5 Smart Home Gadgets You’re Not Using (But Should Be!)

published Sep 22, 2015
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

I love finding new things to solve annoying problems at home and these savvy gadgets do just that. Some are electronic, some are about as low-tech as you can get but all are useful.

Thermostatic valve

Do you wait for full minutes with your hand in the shower, just waiting for the water to warm up enough to step inside? This little gadget will let you step away. Installed on your shower head, it allows the water to run until it reaches a certain temperature, at which point it cuts the flow until you get in and pull the tab to begin your shower. Saves time, saves water. Win-win.

Here’s one to consider: the Showerstart TSV.

Wi-fi enabled outlet

This gadget makes any outlet into an outlet you can control with your phone. It’s just an intermediary plug. That means you can turn on the lights in the next room before you trip over your shoes, turn OFF the curling iron you accidentally leave on every single morning or turn on your air conditioner unit 20 minutes before you get home so you can walk into a nice, cool home (without having to leave it on). So so handy for so many things.

Here’s the one I have: WeMo Insight Switch.


I have not tried this drain-saving gadget but I really, really want to. If the reviews are correct, it’s a lifesaver for the long-haired ladies who don’t like calling a plumber to snake their shower every other month. It’s not a perforated cover like all the rest, it’s a chain attached to an anchor which threads through the drain and hangs down the pipe. When hair flows by, it catches it instead of letting it clog the pipe. Then, after a few months, you pull the chain out and throw it — and all your hair — away. There are even a few styles so it’s available for any type of drain.

See what people have to say about it at Amazon.

Dryer rack

Want to dry something quickly that’s too delicate to tumble? Get one of these clever racks that attach to the center of your dryer and provide a steady shelf on which to place your item (the dryer barrel spins around it). In fact, you may have gotten one with your dryer — many come with these mesh plastic racks and some people never identify it’s purpose. It’s great for shoes, sweaters and other things you don’t want to be tossed around.

Here’s one from Sears.


These gadgets have actually gotten pretty popular recently so there’s a good chance you’re already rocking a roku, but if not, time to jump in. My dad bought me one of these little boxes years ago (thanks, Pops!) and I’ve been into it ever since. It’s such an easy way to stream movies and TV from services like Hulu and Netflix on your TV and it’s a lot cheaper and easier than a device like an Xbox. It might make your entertainment so available that you can finally cut cable once and for all.

Here’s more info: Roku

Time to tell us: What are your best under-the-radar gadgets that everyone should know about?