS 1000VA Battery Backup and Surge Protector

Now this one, there isn’t anything too cool and trendy about it. It is here for one job, and one job only. With all that smart home tech you are gathering, why not keep some of it running for a period of time in the event of a power outage? Know someone who has a ton of gadgets, tech, and more? They just might not be thinking about what if the power goes out, so go ahead and pick this up for them. Allows them to keep their important devices running for a period of time until the power comes back on, or allows them to properly shut them down if the power goes out. This peculiar unit runs $169 and can be found right on Amazon. Check it out!


Price – $169.99

Well, that wraps up this year’s smart home guide. Did you see anything you’ll pick up for a loved one, or maybe yourself? Maybe you didn’t see anything, well let us know some of your top choices to pick up this year and share that in the comments. Enjoy the holidays’ everyone!

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